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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Preparing for This Dream--and Your Next

When my husband and I were running our own small chain of retail business, life was good. It was during retailing’s heyday and we were in the best of fields. Remember the Precious Moments craze? Beany Babies? Lladro Porcelain? 

Others in our industry—our fellow retailers, our representatives, our suppliers—were buying Ferraris and parking them in specially marked spaces in their business’s parking lots so everyone would know how successful they were. Well, you know me. Frugal. We saved, reinvested and felt pretty smart that we had seed money for something else when the collectibles market collapsed. 

But it wasn’t long before the whole economy collapsed. Lesson here? The only thing you can count on is ups and downs. During the ups (your tenth book just hit The New York Times bestseller list! You just signed a lease for prime retailing space in Las Vegas), savor it. But also save for a rainy day. Continue to offer a helping hand when you can to those in your profession (and others). And don’t sit back on your laurels. And don't flaunt it.

 You’ll still have a dream--maybe a nother dream--one that goes beyond what you imagined.  Go for it! 


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Retailing: Taking a Marketing Tip From Amazon


In the News: Publisher’s Weekly reports that Amazon will open its first staffed pick-up location on a college campus at Purdue University. They have co-branded with school stores like the University of California Davis and U Mass at Amherst in the past, but this is the first college “convenience spot.” I see this as a brilliant branding effort. As the concept continues to grow, it will give Amazon’s brand as a provider of books and other essentials to a massive book-reading audience, a young audience that will continue to be part of their clentele for a long, long time to come. What can we retailers learn from this marketing move? In terms of service? In terms of location? In terms of acquiring new customers from our most sought after demographic?


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Saving Time and Work for Retailers AND Building Business with Marketing

 

I learn amazing things by reading advertising, especially the ones known as advertorials. Advertorials are usually written by experts in their fields and are sometimes a bit arcane, but they can make me rethink what I am doing with my books for retailers. You can find advertorials in your local newspaper of in respected magazines like Time. Most media marks them clearly as "advertising" but the headlines usually feel more like great nonfiction topics.
The one I found in December was in a slick magazine called BookBusiness. It was paid for by a short-run printing company called Canon Solutions America. In it they talk about book for niche markets and niche markets have always fascinated me. I write for two of them—writers and retailers.

My point is that this is not a topic that is new to me. But this article made me think. The author (unknown) said “ . . . today you can get the same book with a different cover based on your preference. That’s only going to increase.” The idea of the same book with only one tweak—the book cover—may be slightly overstated, but it fits with what I’ve always said about marketing when I encourage my retail clients and friends to read my The Frugal Book Promoter and just substitute the words “books” and “author” for whatever branch of retailing they're in. I tell them, “Marketing is marketing is marketing" and I know they'll learn to write knockout query letters, media releases, media kits and I know that can make a difference in their business.

So,  instead of encouraging them to adjust, I should probably go back and replace those words with something appropriate to almost any niche market instead of expecting my faithful readers to do it for themselves. That might be the ticket to having a whole series of books—very nearly like the Dummy books that have done so well. After making those tweaks, I could slap on a new cover and reword the title and suddenly my “marketing is marketing” mantra makes more sense (and is easier) for a whole range—a whole new niche-- of readers!

The idea sure fits with my advice to plan your marketing campaign so the work you can do can be recycled. We retailers are not islands. We can only do so much on our own. After that, it’s either get more mileage out of what we do or start outsourcing like crazy. Actually, I kind of like both ideas.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for retailers--some of them sponsored by Gift Shop magazine. She brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives to that series of books. Learn more about the whole series of books at http://howtodoitfrugally.com/retailers_books.htm.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of 14 women of “San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

Friday, December 27, 2013

How Marketing, Free Art, and Retailing Dovetail

I received this artistic  freebie  in my e-mail box from my fave book cover designer Chaz DeSimone. It seemed as if he had my retail clients and friends in mind.  

Chaz designed  several of my book covers including Your Blog, Your Business (http://budurl.com/blogging4retailers). He does a series of  free Ampersand poster art each year for the sheer joy of giving and doing. This is one all my retail friends should look into for sure! It could be used on any marketing material or display advertising--in-store or otherwise.  Please do give Chaz credit, though--just another way of passing around the joy for 2014.  Here's what his e-mail said:



I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas. But if it's the wrong size, color, or if you simply don't need another mug or pair of socks, there's always the Returns & Exchanges counter. At least you don't have to camp out overnight like Black Friday; in fact, your return can usually wait 30 days or more.
Here's a rendering of a typical Returns & Exchanges sign of the Art Deco Department Store era. Remember the smell of fresh popcorn at Sears?
(Personally, I don't usually return stuff--instead, I purchase a ton more Christmas decorations at 50% off for and even grander display--a la "Christmas Vacation"--the following year. )
http://amperart.com/index.php/2013/12/26/55-returns-exchanges/
...for a large detail view, notes about the artwork, and how all my half-price decorations irritate the neighbors.
Next week look for the last AmperArt edition of the year, the last of the Ad Slogan Series. Great tips on working with others to complete tasks and achieve goals, and how losing weight and feeling great is actually a lot of fun. Happy New Year!



Chaz DeSimone Graphic Design, 12228 Venice Blvd. #156, Los Angeles, CA 90066, USA

Unsubscribe | Change Subscriber Options

PS: Please feel free to contact chaz at chaz@amperart.com with questions or to let him know you like his great attitude toward retailers. (-:

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Retailing: On Halloween, Cute Dogs, Profit and Depression

So, now you've gained at least a pound from swiping the chocolate from your kids' trick or treat bags and we've heard all the retail stories about how Halloween sales are going to be down and see that Time magazine says "Consumers are spending (way) more on pet costumes, it's time to get real.

It's always been important to watch trends. And animals have been trending up (to use Twitter's phrase) more than about anything else--at lease since the 1990s when I carried something in our chain of gift stores we called "cold-cast porcelain) dog figurines. They retailed for about $39. and came sculpted in about every breed imaginable. People bought them for themselves and people bought them for friends and relatives who were crazy about their dogs. And everyone is. (They had cats and some other animals in the line, too, but dogs sold three for every one other species we sold.)

So I'm not surprised that doggie costumes were big for Halloween. If you're frugal, you could buy a pumpkin costume and dress your pup up to amuse Thanksgiving guests, too!

So what other lesson to glean from the Halloween/pet retail coup? Well, you may not remember the Great Depression. Neither do I. But I remember stories of how it influenced even the movie industry to make more jolly, bright, and wonderful musicals.  When the nation is under sequestration and our we are under constant threat that we won't pay our debts, people are down. As long as our money holds our we will spend our money where 1. it doesn't cost us too much  2. makes us feel good.  At least as long as our own money holds out.

Sooooo....search out products that are fun and reasonable to add to your mix. Even fun and frugal can be "quality merchandise." Especially if it put bacon on a retailer's table.


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Retailers Will Love New Link Service for Increasing Worldwide Sales

 
 
I am testing a new free service that helps people sell products that are listed on Amazon  in countries other than their own. I am so jazzed about it, I am speechless! (Well, OK, not quite!)
 
BookShow assigns a new link that takes readers to a sellpage on the most  appropriate Amazon bookstore depending on where they live. I.e. If a a German buyer is looking for your product that is for sale in other countries, it would take them directly to your product on Amazon.de.  The same link would take work no matter where your customer resides.
 
In fact, this is so miraculous, I don't quite trust it. So my poetry partner Magdalena Ball and I set up a trial link for our chapbook for mothers:  http://bookShow.me/1438263791
 
We're wondering if those of you who live in countries other than the US would check to see if this link works for you and where it takes you. Maybe tell us where it takes you if you say, live in Denmark. To the French Amazon? To the Spanish Amazon? 
 
I'd love to hear if you're excited about the possibilities, too. Either as a comment on this blog or by e-mailing me direct at hojonews@aol.com.
 
I think this is 2013's  Most Promising Free Online Service.
 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing .

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Free Flier: 7 Reasons Why You Should Share Your Expertise with a Book


“Getting published is good for business.”

Some of the subscribers to this blog are what I call soul writers, meaning they would be different people if they didn’t write.

Others of you are professionals who know the truth of the first line in this note. You publish to showcase your expertise in your chosen career.

For some of you, the line between the two is not clearly defined. You may be both kinds of writer at once, even within one book. Some writers may use one kind of writing to financially support the other. I'm definitely a bit of both.

If literary authors, poets, and other soul writers want to build writing careers, they need to think of their writing as credibility boosters more often. More business people should think in those terms, too.

If you aren’t convinced, e-mail me at HoJoNews (at) AOL (dot) for a free copy of the little four-page flier I give away when I speak to business groups. It’s called  

Seven (or More*) Reasons Why You Should Share Your Expertise by Publishing a Book


And here are the first three of those reasons to get you started.


1.  A book of your own gives you credibility. Even Star Speaker Pam Kelly, a top coach and one of the master UCLA instructors I took classes from in order to get a special instructor’s certificate, has found that a book (http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=howtodoitfrug-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0979100100&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr) makes her a standout among other experts.


2.  Having a published book can be an excellent negotiating tool. Imagine! A top investment firm is taking applications for a keynote speaker before a room of 500 and you're the only applicant who can offer a package of keynote skills plus a book (perhaps packaged in a signature tote!) to this prospective client!


3.  Having a published book for sale at the back of the hall where you are speaking or in your store or business office will add to your profitability.

 
*Great Marketing Rule: Try to give people more
than they paid for, more than they expect.

I know you’ll want to see all seven reasons. You may want to use the flier as a handout to use yourself. You may adapt it to your own needs, but do credit it to me with a link to my site or a little pitch for this blog.
 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing .

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Facebook Campus to Have It's Own Open Air Mini Mall

You probably knew but just in case: Facebook is building it's own little main street shopping area for its employees at their campus in Menlo Park, California!

It seems that any retailer who wanted to apply for a location would have a captive audience there--an audience with plenty of new-media money in their pockets. 

A general stores is planned, and an gallery. But I saw no plans for a bookstore (really! do they all really read only e-books!). And no plans for a real gift store, card shop, or clothing store (really, do they all only wear stretched-out T-shirts and second hand jeans?).

And, do you suppose they would do this without getting input from a retailing professional? 

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing .

Job Hunting in the New Year

How to Interview Like A Pro
Forty-Three Rules for Getting Your Next Job Mary Greenwood. JD. LLM
iUniverse
release/ ASIN: B004JHZ26C
Kindle Edition
Kindle / paperback
Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson


A book for its time…

The Feel-Good Guide for Getting a Job and
Learning Negotiating Skills

Who would have guessed.

I read this book because I thought I might be able to recommend it to my retail clients, but it turns out, getting a job is very much like selling a book! So it’s suitable in many ways for my author-clients, too.
Getting a job isn’t much different than it was back in the days when I interviewed at PR firms and magazines like Good Housekeeping. Though we have many tools at our disposal that weren’t available back then, the basics are similar. And industry-to-industry, we can learn so much from the general (yet detailed!) information Mary Greenwood gives us in How To Interview Like a Pro. Basic business skills like Greenwood imparts here, are useful at some level for almost anyone who must earn a living.

Mary’s number two rule is that a job hunter must “prepare a good elevator speech.” She also says, “Make a list of everyone you know.” Ajob hunter would then use that list to find influential people with contacts of their own who will lead them to other jobs, recommend them to others, and generally hold their hands through the process.
Going hand in hand with this process is Mary’s rule “Telling everyone you know you are looking for a job.” She, expands this rule by adding: “Tell everyone whom you would like to know you are looking for a job.” Here she covers making new contacts using social networking.
Mary’s rules are born of experience, both general and legal. Her book moves us along from rule to rule—lickety split—right down to the never-nevers like: “Never say you don’t have any more questions.” Interviews go both ways. If they don’t, the interviewer may form some opinions you’d just as well he or she didn’t.

I once hired for my store a very young employee with no experience because her questions were so astute I figured she was mature for her age and would learn fast. It turned out, that assessment was right.

One of the reason things move so quickly is Greenwood’s anecdotes. You’ll come away from this book feeling as if you aren’t alone in your search and knowing how to make sure you aren’t. You’ll know the basics and the details, like how to answer about any question an interviewer is likely to ask.

One of the best things about this book is Greenwood’s Introductory Rule: “Getting a job is like parking. You have to be at the right place at the right time.” If you keep that in mind—along with her little protractor story (yes, this is a tease—I think you should read this book!), you’ll hang in there and know one day you’ll be exactly in that place at that time.

Now, here’s the thing. I believe that almost anyone in the business world could benefit from this book, from interviewee to interviewer. from author to retailer to IT guy or gal. Sometimes the books we get the most from are the ones we don’t think we need in the moment. Have it ready. It’s way more than a get-a-job book.
 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cash Mobs, Your Store, and Loyalty


Cash mobs, Promotion and Your Store
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


There's something new on the online horizon. So far it's being used effectively by small retailers, but I see no reason why it couldn't also be used by manufacturers to sell particular products and, though so far it has been a flashmob phenomenon, why couldn't it be adapted to online fan pages?

What is it?

It's called cash mobbing, but checks and credit cards are accepted.

It was started by buy-local advocates in the retailing industry. It uses any kind of media including the Web and traditional media to get loyal folks to support a local business on a specific day, sometimes at a specific time. They are encouraged to come spend a minimal amount of money out of loyalty (with, perhaps, a little self interest stirred into the mix), and people do. They come. They come to be supportive, to feel part of the crowd, because it's an event, because it's a fad.

Time magazine reports it was started in 2011 by Chris Smith who read that Groupon methods of increasing business using mass discounts might backfire because retailers or service providers couldn't sustain the discounts and remain profitable. And he liked the term "cash mob." The idea was to get people interested and he did. Time reporter Katy Steinmetz says, "100 of Smith's fellow citizens [in Buffalo, NY] each spent around $10 at a wine shop with local media in tow. He's been hosting cash mobs ever since." 

Then Andrew Samtoy tried it in Cleveland. And he is using @Cashmobs moniker on Twitter to promote these events. He is also incorporated as Cash Mobs, Inc. You could use his service—or do it on your own, but do think of your own name. Samtoy apparently has a stranglehold on "Cashmobs."  Yours could be the name of your book or store plus the word "mobs." Of course, if you go the do-it-yourself route,you'd need do your own promotion (which you'd probably need to do some of in any case!)

Do use the second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) to give you tons of ideas of how to attract the crowds. And my A Retailer's Guide to In-Store Promotions (http://budurl.com/RetailersGuide) to help get the whole event right.
Let's combine a couple of mottoes. "Just Do It and They Will Come."

Online or in person.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it: