Monthly Archives: December 2005

Advertising on a budget — Part 2: Thinking small

This is the second article of a three-part series. I’m illustrating the marketing challenges of a small business, Here’s where you can find “Part 1: Using print to drive traffic online.”

Our goal was to both build the PWC brand and drive traffic to the Web site. Advertising regularly was essential. Yet it was also essential to keep our costs down. So we leveraged our monthly newspaper advertising to stretch our marketing dollar as far as we could.

How did we do that? We “thought small.”

We bought one inch by two column inch ads (a column inch in this particular publication is approximately 1.88 inches). The ads were one inch high and almost 4 inches long.

To reflect the small ad, the copy also had to be short and sweet. Like so: Everything you need to say “I do.”

Just the name of the business and the slogan.

We put the name in large type and made the tagline much smaller.

Did it work? Continue reading

Advertising on a budget — Part 1: Using print to drive traffic online

This is the first article of a three-part series. I decided to try something a little different and illustrate the marketing challenges of a small business. I’m using one of my clients,

PWC is an online resource guide for couples planning their weddings. Along with a ton of information for brides and grooms, the site includes a resource guide where local businesses can advertise their products and services.

We launched PWC in November 2001. Like many start-up businesses, PWC didn’t have much money for marketing. Yet we had two major challenges (three counting the limited budget): Continue reading

How “on target” is your marketing?

So, do you know the people buying your products and services?

I mean, really know?

Their likes, dislikes, what they’re watching, what they want, what they need?

The people who are either buying your products and services or who could be buying your products and services are your target market. Understanding this market is essential to your marketing.

Actually, it’s essential to your business. Period.
Continue reading

Four creative ways to add power to your marketing

There’s a hard truth about marketing: People don’t care about businesses (and that includes your business).

What they care about is how your business’s products or services can solve THEIR problems, meet THEIR needs and make THEIR lives easier.

In other words, you need to explain the benefits of your product or service, not the features.
Continue reading

What is marketing?

When most people think of marketing, they think of advertising. That’s not exactly true.

While advertising is a part of marketing, that’s all it is. A part. Marketing is much bigger than that.

A better way to think about marketing is anything you do that touches either your customers or potential customers.

Yes, I do mean anything. Whether it’s sending an invoice, handling a complaint call, running a radio ad or sending an e-mail, you’re marketing your business if you’re touching a customer or a potential customer. Continue reading

Are You Making These Press Release Mistakes?

You’ve done it. Gotten that press release written. Now you’re ready to send it out to your carefully chosen list of media contacts.

But before you hit that “send” button, take a moment and run your press release through this checklist. Remember, you only have a few seconds to catch the attention of busy journalists and editors — don’t blow it over an easily corrected mistake.

Some of these may seem painfully obvious. Alas, even the obvious gets overlooked from time to time (even from professionals – I know, I’ve made my share of mistakes) so it’s always a wise idea to take a few moments to double check that your release is up to snuff before sending it out into the world. Continue reading

How Not to Write a Press Release

Several years ago, when I was working for an agency, I was fired from an account. What that means is the client didn’t want me writing for him anymore.

Another writer, a friend of mine, got the account and life went on.

Of course, I was pretty upset by the situation. I had completed several writing projects already for that client, which had seemed to go well, and had just finished a press release when I got the boot.

My writer friend told me later her “secret” for making this client happy. Basically, what she did was rewrite the press release so it focused solely on the client and the client’s business. Continue reading

How to Use a Web Site to Market Yourself as a Writer

In my last column I talked about how the field of marketing is changing. Now more than ever, you need to develop a relationship with your customers.

So where should you start? With your Web site.

What? You say you don’t have a Web site? Well, if you’re serious about selling your books, products or other services, then write down “get myself a Web site” at the top of your to-do list.

Seriously. A Web site is really the foundation of your marketing strategy. Not only can you sell your books from your Web site 24/7, but it’s also where you can start building a relationship with your customers. Continue reading

5 Tips for Writing Articles That Sell

I want to share my secret for attracting tons of traffic, leads and customers to my site.

Ready? It’s writing and submitting articles online.

I can hear all the protesting already. But it’s easy for you, you’re a writer, that’s what you do, etc.

Now there is some truth to that — I am writer so writing articles does come easy for me. However, I also make my living as a writer. That means I do an awful lot of writing each and every day. Trust me — I know all about procrastination when it comes time to writing articles for myself.

But since writing articles is such a powerful method of self-promotion, I’ve taken the time to figure out a few shortcuts. This makes the process less painful so I do get them written on a regular basis. I’m sharing five to help get you started. Continue reading

What Marketing Can’t Do For You

I thought I would clear up some misconceptions about marketing in this two-part series: What Marketing Can Do For You and What Marketing Can’t Do For You. This issue is about what marketing can’t do.

While there’s no question a solid marketing program can increase your business, it can’t fix everything. Below are 5 things marketing can’t do for you: Continue reading

What Marketing Can Do For You

I thought I would clear up some misconceptions about marketing in this two-part series: What Marketing Can Do For You and What Marketing Can’t Do For You. We’ll start with the positive.

Over the years, I’ve had dealings with some business owners who have a rather skewed perception of marketing. They think you throw a few ads out there, get a couple of press releases printed and voila! You’re a big success.

Oh, if it only were that easy. (Although if it were, I probably wouldn’t have a job.)

But there’s no getting around that to have a successful business, you need a solid marketing plan.

So what CAN marketing do for you? Increase your business – no question about it. You need to be marketing if you want to grow your business. Continue reading

Setting Goals – Your Ticket to Success

You know that old saying — if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there. That’s what happens if you don’t take the time to figure out what your goals are and WRITE them down. There’s power in writing things down (but you know this, you’re a writer).

Figuring out your goals is probably one of the most important and one of the most overlooked steps for writers starting their business. Ideally you should put together a business plan. However, I have yet to meet a writer (including myself) who has one. (In fact, if you are a writer with a business plan, please contact me. I’d love to chat with you about it.) Second best is getting your goals down on paper. Here are some things to include. Continue reading

Fifteen Tips That Will Help You Become a Networking Success

Whatever kind of writing you do, knowing how to successfully network and meet people is critical to your success. You can leverage networking opportunities to increase readership of your books (people love to know authors and to tell people they personally know the author of the book they’re reading) get clients for a coaching or copywriting business, or line up speaking opportunities.

As writers, though, it’s sometimes difficult to drag ourselves out from behind the computer and actually interact with the human race. Here are fifteen tips to get you started. Continue reading

Office basics — Getting your office set up

Now that you’re ready to start making money as a writer, you’ll need a place to be a writer. Here are three steps to get you started.

1. Start with a desk. Actually you need more than a desk — you also need a place to work. While a separate room is ideal, I’ve seen people turn dining rooms, basements and even a corner of a master bedroom into an office (yours truly started out of her bedroom).

Wherever you decide to set up shop, you need enough room for both a computer and paper files (background information, magazines, client files, etc.) Let yourself spread out.

Don’t forget to make room for a bookshelf and file cabinets. You’ll need both.

What you DON’T want to do is share that space with something else. Believe me, it’s a real drag to put together and tear down an office every day because you need the kitchen table for dinner. It drains your energy and will keep you from being as productive as you could be. Continue reading