Category Archives: Uncategorized

Have You Thanked A Client Lately?

It’s that time of year. You know, top ten lists, what worked in 2010, what didn’t, the lists go on and on and …. (okay, you get the picture). Basically I call this time of year a time to reflect. It’s a time to slow down (right, you still have holiday shopping to do) and look back on the year that was and still is for a few more days 2010.

As a business owner there’s a lot to review. In my business, this is the busy time of year that includes budgeting and marketing plan development for my clients. We’ve been thinking about 2011 for several months now and I guess it has already begun to feel like a new year. However, this is the time of year to step back and thank the clients that got me to where I am today. That’s why I think a Client Loyalty Program is vital. In a recent article published by Entrepreneur Magazine they list the Four Steps to launching a successful loyalty program. Read more here.

Whether you client base is made up of physicians or maybe you’re a veterinarian that works on a daily basis with our furry friends, there’s a number of ways to say “Thank you for making 2010 successful”. What are some of the ways you’ve thanked your clients or how you’ve been thanked as a client?

We’d love to share them with our blog readers!

Thank you loyal clients of Dog-Eared Pages, you’ve made 2010 the best year yet!

Happy client appreciation –

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

 

 

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Talking To Yourself, Again?

I know many of us fall into the trap of talking to ourselves. I am not speaking of those times when you’re in your car. You know who you are!  While stuck in traffic, you carry out the full dialog of how you want to tell your boss to leave you alone and how you should be promoted to the next level. As you finally have the discussion wrapped up, you realize the people on either side of you are watching your weird facial contortions and wondering who you are talking to in your car. I’m speaking of your marketing.

So many times when we craft our own marketing message, we craft it so WE understand it. Trust me, I’ve fallen into the trap using words that only ad industry people use, like ROI, target market, one-sheet, creative brief, etc. That’s why I have to share a great article I found today. If you’re looking for a good resource to help you tighten up your messaging, write clearer and with brevity, this article and the resources within it can help!Picture 2

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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20 Ways to Drive Leads Through Social Media

20 Ways to Drive Leads Through Social Media

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The ‘Wild Rumpus’ of Storytelling

With the release of Where the Wild Things Are this weekend, I found myself falling quickly back into a magical part of my childhood. Siting next to my grandfather as he transformed a $2.99 paperback book into a fantastic journey. With each page, the smell of a new book and the hope of following Max as he explored a magical forest all from his imagination, I sat motionless waiting for the wonderment to wash over me.  In only ten sentences (that is all that’s in the entire book) I was quickly transported to the land of monsters, being crowned Queen of the Wild monsters and dancing with the monsters in a “Wild Rumpus”. As I look back, the story was mesmerizing, it had a way of grabbing my attention and making me want to know more. I told every friend I had about the book and before long, my whole first grade class was reading the book.

All of this reminiscing got me to thinking about marketing for business and how the way your story is conveyed can really make the difference in what your customers believe.

Combating the Big, Scary Monster or Does Your Company Have an Engaging Story?

It’s often frightening to think what it is that makes our business stand out from others. What is unique about your company? Does the customer you serve find that your service is head and shoulders above your competition? Do you know why? These questions, among many others are often hard for business owners to define. It’s not always easy to step outside of our businesses and really experience what you provide from the customer’s perspective. Take a look at this article from Entrepreneur.com  for some story starters and begin defining your story.

Are You a Kid Hiding in a Wolf Costume or What Can Storytelling Do To Showcase Your Business?

So many business that are launching a new website or implementing a new marketing tactic fall into the same trap. “Me too” marketing. Often they take inventory of what their competitor is doing and say we do that too.

For instance. Say you own a bakery. You competitor is within one mile of you. You can’t exactly use the same wording as they are, like “Your neighborhood baker”. If you used the same type of marketing, potential clients could get confused as to which one of you was the “neighborhood baker” that advertised in the local paper. What could be worse? Well, imagine if that same potential client went to the “other” bakery and had a horrible experience. Just think how you could loose out on clients the next time this potential customer’s friends mentions the neighborhood baker. They might say the experience was awful and if you were to run an ad with the same tone, they might think it was you!

Instead of copying what your competitor is doing be aware of their tactics and  brand yourself in a different light. For instance be “that baker on the corner who makes biscotti that is perfect to dunk into coffee”. Your true customers will remember the little things you do that are different. They will talk about those little things with their friends and then their friends will talk, etc. Word of mouth marketing is great, but for it to work, you have to have something that makes you stand out of the crowd. Be the expert in your field. Be the place people are talking about favorably. Have something unique that your customers can cabbage onto and tell others to see for themselves.

Let the Monsters Romp or How Your Customers Can Help Sell Your Business

Finally, the glue that holds your storytelling together in the world of marketing effectively is utilizing the valuable chapters your customers provide for your story. Client testimonials on a web site, in a promotional brochure or even better in a television commercial are invaluable. You can talk all day about how great your product or service is, but potential clients understand your bias and often discount it. However if the average Joes and Janes rave about your biscotti and how it is perfect with their favorite cup of coffee, they’ll be thrilled to be quoted in your advertising pieces. What’s even better? Do you know a famous person or person of influence within your community that raves about your product or service? Have you approached them for their insight. It could be worth its weight in gold!

Bottom line, don’t be afraid of marketing your company’s message through crafty storytelling. Just like a good book, a well-defined marketing story can intrigue, inspire and yes, involve your customers. Getting the word out there is your next step.

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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We’re Baaaacckkkk ….

IMG_0722After a long absence from blogging, I am back and ready to continue updating you with the latest in copywriting, marketing, business development and of course dog-related metaphoric laden stories. Hopefully everyone had a good summer and found some time to kick back and enjoy the dog days of summer (see I warned you). Durning this time I had the opportunity to refocus and make a list/fill a folder full of all kinds of information I wish to share with you.

This week’s topic up for grabs ….

Top 10 most useful website ….. let me know what your favorites are. Here’s a list of the most useful according to About.com.

Happy webbing!

Sarah@dog-eared pages

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You’ve Got … A FULL Inbox!

I just read an interesting article about email marketing which states:

“Forrester Research projects that consumers will receive more than 9,000 e-mail marketing messages a year by 2014.”

Instantly, I found myself thinking …

“Okay what filters can I set”

“What Spam settings will help”

“What will we do”

And then … I stopped. What will we as marketing professionals do? I seem to find myself asking this more an more each day. With the newest release of iPhone’s 3.o upgrade, I have received at least 4 emails from Mac with tidbits of what to expect (not that I am complaining-I so love Mac!) And, just imagine all the new apps that will be promoted with email …. oh my ….

Picture-3So back to my point- what shall we do as marketing professional with all this email marketing? Some believe advertisers will fully embrace all that is social media. While others are saying that email will over take the social media place. What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments. Share them with us.

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Time Is Money

Recently I started reading a book that has been out forever. How I missed it, I’ll never know. But a friend of mine, Shawn Kinkade, highly recommended it, so I ran out to the bookstore and settled down to read something that has really transformed the way I am doing business.

picture-6

If you’re looking for a way to help keep on task, break your day into bite-sizes pieces and actually manage your time effectively, Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy is a must.

First of all, it’s a quick, easy read. So for all of you out there that “put things off”, like I don’t know … reading … this book shatters that excuse. What’s more, Tracy discusses key concepts in why many small business owners struggle to “Eat that Frong” as he calls it. Besides the fact that you wear tons of hats, being a business owner is tiring, so the thought of actually sitting down to organize your day sounds absurd to say the least. Trust me I was with you before I read the book.

What I have discovered is that it actually takes more time to put off those big tasks we wish to avoid. So I ask what is the Frog that you constantly avoid swallowing on a daily basis? Could it be by making yourself take a huge bit of that task, you actually could be clearing your schedule, head and workspace of something that could generate a much larger return?

Here’s the most important thing I learned in this book. Instead of keeping all the tasks, goals and ideas you have as an entrepreneur in your mind, generate a list on paper. No matter what it is, write it down. Often, I would find myself keeping everything in my mind and feeling overwhelmed. Once I started writing it down, not only did I feel invigorated that I had let go of all the tasks, but now I had a way to visually cross off things. What’s more, I discovered that 80% of my time was spend on things that only generated 5-20% of successful return for my company.

All this said, no matter what business you are in, no matter what title you hold, managing your time is a cost effective way to increase business productivity. Plus, you’ll have a chance to clear the slate, start something new and actually create a plan that makes “cents”.

Go out and read Eat That Frog. I must admit it’s already done wonders for me both personally and professionally.

Happy Frog Swallowing!

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Have You Referred Anyone Lately?

picture-21This week is an important week for small business owners. Well, every week really is, but this week is Referral Week and as each of us knows, sharing valuable contacts with your business associates, clients and co-workers is a fantastic way to generate business for others. Through out this week, many small- to medium-sized businesses are sharing their contacts with others in hopes of stimulating the business sector in a unique and profitable way.  With that said, there are several people I would highly recommend and hope through out this week, I can share those contacts with many of you. 

Want to get started? Check out this link to Referral Week. It only takes one referral to help your clients change the face of their business. Are you game?

 

Happy Referring-

Sarah @Dog-Eared Pages

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Don’t Let Your Message Get Lost In An Inbox

 

Subject line

 

 

 

Many business owners are looking for ways to promote their businesses without spending lots of money on marketing tactics. One thing you can do is utilize the tools you already have at your fingertips and incorporate them effectively to get the word out to your clients.

That’s why I highly recommend, email marketing. But before you begin, repeat after me … it’s the subject line is what matters most. According to Jupiter Research, 35 percent of email users open messages because of what’s contained in the subject line. Jupiter Research also mention’s that,  including the company name in the subject line can increase open rates by up to 32 percent to 60 percent over a subject line without branding. 

So what are some key things to remember when writing a marketing email to your clients and prospects?

  1. Keep your subject line short. Just like Twitter and it’s 140 character limit, email subject lines also follow a character limit for success. Limit your character count to no more than 40 characters. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t even question it. If you look in your inbox right now, my guess is subject lines that are longer than 40 characters, quickly get passed over.So get to counting those letters.  Which leads me to the next point.
  2. Make your subject line attention-grabbing, eye-popping and timely. We have all done it. Created an email with the subject line that was boring. Looking through current emails that are in my inbox, examples include: Hello, February e-news, Need Help? and of course my favorite of all time, Good Day. If you really want to catch your customer’s attention and get them to actually open your email, you need to communicate directly and call out their name in a crowd. A crowd of emails that is.  Personalization: Speak directly to the reader. (i.e. James, need a new accountant?, Carol, have you tried Toasty O’s yet?)  Curiosity: Create an reason to read further … open that email! (i.e. Laura, is a blue car right for you?, A Hippo is your perfect pet )  Urgency: Now is the time to open the email as tomorrow may be too late. (i.e. Just three days left to tango, John; Ads Due Tomorrow, Discounts Today, Jim)
  3. Watch Your Wording: Avoid words without meaning or words considered as spam. You don’t want the words you use to work against you when you write a subject line. It’s a proven fact that even if your subject line isn’t considered spam, using certain words can affect your open rate negatively.  Don’t use the following words according to MailChimp’s 2007 study documented on Email Stat Center:

Help , Percentage Off and Reminder

And when it comes to SPAM … the following words should be avoided:

Free!
50% off!
Click Here
Call now!
Subscribe
Earn $
Discount!
Eliminate Debt
Double your income
You’re a Winner!
Reverses Aging
“Hidden”
Information you requested
“Stop” or “Stops”
Lose Weight

Multi level Marketing
Million Dollars
Opportunity
Compare
Removes
Collect
Amazing
Cash Bonus
Promise You
Credit
Loans
Satisfaction Guaranteed
Serious Cash
Search Engine Listings

 

It makes sense to spend some time thinking through those 40 characters before you send out your next marketing email. It’s more than just words, bottom line you want your customer’s to open the email from you. Take a look at your past efforts and make a commitment to think through future wording. It can make an impact on you business. Make sure it’s a positive one.

Here’s to superb subject lines,

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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To Blog or Not to Blog … That is the Question

img_2580To blog or not to blog … that is the question. I have discovered many business owners scratching their heads, pondering if a blog is good for business.  

Many schools of thought exist on the subject. Some believe:

  • Only the 20-something crowd blogs and  that blogging has no place in a business setting
  • Blogging is like collecting stamps, a passing hobby that people with a lot of extra time on their hands find intriguing
  • If you’re not blogging, you’re not serious about your business
  • I see a blank page before me and run the other way

No matter what you think about blogging, many businesses are finding that it’s actually upping their exposure  within their target market and getting their business noticed.

Here’s what I know about blogs and how they can reshape your business.

Blogging is the  new WOM (Word of Mouth) Situation #1: Client A is looking to promote his business. He has a limited advertising budget, but wants to make a splash and provide information to his client base and potential clients. His goal?  When they need his product, his business is top of mind.

Since Client A sells financial services, and many people are currently skeptical of this industry, a blog is the perfect avenue for Client A to take. By helping loyal clients and future prospects understand the current economic situation in addition to offering them step-by-step strategies to ease their situation, Client A has instantly become a resource  readers can turn to when they need financial advice. Through his blog, Client A has proven himself in front of potential leads, and they haven’t even had to pay for his advice. What’s more? Now that he has established a following by blogging for over 5 months,with nothing more than time invested,  many of his readers are telling their friends to check out Client A’s blog. In fact, many of them have in turn become clients themselves. 

Excuse me but why so many excuses? Situation #2  I have heard it a million times:

  • I hate to write.”  
  • “Are you kidding? I don’t have time to write.” 
  • “Oh come on, you know this is just a fad.” 

Here’s what I know about Client B’s experience. She launches a new product and while most of the people  in her area know about her product, the business professionals across the nation don’t.  She has a website that explains her product in depth, but many people still don’t understand the benefits the product offers their business. So why not try a blog?

As you have already read her objections above, she isn’t an easy sell on the blog front. I can bring in the stats. I will show her examples. I even encourage her try blogging out on a subject she finds interesting and not tied to her business. She still remains skeptical.

This is where I sit down with many of my clients just like her to pinpoint what items keeps them from blogging. Bottom line, most hate to write and often tell me there’s nothing worse than looking at a blank page, knowing that some of your marketing dollars are sitting there and time is wasting away when they feel they have nothing to say.  I understand, time is money. 

So this is where we devise a plan. Each week she and I can sit down for 30 minutes while she walks me through how the product impacts her client base that week.  I personally write the blog from a marketing perspective (I do this for many of my clients) and at the end of the blog, always place her contact info at the bottom of the post so potential clients can call her with questions and she can do what she does best, sell her product. Now, she has a blog people can frequently consult and I have a relationship with a client that provides both of us with a new way of thinking about targeting new customers.

Bottom line blogs are a way for businesses to provide expertise, support and educational value to their customer’s experience. A business blog allows business owners a way  to constantly update their client base with new findings, new product arrivals or even offer advice on why your product might be better than your competition, this is the route you should take. You can build a website, and I highly recommend that in conjunction with a blog, however a blog is a place where you can easily update and maintain a running dialog with your customers. What’s more, you can gather your customer’s comments and easily determine where your business is doing well and where you might need to opt for some improvements. 

A blog is a place where you can create a voice for your company and command a presence online. 

For more information about how blogging can boost your business contact me and I can share more concrete information with you that is tailored to your business’ specific needs.

Happy Blogging-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

 

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