Amazon Launches Author Pages

When it comes to understanding the psychology of purchasing books and other products on-line, Amazon stands out as a real success story. The innovative and customer-centred approach that Amazon has employed to create and maintain its dominance in internet retailing is impressive.

One of the latest new offerings from Amazon.co.uk is the launch of dedicated author pages. These offer customers a full bibliography, recommended titles and videos, which are said to be like having a ‘bookshelf of the author’s titles’ on the website.

There are also links to other related items such as DVDs connected to a specific author or book so that customers have plenty of choice for following up their interest further.

The same principles which are being used to such great effect by Amazon can be employed by all authors to build their success in the marketplace. The scale and details may be different, but the approach is worth paying attention to.

First and foremost, the inspiration for your book needs to come from within you, from your own passion to share your insights or stories with your readers. From this foundation, and always maintaining the integrity of your original ideas, building your awareness of what your readers are interested in and taking this into account when planning your marketing actions can be a winning formula.

Providing a multitude of ways for readers to learn more about you and your book(s) is increasingly important for all authors. Building your author platform with a website, blog, and social media connections to name just a few possible activities are all part and parcel of authors connecting directly with their readers these days.

Yet how about also making sure that readers are informed of related projects? You can provide links to audio recordings of readings or interviews you have done, video trailers or recommendations for readers on how they might follow-up their interest further via related articles or stories you have written.

Providing a first-class service for your readers in terms of regular access to quality information that is relevant and interesting will encourage them to connect with you and to continue doing so on a regular basis. You may not have aspirations to build an empire such as Amazon has done, but applying some of their principles of success to your own individual situation will undoubtedly support you to realise your own vision of successful authorship.

The 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Launching an Online T-Shirt Business

Here are my Top 10 Tips on mistakes to avoid when launching your Online T-shirt Business.

1.Understanding your target market. Often people think they can be everything to everyone however knowing every detail about YOUR specific target market is one of the keys to success. From their age, gender, interests, friendship circles, what they read, what websites and forums they look at, what clubs they attend etc. This will come in handy when you’re starting to sell your t-shirts and for target marketing.

2. Set realistic goals about what you want to achieve and the money you would like to make. T-shirt success does not usually happen overnight but rather over a few years. Be realistic with what you can achieve. For example; one goal may be print 50 t-shirts by a certain date. Another goal maybe to sell at least 25 t-shirts to stores by a certain date. Set goals by month so you keep on track and stay motivated.

3.Know when to hold and know when to fold. You have to own your mistakes. It’s important that you recognize if a t-shirt is not selling, then try to sell in a different avenue such as eBay or Etsy and move on. It’s not worth pushing something that’s not working. Every retailer has best sellers and worst sellers and when they don’t perform, they are marked down and new product is ranged.

4. Knowing how much money you should invest. In my experience, the best advice is work out an estimate of how much you think it will cost initially to start your business and then double it, as this is probably more realistic. People forget about the smaller things such as postage, shipping costs, petrol, website hosting etc. These little things add up.

5.Test your product before you start to heavily invest. This is an important one and given the current Internet opportunities that are out there, it’s easily achievable. If you can make some customized t-shirts from an online website then you can see if people are liking what you are doing. Get your product in photos, organize competitions, give samples to friends to wear and use social websites to show off your t-shirt designs. There are many things you can try, to see if your style works and people like it.

6.Take your time when making important decisions. We are human and we can be impulsive and make quick decisions that may not be the right ones for us. Business is quite tough these days, people will want to rush you and will say anything to try to get you to commit so they have an order. Take your time and weigh up the pros and cons and be informed. Do your research and then make the decision – it will end up saving you time and money!

7.Some opportunities are sometimes not worth it. When you are starting out, you will come across people who will try to challenge your pricing, product and brand. For example, an online retailer may want your product but will only order it, if it’s $10 less than your current wholesale cost. If you are making little or no margin on a job, it is OK to say no. In my experience, be willing in some cases to achieve a lower margin, if it means you will get more business from it. Sometimes it’s a marketing exercise that is well worth the cost cutting.

8.It’s OK to start small. I know myself that as soon as I get a great idea in my head you think ‘that’s it!’ I then start going crazy and spending loads of money. You may buy a machine or other equipment that is quite expensive. Take your time, test different processes and then decide which way you want to go.

It’s really important that you do some samples and see the results first before investing a lot of money into equipment and other things that may not be want you wanted after all.

9.Do your homework. If you’re thinking of investing in a printing machine, then look at all the costs associated with this process. It’s usually not that clear cut and you will find that there will be inks or paper for example, which cost a lot of money and you had not accounted for it.

10.You will be your own Boss! As much as this is super fantastic and you can’t wait to be the boss, there are also average tasks as well. You are the only person that can answer to customer complaints and any issues that come up when running the business. It would be great to become part of a network or forum for weekly support. As a single person boss, you also have to start to know everything about anything; from taxes to sales, marketing to design, from dealing with stores and selling online. You have to be able to master and wear many hats that in my opinion can be quite challenging but also exciting.

Good Luck! http://www.tshirtdesignprofits.com

Launching A Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign

Social Media Marketing is a relatively new way to advertise your products and/or services, and has been proven effective repeatedly. This is especially true when your target audience consists of teenagers and young adults. A few examples of very successful Social Media Marketing Campaigns (Forbes, The Best-Ever Social Media Campaigns) are:

Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice Campaign – Proctor & Gamble devised a clever way of actively involving fans and customer’s by inviting them to use Twitter and Facebook to submit questions to Isaiah Mustafa, who would then quickly, and rather wittily, respond in a web video.
Blendtec: Will It Blend? – Blendtec released a series of video shorts for their Blendtec Total Blender featuring odd things being blended, such as an iPhone. This marketing campaign not only successfully promoted Blendtec and their products, but blender sales has seen an astonishing 700% sale increase since 2006.
Pepsi Refresh – Pepsi started this campaign, and it is still ongoing, to promote their brand whilst giving an opportunity to the everyday consumer to obtain funding for their unique and charitable ideas and work. This appealed very well to their young consumers.
OfficeMax’s “Elf Yourself” Campaign – During the holiday season of 2006, OfficeMax launched its “Elf Yourself” campaign. This allowed users to upload pictures of themselves, which would then be placed on a dancing elf. Over 122 million users created their own dancing elves. This in turn boosted traffic to OfficeMax’s website and increased sales and brand awareness.
Ikea’s Showroom on Facebook – When Ikea opened a new store in Malmo, Sweden they had the idea to have the store’s manager post pictures of the showrooms to Ikea’s Facebook page, then invited fans to tag the pictures. The first fan to tag an item on one of the showroom pictures then won that item. This campaign actually won an award at Cannes in 2010.
What do these hugely popular and effective Social Media Marketing Campaigns have in common? Below is a breakdown of the commonalities they share:

Personalization – Social Media is based on the concept of connecting people with each other and the things they feel are important in their lives. An effective campaign ensures that the consumer feels commonality and personal interest from the company.
Interaction – People want to feel involved. When a company produces a way for the consumer to directly communicate and interact with it, there is certain “consumer/company bond” formed.
Humor – Strategically placed humor is a great way to catch someone’s attention. If your marketing material is funny enough, it is sure to make its way around the office, plop into conversations between friends, and most importantly be remembered.
Humanization – This directly relates to Personalization and Interaction. No consumer wants to feel like they are just another statistic to a company, they want to establish long-term relationships with businesses that they feel they can relate to.