Marketing Monday: Jet Blue

Marketing Monday: Jet Blue

Every Monday, Breaking Even looks at a business, website, or non-profit doing cool things online. Have an idea? Contact me and let me know!

It's easy to do the whole internet marketing bit when things are going well but what about when you have a PR disaster? How do you handle bad press about your company when you've made yourself very available online?

Jet Blue had an employee freak out on them last week. He's been getting tons of press and I don't feel a need to give him any more.

That said, I do need to say how Jet Blue has handled it seems really great.

They're keeping calm and carrying on.
The natural instinct when something doesn't go your way is to disappear for awhile. But JetBlue continues their Twitter customer service and Facebook notifications about news and events.

They briefly and professionally addressed it on their company blog.
It would be weird to completely ignore the controversy but what should you say when you don't want to be libelous or strangely silent? Read the great blog post solution called 'Sometimes the weird news is about us...' They aknowledged what happened and thanked their great employees.

Friday The Thirteenth

Friday The Thirteenth

Friday, August 13. For me, it will always be the day I almost died.

It was 1993 and I was 12 years old, having one of those summers spent almost entirely in the water. I had biked to the town pool only to find it was closed for maintenance. Remembering that my mother was leaving the house, I biked home fast before I was shut out for the afternoon. I remembered looking both ways before crossing the street but clearly I didn't. I saw red and then it was dark. (Years later, I found out it was a red pickup that hit me when I was telling my mom I had felt uncomfortable sitting in someone's truck and I didn't know why. Yup it was a red truck!)

I don't remember any pain but it was dark and I couldn't move or open my eyes. I remember hearing people talk all around me and not being able to say anything. I was trapped in my body.

I spent three days in the hospital. I don't remember much but I remember my family being around and that I couldn't concentrate on anything. I remember trying repeatedly to make it through a half hour long television show or a chapter in a book but getting a headache before I could finish. I had a concussion. I had an MRI or maybe a CAT scan which I slept through. Overall, I was sleepy and a bit sick to my stomach.

The day I was supposed to go home, I had a seizure. It felt like some big invisible hands were holding me down and pushing my head backward. I tried to mentally overpower it, or at least say something to calm people around me down, but I was trapped in my body again.

This Week In Business: Why I Charge For Workshops And Seminars

This Week In Business: Why I Charge For Workshops And Seminars

I often get asked, "Why don't you give free seminars?" I've been thinking a lot about it lately and here's my response:

First of all, it isn't true that I don't ever give free seminars. Once a month, I do a free seminar for a business-related non-profit: chambers of commerce, Rotary, and other groups of that nature. If I get two requests the same month, I ask the person who contacted me second if they'd mind holding off. This is because I need to reserve time to do paid work so I can keep going as a business. Also, these free presentations are very general, usually introducing basic concepts as that's what time allows (and usually what the group wants).

Everyone else gets charged, whether it's a customized training session ($75/hour or $500, whichever is more applicable) or as a fee for a Downeast Learning workshop(between $25-$50/person). Am I just a money grubbing jerkface? Well, I might be... but even if I am, I have some good reasons for doing this:

1) It takes time to create workshops.
I spend on average of 10 hours preparing slides for a typical workshop. I usually create an outline, get feedback on it from colleagues, make slides, and then get feedback on the slides. If you've ever been to one of my presentations, I hope you can see the thought that goes into them!

In addition to the time making the presentation, I also write a press release, post the workshop on several online event calendars, post it over Facebook and Twitter, update my blog, put up posters, contact all the local chambers, and do other things to get the word out, probably to the tune of a couple hours per workshop.

2) It costs money to present workshops.
You'll notice if you go to my workshops, they are held in a space that isn't my home office. Since my house is tiny (not to mention ill equipped to handle 20ish people and their computers comfortably), I have to rent space.

Too Cute Tuesday: Bamboo Wind Chimes and Haikuesday

Too Cute Tuesday: Bamboo Wind Chimes and Haikuesday

Too Cute Tuesday is a weekly event involving a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To get involved, see all the TCT archived posts at www.toocutetuesday.com, join us on Facebook, or contact Nicole to start your own Too Cute Tuesday chapter in your town.

My friend John contacted me awhile back, asking if we'd be interested in doing a Japanese related craft to cobrand with a weekly tradition he has on his Facebook page called Haikuesday. (In essence, you ask him to write you a personalized haiku on a Tuesday and he will. Here's his Facebook page if you want to ask him about doing it for you!)

While the Bar Harbor branch of Too Cute Tuesday has opted to make a bamboo wind chime, Too Cute Tuesday Saint Louis is making paper koi. Here's the link to their craft (EnchantedLearning.com, the website is on, is ridiculously addicting just to warn... just start clicking some related links!)

Materials
tiki torches (made of bamboo)
saw (Dremel tool caused a bit of burning if you are considering that)
scissors
random bendable hardware

Cocktail of the Night: Limeaid and Pims

Marketing Monday: Meatless Monday

Marketing Monday: Meatless Monday

Every Monday, the Breaking Even blog takes on a business, non-profit, or website with a good marketing idea. Have one? Send it in!

This morning, I was listening to NPR (on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network) and heard about former marketer now turned non-profit marketer Sid Lerner talking about the Meatless Monday concept him and his firm started as a way to get people to eat healthier one day a week. According to the story, 20% of the American population was aware of the term. Personally, I've heard about it on a few blogs I read (I do like food) and I was surprised the recognition of the phrase was that low.

Not just a campaign but a website providing useful information and incentives to step out of their comfort zone one night a week.

Meanwhile, it turns out some college campuses have also bought in to the concept but most younger generation folks aren't going meatless for cholesterol but for the environment. (Which is a big reason why I eat meat only a couple times a week myself. Holy grain acres, Batman!(As a complete aside, you can read a whole nerdy though somewhat slanted article about grain acres here with neato diagram if you are interested.)

These Two Weeks In Business: The Package Edition

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.