June 29, 2015

Village Tip: Improve Your Ad in 30 Seconds

Feel like your ad just isn't quite right? Here are a few quick fixes to heighten the effectiveness of your ad:

1. Set them in your targets - The most important way to improve an ad is to tightly target your audience. You will often have more luck placing your ad in a trade publication than in a general newspaper, even if the readership is not as high.

2. Make you ad stand apart from the rest - Most people are constantly bombarded by advertisements, but what makes yours stand out from the rest? The ads we pay attention to are the ones that pertain directly to our most pressing concerns. The ads we notice are the ones that promote a product, service, or idea that can solve our problem, make us feel better, make us richer, or make us feel sexy and loved.

3. Improve your headline - Get attention by targeting your best audience. Then use a headline to shout out a problem or solution your target audience will immediately identify with.

4. Make your ad skim-friendly
  • Only a small percentage of us start at the beginning of an ad and read every word to the end. 
  • If the ad is more than a couple of sentences, we will skip it. 
  • Put your most important phrases in bold. 
  • Keep sentences short. 
  • Use simple everyday words. 
  • Make your paragraphs no longer than three lines. 
  • Try to limit yourself to one idea per sentence.
I will continue to share these Village Tips on a semi-regular basis!

June 27, 2015

Top 21 African American Professional Groups

By Dan Woog, Monster Contributing Writer

Whether you're an African American accountant, attorney or astrophysicist, there's probably a related professional organization. Joining an association can provide education in your field, networking opportunities and advocacy -- all with a focus on issues important to African Americans. Find the right one for you by checking out this list of 21 of the largest and oldest national groups:

  • BDPA: Organized in 1975. More than 40 chapters. Open to African Americans in STEM-related fields.
  • National Association of Black Accountants: Founded in 1969. Goal is to represent the than 200,000 African American professionals in accounting and finance.
  • National Association of African Americans in Human Resources: A national organization of human resource professionals with 36 local chapters; includes consultants and students.
  • National Black Business Trade Association: A self-help resource and networking group founded in 1993 that provides businesspeople with information, products, services and technologies.
  • National Black MBA Association: A 8,000-member professional organization made up of African American graduates with MBAs and advanced degrees. Established in 1970, its mission is to increase the number and diversity of African Americans in business.
  • National Sales Network: An association of African American sales and sales management professionals. Organized in 1992, with more than 2,000 members in 16 chapters.

  • Organization of Black Designers: Comprised of 10,000 design professionals in visual communications, as well as graphic, interior, fashion and industrial design.
Engineering and Science
  • American Association of Blacks in Energy: Founded in 1977; 36 chapters. Specialties include energy policy, technology and the environment.
  • National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers: Organized in 1972 to build a community of minority scientists and engineers; 39 professional and university chapters.
  • National Society of Black Engineers: Started in 1975, it now has more than 35,700 members, more than 390 college, precollege and technical professional chapters nationwide and overseas. The group's mission is to increase the number of African American engineers, as well as help them succeed professionally and to give back to their communities.
  • National Society of Black Physicists: The largest organization of African American physicists; 16 sections ranging from astronomy, astrophysics and nuclear physics to technology transfer, business development and entrepreneurship. Its mission is to promote the professional well-being of African American physicists within the international scientific community.
Food Services
  • BCA: Incorporated as the Black Culinarian Alliance in 1998 and now known by its acronym. A national educational and networking organization that serves African American and other minority professionals working in hospitality and food services.
  • 100 Black Men of America: Founded in 1963; now 110-plus chapters with more than 10,000 members. Its mission includes leadership, mentoring, education, health and economic development.
  • Blacks in Government: Members are civil servants at the federal, state, county and municipal levels. Founded in 1975; more than 50 chapters include the Departments of State and Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, and the National Institutes of Health.
  • National Black Nurses Association: Organized in 1971; 80 chapters represent more than 150,000 African American nurses in the US, Caribbean and Africa.
  • National Medical Association: The oldest (founded 1895) and largest national professional organization for African American physicians. A leading force for parity in medicine, it provides educational programs and conducts outreach efforts.
  • Student National Medical Association: The largest organization focused on the needs and concerns of African American medical students and residents.
Law and Criminal Justice

June 26, 2015

Old School Friday: The Whispers

My two daughters recently saw this photo of me in my younger days on stage with The Whispers. My youngest daughter didn't know anything about them. The eldest daughter simply explained that they are "Old School". It seemed like a good time to play the Old School Friday music again on my blog!

Just sit back, close your eyes and allow The Whispers to take you on a musical high with this powerful song that any man would want to sing to his lady. I imagine that any lady would love to know that a brother had this song and thought in his heart as he thinks of her. This is ol' school brothers and sisters!

June 25, 2015

Rest In Peace: Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Whatever argument you have about his lifestyle ... there can be no argument about his life's work ... Michael Jackson is the greatest Black artist of all time. Consider his body of work as a child ... teenager ... and adult. He survived the test of time from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.  He left us too soon...

I shared my favorite MJ tune a few months ago during Old School Friday. Here is another of my favorite Michael Jackson tunes: 'Human Nature'

M.Jackson Human Nature
by nicobus

Truth to tell, I didn't follow young Michael much when I was a child. However, he did enter into my world during college. My night as a DJ, whether at a club, skating rink or on the radio, was never complete in 1979 unless we played 'Rock With You'. Did you know that the original title to this track was “I Want To Eat You Up.” It was changed to “Rock With You” to better fit Jackson’s image. Little did we know...

Anyhow, Michael Jackson is my selection as the GOAT ('greatest of all time'). Who would you choose for that title?

June 22, 2015

Village Tip: Make Your ABOUT Page Sell

It's interesting how many web site visitors quickly click to the "about" page. This is the page that tells who runs the business, where it is located, and why they do what they do.

With all the uncertainty some folks still feel about buying online, it is only natural they want to find out more about the business before they seriously consider buying the product or service.

Include your photo, a photo of your staff, or a picture of your building on the "about" page. Be sure to give your address, one or more email addresses visitors can use, and a phone number. Anything less makes some people feel like you've got something to hide.

The "about" page is also a good place to tell your story. People love to hear about how you got started. They want to know what it is you like about your business and how you work to help customers. Give people a good story and they will remember it long after they have forgotten the particulars of the product they came to see.

I will continue to share these Village Tips on a semi-regular basis!

June 21, 2015

Only A Dad

This poem was originally written by Edgar Guest. Edgar Guest began his illustrious career in 1895 at the age of fourteen when his work first appeared the the Detroit Free Press. His column was syndicated in over 300 newspapers, and he became known as "The Poet of the People." I share the poem today in honor of Wayne Sr., George Jr., Walter and Charles (may he rest in peace) ... with a special sentiment for Kyra, Iyisa, Javoyne and Shenita.

Only A Dad
by Edgar Guest

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

From the book "A Heap o' Livin'" ©1916

June 19, 2015

What is Juneteenth?

The discussion about the African American flag created by UNIA and Marcus Garvey reminded me of other dates on the calendar that impact African Americans differently than others in this country. For example, I wonder every year on the birthday of our nation ...why do Blacks celebrate July 4th?

It is historically accurate to recall that nothing about Independence Day back in 1776 brought a smile to the people of African descent living in America. White folks were ecstatic to overturn the yoke of the monarchy ... but, they weren't so ecstatic that they let go of the whips and chains used to enslave African Americans. Just a random thought floating thru the village today.

On the other hand, African Americans in most of the country do take time on Juneteenth to celebrate independence.

What is Juneteenth? Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger's regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the slave masters to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All or neither could be true. For whatever the reason, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

Click here to learn more about Juneteenth if you have time/inclination. We encourage you to share information on this aspect of Ourstory as part of your Juneteenth 2011 celebration.

For now, I encourage you to share your comments on the significance of either June 19th or July 4th in your part of the diaspora? What say u?

June 15, 2015

Village Tip: How to Develop and Test Your Marketing Plan

Developing a solid marketing plan goes hand-in-hand with testing; you can't do one without the other. If you don't test your plan, you won't know for sure whether it works.

You don't have to be a multimillion-dollar corporation with a team of marketing experts to test your marketing plan. All you have to do is come up with a system for finding out what you want to know.

Break your testing schedule down into weekly intervals focused on determining one or two things. Remember, your goal is not only to find out what works, but what doesn't work.

Say during four weeks of testing, you send out a mailing each week to 1000 different people. On each separate mailing, you have a different price for the advertised product or service. The response to these mailings should tell you which price is most acceptable for your product / service.

The response rate should also tell you which type of customer is buying what you offer and why. By the end of the four week testing period, you will have determined your pricing and target audience.

Once you know whom to target, you should test how to get the best response rate from these potential customers. Initiate a second testing period in which you send out a different mailing each week with fixed pricing, but varied messages. Contact the same recipients with different messages over a period of months after the second test period has ended. You should never stop refining your marketing plan.

The point of developing a marketing plan is to have a set system that works. Without proper testing, you will never know what strategies are effective, so before you settle into a plan, put it to the test.

I will continue to share these Village Tips on a semi-regular basis!

June 12, 2015

Rest In Peace: Ruby Dee (1924-2014)

Hollywood lost an icon when stage and screen legend Ruby Dee died on this day in 2014. Dee was at her home in New Rochelle, New York and surrounded by loved ones when she passed. She was 91 years old.

The Cleveland-born, New York-raised actress and activist — winner of an Emmy, a Grammy and a Screen Actors Guild award, among others — was an icon on Broadway, cinema and television. With her husband and collaborator Ossie Davis, she was also a major figure in the Civil Rights movement.

Dee’s first film role came in 1949, in the musical drama That Man of Mine. She worked frequently with Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever) and earned an Academy Award nomination in 2007 for Best Supporting Actress for American Gangster.

She appeared in the 1979 TV movie Roots: The Next Generation, and costarred with husband Ossie Davis in their own short-lived show, Ossie and Ruby! in 1980.

Her final film was the still-in-production crime drama King Dog, opposite Ice-T.

Rest in Peace Rudy!  I'm sure that Ossie was waiting for her at the pearly gates!

June 10, 2015

Rest In Peace: Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)

Villagers recognize that we can not depend on others to tell US History completely. Too often, it becomes HIStory instead of OURstory. As such, we try to share OURstory whenever possible.

Today, with kudos to Ori-Piankhi, we tell the story of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, on August 17, 1887, Marcus Garvey was the youngest of 11 children. Garvey moved to Kingston at the age of 14, found work in a print shop, and became acquainted with the living conditions of the laboring class.

He quickly involved himself in social reform, participating in the first Printers' Union strike in Jamaica in 1907 and in setting up the newspaper The Watchman. Leaving the island to earn money to finance his projects, he visited Central and South America, amassing evidence that Black people everywhere were victims of discrimination. He visited the Panama Canal Zone and saw the conditions under which the West Indians lived and worked. He went to Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia and Venezuela. Everywhere, Blacks were experiencing great hardships and discrimination.

Garvey returned to Jamaica distressed at the situation in Central America, and appealed to Jamaica's colonial government to help improve the plight of West Indian workers in Central America. His appeal fell on deaf ears. Garvey also began to lay the groundwork of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), to which he was to devote his life.

Undaunted by lack of enthusiasm for his plans, Garvey left for England in 1912 in search of additional financial backing. While there, he met a Sudanese-Egyptian journalist, Duse Mohammed Ali. While working for Ali's publication African Times and Oriental Review, Garvey began to study the history of Africa, particularly, the exploitation of Black peoples by colonial powers. He read Booker T. Washington's 'Up From Slavery', which advocated Black self-help.

In 1914 Garvey organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and its coordinating body, the African Communities League (ACL). In 1920 the organization held its first convention in New York. The convention opened with a parade down Harlem's Lenox Avenue. That evening, before a crowd of 25,000, Garvey outlined his plan to build an African nation-state. In New York City his ideas attracted popular support, and thousands enrolled in the UNIA. He began publishing the newspaper The Negro World and toured the United States preaching Black Nationalism to popular audiences. His efforts were successful, and soon, the association boasted over 1,100 branches in more than 40 countries. Most of these branches were located in the United States, which had become the UNIA's base of operations. There were, however, offices in several Caribbean countries, Cuba having the most. Branches also existed in places such as Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Namibia and South Africa. He also launched some ambitious business ventures, notably the Black Star Shipping Line.

Garvey promoted two new business organizations — the African Communities League and the Negro Factories Corporation. Financial betrayal by trusted aides and a host of legal entanglements (based on charges that he had used the U.S. mail to defraud prospective investors) eventually led to Garvey's imprisonment in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for a five-year term. In 1927 his half-served sentence was commuted, and he was deported to Jamaica by order of President Calvin Coolidge.

Garvey then turned his energies to Jamaican politics, campaigning on a platform of self-government, minimum wage laws, and land and judicial reform. He was soundly defeated at the polls, however, because most of his followers did not have the necessary voting qualifications. In 1935 Garvey left for England where, in near obscurity, he died on June 10, 1940, in a cottage in West Kensington.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey advocated that Africans control the wealth of Africa. He taught that control, control of resources, control of self, control of nation, requires preparation, Garveyism was about total preparation.


June 8, 2015

Village Tip: Get People to Pass You Around

No doubt you have heard of viral marketing. Just like a common cold, it involves having people pass an idea or product from one person to the next.

Unlike a cold, a marketing virus is a wonderful thing to catch!

These Village Tips are a simple kind of viral marketing. I share them here on the Electronic Village, but they almost always get picked up by other bloggers who send them to their readers who send them to their list. You may be reading this tip years after I wrote it. Amazing, isn't it?

I share the article once, then enjoy the benefits as one person passes it to another. Who knows how many people see these tips ... even people who have never heard of the Electronic Village!

Look for ways you can give your product, service, or idea a marketing virus.
  • Give people a free service they can use. Your web address and phone number are included in every product they send to others.

  • Start a joke that pertains to the news or common experiences in life. If it's in an email, it can include your name. Jokes get passed around at an unbelievable rate. Some humor experts believe there may be as few as 7 people who come up with most of the jokes we hear. They start them on their viral tour, eventually reaching millions.

  • Create a series of e-books, pamphlets, or YouTube commercials. A series makes people want to tell others so they can get in on the progression.

  • Perhaps the most effective method of viral marketing is simply being kind and helping people. Help folks for free when you can and give paying customers more than they asked for. You may be surprised at how fast customers tell their friends ... and in these days of email, that can be a LOT of people.
I will continue to share these Village Tips on a semi-regular basis!

June 1, 2015

Village Tip: How to Handle Rejection

Part of selling anything is handling rejection. It's always great when a prospect says "I'm so glad to see you. This is just what I need!" But the law of averages says most of the people you come in contact with won't be that enthusiastic.

There are so many ads and people trying to get us to spend money that most of us put on a stern face any time a sales person approaches. This doesn't mean we dislike the sales person, just that we're getting psyched up to hold our ground.

Of course, a good sales person realizes this and works to set our reservations at ease, helping us to relax and understand how the sales person may be able to solve our problems.

Keep this in mind when you are selling something. It doesn't matter if you are selling cars, telling a neighbor about your MLM opportunity, or using email to sell yourself to a prospective employer.

Rejection is part of the game. Realize people aren't rejecting you personally, but the situation. In most cases they simply aren't ready to buy at this time. No doesn't usually mean no, but not right right now. A week, month, or year from the now the prospect who rejected your sales pitch may come looking for you wanting to buy.

I will continue to share these Village Tips on a semi-regular basis!