By k | November 30, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The best gift you can give
this holiday season
is to show your support
of your loved one’s dreams.

One of my sisters
is looking for her first home.
I’m giving her a kit
with everything
a home buyer should have.

Back when I was dreaming
of being published,
a loved one gave me
a membership to
Romance Writers Of America.
It told me clearly
that he believed in me.

A buddy who had
always dreamed of
having her own bakery
was given a set of business cards
with her name, contact information,
and ‘Baker and Founder’
as her job title.
She still uses that title today
in her cupcake shop.

Hope is the best gift.
Always

By k | November 29, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Yesterday, I saw message after message
wishing EVERYONE a happy Thanksgiving.
This assumption that EVERYONE is American
ticks off the 95% of the world’s population
that isn’t American.

But…but…but my customers are American.
Are you certain of that?

My stories are written
in American English,
set in American cities,
feature American characters,
yet a sizable number
of my readers aren’t American.
They do buy from American eBook resellers
but they don’t live in the U.S.
I know this
because my publishers gather this information.

Does this mean
you can’t wish folks a Happy Thanksgiving?
Of course not.
I posted messages
wishing my American reading buddies
a Happy Thanksgiving.

Don’t assume
all of your customers are American.

By k | November 28, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One thing that really became clear to me
when I started my street team
is that people want to help me.
They truly do.

And they want to help you too.
They’re merely waiting for you
to ask them,
to suggest HOW they can help you.

As Bruna Martinuzzi
shares

“We often hesitate to ask
because we don’t believe
we can get what we’re asking for.
Yet it’s surprising how generous most people are.
Often the busiest and most unlikely people
will respond to a request
from a total stranger.
It’s astounding how often
people in your network,
who you’ve only met virtually,
will respond with a request
for an introduction or for information.”

Ask for help.
Be specific about the help you need.
Make it easy for them to help.
But ASK.

By k | November 27, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

A Clientk reader asked me
about street teams
and how they work.

I don’t know how
they work for everyone.
Everyone has different goals.
I’ll share how my street team works.

A street team is a group of superfans.
These superfans have volunteered
to help the writer/founder/company promote
and, in return,
there is some sort of reward.

I assign my street team members
weekly missions.
The mission could be to Retweet a tweet
or share a Facebook post,
normally about my books.
Once a month, there will be a reward mission.
Everyone completing this mission
receives (usually) my latest story.

You’d think the free book
would be the main incentive
to complete missions.

It isn’t.
Sure, members love receiving the book
straight from the author with a thank you.
They feel they belong and are appreciated.

But members become most excited about
the sharing of insider information and the firsts.
They are the first readers to see my covers,
read my blurbs, hear about the stories coming soon.

Although I started my street team
as a means to easily thank readers
who promote for me,
it has become
my most effective promo vehicle.

Consider starting a street team.

By k | November 26, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

When I had 2 members
in my promotional street team,
I crafted all of the promotion,
assigned all of the weekly missions.

Now that I have 26 members
in my street team,
members have started
crafting promotion,
suggesting weekly missions.

Once I have 260 members
in my street team,
I suspect reader-created promotion
will exceed my promotion.

This is what you,
as a business founder, want.
This is how businesses and brands grow.

Sometimes superfans will organize themselves.
More often, however,
you’ll have to organize them,
giving them a place where they can meet
(I have a closed Facebook group)
and starting them off
with suggestions on which promotions work.
This can be a lot of extra work,
especially during an already busy ramp up,
but it is an investment in your future.

Create an environment
in which your super fans
are encouraged to promote for you.

By k | November 25, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Page counts on eReaders vary.
A 225 page story on one eReader
might be a 200 page story on another eReader.

Whenever a reader asks me
how long a story is,
I tell her the lower page count
(the 200 pages).
Why?
Because I’d rather she be pleasantly surprised
than feel cheated.

One of my writing buddies
tells her readers a range.
The problem with this strategy is
readers fixate on the high page count.
They’re expecting 225 pages
and if the story is shorter,
they feel cheated.

This is the same issue
with quoting a range of prices.

Mike Michalowicz
shares

“You want to appear
reasonable and flexible,
so you tell a prospective customer
that the kind of project they’re looking for
will run somewhere
between $20K and $30K.
Here’s why the range is a bad idea:
The customer only hears the low end
— they’re thinking $20K.
You hear the high end
—you’re thinking $30K.
You might think that ending up
right in the middle
would make both parties happy,
but in fact,
both parties feel dissatisfied.
The customer feels like
she overpaid by $5K,
and you feel shortchanged by $5K.

A far better strategy is
to quote a specific price
—one that has a little wiggle room built in
if the customer wants
or needs to negotiate.
If you quote $26K
and let the customer work you down
to $25K,
then you’re satisfied
and the customer can feel like
they got a great deal.”

Don’t quote ranges.

By k | November 24, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Every dang day,
I go on Facebook
and see writers posting photos,
photos they don’t have permission
to use.
These are the same writers
who complain
about piracy of their own works.

Photographers have been
aggressively persecuting
writers and bloggers
for using their images,
for stealing their work.

Do you think you’re safe
because your image falls within
a Creative Commons license?
Think again.

As Anita Campbell shares

“Be especially careful
if you’re using images
with Creative Commons licenses:
What’s to say the license holder
won’t change their mind later
and modify the license to a full copyright?
How will you ever prove it?
Consult your company attorney
for guidelines.”

You’re a busy person.
You don’t have time for lawsuits.
Be careful when using images.

By k | November 23, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

As a writer,
I hear about at least
one new opportunity a day.
I’m lucky.
Because I receive so many offers,
I HAVE to say no
to opportunities.

David Niu,
founder of TINYhr,
shares

“At TINYpulse, we grew
from 0 to 300 paying customers
in 10 months.
How’d we grow that fast?
By saying “no” to
clients, prospects and partners.

Saying no helped us
to stay focused and true
to our vision as a small company,
especially one just starting out.

My general outlook is:

If I never say no,
then I’m not focused enough.

If I always say no,
then I’m not customer focused enough.

There’s definitely a fine balance,
but my rule of thumb is
to say no to requests
about 20 percent of the time.”

Learning to say no
to opportunities not right for us
is part of success.

By k | November 22, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Many of us are in such a rush
to grow our businesses
big, big, big,
that we forget
small has its advantages.

I have 20 superfans in my street team.
I can do more for them,
personalize the experience more,
than a writer with 200 superfans.


Barry Moltz
shares
a great idea

“Anne Miner,
CEO of The Dunvegan Group,
a customer service consulting firm,
suggests making customers
feel welcome
by helping them with
the packages they’re carrying
from other stores.
She says,
“If the customer’s arms
are full of packages
or loaded with bags,
help them place their bags
into a cart or offer to store them.”"

We can do this for customers
because we don’t have a zillion people
crowding into our stores.

Work that small business advantage!

By k | November 21, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I have friended many editors (prospects)
on Facebook.
Reading one random update from an editor
is often useless.
Reading a year’s worth of updates,
however,
shows me her story tastes,
the little things that irk her
and that make her happy.
It is easier to sell to an editor
I ‘know.’

Clive Thompson,
author of
Smarter Than You Think,
shares
in the November/December CMA Magazine

“One of the paradoxes about Facebook
is that people’s individual posts and updates
can be quite meaningless.
Think of the proverbial
“Just had lunch at the mall.”
Over time, the individual utterances
begin to coalesce
into a rich tapestry of information
- what psychologists call “ambient awareness.”
After a month you have a short story,
and after a year you have a novel.
When I follow my friends’ Facebook lives
over time,
I’m left with a deep sense
of how they think
and what they value.”

Consider friending your top prospects.
Learn their likes and dislikes.