Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Did you Send Out Tacky Pitches Tucked Between Turkey Feathers?

Am I the only one who received numerous Thanksgiving e-mails that began with, "During this season of Thanksgiving, we at (name of company) would like to take a moment to say thank you for your business ..." and then the message switched to, "And, by the way, buy my (insert product here) this holiday season, blah, blah blah?"

What the heck was that all about? It's like giving someone a compliment and ending with a "But" statement that discounts everything just said.

These types of communications are disrespectful to the recipients. As you compose your communications, keep from mixing messages. If you're going to pitch, then pitch; if the purpose of your communication is to educate, then do it; if you're trying to work on building relationships, then do that—say thanks, share what's on your heart, give insights into your purpose, get personal, share your passions. But if you attempt to mix the messages, you'll risk losing your audience.

In fact, I'm considering opting out of the most blatant e-mail pitches I received last week that were veiled under the guise of Thanksgiving. I have to ask myself, "Is that the type of company I really want to do business with?" I don't think so, do you?

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Little Tip on Back-of-the-Room Sales

This may seem obvious to many speakers who rely on back-of-the-room sales, but this little tip greatly increased my product sales for months after my presentation was complete.

Instead of putting your business cards in one little holder on the table(s) displaying your products for sale, make lots of stacks of your cards so it's easy for shoppers (potential buyers) to grab one. There are many reasons people can't purchase your products on the spot. By getting one of your cards in their purses or wallets, you have a much better chance of a sale later.

Yes, handouts or brochures given to every audience member may have your contact information, but sheer size can make them food for the trash can on the way out the door. A business card slips into a pocket or purse with ease.

Or better yet, do what we did, made business cards for my books sales (I Want You To Know Me) that are twice the size and stand up like a little tent on the table. Our products are all shown on the inside of the tent as a reminder ... voila a sales piece but it's a real keeper.

Mullins Creative has a great resource for these little 3.5 x 2 tent cards. They're on 14 pt. heavy card stock, full color on both sides, and also glossy coated on both sides so they're top quality. If interested, give us a jingle for a quote.

In the meantime, happy speaking and happy sharing your passions and products.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Head is Spinning with Ideas

I have the privilege of being the emcee at the upcoming 5th Annual Women Entrepreneur's Small Business Bootcamp, February 9, 2009 at Chaparral Suites in Scottsdale. There will be an incredible group of presenters sharing their expertise on important business strategies in many areas. To get a better handle on what each woman will be sharing, I have been meeting with each presenter to find out more about their business, what makes them tick and what business tools attendees at Bootcamp can expect to walk away with if they attend their particular session.

Today I met Lori Martinek. But that's really an understatement. One doesn't just meet Lori Martinek, one gets swept away with Lori.

Lori is the owner of Presentation Plus, an award-winning marketing and public relations firm. She has also served as a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Marketing and New Business Development Counselor in here in Phoenix as well as Illinois. Lori is also a former president, board member and consultant to chambers of commerce, charitable foundations and other non-profit ventures. My point is, she knows small business. She knows how small businesses can take advantage of very inexpensive opportunities, especially through social networking, to get noticed, get new clients, stay afloat and even prosper in a difficult economy.

Just in our conversation over coffee in the e-Factory ( a part of of Club E network, one of Lori's newest passions) she began sharing marketing ideas for my two companies, Mullins Creative and Azure Eyes Publishing when we were there to talk about her. She's a giver, she's creative and there's no question she's an expert in her field.

The women who attend the Women Entrepreneur's Small Business Bootcamp this year will get their money's worth of they only attend Lori's breakout session alone. It's going to be that good!

If you're available on Saturday, February 9, 2009, mark your calendar now. Stay the day and get 2009 off to a great start. Visit http://www.womensbusinessbootcamp.com/index.html to get registered today.

Friday, August 8, 2008

How to stay off your book printer's **** list

We manage the printing for many self-publishing authors and help others who prefer to do it themselves. Recently one of our large-volume printers shared their Top Preflight problems. These are problems with the creative files that can delay a job, increase costs and potentially allow for an inferior product. We’d like to share these with you so if you're preparing files for your next book, you’ll know to double check these items before you send the final file to print.
Keep in mind, these are the problems, not the solutions.

• Images are RGB
• Images are missing
• Incorrect page count
• Non-printing items
• LoRes images
• Fonts are missing
• Incorrect trim size
• Gutter size inaccurate
• Not enough bleed
• Too narrow gutter

If you take care to address these 10 items, you'll have a better product and possibly even get a clean-file discount like one of our printers provides. Ask about it. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who vs. That

Did you see the lady that fell off the bar stool? OR
Did you see the lady who fell off the bar stool?

Of course, the correct sentence is the second one — the lady who. Always use WHO when referring to people (even drunk and disorderly ladies WHO fall off bar stools deserve WHO.) Use THAT when referring to things.

Did you see the lady WHO fell off the bar stool THAT was broken?

Now you'll alway get WHO and THAT right, right?

I Can't Order 1,000 Stationary and Envelops

Just received an e-mail this week from a client who wanted to order 1,000 stationary and envelops. As much as I wanted to complete her order, I couldn't as it was written. Stationary and envelops can't be ordered.
Why? One is an adjective, the other is a verb (I think, it's 2 a.m. and my brain is not in full gear). What I do know is that they aren't nouns. Stationary means something that is not going to move. Envelop means to surround. People mix them up with stationery and envelope all the time.
So how can you remember the difference? They key is "E."
An envelope (that you stuff and mail) has to open and close ... open it with an "e," close it with an "e." Don't leave it open at the end.
Stationery (that you write on) ends with "ery," not "ary." Remember there's an Envelope in every box of stationery, so think "e."
Now, for all you smarty pants out there who are thinking stationery isn't what should be ordered in this situation, I'd agree. The correct term for the paper you write on is letterhead. Stationery is the broader term covering both. So when you order your stationery, make sure you get both letterhead and envelopes. Okey dokey?
Although we'd like to keep our 4th grade Engligh teachers happy, the bottom line is, if you send me an order for stationary, stationairy, stashunary, envelops, invelopes or envilopes, I would be more than happy to get you everything you need.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Want Your Friends to Think You're Brilliant??

I was recently reading a book by John Caples, "How to Make Your Advertising Pay." In it was a list of 26 age-old appeals that continue to work today because people continue to want the same things, year in and year out. So as you write headlines for ads, sales letters, e-mail letters, etc., think about these things Caples identified as what people want and see if your appeal addresses them.

Product health
Be a leader
Reduce fat
Have a happy marriage
Improve appearance
Care of children
Get ahead in business
Improve education
Make money
Be creative
Save money
Avoid worry
Win money
Avoid drudgery
Cash in on bargains
Avoid embarrassment
Gain social advancement
Avoid discomfort
Win friends
Avoid boredom
Influence people
Enjoy comfort
Win praise from others
Enjoy leisure
Gain prestige
Attain security in old age

See my headline above ... which appeal did I use to catch your attention????? (Clue, it was not about reducing fat.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blogging with Buddies

"Coming together, sharing together, working together, succeeding together."

I love quotes, good quotes that speak volumes in a short span instead of verbosity. The above captures the essence of a blogging with buddies project beginning today. Members of the National Speakers Association – Arizona are coming together for a July Blogathon ... working for the benefit of one another and readers at large. During the next 31 days, each of the following blogs will be actively updated, sharing educational, enlightening and possibly entertaining conversations that you won't want to miss. Please take a moment to visit them and post your comment. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Jackie Dishner


Susan Ratliff


Andrea Beaulieu

Mimi Meredith

Beth Terry

Vickie Mullins

Michelle May

Arlene Rosenberg

Stanley Bronstein

Suzanne Holman

There are more to come. I’ll update the list as I get more information

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Bartered a Logo Design for a Fishing Trip

or Creative is More Than The Final Product

Recently I received a call from a young man just starting his business. A casualty of the mortgage industry, he saw an opportunity utilizing a skill he’d developed growing up in Western Pennsylvania—finding great fishing holes. Maricopa County is filled with urban lakes stocked with fish that grow year ‘round due to the relatively warm water temperatures so they get BIG. This young man set up boatless fishing tours and has been marketing them to locals and visitors staying at our many resorts. Think fishing license, bait, rod and reel and line, delicious food, beverages, a photo slideshow of the experience, plus transportation to and from his favorite fishin’ holes …. everything’s taken care of. Cool eh?

But his marketing just didn’t say “professional.” To start with, he didn’t even have a logo. His budget was low, but he still knew the importance of his image.

Little did he know when he called Mullins Creative that I, the over-50-year-old female owner, love to fish. I grew up as a tomboy fishing many Arizona lakes with my dad so I value the fishing experience. This young man and I struck a deal. I explained that I couldn’t meet his budget requirements, but, we could still do the work for him. He’d just have to take me fishing to make up the difference.

His logo is done, it’s fun and it makes his business take on new professionalism. I’ve not been on my trip yet, but I am certainly looking forward to it. (I’ll post pictures afterward.)

The point to all this is that being creative is not always just about the design of the project–the fonts, the photographs. Creative is about creatively making everything you do a win-win for everyone involved. Mullins Creative is all about that type of creative, too.

P.S. If you are interested in an incredible fishing experience in Phoenix, visit www.bgsfishingtours.com.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Should I Tell Her or
Not Tell Her

Okay, so this whole mistake thing has brought up a new subject. Late last week I picked up a handout from a VERY successful marketing speaker who was the keynote at an event I was attending. There on the first line under her products for sale was “Marketing Plan Manuel.” Unless someone named Manuel had received a nickname for his skills at producing marketing plans, then we could assume it was supposed to be “manual.”

Here’s the big question. Should I let her know about the error? Would you want to be told? How would you like it handled if you were on the receiving end? Does the level of success of the business, or in this case the speaker, make a difference?

I have had my mistakes pointed out. I appreciate it, because I don’t want to look foolish any longer than I have to. For some people, however, bringing light on the mistake is resented and taken very personally. There’s that ego again.

I believe tact and grace are important, but even then, sometimes the information is not welcomed. We’ve seen hundreds of mistakes on websites that are so easily corrected but typically we don’t volunteer to point it out for fear of offending the site owner. The mistakes on the sites continue to make the business lack professionalism.

Any ideas, I’d like to hear your comments. Also, cast your vote in our poll in the sidebar and we’ll see what the majority thinks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Don’t tolerate mistakes

There seems to be a common philosophy floating around these days relating to business communications. That philosophy basically is, “I’m never going to get it perfect, so I might as well get it out there as it is and forget about it.” On one hand, I totally agree. If we spend all of our time futzing to get a communications piece out that could be okayed by a higher power, chances are, it may never get out. Because, hard as we all try, errors do happen.
No one is perfect.

On the other hand, in our business we continue to see basic, basic mistakes that really do make a difference in how others perceive us based on what they see and read. So, it really becomes more about being lazy and not taking the time to educate ourselves on getting things right. The key here is, take the time to ask for help, ask for opinions, ask for critiques. We all have our areas of expertise. And then when something is pointed out to be out of whack, fix it. Don’t fight it. Get the ego out of the way for the betterment of the whole.

Make sure your business collateral is not producing collateral damage. Fix your mistakes.