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Tips and insights from the blog team at Calliope - Presence in media for branding and polishing graphics, writing, social media, and online presence for yourself or your small business.

christmas is coming

Everyone is up in arms about this red starbucks cup this week! Seriously! A red cup. I remember when kids at our private christian university were denied leadership positions for being in possession of a red (granted solo) cup. 

The fact is, even the "issues" that take up our newsfeeds every few days are all trends, and you never want to be caught unaware. So buckle your seatbelts. Below is a crash course in choosing your holiday cards this year. Oh, you haven't thought about cards yet? Well now is the time sister! 16 days away from Thanksgiving means you do not have long before all of those "domesticated" adults who have their crap together will be littering your mail box with their efficiency all the while exposing your procrastination!

PS- we even included a new font board that you can download for your desktop


PLAID

wee bit of scot in ye? we are macgregor's after all


PASTELS

this beautiful winter peach will stand out next to the other cards on the buffet table. 


FLORAL & FOLIAGE  

if you don't live in south florida like we do, bring some color to your winter with this great design trend. 


MINIMAL

clean is in. clean is in. clean is in. 


PURPOSE

so many of us don't know what to do with all of the adorable holiday cards we receive. Sending them ready made as an ornament or magnet make it easy to display.

all card images above are pulled from vistaprint.com and tinyprints.com

And take a gander at our newest font board. Already decked out for the holidays!

How to stand OUT while signing UP (Direct Sales Edition)

Well, it's official... everyone and their mom is trying direct sales. We personally think they can be great. Direct Sale Companies give the sales representative/ brand ambassadors (and any other flowery marketing term) the things that are on EVERYONES career priority list... those items typically include: working remotely, competitive pay, absolutely no glass celling, doing something you are passionate about, being able to travel, making your own schedule, and working with a productive team. It is easy to see why so many people are signing up. 

I am sure we are all being inundated to support, buy, sign up, or subscribe to another product a friend is now promoting. Our social media feeds are being littered full of the requests for virtual parties, hosted parties, promo here, or there. These solicitations are not coming from the giants of retail marketing but rather Suzy, your next-door-neighbor. 

Working with my clients, I get asked a lot about how to make themselves stand out with a sudo-franchised business with thousands of other sales representatives fighting for your mutual friends attention. So, we wanted to compile a list of how you can stand OUT while signing up for a direct sales company. 

1. Is this the right fit for your personality?

Direct Sales are not for everyone! They are not! Swear it! If you are not the type to happily tell everyone what you sell, let it permeate into your social life, make business friends and business trips a constant in your calendar, then maybe you are not made for direct sales. Friends and acquaintances who have succeeded are unashamed to tell people what they sell, they hear the criticism and ignore the nay-sayers (knowing that you can't please everyone), they promote, they are super active on social media or email marketing, they drink the direct sale companies kool-aid if you will, and follow the promotion plans to a T. If this sounds like something you can do, excellent, you can make some serious cash!

 

2. Find the right company for YOU!

I see it all the time, friends signing up for a direct sales company because a friend has been super successful and has earned a Mercedes in the brand's custom color. Or their parents need one more person on their "leg" of a sales team. $200 later, you are selling a brand you could care less about. The key we have observed is to find a company that fits into your already established personal "brand". Do you already share story after story of cloth diapers and alternative medicine? Then maybe you should try one of the "granola" brands selling essential oils. Or do you post selfie after selfie of post workout sweat? Well then maybe you could try Beachbody or ItWorks! Check out our quick reference list below. 

You Post:

  • Fashion/ Style  - Check out {Origami Owl, SouthHill Designs, Paparazzi, Miche}
  • Fitness/ Health - Check out {Beachbody, ItWorks, doTerra, Young Living, Rodan&Fields}
  • Makeup/ Personal Aesthetics - Check out {MaryKay*, Jamberry, Avon*, Younique, Jutsuru}
  • Parenting or Books - Check out {Usborne Books, Discovery Kids, Simply Fun}
  • Home DIY or Savings - Check out {Scentsy, ACS}
  • Adult - Check out {Pure Romance}
  • Food and Restaurants - Check out {Pampered Chef, ManCave World Wide, trading Vineyard}
*original bitches

The list can go on and on... but find something that you CAN back 100% without it feeling counterfeit or forced. 

 

3. Before you pay or sign up, check their logo/image clause in the contract. 

Every direct sale company will have a logo/image clause in their initiating contract. This is done to protect themselves and the brand they have created, and rightfully so! The key here is to check for companies that let you have some creative discretion with how you brand your independent store image. Do they allow you to have a custom and creative URL (ex - Greenfoodwithgwen.com) that can redirect to your "custom" store front? Will they allow you to put your own logo for personal branding on the same business card as their logo? Heck, can you even order your own business cards? Check out the terms of the contract and find a company that will allow you some flexibility. Then capitalize on that freedom. Create your own logo, business cards, custom URL that redirects to your "storefront" website. There are so many ways to differentiate yourself from other brands and even friendly competition. The key way here is to make yourself unique. 

 

4. Check out the residual/ passive income and weigh those against bonuses

The sales schemes and machines that each direct sales company has in place is a expansive and intricate algerhythum that is made to make everyone a load of cash. Ask your mathematician friend to crunch some numbers for you to see what really is the best deal. Some bonuses might outweigh the sales level maximum incomes. Do the math. 

 

5. Research reviews and success rates

Do some research before you go to the "party" to find out more about the company and how many people truly are successful. What are the stories from those who didn't succeed? What was the tipping point for those who were successful?

 

6. Drink the kool-aid, go for it, make that first sales goal the first month

Its easy to see the appeal and sign up but how do you actually become as successful as the "president" or "executive" that was at the direct sales party? Well, you have to go for it. If you listen to their testimonials, they were mostly all in a place where they had to succeed or some serious result was going to befall them. Now, I am not advocating for you to not pay your mortgage for months then sign up as a means of motivation but your should find something that you want to work for. Quitting your day-time job? Paying off debt? Moving to Australia? Find your dream, work hard, and make that first sales goal in the first month or face the music that you may not be that "into" the company you signed up for. 

 

7. Don't spam your friends

The bread and butter of theses companies is the consumers who actually love their products. Yes, adding another excited sales representatives to your team is important but having a product that people love is more important. Don't kick your gift horse in the mouth. Ask before you add people to groups or events. If someone says no or is not interested respect their request and back away. Try to be genuine in your connections to people who you may have lost contact with in the past. Just messaging a friend from High School that you haven't talked to since graduation and asking them to buy your latest Mary Kay product is not a way to get customers, its a great way to lose them. 

 

8. Post often, post positive, post reflective

If you email market or partake in social media; maintain your previous posting average but change up the content slowly. Don't go from 1 post per week to 10 a day. You will get "unfollowed" in an instant. Don't constantly post about money, its gross. Make your content reflective, relatable, and relevant to the other "you's" who follow your lifestyle or interest. Get friends and followers involved with posts that solicit a response, even things that do not pertain to your business or work, random interactions create a personal brand that you can fall back on when content is sparse. 

 

9. Consider getting a leased wall or shelf in a brick and mortar store

Digital and virtual are great. Heck we love them, but few things can replace the instant gratification of getting what you want when you want it. If you are successful in your direct sales company you should consider it. Renting a space in a salon, spa, or green market would only make you a visible authority on the brand and it's products and would be worth the $50 a month for a shelf in the local office waiting room.  

 

10. Work with us!

Calliope - Presence In Media has already helped successful presidents and executives in direct sales companies. We have edited and reviewed landing websites to help those capture more attention. We have created personal logos for use on business cards and promo materials. Sometimes, people just need assistance in defining their personal brand. Let us help you be even more successful. Contact us at hello@calliopepresence.com

What advice or experience do you have with Direct Sales? Anything else that you would like to add? Let us know in the comments below.

Essential Elements of a Successful Website

A while back we asked our social media followers what they thought made or broke a website. Their insight coupled with our experience, professional instruction, and keen aesthetic eye have compiled this list of the Essential Elements of a Successful Website. 

 

1. Enriched Footer - With Links to a Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, etc.*

Having an enriched footer is essential to a successful website. This establishes you as someone who is committed to giving your customers the best service possible. Having a Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions readily available tells the viewer that you have their interest in mind. There are plenty of stock Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions for you to pull from online. Simply edit them with your information. 

*Please note, not all websites need this detailed of a footer. If you are selling a physical or electronic product this is a must. If you are a blogger or service provider this format might not be as important. 


2. Social Media Links

Connecting your social media pages to your website is a must. This will enable your customers reach out to you and become engaged in your brand. (because let's face it- we check our Facebook and Twitter feeds more often than our email). Calliope - PIM encourages every brand to have at least 3 social media mediums that they regularly update. Top social media sites that we advocate for are - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.


3. Embedded, streamlined, and secure E-Commerce

Should you have a physical or electronic product that you are selling, it is imperative to have a clean, simple, and embedded checkout system with your E-Commerce. Sending customers to paypal, amazon, etsy.com etc will devalue your brand. That is not to say that you can not offer alternative forms of payment (i.e. Paypal and Etsy) but it is to say that you should have a primary way to accept payment on your website. There are TONS of embedded and fully integrated shopping cart providers, widgets/add ons from any web-hosting-site. Our favorites are Shopify and Stripe. For an in person service that a customer is in front of you physically (babysitting, dog walking, massage therapy, personal training etc.) a credit card reader like Square is a great tool. They even offer a simple way to send payments through an email that you can draft from your phone. 


4. Custom or commissioned images 

Having your own images to communicate your brand is super important. We have lots of clients who are worried about copyright troubles and rightfully so. With so much personal and artistic property online from innumerable sources, it is hard to know if you can use something or not.

Here is our rule of thumb:

If you took the picture or if you edited the stock image it is yours

If you have written permission to use the image from the photographer, artist, or image site... you may use it. 

If NOT... beware

In most cases, your phone or digital camera images are perfectly fine for website images. If you are able to have a professional photographer take images of your products, work space, studio, or staff; do it! There is nothing like being able to control your brand with a photoshoot just for you. The same goes for custom graphics. There are infinite possibilities in the medium of graphic arts and working with Calliope - PIM to create a custom graphic like the one above is a wonderful way to communicate a message. 

 

For more insights on how to optimize your website, follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog. 

 

#chaucertheskull

Don't be fooled by his glittery appearance, Chaucer the Skull is a force with which to be reckoned! His striking wit is matched only by that of his literary namesake, but (seeing as he's a pretty quiet guy), what speaks the loudest is his ability to stand out in a crowd.

So, why a skull? Well, the lovely ladies of Calliope have a desire to highlight beauty in every corner of their world. And there is something intrinsically (and perhaps inexplicably) beautiful about a symbol of the inevitability of death and the brevity of life. Okay, maybe that's too deep for the description of a glittering sugar skull mascot...Let's be real: We just think skulls are cool.

Stay up-to-date with Chaucer's adventures and exploits by following @calliopepim on Instagram and Twitter, or check out our Facebook and Google+ pages for even more updates!