Sunday, March 28, 2010

They're Popping Up Everywhere!

I've been out grazing in the Mushroom Patch and just can't get my fill. The Mushroom Patch Journals will eventually make their way over to www.Sam'Studio.Etsy and hopefully (IF I get in again) to Allied Arts Festival next November. Until then, join me in grazing through the Mushroom Patch.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A snippet here . . . A snippet there

A simple word can invoke a instant feeling, mood or thought. I came across some inspirational snippets by Katie Pertiet (DesignerDigitals) to mark a page, create a card or maybe put on some journals. Either way, they are fun to read and more fun to make up some of your own. I've added a few to Katie's list --- try it, you'll like it!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

and... Even More New Journals

Last year (geez, was it just last year?) I sold my journals at the Bellingham Allied Arts Festival. When all was said and done, I took stock of what actually sold --- the styles they bought, the colors they went for. I was a bit surprised to find that all my black and white (or ivory, as the case may be) had SOLD OUT. I love working with black and white, but didn't think others would respond to the combo as much as I loved making them --- who knew? So, IF I get into the Festival again this year (come November) I plan on lots of B&W items for shoppers to take home. These are just a couple of what's to come in the B&W format.

Friday, March 19, 2010

More New Journals

Whimsy - Colorful - Fun!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Journals

Think Gatsby, Grey Poupon, My Best Friend's Wedding, or just something fun to write your thoughts in. I've been playing with some new ideas for my journals --- they may go into my Etsy store or be saved for Allied Arts next November, or both. More are coming --- I've been a busy journal maker.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Forward

Tonight's the night we move that hour ahead one hour.
Sunday March 14th at 2:00 am

and as I always say......
If you always do what you've always done
You'll always get what you've always gotten

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tag You're It!

A great tagline can take your company's branding a step in the right direction. A tagline is associated with your company name. It stays with you wherever you go. It doesn't change unless you totally redefine your company. If your business name doesn't say it all -- a tagline is just that - an expansion of your business name and product/service.

A slogan is a bit different. The word slogan comes from a Scottish word meaning "battle cry". The slogan goes with the battle you're waging right now. Using it for attention to a sale, a company event, a new campaign.

We've all seen taglines used on every commercially advertised products. They pay the BIG BUCKS to get one that fits their image, their product or service, who they are and what they will do for you. But, you can do it yourself --- Keep it simple --- Stay Relevant --- Be Unique. Use it below your business name on your business cards, on your web site, on your business blog. It'll tell people a little bit more about your services when your name doesn't tell it all or when you want to explain what you can do for that customer in a simple, concise, statement.

--- Plan the work and work the plan ---

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And I quote........

Testimonials from satisfied customers
You've received compliments on your work, your product, your business practice - use them to show new customers that;
1. your experienced
2. others value your work/product
3. people respect what you do
4. an affirmation of your character and qualifications
5. that your product has merit
6. it's evidence of trust
7. it's that 3rd person talking again, backed-up with proof

First and foremost, get permission to use the testimonial! You don't have to give a full name. Using "Susie said" or "from a satisfied customer" or "what people are saying" is just fine. And ask for your customer's comments. Either send them a returnable, form post card as a follow-up correspondence. Thank them for their business and a short questionnaire on your work (with the fine print stating you may use their comments as testimonial of your work). When you've received that compliment via email, etc., thank that person for their kind words and ask if you may use their statement. Just ask -- people are flattered that you would want to include them in your business marketing.

Then use it! Use it! Use it! And once again, people will believe what others think of your business before they'll believe you just telling them (even when they don't know Susie at all).

Testimonials are a great marketing tool --- use them!

"Variety's the very spice of life that gives it all its flavor" (says William Cowper)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The 3rd person in the room

The third person is like the all seeing, all knowing person telling the story. This tense is considered more academic and more formal than writing in the first or second person. It also seems less biased when statements are presented.

For your business market, when writing for your blog, first person writing is the norm. We expect your voice to be heard load and clear. Your readers want to hear your story. However, when producing a web site or the printed word, the third person is needed with one exception -- your mission statement, then it should be in first person.

For some unknown reason "we" believe what someone else says about you instead of "you" telling us all about what you do or how you do it. The third person comes with authority, the first person sounds more like bragging (and sometimes begging). The third person in the room give the impression of been there, seen it and loved it and wants to share "their" insight into your world. It's a way to convey your own testimonial about your business and the fun part -- you get to write it.

- - We'll speak of testimonials next - -

"The right angle to approach any problem is the TRY-ANGLE" (says Bryan E. Hoddle)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marketing 101: Stress - yours!

Owning your own business can be a stressful job. You're responsible for it all, including planning the annual company picnic (of 1). It's all up to you to get the job done and done right. Relieve stress by understanding which brain hemisphere is stressed.

If you feel depressed or emotionally overwrought, your stress is in the right hemisphere ... the creative, emotional, holistic side. What to do: Switch to your matter-of-fact left hemisphere by doing math, writing factual prose or organizing. The emotional right brain will calm down.

If you feel time-stressed and overburdened the left hemisphere is involved. What to do: Switch to your right brain by singing, take a walk, playing a sport, do a physical activity.

Just a couple of my stress relief suggestions.
And remember: It's not personal, it's just business

Monday, March 8, 2010

Who do you know?

Still talking business tips, hints and ideas - today's topic: Your Sphere of Influence. This group's definition is everyone you know and past customers. It takes a village to build your customer base to sell to. First and foremost: Tell everyone you know about your business, what you do and how much fun you're having doing it. You have to toot your own horn, no one else will.

With the world wide web influence, it's become simpler and easy to toot that horn. Facebook, Twitter, blog spots, texting, emails are all great tools to use in promote your business along with snail mail. Also:
1. You already know how much and how often --- you've gotten those big business emails and post cards in the mail. How often do they contact you? Does it feel like too much and you delete that email without opening it? Or does it come every once in a while and you actually read the information. Be consistent and do it again, again, again.
2. Let your Sphere know when something new is happening within your business -- if you're excited they'll be excited, too.
3. Diversify - don't just rely on one or two avenues to get the word out. Try different contact methods.
4. Ask your Sphere "who do they know?" that would benefit from your business or product.
5. And remember: "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done." So tell them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The 10 most powerful two-letter words:
If it is to be, it is up to me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Perception is everything!

Marketing 101:
As with most things, in business perception is everything. Here's a little story to consider.

Although two competing candy shops had the same prices, neighborhood kids preferred one store over the other. When asked why, they said, "Because the person in the "good" store always gives more candy. The girl in the other store takes candy away." True? Not really. In the "good" store, the owner would always make sure to put a small amount of candy on the scale, then keep adding to it. In the "bad" store, the owner would pile a heaping amount of candy on the scale and then take it off until it hit the right weight.
The same amount of candy was old, but perception is everything.

How are perspective clients/customers perceiving you?
Step back and pretend you're the client
- what catches your eye?
- what tone have you set?
- would YOU buy this?
- and would you come back and buy, again?
- are you giving too much (and then taking it away)?
(opps, it's been weeks since you've been to your contact site &
it will be weeks to get those lost clients back)
- or too little and then adding to the pile a piece at a time?
(keep your contact avenues fresh and always updated)

It takes less effort to keep an old customer satisfied than to get a new customer interested.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's a new day.....

When I had my marketing graphic design business the industry buzz words were;
Personal Marketing
Image Recognition
(used in every other sentence)
Now the catch word is
Creating a business image to catch the eye of your client/customer in a way for them to remember you when they need you. And doing it again, and again and again.

The basics are still the same and I'll be sharing a few of these techniques and ideas with you over the next few weeks. If you have a business (no matter how big or how small) and you're doing these things - good on you. And if not, it's never to late to start getting the advantage of image recognition in personal marketing to get a jump on branding your business, today.

Case in point: I've updated my business card.

The Old card:
the New card:
The Old Card is cute and whimsy, like the journals I create. However, the new card actually shows what I create: a journal staged to subliminally show how to use it --- much better. When doing a business make-over, it's best to carry over at least one or two of the same elements you've been using. Keep the same colors or fonts -- just mix it up for a fresh look.

And another tip: when using a photo or graphic on a business card it's best to have the image on the left side of the card -- most people are right handed and will pick up the card with their left hand while calling you with their right hand, you don't want your information covered but easily accessible. Plus, we read left to right and the first thing you want them to see is what you offer. And the last thing they see to be your name and contact information.