Self Publishing as a Sales Tool

Authors write books and self publish and hope to sell them for a profit. Whether they use a book printer and buy a quantity of books or publish through Amazons CreateSpace print on demand program. So the cost of the design of the cover and interior is taken into consideration to their ultimate profit.

One of my first book designs I created was for a motivational speaker. He had a great idea I’d like to share…
He didn’t want the book to be used for sale. He used it as a give away promotional piece! Instead of handing out nice pens or coffee mugs or magnets or notepads, printed with his logo, name and info. We used a book printer for his book, printing 3000 copies. And the cost per book (printing and design costs) was in line the cost of a nice promotional item.

A promotional item that would just be thrown in a drawer and forgotten. The book was a fantastic marketing and sales tool to prove he is the expert in his field. As well as a give away, he did sell it when doing a day training for a company – he added the cost to the training for each company employee to have their own copy.

Domain Ownership

When you search and find that perfect domain – buy it.
Buy it in your name.
Buy it with your credit card.
Have total control of your domain and user name and password.

Here is a story to illustrate why making sure you totally own and control your domain is so important:

Jane Doe owns a business. She wants a website to be able to post the classes she offers online. And to be able to change the schedule monthly.

Jane finds a web design company that will create her site and also offers her a free domain with monthly hosting.

So Jane pays the company and gets her website up and running. All goes well for a few months or longer. Until one day Jane can’t get a hold of the web design company. Perhaps they closed down. She needs to put up a new class schedule. A month goes by. Jane still hasn’t heard from the web design person. So she seeks out someone else to help her.

But that person can’t do anything for her because together, the new web person and Jane, discover that they can’t update the site because Jane doesn’t have a password. And Jane doesn’t have access to her domain because through the WHOIS data base she discovers that the domain is actually owned by the old web person.
There is nothing she can do. She would have to start from scratch.
This kind of circumstance has happened numerous times in my years of creating websites.

I always use the customers card to set up the domain and the hosting.
If something ever happened where they couldn’t get a hold of me or they decided to move to another company – then it would be no problem for them because they have total control over their domain and hosting.

Don’t let your web designer or hosting company or who ever signs up your website account, put it in their name…with their credit card…with their information as “owner”.
It’s ok to let them have the user name and password and have access to your domain, because they will need to get in there to do stuff – to point it to you hosting company, to set up your email if you have that and such stuff.

Taglines and Slogans

The phrase that follows your brand name explains your unique selling proposition. It is an important part of your brand awareness and positioning. There is a difference between taglines and slogans. Taglines are part of your long standing brand, whereas slogans are something that change with your different advertising campaigns.

“Got Milk” is a slogan from the 1993 milk campaign. The tagline, “Snap, Crackle, Pop” will always be part of Kelloggs Rice Krispies started in 1932.

Compare “What can brown do for you?” (2005) to “When you absolutely, positively, have to get there overnight.” (1982) Obviously these are companies with an established brand awareness. But if your company is small and new, how would anyone know what “What can brown do for you” means? Could it be a consulting service or a ditch digger?

When creating your tagline and slogans, the process is a lot like choosing the name of your company. Keep it simple in words that can be understood by the consumer. Keep it short and the idea clear. Make it descriptive and easy to remember, especially if you are new and have not developed your brand. And of course use them on every piece of promotional material you have.

Here are some taglines and slogans that have stood the test of time. . .

“Good to the last drop”    Maxwell house (1915)

“When you care enough to send the very best”    Hallmark (1934)

“Breakfast of champions”    Wheaties Cereal (1935)

“A diamond is forever”     De Beers Consolidated (1948)

“Finger lickin’ good”     Kentucky Fried Chicken (1952)

“You’re in good hands with Allstate”     Allstate (1956)

“It takes a licking and keeps on ticking”     Timex (1956)

“The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand”     M&Ms Candy (1954)

“Please don’t squeeze the Charmin”     Charmin Toilet Paper (1964)

“The quicker picker-upper”     Bounty Paper Towel (1971)

“Just do it”     Nike (1988)

“Got milk?”     Milk (1993)

Look at some of those older dates!
It shows how the good ones work with every generation.
Have fun and best of luck writing your next tagline or slogan.

Haiku Exercises Writers Mind

It began as a literary game between two people – the tanka or five line poem. What we know today as Japanese Haiku, the three line poem, is really the hokku, the three line starting verse of the tanka. The first line holds five syllables, the second holds seven and the last, five syllables.

This challenges you to choose your words carefully – much time can be spent in creating this tiny poem. The 5-7-5 rhythm alone will create a Haiku, but for more challenge, creativity and tradition, your Haiku must also contain a kigo, a word telling what season in which the Haiku is set. To make it more fun, if not more difficult, you do not have to physically name the season – but perhaps words that indicate the time of year.

You will also notice when reading Haiku, that is it divided into two parts. Both sections must enrich the understanding of the other. The poem may not always be a complete statement – the reader shall add his own words and imagery, forever changing and re-creating the meaning of the Haiku!

The beauty of Haiku is that such a tiny poem can be subtle, complex and full of inner meanings. Thus it has been for centuries and still it remains popular.

    Master the lily
    Your growth comes from deep mire
    Yet you show beauty

In this Haiku, I think the kigo would be “beauty” as its blooming, so it must be summer. This is based on the symbolism that even though it sits in muck and mire, (like life sometimes) it gets its strength from it and blooms the most amazing flowers. So, if we “master” what the lily teaches, we too, shall “grow” from the muck and mire and bloom!

I remember learning about Haiku in Junior High and I have been a fan since then. Writing the Haiku below, I wanted to add the extra trick of adding a kigo without saying the actual name of the season. Read the two haiku below – what is the kigo?
The koi experts might figure it out – can you?

  Sleep deep cold koi
  You cannot see the moon glow
  Yet glimmer like stars


  Jewels of the pond
  Hiding under lotus leaves
  The bright sun awaits

The first one is deep winter and in the second, spring has come.
To bring out the color in Koi, they can be “wintered over” in mud ponds (so murky they “cannot see the moon glow.”) When you get them out after winter, in the spring (“the bright sun awaits”), they are vibrant “jewels.”

It began as a literary game between two people, give it a try. Writers will find the challenges of writing Haiku an excellent exercise for those “writers block” down times!

What do you do?

What do you say when asked “What do you do?”

Most of us genericize what we do, put a lable on ourselves that makes us sound like everyone else in the business. At first contact – first impressions are key. How will we stand above the crowd and let our prospective customers know how great we are?

• You have your business logo that is a symbol of your business – a “Visual” logo that graphically “says the most with the least” (the basic principle of graphic design).
• Expressing what you do verbally, “saying the most with the least” is your “Verbal” logo.

Creating the perfect audio logo is harder than you might think. Keeping it short and telling what you do and what problems you can solve for your customers is the key. Tell them just enough that they say, “Tell me more.”

Whenever I used to say, “I’m a graphic designer,” it just brought blank stares or a polite, “That’s nice.” But when I say, “I am a Business Image Developer and I help entreprenuers get more customers by improving their image.” That generated more interest! Saying I was a graphic designer was underselling myself because I do so much more than that.

Write your own and try it out at your next networking gathering. You will find that you continue to refine, change and focus it until you have the perfect verbal logo. Then you will see the magic begin!

Competition and Customer Service

There is a saying “don’t bad mouth your competition, just do better than them.”
Want to Beat the Competition? Offer the Best Customer Service!

Here is a great exercise for you to do, to see how you fare against your competition in business: Write a few words or paragraph that describes you and your services, your business, your product etc. Now think of your closest competition and cross off the words on your list that also describes them. Did you cross off all of the words?

When you and your competition offer the same product or service, what can you do to rise above the competition? How do you attract more customers than the competition? Offering lower prices is the first thing that many would assume. But don’t undersell yourself – if you believe in your product or service. We are in business to make a profit! Even those that love what they do so much they would do it for free, if they could.

In this age of instant gratification, lightening speed technology and cheap products – customer service seems to be the first thing to go when it comes to big business making a profit. I am always so pleasantly surprised when I encounter a business that excels in great customer service. Especially when it is consistent year after year.

What customer service can you begin doing that you aren’t doing now?
Love your customers, pay attention to them, offer informative newsletters on your web site and email lists, think of them when you run across an article they would be interested in, send hand-written thank you notes! The sky is the limit! Your customers will love you and come back for more.

Promotion Tool

Handwritten notes and thank you notes are an unexpected and welcome surprise in this day of texting and email. This excellent networking tool will keep your name in front of your networking sphere – send them often!

“Thank you for meeting with me today –
I look forward to working with you…”
“…Ran across this article, knew you would
appreciate it…”

 “Thank you for the referral…”  

The notes do not have to be fancy – a simple handwritten note in a hand addressed envelope, is enough to show you care to take the time – and that your contacts are worth the effort. If you think you don’t have time – grab a large folder or envelope or box, add envelopes and note paper and a book of stamps. Everything you need is in one place to make it quick and easy.