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January 2018 E-Newsletter

Business Corner: 9 Cost Effective Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Marketing is imperative for all businesses especially the small ones as they have to establish themselves. There are a few small businesses who assume that advertising their businesses would be pricey. But it is quite wrong! There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on it. At the moment, we are going to present you such cheap marketing tips for small businesses that you would love a lot.

Have a look at the below cost-effective marketing tips for small businesses:

1. Post top quality content on your site
The first thing to do for small businesses is to post a top quality content on their site. If you would not post quality content then your visitors would not get impressed with you at all. You have to grasp their attention towards by using the engaging content. So, there is no need to compromise on the content of your business site.

2. Make a Google My Business account
In the event that you need to show your business in the local search then you have to make a Google My Business account. It is quite essential. It will make your business visible on the local search as well as on Google Plus. It is a nice way to market your business.

3. Just acquire the PR with the HARO.
You need to make a free account with the HARO if you want to stand out in the market with a good reputation. There are many big businesses that have used this technique.

4. Make an Email List
All the business owners must make a business list. However, in the beginning, you must not commit the monthly fee. There are many email management services that are available for free. You can avail them to advertise your firm.

5. Publish an Article in Industry Magazine
It is a wonderful and cheap way to promote your business and it is effective as well. There are many business owners who used to publish an article in the industry magazines to grab the attention of people. It will have a good impression.

6. Check & Attend Local Business Events
If you are running a small business then you need to check and attend the local business events.

7. Make an Affiliate Program
In the event that you provide a digital product, for example, an eBook or make an affiliate program then it would be a good marketing technique. You do not have to pay much for it.

8. Guest Posting
You have to guest post on the famous niche sites. Just check them out on local search and reach your target audience. You can also incorporate a link to your site in your profile.

9. Leave comments on different blog posts
To promote your business, you need to leave comments on different blog posts so that people could reach you. It is a nice way to get noticed and get visitors.

Last Word
These are the effective cheap marketing tips for small businesses of all types. It does not matter which sort of business you are running, all of these would be advantageous to you.


How to Actually Keep Your New Year's Debt Resolution

Paying off debt in the New Year is a common resolution. But resolving to do something and actually doing it are two different things.
Taking a smart approach to building good habits, however, can help you master your debt in the coming year.
Jon Bailey, professor emeritus in the psychology department at Florida State University, suggests applying some principles of behavioral psychology to help you create sustainable habits.
“Our general approach is really from the angle of self-management,” Bailey says. “You have to know yourself and your environment so you can put some things in place … (to) make the behavior, in this case paying off debt, more likely to occur.”
With this in mind, here are tactics to help you follow through on your debt resolution:
1. Know what you owe
Create an inventory of your debts, including their totals and interest rates. Add them up to see exactly how much you have to pay down.
Defining your goal can help you focus your payoff journey and see what being debt-free would look like, says Weslia Echols, an accredited financial counselor in Michigan. “Seeing that picture clearly and knowing the value of not having that debt can motivate you to stay the course.”
2. Break it down into smaller tasks
Focus on the day-to-day steps needed to achieve your goal.
Figure out how much you can put toward your debt each month.
Choose how you’ll approach paying off debt. Consider using the debt snowball method, in which you pay off smaller debts first to secure early victories that will keep you motivated.
Trim expenses to find more money for debt pay down.
When making budget cuts, Bailey sees moderation as key to success. “If you go out to eat four nights a week, see what you’d save by only going out three nights a week. The extreme — cutting out going out entirely — isn’t going to last.”
3. Keep yourself accountable
Track your progress and create a backstop to help you stay focused, such as updating a friend about your progress each month. Think about using an app to help you cement your new habits.
Consider imposing a penalty if you don’t stay on track. For example, make a deal with your accountability partner that if you skip a payment, you’ll have to clean their apartment.
4. Treat yourself
Build in rewards as you make progress. Each $100 you pay off, for example, give yourself some small treat to celebrate. This can keep you encouraged and on track toward paying off your debt in the New Year.
The article How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Debt Resolution originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Coulee Bank's Q-Tip: Holiday Season Scam Reminders

As the winter holidays unwind, Coulee Bank reminds users to stay aware of seasonal scams and cyber campaigns, which may include:
  • electronic greeting cards that may contain malware
  • requests for charitable contributions that may be phishing scams and may originate from illegitimate sources claiming to be charities
  • screensavers or other forms of media that may contain malware
  • credit card applications that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts
  • online shopping advertisements that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts from bogus retailers
  • shipping notifications that may be phishing scams or may contain malware
Coulee Bank encourages users and administrators to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventative measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns:
  • Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
  • Use caution when opening email attachments.
  • Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Verify charity authenticity through a trusted contact number. Trusted contact information can be found on the Better Business Bureau's site.
  • Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document from US-Cert for more information on avoiding email scams.
  • Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks  US-cert Cyber Security Tip for more information on social engineering attacks.
  • Refer to the Holiday Traveling with Personal Internet-Enabled Devices  US-cert Cyber Security Tip for more information on protecting personal mobile devices while traveling over the holidays.
Q-Tips are provided by Coulee Bank's IT Network Risk Manager, Quentin Fisher. He is always on the lookout for ways to keep our customers' information safe, here at the bank, at work and home.

10 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving

Saving money isn’t that hard. What’s hard is keeping money saved.
It’s too easy to cut expenses in one area only to spend more somewhere else. Sticking cash into savings won’t help if it comes right back out again. What you need are some ways to trick yourself into savings that actually last. Such as:
1. Automate it
Willpower is overrated. Set up automatic transfers, and you likely won’t miss the money as it’s whisked from your paycheck to your retirement fund (for example) or from your checking account to savings.
2. Hide it
Part two of the out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach is to make sure you’re not regularly reminded that you have this money. Set up savings accounts at a separate institution from the one that has your checking account, so you’re not seeing your savings balance every time you log on. Sign up for paperless statements for retirement accounts, and then don’t check them more than once or twice a year. (But don’t ignore these accounts entirely — set up text or email alerts for any withdrawals or unusual activity so you can catch fraud.)
3. Name it
Labeling an account with its purpose can be a powerful deterrent to tapping the money for other uses. Online banks allow you to set up multiple sub-accounts at no extra cost, and each one can be given a name: vacation, property taxes, new car fund, holidays and so on. It’s a lot easier to dip into a nameless savings account than one that says “Dream Trip to Bora Bora.” The names make you think about what you’re really sacrificing when you spend the money thoughtlessly. You may not be able to rename your employer retirement fund, but you often can input nicknames for IRAs and other brokerage accounts. How about “Freedom Fund”?
4. Use an app
Digit analyzes your checking account transactions, then transfers money you won’t miss into a Digit savings account. Acorns does something similar but looks across all your accounts and invests the spare money. Bank of America has a program called Keep the Change that rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the change into your savings account.
5. Lock it up
You should keep at least $500 cash easily accessible for small emergencies. Beyond that, consider creating some barriers to accessing the money. Certificates of deposit can be a good option for savings accounts, since you pay a small penalty if you break into them early. If you’re tempted to cash in retirement funds, remember that taxes and penalties typically will equal 25% to 50% of any withdrawal.
6. Save your rewards
Use a cash-back rewards credit card for your expenses, pay the balance in full every month and regularly transfer the rewards to your savings account or IRA.
7. Divert it
Every time you cancel a subscription, disconnect a service or pay off a debt, divert that monthly payment into savings.
8. Bank your windfalls
Define a windfall broadly as any extra money that lands in your lap: rebates, bonuses, refunds (including your tax refund). Carve out 10% to spend any way you want and then save the rest.

9. Make it a game
Some people save every $5 or $10 bill that wanders into their wallets. Others stuff every $1 bill they get into a change jar at the end of the day. Every month, feed the green to your savings account.
10. Save your raise
Got a 3% raise? Boost your 401(k) or IRA contribution by at least 2%. You’ll get a little extra in your paycheck while putting most of your raise to work for your future.
The article 10 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Coulee Investment Corner: Avoid These Financial Traps - They May Be Hazardous to Your Wealth

Money. It's hard to get and easy to lose. It doesn't take long for the wealth you've accumulated to disappear if you don't manage your money well or have a plan to protect your assets from sudden calamity.
Snares like the ones mentioned below could easily threaten your financial security. Planning ahead can protect you and your loved ones from getting caught.
Undisciplined Spending
The more you have, the more you spend -- or so the saying goes. But not paying close attention to your cash flow may prevent you from saving enough money for your future. Manage your income by creating a spending plan that includes saving and investing a portion of your pay. Your financial professional can help identify planning strategies that will maximize your savings and minimize your taxes.
High Debt
With the easy availability of credit, it isn't hard to understand how many people rack up high credit card balances and other debt. Short-term debt will become long-term debt if you're paying only the minimum amount toward your balances. If you can't pay off your credit card debt all at once, consider transferring the balances to a card with a lower interest rate.
Unprotected Assets
Your life, your property, and your ability to work should all be protected. Life insurance can provide income for your family if you die. Homeowners and automobile insurance can help protect you if your home or car is damaged or destroyed and provide liability coverage if someone is injured. Disability insurance can protect your income if you're unable to work.
Unmanaged Inheritance
A financial windfall is great, but it also can be dangerous. Without solid advice on managing and investing the money, you could find that your inheritance is gone in a much shorter time than you would have thought possible. Your financial professional can help you come up with a plan for managing your wealth. Setting aside a portion of the money to spend on a trip or other luxury while investing the rest may be one way to reward yourself and still preserve the bulk of your assets.
Neglected Investments
Reviewing your investments to make sure they're performing as you expected -- and making changes in your portfolio if they're not -- is essential. But it's also essential to periodically review your investment strategy. You may find that your tolerance for risk has changed over time. You'll also want to assess the tax implications of any changes you plan to make to help minimize their impact.

Retirement Shortfall
If you're not contributing the maximum amount to your employer's retirement savings plan, you're giving up the benefits of pretax contributions and potential tax-deferred growth. Maximizing your plan contributions can start you on your way to a comfortable retirement -- hopefully with no traps along the route.
Required Attribution

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber's or others' use of the content.
© 2016 DST Systems, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited, except by permission. All rights reserved. Not responsible for any errors or omissions.

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