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15
Feb
Distributor Spotlight – Jan 2012
Posted in Business, Dealer Spotlight, Training at 5:29 am. Comments Off  
 

Dealer of the Month - January 2012

In our December newsletter, we gave kudos to a team that sold 1400 orders in 2 weeks and there was an overwhelming request from dealers to learn more. So we’ve chosen the Yolanda Meador, Gladys Sanders and Nita Arrington team as our newest “Dealer of the Month” spotlight!

We had a fantastic interview with Yolanda and team over the phone, but before we get to the exciting stuff, like how their promotion’s total orders have now exceeded 2,200, I want to first tell you about a situation I experienced a few days later that proves just how committed Yolanda and her team are to the advice they shared with us.

A customer contacted Create-A-Book to find out how to redeem the promotional voucher she purchased during the holidays. Her computer had crashed, and she was desperately trying to find out if it was too late to receive the book in time for her for her niece’s birthday…in two days! We helped her track down which dealer was responsible, which turned out to be Yolanda. I immediately contacted Yolanda, who then immediately reached out to the customer and offered to overnight her order. Yolanda didn’t have to do this, but she describes below how she’s learned great customer service is the cornerstone to building a business with repeat customers. The customer was thrilled and we were proud to see her “walk the walk” she described just a few days earlier.

So how did you get involved with Create-A-Book?
Yolanda: I came across your products back in 1998, and at the time I as trying to find ways to get my son interested in reading because he didn’t like to read. We loved the books and thought it was an interesting way to contribute back to society and make a little extra money.

Your son must have enjoyed all the personalized books
Yolanda: When we first got started, his name was in ALL the books and we used them as samples. Now that Gladys has twin grand-babies, we’re using them in the samples.

Have you been working Create-A-Book since 1998 or have you taken breaks?
Yolanda: We’ve been active since the first day, but we normally only did it during October-December. Those were big months for us. We would get a few orders throughout the year but our biggest time was the fall because that’s also when the festivals were and we’d sign up to do it in schools, book-fairs and places like that. We’ve always worked the business every year, but this year took us to another level. It’s interesting because we’ve been doing it for so long that I told Gladys this Fall that we either need to take a break or step it up. It was time for a change. Well, low and behold when you say things they tend to come to pass!

You definitely took it to a whole new level this Christmas!
Yolanda Yes! Actually the total number ordered was 2,200 and so far we’ve made around 1,200 books.

For the readers out there, can you explain what you mean by 2,200 orders?
Yolanda: That’s the total number of deals [coupons] purchased in our promotion. So out of those orders, we’ve had 1,200 books ordered through our website.

That’s incredible! Who came up with the idea to run a promotion on a daily deal website?
Yolanda: Oh, that was my bright idea. I buy from the different sites and I kept saying there has to be a way that we can promote our books for Christmas and for people to know about us. The key is a lot of people have bought these books for their kids and now they have grandkids, and when they see Create-A-Books they instantly want it. There’s a massive clientele out there, especially the grandmothers, who know and appreciate the personalized books.

Are you creating any routines/systems to keep up with the orders?
Yolanda: Yes, we just put our new process in place as to how we’ll get books made. When the deal first launched, they [the orders] were running us, we weren’t running it [the business], and that’s just bad. Now we have a system where we ship twice a week and I start my day going through the emails and looking to see what new orders have been placed and I get those printed and prepped and ready. It definitely forced us to improve how we were doing things, and now we’ve split up responsibilities into departments for shipping, invoicing, etc.

So you’re setting aside two days a week to work the business?
Yolanda: We ship twice a week, but I go through orders every day. What I found in this process is some people order books for next October and November. Well those don’t need to ship right away, but I still go ahead and print everything. I have a folder that is indexed by month so I put them in the month they are due and they’re mailed the month before. So everything for February just got prepped and put together and will be shipped tomorrow.

That’s interesting, I didn’t think about customers placing orders for future deliveries.
Yolanda: It also helps me manage inventory because that was another thing that caught us off guard when the orders started pouring in. So now that I’ve made all the books for February and I’m looking at March, if I’m short on something I know what I need to order.

There’s a lot of debate on the long-term benefits to these daily deals, do you think you’ll repeat this promotion?
Yolanda: Yes, I would do another deal, but it wouldn’t be the same one. A helpful tip for distributors looking to do this is not to include shipping as part of the deal. Everything is negotiable and if the company you’re talking to will not negotiate you need to walk away and look somewhere else. Another tip is only allowing a customer to purchase one coupon [deal]. We had one person order 10 coupons.

Are you seeing orders where the customer spends more the coupons value on your website?
Yolanda: We just had a lady who enjoyed her book so much she’s already signed up as a club member and ordered more books.  Overall we’ve only had 3 customers, out of the 2,200, who were unhappy with the delay because we were simply unprepared to handle the first wave of orders. So I think we’ve done a pretty good job and should get some repeat business.

It sounds like you’ve learned a lot, is it ok if we share these specific details about the promotion?
Yolanda: Absolutely, this is important information!

What type of marketing will you do for new and repeat customers throughout the year?
Yolanda: Well, let me first say our database crashed and we had to start all over again [13 years of past customer data]. We had some great customers that came looking for us but when you lose that kind of information that can really hurt your business, so make sure you have backups.

But back to your question, aside from the daily deal promotion we did a marketing campaign on Facebook and that worked. What I’d like to see for the future is maybe having different sales opportunities for our Facebook customers. So if you “like” us then you’ll know about the savings. We’re also looking at doing one of the big shows in town. It’s an event that yields around 20,000 women. It’s totally different for us, but we’ve always wanted to do it and now that we’ve got some momentum we’d like to grow it even more. Also, Nita is about to go through our customer database and start looking for things like birthdays so we’re able to segment our customers and know when to send reminders and coupons.

That’s very smart. We’re actually planning to add a feature to the [SaviSites] websites that will let customers save profiles for their family members and friends. How are you getting the additional information from customers? For example, if they ordered a Christmas book, how are you finding out their birthdays?
Yolanda: We’ve started doing a “book of the month” where we feature a book in a newsletter. So every month we’ll promote something so that way they’ll get a feel for “Yes we have Birthday and Christmas Books, but we have other great books and hopefully this will drive them to our site.

Are you using an email marketing service handle these newsletters?
Yolanda: We just set up Constant Contact so we plan to start using that, but up until now we’ve just been using Facebook and regular email.

What’s the most important aspect of your business, now that you’re growing and putting systems in place?
Yolanda: Customer Service. What I’ve learned is even if they started off upset, because you responded and answered their questions and let them know you’re going to resolve their issues, you’re now the best thing since sliced bread. So that’s really what we’ve learned. We put a huge emphasis on making sure we give the best customers service. In the morning, I right down all the voicemails from the night before, and at 8am I hit the ground calling. I also immediately respond to all emails because they come to my phone or I’m at the computer.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Yolanda:Having the resources to be able to handle this many orders. Everybody wants those orders, but until you actually get them and realize what you need to manage the process, that’s more of a reality check. A gentleman recently called and wanted to order 5,000 books. If he called a couple years ago we would have said no problem. Now we’re more realistic and we realized it would take too many people to produce the books.

Actually, you might want to call him back! We’ve many helped dealers work out logistics for large volume orders. One dealer brought us a deal with Juicy Juice and we helped produce 20,000 books, and we helped another dealer produce 100,000 books for a promotion with Huggies diapers. If nothing else, we can help you find dealers interested in making books, so call us and we’ll brainstorm with you.
Yolanda: That is great to know!

And finally, any advice for someone just getting starting with Create-A-Book?
Yolanda: Have a plan, be consistent and don’t give up! It just came to a point where we needed more money and said “Create-A-Book is a business, it’s time to get serious, how can we do it.” It took us a little longer than normal, but we like where we’re headed.

Congratulations once again to Yolanda Meador, Gladys Sanders and Nita Arrington for thinking outside the box on how to use current trends to promote and build your business. And thank you for taking the time to share your experiences so that others may learn from you and follow in your footsteps. Keep up the great work; and we look forward to hearing about your local big event!

If you’d like to learn more from Yolanda, Nita and Gladys, you can visit their website or post a comment on their Facebook page.

www.PersonalizedBooks-Gifts.com
Facebook.com/PBooks4u

 
 
9
Jan
Illustrations with Teddy Bear and Personalized Book
Posted in Marketing at 11:51 pm. Comments Off  
 

We’ve had some requests for these illustrations, so we’re reposting them.

To download, right click on the image and choose “Save Image As” and save the file to your computer. You can then upload each image to your website or use them in your marketing material.

 
 
16
Aug
 

We’ve worked around the clock on improving the new websites and the Create-A-Book sales tools. We made the decision to hold back the mini-announcements for one big one, and after 4 months of intense beta-testing, we’re ready to launch Savi2. Just in time for the Fall season!

There are more than 400 hundred new features (storefronts and admin)


In addition we optimized Create-A-Book’s products and how they integrate with our site:

  • New 3D Book Cover images
  • New book descriptions
  • New music descriptions
  • Related Products (up-selling)
  • Connecting all product versions
  • New Age Range navigation
  • New Product Type organization
  • Updated Brands filtering
  • New eBook library (name, image, and links to product)
  • Organized Images (folders)
  • Custom Fields matching software with new feature
  • Product SKUs from software
  • Updated CAB products (all books matching latest software update)
  • Better Category & Subcategory recommendations
  • Optimized Menu recommendations in Storefront
  • New content pages (shipping, orders, returns, about, Fundraising, Sponsorship)

We also spent 50 hours integrating the new features and improved sales tools on our demo store. Every new website comes with these improvements, and existing dealers can have them added!

View our demo store, and examples from two dealers:

1. SaviCab (new demo)

2. Thats My Story-Book (VIEW LIVE SITE)

—-

3. My StoryBook Treasure (VIEW LIVE SITE)

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Testimony from “That’s My Story Book”

“Not only was I extremely happy with the site; when my husband and family saw a preview their comments were ” Wow, what an improvement this had made to your store it looks so professional and eye catching”. With this new site design, I anticipate that my customer base will grow over the next 6 months and more.”

Carolyn Vilhelmsen
That’s My Story

Testimony from “My StoryBook Treasure”

“New Savi2 websites are easy to set up and manage. Once you get started the new sites come together very quickly. Everyone should switch to Savi2 in time for the holidays!”

Sue Nightingale
MyStorybookTreasure

What to Do Next…

If you have an existing website with SaviSites, the upgrade is FREE so email us ASAP so we can help you make the switch in time for the Holiday Season.

If you’re interested in starting a new website, or switching to us from an existing website, you can visit our website to learn more and/or call us today.

David Hefty
support@savisites.com

(480) 946-5555

 
 
11
Mar
Banners for Easter Gift Basket Ideas!
Posted in Marketing at 8:00 am. Comments Off  
 

We created new Easter banners for you to use in your newsletters, websites, print material, or any other promotional format for your business.

You can download these images by right clicking and choosing “save as”, or you can grab the already hosted links to throw them up on your website. Click HERE to grab the links.

CreateABook.com,Easter

CreateABook.com, Easter

CreateABook.com, Easter

CreateABook. Easter Gifts

CreateABook. Easter Gifts

 
 
26
Nov
How to creatively segment prospects
Posted in Marketing at 1:51 pm. Comments Off  
 

Great idea from InfusionSoft

The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to lead them through the sales funnel. So as you interact with prospects and invite them to take action, collect details along the way. You’ll be able to personalize your communications and marketing as you get to know your prospects – detail by detail.

Below is a way you can capture more information.

You Say it’s Your Birthday

Start a birthday club. Everyone likes to be recognized on their special day, so why not get in on the action?

Why not send all of your contacts an email that is designed like a birthday card. Tell them that you want to be ready for the real day and ask them to let you know when it is (Just the month and day is fine…no need to get too nosey). In return, you promise to send them a special gift on the big day.

The gift doesn’t have to be elaborate…maybe it is a t-shirt, a coupon for free stuff, or a simple birthday card. Not only will you collect a bit more data about your prospects, but you’ll also ensure that your brand is in front of them during a happy time. Now that’s targeted marketing at its finest!

To your success!

 
 
18
Nov
More Holiday Banners
Posted in Marketing, eCommerce at 5:23 am. Comments Off  
 

2 more Holiday/Christmas banner sets for you to use in your marketing…

You can download these images by right clicking and choosing “save as”, or you can grab the already hosted links to throw them up on your website. Click HERE for the links.

______

 
 
16
Nov
 

We created 3 new banners for you to use for your Holiday marketing! You can use these in your newsletters, websites, print material, or any other promotional format for your business.

You can download these images to your computer by right clicking and choosing “save as”, or you can grab the already hosted links to throw them up on your website. Click HERE to grab the links.

Click to see example on a website

Click to see example on a website

Click to see example on a website

 
 
12
Nov
Savi2 Update – New Cart/Checkout
Posted in Uncategorized, eCommerce at 2:58 am. Comments Off  
 

From SaviSites:

Hi everyone, we apologize for holding back the Savi2 launch. It’s been difficult deciding which features to integrate for the initial launch and which should be added soon after. We want to add them all now, but we also want you to benefit from the improvements for the remainder of the holiday season.

We want to give your customers the best experience possible, and since the shopping cart/checkout processes are two of the defining experiences your customers have with your website, we’ve made them really really cool with ultra high end design and a new single page checkout. A single page checkout allows your customers to complete all the information on a single page, giving the impression of a quicker/easier process.

We’ve created a new shopping cart/checkout that will build trust and impress your customers! We’ll be adding more bells and whistles to the cart/checkout after launch, though we felt adding the core features to this new process would be worth the delay.

Also, our initial beta testing is wrapping up this weekend, and we’ll be giving a small group of Savi customers test sites next week.

Click each thumbnail for a larger view

New Shopping Cart & Checkout

 
 
31
Aug
The power of Testimonials
Posted in Marketing at 2:26 pm. Comments Off  
 

Do you currently include testimonials in your marketing? On your website, in your newsletters and emails, or printed material? This simple third party validation gives potential customers the chance to first see others are buying, and second that they are enjoying your advertised product/service.

Not all testimonials are created equal, so it’s important to follow the 3 traits of strong testimonials to make sure your testimonials don’t hurt you.

There are many techniques to collecting testimonials. We found a great article on How To Collect Testimonials that covers using your Inbox, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Google Alerts, and how to ask for them.

(more…)

 
 
 

(The following post is from SaviSites…)

Celebrating 2 years with Savi2

At the beginning of 2010 we realized we’d outgrown the current BakeSale framework that runs your online stores. BakeSale is an open-source framework that enabled us to build a great solution, but it doesn’t have the flexibility we need for all the new features we have planned. So this Spring, we began writing code for Savi2.0, a custom solution we’re building from the ground up. This means we’re throwing away the current code, rebuilding your current features, and adding many more.

We’ll post a complete list of the new features towards the end of September. For now, we’re giving a sneak peak of whats to come….

A Sneak Peak at new features with Savi2:

Templates/Designs

  • New Home Page layouts (product/category focused)
  • Ability to add/manage banner graphics (sales/promotions)
  • New templates, storefront designs
  • Flexible Templates (logo sizes, headers, footers, etc…)
  • Customizable template background images, patterns, colors.
  • New streamlined admin to manage your sites
  • Ability to order custom or premium template designs

Storefront

  • Ability for storefront to show products as horizontal rows
  • Ability for customers to choose how they view products (sizes, sort)
  • New “Customers Who Ordered ‘x’ also enjoyed…” suggestions
  • New “Add to Wish List” and ability to manage wish lists
  • Customizable product thumbnail sizes

(more…)