Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Plain or Fancy?

There's something to be said for simple pocket pages. On the other hand I like to throw stuff at the page! Let's do both then...

The colours in these photos were a tad retro since it was getting dark so I used the Becky Higgins' Digital Project Life Azure kit and changed the selfie pic to sepia. Here's the simple version:

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It would pass muster but let's throw stuff at it anyway ... (Click on it to see a bigger version)

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The seasidey bits are mostly from Creashens' Newport.

There's an article on simple v fancy on our main website HERE.

Let's do some recycling: same template, same kit, different photos. I love these photos of my Mum and Dad on their first trip abroad together in 1968. I even used their passport photos in it. Mum is doing her film star impression going up the steps of the plane.  I left the hotel postcard looking faded but brightened up the photos a little in Picmonkey.

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Monday, 5 May 2014

All Work and No Pay!

by Yobeth Puckett
How did the industry standard in the scrapbook world become getting people to do your work and not paying them?  It's not isolated either, I've seen it in many different areas.

My first experience working in the digital scrapping world was on CTs (creative teams).  This is basically a barter system.  When you work on a CT your purpose, at the very least, is to promote said designer's new release.  You get the kit before it's released, create a predetermined number of layouts within a few days then use them to promote the kit when it's released.  Then you're usually asked to post your layouts in 2-3 galleries. That's not a bad deal for the designer or the CT member.  But some designers require a lot more. Depending on the designer, you may also be asked to participate in forums, praise teams, on Facebook pages, on your own blog, host challenges, and even make products for the designer to give away free in stores, trains and hops.  Wow, now it's looking a little more like slave labor!

I've also "partnered" with some designers to make products they can sell in their stores. I've had good and bad experiences doing this.  The theory is when something you design with the kit sells you're paid a commission. This is a win/win unless you aren't paid the promised commission. This can amount to a sizable amount and is nothing short of theft!

Then you have affiliate programs where you partner with the software companies.  Typically you may provide product reviews, tutorials, giveaways and other promotions for the company on your blog and a link to their product's page.  If a customer follows this link and purchases the software, you receive a commission for advertising, promoting and selling their product. But not all companies are paying commissions as agreed.  They don't have good tracking and reporting systems in place which makes it easy for them. But when two or three people you know say they bought the software using your code but you're never paid, it's not good and reveals their actions.  Actually, it's theft!  And it's happened more than once.

It's ridiculous!  It's not good to base compensation on the honor system when there is no honor among thieves.

A Jewish friend once told me that when someone says "Trust me!" it's yiddish for screw you.  Sad but, in a lot of cases, true.  Like, you promote my software & get us sales & we'll compensate you, trust me! Or, use my product to design stuff I can sell & I'll compensate you, trust me!

I can't think of any other industry that could get away with not paying someone for their labor!  As a matter of fact, it's illegal and is the reason we have minimum wage and other laws in place to protect workers.

I'm currently working with a lady that produces training videos that is actually paying me to write the accompanying handbooks.  Plus, I get the training video which I would have to purchase otherwise.  AND, she pays me the same day I send her the handbook!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Feel Free To Waste Our Valuable Time

So how does iNSD work when you run a digital scrapbooking store? It is, after all, a marketing event, let's be honest.  It's not rocket science. You get your designers to offer deals in the store and maybe grab bags. You offer generous freebies to your customers. Easy.

OR ....

You send them on a time wasting treasure hunt style blog train to collect letters where one of the designers has hidden the letter so well in a "start here - go there - come back here" blog post that it's impossible to find. I looked. Four times. So customers are understandably guessing that letter and it's wrong. They don't get the kit. They're annoyed. They complain on Facebook. What is the correct response to this in marketing terms?

1) Give out the code, or

2) (Better) Make the kit free for everyone.

Instead they are continuing to annoy people by ignoring them or saying "the code should work".

Customer service tip: When the customer has a problem you provide a solution to that problem, you don't tell the customer there is no problem. If you don't solve the customer's problem don't expect them to spend money in your store ever again. I can't believe I have to write this sort of thing. It's common sense.

iNSD is a busy time for scrappers. Some, allegedly, join in fun stuff. Those of us who run six Facebook groups are too busy looking after our members. And, no, we don't give out your precious codes, we provide a valuable service to stores by promoting their free deals and sending our members to the stores/blog/FB pages to get them. We don't have time for childish games and blog trains to nowhere.

Blog train tip: When you're running any blog train/Facebook hop check that it actually works. That the customer doesn't get stuck in a "Sign up for a newsletter. Confirm it. Get a link that goes to a 404 error page. Do not get link to next stop". How to kill it stone dead. How to ensure that person will immediately unsubscribe from your mailing list. Mailing list management is a big area where designers and stores get it wrong ... article to follow.

It really isn't hard and it comes down to respect for your valuable customers. They work hard in horrible jobs to pay for kits in your store so you don't have to work in those horrible jobs.


Apparently the treasure hunt store changed the code. It then didn't work  for those who had got it earlier. So they had to go through again and get another one. For once, words fail me.