Monday, May 21, 2012

Promotion on Pinterest

I've just joined Pinterest---hard to believe but I'm currently exploring this product for the first time.

I buy products that I need from one of my web customers and recently pinned a product I loved as a reference on my personal Pinterest page. The product pinned was one that I wanted to save as an idea for a future product.

I was surprised at the impact this pin made. It was re-pinned almost immediately by others and the pin included the original link back to my customer's page in an easy unintrusive way. It will be interesting to discover if this type of action results in sales or inquiry activity. It certainly has increased interest in the product.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Like all small business owners I am sometimes overwhelmed by all the information I have to keep track of just to make a dollar. If you own a smart phone you'll find where there's a need there is an app for that. Here are a few I like.

  • Triplog - GPS Mileage Tracker by ESOCIAL ----this app keeps track of your mileage vs expenses and allows you to download a monthly report. Some features, like receipt uploads require payment, but most of the outstanding features are free. Just set up the GPS to track at the beginning of the trip and at the end click the end trip button and the mileage is tallied for you and added to the monthly report. This outstanding and easy to use app will allow you to maximize all that mileage at the end of the year.
  • Business Calendar---I've imported all my important calendars into one place---all color coded so that I know what everyone is doing and when. Great if you need to work around different client schedules or need to know what the customer is doing for web information and coordination.
  •  Inkpad Notepad---I searched a while and tried several before I found this wonderfully simple to do list app to keep me organized and on task. Maintain multiple lists, cross off tasks as they are completed so that you always get the satisfaction of being productive. And you can back up your lists to the server if you want that option.  
  • Bar Code Scanner---Uses your phone's camera to scan bar codes. Great if you are in retail because you can do a bit of inventory with your phone if need be.    
These are just a few of mine. What are yours?       

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pininterest Anyone?

According to a poll done by people on Pininterest buy more and spend more (double) when they buy than the folks on Facebook.

83% of U.S. users of Pininterest are females and the average age is 35-44; a demographic not to be overlooked.

And the site could be addicting. And it has potential to give small business an edge. Let's look at a couple of examples.

  • Florist, nurseries, farmstands---posting fresh additions to stock as it comes in. Do you have a specialty item I'm looking for? I'll get on my laptop or phone and pull up all those delectable pictures.   
  • Selling something visual---jewelry, purses, crafts? Pin it and sell it.
  • Is your business a restaurant, bakery, or yummy shop? Wet some appetites with some Pininterest.
  • Does your business create art or help someone to create art? Pin all those wonderful creations to your board---letting everyone share that they were made with your tools.
Double the Facebook sales...that's something to consider.      

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Picture Size

Photographs are a crucial components for websites, blogs, and emails. Photographs not only need to be crisp and close up but taken in the most natural lighting conditions possible to preserve true color, although there is no guarantee that true color will be preserved on whatever device that your customer views the photography.

One issue overlooked is the size of the pictures posted to the web page, blog, or email. Experts are conflicted on the size. Even the big ecommerce sites like etsy, eBay, and blogger differ on the optimal size of photographs.

Photographs uploaded to eBay are advised to be at the largest possible size. There is no maximum size here---just a minimum.

Which means that if you're posting the same photography to your business site, etsy or blog, you'll need to make another batch of photo's that are quite a bit smaller---roughly around 900-1000 px  at maximum. In emails thumbnails or photo's not bigger than 300 px might work better.

Most experts advise posting the picture size to your web coding so that your customer's browser doesn't have a choice to resize and the web page loads faster. Most importantly, include alt and name verbiage so that even your pictures pop up into the search engines and bring more customers to your site.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Way Your Customers are using Social Media

Meeting at a store, making dinner plans, shooting a photo of a great buy or meal, or drink; all ways that Facebook and other social media can be used for your business by your customers.

This weekend my small group of friends made me thirst for a drink, after posting a photo of a Bloody Mary during a brunch, introduced me to a new restaurant, and notified me of a special offer and event that a store, that I barely knew about, was having.

When the new restaurant was suggested I promptly pulled up a mouth watering menu on the restaurant's website and weekly specials posted on the Facebook page.

I can testify that the two restaurants will receive real sales over the next week. I'm still considering the offer and special event from the store. But I'm still thinking about it.

Thus is the power of just a bit of Social Media.    

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I've had good luck shipping with the USPS and I hope making that statement doesn't jinx me.

Not so with UPS. Not only are UPS rates much higher than shipping USPS, there is a reason why they offer free insurance.

Recently we shipped an item from Indiana to North Carolina. The item was trackable and made its speedy way from the Midwest to the southeast where it promptly disappeared. We were notified by the customer that the item had not reached its destination even though the tracking information indicated the item had been delivered.

UPS claimed that they had delivered to the next door neighbor and records showed that a "Blake" had signed for the package.

There in was the problem---there was no "Blake" living next door to the customer. After further investigation revealed that the UPS driver had deposited the package with some one loading refuse left street side by the neighbor, I contacted the UPS supervisor in charge of the area.

The UPS supervisor was neither appalled or apologetic. In fact in all my correspondence and contact with UPS, UPS was more concerned that the claim was paid rather than this situation should be rectified so that it would never occur again. When told that I had always had professional service from the USPS, the supervisor told me "well, then you should ship with them."

Having worked in customer service positions all of my life,with an understanding of what should have occurred, I was appalled by the lackadaisical attitude. If I was the company covering the UPS losses I'd be upping my rates.