Sunday, November 21, 2010

Small Business Saturday, November 27

Like many people, I make every effort to shop at a local small business before I go to a big corporate store. American Express has started a movement to encourage others to visit their local small businesses to keep local economies thriving. I'm passing this along to you to help spread the word and ask you to consider visiting your locally owned shops on Saturday when you're out Christmas shopping. 

As stated in the Small Business Saturday page on Facebook:
"First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. This year, November 27th is the first ever Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday is a national movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. 

More than a dozen advocacy, public and private organizations have already joined American Express OPEN, the company’s small business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday."
Click the image to learn more and grab the badge for your website or store.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Facebook "Like" marketing experiment - update

Last month I posted about marketing on Facebook using their Like button. I was using it for my own marketing project, learning as I did it, and posting about what I did and how it worked.

In my project, I posted 15 flower pictures that I had taken last summer, and asked people to vote for their favorites with the Like button so I could narrow down the top 12 to make calendars. When the voting ended, I wanted to choose one person who voted to get a calendar.

Here are the earlier posts:
Marketing via Facebook "Like"
Facebook "Like" Marketing Experiment - Part II

Here are the pros and cons of what I did:
Pros -
  • While I didn't get a lot of people involved, the few who did were very active and not only voted, but added comments to most pictures.
  • I learned the difference between Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages and learned how to build a Page. (Here is an explanation about the difference between the two.) 
  • I discovered a bunch of useful Facebook applications that help me do what I wanted to do within the Facebook guidelines. The list of links is below.

Cons -
  • I learned that while asking people to vote is allowed, doing a giveaway on my own Facebook page is against Facebook rules. Facebook can only be used to lead people to a non-Facebook website where the contest/giveaway can be conducted.
  • Giving away one free calendar with flower pictures did not create a lot of buzz. No surprise there. Giving away something free to everyone who participated would have created more buzz. More on that in an upcoming post when I tell you about Stacy's Pita Chips. Huge buzz.
  • In order to comply with Facebook rules, I created Help Pick the Top 12, which is a separate website with voting buttons under each picture (actually it was a blog) and the challenge was encouraging people to click over from Facebook to vote. I did get some votes, but not a huge amount.
  • While I did find sites and applications to help me market with Facebook "Like," I personally didn't have the time to work on this more and develop it into a bigger project with bigger results. I don't know if it would have mattered with flower pictures, anyway. 

While I didn't have any big Wow moments, I learned a lot about using Facebook as a marketing tool. I hope when you are planning to market your product or service via Facebook and want to take advantage of the Like button, my experience helps you to pick up where I left off. I'd hate for you to waste valuable time learning about this from the beginning like I have.

Meanwhile, here are links to sites that I have used or would use with my next Facebook marketing campaign:

Crowd Conversion - If you can look past the the hype, you'll find an interesting webinar, videos, and links.

Like Button - Yes, it seems strange that I have included the Like Button page, but this shows you how to add a Like button to your blog or website. When visitors to your website click your embedded Like button, it shows up on their personal Facebook page and your website/blog is broadcasted to all their friends. It's Like Button marketing in its most basic form. Here is what it looks like when added to your site. Click it and see how it appears on your Facebook profile. You can click Unlike to remove it from your profile if you want. (My feelings won't be hurt.)

Facebook for Websites - If you're a geek or have a geek working on your business website, this offers code and tutorials to integrate your site with Facebook. There are even options for Facebook users to opt-in to receive messages from you (your business.) One caveat is unless you're technically minded, this page might make your head spin. I consider myself a geek and still had a hard time with some of the info here.

Facebook Promotions - This is the one I should have used from the beginning. The description on the page says it best: "Promotions for Fan Pages is a Facebook verified application for companies & agencies to run branded interactive promotions on Facebook Fan Pages. Promotion formats include: sweepstakes, contests, coupon giveaways, special deals and more..."

My Merch Store - Not so much a page that helps you market your business through Facebook, but more a way to create and sell merchandise that markets your business. Merchandise that you can create and sell via Facebook includes t-shirts, cards, key chains, mugs, etc.

Do you have any other links or tips to share?

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Monday, November 1, 2010

10 steps to conduct a Grand Re-Opening

A dear friend of mine has decided to revive her business and asked for help on how to get it up and running without too much headache. Hers is a service business where she does healing through Eastern medicinal type therapies. Sometimes she travels out of town, sometimes clients go to her.

The following is the email I sent her. It's a 10-step to-do list. If your own business has made a dramatic change or you've decided to breathe new life into it (or you're making the push to go full time,) you may find this to-do list helpful.


A great way to get back in business is to create some buzz. You'll need to do some planning ahead of time to pull it off and have everything start at the same time, but it'll be worth it. Plan to have your Grand Re-Opening start with a bang and run for a month. You want people to take notice and see your name repeated in several places.

Here's your to-do list:
  1. Decide on a business name. (See #4 as you finalize this.)
  2. Get your logo and print it on letterhead and business cards. (Go to for help. Low prices and some free items.) You'll need the logo to help establish your brand. If you can color-cordinate all your paperwork and workplace decor to your logo, that will help lock in your brand with your customers. I know this sounds silly, but it works psychologically to create an anchor for your brand that your customers can identify with. When you talked about flowing water (or something like that) for your biz name and then mentioned you would need to get a fountain, that's exactly what I'm talking about.
  3. Set up your workspace, either in your home, an off-site office, or organize a professional looking travel kit if you will be making house calls. (I would suggest you have them come to you, wherever you are. If they put some effort into it they will be more likely to value what you do. If you make housecalls, there should be a surcharge. That way it's available, but they can't be lazy or cheap about it.) You need to keep your perceived value high and your workplace supports that. If you access info during your sessions, put it in plastic sheet protectors in a nice 3 ring binder with tabs instead of having a ratty bunch of papers held together at one corner.
  4. Set up a website/blog with a unique URL. Your URL is your and it's cheap = $10/year. I can help you get all of this set up and teach you how to manage it - it's really easy. Make sure your URL matches your business name and is easy to understand. If it's easy to remember, that's even better. If you do a radio interview you'll want to send people to your website. You need to be able to say your URL over the air and people instantly understand it without hyphens or funky spellings. An example: do not use your hard to spell last name. People will never find you online.
  5. Create a database of all customers present and past. Add colleagues to this list. As you get new customers add them to this list. This list is the "Golden Goose" for your business.
  6. Draft a letter (on your new letterhead) to everyone on this list, announcing your Grand Re-Opening. List the services you provide. Include reasons why now is more important than ever for people to address their personal problems that you can solve. Tell them about your special rates during your Grand Re-Opening. Include two business cards in each letter and invite them to share one of the cards with a friend.
  7. Create a pricing menu. Because what you offer is a little unfamiliar to many people, you may want to offer set prices for certain services. This will help people feel more confident to do business with you. Too many unknowns can scare people away. Having set prices for services will also make it easier to discount for promotions and gives people a more concrete idea what kind of a bargin this is for them.
  8. Offer a Grand Re-Opening special. You decide what will work with you, but keep in mind, people don't buy with percentages, they buy with dollars because dollars are more tangible than %. Offer dollars off, not percentages off. You see sales that are 30% off etc, but would you be more willing to buy a $20 item with a 30% off coupon or would you be more likely to buy a $20 item with a $6 off coupon? **At the bottom of this I've included some tips and offers to keep in mind when crafting your Grand Re-Opening special.
  9. Contact the media: local and regional newspapers, regional womens' magazine (if you have one), radio stations, tv (is there a local morning show?) and let them know you are available for interviews. Contact local clubs and schedule giving a talk or better yet give a demo. Write a brief but interesting intro to who you are and what you do that makes them want to contact you for more info. Write a press release announcing your Grand Re-Opening. Copy a lot of the info in your letter (above) but keep it fact based and not sales based so it's not discarded as blatant advertising. Newspapers always have space to fill and are often looking for something interesting to publish.
  10. Host a Grand Re-Opening open house. This is optional, but can be done on a budget if you collaborate with some joint venture partners. Is there a catering company that is just getting started and needs to get their name out there? If you have office space near any other similar wholistic providers, talk to them about sharing the expense of hosting an open house. Tell the media about the open house and mention it in your letter (#6.) Offer something free to all who attend - free consultation, free session for a child, free class to improve a specific function (dyslexia, headaches, joint movement, etc.) The free service or class can be scheduled for a later date, but give them their free ticket at this event. Whatever you give away, set a price for it so everyone knows the dollar value of what you're giving them. (Also advertise the class at full price to have paying customers there with the free customers.)
** Grand Re-Opening special: Make your special not just good but irresistable. Almost ridiculous. Look at how they advertise items on tv and copy that technique. TV product ads have advertised their prices this way for 30+ years because it works. Here's an example:

+This service is regularly $100 for a 1 hr session.

+To celebrate our Grand Re-Opening, we're offering $25 off your first session.

+Schedule now and we'll give you a second follow up session for half off. (Half is more tangible than 50%.) ~OR~ You could switch it and say you're offering the first session at half price and $25 off the follow up.

+Schedule your appointment for any time in February and we'll also give you our free guide to ... (fill in the blank)
Write up a free guide that ties in with your services or explains something that your customers always want to know more about. How about writing a booklet on any topic that supports what you will cover in their first session - maybe some at-home exercises or a step by step instruction on something, or a top ten simple things you can do to improve your wellness. Keep this book as your free gift in future promotions.

Whenever you have a chance to write another book, write it and use it in similar promotions: Grand Re-Opening, Anniversary, National Wholistic Health Month (I made that up) Summer Specials (market to vacationers) etc.

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