From Monday's Democrat and Chroncile, Rochester, NY, written by staff writer Robin L. Flanigan:
"Driven crazy by car reviews"
The opening paragraph in this article hit me right between the eyes: "Leave the Hemis and horsepower to someone else. Kristen Varela wants to talk about smashed Cheerios and baby vomit."
The story is about how Kristen Varela, stay-at-home Mom, found her niche. Seems Kristen was in the market for a new car last year and had a less than exciting experience shopping around for something that would accomodate her two toddlers and their carseats. In her pursuit for a vehicle that could get her and the two girls to ballet class, to the grocery store, to story time and even fit in a stop for cappichino, she came up against a brick wall. Maybe that's too harsh; the wall was made up of "young, teenage, barely 20 guys just there to make a buck," so Kristen says in the article, which is not posted online yet--hence, no link. "They had no clue," she goes on to say. "They were like, 'Huh? Car seats?' "
Her unhappy experience drove her to build MotherProof.com, a site devoted to car reviews, specifically for women! The site, and Kristen's humor and wit, convinced one of her local papers (in Castle Rock, CO) to publish her reviews on alternate Sundays. The Castle Rock Daily's publisher, Richard Bangs, says, "I don't know any reviewer that really goes at it from the approach that she does."
You can read one of her reviews at the link above. High fives to Kristen for thinking outside the SUV!
From Sunday's Santa Cruz Sentinel, I offer you:
"Local artist/entrepreneur launches online shop for mature women."
Written by Sentinel staff writer Gwen Mickelson, the story is a delightful tale about life in the silky lane of bright colors, patterns, and light. Mickelson writes about Carmella Weintraub, entrepreneur extraordinaire, who gives her age as somewhere between 40 and 70 (the accompanying picture stands by her statement). Carmella, I feel I can call her by her first name, even though I caution people against this, can boast a master's degree in social work, but is following her desire these days, a desire to return to art. As such, she has opened a business online named Carmella D'Oro, devoted to "clothing and accessories for the mature woman." A visit to the site will delight you with original designs in scarves, leather jackets, and home accessories. Carmella says the one of a kind artwork is produced locally and in Italy. On her homepage she has this wonderful call to action: "Gifts for you or those you love. " What's not to like about that? Amore, Carmella!
There's a lesson there. If I have to point it out to you, you may already be beyond hope.
From the Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge section, comes this interesting story on women's lingerie giant, Frederick's of Hollywood.
"How Frederick's Found Its True Customer."
Hardly seems possible that a company which, in the words of its own CEO, Linda LoRe, "so dramatically changed the face of lingerie over the past fifty-plus years," needed help finding its "true customer." But, apparently, LoRe was brought on board in 1999 to rescue the company from bankruptcy. Kudos to her...she has it profitable and brand worthy, today.
The article focuses on LoRe's presentation to an audience at the Harvard Business School in May, where she offered this gem of advice on branding, "If you don't tell the consumer what the brand means, they'll create their own perception of the brand." With that thought to guide her, LoRe followed the mandate of Frederick's founder, Fred Mellinger, by building a brand that would make a woman "feel good in [her] relationship with intimate apparel." The words sexy, bold, fun, and confident come into play there.
I think LoRe should call Carmella. They could do beautiful things together...and we could buy them!
The moral of the story is that no one said this was going to be easy. Even the big boys, like Frederick's, get themselves in trouble now and then. Notice how they called in a woman to help revive their sales. Notice how that woman went right to work "getting back to the basics." She made the catalog more romantic and enchanting. She turned the Web site from slow and clumsy to fast, user-friendly, and entertaining.
That's all. Read the article for more. I'm closing this section with the thought of a fast, user-friendly, entertaining Web site. Hmmm...where have you heard that advice before?
Last headline, to follow up on one of yesterday's "5 Neat Ways to Influence Jane to Shop at Your Website," a story from MediaPost's SearchInsider, written by iProspect's John Tawadros:
"The 10 Universal Mistakes Marketers Make in Search Engine Marketing "
If you remember, yesterday's post noted that women are more inclined to click on paid search ads than men. However, if your PPC (pay-per-click) ad is making these 10 mistakes, you might as well throw your money into a black hole. For the sake of blog-space, I'll only mention a few of John's mistakes. I encourage you to click into the report and read them all.
#1: One-Sided Strategy:
Many marketers still believe that a paid-search only strategy or a natural-only SEO strategy constitutes a "complete" SEM campaign. A recent iProspect study showed that 60 percent of searchers click on the natural search results while 40 percent of searchers click on paid ads.
#3: Bidding With Your Heart and Not Your Head:
As detailed in #2, failing to know the value of each conversion on your site leads to universal mistake #3, bidding on keywords in pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising in excess of the ability to deliver a positive ROI.
#6: Building A Search Engine Unfriendly Website:
And there you have this week's headlines. Jane learned something from all of these stories. She learned that women of all ages are out there building businesses online, and just because you have an established business doesn't mean you have all the answers, sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board and start over, plus, if you want to have a successful Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign, there are 10 things you should avoid.
What's not to like about that?