By k | December 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

New writers
(new businesses)
often ask me
how I built my readership
(customer base).

How did I do it?

One reader (customer)
at a time.
I would talk to them
about 8 times
before they bought my book
(product).

Then, if they liked it,
I asked if I could post their comment.
Often they would be so happy;
they’d share that comment
on their own social media.

And word of mouth spread.

Denise Smith,
owner and operator of
Pump It Up,
shares

“We had to develop
relationships with
local child care centers,
after-school programs,
community recreation centers
and others
to create brand awareness
about this new business.

Our strongest small business
marketing strategy
was very grassroots.
In 2005,
while we never missed the opportunity
to place ads in parenting magazines,
word of mouth
was the biggest thing we did.
We found that turning guests
of one party into hosts
for the next
would be our winning strategy.”

Word of mouth is still
one of the most powerful
marketing techniques.
Encourage it!

By k | December 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

The time between
US Thanksgiving and Christmas
is a horrible time for eBook sales,
my business.

My readers (customers)
aren’t buying my products.
They’re buying print books
and gift cards for loved ones.

They DO, however, appreciate
contact from me.
Some writers send out holiday cards.
I reach out virtually.
I also fuss over their holiday photos,
comment on their posts,
ensure they’re feeling the love.

Amy Ho,
marketing and special events director
at
Chalk Point Kitchen,
shares

“We also take this time
to engage our customers
on a more personal note
—remind them that
this is the time
to be thankful
and
spend time with loved ones.”

This is the time of the year
to be a bit more personal.

By k | December 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Successful business builders
ARE storytellers.

We should be able to
pitch our business, our products,
our services, ourselves
in three lines or less.

We should evoke emotion
in our marketing material,
be able to reach prospects
with our words,
with the images we choose.

Richard Branson
shares

“I have always been fascinated
by the intersection
between storytelling
and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs
who make a difference
are, in effect,
professional storytellers.”

How to do this?
Practice.
Every story I write
undergoes at least 6 rounds of revisions.
The story for our businesses,
for ourselves,
will likely require more
fine tuning.

This is party season
in many parts of the world,
an ideal time to test
our stories.
When we tell people
what we do
(the usual party question),
do they want to hear more?
If the answer is ‘yes,’
our stories are working.

Perfect your story.

By k | December 10, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I’m one of the co-hosts
for a writing event.
I contributed substantially
to the event.
There are ten of us
participating.

Marketing was crafted.
Covers were featured.
Some writers had
two covers featured.

None of my covers
were included
in the promo material.
I wasn’t mentioned
even once.

So I’m not promoting the event.
Why?
Because I don’t know
if I’m truly welcome at this event.

I might have been allowed
to co-host
because it would look bad
to deny me
but the organizers didn’t truly
want me there.
(shrugs)
It happens.

I’m not bringing my readers (customers)
to an event
where I and likely they
might not be welcome.
That would be foolish.

If you leave a main sponsor
off the marketing material,
it WILL be noticed.
Try to prevent this
from happening accidentally.

By k | December 6, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of the things
I sell,
in the Romance Novel business,
is love.

Because I sell this
in my books,
I try to sell this
with every reader (prospect)
interaction.

I ask them about their lives.
I listen.
I give them virtual hugs
when they’re sad.
I share jokes
on my social media accounts.
I respond to their comments.
I care.

And this is one of the reasons
they buy my stories (products).

Seth Godin
shares

“We care more.

It’s easy to promise
and difficult to do.

But if you did it,
it would work.

More than any other skill or attitude,
this is what keeps me
(and people like me)
coming back.”

Do you care
about your customers?
Do you show
this caring?

By k | November 29, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of a romance writer’s primary tasks
is to ensure the reader (customer)
cares about the main character
as soon as possible.
This emotional connection
is what sells books (products).

Why?

Because most humans
crave emotional connection.
Desperately.

Seth Godin
shares

“In their race to out-Walmart Walmart,
retailers everywhere forgot
the real reason we need stores.

Because shopping together
makes us feel connected.

Because it’s fun.

Because there’s something
about the shopping
that’s almost as good
(or even better)
than the buying part.”

Connection is something
small businesses are better
at supplying
than large businesses are.

It is a huge competitive advantage
we have.
Use it.

By k | November 22, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I don’t send holiday cards
in December.
They get lost
in the flood of other cards.
In 2018,
I plan to send cards
mid-year,
a time few people
receive cards.

The cards I send
will be keepsake cards,
cards I will only give out once,
cards I hope readers (customers)
will keep.

Jessica Natale Woollard,
in the November/December
The Costco Connection,
shares

“Choose a card
that’s refrigerator-worthy.
If it remains on display,
the recipient has more time
to develop an emotional connection
with you,
and research shows that
emotionally connected customers
will be more profitable
to your business.”

Choose a card
your customers/prospects
will want to keep
forever.

By k | November 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Normally, I’d suggest
going live with
Christmas-themed promotions
after Thanksgiving.

Not this year.

My main products are eBooks,
luxury items
people don’t buy as gifts for others.

I know thoughts have turned
to Christmas and gift buying
when my sales plummet.
Usually that is around US Thanksgiving.
This year, it was on November 13th.

I have theories about this,
that folks are trying to escape
the stress of politics, social upheaval, etc.
but the key thing is…
it happened.

Big companies likely can’t react
fast enough
to capitalize on this early start.
Small business owners can.
We can send out our flyers,
our cards,
change our store fronts,
throw ourselves into
the Christmas spirit now.

‘Tis the season
for Christmas promotions.

By k | November 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

You have a product,
part of a line extension.
It doesn’t sell well.
Many folks who do buy it,
dislike the product.

You might as well
give it away for free.
What do you have to lose?

Your entire future.

If you give this product
away for free,
many prospects
who were considering buying
your related products will try it.

They will likely hate it
(as the others did)
and then they won’t buy
another product from you
again.

They’ll tell others
your product is garbage,
advising them to get the free product
if they are still considering it.

This is how brands die.

Only promote your good products.

By k | November 10, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

As I mentioned yesterday,
my primary products are eBooks
and eBooks aren’t purchased
as Christmas presents.

My sales in December
suck
(until readers receive
their gift cards on December 25th).

Knowing this,
I don’t launch any new products
in December.

What I do is
give series readers
a free thank you short story.

This short story
assumes readers
have read all of the other stories
in the series.
This encourages readers
to ‘catch up.’

And, because this short story is free,
it makes readers happy.
They are more likely
to pre-order the next story
when they receive their gift cards.

Just because December is a rough month
for sales
doesn’t mean
you can’t set January up to be
a super month for sales.
Build the base now.