Kickstarting

Previous Sememsters

Wow.  It seems quite a large number of people have great ideas and just need a little more cash to get them accomplished.  When I first heard of Kickstarter, I believed it to be a place to get indie films and projects accomplished.  This was my first time really touring the site and discovering the different types of ideas, projects, and desires yearning for my cash.

With so much to look at, I decided to narrow down my search to my home city, Tampa, Florida.  I have to admit, it is really cool to see what local artists, musicians, creative types, and just regular folk like me for which are trying to raise funds.  I actually stumbled across someone I know, the lovely Lisa Casalino, a local jazz singer.  I know Lisa from my boutique, and also because she sings at popular local restaurants and events – even singing the National Anthem for some of Tampa’s sports teams.

Lisa is currently trying to raise money to fund her second studio album, and I am quite impressed by how much she has raised already.  I like that she offers incentives at different levels of donations including in-home concerts, tickets to the CD release party, and more.

(Also, shameless plug:  on her Kickstarter site, she has a previous music video for her song “The Good Stuff” – filmed last summer at The Pink Petticoat!  Check it out!).

 I can think of a million things I would LOVE to put on Kickstarter to raise funds for:  a nice dinner, a fun trip,  and other trivial things.  But I would never do that.  Maybe a boutique expansion?  Capital to open a second location?

My business is built more under the philosophy of working hard and reaping the rewards.  I opened my store with my own capital, and every change and expansion has been cash funded through profits from the business.  I think that I would feel guilty for taking other people’s pledged money.  Also, what happens if you don’t raise enough funds for the project?  Do you give the money back?  Do you keep trying to raise more?  I think there is a pretty large gray area with crowd sourced funding that I am far too nervous to venture into.  I think for the time being, I will stick to selling underwear to make money – until the time comes that I really want to take that tour of Europe, fully funded by my friends online.

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(don’t) Google me

Previous Sememsters

Well, it was hard to complete this week’s assignment to “Google myself” without sharing a secret about myself:

I was a contestant on Season 12 of ABC’s The Bachelor.

I share this with you now because when you Google “Lesley Geyer” aside from my Linkedin profile and my BlogSpot (from last semester), the majority of the links are to interviews and information regarding my time trying to win a rose.  (Long story short, there was a perceived “scandal” regarding my time on the show, so there was a lot of chatter on several fan message boards specifically about me).

I wish I found more results about my business and other things about my life that are much more meaningful to me than a few weeks on a TV show (7 years ago), but I suppose my fifteen minutes of fame lasted a little longer – at least, according to Google.

THANKFULLY, I was able to redeem myself by doing a Google search on my personal email and business email addresses.  Searching my personal email address showed results about local blog features, a significant amount of links regarding The Pink Petticoat, and surprisingly, a few links about a different Lesley Geyer (an occupational therapist who specialized in Tourette’s syndrome.  She is apparently very accomplished.  Cool, huh?).  Also showing up, again, was my personal Google+ page.  This reinforced the greatness of Google+ bumping you in search results. 

When I entered my business email for search, I (thankfully) only received links to my webpage, my business Google+ listing, and various articles and press regarding The Pink Petticoat. 

I do the majority of my social media-ing under “The Pink Petticoat” (Twitter, Instagram, Google+).  While I do have a personal Facebook and Google+ page, they are not the primary accounts that I use, and I post very little.  I think this attributes to the lack of/varied search results when I search my own name and email address; as well as more consistent results when I search for The Pink Petticoat or my business email address.

How important is it to build a presence for myself outside of The Pink Petticoat?

Were you surprised by anything that came up when you “Googled” yourself?

And also, is there any way to… um… get rid of something that comes up when you Google yourself?  Like an appearance on a reality TV show many years ago?  Asking for a friend. 🙂

Pure Barre app 4 life.

Previous Sememsters

FINALLY!  My work out addiction, Pure Barre, recently released an app available for free download in the App Store and Google Play.

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Pure Barre is a workout franchise that combines ballet and Pilates to target women’s tough to train areas (arms, thighs, seat, abs) through low impact, isometric movements.  It seems gentle, but it is tough!  As a former dancer, this is the best work out that I found to still train my body in the same way as regular dance classes. 

Previously, Pure Barre devotees used the main Pure Barre website to choose their home studio and then purchase, book, or cancel classes.  It wasn’t necessarily difficult before, but it just got a whole lot easier.

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The Pure Barre app saves your home location and provides a schedule of all available classes.  You can book, cancel, and purchase more all through the app.  You are also able to see who is teaching each class. 

While it does not offer any coupons, reviews, or global positioning, it does feature a “What’s Hot” tab.  This tab allows you to see current deals and happening at your home studio, from sales on apparel, to discounts on class packages. 

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I am not sure how useful this app is to anyone who doesn’t take daily (or regular) Pure Barre classes, but I find it incredibly useful.  Especially at 5AM on mornings when I decide I would rather sleep 2 extra hours than hit the Barre at 6:30AM!

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                        

Second Life

Previous Sememsters

Second Life is an online, virtual community, where essentially, the “game” is freedom.  Users, or “Residents” do whatever they please, from building houses, making friends, and everything in between.

Joining Second Life is my first venture into the world of online gaming, or virtual communities.  I spent the first hour of my visit creating an avatar (mine was human and female, though the vampire option seemed interesting) and getting the hang of movement, walking, running, flying, and teleporting to different scenes and areas of the game.  After getting a handle on the logistics, I made my first (and only) attempt and communication and making a “friend”.  I put out that I was new to Second Life and would love some insight on what exactly I was to do as a resident.  Was there a “game” with a goal or mission?  Am I just to wander around and make friends?

 

I was met with some initial rude responses that I needed to move to the beginner’s area (who know that the opening page wasn’t the beginner’s area?).  Then, I seemed to make a “friend” who helped me understand what a virtual community was all about, and where to go, how to buy land, build a house etc.  My new “friend” also gave me some tips about accepting gifts from strangers and warned me that there were some malicious characters out there, including rapists.  Whoa!  Another avatar can rape me on Second Life?!  I was shocked, and expressed that to my new “friend”.  After we finished out chat, I thanked my “friend” for their help and told him/her that I would not talk to any unsavory characters or rapists.  At this point, my “friend” told me that they were, indeed, a rapist, and had offered me a gift that would allow them to take control of my avatar’s body.  SO.  I immediately signed off and deleted my account and will not be venturing back into the wonderful world of Second Life.  Sorry, but virtual communities are simply not for me.  I think that even without an experience like my own, I am simply not the right match for a virtual community. Image

Did anyone have a similar experience with Second Life?

Does anyone have more experience with online gaming/virtual communities?  Did I go about it in the wrong way?

survey results

Previous Sememsters

Following up on my previous blog post, my survey asked a series of questions about the frequency of lingerie and swimwear purchases, the factors influencing purchase, and the role of my boutique, The Pink Petticoat, in those purchase.

The following data was collected from the 55 surveys taken in a one-week period of time.

 

Gender breakdown:

11 men (20%)

44 women (80%)

 

Age breakdown:

10 participants between 18-24 years old (18.52%)

32 participants between 25-34 years old (59.26%)

5 participants between 35-44 years old (9.26%)

4 participants between 45-54 years old (7.41%)

3 participants between 55-64 years old (5.56%)

0 participants 64+ years old (0%)

 

Frequency of (all) lingerie purchases per year:

17 participants purchase lingerie 1-2x per year (31.48%)

18 participants purchase lingerie 3-5x year (33.33%)

14 participants purchase lingerie more than 5x per year (25.93%)

5 participants do not purchase lingerie (9.26%)

 

Frequency of (all) women’s swimwear purchases per year:

35 participants purchase swimwear 1-2x per year (64.81%)

8 participants purchase swimwear 3-5x year (14.81%)

1 participants purchase swimwear more than 5x per year (1.85%)

10 participants do not purchase swimwear (18.52%)

 

Importance of buying items made in the USA:

20 participants chose “True” (37.04%)

34 participants chose “False (62.96%)

 

Intent of buying lingerie:

38 participants primarily purchase for themselves (69.09%)

6 participants primarily purchase lingerie as a gift for someone else (10.91%)

5 participants purchase lingerie equally for themselves, and as gifts. (9.09%)

6 participants do not purchase lingerie (10.91%)

 

Most important factor when buying lingerie or swimwear:

4 participants chose quality of fabrication (7.41%)

41 participants chose fit (75.93%)

5 participants chose price (9.26%)

4 participants do not purchase lingerie or swimwear (7.41%)

 

Shopping at The Pink Petticoat:

25 participants have shopped at The Pink Petticoat (45.45%)

30 participants have not shopped at The Pink Petticoat (54.55%)

 

Frequency of shopping at The Pink Petticoat:

8 participants have shopped at The Pink Petticoat 1-2x (14.55%)

11 participants have shopped at The Pink Petticoat 3-5x (20%)

7 participants have shopped at The Pink Petticoat more than 5x (12.73%)

29 participants have not shopped at The Pink Petticoat (52.73%)

 

Preference of staying up to date with The Pink Petticoat:

3 participants prefer to stop by the store (5.66%)

35 participants prefer to use social media (66.04%)

3 participants prefer to be on an email listerv (5.66%)

12 participants prefer not to stay up to date with The Pink Petticoat (22.64%)

 

This survey helped me identify some key areas to focus on in upcoming buying trips.  I do have to take into account that I asked many of my classmates, from all over the country, to take my survey.  This will account for a number of responses from people who have never shopped in my store, and/or do not shop for lingerie at all.   For a future survey, I will begin with a question asking if the participant shops for lingerie at The Pink Petticoat – and move forward from there with only those who answer yes. 

With the majority of participants purchasing lingerie between 1-5x a year, I can assume that these are special occasion purchases, with likely one purchase a year focused on basics.  Customers making fewer purchases a year are likely to spend more money on that single purchase, allowing me to focus on a bridge price point. 

It is also noteworthy that participants buy lingerie significantly more frequently than lingerie, which can help me adjust the ratio of swim to lingerie in my store.  (Note, again, this factors in a lot of responses from all over the country.  I would suspect that if I narrowed my participant pool down to Floridians only, I would see an increase in swimwear purchases per year). 

Because participants are largely buying lingerie for themselves, it is also important to note that fit is more important than price.  Can I get away with a higher price point if the fit is impeccable?

I see a lot of customers who are interested in buying products made in the USA.  Based on this survey, this is not something of great importance with 60% of participants saying that it did not matter to them.  Perhaps sticking with French lingerie is the better play, both for name recognition and expertise?

I am happy with the results to my survey, but I wish I had chosen more specific questions pertaining to a certain area.  My results, and questions are really broad, and I think I would benefit more from a more focused survey.

surveys

Previous Sememsters

Today, January 27, I created and posted a survey regarding lingerie-buying patterns.  I used Survey Monkey to create a free, brief, ten question survey to track how often (and for whom) participants purchase lingerie.  I also made some general inquiries about how often they show at The Pink Petticoat, and how they stay connected with The Pink Petticoat.  I distributed the survey on my personal Facebook, The Pink Petticoat Facebook page, and to personal email contacts.

The survey will be open for one week, until Monday, February 3, at which point I will post and interpret my survey results in a separate blog entry.

My hope is to collect data that I will use on upcoming buying trips to effectively order styles, and quantities of merchandise.  I also asked how important it is to participants to buy items that are American made.  I have a large number of customers that specifically request American made merchandise.  While I do carry several American made brands, I also carry a significant number of French, Italian, and other European made brands (it is lingerie, after all).  My goal is to properly interpret how important American made lingerie is from a purchasing standpoint.

I specifically left the survey open to both men and women, as a large number of my customer are men.  Also, this time of year, between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, is a realistic time to survey men on lingerie purchases, as they likely recently made such purchase (or are about to do so).

I am excited and interested to see the results from the survey!  Stay tuned!

If you would like to participate, please visit the survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DS5JH35

Do you think my survey would have been more accurate if I only included women?

Do you think my survey would have been more accurate to only include previous customers?

SEO keywords

Previous Sememsters

Agent Provocateur is a multinational luxury lingerie brand and retailer, specializing in fit, quality, and fashion. 

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From the Agent Provocateur website:

 “Agent Provocateur was founded by Joe Corre and Serena Rees in 1994 opening its first boutique in Soho, London. Since that time Agent Provocateur has become an iconic globally recognized brand. Breaking new ground with every collection and rightfully earning its place as a benchmark brand in the world of lingerie, it is a brand that is confident, sensual and irreverent.

Agent Provocateur’s campaigns, cinema advertising and events have all attracted extensive media coverage. In January 2009, the video ‘Proof’ starring Kylie Minogue was named the number one cinema advert of all time in a Digital Cinema Media poll.

Now encompassing Swimwear, Beauty, Hosiery, Homeware, and Accessories in addition to lingerie, Agent Provocateur continues to excite and inspire on a global scale.”

Agent Provocateur can maximize SEO by including the following keywords and phrases:

Lingerie, luxury lingerie, fine lingerie, designer lingerie, swimwear, hosiery, bedroom accessories, sexy lingerie, burlesque

 

Search results:

Lingerie – Agent provocateur did not show on the first 3 pages of Google search results.

luxury lingerie – Agent provocateur was the first result

fine lingerie – Agent provocateur did not show on the first 3 pages of Google search results.

designer lingerie – Agent provocateur was the 9th result

swimwear – Agent provocateur did not show on the first 3 pages of Google search results.

hosiery – Agent provocateur did not show on the first 3 pages of Google search results.

bedroom accessories – Agent provocateur did not show on the first 3 pages of Google search results.

sexy lingerie – Agent provocateur did not show on the first 3 pages of Google search results.

burlesque lingerie – Agent provocateur did not show on the first 3 pages of Google search results.

 

Agent Provocateur included the following keywords and phrases:

Lingerie, luxury lingerie, silk stockings, suspenders, bridal garters, bridal underwear, agent provocateur, exquisite lingerie, swimwear, sunglasses, bridal wear.

These search results were particular interesting because I can apply them to my own business.  Because Agent Provocateur focuses on luxury, they are not easily found through generic searches for lingerie.  I, too, focus on luxury, but I do not want to be lost in the depths of Google search because I have left out proper keywords for SEO.  I would recommend that Agent Provocateur increase their search keywords to increase visibility. 

social media and journalism

Previous Sememsters

How does social media fit into journalism?  It seems like now it has a hand in every news story that we see.  Overholser talks about how Michael Jackson’s death broke on TMZ’s Twitter while the Los Angeles coroner’s office was still reporting the singer in a coma.  Demers mentions that the initial social media postings on the Boston Marathon bombing resulted in a nation wide manhunt for the wrong suspect at first.  It is important for journalists who are approaching their craft from social media to be aware of the difference between being there, and being accurate.  And it is certainly possible to be both. 

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Kritsch lists the 4 ways that social media is changing journalism:

Source from the streets:  (or citizen Journalism as Demers puts it).  Citizens are live Tweeting, and posting, about the events as they occurring.  I recently drove past a car completely engulfed in flames on the side of the interstate.  The car owner (instead of hysterically crying as I might have been) was recording the entire show on his iPhone… as were many passing by.  (Note:  emergency vehicles were already present).  Later that night, the car owner’s own footage was on the evening news. 

Master the art of listening:  The ability to block out white noise, or non essential stories and information, on the internet is one of the perks of social media.  Hashtagging and keywording makes searching for information easier and more effective. 

Amplify your story:  Posting your story by time zone is a great way to maximize its reach.  Using scheduling tools can help maximize your audience by hitting certain areas and demographics at specific times. 

Analyze the results:  Analytics help determine what social media avenues and posts are most effective and how. 

While journalism and social media are important, Biro’s article on branding spoke the most to my specific situation.  Finding a balance between a personal brand and a business brand is key to a sole proprietorship like my own.  Am I Lesley Geyer, or Lesley at The Pink Petticoat?  I feel more equipped now to represent The Pink Petticoat, rather than being The Pink Petticoat. 

I asked this question earlier in the semester, but I am interested to see if the answer has changed:

Should I focus on my personal brand as the owner of The Pink Petticoat, and lingerie expert, or focus on being The Pink Petticoat brand?

Are they one and the same?

Would you consider customer reviews as “citizen journalism”?

the reach of social media

Previous Sememsters

We have learned so much over the semester in regards to what social media channels to use and what social media channels are going to attract engagement.  But all of these integrated marketing efforts don’t mean anything with out a specific goal:  making money. 

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In a previous blog, I touched on the affects of social media on intimacy.  Is social media making us less likely to interact with people on a daily basis?  While I still feel that in some cases, yes it is, I see Tufecki’s point of view that social media can also break down barriers of communication as well.  Social media allows us to connect with people in other cities, states, and countries that we might otherwise be unable.  Military families are a perfect example.  Using Gchat, or Facebook chat, Skype, and YouTube and other sharing platforms makes communication a click away, as opposed to weeks away via post.  A close friend who is getting married this weekend has kept me apprised of her wedding details all through social media.  From the bachelorette party to the details for wedding day hair and make up, everything was communicated through some sort of social media.  However, we must be able to capitalize on this overwhelming presence of our lives on social media. 

Seiter tells us that having a clearly defined goal of a social media campaign is the only way to measure the success of it.  For example, a holiday push on social media for a collaboration with boudoir photographers (offering a discount on lingerie to anyone who books a photo shoot with them) can only be measured through the amount of people who book and cash in that discount.  Unfortunately for me, clicks and likes do not always equal sales.  However, I can use analytics to assess which merchandise is receiving the most clicks and likes, and in turn use that to choose which products I order for the store. 

Aside from hopefully generating more sales, the real value to me in social media is creating brand value and awareness. Popescu gives us five tips to increase my ROI, while at the same time, continuing to build an expression of brand value:

Engage:  continuing to talk to my customers, ask them questions, include them in the buying process.

Be authentic:  using my real voice, having fun with social media, not trying to market The Pink Petticoat as something that we are not. 

Keep content premium:  sharing content that reinforces The Pink Petticoat brand, expanding the content shared beyond lingerie, promoting overall sexual wellness as well as romance. 

Integrate real time apps:  using Twitter and Instagram to share the action at the store during events, buying trips, holidays season, etc. 

Experiment:  not being afraid to try new things on social media, holding contests, giveaways, and fun new things that attract engagement. 

What are other ways I can measure ROI on my social media posts?

Should my business goals for social media be more that measuring profit?

Do you use social media to foster relationships with people that you would otherwise fall out of touch with?

topping the list with SEO

Previous Sememsters

Well, if I thought I was confused and behind when it came to analytics, I know have to face the ugly truth of my lack of knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO).  If the greater purpose of social media marketing is driving customers to my webpage to increase sales, then I must cover my bases.  With the first ranked listing on Google receiving 33% more search traffic than other listings (which drop exponentially), ranking higher on Google (and other search engines – let’s just refer to them all as Google for the sake of my sanity) is of great importance.

But what can I do to increase my SEO so that The Pink Petticoat can become the next lingerie powerhouse?  I’ve broken down this week’s readings into a list of important considerations I have yet to… consider:

  1. Adding a site map:  providing Google structural information about my site can help bump my Google listing.  How do I add a site map?  No idea.  But I am working on it.
  2. Implementing geographical targeting:  by targeting searcher in the United States, I can focus in on my (likely) actual customers. (And hopefully cut back on a lot of the weird spam I get through my website).
  3. Posting good content that is updated regularly (if not daily):  since I am making my first steps into blogging (I plan on converting this WordPress blog into a fun and informative “The Pink Petticoat Blog” at the end of this semester), the type of content I post, and how often I am posting fresh content is imperative.  What do my customers want to read?  What is my voice?  These are all questions I need to answer so I can take the personal aspect of owning this store to good blogging use.
  4. Using the best keywords and phrases:  choosing the proper keywords and phrases are going to send the most traffic to my site.  Generic search words like “Tampa” and “lingerie” are easy, yet useful.  But finding a unique niche phrase with low competition proves to be more difficult.  Perhaps a play on our hashtag #getinmypantydrawer, but are people really searching for that?
  5. Styling text:  highlighting the important parts.
  6. Titling:  improving my title, and creating a title tag (meta tag) will improve my Google listing.  Example:  moving keywords closer to the front of my title.
  7. Optimizing images and videos with keywords.
  8. Sharing my posts on Google+ (the ultimate free tool).

pagerank-infographic

Using Google Analytics to its fullest with provide me a lot of information I need to accomplish these tasks.

But where do I start? 

Do I need to create a store blog first?

Can I apply these techniques to an informational website that does not currently have a blog or Internet sales?