First of all, I was MIA last week because I was sick in a way I still can’t quite believe. After sleeping 14 hours a day and being supermedicated the rest of the time, I’m finally feeling better. In other words, the blog is back on! Thanks for those of you who called or wrote …
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every Monday, Breaking Even profiles a business, individual, non-profit or website doing something cool online. To nominate, contact Nicole.
Barkwheats is a dog biscuit company I’ve profiled before. Their latest initiative is really cool and it makes small businesses act a bit like non-profits. Barkwheats is fundraising using a website called Kickstarter for a new piece of equipment they need for their business. Here’s an interview I did with Chris about how and why Barkwheats set this up:
What made you decide to do such an ambitious fundraising campaign now?
We wanted to engage people outside of our business to be a part of something much bigger than what they alone could do. We also need to raise the money for this piece of equipment in order to grow our business and offer Barkwheats to more pet guardians around the country, and support more growers who produce a great product for us. I know both of you have non-profit experience in addition to this business you run.
Do you find people have a hard time ‘donating’ to a business versus a non-profit? I know both you and Renee are actively involved in several area non-profits.
Kickstarter is cool in the way that it’s not so much just “donating” but it’s more transactional in nature. You are kind of “buying” a product. For example, spend $25 and get some cute Folk Dog magnets that would cost the same as if you were to purchase them at a store. Spend $7500 and your dog gets to be the cover dog on our next flavor of treats! A very neat way to not only support what we’re doing, but make your dog famous.
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.