Great reasons to celebrate your business

celebrate your business

As we begin the fourth quarter of the year, now is a great time to take stock of how your business has been going so far and make some plans for next year.

Think about which marketing efforts worked...and which didn't. What you were able to sell...and what you are still sitting on. Who gave you great feedback...and who complained.

What are you going to do differently next year to grow or at least sustain your business? How will you keep people interested and how will you keep yourself motivated?

One way to approach these questions is to consider some of the many great reasons there are to celebrate yourself, your business, your customers and your market at large - any of which can translate into marketing efforts:
  • New product or service - addition to a line, new innovation, improvements, ideas coming soon
  • Hitting a big milestone - number of social media followers, number of sales, bringing an idea to fruition
  • Holiday - real ones like Halloween, industry celebrations like American Craft Week, or silly ones like National Hot Dog Day
  • Seasonal - summer, spring, fall or winter, tax time, back to school, vacation
  • Anniversary or birthday - for yourself, your customers, your staff, your business
  • Teachable moment - witty observations, life lessons, zen quotes, kidspeak
  • Public mentions - article in a local paper or trade magazine, getting noticed online, customer success stories
  • Inspiration - local culture, nature, colors, animals, positive imagery
  • New event - teaching a class, hosting a reception, attending a show
  • General news - staff changes/additions, new location, awards, community or customer activities
How many of these ideas resonate with you? Pick and choose from this list to plot out your plans on next year's calendar for designing, producing and marketing. Remember to celebrate your customers and colleagues, too - not just yourself. Call me if you need help!

7 steps for writing effective sales copy

Morgan Weistling

You might already be familiar with something called "tripwire" marketing - maybe not because you learned about it in a business course, but rather you experienced it as a consumer.

You've probably seen a website or received an email that went on and on for a really long time (it felt like you were scrolling down forever!), filled with lots of headlines and overflowing with exclamation points and boldface type. It talks rather repetitively about a common complaint, how you're undoubtedly feeling about it, and then...wait for it...there's an amazing, super cheap product that will magically solve your problem.

Then right after you buy it, you start getting more emails or more webpages, promising more satisfaction if you spend more money. The copy for all these messages was most likely written using a tripwire template.

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with tripwire marketing as a sales tactic. First of all, the name itself has a pretty negative connotation: 
tripwire (noun) - a wire stretched close to the ground that works a trap, explosion or alarm when disturbed, serving to detect or prevent people from entering an area.
Sounds manipulative, like we're supposed to trip people up and force them to fall into a trap. But tripwire marketing tactics are pretty common and have been around for a long time - we see them every day at our supermarkets and department stores, not just online or in emails.


It's really just about using a free or cheap products to bring people in, so that we can then encourage them to buy additional or more expensive products. It can be effective because most people are willing to accept something free or cheap with little or no hesitation, whereas a more expensive product usually gives us pause.

To me, many of the emails and webpages I've seen that were written with tripwire templates feel fake and unnecessarily long-winded, like the crazy carnival guy trying to sell snake oil. But I will say that the basic, boiled-down structure of a tripwire template can actually be a helpful reference for writing concise copy that flows smoothly for the reader.

Whether you're writing an email, an article, a blog post or text for a website page - the words, phrasing, format and length you choose should flow naturally and guide your readers such that they genuinely want to keep reading what you've written from beginning to end. I'm not talking about manipulation, I'm talking about sincere engagement. Hopefully I'm doing that for you right now...  :-)

Here are 7 steps for writing effective sales copy:

  1. Write a headline that speaks directly to a perceived problem or need
  2. Feature engaging or aspirational images
  3. Define your customer's perceived problem or need clearly
  4. Support your statements with facts and testimonials to establish authority and credibility
  5. Offer your product/service as a solution with easy "click here" purchasing access
  6. Include simple, bulleted details about the features and benefits of your product/service
  7. Anticipate potential objections and provide answers to frequently asked questions
Whenever you need to write specifically about what you sell, and you want to see click-throughs that convert to sales, I believe that following these steps will give you the best chance of success.

Just remember to balance your sales messages with non-commercial content. Too much "buy me, buy me" without enough useful information, inspiration and/or education makes for very unhappy readers who will not likely become loyal customers or ambassadors.

Crafting your intent

In my Creative Solopreneurs column for the latest issue of Bella Crafts Magazine, I write about the importance of crafting your intent.

When you are completely clear on your own intent for your business, you can develop more effective messages to attract the kind of customers you want, get them to feel something, and then guide them toward making a purchase – or at least inspire them to share your message.

Click here to purchase this digital issue and read my full article.

Why creative solopreneurs should care about marketing

As a columnist for Bella Crafts magazine last year, I wrote about our creative space - organizing tips, motivational prompts and storage ideas.

This year, I'm writing about marketing for creative solopreneurs. Here's an excerpt from my current column:

Creative solopreneurs are those of us who have taken (or are considering taking) our beloved craft hobbies to the next level. I will attempt to provide insights and answers to that proverbial question - can we quit the day job and make money doing what we love the most?
A few years ago, I took the plunge myself...and lived to tell about it. As a designer in the craft industry, I’ve made a nice transition from hobby to job. And as a marketing consultant, I enjoy helping solopreneurs in many different industries to take their self-promotion more seriously.
So let’s talk a bit about marketing and why creative solopreneurs should care about it. First of all, you must think of yourself as a small business from the get-go. Marketing strategies are, at their core, the same for any size business, whether you run a global company with thousands of employees or you run a dining room table operation with thousands of buttons. It’s just a matter of being realistic about your goals and resources.

Click here to download your free copy of the Spring 2016 issue of Bella Crafts and read the rest of my column. You'll enjoy several other columnists and plenty of inspiring craft project tutorials, too!

How does your home page measure up?

This is a great infographic from HubSpot that outlines twelve important elements that should be on the home page of your website. I just had to share it, because I still see so many sites that miss the mark. You only have a second or two to make a good first impression when people land on your site. Make sure your home page gives visitors plenty of good reasons to click around and learn more about what you offer.

The value of video

value of video lisa fulmer

Check out the article I wrote (pages 14-16) for Craft Industry Today, a monthly magazine for members of the Craft & Hobby Association.

I talk about how to use video, in your shop and on your website, to engage with more people and help them make informed purchasing decisions. Quality engagement means happier and more loyal customers!

Setting SMART goals

Albert Einstein
No, I'm not talking about being smart like Einstein. Back in the 80s, management and marketing experts developed the SMART acronym as a guideline for setting more effective business goals. 

It’s still a viable tool today - use this acronym for every goal you set for yourself and your business – from sales and marketing to production and expenses. Learn more about it in this post I wrote for the Creative Income blog.

Why a marketing plan is so important for solopreneurs

message in a bottle
Wikimedia Commons
As solopreneurs, are you taking your marketing seriously enough? Have you written a marketing plan for your business, or do you think that's something only larger companies need to worry about?

The crux of marketing is the same for everyone, no matter what size or type of business you're in. Marketing is about getting the right message to the right people at the right time.

The real challenge of marketing for solopreneurs isn’t so much about finding enough time and money to buy advertising, engage on social media, design a nice website or print some postcards. Yes, those are all marketing issues you'll surely have to deal with, but the real challenge of successful marketing is figuring out what the right message is, who the right people are, and when the right time is.

That's where a marketing plan comes in. I recently wrote about why solopreneurs should care about it for the Creative Income blog. Click here to read the full post.

Book review on business leadership

I reviewed Leaders Eat Last, a book written by Simon Sinek, for one of my client's blogs - just thought I'd share a link to the post here.

Sinek writes about powerful and historical forces that have not only shaped our culture as a whole, but that also reign influence on our actions and interactions as individuals and as leaders.

A very worthwhile read for any entrepreneur or business owner!

6 steps for how to start a blog for your business

how to start a blog for businessIn my last post, I discussed the three reasons why you should start a blog for your business. Now let's talk about the preliminary steps required to launch a successful blog.