Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beyonce Enjoying The Sweet Smell of Success

I'm not a fan of Beyonce's music, but I am a huge fan of her branding and business strategies. This past February, she debuted her new fragrance called "Heat" - exclusively sold at Macy's.

Within one hour, she sold 72,000 bottles. And, after just one month, she has already generated over $3 million in sales.

What's so special about the perfume? Probably not a lot, other than her name being on it. She obviously just has a huge following that will overwhelmingly support her products.

It's no secret that celebrity colognes and perfumes can generate millions in revenue, but Beyonce appears to be headed to the number one spot very fast.

To give you some perspective: Britney Spears' "Curious" and "Fantasy" fragrances netted $24 million last year, and Jennifer Lopez's "Glo By J.Lo" fragrance netted $18.5 million. These are all huge numbers, but Beyonce is on target to do about $36 million or more this year in fragrance sales.

The queen of fragrances, however, is Elizabeth Taylor who's "White Diamonds" line generated a staggering $67.2 million last year alone.

The king is P. Diddy, whose "Unforgivable" line generated over $48 million last year.

Whether Beyonce can top them or not, it would still be an amazing accomplishment for her to get to the number three spot that fast.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Can Read, But Can You Write?

It surprises me that many entrepreneurs and business owners have poor writing skills. This is often displayed when they write emails, press releases, columns, blogs, books, and more.

Critical mistakes I've seen include improper use of single and double quotes, improper use or lack of commas, and even a lack of periods. I've also seen well-known, reputable individuals write long emails that are not properly divided into paragraphs, and contain incomplete sentences.

I don't consider myself to be a writing expert, but I've learned how to write effectively because I know it can affect my company's revenue.

For instance, I deal with a lot of key executives at major corporations. Can you imagine how they'd feel if I sent them an email with misspelled words? In just a moment's time, they may lose confidence in me and my company.

I also blog regularly and send out press releases regarding my company, with the goal of encouraging more clients to do business with us. Can you imagine how people would feel if the content was poorly written with incomplete thoughts? Again, in just a moment's time, they can be discouraged about reaching out to me.

Always remember that how you write will reflect what people think of you. You can be a great business person, and even a great speaker - but if your writing skills are weak, it can harm your reputation.

You don't have to be a perfectionist and write as if you are being monitored by an English teacher, but you should master the basic writing skills. If necessary, use your Spellcheck and get someone to proofread.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Pros and Cons of 5-Day USPS Mail Delivery

The number of items handled by the United States Postal Service each year is decreasing by the billions.

It's estimated that by the year 2020, the amount will be reduced by up to 55%. Therefore, the USPS needs to cut costs immediately or the organization will become a victim to a huge financial disaster.

In order to save $3.3 billion annually, the United States Postal Service is proposing to switch to a 5-day mail delivery week. If enforced, mail will no longer be delivered on Saturdays starting in 2011.

Here are the potential pros for entrepreneurs:

1) Reduced and/or more stable direct mail costs
Direct mail advertising via postcards, catalogs, and sales letters are extremely effective for many businesses. However, the costs to mail out these items increase nearly every year because of the USPS' financial problems. If they are able to cut costs by enforcing a 5-day mail delivery, the price of bulk postage could go down. If not, perhaps it won't increase as often.

2) An extra day to pay invoices
Like most entrepreneurs in this economy, many businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Mail not being delivered on Saturday gives them an extra day to pay an outstanding invoice or a bill. One day isn't much, but may occasionally be just enough to get the cash flow needed.

Here are the potential cons for entrepreneurs:

1) Late payments from your clients
Just like you have an extra day to pay your bills, now so will your clients. If you don't receive a much needed check by Friday, now you have to wait all the way until Monday. This can causes problems if your office rent or other expenses are due over the weekend.

2) Less time to organize mail
Credit card companies and other organizations receive thousands of pieces of mail a day, and have hired a Saturday staff to retrieve and process it. If Saturday mail is done away with, this means that these types of companies will only have 5 days a week to get the job done.

3) More airfare
You may or may not be aware of this, but the USPS does not have it's own airplanes like UPS and FedEx to transport mail. They use the same airlines you fly on - Southwest, United, Delta, etc.

If mail delivery is reduced to a 5-day week, many people may stop using the USPS - and may start using another mailing service or just email and fax. If this happens, this could drastically reduce the revenue paid to the airlines by the USPS. The airlines, in turn, may increase airfares to make up the difference.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How To Get Black Radio Interviews

There are more than 400 radio stations across the country that have a combined listening audience of more than 18 million African Americans.

About 75% of these stations have daily or weekly newstalk programs where they interview columnists, experts and gurus on various topics.

Obviously, being interviewed on the radio is a very effective way to promote your company, your book, your organization, your web site, etc.

So how do you get invited on-air?

Here are three proven strategies:

1) Regularly send out relevant press releases.
News programmers and disc jockeys receive and read press releases all the time. The more you appear in the headlines, the more likely it is that they'll invite you on the show. Remember though to send out relevant and meaningful press releases that will not only interest them, but also fit their format. If possible, do this at least once a month!

2) Write and distribute columns.
On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you should write and distribute intelligently-written columns or editorials. This shows that you're an expert on specific topics, and that you have helpful insight to share. Even more, it shows that you're professional and that you're available to talk on-air.

3) Send out a media advisory.
A media advisory is a brief note to the media informing them that you are available to discuss certain topics. For instance, if it's National Diabetes Week and you are an expert on the topic - you can distribute a formatted note to the press letting them know that you're available for interviews to discuss your organization and/or general tips for diabetics. For the correct format of a media advisory, search online for "media advisory template".

Applying these three strategies when using my press release distribution service should produce the results you want!