Giving makers of handmade goods or specialty food products the tools they need to grow a successful, thriving business.


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Starting a Product-based business - a step-by-step case study - the beginning

Starting a Product-based Business: A step-by-step case study – The beginning

I've launched a few businesses in my life, one was not so successful (I was young and lacked the drive and understanding of what it takes to run a business); and one, I like to say, is very successful. (I would contribute a portion of its success to having a partner who shared the vision and the fact that both of us have the passion required to make it go.)  And then there were those in-between businesses that sit dormant – still, we believe, good ideas, but lacking the time and dedication on our part to make a go of them. The truth is, not every business makes it, but each and every one is a learning experience. My husband and I like to say we're serial entrepreneurs. We're now in our 17th year of owning and running the advertising and marketing agency that we call Mod. We have four awesome...

Here are 10 awesome tools to help make social media posting a breeze

10 Awesome Tools to Help Make Social Media Posting a Breeze

This post is about 10 awesome tools to help make your social media posting much easier and save you oodles of time. But first, I’m sorry, I’ve been out for a bit. I’m super excited, though, because as I wasn’t writing many blog posts recently, I was working on some other really useful content that I will be sharing with you very soon. I think you’re gonna like it. So, on with the post. Over the last several months I’ve discovered a couple of new tools that I wanted to share with you, as well as some tools that I’ve been using for quite a while now. A couple of these are affiliate links, which means if you sign up with the link I provide, I get a little bonus, but rest assured, I don’t promote anything that I haven’t tried myself. Each one of them can save you time and each one...

How to Best Use Video Marketing for Your Business from the Blog of


Remember when YouTube, Facebook and Twitter first started to become popular? Terms like social media, likes and posts became mainstream. It opened up a whole new world to business owners. It allowed us to tell an extended group of friends about our business. It opened the door on a new way to market our products. And, it allowed us to begin to build fans and followers made up of potential customers. People found that by posting thoughts, ideas and opinions they would engage with their followers. As other social platforms joined in, such as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat the world of social media became an even greater marketing machine. Posting of text alone was not going to cut it. Posts with photos and images would outperform text-only posts. The world was hooked on visuals. Most recently, Periscope, Facebook Live, Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories have upped the social media marketing game. Video...

Selling Online; How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform from the blog of


When I first started Modstock, my handmade greeting card business, with my design team at Mod, I needed to sell online with something that was flexible, simple, scalable, but most of all inexpensive. With so many options, I was quickly overwhelmed and I had no idea how to choose the best e-commerce platform.   This was going to take some work. After trial and error, and lots and lots of research, what I discovered was that they all had their perks, but one fit my needs better than the others. WooCommerce for WordPress I loved the flexibility of WooCommerce and still use it today, but there was definitely a learning curve. This is a great platform for people that know the ins and outs of WordPress, but it can be confusing if you’re new to it. The biggest advantage? It’s cheaper than any other option and there are no transaction fees.   Woocommerce is a robust...

What You'll Need to Get Started with Email Marketing from the Blog of


At my agency, Mod, we hear from many clients that email marketing is confusing. Some think email as a marketing tool is a dead old method. In fact, email marketing is in its hay day. A great reason for every business to make it part of their marketing efforts.   We’ll sometimes get asked, “What is email marketing?” and “What is an email marketing service provider?” There’s, even more, confusion about how an email marketing service provider is different than their email program that they use every day.   Today, I wanted to break it down and explain email marketing and sales funnels. But, I thought I'd go over a few definitions that might help, first.   The Very Basics of Email Marketing You might know this already, but we get asked this question on occasion, so I thought it was important to clear it up. Mac Mail, Outlook, Entourage and Gmail are all applications that you...

What are Brand Guidelines, Why do I need them and What to Include from the Blog of


Many years ago, after art school, I was working in a big design firm in downtown Minneapolis. New to the design world, I found myself questioning all the buzzwords of the business. Branding, brand guidelines, brand management, brand experience and brand identity were among them.   It didn’t take me long to realize how hugely important branding is in the marketing of a business and not only that, but how much goes into it. To create an amazing brand takes work and understanding of its elements and how to incorporate them. This starts with your Brand Personality. What is Brand Personality? Like the people around us, a brand can have human-like personality traits, such as warmth, imagination or elegance. By creating a brand personality, it is a way to differentiate your brand from others. Think of your business in a comparative way; are you a Chevy or a Jaguar? Are you a Lion...

Why Blogging for Business Can Skyrocket Your Business Growth from the blog of


Let's talk about why blogging for business can grow your business As a marketer and a business owner, I’ve come across lots of small businesses with a variety of ideas on how to market their products or services. Some are fine with only advertising on Facebook, others would rather use direct mail, but creating a marketing strategy that is too narrowly focused could be holding them back. To create a balanced strategy, blogging for business could be a fun and powerful option.   But first, you must have a website. No matter how big or small your business is. By having a website, even a one-page micro- site, you can begin to organically build your online reputation.   By getting your website up and running, you’ve not only become discoverable by search engines, but you’re showing people that you truly are a legit business. It’s the first step in building trust and creating a brand...

18 Big Marketing Ideas for Small Budgets


You might be starting your business (with no money). Or you might be a seasoned business owner. Either way, it’s all too often, when money gets tight, that we push our marketing efforts to the back burner. We think, “I’ll pick it up again when cash flow is better.” (screeching brakes)   I am here to say, this is a bad idea! Really bad!   You see, why do you think the cash flow is tight? It could be a number of reasons, but by not promoting your business during the tough times can only create a cycle of bad cash flow. (Speaking from experience now.)   I know there will always be times when we must allocate funds to other things, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop marketing completely. In fact, it’s a perfect opportunity to experiment with other marketing ideas that are a bit easier on the budget.   To help, I’ve created a...

How to Use Facebook Groups to Grow Your Brand Community from the Blog of


You know that feeling when you’ve worked so hard on getting your product perfected and you’re thinking, “it’s awesome! This is going to sell like gangbusters! Who wouldn’t love this?” And then (sound crickets) no one buys it. Or, maybe, only your friends and family and friends of friends buy it and you start thinking, “they’re just buying, so I won’t feel bad about myself.” And you get into the circle of self-pity. Well, don’t take it personally. The hardest part of marketing is reaching the right people. In fact, you can spend tons of time and money on social media ads, which of course will help get you noticed, but potential buyers may not pull the trigger. Why? Because they may not know or trust you. In today’s world, more than ever, people purchase products from people they trust. And part of gaining that trust is to build a community around you, your products...

Getting Started on Snapchat and snapchatters to get you inspired from the Blog of


Hi (soon to be awesome) Snapchatter! If you’re over 35, you may not understand this new app and its insane growth over the last year. But, if you’re a business owner and you want to reach the 18-35 market, you’d best be on Snapchat. Snapchat, compared to other social platforms, is super authentic and those using the platform want raw, behind the scenes, real life stuff. No promo, promo stuff. So, the best thing for a small business to do is use the Snapchat platform as a community and trust building tool. In the past, I’ve talked a bit about how important community building is. Creating a community of followers for your business. Snapchat is the perfect tool to help grow this community. You might offer a behind the scenes, VIP look into the life of your business or a simple greeting to your followers. But, no matter what you choose to...