Thursday, February 4, 2016

Trending - colors, logos, type style

It's a new year! Not only are fashions changing, but so are the looks of advertising - colors, logos, style, fonts and the list goes on.

I find this article particularly fascinating. How many of us consider those things when we're setting forth our corporate look?

Let's look at McDonald's for example. We know the company by the "Golden Arches," but the style of everything keeps changing. It stays new that way.

So I encourage you to read this article and share it with your design team, your advertising agency, your marketing team.

MARKETING TIP: Yes, you do need to be consistent with your look and feel, but you can include some current graphic "fashion," if you will. Remember the ages of your customers. They dictate change.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Why do I post? Where do I get my content?

I receive a lot of questions about why I have this blog and where I find my content material.

For years, I worked in the N.C. tourism industry and saw numerous people attend seminars on working with the media. The sessions were quite informative. One would think that attendees would go back to their respective attractions, hotels, tourism offices, chamber offices, festival offices, etc. and incorporate their newly-learned knowledge into their promotional activities.


Instead, I saw those attendees bitch, moan and complain that they couldn't get media coverage.

Oh hello!!!!!!

Since my background includes a lot of years working in various TV and radio jobs, plus a few stints along the way in print, I felt compelled to start this blog.

Later on, I began teaching small business promotion classes at community colleges and saw a need for basic business education. That crosses over to festivals, events, non-profits and attractions - as all of them should operate as a business. Many don't.

I started working with small towns, helping them not only tell their story, but also tidy up their operations and consider grants to spur economic development and quality of life.

Where do I get my material? I keep my eyes and ears open. Something as simple as ordering a beverage at a drive-through window may spark an entire discussion. Or, I may pick up an idea during a conversation, or by watching the news.

So I appreciate your reading my blog. It's educational - with absolutely no advertising. If you find something you can use, steal it.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Festival organizer/promoter? Copy. Don't reinvent the wheel.

Which season has more festivals? Fall. Why? People are usually gift shopping for Christmas and other special days.

How does your festival compete against the others to get good vendors and a high attendance? Promote it!

And that activity really needs to begin a year in advance. You need to invite your current vendors back, invite others, get on event calendars, build your web presence - and subscribe to the monthly email sent out by the National Cherry Blossom Festival. That organization does the best job in promoting its activities.

I'm not going to tell you more. If you want to learn best practices, review this blog periodically and copy the promotional activities of the National Cherry Blosssom Festival. Yes, you can do it on a low budget. Yes, you can.

MARKETING TIP: Learn from the professionals about how to promote a festival. Copy what works. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Copy. Relax. Be happy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How do you handle a weak executive director?

I received a call today from a friend of mine who is the chairman of a non-profit. He was lamenting to me some difficulty his organization has had throughout the years with the executive director. The chairman said that the ED was not following the job description and that was causing problems. He went on to say that since the ED is the only employee, that they just cannot fire him. They need to be able to work with him.

Sound familiar?

So I suggested that the executive committee sit down with the ED and listen, really listen, to his complaints and then act upon them. Perhaps he feels overwhelmed. The organization does have funds to hire a second person now. Monies had not been available until now. That told me that the ED is doing something right.

Boards need to listen to staff and EDs. They need to hear what is actually going on so difficulties can be eliminated. People on the outside of an organization will see bumps in the road and not donate.

MARKETING TIP: Charity begins at home - within an organization. If it isn't being run well, potential donors will be able to see problems and give elsewhere. So fix internal strife. Just fix it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What truly is the name of your festival?

I'm writing a newspaper story and am confused. The town's website calls the Oct. 17 festival one name, while the chamber of commerce calls it another. At the same time, chamber and town officials call it yet something else.


True story. I can't make this up.

MARKETING TIP: If you are the organizer of a festival, make sure that all the major stakeholders in your community know the name, date, time, etc. of your event. If it's too confusing for your local folks, then just imagine what a blur it can be for the vendors and festival goers you're trying to attract!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I absolutely howled when I read this post on Facebook! Here is a list of email subject lines from bands wanting to promote themselves.

I truly wish there was a school where bands could go to learn how to promote themselves. For instance, band members need to invest in a really good photo session with a very good photographer. The website needs to have information about each member and some interesting trivia. Hearing about awards is one thing, but learning about the band is truly much more useful.

It helps to have a You Tube presence. When I'm writing about a band appearing at a festival, I want to be able to hear what type of music the band performs and see  the members in action. Do they play to the audience? Are they showmen? What kinds of instruments do they play?

MARKETING TIP: Just tell the story.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Podcasting? Get a great camera!

I know an accountant who teaches a lot of classes. She is setting up podcasts. She commented to me that the camera in her computer really wasn't clear, that she needed something else.

MARKETING TIP: It's not truly necessary to have a professional video on You Tube, but it is necessary to have one that people can actually see and hear.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Speak so others can hear you ...

When we're young, we speak very rapidly. However, as we age, the link between what our ears hear and how our brain interprets that sound slows down.

You may notice that some broadcasters, say for the 6:30 p.m. national news, speak more slowly that those at your local TV station. That's because the #1 viewer audience for that national show graduated from school years ago ...

When you use the phone, I encourage you to speak slowly enough that the person on the other end of the phone can understand what you're saying. I was in a Tractor Supply store the other day and watched a girl answer the phone. Watching her lips - and hearing what she had to stay - I still don't know what she said. She spoke so quickly.

So folks, slow down.

MARKETING TIP: Talk to the age of the person - not your own age. That's a difficult lesson to learn if you're less than 40 years old. But try it.

Cold calling pointers

Are you in sales? Every small business owner is. You have a product/service you want to sell. Right? If you're in sales, or are a first-timer, here are some pointers....
  • Research the company you're calling on before you knock on the door. Find out what their products are, who the company decision maker is and their busy season. 
  • Listen. Listen. Listen. It's more important for a potential customer to talk about themselves than it is for you to talk about your product or service. The more they talk, the better they'll feel about you.
  • Never accept NO. That's a standard answer. It can mean "I have no time to talk with you," "I don't know who you are" or "I"m not the person you need to talk with." To me, NO just opens the door to go back.
  • Before you ask for a contract, spend time getting to know your potential client. Sales are made on relationships, not your rate card.
  • Look like you have your act together. I met with two exterminator companies last week. Each one's price, product and procedure was the same. The difference was that one had the paperwork in place for me to sign when he showed up.. No, that wasn't a cold call. But still....
MARKETING TIP: Selling isn't usually something you can do overnight. It takes patience and determination - along with a good handshake, a nice business card and sincerity. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Another personal word

I always say you should post on your blog a minimum of twice a month. However, it's been a rough time since Sept. 2014. I won't go into the details, but since then I've lost both parents. I've learned what "numb" means. So as you see, I've not posted since April.

As I pick up the pieces of my life, I'll be posting again - sharing lots of new information I'm learning to help you promote your small business, festival, town ....

Friday, April 10, 2015

What is the difference between your domain name and the name of your Facebook page?

I recently talked with a small business owner who told me he owned his domain name. When I double-checked at, I saw where the domain name was available. He didn't know it. He thought that just because he was on Facebook and the name of his page was what his domain name would have been, he thought he owned it.


You can name your business or organizational Facebook page just about anything you want. That is not your domain name.

A domain name is the name you would use for your website. It would have a www. in front of the name you choose.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for every business to own it's own domain name - and to make sure the ownership is listed as the company's name - not a technical person who bought it for you. That's another discussion based upon the school of hard knocks.

MARKETING TIP: The name of your Facebook page is not your domain name. Make life simple for yourself. Go to and purchase your domain name. You don't have to have a website to do it. 

Cell phone? How do customers find your number?

Do you use a cell phone for your business? If so, how do people find your number? 

If you have a strong web presence, then yes, you can be found. But what about the business owner who has little to no web presence? How does he get new business?

Granted, phone books are history. Current generations don't even know what they are. Land lines are soon to be history, even though I feel they have much better reception and reliability. I hate talking with someone on a cell phone because the pitch hurts my ears. It's very difficult for me to usually understand what is being said on the other end of the conversation.

Cell phones are sexy. People have to have the latest one, the one with the most apps, the greatest memory and speed.

But all of that isn't really necessary when you're trying to get your own business phone number out in the public's eye.

MARKETING TIP: If you're using a cell phone for your business, put as much energy into promoting the number online as you do playing with your apps and gadgets. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Promote your own booth in an antique mall

I recently talked with the owner of an antique mall who said he didn't believe in updating his website or increasing his web presence. WHAT??!! He said that when people type "antiques" in his city, his site shows up first along with a map.

I wonder if his booth vendors know that.

So if you're a booth vendor, you need to be out there promoting your own place. Use every online mechanism you can. If the management of your mall isn't going to bend over backwards to promote the store, then it's your responsibility to do it as you show your own items. Let the management know what you're doing.

In the long run, you'll sell more items and your store will make more money. Then negotiate the cost of your booth.

MARKETING TIP: Never rely upon someone else to promote your own company. You need to be out there in the marketplace - too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Big Lick Bluegrass Festival uses You Tube to invite festival goers

MARKETING TIP: Use You Tube to invite people to your event. It's personal. And it's free.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hey bands! Listen to me! I need hi-resolution photos!!!!!

I stand on my head. I pull out my hair. I scream. Does it do any good? Apparently not. Hey bands, if you want me to promote your group, please provide a hi-res image!!

No, a 4x7 on your website doesn't cut it. I need an image that is at least 2mg in size. I'm looking at the number of pixels in the image, not the number of inches.

Print needs a good, professional hi-res image. Newspapers and magazines don't pull something from your website. As one editor once told me, "You can't create something from a postage stamp." Referring to pixels, the photo you have on your site is the same as a postage stamp. You cannot make it bigger.

Yes, you can use lo-res on your website. You can use lo-res anywhere online. But, for print, lo-res doesn't get it.

For more information on what the difference is between hi- and lo- res, click here.

MARKETING TIP: If you want your band to be promoted, provide the event organizer and publicity person good, professionally-made hi-res images. PLEASE!

Reaching millennials

Reaching the millennials is a task many of us find rather daunting. I found this article and learned quite a bit from it. Yes, millennials are all over the web, but when they find something interesting, they dig. In my classes, I've had some students in their 20s and they have shared that they dig to try and verify what they read or hear. They seek the truth, looking for reliable sources.

And they use search engines.

MARKETING TIP: The internet is just as much your friend as your foe. If you want your business, festival, non-profit to be seen and to grow, you absolutely have to be on the internet. The Facebook audience is indeed huge. However, if you do a search, you only find one entry on Google, Bing, Yahoo and the others that you have a Facebook account. It's critical that you use more than one online portal to get your message out there. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Are you using You Tube?

Are you using You Tube to invite customers to your business, event or festival? It's so simple! You Tube is very user friendly.

All you have to do is either have someone use a digital camera to record you - or you can use your phone - or you can use your webcam. Once you have the video, You Tube guides you through the easy process of posting it. Once there, you take the link and add it to your website, your Google sites and all of your social networking sites. You also include it in your email marketing.

It's a personal invitation. You're face-to-face. Well, they see you and that's what you want.

MARKETING TIP: You Tube is used by more people worldwide than any other online portal. Use it to promote what you're doing. It's easy - and works!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fundraising? Use your noggin.

Most non-profits are partially funded by donors. Securing their dollars isn't as difficult as you may think. But, you do need to do your homework and use common sense.

An example of homework is to investigate the foundation, individual or corporation to find out past giving patterns. In the United States, you can do that by reviewing their 990 tax filings.

There are all kinds of tips for successful fundraising. I encourage you to find someone in your community or on your LinkedIn page who has a good track record for raising money. Learn how to be a success - and a failure - before you start knocking on doors.

Building  relationships is important in any kind of work you do. In fundraising, it is especially important to know your audience - the audience of donors. Know who they are, how they function, where they like to spend their free time and what is important to them. Know their granting habits. 

MARKETING TIP: Find out if you are a good match for a gift - before you ask for the deal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Faulty communication

I just had the most fascinating private message conversation on Facebook with a marketing director for a local franchise company. After looking at her firm's FB page, asking her 30 minutes worth of questions and searching the web, I still do not know what her company sells.

On my personal FB page, I list a lot of job openings. Times are tough and I have helped friends secure interviews and new jobs. So the post about this fire safety company was intriguing. It never talked about the product or service, just the benefits of working there.


So I dug trying to find out if this was a legitimate company. I don't want to post bogus information on my page.

I'm still unsure.

MARKETING TIP: Always make sure your product or service is foremost in all of your communication. Be credible with your message. Make sure all your employees know what your products and services are.

Options to giving freebies

Artists, performers, crafters, writers, photographers ... the list goes on.

Too often, they do not feel that their work is worth a price. So they give it away. Shame. I don't believe in the "starving artist."

I suggest that artists and crafters always charge a fee or request something more than the obligatory sign or program thanking donors. And then, those signs only usually include the top supporters - not the one who gave a beautifully hand-turned raku bowl for auction.

I believe that an artist or crafter should have a tiered price list.
  • Retail - selling directly to the public
  • Wholesale - selling to another business for it to resell on the public retail market
  • Family/Friends/Non-profits - a special price for those people who are your absolute worst customers - the ones who shame you into giving at least one piece of your work
There is an option, however for non-profits. I recommend creating some type of criteria for your gift. You may ask an organization to apply to you for a donation.
  • You may require an organization to focus upon your work through press releases and media interviews.
  • You may choose 2-3 organizations to support - and that's it. No more.
MARKETING TIP: Be upfront and honest with customers - including non-profits, friends and family. You cannot work for free. So be sure to either be paid in money or in a fashion where a lot of potential new customers will see your work and your pretty face.