5 Paint Colors to Freshen up Your Home This Spring

With its fresh blossoms, warm breezes and the essence of new beginnings, it’s no wonder spring is one of the most popular seasons of the year. Springtime_500 032415And while most people use springtime to clean their homes and businesses, another fabulous benefit of this fresh new season is that it’s the perfect opportunity to revamp the look of your home with trendy and stylish spring shades of paint.

In the spirit of renewal, here are five of the most swoon-worthy paint colors to add style and sophistication to your home decor.

Coral. If you’re looking for a way to add a bright punch of color to a room in your home this spring, feminine and vivacious coral might be your perfect pick. While it’s currently trending in both fashion and home decor, one of the most special qualities about coral is that it has an incredible amount of versatility with design – it’s traditional and vintage, yet elegantly modern. Whether you use this endlessly gorgeous shade in your bedroom, sunroom or living room, it’s sure to add a fun touch to your home.

Sandy beige. Create drama, allure and a sense of overall calmness in your home with a classic sandy beige. While spring is all about fresh colors and bright shades, a classic neutral can be all it takes to take your home from winter-induced drab to a fresh, renewed fab. To make the most of this artisan-like color, designers suggest using it in a room that has a good amount of natural light or it can become too dark and dreary. It looks especially fabulous with a punch of color from a bookcase or accent wall.

Caribbean blue. Few shades are more BM_CaribbeanBlueWater_500 032415 (1)inspirational and relaxing than an ocean water-like blue. A perfect contender for your living room, kitchen or home office, this bright, clean color is ideal for spring re-decorating because it’s modern yet traditional enough that it’ll never go out of style. For a fresh, rejuvenated shade, we love the crisp look of Benjamin Moore’s Caribbean Blue Water.

Tangerine. Zestful and loud (in a good way!), this bright and cheerful shade is the perfect choice for people looking to add a bold statement with their decor. While it’s gorgeous in its most vibrant and saturated intensity, tangerine is best used as an accent wall in a dark room or can be less intense when used for entire walls in a quieter, more muted shade. Whether you like it completely vibrant or a little on the subtle side, a sweet tangerine is the perfect compliment for the airy vibrance of the spring season.

Cream. Some things in life are simply classic, and a rich, velvety cream is most certainly one of them. We love this shade because while totally neutral, it has a fresh, clean essence that completely captures the spring season. Whether paired with a coral, sandy beige, caribbean blue or tangerine accent wall, this complimentary shade envelops you with a calm, relaxed feeling that will stay in style every season.

5 Surefire Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

Whether you’re an elementary school teacher, an accountant or a marketing assistant, most professionals have felt the pressure and anxiety of not accomplishing every bullet on their lengthy daily to-do lists. When you’re a small business owner, the stresses can multiply 10-fold. The success of your business relies not only on you being there, but on you being organized, efficient and productive.

To help you learn how to own the day, we’ve compiled a list of five surefire ways to increase productivity at work.

Know Your Rhythm. Every person is different, and PDRA_Productivity2_400 031015knowing your body’s natural timetable of optimum energy can make a world of a difference in your daily productivity. If you find that you work best first thing in the morning, try to accomplish the most important and complex tasks during that time. And if you’re a night owl, you might find it helpful to do some non-office work before hitting the sack.

Work Means Work. One of the biggest mistakes a small business owner can make is trying to combine work with relaxation, such as watching TV or socializing. Since both activities require a significant amount of attention to detail, the odds of you being fully present in the important tasks is low. By keeping the television off and having designated professional working time, you’ll be more productive and better able to relish in the actual relaxation time when the work day is over.

Limit Distractions. While some people can work with constant social media PDRA_Productivity_500 031015browsing, the majority of working professionals simply can’t. Make a rule to only check Facebook and Twitter when highly prioritized tasks are completed or reserve a few extra minutes of your break time to catch up on the latest news. It’s also helpful to limit more obvious distractions, like your desk clutter. For a simple brain and energy boost, give your work space a nice clean – you’ll be amazed at how fresh and rejuvenated you’ll feel when you de-clutter.

Health Comes First. When your energy goes downhill, your mood and productivity will inevitably go down with it. Your health is one of the biggest factors in the success of your business because you take it with you wherever you go. Make a commitment to yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising once a day, drinking lots of water and eating fresh, healthful foods. When you take care of yourself, everything in your life – including your business – will be well taken care of, too.

Have An Exit Strategy. There’s a reason why journalists have an incredible knack for getting things done in time – it’s because the pressure of a set deadline is a powerful motivator. If you set in stone the time you plan on leaving for the day and prioritize based on that, you’ll feel that constant push to ensure you complete all of your tasks before the time is up. The same technique can be used for individual projects or items on your to-do list.

 

The Power of Online Contests

If you’re on social media (and by now, we sincerely hope that you are!) you’ve probably come across online contests of all types. Whether they’re offering a trip for two to Barbados, a free iPad Mini or a $100 gift card for a particular store, these contests are one of the well-known and most effective marketing techniques of the digital age.

PDRA_SocialMediaContest1_500 030315As social media and online networking continues to grow for business owners, online contests and sweepstakes have become a wildly successful way to attract a slew of new Facebook friends, Twitter followers and potential customers. Not only are contests an exciting way to build a new fan base, but they can be great for engaging with potential customers, building awareness about new products and compiling an audience for future content. When set up correctly, your contest can also be a great way to gather market research from the contestants.

If you want to learn more about this successful marketing technique, as well as the best and most effective ways to executing a successful online contest, we encourage you to check out our Online Contest Webinar. PDRA_SocialMediaContests2_400 030315Complete with successful examples and the important rules and regulations of online contests, this fascinating webinar is free for members and $50 for non-members.

For more information about The Power of Online Contests, and our other educational webinars, click here.

5 Ways To Make The Most of Social Media

It’s hard to believe, but once upon a time social media was nothing PDRA_SM_500more than a way to kill time and keep in touch with distant friends and relatives.

But as the world becomes more digital, social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest have become powerful tools for effective marketing. According to a recent study, 91 per cent of small businesses utilize social media as a way to communicate with customers and increase sales. Read more

Five Essential Tools to Master the Art of Upselling

Whether it’s that delicious donut with your morning coffee or the contemporary accent chair to complement your new sofa set, chances are you’ve experienced the art of upselling as a consumer. PDRA_Upsell2_500As an independent retailer in the paint and decorating industry, upselling is important to not only boost your bottom line, but also to establish your small business as more than just a paint store. Read more

12 Tips To Master Email Marketing

Powerful, fast and highly effective, email marketing is one of the most important weapon in a small business owner’s arsenal. It is a trusted, professional and affordable way to communicate your message to the masses in a short period of time. Used properly, it is an effective and efficient way to both stay in touch with existing customers and attract new ones.

EmailMktg_400On the downside, email marketing can be time-consuming and difficult to master. Like all marketing efforts, email correspondence is more an art than a science. From writing catchy, click-worthy headlines to ensuring your message steers clear of the dreaded spam folder, there are right ways – and wrong ways – to use email as a marketing tool. Here are 12 tips to get you started. Blast away!

Compile a permission-based email list. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is by sending people spam, which is essentially any type of information-based email that they didn’t opt in for. Always be sure to ask your customers if they would like to receive emails in the future, ensuring them of the added value of coupons, news and exclusive promotions.

Set goals. Before sending out your newsletter or email blast, determine exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Do you want to get the word out about your business? Do you want to create more website traffic? Are you hoping for a serious boost in sales? Having a clear set of goals will help you write a more clear and concise message.

Keep it casual. When writing your email (or outsourcing it)) be sure to keep your tone and voice genuine and conversational. From the subject line to the entire body copy, you’ll be more likely to keep and engage readers if they aren’t immediately reminded of spam-like emails and asked for something. Humour can be effective as well, so long as it is professional and geared toward your target audience.

Personalize, personalize, personalize. While it can be time consuming, including a personalized greeting is a special touch that will be sure to impress your readers. Dear John, or Dear Mr. Smith, is a better approach than Dear Customer 10 times out of 10. Personalization will also create and nurture the ever-important level of trust that’s crucial to email marketing success.

Timing is everything. Maximize your email marketing efforts by scheduling them at regular intervals in your calendar. There is a fine line between too many and too few. If you don’t send emails on a regular basis, you run the risk of your customers forgetting about you. However, too many messages can be overkill. A monthly newsletter is a great way to stay in constant contact, and theme-specific emails (Christmas, birthdays if possible) are a great way to let your customers know you’re thinking about them.

Edit, edit, edit. Even the best writers need a second, third and fourth pair of eyes to revise body copy. Whether it’s a typo or a grammar error, a single mistake can seem unprofessional and destroy your credibility. There’s no going back, so make sure it’s absolutely perfect before you hit that Send button!

Test it out. Send a few test emails to employees or secondary email addresses to ensure the layout is what you’re looking for and all of your links are working. Since one of the main purposes of a newsletter is to drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to make sure that your links lead to the right places.

Make it easy to unsubscribe. Although it’s the opposite of what you want, offer a simple and straightforward “unsubscribe” path. Making it difficult can frustrate or annoy customers; you would much rather lose an email subscriber than a potential customer.

Keep it simple. With more people using mobile to read their messages, and more operating systems than ever, minimize the use of things like images and flash to ensure compatibility. Use bullets and numbering and let the short, concise copy speak for itself.

Keep it professional. Limit the use of ALL CAPITALS and exclamation points, and avoid the use of emoticons. As friendly and personable as you’re trying to be, you are sending a marketing email to a customer, not a quick note to a friend.

Figure out what your subscribers really want. If you take the time to do as much research about your target market as possible, you’ll be able to figure out what they’re looking for in a paint and decorating newsletter/email. And if you know what they want, you’ll be more likely to deliver.

Offer a clear and concise call to action. Powerful trigger phrases like “Buy Now,” “Look Here,” and “Order In Time For Christmas,” are all effective ways to encourage your readers to make the moves quickly instead of pushing the email aside.

Online Contests

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You’ve heard it all before, just like us. Like us, follow us, pin it to win it, etc.

But whether or not you’re a fan of popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, they have proven so effective for so many retailers that they are now almost a mandatory part of doing business.

In particular, social media contests are a great way to further customer engagement, increase followers and build awareness about your product.

In this PDRA webinar we’ll go through some successful online contest examples. We’ll also look at the rules and regulations surrounding online contests and what you need to know to keep your business in check.

Free Social Media Tools

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Do you ever see posts and images on Facebook and wonder how they did that? In this PDRA webinar, you’ll learn about some online tools that paint and decorating stores can use to enhance all forms of social media.

Best of all, these tools are free and simple to use. With such topics as adding text to images, creating photo collages and using custom color schemes, the webinar will look at a variety of options to keep your online communities entertained and engaged.

This is the fourth in a series of PDRA webinars on the subject of social media topics. If you missed any of the past webinars, view them at your convenience at the PDRA webinars page.

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