Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sending out hundreds of emails and online ads

Well it was time to send out some of the free classifieds again. I sent Valentine themed ads to all the states and this time decided to include some of the countries. After several hours I think I was getting a little punchy. I was very tempted to send one to Nigeria telling them for every t-shirt they ordered with “no spam” on it, one million dollars would be deposited in their bank account. Thought about creating and sending “no nukes” to North Korea and “no fighting” to Israel! I did send one to Saudi Arabia too. I can’t really picture them in t-shirts and baseball caps, but they do have a lot of money!

Saw an article today about vegetarians and it suggested a support group in the area with an email address. So I sent them my “no meat” link!

Day27Got an email back from the Eat for Life group that I sent my “no meat” link to. She invited me to their next meeting. No mention of my site….

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Can't stop googling myself

I need to stop googling myself! Just like forums you can really get sucked in. I used to google my name and was amazed how many other Nancy Geigers there are in the world. Librarians, realtors, one even hid slaves! Also my name would occasionally come up because of stories I wrote that were published in the newspapers.
When I google my store it does pretty well. Even yahoo and msn are pretty good because of the press releases and a few people who linked to me. It’s a little disconcerting to discover your store where you don’t expect it though. Especially when it has a teaser line that sounds interesting, but when you click on “cached” you can’t find anything. So you just wonder, “was it really there?” “what did it say?” “did anyone see it?”

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

I get forum advice about meta tags

Sent out dozens of Valentine theme press releases to New York weekly papers. Even sent one to the Today Show :)
I’ve been emailing back and forth with one of the guys on the CafePress forum. I had asked him to look at my meta tags and see if they were ok. I learned more in two emails from him then my three weeks working on my site! He said given the theme of my site – that each product has a word like “no smoking”, “no alcohol” “no victim”, etc. it’s a shame I can’t optimize each page. Someone who is just typing in “giving up smoking” won’t come up to my page full of “no smoking” products. I thought they would because I had filled in keywords/tags on every page. But, he explained that those were for CafePress to use and all that the Search Engines saw was the store meta tag! (Which isn’t very big and can’t be.) He said I should create another website, optimize each page and when someone who was searching for whatever they are giving up or are against or their pet peeve clicked on my site it would link through to my CafePress site which would still do the orders and shipping. All very logical and possibly necessary, but I’m going to file that in the back of my mind for now and keep trying to promote it and learn more first.Wow! Three weeks ago I’d never heard of a meta tag!!

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

MySpace and Spam

I asked about My Space on the forum and got enough positive feedback to sign up. Got the basic information in there and then got totally confused plus someone kept messaging me “helloo…are you there?….” while I was trying to figure it out. It’s late now, so I think I’ll go back to the site tomorrow and try again!

I get so much spam mail to my business email address now! I think it’s the free classified sites I used. The CaféPress forums even “welcome people to the club” when they get the Nigerian spam emails! I have also gotten emails saying my ebay account and Pay Pal account are in jeopardy of being closed. I don’t have an ebay account and my Pay Pal uses a different email address. So I ignore it all. But, it is a little disconcerting and I am joining so many sites I’m having trouble keeping all the user names and passwords straight!

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Pitching my "no smoking" buttons

I was out of town all day yesterday and very disappointed to see no visitors on my stat counter! Maybe I should just quit watching that…but, no sales either!
I found I had missed a lot of places to add descriptions on the back end of my site so spent a long time catching that up.I also saw in the paper today that 5 area hospitals are going “Smoke Free” in a couple weeks, so I emailed each a note and link to my site telling them about the “no smoking” section. I said if they bought in bulk I’d give them a discount. Guess I’ll figure that out if it happens!

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Starting my Valentine advertising

Starting on Valentine theme press releases – to a few magazines – which I’m probably too late for and to a LOT of the weekly papers I haven’t sent anything to yet. I’m using the twist “Does your Valentine really want chocolate or roses or dinner out? Wouldn’t she rather you give up that something that has always bugged her!” We’ll see!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Someone affiliated me!

Googled myself and found quite a few of my press releases! Then I tried givitup and got quite a scare! Saw “givitup for your New Year’s Resolution” – but someone else’s website! Apparently someone has created a blog about t-shirts on the web and he featured mine! He’s probably affiliated himself to my site – with it going through CafePress you never really know if anyone is doing that. Hope he sells!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Learning about free classified ads

My third sale! A “no coffee” mug from Illinois! Still working on press releases and tweaking site and learning about search engines and affiliates! Also sent out a ton of free classified ads! At one site I did every state individually! Am starting to get junk email to my givituprequests@yahoo.com address!

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Discovering the Daily Jolt

Always looking for articles I can respond to – it doesn’t seem to work, but I keep trying. Started in on college newspapers all over the country as they were coming back from Christmas break. That took forever! Thank goodness for “copy and paste”!

Found Daily Jolt – a kind of college message board and sent about 80 of those out.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Second sale!

Got another order! All I know is she is from NY and bought 6 “no excuses” buttons and I love her!

Started looking up Diseases of the Month and emailing the “disease” association with my anti disease themed button, mug or t-shirt. Haven’t heard back from any of them.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Thinking Oprah might help

Thought I might get on Oprah.com’s forums – if I could get her to notice my design it would be like striking gold! Had to register to participate and now I get daily emails from “Oprah” telling me what’s going to be on her show the next day! And the forums didn’t really pan out – I mean, when someone is about ready to commit suicide because they have been 200 pounds overweight for the past 10 years, I can’t really suggest they wear a “no dessert” t-shirt can I?

Started looking up tea sites thinking they would like my “no coffee” designs.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Going nuts with gebbieinc.com

I really like the way my site looks. It is so clean and pretty! Some people really junk up their sites. I don’t think I have enough content though. Am thinking about starting to Blog. Am thinking maybe this is it!

Found gebbieinc.com and LOVE it! 24,000 media sites! I started sending emails to radio stations all over Illinois suggesting they mention the giving up/New Year’s resolution idea, but then suggesting the “no TV” to the DJs for themselves. One emailed me back that it was very cute. Did newspaper press releases all over NY and the states A through F using gebbieinc.com. I did each one individually since I didn’t want to spam anyone.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

givitup gets a statcounter

Read about statcounters and John spent an evening installing one for me.
Sent press releases to Prweb and MPR, both I found published later on line.
Sent in my “no alcohol” ideas to AA and some other sites. No word back.

Looked at my stat counter and saw that someone at Polo Ralph Lauren had looked at my site! Must have been a guy, he was on the “no video games” and “no road rage” pages. It was kind of neat picturing him sitting in his office at 3:47pm in Manhattan looking at my site! So far he hasn’t come back…or bought.Read about affiliates and picked out sites and sections…and John spent an evening putting their buttons on for me.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Discovering Craigslist and the forums

Discovered Craigslist, but they will only take an ad once every 7 days, so I did one for NYC and wrote on my calendar when to do the next one. Also started getting on CaféPress’s forums and announced my opening. A lot of the same people are on those all the time. Some really know the business. You can spend a lot of time reading the threads! There was one that spanned months about “you know you are addicted to CafePress when…” and I realized I was! Already!

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Monday, January 16, 2006

My first press release

Day 4
I sent a press release to the local papers with the "Wear Your New Year’s Resolution" theme and a lot about CaféPress in general:

"Just in time for New Year's new online shop offers you the opportunity to wear your resolution on their stylish apparel; sweatshirts, hoodies, tank tops, t-shirts, baseball caps or display it on mugs, buttons or magnets.

givitup is part of CafePress.com which won a Webby Award, the leading international honor for web sites, as the Best Retail web site of 2005 beating out other finalists: Target.com and Home Depot.

Since 1999, CafePress has empowered people to create, buy and sell customized merchandise through CafePress.com on-demand manufacturing and e-commerce services. Powering a network of more than one million independently-run CafeShops™ as well as syndicated and corporate stores, the company offers online retail services for storefront web development, order management, fulfillment, secure payment processing, and quality customer service.
Today, CafePress.com is a global and growing community of merchants who have unleashed their creativity to transform their artwork and ideas into new revenue streams and diverse products.

Whether you are giving up caffeine, sugar, excuses, whining, snacks, guilt or a host of other things, you can tell the world with the help of www.cafepress.com/givitup "

I know of at least 2 papers that printed it.
I also made up a couple dozen flyers and put them up at grocery stores, the YMCA and the library.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

My first sale already!

Day 3
Being a real fan of guerilla marketing books and articles my original idea was to write articles and blogs always including my URL and getting on forums…and always including my URL with my signature. But, first I thought I’d better tell someone my site existed. My husband registered it with the top search engines, but I wasn’t convinced I would be found with all the t-shirt competition out there. So I sent out an email with pictures of some of my designs to just about everyone I had an email address for. I promised them it was a one time email (which I think if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t have said – they are friends for goodness sake! I could have sent them a few more emails!)
I thought the button on my site asking people to sign up for my seasonal newsletters would build my advertising audience, but so far I have 9 subscribers (and John and I are 3 of them!)
Got my first sale today! John’s sister! She wanted a word I didn’t have so he created the image and I put it in a separate section with her name on it for her to order. Then I added that we do custom work for no extra charge on the front page.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Starting my online store "givitup"

Day 1
It really all began several years ago when I had the idea of making and selling buttons that would have what you gave up for Lent with a red line drawn through it. I found someone online who made a dozen samples and I took them around to stores who bought them, but didn’t give me any orders for more.
I realized it wouldn’t be easy to advertise, take orders, get them made and then shipped – so I gave up.
Fast forward to early December when I was looking for a monogrammed coffee mug for a present and stumbled across CafePress.com. They provide on- demand manufacturing and e-commerce services. Their list of products include: t-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, sweatshirts, magnets, buttons and children's apparel. As I looked around the site I remembered my Lent buttons. As New Year’s was coming up I thought the same type of designs could be used for New Year’s Resolutions too.
It’s not like me to jump into something like this, but it was inexpensive (if you don’t count all the time I put into it!), and my husband had recently gotten into web design and internet consulting so for the past 3 years I have been reading everything I could find on online marketing – and finding it fascinating.
CafePress offered templates and John said he would help me get set up.
I chose my URL http://www.cafepress.com/givitup and I immediately came up with 22 designs/words and chose 22 of their products to put them on. As John was creating the image he was erasing the background and then realized with some of it still showing it was really neat looking. So we left it that way. That became our design.
We sort of stumbled on a name and logo too. Giving it up….Give it up….givitup…of course a lot has to do with what’s available on-line name wise too. We hunted through all the font styles on the computer and decided to use the same colors as our designs. Again we left the background in place because we liked the looks of it.
Next step to write descriptions of all the products and price everything. That took a couple days.

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