Case Studies

Isolated Young Mom Raises $10,000
 and Singlehandedly Creates Parenting Center

On September 30, 1986, Kathleen Cleary and her chef-husband, Michael, purchased the Cork ’n Hearth Restaurant in Lee, MA—a town where they knew no one. At the time they had a 3.5 year old son and another not quite two.

In December, their youngest turned two. Two weeks to the day later, Kathleen gave birth to her 3rd son. With a 3 year old, a two year old and an infant to look after while figuring out how to successfully run a small business, Kathleen was tired, stressed and isolated.

In their previous community in New York, Kathleen had participated in the activities at a Parenting Center run by her local church. This included weekly sessions where young moms came together for coffee and conversation while their young tots and babies played together.

A trained leader moderated the discussions and offered information and answers on the stages of early childhood development as well as support on any issues the young moms were dealing with as parents.

The members of this group became lifelong friends.

Upon moving to Massachusetts, this support system was gone. So Kathleen approached her new Pastor about starting a similar Parenting Center for their church’s congregation and other young mothers in the community.

Presenting the concept to St Ann Church’s Advisory Board, Kathleen offered to write a proposal to fund the Center. This was years before her formal training as a Copywriter… Never having written a proposal before, she researched how to write effective proposals as well as how to find donor prospects likely to be interested in a given project.

Kathleen found the perfect foundation and put her detailed research skills and persuasive writing skills to work. St. Ann’s was awarded a $10,000 grant to open a Parenting Center.

Kathleen found a graphic designer to create a logo and stationery and began to market the programs of the Parenting Center which included:

  • Weekly coffee and conversation hours with moderated discussions
  • A play area with toys for the young children
  • A “Mass for Expectant Families”
  • A “Mass for Parents with Young Children”
  • A Free lending library of parenting books and magazines

The program was so successful, the Springfield Diocese sent the production team from their weekly TV show, Reel-to-Reel, to film one of the Masses for Expectant Parents.

By creating the St. Ann Parenting Center, Kathleen not only eliminated her own isolation and need for support as a young parent but created a community of families that enjoyed and participated in the discussion groups, Masses and other activities, grateful they had somewhere to turn for help and support as well.

Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign Increases Retail Sales 22%


When the economy began to nosedive in late 2008-2009, Michael and Kathleen Cleary watched sales in their lighting retail store, The Lamplighter, begin to tank as well. All their colleagues in retail were experiencing similar downturns.

They’d been running an annual sale and knew they needed to come up with a strong marketing campaign to be able to have a successful sale in 2010.

Kathleen put together a plan for a “Gambler’s Sale” in which the discount they offered customers on items in the store would increase each week for a period of four weeks. Customers could purchase a desired item for 20% off the first week or take a gamble and hope it was still in the store the next week for 30% off or the following for 40% off, etc.

She wrote a series of autoresponder emails to build up excitement about the upcoming sale and several more to send out each week during the sale. She also wrote and direct mailed a postcard campaign to their list with dates and discounts listed, wrote and recorded a radio ad at a local station and wrote and placed print ads in a couple of local weekly publications. Using Twitter and their Facebook page, they kept up the momentum and excitement of the sale with frequent posts.

Customers loved the fun concept of the sale and The Lamplighter enjoyed a 22% increase in sales during this campaign over the previous year, despite the suffering economy.

Static ‘Printed Brochure’ Website Transformed into Dynamic, Lead Generating and Benefit Rich Tool

personal-trainerCopywriter Kathleen Cleary is an active member of the Lenox Fitness Center in Massachusetts. As a web writer, she has a strong grasp on what makes a powerful website and knew the club was seriously lacking.

Lenox Fitness Center had scanned their printed brochure and put it up online as their ‘website’. With program changes, staff changes and new offerings in their retail store occurring, Kathleen knew they were missing the boat when it came to developing a relationship with existing members as well as generating leads for new members.

She approached the club’s owner and explained all the different ways they could benefit from a more dynamic and easily changeable website. She did an analysis of the site using a 31-point usability and best practices checklist.

Kathleen was hired and immediately went to work writing a free report (What to Expect When You Hire a personal Trainer) for lead generation, acquiring testimonials from current members, writing biographies on the fitness and personal training staff (including photos), gathering all the scheduling information and day spa offerings.

Kathleen wrote the new website in Word Press so the owner can add promotions each month and change the class schedule in an instant. At least 500 members have joined their email list. Kathleen also began a monthly newsletter to bring fitness and health news, healthy recipes and promotional offerings to members.