Sleep-it does more than you think

Yawn…something that is in the news a lot more today.  A simple thing.  Sleeping.  A natural thing. A thing the body knows how to do from the minute you are created. So why are celebrity experts like Arianna Huffington and Shawn Stevenson writing best selling books about it..because its harder to get today.

The Sleep Revolution

Find out more about Shawn Stevenson Sleep Smarter

Those of you that have been following me you know I am not a medical expert. I want to state that the information I am going to share is from my personal perspective- from books I have read (see above), articles read, and personal experience.

This topic is on my mind because I recently went through a three week period where I couldn’t sleep.  This is highly unusual-for me.  I am the type of person who could sleep standing up after drinking a 2 liter of Diet Coke.  Sleep was one of my super powers, a gift from my mother.  So when it actually effected me, all the podcasts I had heard, books I read and things I knew all came flooding back and I wanted to share them with you.

Sleep  is important for your mind and body.
Here are some things you may know or be surprised at and why Sleep Matters!

  1. The average person is exposed to over 5,000 advertising messages a day. Sleep is the minds great eraser.  Sleep allows all the conscience and sub-conscience messages be washed away to clear the mind
  2. Sleep keeps you young. It repairs your cells for all your organs- including skin #fountainofyouth
  3. Keeps your weight down.  Lack of sleep increases stress hormones cortisol that holds on to those extra pounds #sleepskinny
  4. Sleep helps you learn better, remember more and be more calm and rational at work
  5. Stay healthy during winter months, a well rested body fights off germs better. (ever notice you get a cold/flu the morning after a late night?)


Tricks I tried to get me back on track to sleeping more normally:

  1. Less Caffeine
  2. More Yoga
  3. Added Green Tea and more water to daily intact of fluids
  4. Warm baths with lavender oils and sleepy time tea
  5. Talking with friends about the things on my mind



The holidays can  be stressful…here is a cute little quote I found.

“sleeping is nice. you forget about everything for a little while”




How much is a new customer worth today?

When you own your own business every customer is important.  Businesses spend thousands of dollars trying to attract customers and hopefully keep them all.  There is an old saying- that says a happy customers tells a friend, but an unhappy customer will tell the world-average 10 people! And the scary thought about that quote, its pre social media.

Depending on your type of business you will need to estimate the short and long term value of each new customer.  You may be surprised, for a small ticket item like coffee, it has a large life time value. Let’s think about how addictive coffee is, how predictable peoples patterns are and you have a formula to capture a life long customers for your coffee shop.  In 2010,  there was a marketing study done by kissmeterics that calculated  that the life time value of a Starbucks customers $14,099!  If you knew each new customer you attract is worth $14,000-would that change how you viewed them or treated them? Something to think about.

How can you estimate this for your business:

Hire a professional marketing  and research company

Search on line for similar businesses and see what information is available to give you a guide

Do you own research: look at your monthly and annual records.  Look for patterns.  What is your average sale? Does that sale change by day of week or seasonally?  By what percentage is your business growing? What marketing channels are you using and what are the results coming in?

Check with town and state Census data to learn on average how many people enter the area each year and leave.  Those estimates will give you an idea of your growth curve or potential attrition each year

Now that you have an idea of what each of those new customers are potentially worth to you, what happens if they are unhappy.

Apps on our phones allow unhappy customers to become instant thought leaders or business crushers.  Yelp, Twitter, SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram and more, allow instant feedback-good or bad.

I don’t want to scare you but it’s important to think about  this- If a customers has an unsatisfactory experience at your business and they have a robust social network, how many people are viewing their comments-100 people, 1000 people, 100,000 people.  Frightening!

For many businesses this is a frustrating thing and something they need to handle.  In many cases, you cant “fix it” but you can respond quickly.

The most important thing when handling an unhappy customer: do you very best to handle the situation in the moment.  If that is not possible, keep a close eye on your social media.  An unhappy customer will try to warn others and most likely will tag you in their posts.  This is your chance to respond promptly and make an attempt to answer the concern.  Reaching out directly with an apology about their unsatisfactory experience, offering a solution to the situation and being open to please them is KEY.  Others who may see their unhappy post will also see that you responded and replied with earnest to rectify things.  That is what matters-a reasonable person understands that things can happen and its how you react afterwords that speaks more about the character and quality of your business. As difficult as it is to hear negative things about your business, it may make you aware of a growing staff problem or faulty product.  That feedback, allows you to take action quickly to make your business stronger and better for tomorrow’s customer.

And as we just learned, tomorrow’s customer is worth a lot more!



Time or Money

Most everything in life comes down to time or money.  It’s a challenge to have both at the same time for most people.  This is very true when it comes to new and growing business.  When you are starting your business you have more time than money. This allows you to do more things personally for your customers and everything will have your touch.  As your business grows the scale starts to tip and you just don’t have the same amount of time to give. At that point you use the money you are making to hire people and keep moving forward, with your direction.

Much of this is common sense but always worth repeating.


5 Things you can do for your business when you have more time than money:

Greet all customers

Write thank you notes by hand

Volunteer and network with your community

Connect with customers on social media daily

Talk to all your customers and staff to gain valuable insight, this will help you grow quickly & head off any potential problems forming


5 Things you can do for your business when you have more money than time:

Hire good people to represent you and your business

Advertise to help increase your traffic flow

Offer product or % savings discounts to encourage more people to try your business

Upgrade your infrastructure-paint your building, update your website, hire someone to work your social media communication

Donate in your community, the time you had to share is now converted into cash


I have said this for years, everything comes down to time or money.  No matter where you are in your business, your career, or your relationships- there is always something you can be doing to move forward!



Being Optimistic and What’s Next

There is far too much negative news, energy and thoughts in the world right now. I believe Gary Vaynerchuk , it is not that there are more unhappy people than happy people.   But that these unhappy people are louder than the happy majority. We see and hear  those negative thoughts, theories and energy  all over the media, especially social media.  Please know that I am not talking about  people with a serious cry for help regards to health, misfortune or true struggle.  What I think we need to do is silence the negative energy from those who complain only driving a Range Rover and they don’t have a Ferrari.  I believe the new hashtag for that is #richpeopleproblems.  Those people with large spheres of influence can sway the masses.  I hope they realize their responsibility in this world and choose to see the glass half full.. See Gary’s take on this

Today I would like to remind you how talented you are, how much you have accomplished in such a short time on this planet.  The business you built, the people you have helped, the family you raise and encourage.  ALL GOOD STUFF HERE!

So what’s next? Fall can be invigorating,  cooler air gives you more energy, shaking off the summer fog.  I love next, next is always good.  The next meal, the next date, the next paycheck, the next big idea…all really good stuff. Have you ever been in a really long line, waiting and waiting,  as it moves slowly:  the tension in your shoulders builds, you text and tweet frantically about how annoying it is.  THEN you are NEXT.  The best place to be in line.  It’s you, next up, your stress fades, you look behind you with empathy to all those behind you, who are NOT NEXT.  NEXT has all the possibilities with less pressure.

So, today, on the last monday in September, let’s think about what it next.  Your next client meeting, the next marketing idea, the next meal and share that excitement with the world. Because what is next is going to be amazing!


Think Differently-Could you sell to dogs?

We all know… what we know.We also know that,  the way people do business is changing.  How people spend their time is changing.  It’s hard to force yourself to view your business in a different light to see new angles and customers.  You are busy. We are all busy. I get it.

Try this exercise to shake up your brain, get new ideas and view your business in a new way. Like those annoying ice breaker exercises at group seminars.  Annoying,  but they do really get your brain moving.  Its Monday- let’s get our brain moving.


How would you market your dog products, directly to dogs.  Dogs can now make purchases on their own.  How can you capitalize on this new furry consumer.


Here’s what we know:

Dogs walk on all fours– advertising should be no more than 3 feet high and ideally on the ground.

Dog vision isn’t like humans– they see Yellow and Blue best.  They do not see  red or green as well, or at all.  Re think that holiday campaign.


Dog’s sense of smell and hearing are their strongest senses.Dogs have 125 million to 300 million scent glands in their nose, depending on the breed.  This is 1,000-10,000,000 times stronger than human sense of smell. Maybe you could create a smell sampling truck-think about it.

Dog’s ears are equally sensitive.  Anyone who owns a dog and tries to sneak a late night snack has been busted by the thunder of dog feet coming to see what you have for them too.  Dogs hear at a frequency of 67-45,000 Hz compared to a human that hears at 64-23,ooo Hz. Radio and Television commercials should start with the sound of the deli drawer opening to get the “dog consumers” attention. Also, dogs with pointed ears have better hearing than dogs with floppy ears, also something to consider with your ads.


Here are some ideas to market directly to dogs:

Paint the bottom half of fire hydrants blue or yellow to attract the dog’s eye more.  Put your message printed on that. (yes we are assuming dogs can read, if you remember at the beginning of this exercise we said they could buy stuff too).

Scented stickers on the ground leading from the popular dog parks to your business.  The nose will lead them right to you.

Radio contesting idea- at the sound of the cheese wrapper crinkle, be the 10th caller to win a years supply of cheesy treats.


What else could you do? What other creative ideas do you have? While this example is silly and some what far fetched ( ha ha get it… fetched) its a way to view your business differently.  Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh outlook to get the creative thoughts flowing again.

If you don’t have someone to bounce ideas off of, try asking yourself questions like:

What would you change if you only did business in Europe?

How would you change your marketing, if your only customers were teenagers?

How would you tell your customers how great your business is, if it was a non profit?


Simple questions to stretch your mind, your ideas and help grow your business.


Happy Monday-Woof!








Selling VS Buying

Selling has never had the prestige that  other fields of work have and has somewhat been looked down upon.  Images of used car sales men with bad comb overs in plaid suits are still in movies and television shows to punctuate this stereo type. And ironically, people LOVE to buy.

I like to sell.  I offer a product and service I believe in.  I think everything in life is about selling in some way and if you can figure that out and be good at it,  you will become successful.  You may be thinking, I don’t sell stuff and I definitely can’t be sold- I am a smart, educated customer, I only buy WHAT I WANT.

The key phrase is – THE WANT.  But how do you get  people to want things, by selling yourself, by persuading , by becoming likable and by building trust.  There are many different “sales techniques” but this is about  human behavior and building trust.  Plus  with the customer having more  control by making purchases on their phones and computers  to understand this behavior is KEY.

Let’s look at a couple simple examples that you may not view as selling.

#1 Let’s imagine you are going out to eat  with a large group of friends.  If you really want to eat Mexican food, you will persuade the group to also want Mexican Food. You would highlight the delicious meals you have had there, being sure to mention the favorite dishes that you know the group likes.  Adding in points about specials, atmosphere, parking etc..whatever would be the hot buttons of the individuals in the group. Because you have been there, are knowledgeable and they like and trust you- End result-you will be able to persuade them to your restaurant.

#2 Since it is a presidential political year, I thought I would mention that we are all being sold right now.  Everyone is being exposed to truthful and perhaps not truthful things about candidates and issues, all in the hopes that we will vote their way.

Most things are about selling and the #1 thing that turns selling into buying is TRUST.  The client or consumer needs to believe you are going to do what you say and  take care of them if there is a concern.  And in today’s world of marketing building trust has never been easier.

How to build trust and gain sales:

#1 Tell people who you are, and what you do

#2 Be clear and honest with your message

#3 Use all forms of communication appropriate for your message

#4 Layer traditional  advertising tools like Radio, Television and Newspaper with TRUST building advertising tools like You Tube, Facebook Live, Snap Chat,  Periscope or InstaStories.

BUT WHY DO I NEED BOTH- one is the engine to find new customers and the other builds trust in you and your company.


If you own a liquor store, the traditional means of advertising has always been local newspaper.  Unless your liquor store carries specialty products, it is typically a small radius of consumers close to their home and your business. The newspaper allows you to highlight many different brands and PRICE. BIG MONEY MAKING IDEA: Then you can  create a You Tube Channel and show people how to make classic and new cocktails using the featured products from your ad in the video, let them see your passion and personality-THAT BUILDS TRUST and SALES!

If you own a roofing company and you use Val Pak and some local cable as your primary tools for advertising.  Add Periscope or  Facebook live.  Going live is the ultimate trust builder because you can’t “re-do” or fix it.  It’s ALL YOU-100% REAL! So making mistakes and not being perfect is ok, that lets people see the real you.  And at the end of the day that is who they are going to be buying.  What can you do on Periscope or Facebook Live- walk around a home and talk to homeowners about the signs they need to look for to know when it is  time to repair or replace their roof. I am going to bet that most homeowners don’t know what to look for on their roof or home and would find this valuable.  You can always offer to come out to their home for a complimentary inspection or offer  a link to a coupon or “secret word” for a discount for those who watched the Periscope or  Facebook Live. That is a reward for their time and attention and another way for you to gather information and to contact them with follow up offers.

So let’s wrap this up.

Just about everything is selling.

People want to trust who they buy from.

Help them build that trust with you faster and be more successful.


Happy Trust Building and Selling!




Alliteration- one of my favorite and fun marketing tools

  1. the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.

How to use this simple and popular use of language-  In recent years alliteration can be found all over social media and in mass media.  #TBT ( Throw Back Thursday) where people post pictures from the past, Hugely Popular.  #MCM ( Man Crush Monday) where you post pictures of men you think are attractive.  And a recent popular marketing trend- Taco Tuesday, selling Taco’s everywhere! There are so many of these, just look around and you will be amazed. There are so many ,because they work, they are fun and memorable!


How can you use Alliteration in your marketing?


First- use caution attaching the word to the name of your business.  These slogans can be very catchy and if you only want to use it for a specific time or promotion, it may stick.

Second- don’t force it, brainstorm with friends, make lists of the words of products and services that apply to your business to help you create something you like.


Alliteration can draw attention to a certain day of the week to build business on a slow day (ex.  Taco Tuesday)

Alliteration can highlight certain products- check out our runway of running shoes

Alliteration can generate social buzz for your business while tapping into socially conventional hashtags ( #MCM man crush Monday tag us with your man and be entered to win him tickets to Fenway)


Why do I want to do this?

Creating ideas and slogans is fun, and unless you hire a marketing pro like me, its free

Creates an easy to remember slogan to help customers visit you

A well timed and creative Alliteration can generate sales, social buzz and a growing data base


Are you a fitness trainer or own a gym? Promote Wednesday Workouts. Wednesday is typically the day of the week where the will power and resolve to work out will start to fade.  This well timed promotion can encourage people to tag your business, hashtag and post their Wednesday Workout.  You will gather all these addresses for future marketing.  You can  reach out with personalized training offers, day or week passes to your facility or boot camp.  The opportunities are endless.

Perhaps you own a landscape company or nursery  and you want to get the DYI crowd to come to your business.  Promote  Shrub Saturdays, where your team talks about local plants, care of them and some helpful “insider design tricks”.  Everyone who attends is in the Shrub Club ( Alliteration to a Rhyme- bonanza) gets to save X percent on purchases. People can hashtag your nursery when they plant something and post it.  From all posts one person wins a fall clean up!


A simple word play that can take your next promotion or event to a whole new level. Try it.  Alison drives an Acadia and is Attracted by Alliteration!



It’s a Snap are you using it for your business yet?

Snapchat is all the rage, people of all ages are on it.  Are you? Are you using it for business yet? Gary Vaynerchuk has been a strong voice for the success of this social media giant.  He predicted its success years ago-he was right.  It is a main stream communication tool.  I know what you are thinking- there are too many I cant keep up. I KNOW!

However as your marketing advice giver I need to hit you with the facts.  Here a few things you can use Snapchat for your business:

  1. Communicate one on one with fans
  2. Demonstrate products, share advice and information to build trust and sell  ( the fitness industry has embraced this and does a great job)
  3. Create a customized snap chat filter for a special event or promotion ( Dunkin Donuts just started doing this, go try it the next time you grab a regular -NE coffee reference)


But wait I don’t even know what to do with Snapchat.  Ok, let’s back up.  Go to the Ap store and download the Ap.  Create a name and profile, start playing with it.  The big button at the bottom, when you push it takes a picture, hold it down and it records a 15 second video. Once you have your picture or image you can draw something or type something-use the keys in the top right corner.  Ready for more? once you have an image or video you like you can swipe the screen to find filters.  What are filters? Some will change the image to a soft filter, black and white, Sepia etc.  Some will add a location icon, you can add the time, speed or temp to your snap.  Here is the important info for businesses: when swiping for filters – local or national companies that have targeted your location as being important to them will have a filter.  Here are two national examples from Under Armor and Lucky Charms. This is a great way to have snapchat fans in your desired geography promote and share your message in a fun way. Advertising is becoming more subtle and friendly, by being a part of peoples lives-not just to hit them over the head with BUY THIS!




The last thing you will want to play with and know about is the face and voice changer filters.  People love these because they are fun, make you look attractive or silly.  National advertisers are already into this.  Taco Bell had one that turned your face into a Taco.  I wish I saved that one.  Side note- even though the premise of Snapchat is to have it disappear, you can screen shot it, download it to your camera roll and now with the new update you can save the ones you love to your memories.  Currently this weekend as I am working on this post the Olympics created  some of  these filters.  They are changing it everyday with different sports themes to encourage people to watch the Olympics on the NBC family of stations.  And that reminds me, you can now place a :15 second snap add into peoples feeds.  NBC has been doing that for a couple weeks to prep people for the Olympics.  Another smart way for them to brand their channels and encourage viewership of the Olympics.

Here are some fun filter examples: I made you a silly video to highlight some of the fun filters.



When it comes to attracting new clients and customers, it is worth trying everything, especially the tools that cost very little and have great sizzle and appeal. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat they are all tools to communicate your brand, your message on your time.

Give it a try, let me know how it works in your media mix, snap me back with your questions or feedback.



Back to School- what’s your plan?

We have all seen the Halloween candy in the stores, that means its August and time for back to school shopping and prep.  If you live in a major metropolitan area like Boston you know that this time creates a huge swing in population, traffic, and economic boom.  If your business attracts young adults,  you need to be talking to them today…..because they are coming!


In Boston over 250,000 students return to more than 35 colleges and universities.  They are bringing their appetite for learning and a whole lot of other stuff.

Some Important Facts:

 8.8 billion dollars will be spent on clothing in August( 2014 census)

77.2 million children and adults are enrolled in school (Oct 2014 census),  nursery school to college. That is 25.6% of the total population!

40% of the 18-24 are enrolled in college (2014 census)

52.1% of college students work while in school, of that 20% of them are working FULL TIME while going to school.  Money to spend! 


Some ideas to capture these students:

Be talking to them NOW….Radio, coupons, college papers , geo- targeted offers for towns where they live both dorms and off campus housing.

Create discount offers so new students can  try your business, if you can get a couple of them hooked on what you do or offer the word will spread.  Word of mouth is a powerful tool for advertising but you have to plant the seed with smart marketing!

Compliment all mass media messages with social, be consistent.  New people to the area will need that frequency,  to remember you and find your business.  Returning students will probably only need a reminder of you have been the long enough.

Talk to local colleges about including coupons  or information in welcome bags or packets.  New students read this to get acclimated quickly. The stronger the offer the more traction it will get.


Welcome Back Students!


(research sourced from US census data)




Facebook Live for your business

My #1 priority is to help my clients grow and attract new customers.  Right now I am talking to  my clients about Facebook Live.  As a full service Marketing Professional, I keep on top of all marketing trends to educate my clients.  Clients are  busy being great at what they do, that they miss an easy solution. Most clients want to find affordable ways to make their business stand out and Facebook Live is just the thing.

#1 its free-you broadcast a live from your business Facebook account

#2 you can do it yourself, your employees can do it, anytime

#3 it has a live interaction, so you can answer questions during the broadcast and it also has great shelf life- people can still watch it later because it lives on your Facebook page

81% of people are going on line to research a product, service or business, it is important to find ways to get noticed.  I have talked about using social media for your business in previous posts and  Facebook Live is a great new tool to build a one on one relationship with your existing  customers and potential new customers.

Here’s how you can use Facebook Live to showcase your business.

Retail Business: take a tour of the showroom, present what new merchandise has just come in.  You can create a virtual showroom to entice customers to come in.

Fitness Coach or Gym: build a relationship with potential clients. Show the work out space, demonstrate simple exercises.  Answer questions live and present special offers.

Service Business: Facebook Live can show you doing “your thing” in action.  You can invite a satisfied customer to join you and share their story to highlight real world success.

Auto Dealers: Take potential customers through a test drive of a new model.  Show people how to do the simple things they need to know-like change the time in your car 🙂

Below is a link to a local pre owned auto dealer using Facebook Live to showcase cars and do special promotions.

Adding Facebook and Facebook Live to your traditional media mix is an affordable way to build a one on one relationship with your customers.  It costs nothing but your time and passion.

A few things to think about before you “go live”.  Think of it like television, you are speaking directly to your audience.  Think about the goal of the “live episode” and do your best to stay on course. Remember its live, you may stumble with your words and that’s ok.  You will get better and your following will build.  A little quirkiness will be endearing and work well.  My most popular video to date had a cameo of my dog in it, real can make you likable.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes…and ACTION!