Tag «website»

These Two Weeks In Business: The Package Edition

It’s been said that hairdressers have the worst hair and the cobbler’s kids are the last to get their shoes. Growing up in a hardware family, we were often the last to get handy people at our house. Good thing my mom is pretty good with powertools!

Well, with web people, this idea translates to sometimes your web professional having a poorly maintained site (while still doing a pretty good job on yours).

While I do keep things up-to-date on my site, the list of little things to improve it end up stacking up until it reaches a breaking point.

Last week, mostly while I was avoiding creating a presentation, I did a lot of work on my own site. It’s not something you’d necessarily notice but mind if I give a little tour?

I created packages and then a chart to help understand them.

If you got to www.breakingeveninc.com/packages, you’ll notice a bunch of packages for businesses and non-profits starting at $200/month. I’ve asked a few business owners (and maybe they were just too nice to tell me) but they said the prices seemed fair and the packages were easy to understand.That said, if anything with my packages seems off/weird, please comment! If you’ve ever met me (and heck, even if you haven’t), I hope you know I appreciate it when people are honest with me. :^)

Basically, I calculated prices based on my hourly wage, since I know about how long it takes me to do something. Also by pricing monthly, I was hoping to make people understand a lot of this stuff is on-going and is something I am able to maintain/create on a regular basis that’ll add value to the business.

I am all about making things simple to regular people… so I made this handy dandy flow chart.

I was on vacation with my mom, who owns a business, when I showed her my service packages. (Admittedly, this is probably a pretty biased audience to start out with but I thought it was better than nothing!)

“These all look good,” she said, “but how do I know what I need?”

In the hotel room, I immediately began sketching a flow chart. When I got back home to Photoshop, I made the chart below and emailed it to her.

“Oh this is great!” she said.

When my friend Matt told me making an image map is ‘easy’ (i.e. making it so when you click on parts of the chart, it goes to different links), I gave it a shot. And you know what? It was. Now when you click on the package you need, poof!, you are taken to a web page with the package description and, in the future, example clients, testimonials, screenshots, etc.

So you can click on the chart to see it up close… Let me know if you find it easy to follow or if you see any improvements I could make!

My mom wanted to know how she would know what services she needed, because they all sounded good. How about a flow chart? I said. And guess what, it's clickable!

I sent out my monthly newsletter, and got tons more subscribes from it than ever before.

I got an email from my sister about a month ago about blogging software and, since I had practically written up a whole thing for her, I thought I would also send the information in my monthly email newsletter. To see my summary of some ‘free’ blogging technology out there, here’s the archive link to it. ‘You should put this on your website’ my friend Chris said. And I did, along with a way to subscribe to the newsletter. So if you want, you can subscribe on the main page of my site or on the Breaking Even Facebook page.

Marketing Monday: Tom’s Terrific Tattoos

Every Monday, Breaking Even looks at a person, company, or website doing something cool to promote itself online. Have an idea for a future Marketing Monday? Let Nicole know!

I recently went with a friend to Tom’s Terrific Tattoos, located in Ellsworth Maine. I’ve long seen the bumper stickers on people’s cars. I feel like I even heard about the place before moving to Downeast Maine, probably because the name is so memorable.

When one of my friends wanted me to go with her to get her tattoo, I jumped at the chance to finally see the inside of TTT’s.

Being memorable, especially in the creative industry, really pays off.

Have a memorable name.
If you are thinking of naming a business or rebranding a part of your business, a memorable name can help people keep you in mind when they are ready to make a purchase.

Give away free stuff with your memorable business name on it.
I noticed on the counter, Tom had bumper stickers and business cards with the business name on it. Also, he give my friend a ‘goodie bag’ which included one of the bumper stickers as well as care supplies for the tattoo.

A variety of promotional materials are available on the counter at Tom's Terrific Tattoos. A side effect of making your business name fun: people will want to promote it.

Have a website with examples of your work.
Tom has a fairly basic website with examples of his work. If I was shopping for a tattoo place, I’d want one with a website, if only because I would feel a business with a website is more established. Is this important when I’m considering someone putting a needle into my body? Absolutely. Is it important to other people? I can’t say for sure but probably.

Marketing Monday: World Of Warcraft

Marketing Monday is a weekly installment talking about a person, business, or website doing something cool online. If you have an idea, let the BE Blog know!

I recently ran into someone at a local coffee shop who was telling me how he was motivated to reopened his Second Life account. “I’ve been getting gigs to Second Life parties to play my guitar and people actually pay me like $40/hour to do it!” he was saying. Yes, this is a video game character playing the guitar and yes, he is playing for actual US dollars.

As someone who’s never gotten past level three of Super Mario, I was intrigued, and maybe even slightlyjudgmental about people who play computer games like this. I was about to tell my man friend Dan how weird this conversation was when I found out he’s a gamer.Dan has been playing World of Warcraft on and off for three years. I decided to pick his brain about virtual worlds, and how and why they are so popular:

What about WoW makes it more interesting to you than something you’d play on a gaming system (Playstation, Wii, etc.)?

You can’t beat the game so the game has more replay value. There’s always something more you can do, which is motivating.Every two to three years, the developers add on an expansion, raising the maximum level of characters, adding new maps/quests, etc.

There is a group element to the game, encouraging user interaction. When you start playing WoW, you join a guild. The guild has their own chat, and there are options for guilds to get together and help each other out. You can talk to people individually or in a group format.

Marketing Monday: Nike plus

Every Monday, we check out a cool new marketing technique used by an individual, business, or group. Want to be featured? Contact the BE Blog.
I’ve noticed my online friend Lynn Cyr (an artist among other things) has been posting her runs on Facebook via the Nike website. I clicked through to see the partnership with Nike and iPod that not only encourages people to work out but think about music at the same time. I asked Lynn a few questions about her running and how she uses her Nike+.
1. Do you have the special shoes with your Nike+ or do you just clip it on?

Lynn Cyr, artist/web developer/user of cool running technology

No, I don’t have the special shoes for it. They now sell clips that you can use, but when I started using my Nike+, there was no such thing. So I came across this blog post that showed how to attach it to any shoe… and that’s how I’ve done it since!
2. How long have you been using the Nike+? Do you feel this device has improved your workouts?
I got the device as a birthday gift (at my request!) from my husband in March 2008. I started using it the very next day! Before that, I never exercised… let alone RUN! As I went on my runs and saw some progress (faster pace, longer distances but same duration, etc…), it really got me hooked! I can honestly say without a doubt that this tiny device is what got me started as a Runner! I’ve used it fairly consistently ever since, except for breaks I would need to take because of injuries (bleh!!).
Not ONLY did it turn me into a Runner, but I even trained for my very first 1/2 Marathon that first year!! My friends in Quebec convinced me that I should train, even though I’d never run before (except for a 5K race I did like 15 years ago – and even *that* was a very short-lived period of running). I trained and trained, but didn’t end up racing, since I ended up with an injury (not related to running). But I did run my first 10K race in Boston, though!
3. What are your favorite workout songs to get you pumped to keep going?
I’m a Rock chick at heart, so I always go for the Hard Rock and Metal “screaming” songs. LOL!! Nothing whips your butt into shape like some metal rocker yelling in your ear! But I do mix it up a bit. I have a “Cardio Mix” playlist on my iPod, which is what I use to run. It includes Rock, Country, and even some Dance tunes. But still, my all-time favorite song that really gets me going is “Lose Yourself, by Eminem.
4. I see that you share your results on Facebook in addition to on the Nike site. Has this further motivated you? Do you think doing so has motivated others to get running?
Knowing others are “watching” me, so to speak, definitely helps. It doesn’t stop me from slacking off every once in a while, but seeing the comments and “Likes” after a run really make me feel good. It usually sets the tone for the rest of my day 🙂
As for motivating others, I can’t tell you how many times I get asked “So hey, what’s that Nike+ thing I keep seeing on your Wall”? After I tell them all about it, they’re all gung-ho and get one for themselves. I know at least 3 people for sure that bought one because of my direct recommendation!
5. Have you met other people from sharing the results on Nike’s website? (I’m always interested in how interactions in a specific arena like this translate into other interactions, online or in real life).
This, to me, is the best part of the Nike+ system!! It’s allowed me to meet so many folks online who share my passion for running!! A few of them have become Facebook friends too now… and in fact, I’m meeting one of my “Nike+ friends” in person NEXT WEEK for the first time!! I’m headed to Toronto to visit my family, and we’ll be getting together for lunch since she lives there too! We’re both really excited!