Showing posts with label marketing strategies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing strategies. Show all posts

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Five Favorite Social Media Posts

Here's a round up of my top five favorite articles on social media that I've read this week:

What's your favorite marketing tip? Share below! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blogging for Growth

My current focus in recent weeks has been to increase my blog presence as well as my Facebook fans.  I've spent much of my "down time" reading about blogging techniques and ways to increase my Facebook fanbase. I realize these need to be long term goals, as it can take time to increase one's social media crawl when everyone else it playing in the same sandbox.

So I thought it might be good to spend some time talking about what I have found to work for me, to share my "oops", and to chat with you about your successes, your challenges, and your questions.

Let's get the conversation started, beginning with blogging!

Recently, I completed as redesign of my blog. From the beginning, I used a template - don't we all? I loved the look, but knew it wasn't "mine." My sweetie gave me a new monitor for Christmas, and I love the more rectangular look. So a couple of months ago I began playing with new backgrounds. I don't know what I'm using now is the best, but here are a few things I've learned:

Make sure you're using a design that works with your brand. If you have graphic design skills or can afford a designer, create a cohesive look between your blog, your website, your logo, and all your marketing materials.

Use plenty of white space! We have so much distraction in our
lives, and people find simple designs more refreshing these days. I know we're all advised to use our sidebars for ads, calls to action, subscriptions, etc. But take some time to review what websites and blogs you like. Chances are most of them use their space well with plenty of visual breaks. While you're at it - make sure you're using a light background rather than a dark. I know it's not "artistic" but will be much more engaging for your audience.

Experiment with your settings. My sweetie gave me a new monitor for Christmas, and I love the more rectangular look. I suddenly became more aware of how my newsletter and my blog looked on the new monitor. As technology evolves and old monitors and television sets are being replaced, more and more people are using the more rectangular look. It's time to expand your settings to accommodate these changes. By the way - I found I also needed to increase my font size to keep up with the new design.

Move some of your sidebar items to page tabs. Like most, I had a widget for my Etsy shop and my Pinterest boards. I began to think about my sidebar items as "advertisements" and my page tabs as my website. So I changed things up a bit. My page tabs are more "about me" and ways to move my visitors deeper into my "website". My sidebar items are true advertisements (click here for advertising opportunities!) or calls to action for subscription management, etc.

Always, always, always create your settings for pages other than your own to open in a new window. The goal with any website, and your blog, should be to retain your audience for as long as possible. When you allow a new page to open over yours, you lose the opportunity for someone to stick around. When your viewer is done looking at the other page and closes it, he will come back to yours, and hopefully take some time to see what other great information you have!

Over the past few weeks, I've developed other techniques to increase new visitors, subscribers, and content. I've also found challenges to writing content, to finding advertisers, and to marketing my blog. Goals include writing content for my customer base, writing e-books for download, and always, increasing my subscribers.

What are your successes? What have been your challenges? What are your goals? I'd love to discuss these in the upcoming weeks, as we're all in this journey together! Please comment below with your questions or successes, or email me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities Now Available!

My blog is growing, and now is your opportunity to benefit!

I am now accepting advertising opportunities, such as those you can see on the right panel. Expand your audience by getting in front of mine!

Why advertise here? 

We currently average over 2,500 views per month and we continue to grow!! Posts are continually promoted using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon. Using additional media outlets allows us to spread the word about your products or website past the pages of this blog.

Advertising here will target an audience which is curious to discover something new, unique, and inspiring. We offer different options for your advertising needs. Having limited space for ads assures you great exposure regardless of your budget.

Current Advertising Opportunities 

Ads can be linked either to your blog or to your product or shop. All paid advertisers are eligible for one complimentary feature similar to our Etsy shop review.  

Banners: We have the following sizes available:

  • 4 spaces for 150 x 150 30-day Shop Ad
  • 4 spaces for 150 x 150 Buy One Get One Free!

*We are currently offering a FREE 30 DAY BLOG/WEBSITE SWAP AD. Basically, we would love to swap ads with other bloggers. It's super simple, we put your ad on my blog for a month, and you put our ad on your blog for a month. We think it's a great way to show support to all the fantastic blogs out there! 

  • $5 — Buy Now
    Buy one, get one!150 x 150
    Only 4 left! Starts May 8. Introductory offer! Buy one month ad spot, get one month free!  Ad will run for 60 days, 4 shown at a time.
  • $1 — Buy Now
    Blog Ad Swap150 x 150
    Only 1 left! Starts May 8. This is for a BLOG 'ad swap' space. Basically I display your button on my blog and you display my button on your blog. Use the promo code SWAP to get it for free.  Ad will run for 30 days, 4 shown at a time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Your Blog: Connecting Your Marketing Content

Like most bloggers, I work to find ideas for content. Like most bloggers, I work to find ways to bring additional readers to my blog. And like most business owners, I work to find ways to connect all my marketing content.

So I had a V-8 moment last week when I came across an idea on how to combine all three.

Add your electronic newsletters to your blog.

Like I said - a V-8 moment.  You know, the way you slap yourself on the forehead when you realize the obvious is right in front of you.

Last fall I wrote a series of posts about how to develop your newsletter content, how to create your electronic newsletter, and how to market your newsletter and yourself. I truly don't know why it did not occur to me to add my newsletter to my blog.

I wish I could find the article I had read which gave me the idea. Prior to writing this post, I spent an hour looking in the usual places where I store similar gems I find. But alas, it's nowhere to be found. So, without that article as my resource, I'll give you a few reasons why I think adding your newsletter to your blog is such a great idea:

  • Most newsletters are written with customer-friendly content. Most blogs (this one included) struggle with writing content that is customer-specific. Adding your newsletters to your blog enables your customers to search your "archives" in an easier format to learn more about your and your product. 
  • As your customers spend more time "in" your blog, the more they learn about your.  Think about it - your newsletter represents how your product and your brand have evolved. The more your customers learn about you, the more making a purchase from you is a personal decision, rather than a business decision.
  • Past newsletters give your customers a glimpse into your future. For example, I have featured Strawberry scents as the Fragrance of the Month for the past two years in June. What are the odds I'll over it again this year? This can help your customers plan their future purchases.
  • Your newsletters and your blogs can support each other, driving content from one to the other. In addition to linking your products in your newsletter back to your shop, your newsletter can link to your blog for more information. Again, try to keep your customers' attention as long as possible.
  • Adding newsletters together with the appropriate tags can help optimize your search engine results. Aren't we always looking for ways to do that?
So, in the spirit of transparency, click here to view my April newsletter! Seriously, you'll soon see my blog updated with a link to all my past electronic newsletters. I challenge you to do the same!

Happy sales!


P.S. - I'll add the link to the article I read with more information....just as soon as I find it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Writing a Newsletter, Part One

I first began D'Lites by Dorene over a year ago, and my first marketing piece was my newsletter.  Today, my newsletter remains my primary marketing initiative.

Why?  In this day of social media, why would I spend my precious few available hours writing a newsletter?

My answer is that in this day of social media, a newsletter is more important than ever.

Consider the following:

1.) Emails still grab the attention of the reader.  According to this post by Step-by-Step Marketing:
  • Email has three time as many readers as Twitter and Facebook.
  • You're able to reach an older audience (translation, audience with more disposable income) with email who aren't on social media channels.
  • Your newsletter is in their email box, not "out there" in Never Neverland.
  • Email is still the method by which most people prefer to receive information.
  • More people are accustomed to buying through an email medium than through Facebook or other social media. (Isn't this what it's all about?!?)

2.) Emails provide a way for you to "talk" to your customer, to your buyers, to your constituents. Yes, obviously, I blog. And yes, I tweet. Your blogs should be a medium for customers, buyers, and others to get to know you personally.  Tweets are a way for the world to get to know you in 140 characters or less.  But a newsletter is a way for you to communicate professionally to your audience.  Your newsletter can be one page, two pages, or however many you choose to publish.  You are limited only by your creativity and your budget.  I like to use my newsletter to give in depth information about my fragrance of the month, about the growth of my business to those who have watched me grow, and to provide an updated listing of products and fragrances available.  

3.) Newsletters can easily become printed promotional materials.  I take my newsletters everywhere I go.  The printed copies go to my stores, craft shows/farmer's markets, are mailed to customers who aren't on my email distribution list, and are included in my orders.  What better marketing tool than to include information about my upcoming products with an order being distributed? Think about something you've received by mail order. What is included? Almost every order from mainstream companies include promotional materials.  Set yourself apart from the rest, or include yourself in their world, by including marketing materials of your own!  If the customer loves my product and my packaging (which I hope she/he does), she/he has the immediate opportunity to learn more about other products by perusing my newsletter! 

In essence, newsletters need to be a primary focal point of your marketing.  You only need to write a newsletter once a month, and the mileage you can gain from them is well worth the input.  In upcoming posts, I'll be addressing issues of how to write a newsletter, how to publish an online newsletter, and how to grow you newsletter list.  Please comment below on what you'd like to learn about writing a newsletter, about how to fit it into your already packed schedule, or how to use a newsletter for marketing outreach. 

Till then,

Happy sales!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

What's Your Purple Goldfish?

This week I had the opportunity to travel to a conference and listen to featured speaker Stan Phelps.  Mr. Phelps recently published a book, What's Your Purple Goldfish? I'm not going to give away the secret of what a purple goldfish is, but I will share with you the gist of his message.

The subtitle of the book is How to Win Customers & Influence Word of Mouth.  Mr. Phelps began on a journey to find 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe.  What's lagniappe? Pronounced lan-yap, it's a Creole term for "a little something extra." This book is the result of his findings of examples of companies who deliver excellent customer services by giving "a little something extra" to their customers.

I haven't completed the book yet, so I'm relying upon my memory of his presentation to give you my favorite examples of marketing lagniappe:

  1. Bigelow Tea - A recent customer ordered a box of Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea, and the first item that fell out was a packet of Constant Comment.  The customer feared he had received the wrong order.  Instead, it turned out to be a complimentary sample, and the customer was delighted to have a fun new item to try.
  2. Plaza Cleaners - This Portland, Oregon company posts a sign on their door, "If you are unemployed an need an outfit clean for an interview, we will clean it for free."  They're paying it forward; maybe, just maybe, the local economy will improve a bit if that person gets the job.
  3. Nurse Next Door - We all make mistakes, as much as we strive for business and personal perfection.  If this home health service provider makes a mistake, they deliver a fresh baked apple "humble pie" as an apology for the poor customer service. 
  4. Southwest Airlines - Ok, we've all seen this one, but who doesn't love the "bags fly free" marketing message? 
  5. Nordstrom - This company is famous for its excellent customer service, but I found this story exceptionally interesting.  One customer's feet were two different sizes: a 9 and a 9.5.  The salesman at the store split two pairs of shoes for one order. 
Now, the book is more than short stories about the little somethings extra companies do. It really is a study into marketing behavior and how develop the customer experience.  There are some fantastic, basic rules that will make sense more than your college textbook.

Do you offer a little something extra to your customers? It's not always easy, especially if you're a small business, like me.  I have two.  The first is the Bigelow Tea example. This lagniappe was born out of economy, not marketing strategy.  I send a "Krazee Kandel" with every order.  Some are tea lights, some are votives, all made from leftover amounts of wax I cannot use in the future. It's supply I have, can't do anything with, yet is a relevant gift as a means to say "thank you."  Always packaged neatly with my signature froggie thank you tags.

My second was recently introduced.  Knowing happy customers are the best word of mouth, I decided to start a referral program.  To my repeat customers, I include a referral card for them to give a friend or colleague to recommend my product.  If that friend makes a purchase, she/he receive 15% off their entire order, and my customer receives the same discount from her next order.  The discounts are truly minimal given the increased sales brought my way.

So today I ask you, what is your marketing lagniappe?  Post it here.  Maybe a reader will be inspired to follow your example, maybe a new to you customer will see if and bring you new business!

P.S. All those who post their examples, will be entered into a drawing.  If I draw your name, I'll feature your shop in an upcoming post!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marketing strategies

As entrepreneurs, the majority of our time should be spent marketing our business.  I know, it's hard to admit, especially when we enjoy the "making" of our goods.  And I know that I also become consumed in various aspects of my business, wanting to pretend I'm "creating", or I'm "marketing."

And these are the times I return to my business educational materials for guidance.

Several marketing strategies are defined, and intuitively we gravitate to one or another without being strategic in our thought:
  • Product Leadership - being the best in our field...think Google for search engines. 
  • Concentrated Growth - resources are directed to the growth of a single product, in a single market with a single strategy.
  • Market Development - opening additional geographic markets or market segments. E.g., for social media, expanding into another online marketing venue; advertising in a new media.
  • Product Development - modifying an existing product for a new market. For example, Philadelphia Cream Cheese broadening into flavored cream cheese products and cooking ingredients.
  • Innovation - developing a new product or service. Apple created few new products or services of their own, but they took the concepts to new mass markets.
  • Horizontal Integration - acquiring product lines in the same stage as yours. For example, jewelers specializing in earrings begin to develop necklaces and watches.
  • Vertical Integration - acquiring vendors or suppliers for sales growth. Many Etsy vendors begin to sell supplies as a way to increase their revenue.
While basic and certainly not exclusive, this should give us a few examples of how to increase our business.  Many of you may doing it already.

If you create bracelets, are you also creating and selling watches?  Horizontal Integration.

If you create necklaces, are you selling supplies you no longer need? Vertical Integration.

Recently, I've expanded my product line about as full as I can go with horizontal integration in simply the home fragrance market.  I have three options for container candles, tea lights, then I moved into votives, then naturally into candle tarts. Soon to be announced are reed diffusers and other air freshener products.

My horizontal integration is the home fragrance market.

So what's next?

Unless I add more fragrances (product development), I will need to explore other opportunities for growth.  While I realize Etsy is an extremely competitive market for home fragrances, I prefer not to venture into other online opportunities (Artfire, Zibbet). I believe social media can only handle one marketplace and prefer to direct these efforts to one shop.

I do explore market development by trying to land my products into bricks and mortar retail environments and personalized products with event planners.

I have ideas of where I am going from here, and do my best to frame the internal discussions with myself in basic marketing strategies.  If you don't have a business background, I recommend you do some simple online research into some of these strategies.

Last week, my post revolved around "venturing forward" and the need to take risks in our business.  This week, I challenge each of you to take the risk into understanding basic marketing strategies and developing ideas on how to grow your business around them.

Happy sales!
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