By k | December 21, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One marketing strategy
is to become a niche expert.

Why niche?

Because to know everything about all areas
takes time,
time you should be using
to grow your business.
Narrowing your knowledge
to a specific niche is more manageable.
It also distinguishes you
and allows you to work
with other niche experts in your field.

For example:
I was on an online panel
discussing short stories.
We each specialized in a genre
and we worked together to host/market the panel.

Being the niche expert saves time in other ways.
As Julie Rains shares

“Sharing your knowledge can position you
as a go-to person in your industry.
This tactic may involve periodically
fielding phone calls,
speaking at conferences,
answering questions via e-mail and
participating in online discussions.

Being a free resource
can be a time zapper
so focus on being the source
for a niche need,
not any imaginable request.
Set boundaries for providing assistance,
such as allotting a certain number of hours
or designating times for dispensing advice.”

Consider positioning yourself
as a niche expert.

By k | December 20, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

The most important word(s)
associated with a book
is the title.

The title is the first word(s)
a reader uses.
Like a name,
there is emotion attached to titles.
A title also has to intrigue,
set the tone for the book,
build reader expectations.

Email subject lines are similar.
If the subject line is bad,
prospects won’t even open the email.

Marketing Watch shares
“Add value to your customers
by telling them right in your subject line
what you are marketing,
whether it’s five tips to do something
or just information they need to have.
Asking a question
and creating a sense of urgency
also are ways to improve
your e-mail marketing subject lines.”

Spend time on your email subject lines.

By k | December 19, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Next week,
the week between Christmas and New Year’s,
is deadly for meetings and sales calls.

Employees, customers, partners
aren’t focused.
They’re worried about their families
and their after work plans
and their dog eating the tinsel.
They won’t be making the best decisions.
They don’t want to meet with other people.
Sometimes they don’t even want
to SEE other people
(especially if they’re in retail).

So don’t see them next week.
Don’t meet with them next week.

Meet with them this week.
Make decisions this week.
Accomplish what you have to do
with others
THIS week.

Use next week
to catch up on the work you can complete solo
and to plan the best damn year ever.

By k | December 18, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

For high achievers,
quitting is one of the toughest things
to do.

However, quitting or stopping a doomed project
is often necessary.
Making that quitting process more challenging
for high achievers will cost a company
time and money.

Robert Waterman,
author of Adhocracy,
shares

“Good poker players know when to fold.
Managers often don’t
—for several reasons:

First, they don’t bother
to break big projects up
into bite-sized chunks.
It lends some semblance
to structure
to the unknown.

Second, as the project grows,
more and more people’s egos and careers
become invested in
making sure the damned thing succeeds.
Managers proceed against odds
no poker player would touch
because they don’t see that
a failure can turn into a valuable learning experience.

Finally, they don’t get rewarded for
“the perfect mistake”
—a good try that was called off
for the right reasons.”

Make quitting a doomed project easier
for your high achievers.

By k | December 17, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A newer writer approached me
about writing a series with me.
I have a bigger readership base
than she does
and she clearly wants to use it
to increase her sales.

She’ll write two short stories.
I’ll write two short stories.
The stories will be set
in a shared world.

I agreed to her proposal
but I suggested she go first.

That was a month ago
and she has yet to start the story.
She emails me every week,
telling me she’s working on it,
but clearly she isn’t.

I’m not surprised
and I’m not concerned.
Assigning her the first story
was a test.
If she had passed that test,
THEN I would have thought
about my story.

There are a lot of talkers
in this world
and very few doers.
Test sincerity
before you put any work
into joint projects.

By k | December 16, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Whenever someone asks me about blogging,
I strongly suggest they own their own domain name
and preferably their own hosting.

I am very wary of marketing tools
that are owned by another party.

Why?

Because the party owning the tool
truly owns the eyeballs.
They can redirect these eyeballs
wherever they want.

That’s one of the reasons
email is still the number one digital tool.

Spencer Richardson shares
(this entire post on social media
is refreshingly honest
-a must-read for anyone considering
this marketing tool)

“…e-mail remains
the gold standard of audience ownership
in digital,
and continues to drive significantly greater ROI
when compared to social media.

Yes, e-mail competes with
a feed of content like postings in social media
(though much slower moving
when compared to say, Twitter),
but has the advantage that once opened,
it is an experience entirely controlled
by the marketer.

Even the e-mail addresses themselves
are a material asset
as they can be brought
to any other emergent social environment.

Look back at every social network
in it’s early days,
and there is always some sort of
“import e-mail addresses” function,
though there never has been
an “export” function.”

Own your audience… completely.

By k | December 15, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Every day,
I receive a few emails
saying basically this

“Hi K,
I’m just following up with you
about my earlier email.”

And the person signs their name.

WTF?

This tells me a couple of things.

a) the email is spamtastic.
The person has a long list of people
they’re hounding
which is why they didn’t keep
the original email

Or

b) the person is butt lazy.
He/she couldn’t be bothered
to forward the original email.
He/she expects me
to spend my precious time
doing that.

And

c) clearly that person needs me
more than I need them.
‘Cause if I needed them,
I would have responded.

If you care about a response,
care about the follow up.
Make it easier for the person
to respond
by including the original message.

By k | December 14, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Whenever I’m asked about writing,
the first thing I clarify
is whether the person is a writer
or a reader.

Readers want to hear the writing myths.
They want the author to talk
about how the characters talked to her,
telling her their stories.
They want to hear writers write for the love.
That they would write for free.
That every story is a gift.

Writers want to hear the truth.
They expect to hear
that writing is a business,
that each story is a product
to be developed,
and how we change stories
to make them more marketable.

Using Joe Bastianich’s terminology,
they want to hear the restaurant math.

As the restaurant mogul shares

“Too many people think
running a restaurant is all about the food
and forget it’s a business
and needs to be run like one,
and that’s why so many fail.
Restaurant math is
the fundamental formula for success,
and it’s one of the key things
I learned from my father.”

EVERY industry is business.
Figure out your industry’s math.

By k | December 13, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

A new writer recently asked me
which blog tour company I recommended.

Absolutely none.

Blog tour companies contact host bloggers
and ask them to host the guest blogger’s post.
For acting as the middleman,
the company receive a fee from the guest blogger.

I have no idea
why anyone would pay for this.

The biggest benefit to guest blogging
is the opportunity to form a relationship
with the host blogger,
usually an influential.

If the guest blogger hires a company
to arrange appearances,
she’s not forming relationships
with any of the influentials.

Unless that blog tour company
can promise a spot on Oprah,
stop being so damn lazy
and organize your own blog tour.

By k | December 12, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

In the room I write (i.e. work) in,
I have one phone.
It is a corded phone
positioned far from my desktop computer.

When I take phone meetings,
I print my notes before the meeting
and bring them to that phone.
I’m completely unplugged,
completely engaged,
completely present,
and the people in the meeting notice.

Why?

Because being present is now rare.
It is a heady feeling
to sit down with anyone,
especially a busy important person,
and have 100% of her attention,
have her not look at her phone once,
have her focus on us.

Being present,
being unplugged,
is an easy, no-brainer way
to make someone feel they’re special.

Use it with clients, with bosses,
with loved ones.


Erika Napoletano talks about
the new rules of social business.