Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Helping out servers during the covid crisis ...

Now that we are getting out more, we are finally letting someone else serve us. It's a wonderful feeling! Restaurants love being busy and so do their servers.

One way you can help them is to increase the level of your tip. Many restaurants have depended upon loyal customers to help put money in their servers' pocket. 

So how much should you give? The base amount is 15%. But in these times, where things are so darned expensive, I encourage you to give a little more. It may sound like a lot, but $5.40 for an $18 meal is 30%. The normal 15% for an $18 meal is only $2.70. 

Many waite staff have two jobs to make ends meet. So I ask you to increase the level of your tip. Keep in mind that some of the employees may not be seasoned yet and are still learning. Regardless, they need your help.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sales tips for posting online

In focus - or fuzzy? When you take a photo, please look at it before you post it online. There have been some beautiful things that people have posted that are out of focus. There is no excuse for that.

If you really want to sell an item, do it right. Shoot it so it can be seen. Whoever took this photo did a crappy job.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Selling online? Here are tips for your Facebook marketplace, Etsy, Ebay, Google and other commercial sites...

As we start Christmas shopping, many of us will be buying or selling online. The most important thing to remember is to learn what you're doing. There are a lot of tutorials online. But, if you have a niche item, the best thing to do is to contact other sellers who carry what you have. There are so many potential customers out there that sellers will share very useful information with you. You can easily find their info with their photos.

The next most important thing is your photo gallery. Please, do not post just one photo! Post several so people can see the item. But post a good photo! I have seen some crappy ones that were out of focus, poorly lighted, turned incorrectly so you couldn't see the piece and the list goes on. Your photo can lose a sale for you. Or, it can convert someone on the edge to enter the credit card information. If you can afford it, hire a commercial photographer.

I have a Navajo collection that I inherited from my grandparents who taught on the reservation many moons ago. So I know the story behind most pieces. I will keep some, but the rest are up for sale. Each piece I am selling has a story with it that I can share. Most items were never purchased from the Native Americans, but instead were gifts. Your seller will want measurements and photos of different sides and the signature, if there is one, like this one from the world renowned Maria Martinez. The story will lend credibility to your item.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

There should be no such thing as a starving artist ...

Are you the type of person who really enjoys turning pots, making jewelry, photographing birds, finger painting, gluing designs on T-shirts or using dried petals to form new framed bouquets? You aren't alone. But do you want to sell these items? You're not alone, there, either. Your passion is making the beauty - not doing what it takes to convert your talents to cash.

Most artists are not business people. They shudder at the thought of having to produce a brochure, website, business card or listing on the many online art portals. Have you ever heard of Yelp?

If you have the money to hire out your promotion, do so. Otherwise, no one will know you exist. Making $100 at a show, when you've spent $327 on supplies, gas, time and booth fee, is not wise. You are losing money. 

The option is to barter. But do it with someone skilled at their trade. You don't want a fly-by-night web designer. You don't want a wedding photographer to photograph your work for your website. Google is very specific in what it will accept to move your website forward so it will be easily found. Huge mistakes people make in the design of their website are using different colored fonts, poor grammar, misspelled words and not enough lo-resolution photos. Google wants you to use You Tube video.

And you cannot use Facebook as your only online portal. Google and Facebook do not get along. So your Facebook posts will not appear in a Google search. All a visitor will see is that you have a page. 

I endorse this company - www.artstorefronts.com. I encourage you to spend time on the website and make the necessary investments it takes to get your artwork noticed and purchased. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

It's a new year - new day - new job - new organization growth ... Join LinkedIn

What is the value of being on LinkedIn? It not only tells about your professional background, but it also does the following:
  • Connects you with other people in your field. You can ask the questions, share information or collaborate.
  • Helps you investigate a potential new boss, co-worker, customer or donor.
  • Shows your skill sets.
  • Gives you credibility.
You can start with a free membership. If you are running a business, non-profit, festival/event or want to do so, you need to be on LinkedIn. It can help make your own wallet, or your organization's coffers, grow.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Smile - it's contagious!

It's been a year since we were told we had to stay at home because of a strange new virus. Now, we are getting vaccines and venturing out. Retail stores and restaurants have become accustomed to curbside service. Most of us have learned that we don't catch colds or flu when wearing a mask. I don't know of anyone who got sick this year. But, I do know of many who had covid and died.

The sun is shining now. It's time to start planning spring and summer outdoor events. They can be at your home or your business. If you want to decorate, save yourself some money and shop second-hand stores. It doesn't matter if they are brick and mortar or online. We have not been able to socialize, so plan a party when it gets warmer.

There are many sites. But I advise you to compare shop. Some prices are higher than others for the same items. You can shop locally either way. Put a smile on your face and a smile on the face of someone else!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

It's Covid-19 and what should I do?

The world is screwed up. But if you own a business, are a festival organizer or operate a non-profit, now is actually a great time to go into business. Really? Yes. The reason is that you can focus upon some different things that you will wish you had done before you opened your doors.

For example, if you are a retailer or service provider, you want to make sure your product meets the needs of your customers. Create a social media campaign asking for input. It's like a series of focus groups. What do people want and need? How much would they be willing to pay? Why type of services do people seek? It is true that your customer, not you, will determine what your final product or service will be. So instead of stumbling at the beginning, do some market research and find out what people want and what they will buy.

Utilize social media as much as you can. And remember, Google and Facebook don't get along. So you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket with Facebook. Do a Google search on anything or anyone and you will see a page exists, but that is it. There are many other social media sites. Utilize this  time to get your photos lined up, your product/services lined up and the methods by which potential customers can find you lined up.

Yes, stay busy during this time. Use You Tube as much as possible. When things turn around, and they will, you will be ready.

Greta Lint is back in the saddle ... Oh, what a year ...

Hello one and all. My last post was June 8, 2019. Three days later, I learned I had cancer. To make the long story short, I ran into a lot of white coats who really were used car salesmen and I am alive and doing well. I will start posting again soon. And please, wear your mask. "Jack" here is "wearing" his "mask" and has a lot of "friends" popping by.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Using Facebook to promote your business ...

Many of us hear about Facebook communities. Yes, they do exist. They are where many of the local residents and small business owners use Facebook to communicate. Is there anything wrong with that? No. 

However, if a small business only puts their eggs into the Facebook basket, there is a major problem. If you are one of those business owners, do a Google search on your company name. You will not see any of your Facebook posts show up in a search. None. Zero. Nada. You will see photos and you will be directed to the Facebook page, but your individual posts will not show up.

So how do you get around that? There are several ways. 
  • Invest some money with a reputable company and develop a true website.
  • Take very, very good photos of your products and post them on Flickr.
  • Click "Own your business" on Google Maps and post photos on that page.
  • List your business with YELP. Keep the information updated. It's free.
  • Post information in your store directing people to your Facebook page.
  • Use other social media, such as Twitter and Instagram when you have new merchandise arrive.
  • Use your phone and record short videos, showing your self and your products, on You Tube. Put your You Tube video on your website and Facebook page. Tweet it out. Promote it every way you can.

MARKETING TIPS: It is a fallacy that if you build it people will come. They won't. You have to promote yourself, your company, your organization - whatever you do. If you are not interested in spending the time to do so, barter it out or hire it out. Otherwise, go to work for someone else. Your business will suffer.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hospital closing? Control rumor and go public with the news ...

The news about a hospital having financial woes and potentially closing is pretty devastating to any community. 

With changes in the medical world and how bills are paid, this news is becoming more common place. It's a sad state of affairs and isn't the type of news anyone wants to discuss. 

So what do you do if you are the hospital? You have two options. You can either let local rumors fly or you can address the issue head-on. 

Rumors are just plain bad. Departing doctors share information with their patients and the rumor mills start. Poor service and empty parking lots signal more. 

To offset that mounting bad news, leadership has an opportunity to go public and be honest. You've always heard that "honest is the best policy." Well, it is. By going public, hospital leadership can ward off most rumors and build community consensus. After all, no community wants to lose a hospital. The next closest one may be a good drive away; patients can die in the meantime.

MARKETING TIP: If your organization affects the public in any way and is facing a rough go of it, embrace your local media and share the news with them. They will let the public know. Work closely with your local media and be honest about the situation. Don't sugar-coat it. Don't hide it. Be up front and honest. The end result will open doors that will help remedy your situation. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Remember direct mail? It's in demand again ...

The Small Business Agency just put out this report - direct mail is the place to spend your advertising dollars.

Why? Millenials, in particular, are flooded with phone messages. They don't get much mail. So the market for post cards, pamphlets, brochures and catalogs is increasing. You develop a campaign that ties your snail mailed piece directly to your website. You have a landing page on your website that is tied directly to the message on your postcard, or whatever.

I am thrilled to see this report. I have said for years that direct mail is the way to go, particularly if you are trying to reach people who live in areas not served by traditional media.

But when you do this, you need to hire a graphic designer who can create something that will attract the attention of the millenials. As the 4th grade teacher found in her classroom study, Instagram is a great place to be. So you design your ad as if it is an Instagram post. We don't have a long attention span anymore, so sell your item with photos. Include a millenial in them. Hire a commercial photographer who can capture the image to make it sell your service or product. Where do you start? Check this out ...

MARKETING TIP: Old is new again. Revisit it. Tweak it. Target a new audience. 

Reaching kids by advertising on Instagram

How do you reach kids today? By phone.

This 4th grade teacher's record of how her students used their phones during her class was brilliant. Each time a phone went off with a notification, she noted it for the students to see.

Yes, we all know this. But do marketeers? Do they really pay attention? Kids have money because the parents will give it to them. 

Look closely and you will see kids are conversing via text, Instagram, email and Twitter. Use of Facebook, Snapchat and direct phone calls has decreased, according to this anecdotal survey.

MARKETING TIP: If you are trying to reach kids, take note. You need to be online. I suggest you start looking at buying ads on Instagram. Here is how you do it ....

Friday, April 5, 2019

Always be up front and honest with your media ...

This blog was originally designed to help festival and event organizers. Since, it has expanded to small businesses and non-profits. My view is  that all of these must function as a small business.

But so should vendors who attend festivals. That includes star attractions - bands, hot air balloons, cooks, etc. Today, I found this interesting post about why hot air balloons should not fly at festivals. It's all about safety. 

Weather and terrain of the land play a huge factor when pilots go up. Winds could suddenly change. I saw that happen in Statesville, North Carolina, years ago. The wind on the ground was still. But 100 feet up in the air, there was a dangerous current of wind that gave pilots a real challenge. 

So how do you handle this with your public relations? Be honest. Always be honest and have the message come from your point person. TV stations love to show hot air balloons in flight. They are beautiful. But, the science behind it is that safety comes first.

MARKETING TIP: Always be up front and honest with your media. They need to know what is going on so they can share it with their readers and viewers.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Not all public relations firms understand their job ....

I have been in the PR business for a very long time. My background started in radio, went to print, to TV, to print and back to radio. Then I went to the other side - public relations. I continued to keep my toe in print. Yes, I've learned thing or two. I have had reporters camp out on my doorstep to brainstorm story ideas on a slow day. I have had them come to me wanting jobs. I live to work with members of the press.

So, it blows my mind when I hear of PR people who don't know where their local media outlets are physically located, what the assignment editors and producers look like, what their deadlines are or when their planning meetings are held. It pisses me off that PR people think they don't have to give priority to the needs of reporters, photographers, videographers, producers and editors.

If it weren't for the press, PR people would not exist. So we need to work closely with them, forming relationships and partnerships. We also need to guide them to good stories.

So this brings up my next point. True story. While I am in the PR business, I continue to be a member of the working press. I string for a newspaper. I have for a long time. I receive a lot of emails with story pitches.

Here is the latest ...

PR PITCH: "Would your readers be interested in learning about new farming equipment?
ME: "This is an agricultural area. Yes, I would be interested in writing about new equipment. Do you have a farmer here locally who is using what you are selling? I would like to interview him about his techniques and results. I need someone local."
PR PITCH: "When you say local, does that mean anywhere in the country?"
ME: "No. It means local to Randolph County, North Carolina."
PR PITCH: "Here is a link to our services. Will that help?
ME: "No. I need a name and contact information of a local farmer. Can you provide that for me? Do you use a PR company?"

PR PITCH: "We ARE the PR company!"
ME: "I wasn't aware of that. When I said 'local,' you should have known what I meant. A local farmer means a local farmer here, not across the country.

MARKETING TIP: Members of the press are your client. They need to be respected and treated as a client, not as an afterthought or a bother. Successful PR efforts build a strong relationship between you and your media. They will help you and work with you - as long as you earn their trust and respect. The lack of willingness to work with media can kill your business or project.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Protecting your online assets ....

Here's a real scenario ... A small business owner hired a marketing company to create and manage a website and social media sites. Well, the customer never received the access information. Phone calls, emails and texts to the marketing firm were ignored. To avoid this from happening, there are some things you should do before hiring a company.... 

1) Check out the company. Get references. Ask for samples. Do a Google search for complaints.
2) Get everything in writing. That includes all access codes and information.
3) Make sure the sites are in YOUR name, not the name of the company.
4) Make sure the bill for those sites is in YOUR name, not the name of the company. That includes website hosting and any social media ads you buy. YOU want to be the one who pays the bill. If not, your site may go dark from lack of payment.

MARKETING TIP: In today's world, your online message is your most important sales tool. Protect it and your wallet.

Monday, February 11, 2019

This blog supports classroom activities

If you're looking at this blog from a phone, you are missing half of the information. For that, I truly apologize. Blogger is trying to help me fix the layout. 

If you are using a tablet, desktop or laptop, then you see that this blog has repeatedly been tapped into by students and faculty from classrooms worldwide. I see that in analytics that are not public.

So if you're on a phone, I invite you to check out this blog from a computer. But the main thing is to scroll through and see if there is anything that trips your trigger. Is there something here you can use? If so, do! It's free. I am always looking around for educational information to post.

That's why I'm sharing my own challenge. We all face them. Right?

MARKETING TIP: When you are creating a website, be sure to see how it looks from IE, Chrome, Opera and other platforms. Also look on different phones, as not all are set up the same. Be sure that your message if fully visible. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

How often should you post online?

Are you using the Internet to tell your story? Make sales? Get noticed? Then you need to spend time posting engaging, interesting and useful information. It may be a few sentences, a video, a link or a photo. 

What does that mean? If you're on Facebook, you should post once day. If you have a business account, and you should, then you can look at your analytics and see who is visiting your site. Usually you will see that 3/4 of the visits are women during lunch, at night, on weekends and on holidays when they are relaxing. You want your posts to spark conversation, as that is the basic premise of Facebook - conversation and dialogue. Posts that develop threads of discussion are successful.

If you have a website, you need to update it weekly. Monthly is okay, but the more you do it, the more visits you will get. Search engines like websites that are kept active. Again, you can do it by changing photos, videos and text. A website that sits there and isn't changed does you no good.

MARKETING TIP: Your online presence is critical for the success of your business, your festival attendance, your fundraising efforts and your community awareness. Post away!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Retailers should consider selling online, too

If you're a NASCAR fan, chances are you once visited the Richard Childress shop and gift store in Welcome, North Carolina. Years ago, there were some store items that just didn't sell. So the manager put them online. Wow. They sold out in a hurry. So he started adding more items to the online store. He raised the prices back to the regular price. Items kept selling. The manager couldn't believe that he wound up selling so many items online. Yes, he wound up with two stores - a bricks and mortar store and one via the Internet.

This was a good case study that I have shared with students in my small business promotion classes. 

Why just have one door into your store when you can have two? Wouldn't you like to double your money? It can happen. But when you do something like that, you need to really plan your promotional strategies. Always include your bricks and mortar store address with your online store address. Mentally believe that you have two stores, not one. Chart the items that sell and don't sell. Does your graph look the same for your physical location as it does for your online location? These are things to watch.

MARKETING TIP: Got a retail store? Want to make more money? Open one online. Promote them both. Let your customers know they have options. Hey, Walmart has done a pretty darned good job showing us the way ....

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Have a new PR job? Get to know your local media.

Well, it's been a while since I posted. Since August, I have been working on a huge, HUGE project that has diverted my attention from this blog. I have been handling the public relations for the closing of Business 40, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The 1.2-mile stretch of road was the first portion of Interstate 40 built in our state, in 1955. 

It's old and worn out and is being replaced. The Business 40 Improvement Project has truly been a community effort which started some 12 years ago. New bridges. New highway. New beautiful entrance into Winston-Salem, the city of arts and innovation.

So when I started, the first thing I did was to get in touch with my local media. I went to see them. I am surprised how many PR professionals have never been to a newspaper, TV station or radio station. They have never seen the people who work in a newsroom, except when they show up for an interview.

That is so very wrong. If you're in the PR business, you need to put the media first on your agenda and work with them. Give them story ideas. Help them get interviews and those necessary images. There is never a need to fear anyone in the press. Embrace them. Help them. Nurture your relationships. They are your friends and should be treated as such.

MARKETING TIP: If you want to succeed in your PR efforts, get out of the office and go meet your local news crews. That includes the assignment editors. And be sure to thank them all.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Please accept my apologies ....

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I really do apologize. Only half of this site works on mobile. If you are using your phone, chances are you cannot see the 100+ schools and universities - and companies - that have repeatedly visited. You cannot see a lot of the information I have on the right side of the screen. 

I apologize. I have set this blog to be mobile-friendly, but the design must not work.

I am working to fix it.