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

I’m always torn
about whether or not
I should mention current events,
especially politically charged events
like Ferguson
on social media.

Tagging these events
will bring me
quite a few eyeballs.
But are these the eyeballs
I want?
Are they prospective customers?
Will these events put my prospects
in the right mood
to buy my product?
Will my prospects think
I’m capitalizing on a tense situation?

On the other hand,
if I don’t mention these events,
will customers think
I’m not in touch
with what they’re grappling with,
with their concerns and worries?

With my romance pen names,
brands that sell happy,
I usually state something like
“With everything happening in the world today,
we need this”
and then I’ll post
a link or photo or quote
that has meaning
(and is brand appropriate)
even if customers/readers
aren’t aware of current events.

Think about whether or not
you’ll address current events
in social media.

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

There are strengths
to being a smaller business.
One of these strengths
is the direct relationship
customers have to employees/owners.
Many customers love
being able to put a name or face
to the product they buy.

One smaller potato chip company
puts employee stories
on the back of their packaging.
They introduce customers
to potato farmers,
share the inspiration
behind flavors,
naming the employee responsible,
talk about regional sales people.
This marketing works.
I pick up this brand
simply for the stories.

Seth Godin
writes

“We expect authors,
painters and singers
to identify themselves,
to sign the work they do.

And surgeons and lawyers as well.

What about managers,
committee members,
engineers and everyone else
who makes something?
Who made this policy?
Who designed this menu?
Who approved this project?”

Put a name to the work.

By k | November 28, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Small companies can’t compete
with bigger companies
on advertising.
They don’t have the same deep pockets.
They often can’t compete on price.
They don’t have the same economies of scale
or the large portfolio of products
to spread costs over.

EVERY small business can compete
on customer service.

Shep Hyken
shares

“The company’s secret is simple:
It doesn’t compete on price.
It doesn’t try to outspend
the competition in advertising—
it knows it can’t.
Some Ace Hardware stores have even chosen
to do away with traditional advertising
almost completely.
Instead, they funnel
most of their advertising dollars
into local community events
to endear themselves
to their local communities.
Then they amaze their customers
with their helpful brand
of customer service.”

Are you number one
in customer service?
If you’re not,
why?

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

I fight for every single reader.
It hurts when I lose one.

What is my best method
for retaining readers?

From time to time,
I tell them
I appreciate their support.

Contacting them individually
would be preferable
but even posting a thank you
on my Facebook page
makes a difference.

Phaedra Hise
shares

“Of those who stop
doing business with you,
68 percent of customers say
they switch
because they feel ignored,
unappreciated
or taken for granted,
according to research
from marketing expert and author
Dan Kennedy.”

Have you thanked your customers today?

By k | November 26, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

We all know the saying
‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’
Social media avatars matter.

The first task is
to change the default image.

Denise O’Berry
shares

“To other people
on those networks,
seeing the default image
will scream that you just don’t care.

When people do business
with a company,
they want to know exactly
who they’re connecting with.

It will be a challenge
to make connections with others
if you don’t make a point
to upload a photo or logo
so people get a sense
of who you are.”

But what image
do you change the default to?

As a writer,
I use my latest cover.
That’s what I want readers
to recognize,
to pick up at online stores,
to associate with my posts.

Your avatar is part
of your online branding.
Ensure that it reflects
this branding.

By k | November 25, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

For many businesses,
the holiday season
is when the bulk of the sales happen.

In the romance writing industry,
December is the big month
for print sales.
January is the big month
for eBook sales.
These two months
can make a writer’s year financially.

This means
we work.
We work
while others are attending
holiday parties,
baking cookies,
shopping,
watching blockbuster movies.

Because this is when
many businesses
will break out.

Because this cash influx
will allow us
to achieve grander goals
in 2015.

Because customers
want to discover us,
want to buy our products.
We’re making their holidays
and their worlds
better.

What we do right now
counts.
It is worth the effort
and the sacrifice.
Let’s push it.

By k | November 24, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I first started writing romance novels,
I wanted to write romances
that taught business lessons.
I knew that many romance readers
were also businesswomen.

Sales were terrible.
Why?
Because women read romance novels
expecting entertainment.
They read business books
as ‘work.’
They don’t want these two worlds
to collide.

I’m currently working on
another merger of worlds.
This time, however,
the worlds both reside in entertainment.
Will it work?
I don’t know
BUT I do know there is a market existing
in both of these worlds.

Seth Godin
shares

“Our job is
to find the disconnected
and connect them,
to find people eager
to pursue a goal
and give them the structure
to go achieve that goal.

But just about always,
we start with an already existing worldview,
a point of view,
a hunger that’s waiting
to be satisfied.”

Start with an existing market
and then push at the edges
or merge different markets.
Don’t start from zero.

By k | November 23, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m a positive person
but this positivity is rooted
in a realistic view of life.
Things go wrong.
We have to prepare for these things.
We can’t assume
that everything will be perfect.

And that’s what I find frustrating
about the advice
“Think of the result you want.”
It is missing the second part.
“Prepare for the challenges
that might block you
from achieving what you want.”

Gabriele Oettingen,
author of
Rethinking Positive Thinking
shares

“Positive thinking fools our minds
into perceiving that
we’ve already attained our goal,
slackening our readiness
to pursue it.”

Oettingen suggests

“What does work better
is a hybrid approach that
combines positive thinking
with “realism.”
Here’s how it works.
Think of a wish.
For a few minutes,
imagine the wish coming true,
letting your mind wander
and drift where it will.
Then shift gears.
Spend a few more minutes
imagining the obstacles
that stand in the way
of realizing your wish.”

Think positively
but prepare for things to go wrong.

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

My definition of being a nice person
is not intentionally doing harm
to another person.

Unfortunately, society’s definition
of being a nice person
often is putting everyone else first.

If we put everyone else first,
we’ll never have time to devote to
building our businesses.

Genevieve Thiers,
founder of SitterCity,
shares
“You don’t have to be nice.
We grow up
and we’re taught to be nice girls.
We’re taught that
we’re supposed to sell ourselves
and we get hit
with a whole bunch of stuff
that’s not going to help us later.”

Be selfish
with your time and resources.

By k | November 21, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Fifty Shades of Grey,
the fastest selling paperback of all time,
was fanfiction,
the storyline based on Twilight.
The BDSM twist in the story
had also been done,
many, MANY times.

The human-vampire-wolf shifter love triangle
in Twilight,
the biggest selling series
in 2008
and the base for Fifty Shades,
had been done many, MANY times
also.

Just because it has been done
doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Seth Godin shares

“John Koenig calls it vemödalen.
The fear that you’re doing something
that’s already been done before,
that everything that can be done
has been done.

Just about every
successful initiative and project
starts from a place of replication.
The chances of being fundamentally
out of the box over the top omg original
are close to being zero.”

Your product doesn’t have to be original
to be successful.