Welcome to the sixteenth issue of the Carolyn Hasenfratz Design and Carolyn's Stamp Store email newsletter, where you'll find articles and news for entrepreneurs, artists, craftspeople, and other creative people!
Why Small Businesses Should Engage in Content Marketing
I've been a passionate advocate of and participant in content marketing for many years, but I know why it can seem like a daunting strategy to a small businesses. You the small business owner already have a lot of hats to wear - now you have to be a publisher too? Here are some reasons why you might consider doing just that.
Large companies have an advantage in many areas of advertising, such as television, print, and big trade shows because those channels require significant investments of money. However in many ways, small businesses can compete with big ones when it comes to content marketing. How is this possible?
Haven't Taken the Social Media Plunge Yet?
Your customer acquisition efforts may not be performing to their full potential if social media is not part of your multi channel mix! A great many companies and organizations both small and large have a social media presence now, but there are still some of you out there who are not on board yet. Here are some reasons why I think you should consider getting involved now.
Social media is definitely a good broadcasting tool. It's also a good listening tool. If you want to know what people are really interested in, you have to pay attention to what they're talking about and sharing in social media as well as other channels. If I'm stuck for ideas on what to write about in this blog for example, sometimes I'll check what the hot topics are for Webinar Resources Twitter followers. It's also good to know what people are saying about your company specifically. If negative information is being spread, you want to know as soon as possible so you can begin damage control before the bad publicity gets too entrenched. Also, as individual potential customers prefer different channels of communication, it never hurts to give them as many options to interact with you as possible.
What Are You Doing For Your Mobile Customers?
A new survey of 20,000 adults by BIGresearch shows that 13.2% own a BlackBerry device, 11.3% own an iPhone, 9.3% own a device running Android and 5.2% own an iPad. Among other things, these devices enable consumers to browse the web, view multimedia content, scan bar codes and QR codes, compare prices at the point of sale, download coupons and share information with their social networks. These are all intriguing possibilities for a business to explore as part of the multi channel marketing mix. But are the number of users of smartphones and tablet computers large enough to make the effort to cater to them worthwhile? At first glance those don't sound like terribly high percentages of users.
There is other data in the survey to consider. Perhaps not surprisingly, mobile device users are more likely than the general population to shop online. They are more inclined to research products online before making a purchase. And according to Gary Drenik, president and CEO of BIGresearch, "...mobile device owners are more likely than average consumers to give and seek advice on products and services."
Tidbits from Carolyn's Inbox
Here are some random pieces of news delivered to my email that might be of use to all you creative people out there:
- Call for Artists! Soulard Market Park Arts and Crafts Fair 2011 in St. Louis Missouri on May 14, June 11, and July 9 and August 13. The fair will take place in the Soulard Market Park located at the corner of 9th and Lafayette. Fair hours are from 9am-3pm. Application info here.
- The Potters Council sponsors a variety of events throughout the year. See the list here.
- Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis County offers art classes, workshops, and camps. See the offerings here.
- Get news on the art scene in St. Louis - St. Louis Art Map
- Find out what is going on at the Art Center / South Florida in Miami Beach - Upcoming Exhibitions
- The Soapcrafters blog has some interesting articles about the business side of making personal care products - read them here. Debbie May of Wholesale Supplies Plus also has some business and creative articles on her blog.
- Become a guest interpreter for the Museum of Bad Art in Boston - find out how.
- Free blog background graphics from BasicGrey
- Creative Souls is starting a magazine - if you would like to be a contributor, go to the Creative Souls Blog and check the forums for magazine news.
- Some of the best ceramics and techniques in the world come from Japan, so it's no surprise that potters around the world would sympathize with and try to help their Japanese counterparts at this difficult time. Read about some of their efforts here.
Lots of Things to Do on Route 66
Do your travel plans this year include or intersect with the route of Historic Route 66? If so you might be interested in the Events Calendar I maintain on the Route 66 Association of Missouri web site. I've recently updated it with dozens of events happening all up and down the Mother Road. Take a look and find some fun things to do - Events Calendar.
If you want to drive Route 66 in one of the most beautiful states in the USA (incidentally the third most visited after California and Florida), my home state of Missouri, join the Route 66 Association of Missouri on our 22nd Annual Motor Tour on September 9, l0 and 11, 2011. This year the theme is "Cruisin' the Past, Present and Future", and the tour will start in Miami, OK and will end at Skippy's Route 66 Restaurant east of Leasburg, MO. The tour is open to any kind of vehicle that is legal to drive on roads - bring your classic car, your daily driver, your motorcycle, your RV, your antique bus or your retro milk truck - we've had all of those and more! Read more about the tour on the Route 66 Association of Missouri blog.
Webinar Wednesdays 2011 Series
Join us for our next webinar, "Optimizing Training and Marketing for Success in the Social Cloud: How Companies Offering App and Web-based Solutions Must Reshape the Sales Funnel" on Wednesday, March 30th 2011, 1:00 - 2:00 pm Central.
In our next webinar, we are joined by Rosie Hausler, President of SandhillPR. Rosie brings a wealth of business knowledge and experience in marketing and training. She has been a VP of Marketing for three silicon valley Software-as-a-Service start-ups. Her hands-on experience and best practices in managing marketing and training in successful Software-as-a-Service companies bring a unique approach to managing your content in today's social cloud.
What you will learn:
- How to synchronize your marketing and training programs for better results
- How making your customers lifelong learners can positively impact your business
- How to measure your results and optimize your resources
- How to leverage social networking and make creativity your BFF
Featured Project from Carolyn's Stamp Store: Making Printable Backgrounds for Stamping, Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking
Combine collage with monoprinting and Adobe Photoshop to make exiting printable background and accent papers. You will need at least some basic knowledge of Photoshop to complete the project.
Click here for Making Printable Backgrounds for Stamping, Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking.
Until next time,
If you would like to add yourself to the list to receive future issues of this newsletter, please fill out the short form below. Thank you!
Previous Newsletter Issues:
Volume 1, Number 1 - Carolyn joins Webinar Resources
Volume 1, Number 2 - Ferguson Artisan Fair, SIUE Alumni Art Show
Volume 1, Number 3 - New Client Web Site Launched, Rubber Stamp Winner, Rubber Stamped Pillow Box Tutorial, Some Favorite Recipes
Volume 1, Number 4 - Upcoming Show Opening at Art St. Louis, Carolyn's "State of Your Web Site" Address
Volume 1, Number 5 - I Have Entered the Blogosphere, Does Banner Advertising Still Work?, Featured Craft Project: Petroglyph Card
Volume 1, Number 6 - Fall Art Walk, My Entry Into Social Media, Connections '08, Take One a Day For a Healthy Web Site, Featured Craft Project: Rubber Stamped Floral Mosaic Card
Volume 2, Number 1 - New Route 66 Association of Missouri Blog, Discovery Light, How to Install Google Sitemaps on Your Web Site, Show Off Your Art and Craft Projects, Carolyn's Stamp Store Wholesale Pricing, Featured Craft Project: Rubber Stamped Muslin Bag
Volume 2, Number 2 - The Green Issue, Content is Valuable: Repurpose It With Technology, What if you could choose to pay less?, Online Forms: Green, with Benefits, Featured Craft Project: Recycled Car Seat Bead Earrings
Volume 2, Number 3 - Send a Free Personalized Father's Day eCard, Software is Knowledge: Organize Your Collection, Carolyn's Stamp Store is on Facebook and Amazon.com, New Products Added to Carolyn's Stamp Store,
Featured Craft Project from Carolyn's Stamp Store: Retro Interlocking Card
Volume 2, Number 4 - Make this Holiday Personal, Get Your Emails Delivered, Finding Shows for Exhibiting Your Art and Crafts, New Recipes Added to Melt and Pour Soap Recipe Web Page, Carolyn's Stamp Store Adds New Designs to Catalog, New Addition to Pattern Library, Featured Project from Carolyn's Stamp Store: Thank You Card
Volume 2, Number 5 - Webinar Wednesdays 1st Edition, "Help! I'm using so many applications I'm losing track of them all!", Tidbits from Carolyn's Inbox, Create an Indoor Water Garden, Carolyn's Stamp Store Adds New Products to Catalog, Featured Project from Carolyn's Stamp Store: Convertible Necklaces
Volume 2, Number 6 - Webinar Wednesdays 4th Edition, Tidbits from Carolyn's Inbox, New Client Web Site Launched, Three Route 66 Web Sites Relaunched, Money Saving Ideas for Budget Conscious Crafters
Volume 3, Number 1 - Come See Me at Crestwood Court This Saturday, Who is in control of your online reputation?, Strategic Use of Social Network Applications, Route 66 Association of Missouri 21st Annual Motor Tour, The last thing I need is another hobby - so why am I starting a new one?, Featured Project from Carolyn's Stamp Store: Small Journal With Pockets
Volume 3, Number 2 - Send a free Halloween eCard!, Design Influences Perception, Social Network Applications Cater to Deep Human Urges, Two Friends With New Ventures, Upcoming Webinar: Living in the Multi-Channel Mix, Upcoming Route 66 Association of Missouri Events, Featured Project from Carolyn's Stamp Store:
Card With Squares
Volume 3, Number 3 - Holiday Gift Suggestions, Webinar Resources Launches Mobile Christmas Storybook, Mobile Device Apps - Make the Outdoors More Fun and Bring New Customers to Your Business, Carolyn's Stamp Store Has It's First Ever Sale!, Carolyn's Stamp Store Adds New Products to Catalog and Featured Project from Carolyn's Stamp Store: Inchies Holiday Card Holder Garland