Customer NeedsCustomer RelationsMarketing

a personal touch

The other day, I ordered a very small item from one of the Nudge Village entrepreneurs – Shirley’s Swirleys. The purchase was under $10.

Take a look – some simple crocheted flowers that are intended to be a part of a headband set (that I haven’t yet purchased).

But, they came with a surprise treat! Two Dove chocolates!

Not only did I receive what I paid for, but also a surprise extra.

 

Are you doing things to surprise your customers on a daily basis?

 

Adding that special personal touch they weren’t expecting?

 

Giving them more than they asked for?

Do you think I’ll buy again from Shirley’s Swirleys?

I think so.That personal touch made my day and I will remember it and tell others (like in this blog).s the Dove chocolate likes to add their own personal touches as well. Check out the little notes in the wrapper submitted by customers.

Nice touch.

Take a look at their website to see how they’ve turned this personal touch into a bigger idea.

Free - the Future of a Radical Price
LearningMarketing

FREE – The Future of a Radical Price

Yes, this is a post about something FREE.

And, thank goodness it is free because the name of the book/podcast: Free - the Future of a Radical Price

Free – The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

You must download this into your iTunes account or listen to it here.

Part of this is based upon a concept we are familiar with on our Saturday trips to the grocery store or Costco. Free samples, supposedly free add ons to an item we’ve purchased, and rebates that make us feel like we got a deal.

But, Chris is talking about really giving something of value free to the marketplace.

He even uses an example of an airline in Europe that can afford to give free airplane flights because their business model allows them to earn money through other avenues.

As an entrepreneur, you most likely need cash and you need it fast.

However, this book/podcast gives a long term perspective on building relationships, adding value to the marketplace and …in the long term maybe even making more money through providing a lot of your expertise for free.

Don’t want to share too much here, but it is worth downloading (or listening to on the laptop) while you go on a walk or clean the kitchen or garage. It came out a couple of years ago, but is still applicable to where the marketplace is going.

P.S. I just went in and looked at the times for each chapter. Looks like this will take three hours to listen to which means it was interesting enough for me to think I only had it on for an hour. (-:

ArtCraftsCrochet

Villager Shirley – Swirleys on Etsy

Website:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/Swirleys?ref=top_trail

swirleys_flowers

In our entry  a few weeks ago, we talked about using Etsy to display and sell product.

Shirley has a passion for crocheting and has turned that passion into an online business through Etsy.com.

She’s just starting out, but has a lot of products available and continues to grow the variety of products she offers.

We’ll follow Shirley as she applies different marketing strategies, figures out if Etsy is truly the place to offer her product and other lessons that she learns along the way.

In the meantime, if you’ve got kids or grandkids that need Christmas gifts, take a look at her store at http://www.etsy.com/shop/Swirleys?ref=top_trail .

Photo of an old chair by a red door by Ryan Houston
Photography

Villager Ryan – Photographer

Ryan takes a slightly different approach than some of the other photographers in Nudge Village. Many photographers set up photo sessions and then go take pictures of individuals, families, pets, etc. Graphic of a Zions Park arch

Though he takes pictures of people, most of his photography is centered around scenery, animals (especially birds and fish),  beautiful  temple  structures, countryside, mountains, etc.

He then sells them using some great websites that allow the buyer to get the photograph in a variety of sizes, on a t-shirt, on a mug or whatever other creative option is offered by the web service.

We’ve purchased some of his photos in the past and not only enjoyed the photos, but the process of being able to tailor them to our particular needs.

 Take a look at all of the places he is sells his photos online:

Main Site: http://houstonryan.tumblr.com/

http://houstonryan.deviantart.com/prints/? utm_source=deviantart&utm_medium=userpage&utm_campaign=printstab
http://www.redbubble.com/people/photoforyou/portfolio/art

http://www.flickr.com/photos/houstonryan/

http://www.imagekind.com/MemberProfile.aspx?MID=fe4b97a9-4a9a-4364-9a7c-646885a66b7a

http://stores.ebay.com/Photo-For-You?_rdc=1

Hummingbird by Ryan Houston Photography

MarketingStorytelling

Storytelling

“A long time ago” and “Once upon a time” are phrases most of us are familiar with from books we read in our youth.

Even at school, stories were told to describe cultures, traditions and beliefs. I still remember a story in 4th grade where I teacher shared how an African tribe explained some Americans roasting hot dogs on a campfire. They referred to them as “roasting human fingers on long sticks.”

Yuck was the thought that came to my 4th grade mind, but I also realized how we all had different understandings based upon our life experiences. And, I still remember that particular story over 30 years later.

Storytelling, believe it or not, is becoming even more important today. In a world of extreme technical advances and information overload, a simple story can convey more meaning and value than a data dump.

How can you use stories in your business? Here are a few ideas and we would love to hear yours!

  • Photography – quite a few photographers have figured out that people want to experience just a little more than the picture. So, they start a blog and share a few thoughts from each photo shoot along with a few snapshots. It not only displays their talent, but you get a little insight into the family or how the photographer discovered a new place to take clients, etc.
  • Training and Development – adult learning theories and stringent development processes are starting to break way to simplified content and content in smaller manageable chunks for audiences with short attention spans (all of us). Instead of sharing just well organized content, it is important to give context and meaning to the information being shared. Why not turn the content into a story that contains the same information?
  • Authors – the most obvious of all, writers need to have a compelling story along with an effective narrative style.
  • Foodies – why not share the event where the recipe was first served, create a cookbook bringing in the stories around the recipes, etc. Don’t we all have a memory of when we hated a food and then tried it and loved it? Or, food that we will forever dislike because of a particular experience?
  • Recruiting – who doesn’t like to find out about company culture, unique quirks about the CEO, or types of charities/causes a company supports.

These are just a few examples! Anyone can use stories to show their customers how their product/services can help them.

Here’s a great little example that is being used over and over and over again (the “Meet Joe” and the “Meet Jane” approach) because it is effective, can be created in Microsoft PowerPoint and easily distributed on the web or on paper.

 

 http://www.slideshare.net/ShekharSahu/meet-joe-meet-healthcaremagiccom

 

 Don’t you want to use healthmagic now that they’ve shown you how they can help you?

Book cover of Through Some Miracle Not Yet Clear to Me
AuthorBooks

Book Review – Through Some Miracle Not Yet Clear to Me

One of our villagers, Vincent Musaalo, wrote a book about his years growing up in Uganda. We highlighted him at Nudge Village over a week ago. Check out his highlight later! Book cover of Through Some Miracle Not Yet Clear to Me

Since we are trying to experience as many of the products/services we can from villagers, we bought the book!

Wow! Our Chief Nudger, Rebecca, knew Vincent in college and was surprised by many of the stories. Yes, she knew that his father had died, but not that he had been murdered by people working for the Idi Amid regime. Yes, she knew that life was hard, but didn’t know that every Ugandan had to suspect even close friends of turning them in if their own lives were threatened.

Vincent shares quite a few interesting experiences in this book – being part of a crowd that was gunned down by Idi Amid soliders, working early mornings in the fields to grow food before going to school, and miraculously being spared from being taken away with other boys his age to a squad of soliders forcing prior captives to randomly identify people to carry away/kill.

Mixed into his story are all of the miraculous events that occured along the way – spotting the Italian Embassy on the way home from doing laundry at the hotel and where that led him, opportunities his hard working mother prayed for that led Vincent out of his country village and to the United States, and being spared after collapsing on a street in Rome after a long journey.

We all have a life story, but not sure if it compares to the experiences Vincent shared in his book. Still, we should all write ours down.

But, in the meantime, take the time to read this book (a two hour read) and you’ll gain a greater understanding of what was happening in Uganda in the 1960s and 70s, how opportunities and faith are still alive even under a dictatorship, and an immense sense of gratitude for freedom and personal miracles.

Book is available on Amazon.