By k | June 30, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my writing buddies was complaining
that her Facebook friends
don’t buy her books.
Her most regular posts?
Ebooks that are available for free.

Another writing buddy says
her readers don’t promote for her.
Has she ever promoted any other writer?
(including me - her friend)

Like attracts like.
If you want customers to help you,
help others.
If you want customers to pay for your product,
pay for other products you love.

At the very least,
stop promoting the opposite action
you wish your customers to take.

And yes, it IS that simple.

By k | June 29, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Searching for posts to link to
this week
has been difficult.
Many of the bloggers I regularly read
are posting less.
They’re on holidays,
on the usual summer slow down.

This is GREAT news
for newer bloggers.
I’m more likely to read their blogs,
add them as my daily habit.

For some established bloggers,
this is an opportunity
to gain even more readers.

For entrepreneurs needing promotion
for their companies,
this is a terrific time
to contact popular blog sites
and offer to write guest posts for them.

Use the summer blogging slow down
to benefit your business.
This is the time to work harder,
not take it easy.

By k | June 28, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Many newer speakers don’t know
what to do with their hands.
They fiddle with things in their pockets
or wave them over their heads wildly
like they’re conducting an orchestra
or grip the podium
as though it were the last life raft.

In a recent newsletter,
Carmine Gallo

“Take your hands out of your pockets!
One hand is acceptable
as long as the free hand
is expressive.
Remember to keep your gestures
within your power sphere
(that space starting at
eye level out to your sides,
to core and back up to eyes).”

Watch your hands
because the audience certainly is.

By k | June 27, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Customers make mistakes.
If we’re fortunate to have super fans,
they’re, ironically, more likely
to make mistakes
than any other group of customers.
They’re passionate and excited
about our products
and this emotion sometimes overrules
rational thinking.

I’ve been on MANY chats
where overly excited super fans
give the featured writer’s twist endings away.

Some newer writers become angry
and think that reader (customer) is
out to sabotage them.
This reaction causes two things to happen
- the reader associates the writer and her books (products)
with shame and embarrassment
some readers will (usually silently) side with
their fellow reader.

The writer,
with her harsh reaction,
not only loses the fan
as a customer
but also the readers supporting that fan.

More experienced writers,
on the other hand,
know mistakes happen.
They assume the reader has the best of intentions,
that her enthusiasm temporarily overloaded her thinking.
They might point out privately what she’s done
(I usually tell the reader I’ll tease her
until the end of time
about it)
but they brush it aside
and continue.

Your customers will make mistakes also.
Assume they have the best of intentions,
unless you learn otherwise.

By k | June 26, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yes, you read the headline right.
Can you afford to pay your employees
the lowest legal wage?

Companies like Walmart or McDonald’s
compete on price.
They seek to pay their employees
the minimum
because their customers’ primary concern
is getting the lowest price.

You and I can’t supply the lowest price.
In my business
(romance novels),
the lowest price is free.
I can’t give all of my stories away
and make a profit.
I’d be surprised if you,
as a small to mid-sized business owner,
could offer a lower price
than the Goliaths in your industry.

That’s not why our customers buy from us.
They expect service,
individual attention,
special treatment.
Is a minimum wage earning employee
going to give them this treatment?

As Rick Newman

“A well-known 2006 study
by Wayne F. Cascio
comparing Costco’s business practices
to those of Sam’s Club
— which aggressively works to keep wages
and labor costs as low as possible —
found “Costco’s productive workforce
more than offset its higher costs.”

Yes, keep employee costs low
but realize that too low has a cost to it also.

By k | June 25, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I have a confession to make.
I advised business builders
to blog about their business or industry
every day.

I don’t always blog every day,
not for my romance pen names.
I load my posts in advance.
These posts usually can go live
any time in any order.

I only write 5 posts for the 7 day week.
Because, historically,
I get 2 requests or more a week
for last minute posts
(friends with releases,
reviews of my stories,
unexpected news).

I’m lazy
and I save days for these posts.
These events are unexpected
yet predictable.
Although I might not know the topics,
I know I’ll have these posts.

(VERY rarely)
these expected unexpected posts
won’t happen
and I’ll have a gap.

Expect the unexpected
and plan for it.

By k | June 24, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Seth Godin

“My advice to the Times
starts with this:
Every reporter
(and probably every editor)
ought to have a blog
(or be part of a focused group blog),
and post every single day.
That’s perhaps 600 blogs,
every single day,
each charged with finding
a group of people who care enough
about that voice and that topic
to hear about it daily.
If a reporter can’t write cogently
and passionately enough about his topic
to gain a following,
he probably needs to work somewhere else.”

I think this applies
to ALL business builders.
If you can’t write or talk
(blogs can be audio or video)
about your product every day,
you likely don’t have the passion
to be a success in your industry.

For aspiring entrepreneurs,
this is also a good test
about whether or not
you’re entering the right industry.

Blog (or vlog) every day.

By k | June 23, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

How do you control
how customers use your product?

Short answer -
You can’t.

Yes, you can advise customers,
build preventative measures
into your product,
put warnings on your marketing,
but the customer can ignore
all of this
and do whatever she likes.

As a best selling writer once told me
“Once you have your story published,
it belongs to the reader,
not you.’
Once your product is sold,
it belongs to the customer.

My advice is,
unless the customer is physically hurting themselves
or others
by using your product incorrectly
or for other purposes,
leave them alone.

And consider tracking these different usages.
They might be another possible market
for your product.

By k | June 22, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Writers with publishers
are paid in normally two ways
- royalties
(they receive a % of every sale)
advances on royalties
(which is exactly that,
an advance representing a portion
of what the publisher thinks
the total royalties will be).

Some writers want to leave
their publishers
and self publish
but they’ve already spent their advances
and they can’t wait
for their self publishing venture
to pay.
They’re stuck.

And that’s one of the problems
with playing with other people’s money.
It can give these other people a control
over your business.

Mike Michalowicz

“Grow Your Business by Raising Money
The reason this piece of advice is a flop
is because it suggests that raising money
—in and of itself—
is the end result,
rather than a means to an end.
While there may be times
when you need an infusion of cash
to accomplish a goal,
the mistake is in making raising money
your primary objective.
Investors want to bet on success,
and the real value of a company
isn’t how much cash it can raise
but how much good, successful work’s being done.
Don’t spend your time
chasing other people’s money
(which is far too easy to spend).
Instead, spend your efforts
earning your own money.”

Be VERY careful with other people’s money.

By k | June 21, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

In Romanceland,
the newsletter subscription list
is king.
The bigger the list,
the bigger the sales.

So when readers unsubscribe,
it is worrying
and worthy of investigation.

Erika Napoletano

“If you see a rash of
unsubscribe activity in your email list,
go back and look at the content
around those dates.
You could have had
an email-heavy week or
topics/points of view that sparked an opinion
(if so, good for you for having an opinion).”

Sometimes I’ll see
a bump in readership with a new release
and then a slight decrease after this release.
This usually means I’m reaching
a new group of readers
and not all of these readers
will love my stories.

Investigate big decreases
(and increases)
in newsletter readers.