Monday, August 31, 2015

12 Simple Dos And Don'ts of Brands

You’ve started your own business, and you’re working on promoting it. Have you considered your brand? Perhaps you’ve read about brands. Maybe you’ve already created your own. It doesn’t matter what your enterprise is, your business and your personal brands are important to your sales.
I don’t profess to be an expert in any form of marketing. However, as I promote my books, I’ve come to realize the importance of establishing my brand. After much research, I’ve developed 12 simple dos and don’ts to share with you.
What is a brand, really?
A brand is your known identity of your company. The American Marketing Association Dictionary has this definition:  ‘A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.’ It’s the symbol, the design, the business name, a sound (if you have one), and most importantly, it’s your promise to your buyers. Brands produce emotions in customers, which leads to sales.
There’s a wealth of information on the internet on how to develop brands. This article covers just a small part.

Developing Your Business Brand:

1.   Tagline (your catchphrase or slogan) – what you want to be known for. An example is Disney: ‘fun family entertainment’.

DO – keep it short, 3 to 4 words
DON’T – complicate a simple description.
DO – be creative
DON’T – copy from someone else
DO – have an emotional appeal
DON’T – be unprofessional. You want to establish trust and loyalty.

2.   Professional Website (your online identity – who are you, your biography and experiences)

DO – have a simple, well-designed, professional landing page.
DON’T – make the page complicated or difficult to navigate.
DO – dedicate this page to you and your products.
DON’T – use it for your blog. Set that up on a separate page.
DO – have a Call to Action. Set up a form for your customers’ information, comments, email addresses.
DON’T – ignore the page once you’ve set it up. Respond quickly to any inquiries.
DO – have a store, if possible, or a link to your store where people can see your products and purchase without having to chase your business down on the internet.
DON’T – have too many links to your other internet pages or clutter the page. Keep it simple is a good motto for your landing page.

3.   Email Signature (a block of text at the end of your email that defines you or has your contact information)

DO – set up a creative email signature with a link to your products.
DON’T – copy someone else’s signature. Don’t plagiarize. Be unique.

4.   Business Cards

DO – have business cards with your pertinent information and use them.
Get creative. Leave them on public transportation and in restaurants.
Include them in your shipments. Have them ready to give out at any
DON’T – forget your email address, your website and a link to where your products can be purchased on your business cards.

5.   Social Media Constant Online Presence

DO- socialize online. Find people in the same line of work and potential buyers. Participate. If the group you’re in isn’t working for you, find one that does.
DON’T – spam in groups.
DO – be where customers can see you. Be active and consistent.
DON’T – join every internet site you find.

6.   Professional Photo

   DO – have a photo that represents you and your style.
   DON’T – use a selfie. If you’re going to have a friend or family member
take your photo, at least get some guidance from professional    photographers.
   DO – be professional.
DON’T – be doing something odd to attract attention. Potential customers are looking for professionals that they can trust.

7.   Share Your Expertise

DO – post your knowledge of the products or services you’re selling. It shows potential buyers who you really are, and that’s important to them.
DON’T – start a ‘how to’ article that isn’t really a how to, it’s only to promote your products.

8.   Logo (your brand symbol)

DO – develop your logo and make it unique to you. Be creative.
DON’T – copy someone else’s Logo or a major brand’s Logo.
DO – keep it simple, have it state your mission and your promise. Remember Disney’s example above. You want it to be something people will remember. Another example is McDonald’s Golden Arches.
DON’T – use too many colors in the design (three is a good amount) or make it too wordy.

9.   Email Lists

DO – develop an email list. Be sure those people want to receive business emails from you.
DON’T – add people randomly.
DO – remember to include your business name, your email address, and your email signature. Have an ‘unsubscribe’ available.
DON’T – overwhelm people with too many emails or bombard them with ‘buy my product.’

Developing Your Personal Brand
Whether you want to develop a personal brand or not, if you’re making a
presence on the internet or in your hometown, you’re developing your personal brand.

10.Your Reputation and Your Unique Story

DO – stay professional and positive. Establish your image.
DON’T – be negative or use stunts or bizarre pictures.
     DO – tell people about you and why you have your business.
  DON’T – only ask others to buy your products. If they don’t know you, why should they buy from you? What’s unique about you?

11.Social Media Biography

   DO – build your biography on sites that you join.
   DON’T – forget to update your information or add new products.

         DO – be ready to change and grow as your business changes and grows.
DON’T – be afraid or stubborn about changing if what you’re doing isn’t working.

If you take anything from this article, remember that your brand, personal or business, is your promise to your customer. Let that guide you in developing your brand.

Check out Quote, Grammar Short, and an excerpt from one of my books at DM Yates Weebly

LHR my friends

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Inkslingers Halloween Anthology Horror Genre

Hello everyone.
We've had such wonderful success with our 'Strange Portals - Inkslingers' Fantasy/Horror Anthology'
that we've decided to do a second anthology 'Inkslingers' Halloween Anthology. You can find the details on my friend Joleene's website: Joleene Naylor Inkslingers' Halloween Anthology

We invite you to be a part of this. These anthologies are free and they give readers a taste of different authors. Now, I write fantasy, not horror, but you'll find my latest short story in this collection along with some of the finest writers. It's truly an honor to be published with these writers.

There's no payment. It's just another way to get your works out there, and I want to send a special thank you to Joleene Naylor, who is organizing this anthology (not an easy thing to do).

So, if you're a writer/author, even if you've never been published before, check out the guidelines from Joleene's website and submit your story. Please be aware that you must edit your own work.

Here's an excerpt from mine: 'Through the Willow Tree'

They soon came upon life-like stone statues.
“Uh-oh,” said Chad.
“What? I suppose they come alive?”
“They are alive.”
The statues were whispering and moaning. “Help me,” “Free me,” they mumbled.
“Observe them closely, their eyes frozen in terror. Something did this to them,” said Chad. “Hey, they resemble some of the previous owners.”
“You are wise,” said a voice.
Chad drew in a sharp breath. “A sphinx. Just our luck.” He took Ginger’s arm to prevent her from wandering past it.
“Correct,” said the sphinx.
“This is bad,” said Chad.
“Why?” asked Ginger.
“Did you ever take mythology?”
“Too boring.”
“That sphinx sitting so calmly and appearing so harmless is going to give us a riddle. If we get it wrong, I’m guessing he turns us into stone.”
“Correct again,” said the sphinx.
“What happens if we get it right?” asked Chad.
“You may pass.”
“But we don’t want to pass. If I get it right, you show us how to get back to our world,” countered Chad.
“That’s what getting it right does, in a round-about way.” The sphinx chuckled. “You can’t go back, so forward you go, but take the turn, no to and fro.”
“What does that mean?” asked Ginger.
“It means that we can’t go the way we came, but once ahead we have to find a path that turns. We can’t be indecisive, going back then forward,” explained Chad. “Are there dangers ahead?”
“Dangers await everywhere. No matter the way, do be aware,” said the sphinx.
Chad huffed. “This isn’t good. What he means is, if we get the riddle right, we’ll encounter more dangers and circle around to get home. And definitely we must go forward. If we make it around, will we meet another sphinx?”
“This is my spot. What lies ahead? I know not.”
“Can you at least tell me the door that will take us home?” asked Chad.
The sphinx pointed back towards his right. Chad and Ginger looked that way. A large round door covered in thick spider webs sat in the nook of a far-away cliff.
“Anything special to open the door?” Chad asked.
“To open the door takes an ancient spell, one that you know of very well.”
“Does it lead back to our world?” asked Chad.
“From where you came, it will take you there, but while you’re climbing, don’t fall. Beware.”
“Do something,” said Ginger. “Can’t you punch him?”
“He’s made of stone. The only thing I can do is answer the riddle.”
“But if you get it wrong, we’ll turn into a statue.”
“If I don’t answer, we stay here forever.” Chad paced and thought. “Give only me the riddle, not her.”
The sphinx stretched out his paws and crossed them again before speaking:

“I’ve been here forever; I think I’ll not leave.
Here and there and around I weave.

I’m loved by many, but not by all,
While others will never come to call.

Perhaps what I say will seem like a lot,
But then again, maybe it’s not.

At the beginning, I come to life,
Sometimes slowly, sometimes with strife.

Along my journey what can be found
Are many things that will astound.

Yet the route I take is possibly boring.
Instead of interest, there’s only snoring.

I could have humor, sometimes with cheers.
Or else I’m frightening or cause lots of tears.

If I’m clever, the road will bend,
Before I arrive at the final end.

Some will continue with me ‘til I’m through.
While others will find something else to do.”

“Hmm,” said Chad. “Give me a moment.”
“Take all the time you need. Answer correctly to proceed,” said the sphinx.

If you're not a writer/author or have nothing to submit this time, look forward to the publishing of this FREE Horror anthology in time for Bwaa-haha - Halloween.

By the way, the answer to the riddle can be found in the story itself.

LHR (love, honor, and respect).