Marketing Mistakes Makeover: Love Nails Spa

I walk down Piedmont Ave in North Oakland at least three or four times a week. It’s my hood, and I love it.

The other day I spotted this sign for Love Nails Spa (I think that’s what it’s called?) which gets pretty good reviews on Yelp.

I think 3 1/2 stars is a pretty good score for a nail place, though it seems the high marks might be due in part to their low prices.

I would think that a place that has the foresight to name their business “Love Nails” or “Love Nails Spa” would continue along the line of good marketing instincts, and forgo any major marketing mistakes. Continue Reading

So you want to be a blogger?

I received an email from a friend of mine with an extremely unique point of view on the world.  I’ve been encouraging him to get a blog for awhile.  All through our college days, he collected followers to the point where people joked he should start his own religion.  A born blogger!  He asked me some tough questions about blogging.

(1)I noticed you have advertisements on your site but they are for non-tacky items.  Can you select what kind of ads go on your site?

The ads that I have on are for services or products that I actually use.  I’m signed up as an affiliate and should someone make a purchase, I make a commission.  I have made $0. So, yes, I chose them, and made the effort to add them to my site.
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Holiday Special in January??

I spent some time last night checking out the prices of retail spaces along Broadway Auto Row. I have a dream of renting one of the empty auto dealerships…

While looking I stumbled on a Craigslist post for an office building titled, “WE’RE HAVING A HOLIDAY SPECIAL DEAL! OFFICES FOR RENT IN CHEAPER PRICE.”

Well, we all know that postings all in caps sell better, so that was definitely a good choice. You have to shout to get our attention! It’s not enough that you’re offering a holiday special in mid-January.  I don’t know if that’s a marketing mistake or just plain negligence.

Thankfully the post body was not in all caps.  Score one property management company. Continue Reading

The Mad Hatter Business Plan

The other night we enjoyed The Late Show, the 1977 movie starring Lily Tomlin, Art Carney and Bill Macy.

Bill Macy plays Charles Hatter, a down-on-his-luck entrepreneur.  We first meet him leaving his office, and catch the following glorious screen shot:

Five businesses all named after himself, all with the same address but various specialties?  I love it.  Hey, if you have a skill, why not make a business out of it on the off chance you succeed?

He reminds me of me. Had Charles Hatter hired me as a marketing consultant, though, I would have told him that if he wanted to list all his various enterprises in the lobby directory, he should definitely not name them all after himself.  Each business should have its own unique vibrant identity so that they seemingly stand on their own.  Naming them all after himself sends an almost desperate message–hire me to do anything!  I can do anything! Continue Reading

Grocery Outlet: a marketing tactic gone awry!

Will and I wandered into Grocery Outlet before the holiday season.  I was looking for cheap wrapping paper, and boy did I find it!  At $1 a roll, I must have saved $10.

I noticed that their price tags listed how much items cost elsewhere.  For instance, the maple syrup below purportedly sells for $9.99 everywhere else.  Here at Grocery Outlet, it’s only $6.99.  What a steal! Continue Reading

The Tragedy of Sad Sack

2010 held some tough lessons for me. One of the toughest was getting involved with a dishonest business man who my boyfriend and I now refer to as “Sad Sack”.

The name “Sad Sack” comes from a cartoon from a magazine that catered to US WWII troops. His character just couldn’t do anything right. His clothes didn’t fit, and he was always doing dumb stuff.

I’m sure we’ve all met a Sad Sack character in our lives, but hopefully no one else was dumb enough to get involved in business with them. Will drew the cartoons for this tribute to one of the hardest situations I’ve faced in my lifetime.

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How many twitters are too many twitters?

I started out with one twitter account: @jennifer_heller. I think I’ve had it for a little over two years and it’s only within the past year that I’ve started enjoying using it at all. I’ve heard others share a similar experience: it takes some time, but it’s addictive as hell once you get into it. I can attest to that, but as someone balancing many competing priorities, it’s hard to prioritize reading hundreds of tweets a day. Especially since I’ve steadily added other twitter accounts to my list.

When I launched Van Gogh My Pet in the second half of 2009, I added a second twitter account: @vangoghmypet. This one, I thought, would concentrate on my pet and art related thoughts and would attract a different variety of people than @jennifer_heller. It seems to work; @vangoghmypet is on 42 pet and art related lists and my followers have steadily grown.

This graph of Van Gogh My Pet tweets verses website visits suggest that the tweets have very little if not nothing to do with increasing visits.

When I decided to brand my design and communications work as Artsy Geek Designs, it was a natural progression to add another twitter: @artsygeekdesign. Here I would tweet about my geeky subjects–web design, coding, communications. And maybe some art. Hey, @artsygeekdesign and @vangoghmypet can overlap a little right?? A further reason for separating @artsygeekdesign from @jennifer_heller is that I fully intend to expand and work with others in this business. They should be able to tweet from the business too!

I made the decision a few weeks ago to consolidate all my blogging here at Believe me, I do not miss maintaining a blog at Van Gogh My Pet, and I can say with 100% certainty that I am not sorry I didn’t add yet another blog on at Artsy Geek Designs.

This January, Will and I are launching Lushes in Love, our new blog devoted to our endless love and appreciation for cocktails. You can check out the design–I put it up over the weekend, but we have yet to move in. I’ve already signed us up for a twitter: @lushesinlove and tweeted something like five high quality tweets. Thankfully, Will will also have to help with the @lushesinlove tweeting, but this addition marks my fourth twitter!

Who wants to follow a long-ass stream of nothing but links? Do you??

And all of a sudden I’m asking myself…to what end? Sure I like Twitter okay, but I don’t looooove it the way I love knitting, web design and painting. I love people, but most of the time I feel like Twitter is just filled with robots endlessly sending their links out hoping for clicks. Sometimes I worry that to the other twitter users, I’m just another four Twitter accounts doing the same thing. Indeed a quick googling found this post that proposes that robots do better on Twitter than humans!

Perhaps it would be best to take a cue from my decision to simplify my blogging and simplify my twitter? One twitter, four subjects… perhaps that would make me a more interesting person to follow in general?

Perhaps I should embrace the robotic future of twitter and create automated twitter robots for all four… That just isn’t my style though. I believe in sincere, honest communication. When I notice that someone I follow is being a twitter-bot, I immediately unfollow.

So what to do? Nothing? Consolidate? Automate?

Oh, the problems associated with living a life on the internet. I’d appreciate any sound advice please!!

(This post could also be titled “How many Facebook pages are too many Facebook pages?”)

Value of Experience

I spent yesterday updating Van Gogh My Pet for the holiday season.

Van Gogh My Pet was the first website I used the awesome Thesis theme for WordPress as the basis for the design.

Back then, the reason I chose Thesis was because it allowed the customizations that I make to the theme to be stored in only two files in just one directory.  This makes my design invincible to updates to the theme and WordPress. Continue Reading