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Posts Tagged ‘IAPQ’

Try my 6 C’s for Better Results From Your e-Zine

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

I’ve been sending out an online newsletter, or e-zine, for more than six years. It’s a terrific way to keep in touch with our IAPQ members as well as other professional quilt, fiber or mixed-media artists, and creative entrepreneurs who use our resources. Here are six tips to make your e-zine work for you.

1. Clarity. Be clear about your goals and your audience for your ezine. Why are you creating this e-zine and who are your writing it for? If you start with that in mind, you’ll find that it’s easier to write your articles and include relevant materials. You can even keep a specific person in mind (someone in your target market) and write directly to that person.

2. Content. People read your e-zine for the content you deliver. The more relevant it is to their lives and/or business, the more likely they are to continue to follow you. Readers resonate with how-to’s, lists, problem solving. It’s OK to promote yourself or your products, just don’t let that be the focus.

3. Consistency. Be sure your e-zine has a consistent look issue to issue. You also want it to go out the same day of each week. Your readers look forward to its arrival and notice if it doesn’t come as expected. This one currently goes out on Wednesdays. The best days for delivery are said to be mid-week. That may not be true of your audience. How do you find out? Survey them. And, how often should you send your e-zine? Weekly gets the best results, then bi-weekly.

4. Call to Action. Every e-zine should include a call to action (CTA). What do you went someone to do after reading your e-zine? It could be to apply a tip you give them or it could be to look at your art or it could be to take you up on your special offer on quilting.

5. Connection. We all like to connect with like-minded people. After all, we buy from people, not an invisible company. Start your e-zine with a brief story about yourself to connect to your readers. Don’t just connect on a personal level, connect also to the issues of your target market. And, speaking of connection, look for ways to make more connections. This could be by using a “forward to a friend” method or including a signup form on the home page of your website.

6. Compelling title. Your e-zine title should make the topic clear and compel the reader to open it. Spend some time looking at the titles of e-zines you get. Which ones were you curious to open and which ones did you ignore? Just as with the content, people like how-to’s, numbers, benefit statements.

Please share your thoughts on e-zine success on our blog. And, if you don’t have an e-zine yet, be sure to check out our upcoming Internet & Social Medial Marketing Teleseminar. We start with getting your e-zine in place. In case you missed it, that was my CTA.

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just be sure to include the blurb below.

Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Professional Quilters, an association to help quilters, fiber artists and other creative arts entrepreneurs build business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://www.professionalquilter.com.

 

Meet Peggy Martin, Teacher of the Year

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Since 1983, The Professional Quilter and now the International Association of Professional Quilters have recognized one teacher with its Teacher of the Year Award. This year’s award goes to Peggy Martin, a quilt teacher from San Diego, Calif., who specializes in foundation piecing. Here’s an excerpt from the Spring issue of The Professional Quilter that provides some insight into Peggy’s teaching philosophy.

What standards of workmanship do you require of your students?
What do you do if they don’t attain them?

Students work with different strengths and weaknesses and different levels of experience as well. Presenting techniques and tips to improve the end result is what I try to do; I can’t say I actually “require” any particular standard of workmanship in my classes. I am happy if they try their best, realizing that better results will come with practice. In that same vein, if someone is clearly struggling, I try to make positive suggestions, rather than providing a negative critique. Asking students if they’re happy with their work will often bring up any issues they have had, and suggestions can then be made for improving their work. Students take classes to learn new techniques and to have fun, so I try to create as comfortable and relaxed an environment as I possibly can, which includes an accepting attitude. We all aim for perfection, but making something perfect is not the goal. Learning and feeling appreciated and validated for their efforts are what I try to provide for my students.

How do you encourage creativity in your students?

Part of my teaching always includes showing alternative methods to achieve the same result. I also try to show variations in terms of color and style of fabrics with many different setting options. By showing students the steps I go through when coming up with new ideas, it gets their own wheels turning and they begin to realize how easy it is to explore their own creativity. I’m never happier than when students comes up with a totally different look for their quilts than I have shown them. Seeing that spark of excitement and watching them take the next step beyond is one of my greatest thrills as a teacher.

How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

Making sure that students leave the class with the idea that there are myriad possibilities and options open to them and trying to encourage them to have the courage to explore new ideas is one of the things I try to accomplish. Many people lack confidence in their own creativity, and I hope to bolster their faith in themselves, so they leave class with the courage to trust themselves to try their own ideas and follow their own instincts.

You can read more about Peggy Martin in the Spring issue of The Professional Quilter. This journal is just one of the benefits of membership in the International Association of Professional Quilters. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

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Have you considered partnering with a Virtual Assistant?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

This week we have a teleclass with Marcia Hoeck on working with a virtual assistant. I began partnering with my virtual assistant, Terry, about 16 months ago. I know some of you have had occasion to work with her. Why did I make this decision? I wanted to grow my business and knew I didn’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. I also knew I wasn’t as skilled at some aspects of the business as someone else might be. And, I knew I got a better return on my time investment working on other projects.

How did I first learn about virtual assistants (also know as VAs)? That I’m not sure about. In 2004 I began working with a VA on my husband’s behalf and quickly realized the benefits. Dawn, his first VA, started by taking over his e-zine, something I had been doing. Today, she has another business and he has another VA. Partnering with a VA left him with more time to work “on” his business, rather than “in” his business. I was sure it would do the same for me.

How can quilt professionals use a VA? First get clear on why and how you can use some help. Are your books woefully behind? Some virtual assistants specialize in bookkeeping. Do you want to grow your business online with a monthly newsletter and don’t know where to start? Many VAs are skilled at html, so they can handle lots of online tasks. Here are eight ideas to get you started:

1. Start with the bookkeeping mentioned above. If this is not one of your skills, look for a VA who is skilled in this area. She can bill your clients and follow up on overdue invoices, keeping you abreast of a situation that you need to handle. She can pay your bills and balance your books.

2. If you are a quilt teacher, you can have your VA manage all your bookings. She can keep your calendar, handle inquiries for teaching, know when you need to be where, get your handouts prepared and shipped to your event. She can even book your travel.

3. If you are a pattern designer, your VA can handle your back-office support activities, including order processing, delivery confirmation and follow-up.

4. Most quilt businesses have a web site and/or blog. Your VA can handle posting, linking, site updates, etc.

5. If you are a longarm quilter, your VA can handle initial inquiries and schedule your work. She can keep track of your supplies and order them for you when you are low.

6. If you are coming out with a new product, you can find a VA to work with you to develop a marketing plan.

7. If you’re an art quilter and preparing for a show, your VA can send invitations, contact the press, help you create advertising and publicity materials, etc.

8. Many quilters today have online newsletters, or e-zines. Your VA can manage your database and work with you to get your newsletter sent out in a timely manner.

I’m sure as you look at your business, you can find tasks that a VA could do. As you go through a typical week, track the tasks that you handle. Many of these tasks, particularly those of an administrative nature, are ones that your VA could do. Sure you could hire someone locally, but you’ll find advantages to having someone do them virtually. The big one is that your VA owns her own business just as you do, and she’s committed to building her business. She’s also responsible for her own taxes, insurance, sick or vacation pay.

I found in the time that I’ve worked with my VA that I’ve been able to build The Professional Quilter into the International Association of Professional Quilters. I could not have done this without the help of my VA. Not only does she handle some of my administrative tasks, she’s a good sounding board for my ideas. A bonus is that she’s a quilter. Regardless of whether you choose to work with someone virtually or hire someone to come into your office, when you turn over some of your work, that lets you spend time working on your business not in your business. And that’s when your business can grow.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

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