Friday, October 07, 2005

WMC Interviews: Yvonne DiVita


I was honored this week to speak with author, blogger and expert on smart marketing to women online, Yvonne DiVita. Her book Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online is raising eyebrows and helping smart marketers improve their results, and her witty and widely-read blog was honored as one of the Best Blogs of 2005 by Marketing Sherpa.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before Windsor Media Enterprises? What’s your background?

Yvonne DiVita (YD): I've been a writer for my entire life. In fact, I got myself in trouble in 2nd grade because all I did was write (and illustrate -- boy those pics should be worth $$) stories about kids and pets. My teacher called my mother. Together, they tried to convince me I needed to do things like math and science, too. Guess I buckled -- I made it into the third grade and beyond.

So, writing is in my blood. From thereon, I spent the majority of my time writing and reading. In high school I was the one everyone came to for help with term papers, although I really didn't like writing term papers. It was a prediction of future competency, however. Today, instead of writing fiction (though I still do that), I'm primarily a business writer. From the contacts and experiences of writing for business, came my desire to help other writers in their pursuit of publication. Now, I'm both writer and publisher.

WMC: How, when and why did you get started in this business?

YD: Short version -- I was frustrated being an employee. Though I had plenty of opportunities to write, I worked for a number of start-ups in the late 1990s, as a web-content writer, and I was being published both online and off, I wasn't accomplishing any real goals. I was merely pleasing others. During that time, I began to notice that women were flocking to the Internet -- many times to shop. Their busy lives were preventing them from getting out to the all-American mall. So, I thought, "Hey, here's a place I can make a difference." And, I wrote a book on Smart Marketing to Women Online. The title, BTW, is more provocative -- Dick*less Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online, a guide to getting women to shop at YOUR website. In the book I advise businesses to get their marketing message in front of JANE, as opposed to DICK, because Jane controls the sale of over 85% of the goods and services in this country.

I chose to published via print-on-demand, rather than struggle with a traditional publishing method, and have all rights to my book revert to my publisher. I knew POD would allow me to be in control, and to maintain my copyright. The experience was less than pleasant. The company I chose was reputable -- they had been in business for over five years, a lifetime in the POD world, and they had many, many books to their credit. Their customer service, however, was lacking. In the end, I was a frustrated customer. I did not end up with something I could be proud of (contentwise, yes -- bookwise, no) and...the POD firm refused to market the book because of the title. As if they didn't know the title from day one!

When I discovered the book was being printed right here in my hometown of Rochester, NY, and that WE are the hub of the print-on-demand world, I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to start my own POD firm, and offer authors a complete range of services, from cover design to page layout, to editing, proofing, testimonials, and even marketing. And, that's what I did. Two years ago. Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC gave birth to WME Books, and I'm glad it did.

WMC: Who do you target? Who is your ideal or typical client?

YD: Over the last two years we have refined our business model. I don't do fiction. The market for it is huge, but saturated. And, my core niche is women in business. So, WME Books targets professional women in law, medicine, and business. We enjoy working with men, also. But, the hope is that we can encourage more professional women to write books and use POD as their publishing model.

WMC: What is your key differentiator (or differentiators)? What separates you from your competition?

YD: We're online experts. I, personally, since writing my book, have a large, worldwide connection to the women's market. Since women buy and read over 60% of the books published (in the U.S.), it stands to reason that marketing books to the women's market is the best approach. That's what we do. We use the Internet (primarily blogs) to connect our authors and their books to their core audience. Because blogs are excellent book marketing tools. No other POD firm offers that kind of cutting-edge marketing.

WMC: How do you market/promote your business?

YD: We don't do much marketing, other than writing in Lip-Sticking (my marketing to women online blog) and Aha! (our authors-helping-authors blog). We've been very fortunate to have clients come to us via referrals. Down the road, I'd like to do a direct mail piece to women's organizations. I speak, also. So far I've spoken in Illinois, Denver, TX, NYC, and locally around upstate NY. That helps get the word out effectively, also. And, it sells books.

WMC: What’s the biggest or most important marketing lesson you’ve learned since you got started in all this?

YD: The most important marketing lesson I've learned is to differentiate myself from my competition, and to be comfortable with that differentiation. It pays to be in a niche market, but only if you understand the niche and can talk the talk. We know writing and publishing, and we know blogging. Together, those three elements of our business make us stand out from the crowd.

WMC: Anything else you’d like to add?

YD: I'd like to add that marketing requires attention and effort. NOTHING is for free! Don't believe those folks who try to sell you "10 Ways to Market Your Business on a Budget." That's sales-speak for a lot of bad advice. You can market on a budget, indeed. But, it takes EFFORT and CREATIVITY! I suggest folks read Mark Hughes' new book, Buzz Marketing. He has some original, engaging, smart ideas and he gives concrete examples.

And, don't forget...if you want to get in front of the women's market online, you can't beat my book: Dick*less Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online. I'm working on Smarter Marketing to Women Online, the 2nd in the Dick*less Marketing series, which should be out in early 2006. Watch for an announcement on the Lip-Sticking blog.

*****

Terms: Yvonne DiVita, smart marketing to women online, Dick*less Marketing, Mark Hughes, Buzz Marketing, Windsor Media Enterprises, publish-on-demand, book marketing

The Web site marketing strategy portal: WebMarketCentral.com

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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