Tag Archives: Sarah Daly

Can opening an email be as exciting as opening a package?

Recently I received and email with the subject line: 6 Career Tips Your Dog Knows. Being a “Dog-Crazed” person, I was instantly all ears. Here’s the article and I really like the parallels it offers. Check it out for yourself. 6 Career Tips Your Dog Knows.

All of this got me to thinking about the power of subject lines. What do you place within your subject lines? Do you use bright colors? All uppercase letters? Or do you take some time to think about what will resonate with your reader?

Here are some interesting articles I ran across on how to get your audience to open your emails.

Subject Line Comparisons

15 Rules to Writing Subject Lines Right

Tricks to Grab Reader’s Attention

10 Email Subject Line Blunders

So what subjects get your reader’s to open?

Happy  emailing –

Sarah @Dog-Eared Pages


Filed under Advertising, Business Development, copywriting, Marketing, Small Business Solutions, Writing

Has The Expert Left the Building?

Being an expert in your field seems like a monumental task. Think about it. Knowing everything you can get your hands on about the topic seems almost impossible. However, with the vast resources that hang out  on the internet, becoming an expert in your field is easier than you think, just don’t let it be a crutch.

Gardening Has Gone To Google?

About three weeks ago, my husband and I went to a local garden center to purchase some flowers to “beautify” our yard. Growing up with a father that had a degree in Botany and Fruit Science and a mother that literally spent every summer taking us to the area greenhouses to learn more about native plants, I feel like I could potentially be an expert at anything that’s green. However, I am not. There are still plants that trip me up from time to time. So as the two of us browsed through the nursery, we stumbled upon a few plants I didn’t know. I was curious and read the little card that was placed within the pot of the plant. “This should be planted in full sun, with proper drainage.” Followed up with a scientific name I couldn’t pronounce. What the heck is this I thought. Then a lightbulb went off, let’s ask one of the nursery employees what it is and how to take care of it.

Carrying the plant toward the front counter I approached a dirt-covered associate and inquired about the plant. Her first response, why don’t you just look it up on Google. Google!!!! Yes, I know that resource, as I writer I use it often to research facts, figures and stats. But seriously, I now need to go to Google instead of asking you about a plant? My dad would have been dumbfounded much like his daughter was at the response. I am pretty certain I stood there like a child who just found out the candy store was all out of lollipops. I swear I didn’t move for at least 30 seconds. Then she asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”  (I digress and for fun I asked another associate for help with an Orchid. I know this is shocking, but I got the same response.)

While I might expect this reaction from a big superstore garden center, I was shocked to see that this well-respected speciality greenhouse wasn’t able to educated it’s customers on the plants it grew. Yikes! This of course got me to thinking about how important educational marketing is for business owners. Think about it. If you’re not perceived as a leader in your business sector, why would a potential client choose you?

How Does Educational Marketing Make Your Business Grow?

1) Nurture the important benefits of your company and share with your clients. If you want new clients and to help maintain the ones you currently serve, what have you done lately to nurture those relationships? Have you called them to survey how you’re doing? Have you provided them educational information so that they can learn more about your product or service?

Solution: Begin an email marketing campaign. Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your current clients and foster new relationships with prospects. Check out this article about how to effectively sell your company’s benefits.

2) Become a social butterfly. Using social media like Twitter and Facebook is another great way to share information you gleam each week. You don’t have to spend hours updating your page each day.

Solution: When you sit in front of the computer and read an interesting article over your “first” cup of coffee, if you find an article that would be of interest to your clients, post it or tweet about it. It takes 2 minutes and can create a raving set of “groupies” in your garden. Read more about the impact social media can make on businesses.

3) Incorporate new species of flowering connections into your  company’s landscape. Networking with like-minded business professionals is a great way to grow your business. Not only can you meet new people who can connect you to their business, you can also build relationship with other experts. In addition, you can showcase your expert status by offering educational presentations that inform and enlighten. I can’t tell you the numerous speaking events I have attended. Some are boring and drab, but for all of those presentations, there is the 20% that are amazing, motivating and inspiring.

Solution: Be one of those speakers and people will flock to you and your business. Schedule a speaking engagement and showcase your vast knowledge of your business and the customers you serve. Look into some ways you can connect.

While I love Google, I hope that business owners and their employees don’t abuse it, thus loosing potential customers and or clients. We cannot put our businesses on autopilot and hope that someone will come back. The internet is a great resource, but it’s just that, a resource. Keep in mind that no matter how tempting it may be to refer a client to “learn more by Googling”, there’s still nothing like talking to an expert to really solidify the customer experience. As for the garden center I visited, let’s just say, next year, I’m going somewhere else!

Happy educating-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages


Filed under Advertising, Business Development, Marketing, Writing

Out of a Recession, Into New Marketing Messaging

Okay so maybe we’re not out of the recession woods yet, but I have a sense things are turning around. My colleagues are getting busier and let’s face it, I haven’t had a lot of time to go out for a leisurely afternoon latte!  The long and short of it is this. As I talk with more and more small and medium-sized business owners, I am hearing that their old marketing maneuvers in the form of brochures, print ads and yellow page advertising just aren’t working. While these venues do work for some industries better than others, it’s often how the  company communicates and what they say that has a true defining impact on their bottom line.

Should you just ‘Say Anything’?

The first question, when I begin brainstorming with the client, normally is about marketing messaging.  They ask me, “Isn’t it okay for my message to include something for everyone.”  This is often one of the biggest mistakes a company can make. Don’t sell everything to everyone. It doesn’t help you stand out in the crowd.

Think of your message as a banner flying over your community. If you only had Five Words to say,  that summed up exactly what your business does, what would they be? It’s not easy, but it gets you to begin thinking about short messages that stick.

See Nike’s “Just do it.” Or what about Apple, they don’t even have one, they just have an image … an Apple. Seems pretty elementary when you think about it, but this one concept can cause major problems, especially if you use multiple messages.

If you want some real examples how the recession and new marketing messaging is changing the income for some businesses, take a look at these examples.

Happy Messaging-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, marketing in a down economy, Small Business Solutions

New Year + New Ideas + Fresh Perspective = Blogtastic Results

This year I am starting a new blog post each week called BlogN2010. This will be a place where business owners can find tips, tricks and tasty tidbits that can help make your company blog fresh, profitable and a “must-read”. Stay turned for more blogtstic ideas!

Keeping fresh ideas pouring out of your blog posts is a challenge many blog writers face (myself included). Yes it’s a type of writers blog, but often times, it’s more than that. I constantly find myself asking:

What will people want to read?

What is timely and a topic on everyone’s mind?

Do people really care?

Bottom line, if you’re a small business and you need some fresh ideas for your up-coming blog post this year, here are a few things to consider before posting your masterpiece.

3 Business Blog Post Brainstorm Igniters:

1) Become Dear Abby-Offer Tips, Tricks and Tangibles

Let’s face it, you’re in business for a reason, you know something that people will pay for and need. So that means there are millions of things you can provide including tricks and tangible information that can help your readers. Providing educational tidbits is one of the easiest ways to bring what you know about your industry to light.

What’s more, not only can you provide valuable information, you can also provide advice. Take for instance the top three things your clients constantly ask your opinion about on a weekly basis. By taking those common questions, you can offer valuable advice that educates your customers and helps them better understand the importance of the services you provide.

2) Extra! Extra! Read All About It! – Bring fresh industry news to your readers.

Offering your readers insight on your industry’s new innovations, changes and newsworthy updates shows your readers that you’re on top of it. Trust me when I say your customers don’t have time to monitor your industry and their industry, so you must be the watchdog for them. Not only does it keep you in front of your clients, it also offers them a chance to discover additional products and services they may want to purchase from you. Plus, it’s easy to do. Find two or three industry blogs that you can follow and subscribe to their RSS feed. You can also go to Google Alerts, key in your industry and Google will email you news articles, industry topics and research on our designated profession.

3) Yes, pay attention to the person behind the curtain- let your clients walk in your shoes.

I used to work in television. I can’t tell you the many times people asked me to take them behind-the-scenes so they could see how we went about  putting a newscast together. For some reason, people love to see what it is other people do. Humans are curious and when you peel back the curtain to show what happens behind closed doors or even how your team works in the field, they seem to hold you in high regard. Now I am not saying that working at the TV station won me a ton of dates or anything, but what it did do was help people understand what I did on a daily basis and generated a ton of respect. Two things all business owners want! This is a great place to start your blog.

If you’re new to blogging and you’re looking for additional inspiration, check out The Writer’s Block by Jason Rekulak. It’s a handy little book that really jump-starts the brain. You can also keep a folder on your desktop and place interesting articles your run across in it. Keep your eyes open, blog topics are all around us!

Happy blogging-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, Business Development, Small Business Solutions, Writing

I’m Sick of My Message

Picture 2Countless times in a week I hear the chant “I’m sick of my marketing message”.  On and on it goes, plaguing business owners and creeping into their minds like a bad 80s hair band song you just can’t release. But here’s the thing, I don’t try to make them feel better, I only make it worse by saying things like …

“How long have you been using your message?”

“Have you been running your ad more than once?”

“Do you use the same communication messages across all advertising vehicles?”

Let’s just say 9 times out of 10 the answer isn’t “yes”.

Why is it important to broadcast my marketing message?

Your audience suffers from first-time hearing loss. Did you know that the human brain only processes 5% of the information it receives? It’s true. So think of how many times you need to state your case in order for the “benefits” of your product/service to actually sink into their thick head.

Here are some Tactics for Getting Your Brand Heard:

Repetition – It takes at least 3 impressions before people begin to remember your brand/message. Don’t know what I mean? Think about some of those commercials you see/hear on TV that you just can’t forget.  (i.e. FreeCreditRepot.com commercials )

Consistency – Saying the same message over and over builds trust and memorable interaction. Although they’ve had many variations to advertising, memorable companies always end their commercials, print ads and direct mail campaigns with the same tag line. While I am sure most of the advertising execs that work on their company’s marketing efforts are sick of the tag, they’re glad it’s around because their target customer already knows what it is.  (i.e. Nike- ”Just Do It”)

Understanding – Know who it is you’re talking to and what needs are being met with your product or service. Does your product or service make life easier for your target marketing? Do people look to you to solve their problems? Are you looking for ways to make things easier for your customers? If you’re searching for ways to help your clients you are half way there. If you’re telling them about the steps you’re making to get there, you are probably already reaping the rewards. If not, think about how you can communicate these options to your target market in a way that gets them into your store or picking up the phone.  (i.e. Apple iPhone)

Keep thinking about ways to get your message out there. I would love to hear your ideas, please share.

Happy Messaging!

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, Business Development, Marketing, Small Business Solutions, Writing

Social Girls, Happy Feet and a Room Full of Cool

Picture-2Whew! What a weekend. On Saturday I shared a day with a group of women who are tearing up the social media spectrum with a little help from all that is Twitter, Facebook and blog-o-licious. This weekend I got the opportunity to hang with Chicks That Click!  


I am really not even certain where to begin. I learned so much that I seriously would like to go to the conference again next weekend. I am not sure I was able to soak up everything, but man oh man did I have a blast. It was engaging, it was challenging, we got free crock flip flops and it was FUN!  Therefore, since many of you were not able to attend and many of you are looking for more social media tools, tricks and trends to help you navigate though the ever-changing waters, I have decided each week to feature a new tip, tool or trick I learned at CWC09. 

This week’s CWC09 tip …. (drum roll please …..) 

If you’re using Twitter, do you have an application that lives on your desk top that’s easy to use?

If your answer is “no”, TweetDeck can change and rock  your world! 

Here’s what you can do:

-See everything you might possibly need to stay connected-list of friends, list of important-to-you searches, list of direct messages

– Tweet directly from the interface

– Design your own dashboard that fits your Twitter needs

– Share photos easily with friends

The list goes on and on, check it out for yourself!

There’s so much more to share about this weekend. More to come in the weeks that follow.

Happy Tweet Decking-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Business Development, Marketing, Small Business Solutions

Freelancer vs. Solopreneur-What’s the Difference?


Portfolio Showcase-Photo by: Denny Medley-Random Photography

Portfolio Showcase-Photo by: Denny Medley-Random Photography

A little over a week ago I was a part of a “tradeshow” meets “creative talent” meets “potential client” showcase. The annual Freelancer’s Portfolio Showcase, put on by a local group of freelancer’s, The Freelance Exchange. And yes, if you haven’t guessed it’s all about Freelancing and finding the talent local companies want to hire to shine up those marketing pieces.


It came as no surprise that many of us were out there ready to go 3 hours before company execs arrived. If you don’t know much about the freelancer soul, eagerness is a key word association.

As each of us shined up our samples, strightened our enormous stack of business cards, I wondered how many of us thought of ourselves as what was termed by Peleg Top and Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor as a “solopreneur”? (I met both of them at How’s Creative Freelancer’s Conference in Chicago.)

I hear the wheels in your head turning, you’re wondering what’s the difference between a freelancer and a solopreuer. Well there’s a BIG difference and one that I think can make a huge difference when hiring a creative professional.

First of all, many business owners are concerned about unleashing a creative type to help promote their business. Many worry about freelancers being “flaky” and clinging to their free spirit instead of using business sense to make decisions.

Here are my top 3 reasons why businesses should hire a solopreneur:

1) A solopreneur is in-tune with running a business:

There is a common thread for many freelancers; they have never considered themselves as a business owner. Maybe they used to sit in a cube and have all the work/projects hand-delivered. Never did they think that they would actually go outside the office walls to drum up business. Never did they think they would have to follow up with an unhappy client or worse yet, not get paid for work they did. It’s all what business owners call, “the biz” and unless your freelancer is ready to look at themselves in this light, you might rethink working with them.

If you have a solopreuner on your team, you have a totally different animal.

2) A solopreneur considers themselves a business partner with you:

Many artists/writers seem to have a problem detaching from their work. Put nicely, when a client makes a suggestion, they may feel like a dog backed into a corner and snip at your ideas. When the artistic spirit creates something, it’s often tough to step back and look at the piece objectively or in the client’s eyes for that matter. With a solopreneur, things are different. Don’t get me wrong, we still take pride in our work, we just work to create solutions for our clients. Solutions that are relevant, measurable and above all, have a positive return on your investment. Collaboration between solopreneur and client is key. Creating the best solution together is a ‘win-win’ relationship.

3) A solopreneur offers a diverse perspective

When you hire solopreneur, you hire experience. Not only does the professional have business sense, they are also well versed in a lot of different areas of their industry. I have heard so many times, “do you have writing experience in _____?” While yes it’s important to know the subject matter enough to write about it or design it (for all the designers reading this) intelligently, solopreneurs embrace each subject matter they undertake with intense scrutiny as if the subject matter is of personal importance. Bottom line, a solopreneur is in business to help your business succeed, not just to create a piece they can put on display to impress others. By implementing this strategy within their business acumen, solopreneurs bring a diverse perspective to the table based on their previous experience and strive to help your business grow.

So the next time you search for creative talent, make sure the person you hire is a person who is focused first and foremost on your business.

Happy solopreneur searching- 

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages 

A special thanks goes out to Denny Medley of Random Photography for the picture in this blog post. Denny is a new friend I met at the Portfolio Showcase and also a fellow solopreneur who creates beautiful work and has a great blog!. Best of luck to you Denny! 

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Filed under Advertising, Business Development, copywriting, Marketing, Small Business Solutions, Writing

Does Your Marketing GPS Contain A Copy Map?


Open Road-Oregon_June'08

Open Road-Oregon_June


Okay so some of you are getting in the mindset of traveling. After all, Turkey Day is fast approaching. That’s why it’s the perfect time to think about your copy map. You have that fancy GPS primed and ready to go for your trip and you’ve packed all your “large pants” so that you don’t miss out on a bite of grandma’s pumpkin pie. But what about your marketing plans. Are they tied up ready to go for next year? Have you been doing any planning on that YEAR LONG trip? Have you consulted your copy map? 


Well, if you’re creating your marketing plan and you haven’t thought about your creative team … you might want to put on the brakes and make a quick U-turn. From a copywriter’s perspective I beg you to start assembling a crew now. The quicker you have a creative group, the more adhesive your marketing campaigns will be. 

That’s why I bring up the idea of copy maps. If you are on board already and have a copywriter waiting in the wings make sure they provide you with a copy map. 

A copy map is basically a work plan that offers insight on how the writer plans on executing your creative project. It’s a great way to also reduce extra expense as your writer should clearly detail the following tasks with a budget. Once you have reviewed them, the two of you can begin the work together-no surprises, just two happy travelers guided by their copy map. 

Here are some things your writer’s Copy Map should provide:


  • A project outline-what will the project cover?, what are the objectives?, who will provide the info?
  • Research plan-where will the writer gain their research? will you provide? (Hint: Providing info upfront can save you $.)
  • Executional plan– a chance for both of you to set expectations, work-style requirements, compensation agreements, payment schedules
  • Approval process-determine how many revisions are included in the pricing, how you plan to review the documents and turnaround time for revisions


With each of these steps charted in your copy map, you’re set to journey down a mutually beneficial road. All it takes is a little planning and a lot of creativity.


Best of luck to you-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, Business Development, copywriting, Small Business Solutions, Writing

Upping Your Web Presence (Web Posting Edition #1)


Shawn Kincade Presentation Oct-08

Shawn Kincade Presentation Oct-08


Last week I had the opportunity to join a group of business professionals interested in upping their web presence. Some were small business owners, while others were dealing with the red tape of big corporations.

As I am a firm believer in constantly updating your toolset, I was intrigued by what the business coach, Shawn Kincade, owner of Aspire Business Development had to tell us about marketing your business online. 

 Many of the participants wanted to learn about blogging. Some didn’t know what a blog was, while others just wanted their site to be more user-friendly. I wanted to continue to learn more about the ever evolving web arena and sat back thinking I would pick up a few helpful tips. I was wrong, I picked up a ton!!

Whether you know it or not, the world of marketing has changed. It seems that to keep up on all that changes one would need to stay up 24 hours a day just to get the latest feed on social network trends or how to get Google to recognize your website with a high page rank.

So now I have decided on one thing, I need to go to presentations like this even more.  That’s why instead of trying to keep up to date on all that is Web 2.0 on my own, I will attend at least one internet training session each month on the subject. What’s that mean to you? Well you can learn more each month in my new “Web Postings”. Shawn’s presentation is the first of many to come!

Shawn’s presentation was just what I needed. He offered business strategies that are already working. Things like:

  •  Having your website discuss one, clear benefit – Ask yourself: What is does my customer want to solve help solve their problem/need? 
  • Making your site interactive – Forget tons of words (yes I know painful to most writer’s ears) but Shawn’s right. No reader wants to read a thesis paper on your home page! Offer links, video and photos. Think as if you’re still 5-you want a picture book instead of the dictionary to read. Right?
  • Promoting yourself consistently– If you have multiple messages about yourself out there, your readers could get easily confused. So, if on your blog you call yourself the Web Wizard that Contorts Delightful Web Wizardry then say that everywhere, yes even on your home page and your business cards. Remember it’s like Nike’s “Just do it.” It creates a brand. 

And, if you really feel like you need some extra business coaching, Shawn is outstanding! Plus he’s just a interesting person to talk with about business development. Two thumbs up! Oh and if you would like to attend one of his presentations, there’s a rumor that he’s putting another one together in soon. Contact Shawn for more information.

Happy Web 2.0ing-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Business Development, Marketing, Small Business Solutions, Uncategorized

Make Sure Your Writer Is Right



Old School Writing -08

Old School Writing -08



A few weeks ago I met a small business owner who had just hired a freelance copywriter and was worried about her decision. She had interviewed the writer and was so impressed by the writer’s personality that she decided to hire the writer on the spot. While we continued to talk I was starting to realize that she had made the decision to hire solely based on the fact that she liked the person she interviewed. The new writer was not meeting deadlines, didn’t have a good grasp of communicating with my friend’s marketing team and missed an important informational meeting with the client. Red flags were everywhere. She asked me to step in and help, which I was glad to do, but shared with her some of the following things she should have asked before getting into the situation at hand.


Here’s a list of important questions you should ask when hiring a freelance writer.

1) What are some of your most recent ad campaigns and how are they working?

This is where you ask to see examples of their work. To me, this is the most important part of the interview. Make sure they tell you why the campaign was developed, how the ideas came to fruition and what the response has been to the campaign

2) What kinds of writing do you do and what is your speciality? 

Many writers say they can write anything for you. This needs to be a red flag instantly. You want to hire someone who has experience writing the format you need. If your company wants to develop a website, make sure the writer you use knows something about keywords and how to make your website searchable. A website that is unsearchable is worthless. So don’t toss your advertising dollars out the window. 

3) What is your work style? 

It’s also equally important to know how your writer plans on working for you. Are they working from home? Do you expect them to come into the office? How do you plan to handle client/writer interactions? What additional resources will they need to get their work completed and done excellently? Setting forth your expectations in advance is key to creating a trusting, working relationship. 

4) Who are your top 3 references and what will they tell me about you?

Always ask for a reference no matter how well you like the writer. This is where the small business owner made her first mistake. You want to know that the writer has a good solid work ethic and that other professionals trust them with their business communications. You also want to ask the writer how those references will speak about their relationship with the writer. It’s good to have a confident writer and one that is well-respected in the industry. If no one has heard of them, that too should be a red flag. With the small business owner, she came to find out that the freelancer she had hired was more of a sales professional and was good at making up stories, not creating marketing messages that generated results.

5) What is your process for working with a new client and what steps do you take to get ready for a new project?

This is also a key question to ask and one that many small business owners don’t. When you bring up this question you are gleaming a wealth of vital information from the writer. This is a great time to talk about the cost of the project, see how organized the writer is with their projects and even determine if the writer is good brainstorming with clients/your team. 

It’s easy to find a writer to carry on a project. It’s much more difficult to find the writer that you want to create a business partnership with for the long haul. Think of it this way, if you are going through writers as

 often as people brush their teeth, you’re loosing a lot of revenue retraining new writers. Think about your choice. After all it’s your choice and it’s your decision. Make it a wise one.


All the best-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Small Business Solutions, Writing