By k | December 21, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Many established authors
are self-publishing their backlists.
These stories have been
edited and edited and edited
(my stories go through
nine edits or more).

Their blurbs/back cover copy have not.

The blurb is the first thing
online book buyers read.
It is the MOST important piece of writing.
If there are typos in the blurb,
the book is less likely to sell.

Yet many authors write the blurbs themselves
and don’t have anyone else
look at them.

You might be saying
“that’s foolish.”
Yeah?
Did you hire an editor to review your Twitter profile?

Megan Leap pleads
“Please, if you only proofread one thing,
proofread your Twitter bio.
Copy and paste it into Microsoft Word.
Have your coworker review it.
Whatever you need to do,
don’t let typos happen in your bio.
It’s a pretty permanent piece
of your online presence.”

Consider hiring an editor
for your marketing material.
At the very least,
have other people review your messages.

By k | December 20, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I made rice krispie squares yesterday
following the “traditional” recipe
on the back of the rice krispie box.

It used the microwave.

How is that traditional?
Think of the folks needing this recipe
(eliminating kitchen disasters
like myself).

Likely people in their 20’s or younger.
Their mothers or fathers
would have made rice krispie squares
in the microwave.
(it is MUCH easier)
For them, this would be traditional.

Traditional is a powerful marketing word
for feel good, warm, fuzzy products.
The traditional way
doesn’t have to be the way
it was done a century ago.
It merely has to be the way
your prospect remembers it.

By k | December 19, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my buddies marketed
his product as the most inexpensive.
The competitors dropped their price,
dropped their price,
until a big multi-product competitor
offered it for nothing.

One of my writing buddies marketed
her BDSM stories as the most taboo.
BDSM stories are considered tame now
and she’s been pressed
into producing stories she’s not comfortable writing.

In comparison, another writing buddy
has marketed her stories as the most sensuous.
She has been pushed
to add more and more emotion
to her stories.
Every word is a conscious and deliberate choice.
Her writing is a joy to read
and she glows when she talks about it.

When branding your product as more,
think of the most extreme
of that more.
Would you still want to sell that product
at that extreme?

If the answer is no,
reconsider your positioning.

By k | December 18, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A budding entrepreneur
asked me a couple of days ago
how she’d know if she was doing what she loved.

This is a VERY good question.
I love new business development
but I certainly don’t love all aspects of it.
(the paperwork drives me crazy)

However, as I plan to attend
the Consumer Electronics Show in January,
I get giddy with excitement.
I’d attend this new business development mecca
even if I never planned to make
another dollar from new business development.

Not everyone feels this way.
I’ll talk to people at the CES
who can’t wait for it to be over.
They’re doing a job.
They’re not doing what they love.

If you’re a social person,
the conventions are a great barometer
of whether or not you’re in the industry you love.

Would you attend the conventions
on your own time and with your own money?

If the answer is yes,
you’re in an industry/field you love.

By k | December 17, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

This is the time of year
folks start thinking about making goals
for the new year.
We evaluate our success
at meeting our 2011 goals
(there is STILL time
to achieve some of these goals),
and we set new goals.

When we have partners,
there are additional steps.

The most important step
is reconnecting with these partners
and ensuring that
we all have similar goals
for the future.

Yesterday, I sat down with
one of my business partners.
I asked him how he thought
the year went.
I asked him about his concerns.
I asked him how he envisioned success
in 2012.

It turns out
my partner is concerned
about short term profitability.

This was a surprise to me.
When we started the endeavor,
the goal was for long term profitability.
I talk to this partner every day
and he never mentioned his concerns.

But that’s okay.
Goals change.
Plans are fluid.
We brainstormed ideas
to build in short term profitability sooner
(sacrificing some growth).

At least once a year,
sit down with business partners
and REALLY talk.
Talk about what they want from your venture.

By k | December 16, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

No one likes problems, right?
But here’s the thing…
without problems,
ANYONE can fill your role.

It is really easy to be
an author/entrepreneur/leader/friend/expert
when everything is going well,
when a story drips off your fingertips,
an idea is immediately embraced by customers,
or
everything agrees with your stance.

What makes your place in the world
perfect for you
is…
You overcome the challenges.
You fix the mistakes.
You calm the frightened.
You inspire the lethargic.

I spent two weeks
writing and rewriting and rewriting
5,000 words.
I eventually fixed that part of the story
and when it was fixed,
I grinned
because I knew
many writers would have quit
but I didn’t
and THAT is why I’ll be a successful writer.

Yes, don’t look for problems
but when problems arise
(and they WILL arise),
knew THEY are
why you’re the success you are
(or will be).

By k | December 15, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I have stories with different publishers
and all of these publishers price differently.

I assumed that the lower priced stories
would sell more copies.
Hmmm… no.
I sell the same number of stories
regardless of the price.

I assumed that the lower priced stories
would garner better reviews
because they’re better value.
Hmmm… no.
The opposite is true.
I get harsher reviews on my less expensive stories
even though I believe they’re the same quality.

Indie author Elle Lothlorien
has these thoughts about low prices…

“I thought I was conveying the message
“Give this book a shot!
At $2.99 what do you have to lose?”
Instead, I think I had inadvertently
turned my Amazon page
into the equivalent of a dubious used-car lot,
with blinking neon lights screaming
“SALE, SALE SALE!
EVERYTHING MUST GO!””

If your profits
or sales are suffering,
try raising your prices.
Lower isn’t always better.

By k | December 14, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Adrian Slywotzky in Demand
talks about the Average Customer Myth.

“Demand creators know that
the “average customer”
is a myth.
They allow for variation.
They de-average by
finding efficient, cost-effective ways
to create product variations
that more perfectly match
the varying needs of
very different types of customers,
getting rid of overages
(things we don’t want)
and underages
(gaps we want filled).”

In 2000,
the average family in the U.S.
had 0.90 children under 18 years old.
Do you know of a family
with 0.90 children?
I hope not.

Averages don’t exist.
Don’t use an average
as your target customer.

By k | December 13, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Many of the most innovative companies
separate out innovation hubs
from their core business.

Why?

Scott Anthony explains why
and suggests the solution
in one of his most popular posts
31 Innovation Questions.

“What is “the sucking sound of the core?”
The pull of the core business
and business model
that subtly influences new ideas
so they resemble
what the organization has done before.

What is an innovation “safe space”?
An organizational mechanism
that protects innovators
from the sucking sounds of the core.”

Some organizations I know
host their innovation teams
on different floors or even different buildings.
They have separate budgets.
Sometimes they’re in a completely separate company.

Consider keeping your innovation teams
and your core business teams
separate.

By k | December 12, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Sales and Marketing
have always been closely related.
Promotion should drive awareness.
Awareness should drive sales.

Today, however, the lines
have truly blurred.

3Forward has an excellent post
on how more and more customers
are researching purchases on their own.

“Proof of how pervasive
this has become was published
by the Marketing Leadership Council
earlier this year.
Their survey of 1,900 companies
found that B2B buyers across multiple industries
accomplish up to 60%
of the “buying process” on their own
– before ever needing
or wishing to speak to a sales representative.”

Buyers do this, of course,
by Googling the information.

Which means
salespeople should be consulted
when websites are designed,
a task that marketing normally leads.

Yep, where marketing ends
and sales begins
(or vice versa)
is even fuzzier.

Your sales department
HAS to work with your marketing department.
This is not a nice-to-do.
This is a has-to-happen.