marketing

Marketing Monday: Mobile Phones 101

Have you ever looked at your website on an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone? Have you looked at your website on an iPad? You might want to test it out because more and more people are getting to your website that way.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Here are some fun facts about mobile websites:

  • 93% of the population in the United States owns a cell phone.
  • 20% of mobile phone owners own a smartphone.
  • Businesses distributed 2.3 million mobile coupons in 2010 (and that number is expected to be 70 million by 2013).

(More facts and source links here: http://www.momares.com/blog/mobile-marketing-facts-and-predictions-for-2011)

In other words, more and more people are accessing the web via mobile devices, so it’s only logical to think about how your website looks on these different platforms.

It’s clear that larger companies have the resources to have thought of this earlier on. But smaller sites are also getting in on the action:

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

How do you know if your device is mobile friendly? Opera has a demo where you can try out your website in a typical mobile browser: http://www.opera.com/mobile/demo/ Not to say this is the be all end all but it can at least give you an idea. (You could also ask friends or your web designer to do some testing for you.)

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about your mobile website:

1) Don’t use Flash. iPhones (and iPads) can’t load it.
2) Be conscious of load time. To test how quickly your site loads, try this simulator. Slower load times mean better loading on cell phones.
3) Make sure your contact information is on your main page.
4) Your mobile site is prime real estate; put essential information (versus all information) on the mobile version of your site.

So as the mobile web continues to grow, think about where your website fits in. It only makes sense. It is 2011 after all!

Anyone know of websites with really cool mobile versions? Link them below in the comments so we can all check them out.

Marketing Monday: Etsy 101

I have had several artists recently ask me about selling their work on their own websites. The problem is an ecommerce website is some of the additional costs that they require:

  • Secure certificate: The little padlock that shows the website is ‘secure’. Prices start at around $10/year  and go higher for more  thoroughly verified/vetted ones. (Thanks to @MattBaya for better wording which has been corrected here.)
  • Ecommerce software: You need some sort of software to handle items (photos, descriptions, etc.), track inventory, calculate shipping, etc. Something like BigCartel can handle this pretty well for a monthly fee (starting at $10/month) or you can pay a web designer a one time fee to set it up. (The going rate seems to be $500 and up.) Note: I’m talking open source (re: free) software and paying only for the web designers’ time to customize it.
  • Merchant services if you want to accept credit cards. Many use Paypal  to get around these fees but the downside is, of course, people being less likely to buy if you only have Paypal.
  • A domain name ($10ish/year), web hosting ($5/month or more), and a website to put the ecommerce software on. This will depend on what you decide in terms of shopping software. Some, like OS Commerce, can run a whole basic website while other software pairs with a content management system like Joomla or Wordpress.

You can see why most people who begin by wanting a shopping cart decide to hold off on it in the end! A lot of decisions and seemingly getting nickeled and dimed with fees.

So what are my crafty but frugal friends to do? I have sent a few to Etsy.com.

Don't want to pay to develop your own shopping cart for your artistic products? Etsy is a good alternative.

Don't want to pay to develop your own shopping cart for your artistic products? Etsy is a good alternative.

How does it work?

1) Set up a profile and pick a store name. Connect your account with a credit card.

2) Load products (20 cents/product) to list.

3) Publicize and ship out any orders you get.

And that’s it. Well, except for creating the products, answering potential buyers’ questions, and publicizing your store of course.



I have a few friends who have Etsy stores. Lynn Cyr sells some high end paintings,  Jessica Harris makes feather handbands and paintings that people see online then buy from her locally, and my friends Chris and Renee started on Etsy with Barkwheats before they opened their own web store and began retailing. (Anyone else out there with Etsy shops I’ve forgotten to mention?)

And I’ve decided to finally set up a Too Cute Tuesday store, you know, when I have time to populate it with crafts. :^)

In other words, Etsy is an affordable, relatively easy way to test the waters of ecommerce with your art. Bonus is the ability to track item views and having the possibility of being listed on the front page of Etsy.com with a featured product, resulting in exposure to millions of people looking to buy handmade online.

So to those of you making things that don’t know how to get them online, try Etsy and let me know how it goes!

Breaking Even: 2010 In Review

It’s been awhile since I’ve written my ‘this week in business’ series. A few large things that have happened in 2010 just to recap (some new stuff, some not so new stuff):

That’s certainly not close to everything but some of the more time intensive and interesting things for sure.

I also had a lot happen in my personal life:

  • I met a man who has put up with a year of 80 hour weeks with patience and kindness. Moreover he loves how much I care about my work.
  • I became an aunt. (Note to self: Get permission from my sister to put her baby’s photo on my website- she’s super cute!)
  • Sadie (my beagle mix) died and I adopted Gidget from Georgia.
  • I took my first vacation in two years and spent a total of three hours online that week.
  • I went with my family to Georgia (a working but fun vacation).
  • I found out my grandfather has cancer, which continues to worsen and has made me value the time I have with him.

As I’ve said already on social media today, I want to thank my family and friends for all their support this year, on the business front and other fronts as well.

2011 promises to be another exciting year and, while part of me is dreading turning 30 and what my Pepere will go through, part of me knows the alternative to moving forward is stagnating and no one wants that.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Twitter Hashtags 101

To anyone just starting to use Twitter, it can seem like some exclusive club of short hand and something called hashtags. Hashtags are basically a pound sign followed by a word. Here are some examples:

A few examples of hashtag use on Twitter.

A few examples of hashtag use on Twitter.

A hashtag can have a few functions in Twitter (for categorization or run really):

A regular (informal) event
For example, I follow #tweetsandcoffee because @danamoos and a few other people I follow (mostly in Maine) use this hashtag in the morning and it’s sort of a fun coffeebreak-like thread of conversation.

A more common example of a regular informal event #followfriday. People will list people they follow in a status update followed by #FF or #followfriday as a way of sharing who they think are cool people with their followers. (Note: I forget to do this most weeks so I am not a good example!)

Virtual event organizing
I know a blogger who has a virtual #duckfest where chefs following this thread all cook with duck and post their recipes with this hashtag. Oddly specific but he’s able to organize chefs across continents!

Duckfest: A virtual event which bloggers and chefs participate in the cooking of duck.

Duckfest: A virtual event which bloggers and chefs participate in the cooking of duck.

A conference thread

If you’re at a conference, sometimes the conference will have an official one (like #poptech’s last conference) which allows people to tweet about what sessions they are in and allows those not able to attend every session to just follow the hashtag and get a feel for what they missed. It’s also a nice way to network with people at the conference. For example, I listened in on video conference to the speakers and was able to talk with people at the event via Twitter.

As you see from my duckfest example above, it’s easy to follow a particular hashtag if you have something like Tweetdeck, which is a Twitter client I use to manage my incoming information.



Fun aside
Sometimes you can use a hashtag as a way of adding to a status update without having it directly written in it:

Hashtags can also give the mood of a status update without being in the actual sentence.

Hashtags can also give the mood of a status update without being in the actual sentence.

Hashtags can add to the mood of a status by being a sort of fun aside.

Trending topics
Sometimes hashtags can be a way of being part of a trending topic on Twitter. For example, in the top ten trending topics is #2010memories which allow people to contribute their memories of the past year to a common, worldwide thread. Using hashtags is a way of being part of something bigger than what your individual Twitter update can do.

Now that you get what hashtags can do, you might want to know how to find them.

To find hashtags, you can use the Twitter search function or this website: http://hashtags.org/ You’ll also find out about some by following people in your geographic area, in your industry, or who have your hobbies on Twitter.

To save hashtag information so you don’t have to look it up over and over, just do a search (ex #maine) and then click the ‘Save this search’ button in green when the results come up on the Twitter website. You can also add a column on Tweetdeck and keep up with them that way (which is what I do since I don’t love the Twitter interface). This way, you can follow and contribute to multiple hash tags over time. Some will be short lived (like conferences) but some will always be of interest to you (like #Photoshop if you use this program everyday for example).

So now you are in the know about hashtags. Not so bad, right? No need to be intimidated by them, just try some out for yourself. The thing with Twitter (and all these other social media sites) is everyone is experimenting, just like you are. So just jump in and #lovetwitter!

Marketing Monday: Acadia National Park Application by Chimani

I had a case of ‘Holy crap it’s a small world!’ this past weekend that finally made me write this blog post.

Chimani Logo- Doesn't it look techy and outdoorsy at the same time?

Chimani Logo- Doesn't it look techy and outdoorsy at the same time?

I was volunteering at Take Pride in Acadia Day, which is this yearly event at Acadia National Park that organizes volunteers to do outdoor projects like raking leaves and cleaning out culverts to get the park ready for winter. In exchange for manual labor, participants get a t-shirt and a lunch of chili and cornbread (which is so good, I heard about it before I even moved to Bar Harbor). In other words, this event could have been a whole Marketing Monday post because it was so well organized and publicized.

But this is about a random coincidence.



To organize the masses of people, everyone is put in a work group with a number. My friend Sarah and I were in group 13, as was a very familiar looking couple. (Keep in mind there are at least 50 people in each of the 21 groups.)

The woman I recognized as someone I went to college with and her husband also looked familiar.

“Wait a minute, do you blog?” he asked.

“Wait a minute, did you design the Acadia National Park application?” I asked.

Phone screenshots, lifted off Kerry's website. Way better than I could have done!

Phone screenshots, lifted off Kerry's website. Way better than I could have done!

So Kerry is this super nice guy who gave me a preview of the Chimani Acadia National Park application when it came out. A review of it has been on my to-do list for months. Seeing him reminded me to finally do it. (Full disclosure: He was so nice that he didn’t nag me at all…Those of you who read this blog regularly know me a little better!)

Mobile web is getting bigger with a 230% increase this year alone. And anyone who has ever been in Downeast Maine knows that ATT (iPhone) coverage here is spotty to say the least. So what does Kerry do? Designs an app that requires no cell service. Brilliant! Because the last thing you want to do is carry heavy guidebooks up Cadillac Mountain.

I’ve fired up the application a few times and see that the GPS capabilities and maps alone will keep me from getting lost (again). I have yet to do the voice over audio tour of the Park Loop Road. Information is up to date, including bus and tide schedules (handy for those venturing to Bar Island as every year a tourist parks there and comes back to a flooded car).

For $5, this application costs less than a guide book. You can buy it on iTunes or get it on the Android market.

And to those of you going to other national parks, Chimani has applications for several other national parks and historic areas already created and some in progress.

But my favorite part is Kerry Gallivan, the developer, was actually in Acadia National Park taking part in service event this past weekend. It’s clear that Kerry’s passion is the real deal and I as a user of the application appreciate that.

So Kerry, I’m sorry this review is so late. Your application for Acadia National Park is fantastic!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24