The 4 Things Miss Modish is Doing to Market her Business this Year (that you should do too)

modish, modish blog, jena coray, small business marketing tips
by Jena Coray of Modish & Miss Modish PR
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It’s the new year and if you’re anything like me, you’re plump full of goals and ready to make your business as awesome as it should be. But changing old habits or incorporating new ones can be a tricky thing, and no matter how much New Year’s resolution kool-aid we may be drinking, it’s hard to keep motivation up for the entire year. So, to help with goal overwhelm, I suggest we narrow down our goals and focus on the ones that are going to make the most difference for our businesses. And you’re in luck, because when it comes to making your business all that it can and should be this year, there’s only one thing you need to focus on: marketing.
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But it is 2011 and we have a blog already, we’re up to our eyeballs in social networking sites, we’re advertising and pitching ourselves to editorials. We know it, we’ve done it, what else is there? And sure, we know all those things are making a difference and getting our names out there, but now that we’ve seen those effects, we’re hungry for more.
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We want more ways to market ourselves. More ways to spread the word about who we are, and what we do. Ways that are creative, inspiring and fun so that they’ll motivate us to stick with them throughout the entire year.
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So, I propose to you four ways to do just that, and they’re exactly the ways that I plan on marketing my own business this year:
  • The first is a way to connect with your customer base in a truly authentic, and meaningful way.
  • The second is a way to get the word out about your business that can inspire confidence and be really fun, too.
  • The third is a way to put some commune back into your communication.
  • And, if you want to know the fourth way, email me at hello{at}missmodish.com with the subject line, “what’s the fourth way?” and I’ll tell it to you (it’s a really good one 😉

vintage pink typewriter, modish, jena coray, small business marketing

#1: Start a Newsletter
Only, don’t call it a “newsletter”, because newsletters are those boring salesy emails that you sometimes sign up for but rarely open that clog up your inbox every single day until you’re so annoyed that you unsubscribe (um, every big retailer you know?) And you’re not going to be sending out something like that, oh no. You’re going to deliver something that’s not only interesting to your customers, but provides something of value to them, too.
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Ask yourself: What sort of advice do you have to offer? What can you teach? Can you offer a tutorial? Share a story? Inspire someone? How can you make each and every newsletter you craft have benefit for its readers and naturally tie back into what you’re trying to sell?
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For example, if you’re an artist who makes motivational prints, like those in the post below, you could create a monthly newsletter that celebrates a new print each time. Give the readers a “first look” of your latest print and its awesome motivational message and include a little story about why those words inspired you, why you were motivated to make that piece or expand on its idea to further encourage your readers to think about it.
Maybe even include links to motivational articles you’ve read lately, or TED speeches you watched that moved you, et voila! You’ve created something that your customers will not only enjoy and learn from, but will (and this is the most important part) actually look forward to receiving again next month.
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So, on your site, don’t ask people to “sign up for my newsletter” because it’s a request that more often than not will go ignored. Instead, ask them to sign up for your “Monthly Motivation Mojo- tips and tricks to stay in the groove and stay inspired”, or whatever would describe your content. Sounds more interesting, hmm? Just make sure you can deliver on your promise! Remember, a newsletter is an intimate connection. People have invited you to enter their space, as often as you say you will, because they trust that you won’t take advantage of that. So sure, a special coupon or offer can be well appreciated once in awhile- but only on the side of some real content. It’s the content that will keep them interested. Don’t bombard them with sales messages and coupons and “special deals” that come so often they can’t possibly be special. Just share, tell stories, entertain, teach- whatever you have most to offer, do that. If it’s fun for you, your readers will be able to tell, and they’ll keep reading.
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To learn lots of valuable newsletter secrets including how to get people to sign up, creating auto-responders and what newsletter service you should be using, I defer to Sonia Simone– she’s a wealth of information.
vintage film camera, modish, jena coray, small business marketing

#2: Make a Video
In this world where relationships can be created with each other entirely online, it’s nice to ditch the keyboard every once in awhile and instead just speak. Speak in front of a camera, that is. Yes, that makes it a whole lot scarier, I realize. But as a frequent watcher of videos by business women, crafters and artists that I love, I also realize what a value it is to readers to add those additional dimensions of “voice” and “movement”- it’s as close as you can get to seeing how someone is in real life, online! After watching a video, I know I often feel even more connected to the person- I feel like I know them better, like I’ve been let into a part of their “real world” beyond the words they type, or the products they create. And that connection makes me want to support them/buy from them/listen to them even more.
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Ask yourself: What can you offer on a video that will engage the interest of your customers? How can you use video to give more insight into your work or your personality?
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If you’re crafty, maybe try to do a video tutorial of a how-to craft project. Do a little video diary that documents one day in the life of a busy so-and-so designer. Offer tips or advice or answer customer questions on video instead. Show a video of a simple technique that you utilize in your work everyday. Show yourself making something with your hands, or putting the finishing touches on one of your paintings and then talking a little about it. And then you can even (hold your horses) include a video in your more-than-a-newsletter! The sky’s the limit really. All we have to hold us back is our confidence on camera and our imaginations, so let’s just go for it! Expect a video from me, sometime this year (we’ll see how long it takes for me to work up the guts)
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See how these smart girls have used video to help their marketing efforts:
  • Golden Rule, a local Portland shop, has “home shopping network” videos that are cute, funny and make you want to come right in and go shopping.
  • Etsy’s handmade portraits are interesting glimpses into the lives of fellow artists- they’re aesthetically gorgeous too
  • Marie Forleo, a guru for women entrepreneurs, has been using videos this year to answer reader questions- they’re simple, short and super informative. Here’s a good one.
cfisher photography, modish, jena coray, small business marketing
#3: Snail Mail
As online communication gets richer and richer and we get to know each other even better without ever even meeting (so weird, but so wonderful 😉 it nearly knocks my boots off when I receive a tangible, real-world something in the mail from someone I only know online! And I’m not talking about the things I order from little shops, although orders are the perfect opportunity to get in touch with your customers. I’m talking more about thank-yous, holiday greetings and just-becauses, the type of reaching out you may usually reserve for a friend. The type of reaching out that has almost disappeared with the advent of email and social media, that I think now has the chance to make an even greater impact.
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How can you get in touch via mail, to enhance your customer connection and build your relationship even more?
  • If you’re in a service business, send a hand-written thank you to your clients when you’re done with their job to let them know what a pleasure it was to work with them.
  • If you purchased a service and had a great experience (with a web designer, for example) send them a little gift from your shop or just a big thank you as a way of telling them what a great job they did.
  • If you have a shop, be sure to include a hand-written thank you with every order- it provides instant connectivity with your customer. I feel disappointed when I don’t get one now.
  • Ask your customers for their birthdays when they purchase an item- keep track of them on a big calendar and each month, send out a special coupon to the customers who have a birthday that month- by mail!
  • If you’re trying to make a big impression to a very high-traffic editorial blog or magazine, ask for their mailing address and send them a pitch by mail with a business card and hand-written note. (don’t send samples til they say they’re interested and ask for them)
  • If you’d like a shop to consider doing wholesale with you or hosting a trunk show for your designs, send a hand-written note introducing yourself with a postcard that has photos of your work and your contact info.

.#4: And the fourth way I’m marketing myself this year?

Email me at hello{at}missmodish.com with the subject line, “what’s the fourth way?” and I’ll tell it to you there (it just might knock your socks off).
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So this is it- my plan for expanding my marketing efforts more into the funzone this year, because when things are fun, we’re apt to stay inspired to continue doing them, turn them into habits even (ice cream, anyone?). I hope you’ll join me and try at least one of these ideas this year, if it’s something you haven’t incorporated into your marketing efforts yet. Which one are you most looking forward to trying out? Well, I’m off to eat some ice cream. And then, I’m getting started on that newsletter, er, “Miss Modish’s Marketing Tips”- coming soon, to an inbox near you..
{photo credit: typewriter via Poetic Home, camera via CubaGallery, snail mail via cfisher photography}
  • http://www.smidgebox.etsy.com lesley {smidgebox}

    great post, jena. i love the way you think & write. it is very motivational, feels tangible, and overall, it’s fun! thanks for sharing the tips 🙂

  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

    I am so in love with this post Jena! Marketing & PR should be personal, fun & engaging-your ideas are all of these things & more-thank you so much for sharing: )

  • http://www.onthedotcreations.com Julie – On the Dot Creations

    Wow! This post is filled with enough information for an entire seminar! The tips for creating a better newsletter particularly helped me. Thanks, Jena!

  • http://karahaupt.typepad.com/ Kara

    What a fantastic post! This is SO GOOD.

  • http://www.BROOKLYNrehab.etsy.com Alyssa aka BROOKLYNrehab

    thank you for sharing these great insights!

  • http://www.FENNOfashion.com FENNOfashion (Megan Fenno)

    What a wonderful article and I am so glad I came across this website. Everything is so nicely laid out and the content is so helpful.
    I can’t wait to check out more from Miss Modish. 🙂

  • http://www.thequirkydesigner.com Sarah – Dodeline Design

    Great post and ideas, thank you for sharing them!

  • http://khawkinsphotoanddesign.blogspot.com/ kerry hawkins

    Just doing on or two of these ideas I think would help my business. Thanks for sharing your wisdom

  • http://blog.shopdirtylaundry.com/ Jeanee

    Thanks! I’ve been thinking of doing a newsletter, but I had no idea what kind of content I would put in. And… a friend just told me this weekend that I should start doing videos! WOW… what a coincidence!

    Thanks for sharing your tips. I’m emailing you now for the 4th ^.^

  • http://www.theenglishpea.com Alison English

    Thanks for reminding me about snail mail. I love getting mail – not the sales type – but this has made me consider sending a note of thanks to all my online customers over the past year – just saying thanks for the business and I hope you are well. I will be contacting you for number 4. 🙂 Wonderful post. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • http://gaiacornwall.com/ Gaia

    What a great article! I’m definitely rethinking my boring newsletter, which frankly was a drag to make. Now I’m way more excited about it!

  • http://tomasandjones.blogspot.com/ Tomas & Jones

    Really fantastic reading & inspiration! Thx so much 🙂

  • http://www.heartmadeblog.com Mayi Carles @ heartmade

    I’m printing this one! So AMAZING, like everything the lovely Jena does! I’m sharing this one with my peeps too… so juicy!

  • http://ahousefullofmoxie.com moxie*Lisa

    I absolutely love the ideas and will definitely be implementing them into my business this year.

  • http://www.coridantinimakes.blogspot.com cori dantini

    you got a little spark going in my brain, and now i am thinking about things i thought i didn’t need to be thinking about! thank you.

  • http://tam-me.com tammie

    great info, jena!! thank you so much

  • http://oliveblu.com Drae

    good stuff!! thanks for inspiring me…