Tracy Petrucci: January 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Is Pinterest Right For Your Business?

I finally created a Pinterest for my business. I am taking my own advice and ignoring my own advice at the same time! Read on to see why I think now is a good time for my business to build a page. I'll be sharing a quick summary of reasons to start a Pinterest page: when, why, and how.

Local Vs Online
If you have a local business, you may not find much ROI with Pinterest. It doesn't mean you shouldn't do one if you're just aching to do it. It will still bring great branding, community, and the possibility of business.

Pinterest is one of the easiest of all social media platforms to learn and use, that's why I think it's all good if you really want to do one. However you will need a realistic expectation of what to expect from it, if you don't sell anything online.

Another thing that's nice about Pinterest, is it's really one of the only social media sites that doesn't scream when you were last active on it. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, or a blog, it's pretty obvious when you visit the page how active the business is or isn't. But you can set up a really nice looking Pinterest account and let it grow organically, or not even touch it for a while, without glaringly telling people you aren't on.

Show Me The Money
If you sell something online, Pinterest may be more up your alley and is likely to bring more ROI than a stand alone local brick n mortar choosing to use it. Even if all you have is one book, you can still build an awesome community and following around that topic and attract customers or clients.

Pinterest works best for online products and services because the photos that are circulating link straight back to your website and the BUY NOW button, if you're pinning correctly!

Tip: Did you know you can upload your own pins from your desktop, and then edit them after to add your website link? Many people know they can upload pictures from their computer but don't realize they can then go back to the pin, hit edit, and add a source link.

When Do I Start?
If you are trying to build a community, you sell online, or you are THINKING of launching an online product, now is a perfect time to start a Pinterest account! This is exactly why I finally did it. I am offering my private trainings and classes I do in person, to be available online for one on one consulting. Now that I am going to be setting myself up for more of a national brand and opening up my client base to include those outside of Southern California, I figured I could take my own advice and being slowly but surely building some awareness through this new channel.

It won't be my main focus, and it won't be anything I stress over, but because it's easy and can sit there as I figure out a system for it, I figured it was time!

Where Do I Start?
I set up Pinterest for my clients all of the time. I have a few basic guidelines for starting a page that I'll share with you here.
1. Set up at least two rows of boards before you even begin looking for followers or announcing the page to the public or your fans. People need to see what the page is all about and see that it looks appealing before they'll follow you. I like to do a large amount of pinning before I have followers also, because this way you won't be annoying anyone with an incessant amount of pins of the same thing on their feed at one time.
2. Make sure the boards have at least 4 pins in each topic so there are no little white squares left empty. It just looks better and more complete this way.
3. Add your website, bio, photo, and other links or information in your profile settings.
4. Connect your account to Twitter so you have the option of sending certain (just the best ones and sparingly) automatically to your Twitter feed when you pin them.
5. Add enough of your product so if someone lands on it they see what you are about, but leave some for later too when you actually have a following.
6. Put your most important boards on the top row. This could be where you showcase your stuff, or a really nice curated board of other content.

If you aren't sure what board topics to chose, think about what your perfect customer or target market is into, and start there. You don't need an entire account of your stuff to have Pinterest. You want to build boards with topics and interests your customers will be attracted to, so they follow you and when you sprinkle in your products they show up in their feeds.

Tip: Want to see what others are pinning from your website? Use this URL and you will see if anyone is pinning from your site. (Omit the www and just put in the website domain)

Now What?
I will write more later on the maintenance of Pinterest. But for now, I am happy my account is up and running! As for you, the more time you can spend "liking", following, commenting, and pinning, the faster your follower base will grow. I'll do a quick announcement of my account in my newsletter, on my social sites, and here on the blog, but I know it will be a slow growth and low priority item. However there is nothing wrong with that when it's Pinterest we are talking about! Sometimes you just need to lay out the infrastructure.

To follow me, click here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Small Business Spotlight: Ashley DuChene Photography

Article & Photography by Leesa King

With the advent of the iPhone (and other smart phones now too), and thousands of convenient handheld DSLR cameras widely available for the consumer market, taking pictures has never been easier. I remember how many cheap compact and disposable cameras I went through as a kid and teen - but now with a decent quality lens and a never ending list of filters in hand, almost anyone can be a "photographer." Right?

Not quite. Although you can easily find a million pretty images on Instagram or Twitter (which may be clear in a tiny file size), there is still an art and skill to taking high quality pictures and to posing, staging, and capturing any perfect moment. And it isn't as simple as pushing a button.

Ashley DuChene is one of the leading ladies in photography in San Diego, and with 10+ years of experience in the business (and even more behind the camera), she was at the top of my list for an interview for the SBS series. She self-markets and depends on doing great business with her clients for a steady flow of referrals and repeat customers. Get to know her a little better here, on the 4th installment of Small Business Spotlight.

How did you turn your passion into a business?

My dad and I used to do photo projects together. He was a photographer, and had a darkroom in his house for developing photos. I've been playing with cameras since I was three years old. I always brought a camera to parties, etc. but I always thought of it as a man's career. So I went to school for psychology and emphasized in child development. Well, I won a few photo contests in college, and throughout my professional psychology career I was always the photographer for the office and finding new ways to incorporate photography into my job. Ha! Finally I realized I needed to be a photographer! So, I went back to school, obtained a degree in photography, and started my business "Ashley DuChene Photography" 10 years ago.

What is your emphasis now?

Family Portraits and Commercial photography specializing in Children, Animals, Health and Fitness. I love working with children, I feel that I can connect with them better than most photographers because of my background in child psychology. Parents love that too, that I'm able to get great photos of their kids and help them cooperate.

There are SO many photographers in San Diego, how do you keep up with the competition?

I prefer to view all of these other photographers as partners instead of competitors. We refer business to each other and help each other grow. I actually haven't felt the need to "keep up" because my photography appeals to a specific audience where there is an abundance of flow. At this point, after 10 years of being in business, I am at a place where my photography is in its own niche. I heard a quote once, that "criticism should be taken seriously, not personally", so I like to self-assess and continue to grow in my own portfolio by listening to client feedback and expanding on the positives. Business for me has been going really well, so I decided to take what I'm good at - and keep doing it! I love working with families, so I decided to focus on families, and not necessarily worry about running on the treadmill of photographing things that might be popular, but that I don't enjoy!

Talk to me a little bit about your marketing strategies.

Much of my business relies on referrals, so I make it really easy for people to show off the pictures that I've taken - I give my clients an app where they can open and view their pictures really easily and access them for social media, for sharing. I treat all of my clients really well, so they are comfortable and look forward to working with me in the future. I build a specific timeline for myself throughout the year - for example I book holiday photoshoots during the summer. Things like this - time management and developing really great relationships with my clients - is my best form of marketing for my business. I also do a lot of work with charity, donating photo sessions and printed pictures. The most beautiful photos often come with the donated sessions!

Things sound like they're working like clockwork now. Has it always been that way, or did you have any hurdles to overcome in the early years?

For me, success means having a career that allows me the flexibility to be with my daughter as much as possible while bringing in enough money to make it worth the time away. Streamlining my business was necessary to eliminate the time wasters. My on-going goal is to have a business that practically runs itself. My client management software is crucial for tracking my calendar, contracts, invoices, and emails. I can schedule emails and invoice-reminders to go out when I’m not even sitting at my computer. The majority of the emails that I send to new clients are pre-written, I just add 20 seconds of customization to make sure that it has a personal touch. I hear feedback from my clients that they appreciate how organized I am. If only they knew just how ridiculously un-organized I was when I was just getting started-I used to change my policies and pricing on a whim. Now I’m at a place where I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. So much less stress and so much more free time to pursue my marketing and networking. Also, delegating my image retouching to a professional retoucher has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Sure, it costs me but it also allows me to spend more time shooting and less time sitting at my desk obsessing about photo image details.

What is your #1 business goal for 2015?

For 2015, my goals are continuing to find ways to streamline my process, focusing on client retention, starting to do email marketing, and re-evaluating my product line.

Huge Thank you to Ashley!
To find out more information, visit her site here: Ashley DuChene Photography


For information on how to get your small business on the spotlight, please send me your business description and a short background on your marketing strategies.

Leesa King

UPDATE - Ashley has released a beautiful video showing her work style and family life here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Love Your Marketing Toolkit

Many small businesses and organizations find themselves seeking the right strategies to make their marketing efforts as effective as possible. But with so many different marketing activities that they could focus on, they often miss some of the important marketing concepts that will help them understand why those activities are so important. 

This presentation is designed to uncover some of those core concepts and show that a little bit of marketing knowledge can go a long way. 

Attendees of this presentation will learn: 
  • What marketing really is (and isn’t). 
  • How marketing has changed in ways that benefit small businesses.
  • The importance of setting goals and objectives for your marketing efforts.
  • The 4 Pillars or Marketing Success – a framework that shows how different marketing activities all fit together, and will help small businesses reflect on their own marketing program.
  • It’s ok to start small, to start where you already are.

Join us and start to build a foundation marketing knowledge, from which you can build more and more effective campaigns to help your business or organization grow.

Intended Audience: The content is targeted at the beginner- to comfortable small-business marketer who is looking to build their marketing knowledge, or to reinforce what it is they already know.


Thursday February 5, 2015 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM PST
Add to Calendar 


Hera Hub Mission Valley
8885 Rio San Diego Dr #237
San Diego, CA 92108
Click HERE to register

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Upcoming Class: 60 Ways to Grow Your Email List

In case you missed the event on Saturday, here it is again! (minus the bells and whistles)

Let's get Back to Business!  (School is back in session and we are all returning from our vacations!) It's time to grow your contact list! 
Join us for "60 Ways to Grow Your List" workshop - you'll leave with ideas and strategies to capture new contacts, grow your list and take action to help move your business forward.
Having an interested and qualified list of contacts, that you can stay top of mind with, is vital to every business. Continuing to grow that list is just as important. In this workshop we will show you 60 easy ways to grow your contact list today!
We will cover:
• Why someone should join your contact list and what’s in it for them
• How to ask people to join your list "face-to-face"
• How to use social media to grow your list
• How to grow your list on your website or blog
• How to use print material to get people to sign up
• How to use events to help grow your list
• How to use incentives and giveaways to grow your list
Plus, you'll have a chance to network with other attendees and grow your contact list, live during the workshop!

9:45a Check in and networking 
10:00a Program begins
11:00a Q&A
11:15a Program ends
When: January 13, 2015  10:00a
Where: Co-Merge

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Free Marketing Class About Growing Your Email List

60 Ways to Grow Your Email List 

Please join me for "60 Ways to Grow Your List" and let's get busy for the new year! We'll be enjoying fresh rosemary and cucumber sparkling water, healthy treats, a productivity pack giveaway (think: a cool planner, pens, stickies, etc), SOMETHING to do with succulents (I'm still planning!) and more!

Let's get Back to Business! It's time to grow your contact list! 
Having an interested and qualified list of contacts, that you can stay top of mind with, is vital to every business. Continuing to grow that list is just as important. In this workshop we will show you 60 easy ways to grow your contact list today!
We will cover:
• Why someone should join your contact list and what’s in it for them
• How to ask people to join your list "face-to-face"
• How to use social media to grow your list
• How to grow your list on your website or blog
• How to use print material to get people to sign up
• How to use events to help grow your list
• How to use incentives and giveaways to grow your list
Plus, you'll have a chance to network with other attendees and grow your contact list, live during the workshop!

10:15a Check in and networking 
10:30a Program begins
11:30a Q&A
12:00p Program ends
When: January 10, 2015  10:30a
Where: Hera Hub Carlsbad

Register by clicking here.
Facebook Event Here.