5 Perfect Times to Ask for a Referral

Asking for referrals makes many small business owners and salespeople uncomfortable. However, if you do a great job for customers and they are happy with you, customers are usually pleased to help you succeed and give you a referral. But customers often won’t think of referring your small business without prompting. You have to ask. […]

Think Like a Minimalist to Get Your Marketing Message Across

I’m helping a client design a consumer rewards program, with the goal of increasing our competitive advantage and attracting new customers. Because the product mix has excellent margins, we can offer a program that provides high value to the customer. To give you an idea, joining the rewards program includes ALL THESE GREAT BENEFITS: Free product for […]

A Small Business Marketing Campaign that Understands the Customer

James Free Jewelers is enjoying success with a clever marketing strategy tailored for engaged couples. With any bridal purchase over $5000, customers receive a free 4-day, 3-night honeymoon cruise. This offer is much more attention-grabbing and interesting than a straight percentage discount, while still preserving margin for the retailer. A full-price, 4-day Bahamas cruise with Norwegian […]

Sadly, Interesting is More Important than Accurate

Precise language is one of my joys. It’s exhilarating to find exactly the right word that communicates in the best way possible. Which is why it pains me to admit that accuracy isn’t all that important if it’s boring. For marketing communications, you must be interesting first and precise second. To catch a customer’s attention, it’s best […]

Teaching Children the Value of a Nickel and a Dime

It’s rare that I’m pleased to receive direct mail marketing, but I eagerly opened the nicely-designed piece sent from the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. They have some exciting shows this season, including adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and Tarzan. But I found one aspect of their season ticket pricing off-putting. A “Season Infant Lap Pass” costs $1 […]

Campfire Stories and Small Business Marketing

A great campfire story compels the audience to listen, eager to hear what happens next. And they will remember the story, to share with others later. Wouldn’t you love for your marketing to capture some of that feeling? Unfortunately, small business marketing tends to focus on tangible features and benefits, i.e., “Enjoy life in your […]

My #1 Web Design Tip

The message this week is short but powerful. It’s my #1 web design tip, which is: Design your website for what your customers care about. Don’t design for what your CEO cares about. Don’t design based on your past websites. Don’t guess. If you’re redesigning your website, ask your customers what they care about. Make […]

Cookie Monster is Happy Again

A few years ago, in the face of the obesity epidemic, Sesame Street tried to give Cookie Monster a new slogan: “Cookie is a sometimes food.” Cookie Monster bravely faced this new challenge, giving up his favorite phrase, “C is for cookie. That’s good enough for me.” Fans were not so kind. Petitions, blogs and […]

Why Isn’t Every Business Using Yelp for Customer Service?

My husband and I had a great experience dining at Jimmy G’s, so I wrote them a five-star review on Yelp. Less than an hour later, I received an email from Ross, the manager, thanking me for reviewing the restaurant. At first I thought, “What courtesy! How kind! How unusual!” But then I thought… “Why […]

Yelp for Small Business Marketing

Your small business is already on Yelp. People are voicing their opinions about your business, and others are listening to their advice. Yelp reported that 61 million people visited the site in the 3rd quarter of 2011. Many small business owners don’t realize Yelp’s influence, let alone contribute to the conversation on the site. Including […]