Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Showcases and Competitions

In order to help give our mums an opportunity for their items to be seen we will be running various competitions and product showcases.
Initially I was hoping that this would be something that could be combined and done on Facebook by adding an album of photos that could be voted on by the use of the like button. However after becoming aware that this was not permitted under Facebook rules I then had to find other ways to do this. I was really gutted as I thought voting in this way would be simple to set up and easy for any voters to use.
For anyone planning any type of competition on Facebook please see: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php.
Once our website is up and running I will most likely run the majority of competitions on there but until then I still wanted to do something on Facebook to help get our mum’s items seen! So this is what I’m doing for now, showcases and competitions run through an application provided by http://www.wildfireapp.com/.

Showcases – We will be doing some showcases on our Facebook pages. We already have a Sock Monkey one on More Than Mummies (no more entries please) and a necklace one on Yummy Mummies – Business Mums (entries for the necklace one is until 31st May. See the notes section on that page for more details).
These showcases will be non competitive and are purely an opportunity for your items to be seen and hopefully get you some new interest in your items. I will do a photo collage of the items in each showcase for here on the blog too to try and give you a bit more promotion and another opportunity for your items to be seen.
I will announce the next item to be showcased on our Facebook page/s in June and then there will be a limited time to send me your photos if you would like to be included. I will always try to give you plenty of notice and opportunity to send me your photos. I’m aiming to do a new showcase album each month on http://www.facebook.com/YummyMummies.BusinessMums and hopefully by the end of the year there will have be a selection of different albums to browse through. Perfect if someone is looking for something. If at any point you would like a photo removed from an album just email me and I’ll take it out as soon as I can.
We will also do some more showcases on http://www.facebook.com/morethanmummies . We've just started one for items UK mums make or sell that would make good Father's Day presents! You have until 1st of June to email me (yummymummiesbusiness@gmail.com) with one photo and a short description including price and a link to your page or website.

Competitions
As well as showing off our mums items in a showcase album, I will also be arranging some more competitions. (We currently have our first one running on More Than Mummies for UK mums who make cards). These competitions will most likely take place on our More Than Mummies page and will be open to UK only. Saying this, I am working on an idea for an international one to take place on the Yummy Mummies – Business Mums page.
In order to run these competitions I have to use an application from http://www.wildfireapp.com/ for it to be compliant with Facebook rules. These competition apps are not free to use so I’m not sure how often competitions will take place. It depends both on popularity and budget!
At the moment I have one planned to start on 27th May for Children’s cakes made by mums and then we may do another one for Sock Monkeys (however the Sock Monkeys may take place on the website depending on timescale).
My main aim is to give mums various opportunities to get involved with our Facebook page and in future our website and show off their items, products or skills for free, there will not be any charge to enter our competitions or showcases. I’m still in the process of finding out what’s popular and what works best so any feedback is really appreciated.
We will also be doing some wonderful giveaways as we get nearer to our website launch and I already have some gorgeous items that I can’t wait to give away! And there will be details of our first little giveaway in our first newsletter to be sent out in early June.
Jill. x
If you would be interested in subscribing to our newsletter please send us an email saying ‘Newsletter Subscribe’ to yummymummiesbusiness@gmail.com.

Email addresses will not be passed or sold on, and More Than Mummies Ltd will not contact you with anything other than our newsletter (unless you are in contact with us about something else), you can also unsubscribe at any time, by emailing us with ‘Newsletter Unsubscribe’ and your details will be deleted from our records in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Just to let you know, we are based in England and our newsletter and website will most likely appeal to UK mums, however we will also happily involve international businesses who wish to attract a UK or international audience. In this case it would be more suited to online businesses that dispatch items worldwide.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ways To Increase Sales - Link Selling Technique

Before I tell you a little more about this sales strategy please be aware that it has nothing to do with website links. I keep searching for examples and good descriptions but whenever I do I always seem to return search results about website links! So here’s my description of link selling and how it could help your business to increase sales.
This sales technique is something that was introduced to me several years ago when I was training to be Cabin Crew for an airline. You may think that’s an unusual place to learn about sales but we actually got a little bonus if we reached certain targets each flight!
In essence it’s ‘linking’ together items that match or could be used or worn together. For example if you go into a clothes shop and try on a skirt and the sales assistant recommends a top to match that skirt, or the lady behind the beauty counter suggests an eye shadow to match the lipstick you were going to buy that is link selling.
A very well known one is ‘would you like chips/fries with that’ used at many fast food restaurants, it’s still trying to sell an item that you didn’t originally intend to buy but would probably complement your burger nicely!
As a business you would use link selling to encourage customers to buy more items from you. This technique is very common in a retail environment and if you have an actual shop I would recommend you trying this technique and train any staff to use this technique too. It could be a simple as saying to a customer ‘have you seen...that would match/look great with this?’.
Some examples:
·         If you sell jewellery and someone wants to buy a necklace suggest earrings or a bracelet to match.

·         If you sell cosmetics and someone wants to buy bubble bath suggest a body lotion in the same range.

·         If you sell toys recommend books about the character someone wants to buy (as long as you sell books too!).
·         If you sell something that could be a gift suggest a gift box or bag to go with it.
The aim is to basically sell more than you would have done originally.
Online Link Selling
You can also use this technique on your online shops; most big brand websites do this. Tesco for example, on their Tesco Direct pages, have ‘you may also like’ items both at the side and underneath any items you view. Marks and Spencer also have a ‘you may also like’ as well as ‘customers who bought this also bought’, they are in effect suggesting you to look at other items that match the one you are already looking at. Debenhams also have 'other items available in this range' and a very polite 'may we also suggest'.
This technique is also used more subtly by clothes retailers on their online stores. For example you don’t just see a picture of a pair of trousers on their own you see them as part of an outfit. The best example I can think of is Next’s online shop (and their catalogue too), you not only get shown a single item of clothing but you see the item worn with matching garments, shoes, handbags and even jewellery or other accessories. And every time I go on their site to look for just a pair of jeans I always want to buy more! (I am a bit of a shopaholic though!)
(For anyone not in the UK Tesco is one of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains, Debenhams is the UK's biggest department store and Marks and Spencer and Next are two of the biggest retail brands in the UK.)
Ok, you may be wondering how you can do this on your website or Facebook page. One suggestion would be to simply write in a comment under the photo, ‘this item has matching...’ or ‘please see following photo/s for items in this range’ or even link to the photo. You could even do an album for each range of matching items by doing a ‘group’ photo as the album cover and then putting photos of individual items in that album. If you decide to do a photo where someone is for example wearing an entire outfit or is wearing a necklace and matching earrings, make sure you clearly state the price of each item so customers don’t think they are getting all the items displayed in the picture.
Maybe you could even join up with another seller/shop for props? For example if you sell children’s clothes and do your own photos, see if someone could supply you with toys, shoes or even hair accessories. Be clear where all the items are available from and let the other seller/shop use the same photo to advertise their products displayed in it as they will also be advertising yours.
My suggestion would be to go and have a look at the big shop’s websites or catalogues. If possible look at ones that sell similar items to you and see what techniques, be it photographs or wording, they use to encourage customers to have a look at other items. I would be very surprised if you came across a big well know brand that didn’t in some way recommend other items they have for sale.
If you don't have a business and are reading this as a customer, I hope I've also given you a little insight in to what shops do to get you to buy an extra item. They're not just being helpful in suggesting matching items they want you to buy more stuff from them.
Jill. x



Tuesday, 10 May 2011

New Tabs On This Blog, An Update On Our Newsletter And Current Competitions


This is just a quick update post about the blog, an update on our newsletter and a few details of current competitions.

New Blog Tabs

You may have noticed that there are now tabs under the logo and description paragraph. I'm trying something new!

The 'Home' page is where all my blog posts are, for anyone new to my blog there will has so far been a mixture of posts about business promotion and marketing, posts that describe 'how to' do things (I know it’s a very vague description!) and also some more personal posts about me. For a list of previous posts see the right hand side of the blog.

The 'Newsletter' page will be used to exhibit the latest edition of our newsletter.
and

The 'Competition Prizes' page will be for you to have a better look at the item/s included in our current newsletter competition prize.
(Our selection of prizes for our first newsletter competition is looking fabulous!)

More pages may be added to the blog in the future. For example we may have some guest blog posts.

If there is an article or subject you would like me to write about on this blog please email me:
yummymummiesbusiness@gmail.com. I would love to hear your suggestions, if it's a subject I'm not able to help you on I will try to point you in the right direction.


Update on our Newsletter

The first edition is nearly ready; we just have a few finishing touches to do! It will be sent out on the1st/2nd of June and will hopefully be available to view here on the blog a few days later. It will give details as to how you can get involved with our upcoming website.

Current Competitions

We currently have a competition running on Twitter! The prize is a one month’s advert on our newsletter. The competition will run until 8pm on the 20th of May and to enter find us on Twitter  http://twitter.com/#!/MoreThanMummies , follow us and retweet our competition post. The winner will be selected at random shortly after our competition ends.

Your 'logo' style banner advertisement will appear on the very first edition of our newsletter, which will be seen by those who subscribe to our email newsletter, those who visit our blog (currently on average 70-100 people per day) and will also be printed out and distributed at any events we attend and could also be handed/sent out on other occasions as part of our website promotion. So you will have the potential to reach a very large and varied audience! Best of luck!

I'm in the process of writing a new business related blog post which I will try to post either this evening or tomorrow and I hope will be of help to our entrepreneurial mums. 
  
Jill. x

Friday, 6 May 2011

Being A Mum!

I love being a mum! If you’d told me when I was younger that this is how I’d feel once I’d had a baby I don’t think I would have believed you! I was never really maternal and couldn’t imagine myself with a baby, but now he’s here it’s just the best thing ever! I love him more than I can possibly describe and would do anything for him. My life has indeed changed beyond recognition.
When my partner and I first moved into our house together, I was quietly weighing up how I could get him to let me turn our small single spare bedroom into my own little walk-in wardrobe! Little did I know that only a few months later we’d be planning on how best to set it up as a nursery. I might add that the majority of the clothes that were going to go in my walk-in wardrobe no longer fit and are currently enjoying a little holiday in the loft until slimmer days are here again!
You take for granted that you’ll have to deal with crying, dirty nappies, baby sick on your clothes and sleep deprivation. Some things are easier to become accustomed to than others! The stinky nappies you get used to pretty quickly (although I do still have the occasional gag!) but the lack of sleep is another matter! I think we’re over the worst of it now and I think we’ve had it pretty easy compared to some, although we’re just entering the teething phase so I won’t speak too soon!
There are many little things I didn’t anticipate though, one being how much I would come to appreciate a hot cup of tea or eating a sandwich without interruption! The once simple things have now become a luxury. I didn’t realise that when I sat down with a hot drink or something to eat it would signal to baby that it’s time to fill his nappy!
I also failed to realise that in a very short space of time my once comprehensive knowledge of current pop songs would be replaced by CBeebies theme tunes! I’m not sure if I can name any songs in the charts at the moment but I can sing all the words to the songs in ‘In The Night Garden’! When the radio’s on in the car, I feel a little out of touch to say the least.
I know these are trivial things but your life changes on so many levels, big and small. I now have the responsibility of a little person relying on me for everything, from being fed to being clean and depending on me and my partner to make important decisions on his behalf. No pressure! Before he was here, all I had to thing about was me and what I wanted, now he is my priority and my main concern is that I do what’s best for him. Even when I do the weekly shop I buy him all organic fruit and veg and forget all about me and other half! He gets the best grub going and we get a few too many ‘random tea’ nights where I just make up meals with what ever’s left in the cupboard or freezer! We’ve had all sorts of weird concoctions.
All in all it’s so far been the most wonderful time in my life, seeing this little person grow and develop is amazing. A whole day of crying is quickly forgotten about when he gives me a huge smile, or even better, a little giggle! I’ll be totally blown away the first time he says mum!
Jill. x

One of my favourite pictures of my little boy! x




Just something to share, I don't know who the author is as I was just sent this in a text message on mothers day:


  We traded sleep for dark circles,
 salon haircuts for ponytails,
long baths for quick showers, late nights for early mornings,
 designer bags for school bags and we wouldn't change a thing!!
 We call ourselves mums and we don't care about what we gave up and instead LOVE is what we get in return!!
That's what being a mum is all about!!
- Author Unknown

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Why Start A Facebook Page For Your Business?

I’m writing this post in response to a few messages I’ve had or posts that we’ve had on our wall about Facebook business pages and what their benefits are. I know a lot of our mums’ businesses already have a Facebook business page but for those who don’t or who are new to Facebook I’ll try to explain why I think they are a good option. I will include both practical reasons and also the perceptions of others.
First off, for those of you currently only using a Facebook personal page to promote your business, I would suggest creating a business page, as this has many benefits over personal pages. (Strictly speaking I don’t think Facebook like you to use a personal page as a business page but that’s not what this article is about and as far as I’m concerned that is totally your decision.)
It’s really straight forward to do, sign in to your personal account and go to your ‘home’ page and on the left hand side you should see ‘Ads and Pages’. If you click on that it should take you to a page where you can ‘Create Page’. If you can't find this, go to someone else’s page and under that page’s ‘Likes’ on the left hand side you should see ‘Create a Page’ in blue writing. Once you get to the ‘Create a Page’ page, you then see all the options of pages available to you. Have a little look round to see which one suit’s your business best, different page types have different options and can require different information. You can always delete your page if you’re not happy with it or change the page type once your page is created, so don’t be afraid to have a go! You don’t need to separately sign in to your business page which makes it really accessible and easy to use. (You can't change the name of your page once you reach 100 likers.)
I’ll now try and outline some of the advantages of Facebook Pages.
1. Depending on the page type you can include much more information in the info section compared to a personal page. Anything from description of your business, what products you sell and any awards you’ve received as well as all your contact details. (This does depend on your page type, there aren’t as many options for community pages like http://www.facebook.com/YummyMummies.BusinessMums)
2. If your business is run by more than one person, you can add people to help admin your page. Or you can add a friend or partner to help you manage your page and moderate what is posted on your wall.
3. Don’t quote me on this, but I think you can add apps to your business page that you may not be able to add to your personal page. From simple, common ones such as a discussions app to more business specific apps such as welcome pages, Facebook/Folksy/Etsy shops and review pages (there are lots to choose from and they are easy to add just go to ‘Edit Page’ and then ‘Apps’ if you don’t see the one you want already on your page, try ‘Browse more applications’ at the bottom in small blue writing). – Please correct me if I’m wrong on this point.
4. Another advantage of Facebook pages is that you get to view insights of people who have visited or ‘liked’ your page. This doesn’t give any personal details, but includes things like how many people have liked your page and viewed your posts on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It also gives you an overview of your demographics (the age range and location of people who like your page) which can help you review your page and ensure you are attracting your desired target audience to your business.
5. If you have a Facebook page, people also have more choices as to how they like your page. Your page can be liked from either a personal page or a business page, and although anyone will liking you from a business page will not count in your number of likes visible on your page you will still be able to view the total number of ‘Likes’ (business and personal) in your insights.
6. If another business page ‘Likes’ your page, you will also show up in their ‘Likes’ list which also gives your page another opportunity to be found by others.
7. This is another one that I’m not entirely sure about but I did try to do a little experimenting so if anyone has had any strange post from a Jill it may have been me! If you tag ‘@’ a business in a comment on your personal page you do not show up on that page’s wall where as if you tag from a comment written on your business page you do. This is useful as once again, even though the comment was written by you on your wall it will appear on the wall of any business pages you have tagged in that comment, giving you yet another opportunity to be seen by others.
As well as the previously mentioned practical advantages there are also other advantages relating to how other people perceive your page.
8. The first advantage is that you appear more professional, both to other businesses and to potential clients or customers. Sometimes, for example if I am trying to return a like, I will click on what I think is a business page and it turns out to be a personal page and I can’t access it because I’m in ‘business’ mode and don’t really want to switch back to ‘personal’ mode. Even if I did switch back to my personal mode I would have to ‘add as a friend’ instead of ‘Like’ which takes time to be confirmed and I just find it a little bit messy.
9. Another reason that may put people off adding you as your business page as a ‘friend’ instead of just liking your page, is the lack of anonymity and privacy this gives. You may not have any difficulty getting friends or people you know to add you but could be putting off anyone you don’t know (who could be potential clients) as if they add you, you will in effect have access to their personal page. (I hope that makes sense.)
The advantages of your liker’s having anonymity from all your other liker’s is more important than you may realise. It means they have less to consider before pushing that ‘Like’ button. Their personal page will remain private and therefore less risky for them, making your page more appealing. The other thing that will also appeal to people is the fact that they can have a little nosy around your page first before deciding to like!
I don’t have a Facebook group so I’m not entirely sure how they work from an admin’s point of view, but as a participant in a couple of groups, I can identify a few drawbacks in using a group as your business page. As previously mentioned it looks less professional and it also doesn’t allow members to remain anonymous. You can also only join from your personal profile and the admins can only write from their personal profiles. This is not to say that groups aren’t useful, they are just not recommended for an option to promote your business.
The main reason I do not recommend using a group page for your business is because you will be missing out on marketing opportunities. And here’s why, when you write or share a post on your business page that post is seen in the feeds on the home page (personal and/or business) of your likers. This does not happen if you are a group, so unless people make the effort to come to your group regularly you will be missing out on opportunities to advertise to them. You will also be missing out on the opportunity to write comments as your business page, which can be useful in increasing your brand awareness and getting people to become familiar with your business name and logo (if you use your logo as your profile picture for your page).
I’ve rambled on enough! For anyone new to the idea of using Facebook for your business, go and have a look, both at other business pages and the 'Create a Page' section on Facebook (as mentioned earlier in this post). Don’t be afraid of experimenting, once you get your page set up it can be great fun as well as being a wonderful asset to your business! And it costs nothing to set up!
Jill. x






Tuesday, 3 May 2011

How To Add A Facebook Like Box and Twitter Follow Button To Your Blogspot/Blogger Blog

This post is a little bit overdue so I do apologise. I was asked last week if I could write a post for other bloggers using Google Blogspot/Blogger, on how to add the Facebook and Twitter buttons that you can see on my blog. I’ll do my best to  talk you through how to do it, I always try to write in a way that is easy to understand and any instructions are simple to follow, so here goes!

The ‘Follow Me On Twitter’ Button
This one is simple one to do. Log in to your Twitter account and on the right hand side of your home page, under the  ‘Favourites’ and ‘Trends’ etc you should see some options starting with ‘About, Help, Blog...’ in this horizontal list of options click on ‘Businesses’. You then get to a page called ‘Twitter for Businesses’ under the option ‘Optimize Your Activity’ click on ‘Resources and Widgets’.
You then get to select the style of your follow button by clicking on ‘See all Follow buttons’. There are various different options, once you’ve decided which one you like click on it and it will give you a code. Copy this code by selecting (highlighting) it and right mouse click and select copy.
To add this to your Blogspot/Blogger blog, sign in to your blog and go to the ‘Design Page’. I’m sure you are familiar with this page, but if you are new to Blogspot/Blogger it will appear as ‘Add and Arrange Page Elements’. On the right hand side of the page you will see ‘Add a Gadget’, click on this and you get a list of options that you can add. Select HTML/JavaScript and paste the previously copied Twitter code into the ‘Content’ box, add a title if you wish for your reference. Click save and preview/view your blog. You should now see your selected Twitter button on the right hand side of your page.

The ‘Your Business’ On Facebook Like Box (ours appears on the right hand side as ‘More Than Mummies’ on Facebook)
This one is still quite simple but you have more options to choose from. Bear with me I’ll try to be as clear as I can explaining this!
To start with login to Facebook and visit your business page, select ‘Edit Page’ and in the list of options click on ‘Marketing’. You have different options you can either ‘Get a Badge’ or ‘Add a Like Box’. I’d suggest having a look at both of these options to see which one you prefer. The ‘Get a Badge’ has an option to add it straight from Facebook to Blogger.
I chose the ‘Like Box’ for the right hand side of this blog. To add this click on the ‘Add a Like Box’ option as mentioned above. Where it says ‘Facebook Page URL’ write in or copy and paste your Facebook business page web address (ours for example is http://www.facebook.com/morethanmummies). You should then see the profile picture of your business page. (Sometimes it doesn’t appear straight away, just click on the ‘Width’ box and it should appear, you don’t need to change anything in the ‘Width’ box for this to happen.) Select how you want your ‘Like Box’ to appear, un-tick the different options to see what is available. I kept changing my mind as to what I wanted! Once you are happy with how the ‘Like Box’ will appear click ‘Get Code’  and as per the above Twitter example, copy this code, sign in to your blog, go to design and add gadget (HTML/JavaScript) and paste the code into the content box. You can change the appearance of your ‘Like Box’ by going back to Facebook, selecting different options and getting a new code.
I hope these instructions help you to add Twitter and Facebook options to your blog. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different options of how they appear on your blog, you can change or remove them at anytime.
Jill. x