The most important thing you might not be doing in your business

The most important thing you might not be doing in your business

It’s hard to believe but I’ve actually been a blogger at My Pixie Blog since 2009. By most standards, that would make me an old timer, especially in a realm that is constantly evolving and in a space where so many sadly suffer from blogger burnout (it’s a thing) and close up shop for good. With more than 1.5 million blog posts published each day per Technorati, it’s important to stay relevant, to post often, and to give your readers a reason to return. Over the years I’ve learned a few things as a blogger that I think are applicable in many different areas of business. The one that stands out the most (and a recurring theme in my own life lately) is that communication is key. What happens when a visitor leaves a thoughtful comment on your blog and you don’t answer it? Or when a brand reaches out for a partnership and you let the message get buried in your inbox? On the flip side of this, what if you are a brand and you’ve reached out to a blogger for a giveaway but never followed up to personally thank the blogger for hosting and promoting your product? These are bad business practices that might result in one less pair of eyes returning to read your posts or a partnership in jeopardy. I believe the best businesses are the ones that put the needs of the customer above all else. I’m just finishing up a book entitled Be Our Guest which discusses the Disney experience and the unparalleled level of customer service that the franchise provides for...
Why it’s good to be meticulous with your small business

Why it’s good to be meticulous with your small business

On Sunday I went to a new local manicure place with a Pinterest photo and an hour to kill. During my brief time there, I noticed something you just don’t see that often. The owner insisted that her staff go outside to clean the windows on two separate occasions. Initially I thought maybe this was excessive, but then I remembered the many shops that had closed their doors from this exact location and I commended the salon owner for her meticulous attention to detail in a climate where “git er done” often reigns supreme. It made me think of cringe-worthy shortcuts I have seen a lot lately in quite a few professional situations: the CEO who refuses to have an editor review his grammatically incorrect and nonsensical emails before pressing send; the outsourced writers who fail to use spellcheck and upload blogs with “Faceook” in the title; or the social media post with the words “want to loose weight?” on full display. Sadly, these are not isolated incidents and I come across sloppy copy, poor website design, and questionable content from marketers trying to establish themselves as “gurus” in the business constantly. While on the surface these might all seem like harmless mishaps, I believe there is a greater issue here—in an effort to produce more content quickly, we are becoming careless and our mistakes speak volumes about our attention to detail. I have lost jobs because of my rate and the fact that there is cheaper labor to be had. And I get it—bottom line and all that jazz. But all it takes is one mistake, one misstep,...
How brands can get in the Valentine’s Day spirit this year

How brands can get in the Valentine’s Day spirit this year

Unless you’ve been hiding out under a rock somewhere, you know that Valentine’s Day, a holiday that makes many of us cringe and helps florists stay in business, is just around the corner. As if you didn’t have enough pressure to find THEPERFECTGIFT for your mate, I’m here to tell you that you can also use this time to make the most of your marketing. Even if you are completely turned off by the hype of Cupid, I hope you’ll find something of value in this guide. For the shop owner who sells V-day products This is your Super Bowl, right? I mean, you should already be capitalizing on the schmaltz of the season with pink and red signage and irresistible Valentine’s Day specials. I hope, too, that you’re active on social media so you can use this opportunity to tweet to customers in your area looking for last-minute gifts. “#ValentinesDay” has been trending for days now, so this is your chance to announce your store’s specials in a tweet or post (don’t forget to include a link to your website and store location). For the online business There are so many ways for online businesses to hop in on any kind of themed marketing campaigns—all it takes is a bit of creativity! Etsy shop owners: create a Valentine’s Day Look Book with cute date night outfits. Book shops: find some long lost, romantic reads, perfect for a cold night by the fire and create a landing page on your website that directs visitors to some of your top sellers. Specialty food stores: celebrate all the single ladies and...
What I learned about sales… from my trip to the Bahamas

What I learned about sales… from my trip to the Bahamas

Admittedly, I’ve never been much of a salesperson. From a young age, I would fumble on my words and play with my sleeves while going door to door in hopes of selling my Girl Scout cookies as my mom waited behind. On one occasion, I even told my older neighbor Joe that no, he could not buy the entire box of thin mints, I was only selling one cookie at a time. (face palm) That was coincidentally also the day my parents realized there was simply no hope for me where my business acumen was concerned. Thankfully, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. About two weeks ago, I took a much-needed vacation and learned that the slogan “It’s better in the Bahamas” is true for a variety of reasons (did I mention 80 degree weather?). What really stood out to me (in addition to the obvious crystal clear waters, sugar sand beaches, and delicious/warm sunshine) was the inadvertent salesmanship of the sweet locals. With the exception of the Bahamians I met at the Straw Market who were definitely looking to make a sale, I found myself entranced by the way they easily touted the benefits of their island and asked that I return. It was a reoccurring theme. My presence in the Bahamas was seen as a gift; but what would make it even sweeter would be a return to show the locals how much I enjoyed my trip. When I got back to the frigid temps in New Jersey, I kept thinking about the conversations I had with people there and how much their infectious...
How to Stay Productive on a Snow Day

How to Stay Productive on a Snow Day

I had a very different post planned today but the blizzard that never was on the northeast took up a lot of my attention these past few days. Like everyone else in the tri-state area, I prepared by battling the grocery store lines (which were not as bad as I expected) and making enough food to feed a small army. Despite the fact that I am trying to ignore the dings coming from my boyfriend’s computer in the other room, I’m determined to make the most of my snow day and get stuff done. Here are a few ways you can be as productive as possible today and some helpful resources so you can learn on your day off. Shut off the TV/radio and stop refreshing your CNN feed. While you’re at it, you might as well close out all the distracting social media sites in your browser, too. How many tweets can you possibly read about #Snowmageddon2015 anyway? Stay up to date on the latest trends in your industry. Some of my social media favorites include Mashable, Hubspot, and Likeable Media. Also Marie Forleo has a kick ass weekly video series that always leaves me inspired. Write and schedule your social media posts in advance for your company Facebook and Twitter pages. Get started with some free online training! There are a TON of sites that offer valuable information and great eBooks for anyone looking to boost their LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter traffic. All you need to do is run a search! Take a break. It’s important to keep the juices flowing and in order to do that...
How to Listen to Your Audience on Social Media

How to Listen to Your Audience on Social Media

I love to connect with brands through social media. I feel as though it tells me a lot about a company when they respond to a tweet, like a photo I’ve posted on Instagram, or answer a query on Facebook. There are so many ways that brands can engage with their audience online—and believe it or not, many consumers count on this interaction to make a purchase. Case in point: I rely heavily on calendars and planners in my life, for both personal and professional reasons. While I like to keep track of all engagements in my Google calendar (which syncs to my Gmail account and my phone), I find it helps for me to write out deadlines and dates in a day planner as well. Recently I sent a tweet from my personal account to the company that made my 2014 planner—a simple pocket-sized organizer that I sadly couldn’t find online. I never heard back from the company. Then I turned to Twitter and sent out a tweet asking anyone if they knew where I could find a reasonably priced planner. Despite the fact that I received a favorite (thanks, Art of Power!), this was a failed opportunity to make a sale. A paper product company that can swoop in and help with my request would have also received a pin on Pinterest, a favorite and mention on Twitter, and maybe even a few referrals. Did I mention they would have received at least one sale? It’s actually very easy to find your audience online. One way to do this is by logging in to Twitter and doing...
How to Create Effective Brand Messaging

How to Create Effective Brand Messaging

The most effective marketing campaigns are always the simplest; the ones that convey in few words what the brand is about while leaving a lasting impression. Think of the first few chords, the dancing silhouettes, and that classical music in those moving De Beers commercials; the iconic Clydesdale horses in the Budweiser ads; or even those gut-wrenching ASPCA commercials that beg you to pick up the phone so Sarah McLachlan can stop ruining a perfectly good song with sad puppy dog eyes. What do they share in common? They are all simple. Remember that Marketing 101 class where you learned the rule of KISS (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”)? (Also, relax, no one is calling you stupid.) Over the past few years, marketers have decided to tone down the in-your-face messaging points (“BUY THIS COCA COLA!!!”) in favor of ads with powerful imagery that tug at our heartstrings. Hold the pomp and circumstance; advertisers are now focusing on how companies are either contributing to a greater good OR how a purchase will make you feel good. Think of their messages as bite-sized takeaways for the masses. I noticed just the other day great brand messaging while opening my packaged Dunkin Donuts coffee. Neatly printed across the top of the flavor-sealed bag were the words “mornings are in the bag”—so clever and yet, so pithy! For other examples of great marketing, check out jetBlue (I love their “Flying it Forward” campaign), Dogfish Head and their fun packaging/website, and Trulia for their surprisingly witty contests (like their “Win a Freakin’ House” promo). Here’s a checklist of things you might want to consider...
Happy Holidays from Pixie Consulting!

Happy Holidays from Pixie Consulting!

Like so many of you covered in flour and sprinkles, I am putting the finishing touches on my holiday checklist hoping to get everything done in time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks the holidays sneak up on me each year. I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your support, encouragement, and help getting Pixie Consulting off the ground this year. Behind every idea there are countless dreamers and doers responsible for takeoff. I’ve had a lot of dreamers who encouraged me when I was unsure of my plans and doers who assisted with the technicalities of owning a business and creating a website. Every Facebook like, every social share, and every word of encouragement helped me make this idea a possibility. I love the excitement of a new year and 365 fresh days to start over with. I’m thrilled to have you along for this journey and can’t wait to unravel new techniques, ideas, and content to help you land a following and boost sales for your small business. I’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a marketing plan to take 2015 by storm… But in the meantime? I’m kicking back and enjoying family, friends, some good wine, and laughter. I hope that you are doing the same. Happy holidays, and all the best for a prosperous New...
Is Your Business Thinking Outside the Box this Holiday Season?

Is Your Business Thinking Outside the Box this Holiday Season?

About a week ago, I was told the company I had worked with for the past two years would no longer need my social media, marketing, and writing services and my tenure as an independent contractor would soon come to an end. It took me a while to fully process the news—not only was the timing not ideal, it was also unexpected. Now that some time has passed, I’m starting to see that this is a stepping-stone for a bigger—and brighter—career journey ahead. Yesterday I received a package in the mail from a dear friend who wanted to cheer me up with assorted bath goodies. After reading the card and sifting through the delicately crafted basket, I was struck by something I hadn’t yet seen before: a pair of scissors attached to a note. “Part of providing the finest in luxury is knowing that the gifts are easy to open and enjoy. Please accept these complimentary scissors to assist you in opening your gift.” I can’t imagine that a gift so small would break any budget, and yet, it was such a thoughtful gesture to include something that would make the gift basket experience THAT MUCH MORE enjoyable. It made me wonder what we all could be doing to improve the experiences of our customers this holiday season. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the cold winter months, are we delivering a service that our customers would want to repeat again and again? Here are just a few small things you could do to give your customers a positive experience this holiday season: Include a handwritten...
Welcome to Pixie Consulting!

Welcome to Pixie Consulting!

As it is with most projects, this website is the result of many sleepless nights, obsessive rewrites, and countless emails to my very patient web designer Vanita (who may have wanted to wring my neck on at least one occasion, rightfully so). I am immensely excited to get this project off the ground and to dust off my social media and writing chops—skills that I would like to put to use for my own benefit after having worked in corporate (and “for the man”) for too many years to count. Why shouldn’t I be able to do this on my own? Here’s what you can expect to find at Pixie Consulting (and I do so very much hope that you’ll follow along on Twitter and on Facebook for updates). I’ll share with you here some of the projects I’m working on, a few social media tips which you can use to grow your own business, and things I’ve learned or picked up along the way about marketing and starting up my own company. Thanks for joining me and please reach out if you have any questions, comments, or projects you would like help on. Best,   Charlotte...