This never fails to amaze me: People make it difficult for others to contact them! Now, I know these are the days of spammy stuff, but even so, most of the people who contact you are trying to help you, do business with you, or become a customer. 

It's often not a conscious thing, but more along the lines of "Oh, I have a Contact page on my website," or "All they have to do is hit reply to my email," or this classic from the Shoot Myself in the Foot School of Marketing: "They have my contact info." 

It's critical that people be able to contact you, easily, in a way they (not you) are comfortable with.

If you make them jump through hoops just to reach you, even a small hoop, they may not stick around long enough to buy something (or answer your email, or help you with your problem).

If you make them even a little bit uncomfortable (or frustrated) because you only give them one way to contact you and it's something they don't like (they feel uncomfortable with website forms, for example), they will find someone else who they feel better about.

I've said it before and it bears repeating: Put complete contact info on everything. Otherwise, you're just sabotaging yourself.

Soooo....For emails, that means a signature block at the bottom of every email. Set up your email software to put it there for you automatically every time you write an email. 

In your email signature include all the ways people can find you: your name (seriously), your company name, your email address, website url, phone number, address (if you have a retail location), and social media links. 

You can include an image in your email signature (like your company logo) and your motto or tag line to help them remember who you are and what you do.

For websites that means not only a contact page (or contact info visible from every website page), but multiple ways for people to contact you so they can choose the one they feel most comfortable with:  Email, phone, website form, social media. 

Just do it. You'll be amazed at how much more responsive people are! 

Want help? Contact me at 310-480-6738 or email me. (Notice how I gave you two options in addition to the other options you see here?)  :-D

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart

Last year one of the kids was staying with us for a while and he surprised us by reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and pantry. That was so nice of him! 

One problem though: He's over six feet tall. I'm five feet tall on a good day, Harry is 5'6". You can see where I'm going with this.

It all looked great, but unfortunately he designed for what would be good for him and what he thought we should have, instead of looking at it through our eyes and considering what would work for us.

I did try his redesign for a few days but got tired of standing on chairs and digging through to the back of the cabinets to find the items I use most often. 

It's a super common mistake and one I see made every single day as I move through life. Our clients do it all the time and we remind them: Look at what you're creating from your customer's perspective. Don't give them what you think they should have, give them what they want. Don't know what they want? Ask.

It doesn't matter whether you're designing your website, sending email blasts, doing a direct mail campaign, or setting up an exhibit at a show or event. Stop and "change your eyes" as I call it. Get several points of view.

Think about your customers/clients/collectors and who they are. THEIR perspective is critical for your success. Make it as easy as you can for them to do business with you.

An example: I recently did a website audit for a client who set up his website himself. He has the skills, and I was happy to help him fine-tune it. Did he make that most common mistake? He sure did. He took all of his products and categorized them by date because it's important to HIM to know what was published in what year. But would that help his customers find what they're looking for? Not in the least. In fact, it would make it harder for them, and more confusing.

"See" what I mean?  Pun intended.

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart

I've said it before and it's time for a reminder: It is professional suicide to use poor quality images on your printed materials and online.

By "poor quality" I mean doing what I've seen many creatives do (really truly):  They stand in front of the image they want to capture with their cell phone, in bad light, with shadows, off to one side, out of focus, and snap a picture.  Ack!!! 

It IS totally okay to do that if your art is to take photos with a cell phone or you need on-the-fly snapshots for your blog. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about images of your work, your art, your products, and you.  

Since you sell stuff (you're in business) it's all about presenting yourself the best way possible. I want you to use images that are clear, crisp, and beautiful. 

Think of it this way: Would you want your images displayed at a gallery with no lighting, where they hang your work far below or far above eye level, where they make everyone stand to the side, and view the work from behind dirty tinted glass? Well, that's what you're making them do when you use poor quality images.

Visually promoting your business starts with great images.  

I'm not saying spend a fortune, just spend enough to get a great image. You can do it yourself IF you know what you're doing (you have the skills of a professional photographer), or you can save the time and angst and have a photographer (or a scanning service) do it.

Oh, BTW, that IS real art in the image, done by our daughter Dani over 25 years ago. Sorry Dani. I made your wonderful art look bad. Just remember that you're helping other creative people do better. So, thanks!

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart

Do these two things and your marketing efforts will be much (much) more effective:

  1. People ask me all the time, "What the best marketing strategy?

    While there are many good marketing techniques and strategies, the best are the ones that you will do, regularly, over time.

    There are so many ways to market your products and services. The reality is that if you can't or won't do it, it won't work. So, start with what you know you think you can do, consistently, over time. Then add other things for a balanced approach to your marketing.
  2. People also ask me "How do I know if the marketing strategies I choose will work for me?"
    The answer is that you don't know, nobody does, at least in the beginning. Once you do your research and make an educated guess you need to set some criteria for success (what will happen if it works and when)*. Then you run with it and monitor it. If it doesn't meet your criteria for success it's not working and you STOP. Do NOT keep pouring time and money into something that isn't working.

    *Do be realistic about your "criteria for success."  Going from $100/month to $20,000/month in two months is probably not realistic. On the other hand, a more realistic goal might be increasing your newsletter signups and sales 10% within six months.

I took a marketing workshop years ago and the VP of Marketing for Disneyland told us how they make decisions about their marketing: Their strategy is to put their heads together and make their best educated guess. They don't actually know what will work. They set criteria for success. In other words, they decide what has to happen to show that it's working. They set a reasonable time frame to give the marketing a chance to work (for example, number of tickets sold in three months). Then they run with it. If it doesn't meet their criteria for success, they STOP, even if they have poured tons of money into it. If it does work, they "milk the heck out of it."

Remember the original Electric Light Parade? It was a two-week filler for another parade that wasn't ready. People went wild for it and it ran for ten years. I recently saw a news article that they've updated it for a new parade. Love it.

List of Articles
AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart