Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why A Positive Online Review Speaks Volumes

I am phobic of the dentist due to bad experiences that involved accidentally biting a dentist's finger. I have a small mouth -- what can I say? For the record, I didn't bite his finger on purpose. He yelled at me and scolded me like a child (he was a JERK and rated a big zero when it came to his bedside manner). As a result, I experience major anxiety when it comes to dental work. Last month, I had a dental exam  with a new female dentist and experienced, by far, THE BEST dental care I've experienced in my 39 years.

Before my exam, she and her dental assistant were "briefed" on my anxiety (and throw in my bad gag reflex). During the exam, she was gentle and explained everything she was doing. It had been awhile since I had a dental exam (and cleaning), so they spent extra time with me and would check in periodically and ask how I was feeling. They were terrific and congratulated me on getting through the exam, and told me I did a great job. I was beaming after my exam and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. 

It was the most "anxiety-free" experience I had with a dentist, so I took a few minutes to sit down and write the dentist and her staff a positive review on Yelp. Dental patients have many options out there, and I wanted to share exactly how this dentist put me at ease and wanted to send my thanks to her and the dental assistant who helped me. It's really easy to slam businesses and healthcare professionals, but often times people forget to write a "postive" online review and show their appreciation. 

Yesterday I returned to my dentist for a filling, and she thanked me personally for the nice review on Yelp. She sounded surprised I would take the to write a review for their office. The dental assistant told me that my review was the talk of their staff meeting, and the office manager showed the staff my Yelp review. I also personally named the dental assistant who was very patient with me while shoving xray film inside my mouth (as I drooled all over her). That task alone earned her "five stars". 

As a solopreneur, I'm responsible for my own healthcare so they earned even extra bonus points with me.They have a special program for patients who don't have dental insurance and I signed up for a very reasonable plan that covers my cleanings and gives me a discounted rate on their other dental services. I couldn't turn down that rate...and now I don't have to worry about my regular cleanings and can stay on top of my dental health. 

I was happy that my review made a hard-working dental assistant's day ( a very underappreciated job), and that the dentist knew I appreciated the extra-special care she took with me. In our rushed, hurried world where healthcare professionals push people around like numbers, it was refreshing to experience a POSITIVE dental experience. It only took five minutes out of my day to show my appreciation for a job well done.

Positive online reviews speak volumes, and could really help out a business. Don't be afraid to write a positive review for your favorite doctor or local business - you could really make someone's day (or year, for that matter). 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Are You Leaving Your Customers & Clients Confused? Tiffany Silverberg Shares the Scoop!

Fellow copywriter Tiffany Silverberg shared a fantastic newsletter this week that tackled one of my favorite subjects: customer service. I've been on a rant lately about quality customer service, and Tiffany's newsletter really hit home for me.

I appreciate Tiffany letting me share her tips with my readers. Remember your clients aren't mind readers. Clear written and verbal communication are a MUST!

Are you "guilty" of treating your customers and clients in the following ways? 
  • Do you set aside time each day to return client phone calls and emails? Or do you put it off until the end of the week?
  • Do you wait two weeks to get your client a quote when you promised to send it to them within a few days?
In this tenuous economy, it's imperative to give your customers and clients stellar customer service, especially when they bring you repeat business and referrals.

It only takes ONE negative comment about their customer service experience to mess up  your reputation. And who can afford to lose clients (or money) right now?

My favorite tips from Tiffany's newsletter

"How to Catch Them Off Guard...
Do not tell them what you need. Lead them to believe you have all the materials you will need by refusing to send emails or make phone calls. Then just before the deadline, get in touch requesting the information.

How to Lose Them Forever...
Use up any free time they could possibly have with last minute requests and crushing deadlines. Ensure lots of back and forth because you never asked them what they are looking for in your product or service. Give them a final deliverable that you cannot be sure they will appreciate. "

About Tiffany Silverberg 
Tiffany Silverberg is a freelance writer with over five years of experience in media and online writing. Tiffany uses her journalistic background to uncover unique angles and untold stories from her clients. She helps them present themselves and their products with freshness and excitement. Although her affair started far earlier, Tiffany formalized her love for words while studying linguistics at the University of California Berkeley. There, she gained critical research skills and trifling word trivia – an impassioned, invaluable combination for anyone who needs their story told.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Excitement May Hinder Your Book Marketing

Whether you are a small business or a self-published author marketing your book, take a page from Naomi Dunford with IttyBiz. Inauthentic email marketing is a big pet peeve, and Naomi hits the internet marketing nail on the head in her latest newsletter.

Naomi has a great sense of humor and love this excerpt from today's newsletter.


"...And when she says "I'm so excited" because she can't think of anything OTHER people would be excited about, but feels obligated to say something anyway? We can tell. And honestly? We're all a little bit embarrassed for her.
Your homework for today!
Never tell anyone how excited you are about anything that has to do with yourself ever again. It's self-indulgent, self-centred, and makes you look like a moron. 
Stop talking about how excited you are and go do something exciting."
It goes back to what my high school English pounded into my head: SHOW not tell. 
PS -- thanks Naomi for the helpful tips...and for the belly laughs! 



Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Book Videos Are Making A Splash Online - Interview With The Glossary's Jeremy Dunning

This week I interviewed The Glossary's Jeremy Dunning, New Media Coordinator.

The Glossary is a Los Angeles-based company that designs and creates promotional book "video excerpts". Sending BIG THANKS to Jeremy for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. He shares and explains why book videos are the hottest promotion for authors right now.

The Glossary has graciously offered a 10% discount off their services to my blog readers so just contact Jeremy and mention you read his interview on my blog, and he can help you! Contact information: Jeremy Dunning,


1. Please explain why video marketing is important to authors and why they should invest in video - especially for self-published authors who don't have an online presence and are starting from scratch?

Video is the most shared form of media on the internet and to understand its success, you need only look at how YouTube has become such a successful brand in just a few short years.  People like to watch videos, and more importantly, they like to share them.

Not only is video an effective way to entice prospective readers, it’s also the most social-media-friendly form of marketing available.  By using video, instead of just a text synopsis or blurb, you’re greatly increasing your chances that your book’s video will be shared with the people they know. In order to encourage readers to spread the word about your book, they need a form of media worth sharing.

Even starting from scratch, a great video can serve as the foundation of a successful web presence.  It’s the hook, the thing that’s going to get people to look for you elsewhere and hopefully buy your book. 


2. What are some of the innovative ways authors can use book videos as part of their internet marketing campaigns?

Your typical online distribution campaign is generally based around sharing the video on sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and hopefully catching the attention of lit-savvy blogs. But with each of these distribution channels, you’re competing not only with other book videos, but movie trailers, home videos, and funny cats.  

In addition to sharing on traditional platforms, creating a unique home for your video is a great way to set yourself apart. By giving each video it’s own website and URL, it becomes a destination that is easily shared with friends, family, and prospective readers without having to share its space with other content competing for the viewer’s attention. From these “splash pages” readers can view and share your video as well as find links to where your book is sold online.

But whatever you do, our advice would be to get creative!  Think outside the box of where your video can live on the web and how this can help turn viewers into buyers.


3. A lot of companies throw around the word "book trailers" but I noticed you don't use this terminology affiliated with the services your company offers.

We believe that one of the biggest problems with video book marketing is that it rarely celebrates what it’s actually selling--the written word. The Glossary was created largely due to our belief that the publishing industry suffers from a pretty serious identity crisis when it comes to marketing. Trailers are a fundamentally cinematic device. But books aren’t movies, so why are we marketing them as such?

Even when an author or publisher can spend the money on one of these expensive Hollywood-style trailers, they too often ring false. Why? Because they’re not selling you the experience of reading a book, they’re selling you the experience of seeing a movie version of that book.

We wanted to use video to promote books for what they are--books! To that end, we prefer to focus on the author’s own words to create what we call a “video excerpt” which is brought to life using interesting visuals and sound design.

This way, the author gets all the marketing benefits of using video, while still staying true to what they do best--the written word.

4. What advice would you give to authors who are just starting out with their internet marketing?

The internet is a wonderful tool for empowering the individual.  With a little technical know-how and a lot of hard work, you can successfully publish your book without the help of a traditional publisher, marketing company, or agent.  But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  

If you don’t have a strong knowledge base in a particular area--be it social media or creating a video--seek out some help.  You can have the next great American novel, but without proper marketing, nobody is ever going to hear about it.  Handle the parts of the process you know and are passionate about and leave the parts you don’t know, or dislike doing, to a professional.


5. Do you think we'll see a bigger trend with bestselling authors and book videos in 2012 or is the trend already happening? Are the traditional publishers using book videos more as part of their promotions? Your thoughts?

You can definitely see it trending more and more towards video.  Already, its hard to find a major Young Adult release that doesn’t have a video behind it. But the real question is, will the quality of the video content be able to stand up to the quality of the writing? So far, this hasn’t been the case, but we’re definitely optimistic for the future.

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 Email Marketing Traps Book Authors Should Avoid

I know it's tough to market your book these days. With all the marketing tools out there for authors, it can get overwhelming. 

This morning I received a query through my LinkedIn for an ebook. Since I market authors, I assumed it was an author inquiring about marketing assistance. After I opened the email, I noticed the author had included a "free copy" of his ebook and asked me to read his book and pass along to my friends and colleagues. I did not know this person and I didn't know anything about his work or his book (despite the fact that he has 600 plus connections on LinkedIn, that doesn't mean anything to me).

Spam is a HUGE pet peeve so it's important to understand what NOT do when you use email to market your book. This also applies to any product or service and not just books. 

1. Do NOT solicit or sell your book to someone you don't know or has not subscribed to your email list. That's just common courtesy and you want to grow your email list and not lose subscribers. 

2. Offer your email subscribers valuable content, articles, and free reports/downloads. How can you help people and offer assistance? Email marketing is not about pitching your book 24,7. It's about making real connections with people. Think of your sales funnel. Only about five to ten percent of website visitors will actually buy the first time they visit your website. You need to provide them with valuable information so they'll stay interested in you, as the author, and your book. 

3. Do NOT give away your entire book away via email. Many people think this is an effective sales tactic and will generate more interest and will make the book go viral faster. If your book sales aren't a priority and you want to use the book to market your business (specifically non-fiction authors), then you can go that route but that's an entirely different marketing campaign altogether. However, if you are a fiction writer and book sales are your number one goal, provide only a sample chapter of your book. You want to generate interest with your sample chapter - just enough to entice the reader to want to buy your book. Why would someone want to purchase your book when they just read it for free? 

4. Include videos in your email marketing campaigns. Viral video is hot for book authors. If you want to try a visual marketing tactic, create a book trailer video (stay tuned - I will be posting an interview soon about the importance of book videos). You can also take on the persona of your character in your video and talk about the book through the eyes of your character. You don't need to spend a lot of money either. Use your webcam or digital camera. The video only needs to be a few minutes long, and it also puts your face in front of your audience.

5. Be consistent with your newsletters.  If you start an e-newsletter, make sure you send them out on a regular basis so you stay in touch with your subscribers. If you only send out emails every few months, then people won't take you as seriously and they will probably lose interest in your book. With the hundreds of thousands of book choices people have out there, it's very easy to lose people's attention. Your newsletter doesn't have to be long but be consistent - if you send out emails monthly then keep up with that schedule! Automate your newsletters through your CRM software, and implement an editorial calendar to help you stay on track. 

If you are a newbie book marketer, take these tips into account before you blast out emails to your email subscribers. You don't want to see people opting-out left and right -- not a good sign! 



Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies