By Adrian Booth

In these challenging times for businesses, finding new customers and keeping the ones you already have are two key activity strands that have assumed huge importance.

However, although many firms pay lip-service to these principles, in my experience they don’t always follow through by directing precious resources to these vital actions.

Marketing activity in particular is often seen as the low hanging fruit when the going gets tough, and time and again we see slashed budgets at exactly the time when this activity should be stepped-up.

Whatever the right and wrongs, shrunken marketing budget syndrome is a current business reality, and hard to avoid.

So if you find yourself considering alternative and creative ways of apportioning what’s left of the cake, one of the strongest options might be to bring some or all of your design and production of brochures, email newsletters or websites etc in-house.

Maybe all you need is access to easy-to-use desk top publishing software, and someone in-house with the necessary drive and enthusiasm to rise to the challenge.
If this sounds an option worth looking into, why not download a free trial of Microsoft Publisher 2010? With little practice, the results you can achieve are surprisingly impressive and it enables easy production of professional-quality publications and marketing materials using the new and updated tools designed to simplify the whole process.

There’s an abundance of handy features you’ll find when you get going with Publisher 2010, but here are some key things you should know about the program.

Adaptable design templates plus a wealth of ready-made content like sidebars, calendars, borders and advertisements can be drawn from Publisher 2010’s built-in library, helping publications swiftly take shape.

Picture-editing tools offer the ability to pan, zoom, and crop images, making it easy to replace images while keeping a basic page layout. So once you develop a style you are happy with, you can stick with it to generate continuity for your communications.

Customer or contact lists can be drawn from programs like Excel, Outlook or Word, then edited and managed directly in Publisher using the Mailings tab on the Publisher 2010 Ribbon, which brings the whole process of creation and distribution together.

Object alignment capabilities help generate a sense of professional layout for your content by simplifying the task of aligning new objects and images. Publisher even offers a suggested location for new objects, but importantly leaves final decisions to you.

Publisher 2010 is available as a stand- alone, or as part of Office 2010 Professional. To download a free trial of Office 2010 Professional or get more advice on marketing your business visit: Windows 7 - Improve PC performance & Productivity.

Watch the video below featuring Gill Le Fevre, IW Online Services Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft UK, explaining how Office 365 addresses the challenges that small businesses face.


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