Choosing an Internet Marketing Service

Internet marketing services are beneficial to those who want to increase their appearance on various search engines and enhance the visual presentation of their website. 

Use these tips as a guide when choosing Internet marketing services or hiring a marketing consultant:

Ask for Referrals.  Ask friends, family members and colleagues who have had success with Internet marketing services or a consultant for suggestions. Check out businesses through to make read reviews and complaints.  

Understand Your Audience.  In order to hire marketing services that best suit your needs, you first need to understand the audience you are trying to reach. Awareness of your specific audience will condense your search to businesses that have experience targeting your potential clients.

Be Informed.  Before choosing services or a consultant it is important to do your research on current marketing strategies. This preparation will allow you to have a better grasp on the marketing concepts the consultant is discussing. Researching will also allow you to better avoid frauds. Inform yourself on topics such as, search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). 

Ask for References.  Ask the business for a list of references with a similar target audience and contact a few of the previous consumers. Ask about their experience with the business, if they met their needs, and if they have seen improvements. Keep in mind just because the business works for one consumer doesn’t mean they will automatically be right for you. Ask if the business will provide a proposal detailing how they plan to bring you success. 

Get All the Pricing Details.  Be sure to have the business lay out all the costs and fees associated with the marketing services. It is important not to invest too much money at one time. Ask the business if you can pay a portion of the price upfront and wait until you see results before making the final payment.  

MNSure rates released

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman released the individual policy premium rates, which are the lowest average rates in the country for health insurance plans sold through Minnesota’s new health insurance marketplace, MNsure, when it opens on October 1, 2013

Friday’s announcement follows a lengthy and thorough review of all of the new policies, which included providing detailed justification for the rates filed to ensure that the premiums charged are reasonable and necessary.  After the review process, Commissioner Rothman approved the rates for 141 plans in total, 78 of which that will be available to individuals. Minnesota’s nationally-recognized, thorough rate review process resulted in premiums for Minnesotans four to 37 percent lower than had originally been filed - providing border-to-border options for consumers across all metal levels.  

Rates for policies available on MNsure for the individual market start as low as $90.59 for a 25 year-old, non-smoker living in the Twin Cities, with options in each metal level reflecting comparable value for the price.  In addition to the competitive rates of the plans offered through MNsure, comprehensive networks are available across the state - 85 percent of Minnesota counties will have 3 or more health insurance companies to choose from - providing border-to-border choice for all Minnesotans.   

In coordination with the information released by the Commerce Department, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has posted on its website a preview by carrier of the networks of clinics, hospitals, and chemical dependency treatment centers that will be available through MNsure. Health plans offered through MNsure are required to meet multiple certification standards, and the state’s Department of Health is responsible for certifying the provider networks for all MNsure carriers. MDH also reviews and approves the benefits being offered by HMO’s through MNsure and the Commerce Department reviews and approves benefits for the non-HMO insurers.

Minnesota is one of 31 states in the country that can deny rates requested by insurance companies based upon whether the rates are justified.  The Department’s actuaries conduct statistical analyses and closely scrutinize the assumptions that health insurance companies use to develop rates. The new plans and rates recently approved that will be available during open enrollment include many consumer protections. Those protections include making all health insurance available to every Minnesotan, even those with pre-existing health problems and expanded benefit sets that provide free preventive care.  Additionally, to protect consumers, Commerce Department staff reviewed all policy forms to ensure they included the consumer protections in state law.

Health plans included in MNsure will be sold during open enrollment which begins October 1, 2013 and coverage will take effect Jan. 1, 2014 

MNsure plans are categorized as bronze, silver, gold or platinum based on how much of the cost is paid by the insured person. For example, bronze plans are likely to have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance. In addition to these four “metal levels,” high deductible “catastrophic plans” are available for young adults under age 30 and certain other qualifying individuals. All plans provide coverage for the set of essential health benefits that are now required by law.

Once a consumer decides what plan of coverage he or she wants to purchase, four factors can affect the premium rate: age, area of the state in which the person resides, whether the person uses tobacco, and how many people are covered by the plan. Minnesotans will want to visit MNsure or call the MNsure consumer call center to learn whether tax credits available exclusively through MNsure can be applied to their premiums to further lower their premium payment.

For more information on Minnesota’s health insurance rates or the rate review process in Minnesota, please visit the Commerce Department’s website to view the rates, frequently asked questions, and additional information about the new health care reform changes that begin January 1, 2014.

For more information on the 15 networks approved by the Department of Health visit MDH’s website,, to review computer files of each network, displaying hospitals, clinics and chemical health providers. Each PDF file is organized by provider zip code and alphabetically within zip codes. Consumers will be able to search networks on the MNsure web site beginning October 1.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help.

Call our Consumer Response Team at 651-539-1600 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3602 (in Greater Minnesota) if you have any questions about your insurance or if you believe you have been a victim of a scam or fraud. 

Sanford Health to implement mandatory employee influenza vaccination policy

(Fargo, ND) - Sanford Health announced today it plans to implement mandatory influenza vaccinations for all Sanford employees and physicians effective with the 2013-2014 influenza season. The organization made the decision in order to maximize patient safety and protect its employees against influenza.

"This decision will protect our patients and also protect our employees during this upcoming influenza season. It's a decision that our physicians support. Sanford Health's physician leadership groups, our Boards of Governors, in all four of our regions have unanimously recommended mandatory influenza vaccinations for all employees," said Paul Carson, MD, medical director, Sanford Health infection prevention and control, Fargo region.

Mandatory influenza vaccinations for health care workers have been endorsed by prestigious health care organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations (SDAHO). Many health systems across the country are also implementing mandatory influenza vaccinations this year.

Sanford Bismarck has already demonstrated success with influenza vaccinations. The region successfully implemented mandatory influenza vaccinations for its employees in 2010 and has achieved near 100 percent vaccination.

The new policy includes employees and physicians, as well as students, volunteers, contracted workers, locums and vendors. Exceptions to the required immunization will be granted for medical or religious reasons only.


MnDOT receives federal stimulus grant

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Transportation will receive a $1.45 million federal grant for the installation of conflict warning systems at 15 rural, stop-controlled intersections across the state.

The funding comes from the Transportation Investment Generating Recovery, or TIGER, program, which is part of a federal economic stimulus package administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The warning systems will inform motorists of intersection conflicts ahead to help them to better judge gaps in traffic. This project is the result of an extensive planning effort and is part of Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths safety program.

“Intersection conflict warning systems have the potential to significantly reduce collisions and improve safety at rural intersections,” said Sue Mulvihill, MnDOT deputy commissioner and chief engineer. “Based on the average daily traffic at these intersections, drivers and passengers in more than 80,000 vehicles will experience the added safety and security offered by these systems on a daily basis.

“This innovative system provides a safe and affordable alternative to traditional traffic safety improvements,” she said.

For more information about rural intersection conflict warning systems, see They are one of many ways that MnDOT is using intelligenttransportation systems to improve safety on Minnesota’s highways. For more information on Minnesota’s ITS program visit

In addition to MnDOT’s award, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority will receive $10 million in TIGER funds to rebuild and expand a general cargo dock and also will fund improvements to existing road and train connections.

Minnesota’s two awards were among $474 million in TIGER grants awarded to 52 projects in 37 states. For more information, see

DNR honors 2 youth conservationists

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently honored two youth for demonstrating initiative, leadership, creativity and achievement in the conservation and wise use of natural and agricultural resources.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr made the award presentations Aug. 30 during a ceremony at the Minnesota State Fair. This is the 22nd year the DNR has presented the youth awards.

Lane Alm of Hawley received the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Award. For the past four years, he has worked on his “Diversified Horticulture” project, which began when he was 14 years old and got a job with Prairie Restorations Inc. - Bluestem Farm. He learned to identify native plants, their seeds, and how they can be used for landscaping around lake homes, businesses, and for erosion control. Alm also learned how to operate and maintain planting and harvesting machinery.

“In addition to his outstanding project and work experience, Lane is active in 4-H, the FFA Soils Team, and has been a National Honor Student member throughout high school,” Landwehr said.

He is also a football player, wrestler, deer hunter, raises horses, wins roping competitions, and refurbishes antique tractors. “This well-rounded young man also volunteers at the annual Rollag Threshing Show and is an officer for the Hawley 4-H and FFAChapter,” Landwehr said. “This year he also won the Hawley Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer Award.”

Alm graduated from Hawley High School this spring and started attending North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. a few weeks ago.

Lane is the son of Lee and Brandi Alm. Also present at the award ceremony were the state
FFA advisors Joel Larsen and Jim Ertl.

Morris Area High School student Brady Cardwell received the 4-H Award. His project, titled “History of Wildlife Conservation in Minnesota,” focused on how and why various conservation organizations and clubs were started, and steps he has taken to learn about and improve wildlife habitat. 

For his sixth-grade project, Cardwell researched milestones in conservation history and the various agencies responsible for wildlife conservation. He visited a number of public lands, interviewed managers, and observed a prescribed burn. He also researched and participated in events with all the major wildlife conservation clubs in his area.

Cardwell participates in archery, shooting sports, science and history fairs, and makes his own lures. He carved the Duck Unlimited logo into his pumpkin last year. He is active in his local 4-H club and Luther League. “Somehow he also manages to play football and is on the wrestling team,” Landwehr said. 

Brady is the son of Douglas and Meriel Cardwell. 

Also recognizing Cardwell at award ceremony was Dorothy Freeman, associate dean and state 4-H director and Nancy Hegland, extension program leader of 4-H youth development.