Email is a necessary tool in any Direct Sales business these days, but if you’re not careful, it can throw havoc into your carefully organized stamping time.
One thing I recommend (and this may surprise you) is that you have a separate email address set up exclusively for your stamping business. I recommend setting up a gmail account (it’s free!) and it can easily be synced to your smart phone. If you’ve branded yourself (i.e., “bzbstamper” is my brand), you can use it as the first part of your email (e.g. “[email protected]).
If you are serious about your Stampin’ Up! business, you might even want to set up your own domain. I recommend NameCheap.com as it’s easy to set up and will cost you less than $10 a year (sometimes as low as $5 depending on the name.) I do recommend that you pay a bit more and get the “.com” extension if you can. The beauty of buying your down domain (and you can use your own name as your domain) is that you can also use this domain name to direct to one of your social media sites (such as your Facebook Business Page or Group.) I did a short video here on how to make this happen.
The benefits of a “business image” I believe more than justifies the cost of a domain name (less than 2 lattes) and the extra time (less than a half hour) it will take to set up your personal business email. And before you ask – NO this doesn’t mean you have to set up a website or blog. You’re simply carving out your own little space on the web and you can easily direct this domain name to where ever you want it to go.
PRO TIP: before you decide on your domain name, find out if you can use that name on your DBWS, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. And easy way to do this is to just do a google search your domain name and see where it shows up. An even better alternative is once you know a domain name is available – before you buy it – go set up an account in that name on Facebook (biz page & group), instagram, and pinterest. Even if you don’t do anything with those accounts for awhile, you’ll have the “right” to use it and it will be there when you’re ready to start up posting. If even one of those social media sites aren’t available, I really do recommend you come up with another name. Email me if you have any questions and I can help.
Branding is not the only reason to separate your business email from your personal email. When they’re the same, it can get harder and harder to find those important customer emails and respond in a timely fashion. By having your business email download on your smart phone, you’ll be notified every time you get an email from a customer, making it easier to stay organized.
- Set aside 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes mid-day and 15 minutes in the evening to respond to your email.
- Implement filters & folders for your email. If you’re not sure how to do this, google it for your particular email system
- Unsubscribe from newsletters that you no longer read. I suggest once a quarter you take an hour to go through your emails and unsubscribe from as many as you can.
- Just like paperwork, “touch it once”. Open it, read it, act on it, and get rid of it. If you just save it in your in-box, thinking to get back to it later, chances are you never will. The good news is that in today’s email, you can “store” it without deleting it so you can always search for it in the future if you find you need it. Work at keeping your inbox at zero at the end of every day.
- Bottom line? Control your email, don’t let your email control you!
The best advice I can give you about social media is to understand in theory how they all work, but only try to conquer one at a time. As you get good at one platform, then move on to the next. And most important of all, go where your people are.
For example, most of my customers are over the age of 55 and are on Facebook, with more getting on Instagram every day. Hardly any are on Linked In or Twitter, so I won’t waste time there.
PROTIP: I don’t really view Pinterest as a social media platform – I view it more as a search engine. Pinterest can be a powerful tool to connect you to new stampers and doesn’t require the type of daily strategies that Facebook & Instagram require. Everyone should be using Pinterest!
As a demonstrator, your goal with social media should be to strengthen your relationship with the customers you already have and attract new, potential customers who will want to learn more about you & your business.
One misconception about social media is that it’s your on-line store. It’s not – that’s what your DBWS (Demonstrator Business Website) is for. Social media is more about attracting “our tribe” and building an market for our products. Your goal should be to not only attract the existing stamper & crafter, but appeal to someone who has never stamped before but finds the idea interesting.
One of the hardest things about Social Media is that it takes time – and for someone who is finding it difficult just to balance all the hats she wears for her Stampin’ Up! business, the thought of throwing one more hat into the mix is daunting.
Social media (Pinterest & Facebook in particular) can be time suckers – and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself spending hours on social media that is not productive or helpful for your business. And don’t fool yourself — spending hours on Pinterest searching for the “perfect class card” can be fun for us, but our family sees that as work time and can become to resent if they don’t see results (usually money) from all that time. Make sure you spend at least 90% of your work time on your income-producing activities, and only 10% on social media surfing.
PROTIP: If you tend to get distracted by social media (and who doesn’t?) I recommend that you invest in a kitchen timer or use the timer on your phone. Set your time for no longer than 30 minutes and shut it down once your timer goes off. Your time management self will thank you!
And finally, it’s very important that you are “authentically you” on social media. Your goal is to differentiate yourself from the 15,000 other Stampin’ Up! demonstrators out there. I can’t stress how important it is to be yourself and use your own voice. It will take you longer to get a feel for this, and will take some time & effort, but it’s critical that “you be you” and not just copy & paste from other people.
We will be building a platform of social media training here for our team. Since social media is always growing and changing, our training will as well. Stay tuned!