Monday, November 24, 2008

Who is your JV partner?

Do you have a JV partner?
If not, you may want to consider starting a JV* with someone.

*Your JV partner is the person or business that you enter a Joint Venture agreement with for cross selling and cross advertising opportunities.

A great JV example would be a wedding gown store and a hair salon, since they have some overlap with their customer demographics. Or how about the wedding gown store doing a JV with a photographer and a bakery?

Take a minute and think about what they all have in common:
Their target demographic is women... but look further. Yes, the bakery, salon, and photographer have a wide variety of customers, and the bridal gown store generally sells to brides. In fact, brides are the one thing all of these businesses have in common, and when a bride-to-be shops at one of these kinds of businesses, she usually needs one or more of the other businesses.

A JV between any or all of these types of businesses would broaden each ones' customer base and increase sales.

What a JV can do for these particular businesses is:
  • The hair salon, bakery, photographer, and wedding store can put their brochures at each others' businesses.
  • The wedding store hosts a fashion show co-sponsored by the hair salon, bakery and photographer.
  • The bakery writes up a "What's new in wedding cake design" article for the monthly newsletter sent out by the wedding store. (This establishes the bakery as an expert on current trends in wedding cakes.) This article could also be published on the photographer's blog when he delves in to subjects related to wedding photography.
  • The photographer sends the gown store and bakery copies of their photos of brides wearing that gown shops dresses and/or cutting that bakery's cakes to be displayed in the respective shops - and the photographer's name is watermarked on the picture.
  • The bakery provides free samples at the gown store - for customers to taste as they try on dresses.
  • The wedding gown store hosts a wedding dress event and invites all the contacts of the bakery, salon and photographer. The photographer is in the store, photographing brides-to-be as they try on their future wedding dresses for the very first time. The photographer then offers copies of the photos to these young women for their wedding album. Of course, the photo prints have the photographer's watermark on the front and business card on the back.
  • The bakery and the photographer work together to put together a portfolio of wedding cakes. The bakery gets the portfolio and recommends the photographer to customers who order their cakes.
  • The salon and photographer work to put together a similar portfolio agreement.
  • Get the hair salon involved and one of the stylists can do free style demos at the gown shop one Saturday a month. The salon can send an invitation to all their existing customers to attend the demo. (This gets the salon customers into the gown shop and introduces all the gown customers to the salon stylist.)
  • The gown store offers a discount to any bride who orders her cake from that bakery. The gown store also offers a discount to any wedding party who schedules a certain number of hairstyles from the salon. The possibilities to offer a discount for doing business with ones JV are endless.

Other businesses that could join these three in the Joint Venture would be:
a florist
printing and engraving shop
travel agent
banquet room
kitchen store (for kitchen ware and dining goods, probably not cabinets)
shoe store
DJ or band, etc.

True, these businesses don't focus solely on brides, but working out a JV agreement with other businesses that share this niche would absolutely capitalize on the sales strategies of each business involved.

How do you think you could use a JV for your own business? Can you think of at least two businesses that would be a great JV partner for you? Please leave a comment here with your business (and a link!) and one or two ideas on what kind of business you can work with to arrange a Joint Venture.

If you're having a hard time thinking of a potential JV partner for your business, please leave a comment here with a description of what you do and a link to your site and I'll see what ideas I can come up with to help you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What will you show us in your video?

Last week you learned how easy it is to put video in your blog. Have you need wondering what you could do with it? ...or were you even wondering why I told you in the first place?

Imagine you're at an art fair or visiting an artisan's village. You wander from shop to shop, marvelling at all the wonderful things for sale. Some shops have the items displayed on shelves for you to look at, other shops have items on tables that you can pick up and examine more closely.

A few shops feature the artist at work. They talk to the growing crowd about their equipment, supplies, and technique, and look like they're genuinely having fun as they create more of the same art they are selling. It's fascinating to watch them work and explain the process, both technical and creative. As you watch them work, you notice there is always a crowd around their shop and the cashier is very busy, constantly ringing up purchases. After watching for a while, you decide you like this artist, their style, their sense of humor, and you just have to have one of their items. Not only because you love the item itself, but you are enjoying the complete experience of how your item came to be.

You buy the best piece in the shop and bring it home. The next time the art fair comes around or the next time you visit the artisan's village, you look for the same artist to see what new items they are selling this time. You also recommend friends to check them out and talk about your experience.

So now let's think about your business.
Is it a blog? Do you have an Etsy shop? Is there something you would do differently if you were selling to your customers in a shop, face to face?

You could create that same artisan environment with video on your blog. Invite your readers into your studio, office, or other workspace and introduce yourself.

For those of you with an Etsy shop, you could show off different techniques you use. Hint: this will add value to your work once your customers see how work intensive/detailed your craft is, or how much skill goes into creating your pieces. You could also do a regular video series regarding your studio or shop - why not have your customers ask you questions and you dedicate a 2 minute video to answer each question, and run this as a regular weekly series?

You could also show off the process you need to go through to create a piece of your work.

How about showing video highlights on new items in your shop?

Or... show us your muse, so to speak. How about a video of people or places that inspire your creativity?

Do you publish tutorials on your blog? Why not pair up a written tutorial with still photos with a video tutorial. Just watch a cooking show or Carole Duvall on HGTV to see how they plan their video tutorials. They're not that hard.

If your video really stands out because it's unusual (such as the couple having breakfast on their porch with their neighborhood deer,) or funny, very entertaining, cute, informative, or even maybe a little controversial it could circulate around the internet as a YouTube cult classic.

What else can you think of? Comment here with your big brainstorm - or share a link to your video so we can visit... and marvel at your cleverness!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Seven steps to hosting a Great Giveaway

Do you regularly host a Giveaway on your blog or website? This is a great way to increase your traffic and get your products in front of new potential customers. It's also a fantastic way to drive a lot of new traffic to your online store, if you have one.

Today's question is: How do you conduct a Giveaway?

1. Plan on what you will give away. It could be:
- Something from your online store and/or something you have made
- A gift certificate to your online store or to your favorite online store
- One of your favorite products (a new one, of course!)
- Something your regular readers would love to have - perhaps a hobby or lifestyle item?
- Something related to your blog topic or something you frequently blog about
- Advertising space on your blog
- A one-year membership - like a pro account from, for example
- Entrecard credits, if you use them

2. Take clear, well-lit pictures of your item on a simple background, then write up an irresistible description of the item. At this point you could package up the item and get it ready to be mailed. Include any promotional material you have for your shop, if applicable. Just make sure you label the outside of the package so you remember what it is.

3. Calculate your cost to host the Giveaway, including shipping. Since this will cost you some money, you'll need to decide if this is a hobby or a business. If it might be a business expense, you may want to consider how to categorize it. I am not a bookkeeper or accountant, so I recommend contacting yours to check on the best way to calculate the cost of the Giveaway into your accounting method, whether it's part of your advertising budget or belongs in a different category.

4. Write out your Giveaway rules.
a) Do you want people to perform specific tasks, such as visiting a certain website and/or leaving comments about anything in particular? Several Etsy shops require contest entrants to visit their shop then leave a blog comment about their favorite thing in the shop. Some bloggers ask contest entrants mention the Giveaway in their own blogs. Others ask for everyone's answers to a specific question. Requiring a specific action, while not necessary, can make the giveaway fun for everyone.
b) What are your Giveaway dates? Note the time zone of your start and end times.
c) How will you pick the winner? There are a few online places that will randomly pick a winner, such as or Contest Machine. Actually, Contest Machine collects entries, then randomly picks and contacts the winner for you. If you're really into hosting Giveaways, you may want to look at Contest Machine to help. At this time, use of the widget is free for up to two Giveaways per month.
d) Write up your entire Giveaway announcement and doublecheck it for clarity.
I am also not a lawyer so I cannot give you legal advice, but I recommend you look into any laws that your Giveaway will need to follow.
e) Where do you want people to put their Giveaway entries? You could have them leave comments on your blog or if you're expecting a lot of traffic you could install a Mr. Linky widget to take care of that for you. (You'll have to register to use the Mr. Linky, but there are two basic Mr. Linkies for free with a basic membership.)

5. Just like sending invitations to a party, invite people to your Giveaway.
a) Make an announcement on your blog at least a week prior to the beginning of the Giveaway.
b) Include a signature line in your outgoing emails with the Giveaway dates and a link to your site. (Be careful not to spam people with emails about your Giveaway, though.)
c) Get the word out. Notify all the blogs and other websites that announce Giveaways a day or two in advance. (Keep in mind it may take them up to a couple days to announce the giveaway, so you may want to consider running your giveaway for up to a week. Experiment and see what works best for you.)
Please follow the submission rules of each site, of course. Some places to start are:
Tip Junkie
Etsy Giveaways
Blog Events Dex
Blog Contest Station
Mom Giveaways
The Giveaway
Barefoot Mommies

If you look at my sidebar you'll see a "Giveaway Toolbar" where I will continue to list these Giveaway announcement blogs as I find them. If you host a Giveaway blog not listed here, please comment below and I'll add you to the list!

d) If you advertise via Project Wonderful, The Indiego, or through other sites, run an ad for your Giveaway. Schedule your ad to end a couple hours before the Giveaway ends.

6. Get ready for traffic. Giveaway time is like tv sweeps, where you are offering something fantastic to encourage new visitors to stop by and check you out. Clean up and spruce up your blog, if needed, and schedule some great blog posts for first time visitors to read. If you don't have a "Subscribe to this blog" button or a "Follow Me" widget (available on Blogger,) add one near the top of the page to make it easy for new visitors to become a regular reader.

7. Unleash the hounds! Post your Giveaway announcement with the picture of your item and watch the traffic zoom in. When it's over, announce the winner to everyone, thank your visitors for stopping by, and send the prize to your happy winner.

Related post: A Brilliant Giveaway Strategy

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Incorporating Video Into Your Blog

Last week I posted a brief video of my car into this blog to show my friend Amador how easy it is to post videos online.

Today I'd like to share a quick how-to so you can post your own videos on your blog.

It's a lot easier than most people think. Like I said last week, I don't own a video camera.

Equipment Needed:
#1 - A digital camera that can shoot video. If you're not sure about yours, check the various shooting modes you have: close ups, scenery, action, flash, movies... Your shutter button may have a little movie camera icon on or near it.
#2 - A method of transferring images from the camera to your computer. Could be a memory card or a cable that hooks them together.
#3 - A computer with an online connection
#4 - A blog or other website where the video will ultimately be shown

If you're reading this, chances are you have #3 on the list. If you also have at least #1 and #2, then you're ready to start.
First, decide what you will use for your #4 in the above list. It could be YouTube, but I'll be expanding on this concept in upcoming posts and to take advantage of all the great tips coming up, you may want to have your own site (or blog.) At the very least, you'll want a website or blog that will let you submit your video for all to see (other than You Tube.)

Step One: Choose your subject matter.
This first video will be your demo, so don't stress out about this.

If you want to be the star of your demo, set the camera on a counter or cabinet and step back so it can show your lovely face as you recite a short poem or sing a silly song. Actually, you could simply introduce yourself. That would be a short and sweet 15 to 20 second video perfect for your demo.

If you'd rather not be the star (I understand completely,) then find something interesting, be it a family pet, a tree in the yard, or a goofy kid.

Step Two: Shoot your video.
Don't make it too long, just 30 seconds to one minute is enough.
A little camera shake and wobbliness is ok for your demo. You're a real live human.

Shooting tips:

- Make sure you talk during the video to keep it interesting. Describe what you are shooting and explain something interesting or significant about your subject.

- Talk at a comfortable pace, not too fast, and speak clearly. Smile - people will hear it.

- You may want to plan ahead with what you will say to avoid dead space or overuse of words like "Ummm" and "Uh..."

- Make sure there is sufficient light for your viewers to see the subject.

- When moving the camera from one subject to another, move slowly. Rapid movements make viewers dizzy and disoriented with your scene.

Step Three: Upload your video.
If you can take the memory card out of the camera and insert it into a port on your computer, you can upload the video directly you YouTube.

OR - If you need to connect the camera to your computer with a cable, upload the video to a file where you can find it. You can upload it to You Tube from there.

Go to YouTube and either log in or sign up.
In the upper right hand corner, you should see a button that says Upload. Click it and follow the instructions to upload the video you just made.

Your upload will take a few minutes, depending on how fast your internet connection is.
When I upload videos, I notice that YouTube says to wait until I see a message telling me the video is done but it seems to take forever. Meanwhile, if I open a new window and go to You Tube, my video is there, ready to play with. You video may be ready before YouTube tells you it is - you may want to check on it in a new window after a few minutes.

Step Four: Embed your video into your blog.
Note: What blog would you like to post your demo video to? You may want to consider that at this point. Ok. Open that blog. Ready?

When you see your video, grab the code to embed it, and open a new post in your blog. Click to edit the HTML of the post, and paste in the code from You Tube. Add any appropriate comments and publish it.


Once you get the hang of this, you should be able to produce a great little video for your blog in about 15 minutes or less.

Coming up next: I've got some big ideas for you! Check back later this week to find out how you can use video in your blog to increase traffic and/or Etsy sales!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've been tagged!

Wow, my first tag here at this blog. Cool.

My brand new friend Frieda, over at Deer Mountain Arts tagged me, so I hopped over to meet her and say hi.
...and I'm now following her blog, which is a mix of things she's doing in her wood working studio, she tells stories about relationships (the one about Jim and Mary will warm your heart - I got a little choked up when she asked him for 5 more minutes) and she's a real down to earth lady that I wish I lived next door to. Go check her out.

Anyhoo, the rules of the tag is that I share 7 things about myself that you don't already know. Then link back to the person who tagged me, and tag 7 other people.
Here goes. I hope you come back again after you read this. LOL

1. Since I don't have the links on the sidebar at this blog, I'll reveal that I have a very bloggy family. My blogs include, of course, the Pass It On Plates blog and the Plate Diaries. I also have a family blog about my Deaf hubby, rockstar-and-too-smart-for-her-boots daughter, and hyper pooch called The Adventures of Pam & Frank. My hubby's blogs are Deaf Chef at Large and Red Hawk's Deaf Musings. (The latter has been ignored lately, though.) Then of course, the kiddo had to jump on the blogging bandwagon and hers is When Confustion Strikes. She hasn't done much with it, but at one point we had talked about turning it into a Daily Photo blog with pictures of her each day. She spikes her hair and stands in front of the mirror for hours, taking picture after picture, so there is at least 365 pictures she could post. (...each month...) Ok. So we all blog. And we're all a little goofy.

2. Since moving from a single-level apartment to a two level condo a month ago, I have lost almost 5 lbs. The only thing that has changed is that I'm running up and down the stairs a couple dozen times each day. Huh. That was easy.

In a year or two I should have the perfect body. Yah. LOL.

3. I am afraid to be successful. Isn't that stupid? I think I'm afraid that I won't know what to do to stay successful once I get there. Or I'm afraid that if I get really busy with my businesses, I won't be able to keep up. That's dumb and defies logic, but that is probably my biggest hurdle right now.

Oh, and that there is not enough time to do everything I want to do. But that's another issue.

4. One time I conducted evil medical experiments on a slug. (Sorry PETA.) I know salt kills them, and our patio was overrun by slugs one winter here in Oregon. I decided I wanted to find out what else would irritate them, so I pulled out all kinds of condiments to see what would happen. The plan, really, was to use the most offending condiment as a barrier between the paatio and the surrounding bark dust (weed-resistant mulch made from tree bark.)

Things that had no effect: various hot sauces, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, pickle juice, ketchup, yellow mustard, soy sauce (that was a surprise), vinegar. Ol' Mr. Slimy didn't like Chinese Hot Mustard but he slimed up and twisted out from under it.

What really did the trick and made him light up like the night sky on the Fourth of July is Pickling Salt. There may have been some nitrates in it because Ol' Mr. Slimy foamed up in a puff of orange and pink foamy slime until he was about the size of a mango.

If you're feeling sorry for him at this point, I suggest you spend a little time in the Pacific NW and try stepping on one barefoot when you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I had to use nail polish remover and sandpaper to get the slime off the bottom of my foot and out of the carpet. And I was so grossed out and upset that I couldn't get back to sleep for the rest of the night. Well, I was up for three hours trying to remove the slime from the bottom of my foot, so I guess by the time I was done it didn't matter anyway.

I've had Slug Skittishness ever since.

(I had to bleach the patio to clean off the slimy mess. And yes, this changed my mind about nitrates in my own diet.)

Oh phooey. I just remembered. I have 3 uncarved pumpkins sitting on the front step. They're probably slug restaurants by now. I'd better haul them off before they're uncarryable slime pits.

5. 99% of the time I answer questions with long answers and detailed stories.

6. My favorite candy is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but I do have a thing for Bridge Mix and Licorice Allsorts. I think I enjoy the unexpected. (See? I'm trying really hard to keep this short.)

7. I have the same preference when listening to music. I love certain songs and have a huge playlist of favorites, but given a choice, I prefer to hear new stuff that I've never heard before. BTW, my playlist is all indie, punk, and alternative stuff that's not on the radio (most stations anyway) and most people have never heard of some of my favorite bands. If you're interested, go to 94.7 KNRK and listen to their stream. That's the station set in my car and on my radios at home.

Yes, I said I listen to punk, among other things. But I look like your normal average suburban mom. You'd never know... Unless I drove up to where you are, with the subwoofers pumping out a bass line from British Sea Power, Modest Mouse, or The Beastie Boys. Or Beck and Moby. Oh, I'm on a roll. I'd better stop before I drive you nuts with all these links. I have noticed that my music (car windows up) does tend to turn heads when I'm driving around downtown. I think that surprises people to see me in the car with all the noise. (My little car came with some really powerful subwoofers; I didn't put them in. This was discovered after we bought it. Lucky me!!)

Now to tag 7 other people. How about my regular reads?
Denise of Denise Clenney's Changing Designs
Amy of Bellas Boutique
Melanie of Everything Etsy
FairyAlchemy of In the name of Fairy Bubbles! and a bit of Food!
Libby of ~* Auroras Garden *~
Jenna of CorgiPants

Ok. If you didn't get named in the list above and you're still here after reading this, you get a prize: consider yourself tagged, too!

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

What's with the video?

Today I posted a brief video where I'm pretending to do a little sales pitch on my car.

I posted it here to show my friend Amador how easy it is to put videos in a blog.

I don't even own a video camera.

Stay tuned - Next Monday I'll be posting a tutorial on this and give you some really BIG ideas on how you can use this trick to increase your sales.

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Demo for Amador

Hi Amador,

Here's a little video to show you some of the features on the 2007 Chevy HHR.
Hope to hear from you soon.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

About Pam Hawk Marketing

Pam Hawk Marketing is a creative marketing service for small business owners.

Do you need inexpensive and easy ways to promote your business?

Would you like to bring in more customers and enjoy repeat sales from existing ones?

Is your business stuck in a rut?

I can make you look good and help you make money.
All on a shoestring budget.

Projects include creative and cost-effective guerilla marketing services, support, and training for independent businesses such as:
+ small online shops
+ handcrafters and artisans
+ owner-operated food service and entertainment venues
+ public events
+ local musicians and bands

My menu of services includes:
Website design
Online social network training and mentoring  see an example here
General marketing services
Guerilla marketing services
Consultation for marketing & promotion

Contact me today to get started marketing your independent business!

To read more posts in this blog, visit the main page at

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The identity crisis is over

There's nothing else to do with a restlessly creative brain while moving and unpacking and painting (and painting and painting - 6 rooms and half an office so far,) so I spent all that idle brain time musing and planning.

During that time, I think I have solved this blog's identity crisis. My focus will be to help Etsy stores and local crafters, as well as local farm market vendors, and other independent small businesses do the following:

  • Come up with creative, inexpensive ways to get their business recognized
  • Bring in new customers
  • Increase sales and profits
  • And establish themselves as an expert in what they do
I also offer one-on-one planning sessions to help you figure out how to solve a certain marketing challenge, find a new approach to marketing your business, or help you change something that is holding your business back from finding its full potential.

Just contact me at pam [at] or call me at 503-569-2665 (9am-9pm PST, any day but Sunday) and we'll talk.

To kick off my new identity (my brand), I found this new Blogger template at Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. The colors and style fit my personality to a T. Hopefully it'll set the mood here and you can get to know me and my style a little better as you read my blog posts.

(It's very "Pamish" and if you know me in person you're probably nodding your head right about now. If you don't really know me yet - stay tuned. You'll see...)

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