By k | April 30, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

My products (books) receive as many bad reviews
as they receive good reviews.
Both good and bad reviews
have been proven to sell product.
People don’t remember what the review said,
merely that the product was reviewed.

If reviewers don’t contact me,
I don’t contact them.
Many reviewers want to be viewed
as being neutral,
advocates for their own readers.
They view manufacturer (author) contact
as the manufacturer (author) trying to influence that neutrality.
Contact pisses them off.

If reviewers contact me,
they want a response
and I always return their emails,
even if the review blasted my product (book) to bits.

How do I respond to a bad review?

I thank them for taking the time
to review my product (book)
and I commend them on the service they’re doing
for the industry (the reading community).
I DON’T mention that it was a bad review.

The goal is to receive another review
on a different product
as reviews sell product.
Reminding them that they didn’t like the first product
wouldn’t achieve this goal.
Acknowledging their efforts does.

If reviewers reach out to you,
talk to them
but keep your goals in mind.

By k | April 29, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I am a fan of Bic pens
so I tried Bic shavers.
They didn’t work… at all.

I emailed customer service
to tell them
that the product was unworthy
of the Bic brand name.

I was told to mail them the product,
at my own expense,
and they’d send me a replacement.

WTF?

WHY would I want a replacement
if the original product didn’t work?
Why would I spend my own money
to get this replacement?

The thing is…
I suspect the folks at Bic knew
I wouldn’t send the shavers in.
Their customer service was insincere.
They were faking it.

And this has colored my view
of the entire brand.

Your customers aren’t dumb asses.
They know when you’re faking
customer service.

By k | April 28, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

This P&G commercial
showing moms supporting their children
in their quests for Olympic gold,

was forwarded to me
by writers,
not by athletes,
not by people interested in the Olympics.

Why?

Because mothers supporting children
in their dreams
is pretty much universal.
Many people relate to it.
Many people can apply
these same feelings
of gratitude and love
to their own situations.

This commercial is timely
(the Olympics).
It sneaks in the footage
of moms using the product
(doing laundry).
It reinforces that P&G
is a global company.
It features an unlikely hero
everyone can cheer for,
a hero who is the main product purchaser
(the moms).

Best of all,
it taps into a universal truth.
This is brilliant marketing
and it contains marketing lessons
we can apply to our small businesses.

By k | April 27, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the questions
interviewers usually ask is
“Where do you see yourself
in three years?”

Many interviewers compare
the answer to the possible career paths.

If the answer is overly ambitious,
the prospective employee is dismissed.
“We can’t make her happy,” is the excuse.

If the answer is not ambitious at all,
the prospective employee
continues to be considered.

IMHO… this is bullshit thinking
by managers.

I’ve managed ambitious employees
and I’ve managed lethargic employees.
It is MUCH easier to tone down
an employee’s wild ambitions
than
it is to light a fire under
a lethargic employee’s ass.

Both states are also contagious.
Ambitious employees increase
the passion of others.
Lethargic employees increase
the uncaring attitude of others.

Err on the side of ambition.

By k | April 26, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I need motivation
with the writing,
I’ll often go to my book page
on my website.
I’ll gaze at all of the covers
and remember the struggles I had
with those stories
and how I overcame them.

When I need a kick in the ass
with blogging,
I’ll look at the sidebar
and see the months and months of posts.
I’ll remind myself
that I’ve never missed a day
and I don’t want that to change.

When one of my buddies
gets irritated with her high paying day job,
she’ll pull out her investments,
reminding herself
how she’s close to making her financial goals
and how that day job is helping her
do that.

Figure out a way
to make your progress visible.
Seeing really IS believing.

By k | April 25, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There were
8,240
new romance titles
published in 2010.

This number was as intimidating
when I started writing.
Fellow unpublished writers
would point this number out
and say there was too much competition.
They’d use it as an excuse
not to try.

Today, I’m writing full time,
earning a living from writing,
and they’re still waiting.

If you’re in a healthy industry,
you’ll have competition.

You should know that competition.
You should respect that competition.
You should design your product/company
so it is unique from that competition.

You should never use
competition
as an excuse
not to try.

If I can become successful
in an industry with thousands of competitors,
you can become successful also.

By k | April 24, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There are very few hard deadlines
with writing novels.
Stories go into the submissions queue
when they’re received.
There are months, even years, gaps
between when a story is submitted
and when a writer is paid.

So one day delay doesn’t matter, right?
No one will raise a stink over it.
One day won’t make a big difference.

Except a day here or there
adds up
and days have a habit
of turning into weeks.

Many entrepreneurs,
especially during the start up stage,
are in the same situation.
It is very easy
to push that sales call off
until tomorrow.

What I do to stop this
is create artificial deadlines.

I’ll tell my editor to expect
my manuscript on a certain date.
I’ll ask friends/family
to keep me accountable.
One of my loved ones gives me
his ‘I’m very disappointed in you’ speech.

Delaying a day DOES matter.
Get it done NOW.

By k | April 23, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

“Studies have shown
that people who multitask
are far less efficient,
taking up to 30 percent longer
to complete the tasks
with twice as many errors.”

In other words,
if you’re dividing your attention
between multiple tasks,
you’re doing shitty work.

So focus.
Shut down your email.
Turn off your phone.
Limit distractions.

Focus on that important task or project,
give it all of your attention,
and get it done.

By k | April 22, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my buddies
sold a book to much fanfare.
Advance sales are high.
Studios are fighting over
the movie rights.

Her publisher, her agent,
the studios, hell, everyone
is waiting for book 2 in the series.

My buddy is writing an unrelated story.
She claims she’s working.
You and I know she’s procrastinating.

Procrastination is
“the act or habit of procrastinating,
or putting off or delaying,
especially something requiring immediate attention.”

For hard working folks like you and I,
procrastination usually takes the form
of shiny new projects.
We’re working hard
and that makes us feel better
about the procrastination
but it is still procrastination.

Stop dragging your heels.
Get that project done.

By k | April 21, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The Booz & Company’s
Annual Global Innovation 1000 study
shows that

“Specifically,
the 44 percent of companies
who reported that
their innovation strategies are clearly aligned
with their business goals —
and that their cultures strongly support
those innovation goals —
delivered 33 percent higher
enterprise value growth and
17 percent higher profit growth
on five-year measures
than those lacking such tight alignment.”

Interestingly,
this alignment has a bigger impact
on innovation success
than R&D spend.

In other words,
if your company doesn’t support innovation
and doesn’t have innovation
as part of the greater business goals,
it doesn’t matter how much
you spend on R&D.
You’re less likely to be successful.

Work on your company culture
before you spend on R&D.