Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
PR for small businesses generally involves getting the word out about what you do. You generally don’t need to spend money on PR as it is all about providing a story for people to write about. Hopefully your story will inspire them to write about you, and then before you know it you’ll be featured in all the best blogs, magazines and newspapers resulting in more sales.
What’s your story?
What’s your story?
In order to entice the media to write about you, they will expect a great story that their readers will resonate with. Think about why these people should write about you. What is it that makes your business different?
Cultivate your media list
Once you know your story you can start to cultivate your own personal media list. Your media list will contain contact details of all the blogs, newspapers, magazines and radio stations that you wish to contact about your business.
Submit- the right way
Depending on who you are pitching to you will have to follow their submission guidelines. Most blogs now have submission information on their site and newspapers and magazines will also have the relevant information available so you need to follow their directions.
Monitor response and evaluate
Monitor response and evaluate
Keep track of who you submit to, replies and outcome. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back immediately. Editors are busy people and won’t always be able to reply straight away. Instead focus on cultivating that list. You should always be adding to it and thinking of new places that may be interested in featuring your story.
It can take time to see results from your PR efforts and it is something that needs to be sustained over a period of time to get the best results.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The Amazon Kindle is simple, basic, and white. It needs a bit of fun added to it. Using the photo above, design an image that could be manufactured on a Kindle cover. It can include a variety of colors, words, images, as you choose. (Excluding profanity & graphic images.) Submit your design by leaving a link in the comment section below. (i.e. Post the link to your Flickr photo.)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
The Egg Team, a new Etsy team that I have joined, is sponsoring a little contest on their blog. Enter to win a swag bag full of gifts from Egg Team sellers!
See you Monday!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
To much ado, the first shop critique is here! I had some difficulty in selecting the first shop to review. I thought at first to go in order of requests, but then one shop stuck in my head: Divine 3 Designs, a jewelry shop located in central Virginia.
Divine3Designs understands the basics of branding. Her shop name, banner, and avatar are consistent. She has a graphic theme that runs throughout her site; plus, she puts her logo on her gift certificates. Immediately, stepping into her shop, I know what she sells, what she stands for, and I start to have a brand experience. Plus, I can connect to her through her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and her all-encompassing website. I admire her for drawing me in - something is working if she can get into an advertiser's head!
My primary concern with her shop is the shop announcement. Immediately we are hit with a "my product is one-of-a-kind" announcement. I find this a bit redundant, because if we're on Etsy, I hope we are paying for one-of-a-kind! What I want to know is her story. She's started to tell me the beginning of a story with her brand visuals, but then stopped. In order to help with a brand story, I asked Divine3Designs to tell me about her target audience.
Divine3Designs describes her target market as:
Professional women who want distinctive, simple, timeless, versatile, handmade jewelry to help them accessorize without settling for the trendy. They would say: "I'm a busy woman who doesn't have time to constantly keep up with what is "in" today - I want jewelry that is comfortable and goes with many of my clothes. It shouldn't say "trendy" but whispers distinctive style that will last for years."
Excellent! She nailed that one. Right away, I know she is speaking to an aged 25 - 55 group of women who dress in classic, timeless pieces.
We now need to translate her thoughts into an opening line for her shop. Some of my thoughts travel to:
- I don’t want to look like I shop at Claire’s. I want to be real.
- There is jewelry that visits your jewelry box briefly; it comes and goes; and there are pieces that stay around forever.
- There are everyday pieces and there are pieces that make a statement.
With those thoughts in mind, I’d suggest an opening message like this:
“I create classic, timeless pieces meant to take up permanent residence in your jewelry box. They’ll become your reliables - the pieces that travel with you to work, to weddings, and through wonderful memories.
My fine artisan jewelry is made with versatile materials: Gold, Silver, Copper, Brass Gemstones, and Dichroic Glass.”
Now we have a brand experience and we’ve managed to include the key search terms. Design3Designs excels at bringing this brand experience throughout her listings. Read her listings – she tells you a story about each of the products. You learn how the product is made or you imagine wearing the jewelry. Boom, congratulations, you have just had a brand experience!
Divine3Designs should make sure this brand experience translates to all of her external Etsy sites – I’d like to see the same brand story appear on her website homepage, in her Twitter bio, and on Facebook. Her promotions should also stay consistent across all of the websites, as to not confuse her customers. When she has a sale, the package that arrives in the mail should remind the customer of the online experience; the package should include a business card with the shop logo and packaging that is timeless and classic.
Overall, I give Divine3Design an A.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
- Stylized logos
- Innovative Product Designs
- Social communities centered around the product
- Informative websites filled with rich content
- Lack of "in your face, buy my product now" salespeople
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
From our previous posts, we've talked about putting a face on your target market. Today we are going to imagine what it is like to walk through a day-in-the-life of the consumer in your target audience. On some scratch paper, take a minute and answer the following questions about yourself:
- What newspapers and magazines do you read each week? Do you read them online or in print?
- What TV shows do you watch each day? Do you DVR them? Do you watch them online?
- What radio stations do you listen to? Do you listen online or in the car?
- Do you take a bus/car/subway to work/school/errands?
- What shops do you attend each week? (i.e. grocery store, bookstore, craft shop etc.)
You should have a substantial list of media outlets that you interact with on a daily basis. Now, think of the advertising you have seen in each of those media outlets. There should be print ads, online banner ads, TV commercials, radio commercials and announcements, and outdoor ads (billboards, bus stops, subway tunnels), and in-store promotions like "buy one, get one free." Each of these ads is an attempt for an advertiser to reach you with a message about their product or brand.
Do the same exercise for your target market, only this time, be the brand. Think of how many ways you can reach your audience throughout their day. A tool to help you envision life in your audience's shoes is Prizm, an online market segmentation tool provided by Nielsen. It will give you pre-set market descriptions and an idea of your target's lifestyle. If you take time to think through a day in the life of a customer in your target audience, you will have a better feel for where to spend your advertising dollar.
Note on Prizm: You may have to re-enter the security code to view every market segment. If you get kicked to the home page, click on "You are where you live" to link to the zip code tool.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I am really excited to get to know you all and share marketing tips with you. Over the weekend, I'd like us all to introduce ourselves, and I'll take a minute to cover a few administrative tidbits.
In the comments section below, please introduce yourself as if you were a target market. (You can leave out income for security reasons). I've written my introduction as an example:
The New Frugals - Between the ages of 25 - 35, the New Frugals grew up in an age of overindulgence and prosperity. They believed they could have it all if only they worked hard enough, signed up for enough credit cards, and networked with the right people. Both men and women, they started careers in large metropolitian areas like New York, Chicago, and L.A. They primarily worked for Fortune 500 corporations or large-scale financial institutions; now, they are shifting to new outlets like non-profit, teaching, and nursing. While these careers are more rewarding, they pay substainially less than their former budgets. As a result, the New Fruguals are more conscious of sales, coupons, and bargin shopping.
On Monday, we will continue our discussion of reaching your target market. This excericse will help you in understanding how to think about approaching a consumer - because ultimately, the easiest consumer to understand is yourself!
Administrative Odds & Ends
I will post blogs Monday - Friday, and take Saturdays and Sundays off to re-charge. Since everyone knows different things about marketing/advertising, I will start with the basics and move up. Have patience if it is too basic - eventually we will move on to more in-depth things.
From my posting on the forum in Etsy, I've had a great response to the number of shop owners interested in critiques. My original thought was to do one shop critique per week. As I look through the responses, I may integrate particular shops into a blog as I talk about a topic. I would also like to set up a few tools for you to run your own self-critiques. With that being said, I've elected to have Thursdays be the shop critique days. No particular reason, other than Thursdays tend to be normal days - they aren't like Mondays when everything bad happens! I will be in touch with you as your shop is featured.
On Tuesday, I will start what I like to call "Trending Tuesdays." This is really where I get to have my fun as an advertiser! The large advertising agencies are always looking for trends - who is buying what, why they are buying it, and what people are talking about. I've seen some of these trends influence Etsy, and some that do not. We'll talk about what makes a trend and what makes some trends stick.
The other thing to note is the list of Children's Books to the left. This is just my interest and connects back to my book nook pillows for kids (currently in my workshop waiting to be sewn!)
And, as always, please feel free to feed the fish at the bottom of the page. Just click your mouse on the blank spot and see what happens. :D
See you Monday for "Media Monday: How to reach your target market through advertising"
Friday, January 29, 2010
The foundation for all selling - branding, advertising, strategy - is the consumer. If they aren't convinced to buy, they won't buy it. If they don't like it, they won't tell their friends about it. And if they don't tell their friends, you'll never get sales by word of mouth.
Don't worry, you aren't the only person with this problem. Every major corporation today has this problem. Coke wants people buy more Coke. Adidas wants you to quit buying Nike. Convincing a consumer to make the decision to buy your product is a challenge. You have to get inside of their heads - and that's the trouble.
Etsian artrageousclay asked for help in defining her target market. The easiest place to start is your past sales. If you don't have any previous sales, ask yourself where you might get sales when answering these questions.
Are your customers primarily male or female?
If your customers are mostly female, then you're in luck. Women make up 85% of purchasing decisions in a household. Men and women shop in very different ways. Men usually know exactly what they want and go to the store to pick up that specific item. Women are more likely to browse and enjoy the experience of shopping. (For more on Men vs. Women, see the link Men Buy, Women Shop).
How old are your customers?
Professional advertising agencies typically break their customers into these age groups:
- Under 18
- 18 - 24
- 25 - 35
- 35 - 45
- 45 - 55
Where do your customers live?
Selling online, where you customers may not seem like a big deal. But it is! Look at what regions your customers live in. Also determine if they are city-dwellers, rural, or suburban. If you are selling very traditional crafts, target the Midwest. If you sell urban chic, target Ann Arbor, New York, and L.A. You'll know if you have hit a hot spot if sales repeatedly come from the same geographic area. (For an in-depth look, try reading about creative cities in Richard Flordia's Book.)
Where do your customers work? Or, What do they do for a living?
Again, examine your previous sales. You may not know everyone's professions, but look for keys in your customer's sign-in names, profiles, etc. Are you seeing teachers? doctors? lawyers? stay-at-home moms? Now you know what shops to target for retail sales and what publications to advertise in.
How much do they make?
Income affects purchasing decisions. One ad agency found that low-income families are the last ones to cancel cable during a recession. Why? Because cable is sometimes the only form of entertainment the family can afford. Income can surprise you because what one person views as a need, another person will view as a splurge.
Think of any other aspects of their lives that would affect a purchase.
For my shop, it boils down to readers. If you like to read, you probably need a place to store all of your reading materials that pile up around the house. If you don't want to read, well, a pillow with a pocket is somewhat useless. It's like this: If you sell house siding, then you want to target people with houses. I had a retailer try to sell me house siding for two years in college. They called at least once a month. Not once did they make a sale - I lived in a dorm!
Once you have answered these questions, put it all together into a group. For example:
The Urban Mom: She is between the ages of 25 - 35 and has several children at home. She lives in a suburb based around a large city, such as Chicago, New York, or Seattle. She likes to be trendy, but needs to be practical in order to keep up with her busy life. The Urban Mom works part-time right now, but hopes to re-enter the workforce and wants to keep up with her business skills. She used to make over $50,000, but now she makes about $25,000 since she cut-back her hours at work. Her husband makes over $75,000 and helps support her family.
That was hypothetical - don't rely on it! But now you can see how these questions, when pieced together, puts a face on your elusive target market.