Hey everyone!

My name is Candace Kaiser and I am the new summer intern here at Market Mommy. I was born and raised in the small city of Bryan, Ohio, and I am a 2010 graduate of Bryan High School. This fall I will be making my way back to Ada, Ohio where I will be starting my junior year of college at Ohio Northern University.

I am studying to earn my bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in business. I am secretary of our Public Relations Student Society of America chapter and work in admissions as a bear ambassador. After I graduate college and start to explore the real world, I would love to work in crisis communications or school communications.

When I’m not writing and studying, I enjoy being outside rollerblading, riding bikes, swimming or playing cornhole. At times, I also love to relax and watch some of my favorite movies that include Avatar and The Notebook.

I am very excited to start my internship! I am looking forward to improving my writing skills, talking with clients and broadening my knowledge base. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]. I would love to hear from you!

Thank you!

Candace

By Bola Ajumobi

If you have had an online business in the past year, you would have had to be living under a rock far away not to have heard of the onslaught two cute white and black animals wrecked on the online world. I am talking about the panda update and partner-in-crime; penguin update. Traffic disappeared overnight literarily for a number of online stores that had erstwhile enjoyed robust traffic from Google.

To survive and thrive online as a small business in these times you have to do better with factors you can control; your online portal – your website and your email list.

I will be focusing on email marketing in this article. Mom-owned small businesses can do better with their email marketing. I have signed up for email newsletters of fellow mom-owned businesses and never hear from these businesses and no, the emails were not trapped in my spam folders as I always check. Some would send a newsletter or an offer sporadically every couple of months and I have to remind myself each time I get those once-in-a-blue-moon email that I indeed signed up for the newsletter.

Of the visitors you are getting to your site, probably one percent or less are plastic-in-hand ready to buy from you. Another small segment of your website visitors think they might buy from you but might be shopping around or have no need for your product or service yet. Regular communication warms them up to your business and primes them for a sale.

So what are some actionable steps to get the most out of email marketing?

  1. Have a newsletter calendar. Depending on what time of business you are in, there are bound to be holidays and celebrations that you can use as tie-in for your promotional email. Planning ahead also saves you the hassle of scrambling to send a newsletter at the last minute (guilty here myself).
  2. Have a signup form on your website’s home page. Try to have it visible without having to scroll down. Give an inducement for signing up if possible. Put up the form on another high traffic area of your website like your “about us” page.
  3. Rather than emphasize “join us on face book” emphasize “sign up for our newsletter”. Put up a signup form on your face book page. You own your email list, you don’t own your face book page, face book and their shareholders own your face book business page.
  4. Don’t rent an email list! Build your list organically. You can squeeze out more value from expensive marketing campaigns like pay-per-click or daily deals if you are able to funnel a portion of this traffic into your email list.
  5. Send out an email newsletter once a month at least. You can poll your current subscribers to know how frequently they want to hear from you. That way they will remember you when they are in need of your product or services.
  6. Measure your response and tweak things. You want to benchmark against your industry. Track open rates, click through rates, forwards, unsubscribe rate and spam complaints and adjust as necessary. I found out that having a catchy or informative phrase as the subject line of my newsletter got a lot more opens and clicks than my erstwhile bland title of “Slimy Bookworm May Newsletter”.
  7. Have a welcome email that goes out after a new subscriber signs up. I have mine set up as an auto responder that goes out 24 hours after sign up. In your welcome email thank the subscriber for signing up. Set expectations on email frequency and reassure them that you value their privacy. You may include a special offer.  It will bring down your unsubscribe rate.

As the serenity Prayer goes:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change: Google algorithm updates, Facebook monetization and so on.

Courage to change the things I can: my website and my email newsletter

And wisdom to know the difference: we all need to keep working on this one!

Bola Ajumobi is a mom of two young boys with a health care background and owns the online children’s bookstore; SlimyBookworm.com where busy parents or gift shoppers can take advantage of the complimentary gift suggestion service to find just the right books for the kids in their lives.  She loves interacting with other moms-in-business and exchanging insights on running a business.

There have been a lot of changes on Facebook lately. First, every business page was moved over to the Timeline format, then the company went public, now the options of scheduling your posts, or promoting them, are available.

I was immediately curious to see how the option to promote my posts would work. I use Facebook for marketing, A LOT, so I’m always interested in any way I can improve those efforts. With the new changes and the fact that a large percentage of my fans {people who opted to sign up for my updates} are not even seeing my announcements, I was intrigued by the new way to improve that number.

So, I thought, why not promote a post. The estimated numbers looked great! Instead of 500-1000 people seeing my posts, Facebook estimated that for a mere $20, I could reach 3,400. That seems reasonable, right?

Maybe not so much.

I selected my payment method and my budget. I really wanted all of my fans to see this update, so I chose the highest amount offered. In my case that was the $20. Facebook said it would promote my post over the next three days. So, I waited and I watched.

I watched my budget being spent rather quickly and my viewers reached growing, but slowly. As it turned out, 1,455 people saw that post. Not 3,400. That was roughly 2,000 less than they estimated. $17.10 of my budget was actually spent. Even though I was disappointed and the results weren’t near what was predicted, I still succeeded in reaching more people … barely.

Other posts on my page from the same week reached 495, 578, 745, 999, 629, 1215, 983, 1182, 1062, 1046 and 964 respectively. So, why the drastic differences? In reality, my paid post didn’t do much better than the link to Mindee Doney’s terrific guest post on my blog. {read it here}

Facebook uses an algorithm to decide who sees what. This algorithm, called Edgerank, has been used for quite a while. It determines what is interesting and should be seen in newsfeeds. If it deems your post boring, it will likely never be seen. So, how is this determined and what can you do to ensure your posts are seen more frequently? Here are a few tips.

First of all, videos and photos are ‘weighted’ higher than status updates and links. And, your fan interactions are rated differently too. All interaction is good, but shares rank higher than comments and likes. When it comes to interaction, be sure you’re responding, or at least liking, all fan comments on your page. This can increase your rank.

When are you posting? If you’re posting when none of your fans are online, chances that they’ll see the updates are slim. If you’re posting back to back or continuously, most likely posts will get lost. And, if you aren’t posting often enough, what you do post is seen as less important. Be sure to post interesting content and engage. The more engaging you are, the higher your posts will score.

There are other things that are taken into consideration as well. For instance, how connected with the brand is the viewer? If they have a lot of interaction with the page, they are more likely to be shown the updates and vice versa. And, as time passes, the scores go down. ‘Old news’ is much less likely to be shown than new. It’s not an exact science. I recommend trial and error. Try different combinations, post at different times, utilize different tools and then monitor your insights.

In the end, Facebook can really do anything they want. They don’t need our permission. We have to be flexible and adapt to changes. We have no choice; unless we want to discontinue using the site altogether. This is one of the many reasons I advocate for a diverse marketing plan. Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Spread your efforts out; and market in different, creative ways. All of your efforts should complement one another so that other things can fill in while you improve your Facebook strategies.

Have you promoted a post? Visit our forum and talk about your experiences!

The following article was provided by Red Jeweled Media founder, Jenny Finke:

A few months ago The Market Mommy asked if we would donate a PR package prize to its first ever S.T.A.R. Entrepreneur Award. We said yes!

When Dawn told us the winner was Jessica Welsch, the co-founder of The HopeFULL Company, we were excited to have the opportunity to work with this trailblazing businesswoman and company that is making a difference in the lives of so many people.

Upon winning the award, Red Jeweled Media quickly stepped into high gear. We interviewed Jessica and then wrote and distributed a press release to five media sources in Minneapolis, MN (The HopeFULL Company is based in Minneapolis). Rather than only pitch the “award” angle, we pitched various story angles about the company – and we simply used the award as the timely tie-in or hook.

We are proud to say we were successful in getting The HopeFULL press on two TV stations in Minneapolis. Please view their coverage on KARE-TV (NBC) and they will be on WCCO-TV (CBS) on June 15th. Success!

If you didn’t win the S.T.A.R. Mom Entrepreneur Award, you, too, can get press for your company. Let us know if Red Jeweled Media can help – or take a look at these tips to see what we think makes a great newsworthy story. Enjoy!

What Makes News::

Timing: Is it new? Look for new angles to work with when approaching media with your story idea.

Significance: Does your story impact lots of people? The more people impacted, the more likely it will be considered for coverage.

Proximity: Does your story have local appeal? News stations look to local business owners and professionals to chime in on stories making national news. Think of how you can localize national trends and breaking news.

Prominence: Is a famous person involved in your company or an influential business person or socialite? The more prominent the person involved in the story, the better chances it has of making news.

Human Interest: Will people find your story heartwarming and interesting?  Remarkable stories rarely get turned down by news media!

Unusual: Did man bite dog? Did an earthquake occur in a non-earthquake zone? The more unusual and/or rare the occurrence, the better the story!

Controversy: Does your story spark conversation or debate? Can you weigh in on a controversial legislative ban or school reform issue? If so, you just might make the local news.

Red Jeweled Media is a boutique PR and social media marketing agency. Its team of creative associates help mold a company’s platform into a newsworthy story.

All Seasons Floral Preservation is led by the sister team of Theresa Hambleton (mother of five) and Mary Beth Lopresti (mother of 3). The two started the business in 2005. They press, preserve and create custom-designed framed floral art with wedding and other special occasion flowers.

Lopresti acknowledges that striking the work/family balance is a challenge. “There’s no shock there. But, we find that working out of our respective homes gives us a great advantage,” she said. Working from home allows the moms to work even when the kids are home from school. “Keeping up on household tasks like throwing in a load of laundry during the day, keeps the house moving in a positive direction,” she said.

However, she also acknowledges that being home can be distracting because there’s always something that needs to be done on the “mom” job. To combat this, they designate work time versus house and family time. “I stop working when my children come in from school to talk about their day, get snacks, plan the evening, etc. Since they are 16 and 13, they want and need that interaction, but then they are ready to move on with their stuff (homework, play with friends, TV) and I go back to work. I plan to take that hour or so break at that time so it is not an interruption.” Lopresti said.

The team focuses on the wedding industry when marketing their business. They’ve done online listings on wedding related website to advertise their services. They get referrals from other wedding professionals such as wedding planners and florists, and they exhibit at bridal shows. Lopresti said that as a team, they work well together. “My role is to market the business and manage the customers’ orders. My sister creates the floral art.”

Sometimes becoming an entrepreneur just happens. “I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, but it turns out that I really enjoy having a unique product to share and the flexibility of “being my own boss” is ideal when raising a family,” she said.

I recently was contacted by EasyCanvasPrints.com and asked to do a review of their product. I happily agreed. I love photographs and I really love the one large canvas I already had at home.

The process was very easy. I went to their website and uploaded the photo that I wanted to use. It was a very easy and simple process. There was a convenience preview, and I could see exactly how my finished product was going to look.

I received my canvas in the mail just a few short days later and it’s now sitting on my mantle. It turned out great and I love that we now have an updated family picture to display, complete with baby!

To order yours, visit Easy Canvas Prints!

*I received a free product in order to write this review. However, all opinions contained in this post are my own.

Jill Salzman is one of our fantastic Expert Blogger Panel members. She’s completely swamped this month gearing up for her speaking presentations at Spark and Hustle Chicago and Detroit and hasn’t had time to write a post for us 🙁 But, she shared her most recent ad. We think she’s funny. Do you?

Jill Salzman is currently growing her third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs.  A graduate of Brown University and law school, she started a music management firm and then a baby jewelry company before her current venture. Jill has been featured in national media outlets including People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily Candy Kids, and WGN TV.   In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls.

By Mindee Doney

It’s been fantastic to share the news recently of my little idea (Boogie Wipes) being acquired by an awesome big company, Nehemiah Manufacturing out of Cincinnati, OH.  Not only do they bring experienced management for the Boogie brand but they also contribute tremendous amounts of social value and goodwill into their community.  They will no doubt take good care of our consumers and retailers the same way they do with their other wipe product, Pampers Kandoo Wipes

It’s truly wonderful to know I built a solid brand they saw value in AND they will give back to those in need with the revenue they generate from it. Dream come true for this Mompreneur! As the news begins to circulate of the acquisition I find many people surprised to know I am not a Mommy Millionaire.  I thought it would be good to share a little about what happened to me and how deals like this often work (until I find the time to write a book about it.) I know there are many entrepreneurs out there just like me, growing their ideas into booming businesses with the hopes of big dollar signs at the end of their journey. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome motivation and definitely something to strive for. It’s also good to know that it might not happen that way and that’s Ok too. You’re a dreamer and your going to survive no matter what happens! 

I’m hoping maybe this little dose of my reality can help you plan a bit better than I did. I wasn’t prepared to be left unemployed and without income when Boogie Wipes sold and it’s been a tough adjustment for me, a bit of a blow to my ego and definitely a story I know sharing will help others not to make the same mistakes I did.

If you are able to maintain 100% control and equity in your company when it is acquired or licensed, you may in fact live out the dream of some long term financial security for you and your family.  For me, I simply didn’t have the millions it took to fund the company in the beginning, so my slice of the pie was much, much smaller. I took on a business partner (which is another topic I can share a lot of lessons learned on) and that cut my share in half, we needed investors which took another chunk.  The acquisition moved our company, Little Busy Bodies, Inc to Cincinnati, our local Oregon office was closed and many of the employees had to be let go. 

While the deal itself had lots of zeros in it, there were many people in line for one of them and by the time it was said and done, I had lost all control of who got what. I had made the choice early on to stay focused on my role in marketing.  I was creating brand awareness, responding to consumers, developing new products, creating retail sales programs and managing the marketing team I put together. I felt blessed to be able to do that work and I didn’t particularly like the numbers game so I didn’t pay much attention to how the company was being run and how the money was being spent. 

By the time I realized the importance of staying in touch with it and having a voice with our financial choices, it was too late for my opinion to matter to anyone.  We had a board of advisors making those decisions, investors, creditors, attorneys and all the usual characters. When the acquisition happened, we had lots of outstanding debt we had to pay back.  The product took off so fast, we could hardly keep up with the demand and needed to take in lots of outside money to fund the inventory cycle. Next in line for the payday were all those fancy business men in suits it takes to do valuations and spreadsheets and fill out the paperwork in a deal like this. They too get a nice piece of the pie. And, of course, we needed to pay back the answered prayers that invested in Boogie Wipes when it was not much more than a shot in the dark. Those guys get their money back plus a little more and I must say that part  does feel good, considering they did risk their own hard earned money on a somewhat quirky nose wipe idea. 

At the end of it all, despite a multi-million dollar payout on my idea….I got nothing. 

It was a bummer but definitely something I had a role in contributing to and ultimately something I had to accept.  The good news is that I DO still have those shares and possibly, down the road, they will be worth something.  For today, they are just worth the pride and credibility I have for all I contributed. I always have my fingers crossed that maybe someday, I really will get to put away some money for my kids college funds but it certainly hasn’t happened yet. In the meantime, I’m moving on to what’s next and trying to learn all I can from what’s happened.

It was definitely a hard thing to see my hard work pad everyone else’s pockets. I’ve had more than a few meltdowns and frustrating moments. I recognize my contributions and the ignorance I had to end up here and vow never to let it happen again. Ultimately, I can’t change what’s done thou and fighting it only seems to makes things worse,  I’ve chosen to focus on the silver lining, half full glass.  For 4 years I got to develop my idea, share it with grateful consumers who loved it and I got to do work I truly LOVED and was passionate about. I got paid well for that work and that helped fund my kids little league, yearly check-ups, and dance camps and created many smiles for them. The memories I made and the people I met were magical. My family, my career, my priorities and my spirit are much stronger after having been through all I did at Boogie Wipes. 

I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hopefully you will click away from my story with a sense of empowerment and a new awareness for your situation, your own visions and the value of a positive attitude.  An acceptance that really none of us are secure in anything in business or life.  As an entrepreneur or in a stable 9-5, stay at home Mom, single, divorced, health issues, family changes, business, accidents, lotteries and love loss.  Suddenly, the life we dream of and plan for can shift significantly and we can all be left starting over with fear, worry and wonder of what’s next? 

Use it for the better. Use that understanding to fuel the courage you need to stand up for what’s yours, be present in every moment, keep an eye on the parts of your business you don’t always love (we all have them) and never stop dreaming of better days ahead.  I have used what I learned to start my new consulting business  where I’m helping other idea people test their concepts with consumers and retailers.  I can help them replicate the sales and awareness I created at Boogie Wipes and now because of all I learned in the acquisition, I can give them some tips on protecting their idea and their financial security as their company grows.

We live in an amazing time where anything is possible.  Big paydays at the end of it all or not…. to be grateful for where you have been, excited for where you are going and love what you do is truly a beautiful life. Thank you for letting me share my story here Market Mommy. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while and this was the perfect chance. 

Be Well and Boogie On!

Mindee Doney: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids (May, 2012) and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting. 

 

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