Author, Marlene M. Bell Logo

Overcoming Resistance to Change

A dinosaur.

Mail order catalog junkie.

Lover of all things printed. That’s me. I fought the era with a vengeance. Mail order catalogs were the only familiar venue for purchasing unusual gifts during the pre-Internet years. Request a catalog, and poof, it arrives in the mail complete with pretty pictures to browse at your leisure.

But, loitering in the background during the 1990’s was the unique invention of the Internet. It wasn’t until I received a call from a customer requesting to buy one item in quantity that I realized there was a better way to reach thousands of potential buyers in the niche market I’d carved out for myself. The client wanted to sell my prints on eBay. What was eBay? I hadn’t heard about this new marketplace, so I went to investigate. But how could I do this when I knew nothing about searching on the Internet, nor did I have any idea what a website even looked like. Computers to me meant word processing and accounting.

The Internet

The long journey forward brought me to my local ISP (Internet Service Provider) who dramatically changed the direction in marketing my catalog-based business. It was a change for the better, but it didn’t start out that way. David guided me though the ins and outs of having an Internet presence. And I struggled hard against it. My fear of the dreaded computer virus or bug kept me from fully understanding the gravity of worldwide, all day, every day marketing. I was afraid to venture into potentially dangerous searches on search engines, and back then, there were lots of them.

Two years went by as I slowly, carefully, indoctrinated myself into the world of buying and selling on eBay, eventually putting up a basic website for my business. Ah, it began to sink in. More potential customers visited my site for catalog requests and I was even able to reach other countries for the first time. From this point, there was no choice but to forge ahead with a shopping cart, merchant account for accepting credit cards, and offer a third alternative for the online shopper, using a PayPal account for purchases. (The latter we’ve found to be the safest.)

Original Ewephoric website screen capture

Since our maiden website launch in 1998, we’ve redesigned at least seven different times. Each designed by a new web developer. Today, you can design your own website easily through templates from a wide array of software peddlers. Personally, I believe it’s money well spent to leave the website design to a professional. There’s nothing worse than visiting a site with broken links or error messages. If you want to lose clients quickly, launch a poorly designed site. Find a professional, and stick with them. You won’t regret it.

Remember, you literally have seconds to hold your website or blog visitor. Quick and instant gratification is what the visitor wants. If they don’t get it, they move on. Just like marketing your book to the avid reader, your site has to hold their interest.

Social Media

Although at times it’s still hard for this dinosaur to comprehend, social media is surpassing older forms of communication. Print media such as magazines and especially newspapers are fading away at a rapid pace. Today, if you can’t find yourself on a hand-held device, in some cases, you’ve cut out a large share of your marketing ability. (Unless you’re from the baby boomer generation who still watches TV and buys paperbacks and hard bounds. Smart phones and tablets are relied upon less by them.)

Facebook is an ideal way to have an Internet presence. Many of us already have a personal page. If you’re an author, however, the business page is important as well. You can invite your personal friends to the new business site and build your followers from Likes on your page. Twitter allows quick connections 140 characters at a time. I have to admit, Twitter is my favorite social media outlet. If you want to reach others that read, write, take photos, do artwork, or whatever your interest, it’s easy to hook up on Twitter.

It’s also recommended to add a Blog page to your website. Giving others tidbits of helpful information and passing along personal stories and your experiences work well there. Other sites like LinkedIn for business professionals, and Pinterest to share photos are also options. New social media sites are popping up all the time, but those mentioned here are the most commonplace.

There are several books available on the subject of social media and building a platform to promote yourself. One book I found to be most helpful was, “Create Your Writer Platform” by editor and author, Chuck Sambuchino. He explains all aspects of today’s social media requirements for self-promotion. If you are an aspiring author, I highly recommend reading Chuck’s book and adopting his recommendations.

What To Take Away From This Post

It’s human nature to stay where it’s most comfortable. Change is uncomfortable. Overcoming resistance to change has to take place in order to grow and thrive in today’s society. Take it from me, no matter how hard you resist, one day you’ll have to break down and conform, with one caveat; Social media attracts a younger crowd, for the most part. You still have loads of potential readers and writers in the post WWII generation, so try not to leave them out. And how they love to read!

I believe in the all over marketing approach:

  • Direct mail ~ mail order catalog (If you sell gifts or an array of items
  • Full color or black and white display ads in print magazines
  • Classified ads in periodicals
  • Email blast newsletters to your mailing list
  • Professionally designed website with shopping cart
  • Blog
  • Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn site presence
  • And by all means, print professional looking business cards!

Marlene is a twenty-nine year veteran of the mail-order industry. To see more of her sheep related gift line, visit her sister website: