Marketing is more than hitting a send button

how is your foundation

I recently received an email from someone I had exchanged business cards with a few months ago. She has an intriguing business start-up and if it’s done right, she could easily have government contracts around the world for this product. She could have hospitals around the world clamoring for this! And she could have a huge following in the private sector too. Marketing something like this is on my wish list. As soon as I learned it’s functions and the benefits this new product offers, I had to keep from volunteering to help market it. This can soar! I could feel it!

The email from this start-up was, however, deeply disappointing and completely deflating. It was possibly the worse email ever from a marketing standpoint.

They started by telling me they are “ready to launch”, via a Kickstarter campaign, but the email then went on to tell me that I would get an email soon to tell me more about the launching on Kickstarter. They were asking for my help – in the future.

And they meant future, because there was nothing in the email that would let me help them now.

The only link in the entire email was to the website home page. I searched everywhere to learn more and there was nothing in the site about the upcoming Kickstarter campaign starting sometime in October. And October is days away.  I went to their Facebook page: nothing. The entire campaign is a secret. Why am I left wanting to help with absolutely no way to help?

This email also had deep flaws as a marketing piece beyond being premature with no core message. It was missing important features:

  • No picture of the product. Biggest no-no ever for a product email. Show the product!
  • Assumption that I would recognize the logo of the product and remember what it is and does. Not a wise assumption!
  • No description of the product and it’s features/benefits. No picture and NO idea what this is about? Yikes – big assumptions continue!
  • No call to action other than to say that I should look for more information to follow soon. THEN – I can share with friends and family.

But not yet? Can’t help now? I am on hold. I now must wait for another email to share any news about this GREAT product. Furthermore, to insure I don’t help spread the word until the next email (see how odd that sounds?) there were other missing features:

  • No button or link for forwarding the email – I won’t name the email provider (big free email company) but it is a giant sin in the professional email marketing industry to not have a “forward this email” option built into a template as the default. (Surely, they didn’t remove it!?)
  • There is NO “join our list” button! If  I take the initiative and manually forward this email, there is no way for people to sign-up for email updates? This is a huge crack in the foundation of marketing.

Not growing an email list is more than just shortsighted. When people find your site let them stay connected! If they voluntarily join your list, this is a golden list indeed! They want to stay informed.  Without a sign-up this is all disconnected and the site is useless to the consumers.

This new company is missing opportunities. Emails let them push information out to interested people. Facebook simply doesn’t reach nor affect sales like emails do. Emails are 40 times more affective than Facebook and Twitter combined at gaining customers.

Unfortunately, if the next email is anything like this one, this important and truly special product may never get to market. Kickstarter is a no-nonsense and expensive way to launch. It takes real strategy to pull off. This email, and lack of cohesiveness with their website and Facebook, show a true lack of a marketing ability and a significant lack of understanding the basics of email campaigns.

I hope they at least consult with a marketing expert before they sign-up for Kickstarter. The world needs this product.

 

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No excuses – well… maybe a few excuses?

I hope I still have some followers?

Here I am, telling everyone to do this and do that and market this and market that. And then I keep ignoring this page. Ouch!

Can't be fired

So to make up for my lack of communication on this blog, I will start posting my guest posts here. I will drip some of the recent ones over here in the next several weeks. There are a lot of them roaming cyberspace, so I will corral them and alert you when they land here. And there will be more to come in the future, too. I might even try to do more of my own posts here from time to time. No promises, but I am going to try.

See, here’s the deal… (warning: this is basically an excuse you are about to read) …I HAVE been doing a lot of writing lately! I just keep doing it for other people in other situations. I have written or tweaked at least 5 “about me” pages for various businesses so far this month. I have composed and designed and hit send for MANY of my clients in my role as an “email marketing genius”. That’s what they all call me, so I am just passing it on…LOL.

I think I am more of a marketing maniac! Just can’t get enough. And despite my pitiful showing here, I really do love to write!

In fact, I am co-writing an on-line course with the fabulous and very smart Carolyn Edlund of Artsy Shark. She and I are ganging up to do all kinds of crazy and cool things together in the days, weeks, and months ahead. So she has my deep attention and she is getting me to do a fair amount of guest posting on her high-traffic site. It’s pretty hard to hard to say “no” when she has so many (in the 10,000 plus category!) eyes on my posts.

By the WAY: If you are an artist or know an artist, there is NO better place for them to visit than Artsy Shark.  Seriously. Calling all artists: sign up to get her savvy info directly into your inbox!

Back to the on-line course:

Carolyn and I are going to help the entire world and the whole universe (and anyone else that might be left out) to get better at email marketing. The course is geared to HER core audience – artists. She has tapped me to help with this because, like her, I have over 2 decades of experience with my own art business. However, I have additional knowledge that is useful: I also have almost two decades of experience with email marketing for that business. I have also taken extra training for my role as an Authorized Local Expert with Constant Contact. So, I bring some specialized knowledge to this project.

We are so excited to put our combined knowledge into this course. It  will be released in about 6 weeks! It is geared towards the “special” needs of artists. However, it will give you great insights into email marketing no matter WHAT your industry is and whatever your product or service might be.

Here’s a small preview of some of the interesting facts about emailing in general:  DID YOU KNOW that email marketing is 40 times more effective at getting customers (customers – people who buy things!) then Facebook and Twitter combined? Yes! That’s from a well-respected study that was released this past January. The study was completed BEFORE Facebook changed its policies (again) and changed its algorithms. Did you know about this change? Did you know that you need to pay to notify more than 2 – 4% of your followers. Some people are seeing only a 1% rate of notifications! Yikes!

Anyway – I am truly excited to be in the thick of the email marketing upswing! And happy to share some of “My Golden Words” that are hanging out on Artsy Shark.

Let’s start with the most recent: “Put Your Business Cards Away!”

Yes… put them away!

ENJOY!

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Is There a Hole in YOUR Bucket?

bucketThere’s an old folk song that tells the story of a man who complains to his wife about having found a hole in their bucket. The song begins simply with, “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza, there’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, a hole.” Google it and download the wonderful Carnegie Hall version with Harry Belafonte and Odetta on Utube. Then come back and finish reading my post.

Welcome back! Spoiler alert: here comes the gist of this great song.

She says “fix it” and he replies “with what?” She says with straw and he says the straw is too long. She says to cut it and he asks, with what? She says (and if you took a few minutes to watch the performance you are lol like crazy when she says this) “WITH AN AX Dear Henry!”

But the ax is too dull, dear Liza. So sharpen it. With what? With a stone. But the stone is too dry dear Liza. Well…WET IT, dear Henry. With what? TRY WATER. With what shall I fetch it, dear Liza. With a bucket dear Henry…..

But there’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza….

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we cannot let a hole in our buckets become an impossible and never-ending loser loop. We are tasked to find solutions that are out of the box…er…bucket. We are the masterminds of creative thoughts and we have the power to control a great deal of our circumstances. We must not allow the holes around us influence our forward momentum.

Instead of letting that hole in our bucket stop an entire project – we creative types think of all the materials that can hold water, like a pair of blue jean legs, or a pair of boots. What about stuffing a sock in it? In the bucket that is.

What about walking the stone to the water and wetting it and honing the ax and doing the entire repair near the water? Yes, I know that ruins the song’s delightful conclusion. But Henry is clearly very lazy or dull-minded or both. Are those characteristics you want to be identified with?

If you are reading this and not automatically starting to meander in your mind for other ways to fetch water or more easily repair your “buckets”, then you may just want to join in song and remain hampered, a victim of circumstances, a helpless bystander.

Just know this: You have solutions. Don’t make up reasons to hold yourself back. And when you start blaming or complaining about circumstances beyond your control, take a step back and take back the control.

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up up and AWAY!

BEHIVE-WEB-SIZE

Bees do it – and we can too!

I pass this spot next to a fast-moving highway quite often and always wonder: How did this happen? How did the bee keeper come to discover there were bees here? Who considers using a ladder to secure a bee colony? What was the bee keeper doing on that fateful day? I see him once in a while at his main hive “camp” several hundred yards away. He has 3 or 4 dozen hives there – plenty to keep him busy, I’m sure.

Was he just strolling along the highway one day and voilà!? Seriously, it is a busy 4 lane highway just 30 feet away from where I shot this picture. I was nervous just getting out of my car. Who takes a stroll along a highway on a search for wild swarms of bees?

Why would he pursue such a complex arrangement when he has dozens of neatly stacked hives requiring very little effort to care for?  Why risk falling off a ladder just for a few more jars of honey?

And then, I realized that this is what I have been doing for years. I find myself looking for people I can help and ways to help small business owners in every conversation and engagement. I learned decades ago that growing a business sometimes requires reaching out in unique ways. I have ladders placed all around my life, my business, and my client’s businesses, too.

I can’t begin to express to each of you reading this just how important it is to reach higher than you ever think is possible (or necessary). If we think outside the box and really focus on the goals and think BIG – the sky’s the limit. We cannot reach our goals without occasionally taking a walk where it seems most unlikely – even dangerous – when we are building our businesses.

We must always be observing the entire landscape for opportunities. Check those crevices, too. And, yes…. we sometimes need to raise a ladder to reach the full potential of those opportunities.

Occasionally, we all need to look away from the ubiquitous screens we all have in our lives. Look “up, up, and AWAY!” from time to time. In fact, maybe you should consider using a ladder for a truly different perspective? And if you can find someone who can help you steady the ladder, creating a secure path to new opportunities – all the better.

I have lots of ladders to share and a strong foundation to lean against. So if you think you have an opportunity, but are not sure how to “capture” the best results, feel free to contact me anytime.

But whatever you do, take a walk on the wild side once in a while. And bring a ladder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Avoid These Top 3 Artist Statement Mistakes.

I “repair” artist statements as part of my consulting practice. Often, this is what serves as the “about” page for an artist’s website or as the small bio used for the back of a limited-edition work or otherwise included as a hand-out with 2 and 3 dimensional works when sold in a gallery or fine craft venue.

What I see often is an over-riding need to seem deep or reflective or unique. People often string together thoughts that will make them seem “artist-like”. They get out a thesaurus and a blender and just hope for the best.

Top Three Mistakes
1. too long
2. too much history
3. too technical

So when I first read an artist’s statement, and I see 4 or five paragraphs – I know I will have to do some negotiating. Then when the first sentence mentions childhood passions – I know I will have to do some negotiating. And then when they describe the various mediums and the techniques and the various schools of art that have influenced them…. well, it often is simply an attempt to pump oneself up by “dazzling” potential clients.

There is rarely any need for more than 50 words, rarely any need to refer to the past, and rarely any reason to discuss technique. By avoiding those top three mistakes, a clear and compelling statement usually rises from the ashes.

Always assume that the person who clicks on that link simply wants to know what you are thinking. They are curious about what informs you about your art and its creation. They want to connect to you as a person. They just “want to get to know you”.

So keep it simple, keep it informative, and keep it on a 6th grade level of understanding.

And above all – keep it short!

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I know you have been wondering and waiting.

Aloha from Maui,

I finally heard the question too many times: Do you have a Blog? The answer from now on is YES!

As this is my début, this shall also serve as my one and only FORMAL INVITATION. Please join up and together we will all become better business owners. Let me know who you are and what I can do to be of service.

I have no plans to do anything fancy with this information. As it stands, I am still quite (quite!!) busy with my jewelry line and will be very careful to take on more than I can handle outside of that “day job”. But, I really expect to be helpful to your business someday. I am known for my selfless desire to bring good results and often turn away business when I know I might not be the right partner. I will always be serving you to provide the BEST outcome.

It may not be obvious, but I can only help those who trust me. I have plenty of people raving about my value to their businesses and I only want to add to that list of happy clients. This is another reason why I don’t take on any and every project that finds it’s way in my inbox.

So, If you think that you might need my help at ANY time – that you might need a few of “My Golden Words™” (or even a lot of my words!), then I insist that you fill out this contact information. I Insist! (Can you see my finger pointing at you!?)

Again…no worries – it’s just between you and me. If you want immediate help, call me if you are in my time zone – Maui time! Otherwise, check out this clock.

Fill this out in either case – (I am persistent in my insistence!) Scroll past the form for extra reasons to sign up!

What to expect?

My goal is to put up some juicy tidbits of advice from time to time.

Maybe every two weeks or so, I will let loose with some ideas. I might add links to stuff I have found helpful, too. And every once in a while, I hope to be uniquely helpful to my fellow artists and makers with spot on advice. As many already have experienced, I have some short-cuts to getting better at marketing, sales, and building ones business into a stable and rewarding income generator. Of course, my claim to fame is “My Golden Words™”. I can really have a big impact on your marketing materials.

Please spend a few moments to check me out.

I look forward to establishing a long and mutually enriching relationship in the near future.

Gentle Breezes from Maui…

Mckenna

PS: here’s a few of my future blog subjects in no particular order. I  just have to tempt you to stay around:

  • pricing for success.
  • pics that peak interest.
  • craft a successful craft event.
  • begging gets you table scraps.
  • are you still blaming the economy?
  • how much is that doggie in the window?
  • you will want to print this and post it where you will see it everyday.
  • why would you pay extra?

Now do you see why I am insisting that you sign-up? I am gonna wow you!

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