Monday, June 19, 2017

Portable solar panels and solar trailers



In the past, few portable solar chargers included internal battery storage. Fold-up solar chargers included a flexible PV module and adapters for connection to any small electronic device. The majority of these fold-out solar chargers have a 5- to 25-watt rating, although higher-wattage models are available that can power a laptop computer or portable communication equipment during camping trips into remote areas.

With recent advances in battery technology, many fold-out and pocket-size solar chargers now include a built-in battery. Although fairly small and lightweight, these lithium iron phosphate (LiFEPO4) batteries can store an amazing amount of power. Once full, the built-in battery can recharge your electronic devices regardless of solar access.


GOAL ZERO NOMAD 7

Solar capacity 7W (8-9V)
Power Output: USB 1A (5W max)
Weight: ( 460g)
Cell type: Monocrystaline
Ideal for: Guide 10, Switch 8, Smartphone, GPS, Headlamp
Chainable: Yes
In the box: 1 x Nomad 7 Solar Panel, 1 x 12V Adapter

There are few solar trailer manufacturers, but the features and performance of these systems have increased significantly. The smaller single-axle units typically include PV arrays in the 1 to 2 kW range, and can be towed behind an SUV. However, the larger dual-axle units have much larger PV arrays with heavier battery banks, and require a mid-sized truck to tow.

These systems can be expensive, and are typically sold or leased to government agencies for disaster response. PV trailers are also sometimes used in broadcast and entertainment situations when a noisy generator would be a problem.

In addition to large fold-out solar arrays, they often include a backup generator. The generator is used to recharge the battery bank or cover large power demands. The more sun-hours available, the fewer hours the generator is required to run to recharge the batteries.



Greentow
GT916 Trailer

Solar power rating: 1,620 W

Battery capacity: 12,384 Wh (258 Ah)

Inverter power rating: 6,000 W

Price: $49,900

Weight: 3,300 lbs.

Size: 9 × 5.8 × 6 ft.

Warranty: 20 yrs. (modules)

Charge connection: AC and DC outlets

Compatibility: Larger electronics/tools/appliances (limited)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Prioritize social media leads for your business



In your personal life, social media allows you to connect and stay in touch with family, friends, colleagues, and potential resources. Your business, on the other hand, can benefit from lead generation — the process of enhancing consumer interest in your company's products and services. You can capture contact information and build a list of potential clients to whom you can send newsletters and sales information.

Social media has emerged as the top channel for lead generation among most business sectors. You can leverage this platform to generate your social media leads by engaging the community of potential customers, typically by sharing useful and quality content that showcases your expertise.


Build a network with strong ties

Determine the best way to connect with prospects, since getting to know them and establishing relationships is an integral part of the sales process. Although social media allows you to achieve this quickly and easily, you need to decide which platform — such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest — is best for connecting and interacting with prospects.

To create strong ties, you need to show that your business is accessible, has individual consideration for its customers, and, most importantly, has the time to listen and respond to prospects. Connections are really about building relationships with potential customers and getting to know them online by communicating and sharing information.


Share content to influence connections


As part of your content marketing initiative, publishing and sharing content via social media can significantly boost your lead-generation efforts. Here is a tip: Most prospects are not looking for, and do not care much, about your products. More than anything, they are seeking immediate solutions to their problems.

The content you create must be helpful in order to drive people to your landing pages, thereby generating leads. If you have valuable content on your website, you can only gain qualified leads by requiring them to fill out a form. However, with social media platforms, you can track prospects that have accessed your content without the extra effort and burden of soliciting their identity.


Respond to feedback, customer questions, and comments


When it comes to social media, it is vital that you track conversations and respond to inquiries, general comments, and feedback genuinely and promptly. Set aside a few hours on designated days of the week to address complaints, respond to questions, and acknowledge that feedback has been received.

Your response should focus on delivering a valuable answer. When you reply, you are not only addressing an individual, but also the community. If possible, refer them back to resources on your site — i.e., a blog post or how-to video — so that they understand your product in a new light. The better your social media customer service is, the more you are likely to generate traffic, and potential leads, through your site.


Amplify lead generation via focused social ads


Invest some money in paid advertising on social media. This can be in the form of promoted content on Facebook, sponsored tweets on Twitter, or an ad on LinkedIn. With any smart social advertising strategy, the goal is to link to a lead-generation form. When a user clicks on a link, they are typically led to a promotional offer — a lead generation card that expands to reveal the offer with a sign-up form that requests a user's name, email address, and respective social media platform handle.


Image- and video-based social media


Always remember that human beings are visual by nature. Because of this, you should make use of the numerous visual social media platforms for lead generation, such as Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Instagram and Pinterest offer the opportunity to generate leads through use of visual content by creating a loyal following from your target audience. Although not perfect for every market or industry, you can create and monitor a strategy that will increase direct, as well as indirect, leads.

Optimized YouTube videos can also be effective lead-generating tools for your business. Having an informative how-to video or even one that makes audiences laugh provides visibility for your business.

Social media leads serve to drive revenue, which validates the worth of any social media costs. Regardless of your sales cycle, social media creates a complex and productive path to lead generation, making it imperative for you to incorporate this marketing tool into your business strategy.

Word of mouth: Five ways to encourage powerful recommendations.



These days, Facebook posts, tweets, comments on blogs, and other forms of online chatter qualify as word of mouth recommendations. This type of attention is a chief driver of business for brands of all kinds. Since people are already discussing your business, one of your marketing objectives should be to reach these savvy Internet users and connect with them to turn the conversation in the right direction.

Here are five ways to encourage positive feedback online:


1. Tell your business' story on your website.

Twitter and other social sites may be all the rage on mobile devices, but people go to your company website on tablets and laptops to learn the basics about your business in long form. Have you described your company's creation story and its past, present, and future goals? If you have yet to do so, you are ignoring the most fundamental point of discovery for consumers. Lay down the details in a personal way so they know there is a beating heart behind the brand. Once you have worked out the nuts and bolts of your business site, you can create a blog with engaging material. Tell people what you do so they can tell others and get it right.


2. Become social-media savvy.


Whether you are an old-school handicrafter or modern techie, your customers are searching for you on social media and talking about you — for better or worse. Getting involved in the conversation shows that you care about their opinion and that you're listening. This step is crucial to get more word-of-mouth recommendations. Fans of your company do not need compensation for promoting your business, but they certainly enjoy acknowledgment and a response directly from the company. Although this engagement may take place on a number of social platforms, you should begin with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


3. Engage this generation of influencers.


Beyond the fans and customers of your company, the social influencers of the industry hold the key to many word-of-mouth recommendations. These brand advocates may be bloggers, reviewers or other types of leaders in the community. You will be able to get their attention by offering them something special. It may be breaking news on your business, the chance to review something exclusively or the opportunity to interview you with no strings attached. Engaging the top influencers online is going to spark conversation. Much of it will be positive.


4. Get people thinking critically about your brand.


When you launch a quality product or service, there is no reason to hide from the judgments of your consumers. Get people thinking critically and responding to your business with customer satisfaction surveys. This technique forces people to differentiate your offerings from the competition, which is exactly what you want. Surveys allow you to see what your company is doing right and wrong in the eyes of your consumers. In addition, surveys plant ideas in customers' heads that they often flesh out later through social media. Along the way, you are bound to get more recommendations for your business via word of mouth.


5. Reward word-of-mouth recommendations to create more of the same.


Everyone likes recognition for their effort on behalf of a team, and social media users who go out of their way to recommend your company online deserve such a plug. In some cases, it may worth your while to reward them with discounts or special access for their enthusiasm. Dangling concrete rewards may smack of a departure from authenticity (i.e., buying approval), yet the truth is that you are simply being nice to someone who has helped your business. This treatment tends to encourage even more positive online chatter. Making a small investment in your biggest fans is always worth it.

Give 'Em Something to Talk About: How Will Your Business be Remembered?



Have you ever gone on a road trip and felt relieved to return to the comforts of home after experiencing poor customer service at every service stop, restaurant, and hotel? People tend to regard good experiences as routine, while notably bad ones are committed to memory. However, top-notch quality service can and should be remembered in equal measure. When a customer is considering a brand, memorable business practices should have a more profound impact than commonplace experiences.

Ask yourself: As a business owner, how will my business be remembered? In a climate where social networks have become powerful broadcast channels, your company must be prepared to market itself and leverage apps, websites and social media that can rate your business, help you present a positive image, and garner public interest.


Memorable business impressions

There's an old show business saying, "Bad publicity is still publicity." Not so in the real business world. It needs to be good, if not great publicity all the time. There are ways to create a lasting impression on both customers and the public at large and demonstrate commitment to the customer through positive and unique experiences:

Provide stellar customer service


Hold yourself, your staff, and your company to a higher standard, and aim to provide superior customer service on all levels. Remember that highly trained and highly motivated employees are better equipped to meet the needs of customers. Here are some tips:

Train your customer service and sales teams to fully engage with the customers they interact with. Specifically, they should maintain good eye contact, listen well, respond promptly, and always be courteous. This will help your business stand out and help you get referrals.

Servicing customers over the phone can be made unique with little effort. Simply allow your representatives to break from their oftentimes insincere and rehearsed scripts and genuinely connect with the caller. Although this is nothing new, it could be just different enough to make the experience special.

Be social. Demonstrate that you value your customer base by using multiple social media channels to reach them. Social media platforms are ideal for receiving feedback and addressing customer concerns, as well as offering coupons and discounts.


Get involved in your community


Philanthropy has several benefits. Generosity and a commitment to doing good earns you positive publicity. Often, it's the little, unexpected things that endear you to the community. These include things such as planting trees, sponsoring a Junior League chapter, or donating food and clothing to those in need. And though there are certainly tax benefits to these acts of charity, a socially responsible stance will likely differentiate your business, increase your visibility and enhance your reputation. Plus, there's the reward of happiness from doing good — and happy business owners tend to lead successful enterprises.


Tell a story, create a memory


One of the major reasons your prospects and customers may not be buying from you could be that they simply don't remember you. Your business might not be the first thing to come to mind when they seek the product or service you offer. One of your most important marketing tasks is to ensure your business is unique and memorable. Although the human brain may not be equally adept at remembering all forms of information, it is, most often, quite good with visual imagery. Remember this as you deal with customers and develop techniques to transform otherwise empty words and numbers into visual memories their brains are better designed to remember. Take a cue from impactful television ads and change simple business offers into something colorful, exciting, and different from anything customers have seen before.


Develop a cohesive brand


The ticket to your brand is showing that you can deliver on the promises you make to your customers. If your brand is associated with trust and positivity, it can evoke a fiercely loyal customer response. Your promise, however, must be unique, deliverable, and integrated throughout your product and customer-service experience. Be memorable by ensuring that all your key marketing touchpoints are integrated – from your logo and website, to your business cards and signs. You should also take the time to craft a relevant, sticky tag line that reinforces your business image. When you do, customers are bound to remember you because a positive reaction to your brand is, thanks to your planning and design, woven into their memory.