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Artist Alert: watch this now!

 If you have doubts about all this tech stuff and why you need it to succeed from here on out watch this video! Then tell me what you think…is it all hooey do artists really need to do this? Obviously, I think so and I think the sooner the better! Our replacements are in school now or close to getting out how god of an example are you being? Are you leading the way for their future also by showing them how they can integrate art with technology with community building?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY&feature=player_embedded

pixy Artist Alert: watch this now!

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Tech Tips for the left brain challenged

 

tech tips4 400x394 Tech Tips for the left brain challenged

Starting today we will have another regularly scheduled series. This series will be focused on technology tips and short cuts that can help artists. We will include tips for beginners as well as experienced computer and internet users. The series will be called  Tech Tips ( pretty creative uhh?).

The idea for the series was one of those light bulb moments( actually more like a DUHHHHH! Moment) that occurred while helping a client. This client along with many who were not born with geek blood often don’t know enough to know what to ask and many seem consider their computers as a place where majikal little gremlins run around  making things difficult. Also many in the 45 + age cohort are intimidated by those youngsters who came out of the womb with a mouse as an appendage.  So…the main goal of this series is to make getting and asking geeky  information without being embarrassed, intimidated or turning yourself into a geek.

A little self disclosure here…I am well into the 45+ age cohort and everything I know I have taught myself. However, I did have an advantage I was born with Geek blood as the son of an engineer and an artist, I know what a mix. I started using computers in high school and no they weren’t hand cranked but they were huge and they did have to be fed with cards sometimes thousands just to get anything to come out. Later in another life I worked with the Forest Service as a graduate design student to develop ways to map visual corridors through forests as a way to control clear cutting. Anyway you get the idea it sort of came natural to me but I know it doesn’t with most….so this is a way for me to share what I’ve collected over the years.

And it is not my intention to hog the content either so this series is VERY open to readers and their tips, tricks and general hacks so please feel free to share using the comment form.

Also don’t be afraid to ask a question I am not guaranteeing an answer right away but sooner or later somebody here may have one. Oh….almost forgot if you are afraid of being embarrassed feel free to use an alias!!

Here are just a few of the categories the tips may fall into:

  • Hardware work arounds or secrets
  • Twitter techniques
  • Software recommendations
  • Web site recommendations
  • Creative uses of technology to market your work
  • Tips & tricks
  • Blog design reviews & tips

Today’s Tips

Three of my favorite Mac apps that can save time:

about 1password Tech Tips for the left brain challenged1 Password

If you have ever gotten tired of trying to remember all your online stuff  or worse yet you can’t find that super-secret note book where all your on-line stuff resides encoded by using your super coder/decoder ring well save your hair… 1Password is the answer. Here’s what you can do with this frustration savior…

Set up your own profile information ( as many variations s you want) and with one click on your browser select the right profile and 1Password will fill it in automatically AND you don’t have to worry about taking up space in your brain with such trivia. Because this little gem will generate a password for you and then store it. So next time you log into one of your password requiring sites you can save your hair along with the screaming and stomping and just click…1Password does the rest.

Guess what is even more cool…it works with both the iPhone and that other one that Obama likes to carry.

skitch3 Tech Tips for the left brain challengedSkitch

Ever wonder how I get all those super cool graphics of my desk top? Well there are hard ways and there are simple ways to get them. Until recently I was suffering through the agonizingly slow process of captureing and annotating screen captures. First the click then the save then to Photoshop to add the text and the arrows then flatten then…you get the picture.

One day during my morning wake up surfing routine I ran across this program that let me do everything ya everything without all the putzing. Now you may ask why do I need that? Well remember that friend’s photo you always wanted to add a mustache and goggles to quickly and then post it on your Facebook page or e-mail it to them…now you can very easily.

One More Tip

Help…my computer is broken it is sooo slowwww I could take a nap while the screen refreshes! Well don’t toss it out the window yet unless of course it runs by hand crank.

The problem may be just molasses in your tubes or a huge traffic jam! Ya see even if you have the most blazingly fast souped up modem thingy  it doesn’t mean didly if  you’ve been surfin’ all day and night along with everybody else in your living arrangement. So try to remember …If the phone company sent a brown box with another box inside and lots of wires with funny things on the ends of them you have DSL and at least the first step is easy peasy. Just reach around the back of that modem box find the power cord and yank that sucker out, count to 60 then plug’er back in, watch the light show and once the green light labeled “internet” is a steady green you’re good to go.

Now if the cable guy came by and hooked’er up that’s a different story cause besides having tubes filled with molasses youinstaller Tech Tips for the left brain challenged may be in the middle of a traffic jam! See, cable networks are all webby like a spider web and if you and everybody else on your block or  in your neighborhood are all surfin’ together…all I can say is ya gotta wait your turn ‘cause you and your neighbors are all fightn’ to get on that super highway. So first thing ya need to do is the same thing I said for the DSL folks…find that power cord give it a yank and count to 60 before ya plug it back in. If that doesn’t work well you could….

Go all nutcase and run up and down your street yell at your neighbors to get offf the party line ‘cause you got important business to tend to.

Or…

You could just get up and come back at 2 AM when all your neighbors are snoozin’

Or….

You could just decide your stuff isn’t that important anyway and go grab a beer and watch some of the other kinda tube.

 Tech Tips for the left brain challenged

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Thing One and Thing Two Meet the Bhudda: Part III

 

The Buddha & The Slide Show

Ok…here is where the light bulb above the head gets switched on. There was once an old Buddhist who maintained that the tenets of life can be boiled down to knowing the difference between  the actions of the heart and the heart or even more basic being able to see the space. Being able to see life as apposed to just the events of life. Now before I go all Zen on you just hold on!

karate bhudda2 Thing One and Thing Two Meet the Bhudda: Part IIIHow many have seen an old school slide show? You know the kind with real film slides and humming projector that goes click-uk every time a slide is changed. For simplicity, let’s assume the the show is projected on a wall that isn’t going anywhere soon. So the wall stays put and the slides move in and out of the light across the wall, out of darkness into light then back into darkness. You have only a few seconds to notice and acknowledge the presence of each slide, hanging onto any one  slide after it leaves the screen  by focusing your attention on it’s image in your mind will cause you to miss the ones that follow. More importantly doing so leads you to put your focus on the movement (event) of the slide stream rather than the space where the slides appear. Whew !!! That stirred up the old neurons.

So what’s this got to do with Thing One and Thing Two? As it turns out quite a bit, you see if you focus on the space and just let the slides appear and disappear you will be able to experience the show as a whole rather than just a bunch of independent images. Let’s go back to the two Things, they are like the slides, they are thoughts, impulses, actions all part of living life, but not the whole enchilada. They are  instead, distractions, waving from the corners of your mind trying to get your attention…they are like the wait person who interrupts you every time you start a sentence. That wait person is not your entire dining experience, just an annoyance, focusing on that person distracts you from the whole experience. So once the  Two Things have you they will take you on a ride for as long as you want to hang on, and that ride is taking you down a path away from what is really going on leaving you in stuck in a not so nice place,  as your fears negative emotions take over. You might continue to experience poor sales all the time wondering what is going wrong, if you follow the Two Things  you switch your attention from the part you play in the problem to the innocent bystanders who are your buyers. In the process, they don’t get to  experience the joy of your work and of the valuable energy it gives.

See The Space

So what is the solution? Well….you are the solution, the answers lie within you and your ability to see, acknowledge and accept your fears for what they are, an important part of what makes you, you. Will the world apocalypse occur and the three horseman come galloping in to strike you down? It’s doubtful…you will likely feel uncertainty, and it is ok to take small steps, because guess what…. there is no perfection and there is no right way to do things.

Stay focused on the space between the little events and dramas of life and you will soon note that everything fitsmed w things Thing One and Thing Two Meet the Bhudda: Part III together as your attracton factor increases. People are drawn to centered folks, the peaceful ones who realize that events are just events that come and go within the room of life and the room is always there. Believe me it takes a lot of stress out ofeveryday living!!

 Thing One and Thing Two Meet the Bhudda: Part III

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Twitter and the Daily Show

Jon Stewart and Sam Bee talk about Twitter, twitterers,twits,tweets and those who use them.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Twitter Frenzy
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Daily Show Full Episodes Economic Crisis Political Humor
 Twitter and the Daily Show

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Dan Schorr meets Twitter Even 90 year olds get it

 

Recently on NPR weekend edition Scott Simon shows Daniel Shorr (90) how to twitter….listen to Dan’s comparison of Twitter to the Greek Agora or marketplace.

 

Next NPR Soapbox vlogger Jacob Soboroff reports on “technophobic” and some of the tools we have been using to communicate.

 

So if a 90 year old sees value in on-line communications what are you afraid of? Maybe it is time to re-visit your ANTS.

  Dan Schorr meets Twitter Even 90 year olds get it

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Featured Blog: Inspiration Flirtation

 

inspirtion 400x323 Featured Blog: Inspiration Flirtation

Today is the first of our Featured Blogs, to read more about the What,Why and Hows check out the description page. Today’s first came to me by suprise as many things often do. The Blog was started by Christina (Tina) Wessels and her blog is about Inspiration and how many of us flirt with our creativity but never really hookup with it. But it is more than just about “almost” it is about naming and honoring the creative seed that resides in all of us, the little urgings and longings  we have learned to hide because we don’t want to offend, it is to summarize Garrison Keillor our faithfulness to “suffering”.

On her little part of the web Tina is doing her part to pull aside the curtain of suffering, and offering instead, encouragement,support and recognition each critical in coaxing us out of our repressed state. I found in Tina’s effort a recognition of the seed of the change we are all experiencing it is the seed of giving, of growing and leading and more than anything else the courage to take the step into a place of uncertainty and unfamiliarity.

The more people we can awaken, the more eyes we can open the more people there will be who learn the value of art in their lives and the more they will open to their own gifts.

This is what I read on Tina’s blog…

Working in a cubicle by day… a crafter/artist/mommy by night I have always felt the need to create and share my creations with others. Artists are everywhere I look. Artists are my neighbors. Artists live under the same roof with me and give me goodnight kisses. My mother is a great artist. Artists are my “business partners”. Some people are artists and I don’t even know it, some are artists and THEY don’t even know it. Some artists even make me cupcakes! BUT… I don’t always get to see the art behind the daily artist. Enter Inspiration Flirtation…

About Inspiration Flirtation… A How to:

  • Why Inspiration Flirtation? Artists are everywhere I look. Artists are my neighbors. Artists live under the same roof with me and give me goodnight kisses. My mother is a great artist. Artists are my “business partners”. Some people are artists and I don’t even know it, some are artists and THEY don’t even know it. Some artists even make me cupcakes! BUT… I don’t always get to see the art behind the daily artist. Enter Inspiration Flirtation…
  • How do I participate? Each week a “seed” of inspiration will be planted here. Flirt with it as you will, let it inspire you, then create something. Paint, sketch, write a haiku, dance, finger paint, take a photograph, write a short story, free form crochet. Do what it is that you are inspired to do. Post it on your blog or a static page on the internet (that you can direct us to in one simple link). Leave your link in the form of a comment on that week’s post (please link to your actual posting (a static page) as opposed to your blog’s main page). If there is a story behind your piece we would love to hear about it. That’s it. Now flirt! (Feel free to link to a past work that you have done as long as it relates to that week’s seed.)
  • If you are linking to a photo sharing site (such as Picasa or Flickr): make sure that the photo that you link to is in a public album which contains only photos that you want others to see. Making an album just for Inspiration Flirtation viewers might be one way to do this! If you are unsure of what others can see we recommend logging out of your site and entering as if you are a guest. Look around and see what others might see!
  • Starting your own blog is easy to do… go to www.blogger.com to start flirting!
  • Will your humor me and accept my ideas for future inspirations? Of course, feel free to email your ideas for future inspirations to mamawess@gmail.com . In fact, we may even invite future “guest artists” to submit ideas and content to host their own weekly Inspiration!
  • Can I be notified of new posts? Of course! To be notified of new posts or comments/creations you can subscribe at the bottom of this page. Or send an email to be placed on a mailing list.
  • How else can I get involved? Do you have an art related product that you would like to have reviewed, promoted and blogged about?! Contact me. Spread the word: Tell your friends about the blog and encourage them to participate. Do you have a special skill that you are willing share with the class? Tell us about it! A feature post may be in your future! Do you have a piece that is not related to our weekly seeds that you would like to share with the group? Contact me to have your piece added to the “Art for Art’s Sake” section. We will host contests/giveaways between weekly posts… stay tuned for more!

At some point I will be doing audio interviews with Featured Bloggers but until I get there what follows are Tina’s answers to some simple questions:

About Your Artinspiration 2 Featured Blog: Inspiration Flirtation

How long have you been making art? I have been making art since I was in elementary school. My art was always chosen for the public school system’s art show!!! But then again when you are in elementary school I think they pick every kid! LOL

Why do you make art? I think I make art mostly to share with others. I make a lot of “practical” art… knitting, crochet, beaded jewelry wearable stuff. I love to make pieces that I can show people “inadvertantly”…

What is your vision. what drives you? I am “driven” by trying new things. I think I have a new craft/medium/hobby every week! It must be “driving” my husband nuts by now but he is so, so supportive. I envision myself someday no longer sitting behind a desk for 40 hours a week but rather sitting on the floor surrounded by yarn, paper, crayons, pencils, paintbrushes, wool roving. I’m envisioning much of these scraps in my hair and giant cup of coffee in my hand as well.

About Your Blog

banner Featured Blog: Inspiration FlirtationWhat motivated you start a blog? I’m really not sure. I love art and so stumbled upon a few art inspiration blogs. At the same time I also realized (by speaking with friends at a newish job) that I am surrounded by people who are artists in some sense of the word. I wanted to try to help inspire them and help bring some more creativity out of them. So I thought to myself “Self, you can do this too! You can get you friends and family to participate and then make some connections, and this thing could take over the world (wide web)!” :)

Who is your audience? I try to speak to everyday people who may or may not be artists. Some of them are artists and they just don’t know it yet! They just need a little coaxing. Right now I think I have a whopping 11 followers! Some from overseas! That is very exciting to me!
What is the purpose of your blog? I want to try to get everyone to see the possibilities by taking everyday thoughts, ideas, and objects and trying to get people to see some kind of inspiration within that idea and within themselves.
How frequently do you write? When I started (just a few weeks ago) I intended to write once a week when I put up the weekly “flirt”. I thought maybe I would add a post here and there with some of my rantings when the mood struck. But now I find myself wanting to blog every day!!! My fear in that is that the inspirations will get lost in the shuffle so I try to make sure there is always a link to the current inspiration!

 Featured Blog: Inspiration Flirtation

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Another Dose of Twitter Tips

 

2 Another Dose of Twitter Tips

Gain more reach through retweets

swell-150x150 Another Dose of Twitter TipsA retweet is when someone you are following adds RT to the front your tweet…big whoop!! Right? Well actually it is because those two letters send your tweet off to the retweeter’s network and is one of the ways information goes viral ( spreads fast).There’s a catch tho’ just because you tweet or ask for a RT doesn’t mean that your precious tweet will be spread around. So there are some simple points to keep in mind when you tweet:

  • Show lots of tweet luv- tweet about something interesting or useful something that others may like to know. In other words give value when you tweet.
  • Keep your tweets short enough to allow retweeting. When people RT you their user name gets added to your tweet…it doesn’t take long before your precious tweet starts getting sliced and diced leaving only a series of user names followed by gibberish.
  • Always Ask for a retweet by prefacing your tweet with Please, studies have shown the frequency of RTs is directly related tothe use of Please.
  • Be real, be human when you tweet the same way you would be if met this person at the old networking meetings.
  • RT other’s tweets when they have value especially to your network.

Build your twitcred

fountain_server Another Dose of Twitter Tips

  • It is not about the numbers…it is about connection. Don’t worry about numbers, focus on finding the right followers and giving them value…your followers will increase organically as your value increases.
  • Your value is directly related to your humanity your heartness which is your authenticity
  • Have strategy for selecting and following and stick to it. If you want to build a network of buyers then seek them out and follow them.
  • Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean you have to follow them. If you want to serve a particular group of buyers and potential buyers don’t be afraid to not follow or even block followers who are obviously not appropriate for you and your followers. You will get some leakage of high rollers, internet marketers and political/religious crazies …you have the power to block or not follow them.

unfollowers Another Dose of Twitter Tips

  • Think about your followers…why should they follow you? Because you are interesting,
  • Your informative, your interactive,you’r not constantly promoting,You use Direct Messages (DM) for conversations,
  • Have a community building contest for your followers. Base your contest on retweets, or  the number of their own followers they can bring to an event.
 Another Dose of Twitter Tips

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Real Time Twitter strategy continued

I forgot to include this in last week’s Twitter post…

TIP/REMINDER: I mentioned this in Monday’s  MM…when you create your message using Tweetlater or Hootsuite ,also create a unique hash tag for the location/show it might look like this #bwstkate09. This will create a search page for all who are receiving your message to go to and join in the conversation…kinda like a mini forum. It will also help ensure that the tweet doesn’t get missed because all your followers will know to go to that particular page.

Whenever if I am tweeting about  Art at St. Kate’s I will close the tweet with #bwstkate09 so the entire conversation can be found in one place.

Here is what one looks like, started by the guy who built the WordPress blog theme (Thesis) for The ARTISTScenter site. In order to keep his followers current with upgrades and tweaks, both by him and the development community, he uses #thesiswp as the tag so those who want in on that conversation place that tag in their tweets. Whenever someone wants to check something out about the theme all they have to do is insert #thesiswp into the twitter search box and they see what you see below.

thesiswp_witter-399x321 Real Time Twitter strategy continued

There is one more way to schedule a series of tweets and that is by using the TwitterHawk.com service. This service is very effective but because of it’s spam potential use it with caution.

twitterhawk1-400x275 Real Time Twitter strategy continuedWhat it does:

Allows you to define certain key words that will then be used to seach and when found will trigger your message. In the example above I set up twincities as the key word. When the search finds that word among the twitter stream it will send the first message, the next key word find will trigger the second message. The process will cycle through up to 6 messages until you delete it.

twitterhawk3-400x306 Real Time Twitter strategy continued

Setting up a new TwitterHawk reply set: (see above)

  • The key words used this time were twin cities artists
  • Purpose of the message is to find artists interested in applying for the Art at St. Kate’s art fair in July..
  • Diffferent message versions were written to invite artists.
  • Some contained the #stkates09 tag others contained a link to the Artists Circle site where the application is available for down load.

Time to do depends on the number of responses but generally the time to do one response is less than 15 minutes.

TIP: Remember to use this one with caution by making sure you personalize your message and use the # (hash)tag as described above  and also periodically add a shortented version of your site url if you have one.

REMEMBER: The time investment in this process is mostly on the front end once everything is set up it works automatically and you can go back to your studio!

 

 Real Time Twitter strategy continued

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Marketing Monday: Twitter strategizing rehash

 

paper_typing_torn-400x171 Marketing Monday: Twitter strategizing rehash

So far we have talked about Twitter and building a following by finding the right followers and developing your connections with them. We are almost done with this part of of our marketing strategy. Today I want to re-visit the overall strategy as well as focus on some on going things you should be doing after you have your Twitter following going.

Strategic summary or where are we going again?

When we started on this journey I described the two general courses of action:

  • Attraction
  • Pro-action

I also suggested that the primary base of your efforts should be a blog because that is where your followers will be able to connect with your work and with you. Your blog should reflect you, your style and your values (as reflected in your art). Setting up your blog to broadcast you will play a key role in successfully attracting your Perfect People.

The proactive part of the formula is where Twitter and Facebook reside. Twitter is almost 100% pro-active used alone but when linked up with your blog and Facebook it becomes the your RadioArt station on your frequency and letting you not only broadcast but also listen to your People.

Facebook on the other hand can serve both as a limited base to listen, broadcast and interact with your People. On Facebook you can Pro-actively seek out Your Perfect People and have a place where people on the same path as you can still find you. While Facebook is a somewhat closed environment (you need to join to interact with others) a link with Twitter will increase your reach to a broader audience.

It is important to know that THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY to begin, so if you are reluctant to start blogging then Twitter or Facebook are excellent ways to get used to “putting yourself out there”. Twitter is a good exercise in brevity while Facebook will give you practice in building a home for your People.

The Success Trinity

If you really want to use all of your potential then you will need to learn and utilize:

  • Your blog
  • Your Twitter
  • Your Facebook

These three when used together are the key elements of your success there are other elements we will talk about later but these three are critical. Of course you can choose not to use all three, you just won’t be as successful.

What is next with Twitter

twitter-artistscircle-400x240 Marketing Monday: Twitter strategizing rehash

Friday we talked about automating tweets as a means of building buzz and also keeping your People connected to you. I had already established the beginning of a following and I showed you how to be selective. Over the weekend I returned to Twellow and focused a little finer to identify potential People. This time my criteria was:

  • To  find artists represented in the main media types we offer in our shows
  • People who had checked “art” as a category of interest.
  • People with high follower counts regardless of their interest in art ( I selected those who were not internet marketing focused as much as possible)

twittercounter-400x295 Marketing Monday: Twitter strategizing rehash

As the followers grew I periodically reviewed them and  not “following” those I felt not appropriate to our goal. The results above, show our following as of 02/16. You can also see that the beginning time period is shown as the 13th because that is when I set up the Twittercounter tracking and we had enough followers to track. As you can see with very little time involvement I was able to go from 2 followers on 02/12 to a current number of  101.

Other tactics
Be easy to follow

  • Put a “follow me” link on your blog
  • Put a similar link on your newsletter if you have one
  • Put a link to your Twitter account in your e-mail signature
  • Put your all of your contact points on everything that touches potential buyers

Use Social Proof
Once you reach over 100 followers on Twitter go to Twittercounter enter your information and copy and paste the counter into your blog side bar preferrably below your “follow me” link.

Also go to Twittergrader and enter your Twitter user name and get your “twitter Grade”. Once you surpass 90 copy and paste the  “Twitter Grade badge” below your Twitter counter badge.

twittergrader-399x234 Marketing Monday: Twitter strategizing rehash

So what is next? In order to maintain these followers and keep the connections we will need to tweet regularly. We do this by using the Trinity and our Attraction and Pro-active strategies:

  • Blog regularly no less than twice per week
  • We tweet regularly a minimum  average of +/- 60 min per week
  • We connect on Facebook once or twice a week.

That’s about it. Remember the purpose of this strategy is to build relationships so that you have a following Your Perfect people wherever you go to show. Our next area of focus will be Facebook so stay tuned……

 Marketing Monday: Twitter strategizing rehash

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Social Proof in Real Time

Found on  Chris Brogan’s feed recently…an excellent example of how social media and Twitter specifically can be used by businesses in the LA Times. Watch the video and read the article it is social proof that the opt-in/permission based techniques now being implemented work far better than the old ways. Conversations work, engagement works, connection works and the beauty of it is anybody can do it and any business that wants to succeed from here on out will need to know how to use these and other tools not yet invented.

Also cool as Chris said is that the LA Times set up the video so it could be embedded in anybody’s blog or site just like YouTube not only does it spread the word about a very real example it also gets people to it’s site.

To read the whole article go to LA Times

 

 Social Proof in Real Time

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The Missing Piece in Selling your Work.

A  Conversation Not Heard

How do you describe your work? When you are talking to someone about your work, be it someone in your booth, gallery or just the person behind you in the coffee line. How do you describe the nature of your work? Many will describe their work in terms of function and features and describe themselves as the maker of the work, the one who knows how to incorporate standard features. The potter describing her pots to a potential buyer will often talk in terms of the material used and the features she included, like a drip less spout, or a nicely sculpted handle.

This is how we have been taught…describe the feature, sell the features and compete on the basis of features. You will stand out among competitors if your features are better.

Does this really help you? Does it do anything to differentiate you in the eyes of potential buyers? Where does it place you on the decision tree of the buyer?

The answer is….this type of approach really turns you and your work into a commodity and we all know ( from experience) that on the whole buyers make their decisions among commodities not on features but on price. When having to decide between almost imperceptible features buyers revert to what they know...price.

This type of thinking, or some variation, has been the basis of most marketing education (formal and informal) until another element was addedThe Sizzle, how many have heard the term sell the sizzle not the steak? That approach was based on acknowledging the emotional connection that buyers have to buying, the problem was doing so, boiled down to  lipstick on the hog. The Sizzle was based on what the seller saw as the emotional factor…the definition of Sizzle came from the seller who imagined that the buyer would be focusing on the smell of the Sizzle. And it stopped there at the smell, hence the lipstick. No matter how we framed the sizzle, ultimately we were still talking about features.

The Missing Piece

Now, for the part we have all known, but didn’t quite understand and even if we had a hint of understanding it, we didn’t know how to put it into practice. That intuitional sense we had has been the focus of research at the Harvard Business School over the past several years by Gerald Zaltman Professor of Marketing and Fellow at Harvard’s interdisciplinary Mind,Brain, Behavior initiative.

Turns out we were right to think something just wasn’t working… the feature and sizzle approach really didn’t help us and  the sizzle just felt very superficial. According to Zaltman’s, research the disconnect occurred when we based our communications on what WE thought the buyer was looking for, we were speaking features and sizzle and buyers wanted to hear something else. They wanted to hear how what we made connected to their story, not ours. They wanted us to pay attention to what they were asking for. Zaltman’s research uncovered and built on the role of deep metaphors in our lives, he learned that, worldwide, humans function with the same basic metaphors.

So to go back to the Sizzle the reason (among others) it didn’t work was that the smell of the sizzle went deeper, for some it meant connection as in family cook-out, or could evoke a story of family conflict that always surfaced at such get-togethers. In both cases  it wasn’t the sizzle that the buyer used to make a decision it was how and what the combination of features and sizzle evoked in the deep metaphors of their unconscious.

Paying Attention

The lesson here is that we need to be honest (tell the truth) about the stories our work evokes and use that information to make our work visible to those who recognize the story. In our branding process we must identify the deep metaphors and stories that drive the type of people who would buy our work.

We need to also be honest and pay attention to the ways w present and describe our work. The potter could describe and display her work as evoking warmth, and comfort, or the doll maker could feel that her dolls evoke a sense of peace, or transformation.

Think seriously and deep about your work, you know you have a story, a metaphor you are working from use it to find those who can be touched by your work and you will not only stand out you also become a leader.

What deep metaphors does your work evoke? What stories lurk in your unconscious that emerge from your work?

Note: This is the first of a periodic series on learning how your customers think and how to implement what you learn.

Please join the conversation and get our tips, techniques, news and support

 

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 The Missing Piece in Selling your Work.

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Self Investment: your # 1 intention in a down economy

 

ship_wreck Self Investment: your # 1 intention in a down economySelf investment from here on out should be focused on finding and using the best tools and techniques to build a network of enthusiastic followers. A crucial part of self investment during a down economy is to start recognizing that you have to change the way you think about your business. You will need to expand what you do best…thinking creatively about not only your art but also your direction.

Think about how many negative messages you are getting about the current economy and think about, and notice the effect, they have on you by using the techniques I described regarding ANTS. When we are pummeled constantly with negative messages, those messages take an emotional toll on us. Notice your feelings (not your stories) when you think of the future relative to a down economy. Some of those feelings may be:  feeling scattered or randomly moving from one thing to another and not getting anything done ,anxiety, insecurity about the future and what to do, self doubt about your abilities or feeling unsuccessful, or fear of moving in any direction, of failure. All of these feelings breed and trigger scarcity and scarcity leads us to being stuck. Now the funny thing about worrying about the future is unless you are psychic you never really know what is going to show up next.

The first thing to realize is that what is going on outside of you has very little to do with your success and you can control how it affects you by changing your beliefs. It is our nature to become identified with external factors, accepting as given the effects those factors have on us, in essences, we become victims and we start feeling stuck and worried. In a down economy we very often revert to what we think is safe, we become risk averse returning to old ways of living. We choose to cling to the sinking ship blinded by our ANTS because we know it, it feels safer than the cold unknown waters. Instead we should be looking for lifeboats that will help us get away from the maelstrom of the sinking ship and finding a route to safety by using our innate  ingenuity, and intuition.

Your # 1 intention should be to self invest by owning your future, breaking away from your fear and anxiety and start using your creative resources to find the best lifeboat with the best passengers. These passengers should not be survivors they should be adventurers willing to navigate whatever barrier surfaces in order to find the best route to land. They will also be motivated by a particular twist … their success will help keep other ships from sinking.

Lifeboats in a turbulent sea

Your lifeboat in the coming year should be equipped with the right gear to help you not only survive but also sustain you after you make landfall.That gear should also help you support those in your boat because they depend on your skill and knowledge. And the tools should also reinforce communications of all in the boat by amplifying your skills. The tools in the gear bag should help you feed and inspire your companions by unifying them into working toward a common goal ensuring that the lifeboat and all its passengers make landfall. In addition your tools should help you find and connect with other lifeboats so that you can have greater strength in numbers along with their relevant  knowledge .

The primary form your lifeboat will take will be in the form of a blog because it will be your base of operations and primary beacon. You can use it to help those afloat on the sinking ship’s debris find you. In addition, you will need listening posts or buoys set up to send you information about the state of the sea ahead.

Now leaving the Titanic metaphor behind and remembering that the hub of your activities is your blog let’s look at two very important tools to have in your gear bag. One important thing about choosing tools is to choose only those that will help you and at the same time reduce the amount of time you need to use them… Remember the 80/20 rule.

Here are some that will help you right away.

Twitter

  • By using a variety of tools you can now segment your followers into geographic groups or whatever way you want.
  • You can also send private tweets to only that group using Tweetgroup.
  • Use twitter in connection with your blog to send your followers to special blog posts like discussion of what you will be bringing to a show or a special event at a show.
  • Connect your blog to twitter so your posts will be sent out automatically.

Facebook

  • Facebook is the easiest and best way to start building communities, it is easy to set up and can be an excellent way of finding networks spread out geographically. And no you don’t need to have 5k friends, in fact it is best to be very selective using the tools built into Facebook.

E-mail list

  • An e-mail list is important because not everybody is up to speed with using the internet. You should also have a way of segmenting your list geographically so you can send messages to key members.
  • When your list starts getting large you will need an auto-responder that will automatically send messages to your members.

Skype

  • For those who don’t do e-mail you may want to call and let them know you will be in their area. Skype is web based telephony which you can use for pennies, you can also have conference calls with several of your members.

You can start building your network easily by using the tools above, we will talk about strategies and tactics for using each one as well as other tools we will talk about later.

Please join the conversation by completing the form below

 

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