Discover Why Audience Response Systems Add Value to Conferences and Events

During the ongoing 'Credit Crunch' corporations are under pressure to cut their conferences and events budgets. What they save by reducing the size of the stage or by going to a cheaper venue should not affect the basic content of the day or the goals for staging the event in the first place. Audience response systems (ARS) are always often cut in the budget review but this can be a big mistake as they can add tremendous value by giving tangible results and feed back from delegates attending.

ARS can show whether or not the key the aims of staging an event have been met or not, the use of an audience response system can then reveal any sticking points. This allows your event to measure its effectiveness during the day and give evidence of its success.

Audience response can also maximize an events time by asking delegates which themes are of most interest so allowing you to apportion time appropriately. It costs a lot to get every one in one place so it makes sense to ensure their time together is as productive as possible.

Using these kinds of systems also sends a clear message to the attendees, and that message is 'we are listening and your opinion is valued'. Presenters in the dreaded post lunch grave yard slot will appreciate the regenerative powers of asking a flagging delegate a question on which they need to ponder before responding. ARS has been proven to increase retention on the subject polled and certainly your chair person will marvel at ARS's ability to break the ice during Q & A sessions and promote delegation interaction as they begin to discuss options with their neighbor so leading to improved networking. Asking the post event evaluation questions at the end of the last session will save your staff days of data input from a paper based questionnaire.

So how do they work? In its basic form an audience response system enterprises of a display, to allow the presentation of a question and a range possible options / answers, and a 'keypad' to allow the delegate to select the option / answer which best matches their opinion, with the results of the poll being displayed immediately after the close of the voting time (about 10 seconds). The equipment is usually radio based and wireless so allowing free distribution among an audience. Some systems also offer the ability to communicate directly with the presenter through the 'free text submission' of questions so allowing the delegate to ask their own question, or submit an idea, rather than just responding to pre determined options.

All in all if the budget is being trimmed it pays not to cut the one item that can prove the days effectiveness and show value has been obtained for the spend. If you are still looking for ways to save, go for the cheaper dessert option, cut the sparkling water and have a smaller lighting rig.

Grants For Home Improvement

In more than one instance you get warned about free grants for home improvement programs and over and over again told that no such thing exists as free grants.

With extended and thorough research you will find ample grants focusing on home improvement alone. The free part of it applies to low and medium income homeowners. Grants can be obtained and loans at zero-interest. Part of the criteria for these “free” grants or loans is that it is needed for health and safety purposes.

There are various loans and grants available, but in general grants for home improvement covers:

  • Improve and renovate the exterior structure of the house to the building requirements that is currently applicable. This are improvements such as the roof, sidings, better water and sewage systems, doors and windows, extending your house and measures to make your home more easily reached for disabled and handicapped persons.
  • Improvements relating to the interior of the house such as alterations to fix the roof and sidings in events where there is major reason for concern regarding your family unit’s health and security. Grants for home improvements relating to the interior of the house also refers to the electrical and water supply systems.
  • There are specific grants for home improvements available if you are interested in renovating or converting your existing property into low income housing. Programs of this nature are usually offered by the government in order to better the availability of low income housing in designated neighbourhoods. These types of grants for home improvement are known to cover most of the above mentioned exterior and interior improvements. In addition financial assistance is provided by means of mortgage assurance and the subsidising of mortgage payments.

Some of the most generally used types of grants for home improvement are:

  • Deferred Payment Loans – You are provided with a no-interest loan that does not have to be paid back until you sell the house or the property is transferred to a new owner. The maximum amount available for each individual application is $20 000 for the first year and up to $35 000 for each year thereafter.
  • Leveraged Loans – For this type of grant there are some reasonable income eligibility guidelines to meet. As with the Deferred Payment Loans, very similar repairs relating to health and safety qualify for this program. When opting for leveraged loans, you need to provide half of the money needed for cost of the repairs or renovations and loan program will supply the other half. It is also only paid back when you sell the property or it is transferred to a new owner. The maximum to be matched with home improvement program funds is $17 500.
  • Emergency Grant – The focus of this home improvement grant is restricted to health and safety risks that needs immediate attention to low income homeowners. Being a grant, no repayment structure is applicable. The maximum grant award is $1,500.

How to Hire a Professional Website Designer

If you're looking to take your business to the next step, a professionally designed website offers you that distinct edge over your competitors. A top-notch website draws potential customers in-and keeps them there. Even though the rise of social media has essentially transformed the marketing landscape, Facebook and Twitter can not compensate for the lack of a quality website. Your website is the face of your business-the first impression potential customers gather about your company. A poorly designed website conveys low-quality products or services, so do not cut corners by designing a website yourself if you do not have the skills. Hiring a professional website designer to boost your company's image (and bottom line) is a smart investment.

When choosing a professional website designer, take the following into consideration:

Hiring Someone Local

There are plenty of start-up web design companies around the world from which to choose, but hiring a local designer offers several advantages.

First, local web designers offer you a quick response. Do not underestimate the possibility of communication breakaround across time zones. Good local designers offer dependable, quick responses to a client's questions. Prompt communication is extremely key to the creation of a great website.

And because they are in the area, local designers can forge relationships with their clients beyond emailing and phone calls. This builds a level of trust between designer and client that can not easily be replicated by a designer and client thousands of miles apart. A local designer is more likely to care about the success of a client's business and will offer better website support to further a client's progress.

Local designers must hold themselves accountable to clients in order to stay in business. It's easy to find out if a local designer is reliable; less so for an overseas designer.

Finally, designers have more control over your site because they know Boise. They know Idaho. They'll be much more effective at designing a website with local demographics and your client base in mind than a designer out of state or overseas will.

Check the Designer's Portfolio

You do not need to randomly choose a website designer when all good designers have their best work on display.

Make sure that they have a web portfolio. Not having one is cause for alarm-either a designer has little experience or does not wish to show off the work he or she has done.

Look through each of the designs and note the designer's range, preferences, and versatility. This way you can picture how your business might be described on a web page.

Visit the websites-looks are not everything when it comes to web design. Get a feel for the interface and how the web pages flow from one to the other. These are vital to user experience-customers that can not figure out how to navigate a web page will quickly give up before reaching the intended page.

Call the businesses and ask how business is going since the website went live. They'll tell you if they're satisfied with the return on their investment based on the metrics of the website's performance.

What framework does a designer use for websites?

There are a number of different frameworks that designers implement-learn which will best fit your needs.

Do they use a content management system (CMS)? A CMS allows publishing, editing, and modifying content through a central administrative tool. This facilitates collaboration and improvements communication between users, allows data sharing and storage, and simplifies report writing.

Can users manage the page without understanding code? This allows clients to participate in the development and management of the website and helps them shape their vision for their business. As long as the CMS is not too technically difficult to understand, clients gain satisfaction from playing a role in the design of their website.

Does the designer provide training? Web design and code are strictly intuitive to the lay person, but a good designer will introduce a client to the basics of CMS so the he or she can independently manage their website.

What's included?

Website design is not just about writing code-a good designer will include a range of services beyond technical skill.

Do they include content writing? While clients know what their business is about, they might not know how best to package their ideas into a web-friendly format. This is where content writers come in. Good copy in any medium can make or break a business, so providing a good content writer can save a client a lot of work.

Is hosting available? A web hosting service is what allows a business to make its website accessible on the Internet. Web hosts provide data space and connectivity to a varying degree. If a web designer provides hosting to clients as an option, this can save clients from the unforeseen costs of using a random host with little data space and low connectivity, which both acutely affect user experience.

Do they provide SEO? Search engine optimization is the secret to drawing more website traffic. SEO terms maximize a website's hits by targeting specific keywords and search terms. A good web designer with an understanding of SEO will provide this service to clients, who may not understand SEO.

Where do the images come from? Any designer should follow copyright regulations on photos and images by using free public images or purchasing good stock photography. Resources like Google Images, Microsoft Office Image Gallery and copying another website's images are just such cases of copyright infringement. Designers that take legal shortcuts and use trademarked images can create a litany of trouble for a business including fines of over $ 500,000.

Additional services

Can they make mobile websites? With more and more people using smart phones to check the internet, the ability to create mobile websites can vastly broaden a company's website reach. Many web designers do not even know where to start with making a mobile-compatible version of a website. This can seriously limit your businesses growth over time as more and more people step away from their computer and use their smartphone and table devices to perform searches online for businesses and websites. A good web designer will be able to make your website fit a mobile device's smaller screen and offer relevant mobile options such as click-to-call ability, coupons, and locations map. A mobile-compatible website design alone can separate you from your competition and give you the ability to dominate an entire marketing platform in your industry.

Website scalability-can it grow cost-effectively? As a business grows, the website may need to be enlarged in order to accommodate growth. Scalability is the ability of a system to increase in order to meet the needs of the business. A good designer will be able to implement a plan for website growth.

The next step for you

A good website designer places on top of current techniques and methods of online marketing. Their job is to provide you with a platform for long-term growth of your company. Investing now in a professional web designer will not only save you money in the long run but also give you the ability to start increasing your profits immediately. The return-on-investment for hiring a great website designer is one of the highest in marketing available today.

Aerial Advertising Cost

Have you wanted to make a unique impression on someone? Do you want to announce something and want to get the most mileage of out it? Welcome to the world of aerial advertising. Be mobile, flexible, and definitely creative!

In a world where people are constantly bombarded with messages and advertisements, one needs to rise above the rest to get noticed. With aerial advertising, get messages across to hundreds of thousands of people in the shortest time possible. Specialized companies handle this kind of advertising. Boasting of well maintained equipment, efficient pilots and security clearances, aerial advertising companies might just be what you need.

These aircraft can basically fly over busy freeways, fairs, concerts, parks, public places, stadiums, parades, races, concerts, and the beach. For the romantic at heart, would not you be thrilled to be greeted with an "I Love You" or "Happy Anniversary" message across the sky for everyone to see. For companies interested to announce an upcoming event or a new service, would not this be an exciting way to reach the most people in a unique fashion?

Messages may come in different forms. Aircrafts carry messages in one of the following forms: aerial billboards in different sizes, hand painted or computer printed, with a capacity to carry 7 feet of letters; letter banner tail flag, hand painted, adapted to fit any size of letter. Skywriting, also known as "sky smoke" allows a message many names long to be seen by the gambling public. Even at night, messages can be seen in sky through a set of moving lights. Totally fascinated by this view, people are forced to read them out of curiosity.

But would the price be too much? For the aircraft alone, minimum charge is at $ 400 for a half hour exposure. Messages visible at night cost a lot more. However, most aerial companies offer a total package including cost of operation, plane, pilots, ground crew, and production. Would it be worth advertising this way? Consider this. Aerial advertising is a powerful tool reaching thousands of people in such a short time. For a minute or so, it captures the undivided attention of the public once messages are visible on air. It has a high recall and creates a lasting impression. In fact, it costs less than $ 5 per thousand of people making it more cost effective than print media.