300 Seconds

300 Seconds: Community Calendars

How many times after an event have you heard a customer say something like this?

“I didn’t know [insert author] was going to be here. I would have attended that event. Did you publicize it?”

For that author event, you probably created an event listing on your website, sent multiple emails about it, distributed news releases, created an event on your Facebook page, and tweeted incessantly. Even when we do all of these things, we still might not reach customers where they are.

One more tool to add to your publicity bag-of-tricks is the online community calendar.

If you check the websites for your local newspaper, public radio station, convention and visitors bureau, and independent publications, you’ll probably find a calendar to which you can submit events. This calendar works differently than submitting a news release with the hope that a feature story will emerge. This calendar is community-based, where people and organizations in the community supply the content and the host only has to approve submissions.

It can take some extra time to submit events to these sites individually, but it can be worth it to reach people where they look for information.

So today, take 300 seconds and search some of these websites for community calendars. Take some time to create a user name/password. Check to see if your venue is already listed and that the information is correct. Claim the venue, if necessary. And then add these sites to your publicity check-list.

300 Seconds: Visit Regional Sites

When I wrote about the regional trade shows, I mentioned that the American Booksellers Association provides links to each of the 9 regional trade organizations on their website.

I visited each of the sites to gather information for the trade shows. If you haven’t visited, you really should spend 300 seconds looking around. These organizations have so much to offer through their websites.

So for these 5 minutes, 1) go to bookweb.org, 2) scroll to the bottom and look on the right, 3) click on the appropriate link.

How to build your email list.

Email is not going away any time soon, so this week we’ll be exploring both “5 minute” quick tasks as well as extensive research on the best practices for building your email lists.

I’ve noticed that many booksellers send their weekly emails to subscribers on Monday or Tuesday. So our first “300 second” task will take place immediately after you push send.

If you use an email marketing service, like Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, or Constant Contact, those programs have created an html version of your email. Even though I’m still compiling this newsletter, I can click on the link in my footer that reads “View this in your browser” and it will take me to this landing page:

300 Seconds: Listen

Since today is “Get to Know Your Customer Day” take 5 minutes to listen to your customers today. If you can’t allow that much time per customer, just give them as much time as you can.

Look them in the eye, smile, and listen.

You have a reason to smile. They’re shopping at your bookstore.

300 Seconds: The Front Door Test

Do you have just 5 minutes to spend marketing today? It has been six months since we’ve done this, so it’s time to revisit The Front Door Test.

To take this test, simply walk through your front door as if you are the customer. What do you see?

  • Dirt? Cobwebs? Obstructions?
  • Does anything look tired?
  • Are your hours clearly marked?
  • Do you offer events? Is that clear to your customers?

Remember, even if you do not have the time to fix problems, you’re well on your way because you’ve identified them. If you take a little time and outline a plan of action, including tasks to delegate, your front door will be a welcoming site in no time.