Why Does Google Provide Free Products? Welcome to deansguide’s 5 Year Anniversary

Introduction

Special acknowledgment must be made to two very important people in my life. The first is my inspiration to begin blogging and the man that introduced me and inspired me in becoming a social media consultant: Patrick Kitano. Pat, my former business associate at Domus Consulting Group and close friend, is truly a thought leader in the social media space and one of the original first adopters of Twitter and Facebook.

The second hero in my rise into blogging and social media is my current business partner Susan Hanshaw, A former Vice President in a large direct marketing firm and marketing expert, it was Susan who helped me believe in my abilities and was instrumental in launching my public speaking career. She means the world to me.

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Dateline March 31, 2012

Today is my 5 year anniversary as a blogger. Although my instincts say write a post about my accomplishments and experiences as a blogger, my judgment says that’s too self serving. Instead, I will dedicate this short post, #718 to my thoughts on Google and why they have provided free products to the masses.

Google’s Premise

Long before consumers had privacy issues with Google, Google understood the “social graph” and how the information we provide to them, through all of their free product offerings, could impact their ability to deliver target specific advertising that works.

Today, Google understands that Google+ is the “glue” that binds together their product offerings. They have rewarded consumers and brands that have adopted Google+ with SEO benefits. Any free product that Google offers is done, first and foremost, to capture your personal information, your habits, your favorite things-people-places. Eventually all of this social graph intelligence will help them continue to build better advertising product offerings and in the future truly build a real-time search engine that prominently includes “social signals” and not just questionably link stuffed websites.

Conclusion: Citizen Journalist Power to the People!

Blogging is the lynchpin driving force behind Web 2.0. We  have finally gained control over our own information. We now are “citizen journalist” with the power that blogging has represented in the democratization of content, news, and personal information. We are in control and own our destiny like no other time in history. We have wrestled this control from the greedy, over confident, and monopolistic print and television media that had a stranglehold over us for over a century.

It’s a new day, a new era. Are you taking advantage of your rights? Join me in standing together forever for the rights and freedoms that every person enjoys to take control of their story and present it to the world.  .  . long live citizen journalism, blogging, Google, and the spirit of discovery!

How Has Blogging Changed Your Life?

March 30, 2011 marks the 4 year Anniversary of my blogging life with the creation of deansguide as the vehicle for publishing my messages and wrestling control away from the mass media stranglehold on information. Blogging has changed my life in many ways from providing a forum to prove my expertise to acting as common ground for my relationship with my girlfriend. It has opened up a world of knowledge and research, helped me network and connect with people throughout the world, and been the foundation for launching my writing and public speaking career. Yet with all of these wonderful developments there is still room for the fun, unusual, and bizarre occurrence .

Highlights and Lowlights on deansguide

  • Ed Okun:deansguide was the leading blog on 1031 Tax Group con artist Ed Okun and recognized as a repository and meeting place for victims of Okun to tell their story
  • US Attorney: deansguide was recognized by the US Attorney’s office in Richmond, VA as one of a handful of blogs allowed to publish information about the Ed Okun Ponzi scheme that bilked over $160 million from investors nationwide
  • Helping Victims:Elizabeth Callanan and 350 Okun “Train Wreck Victims” speak out on deansguide
  • Forbes: Mike Maello associate editor for Forbes.com contacted and consulted with me on the Okun story
  • Informant: I was contacted by “Mr. Miami” who was close to Okun’s wife and fed me breaking news information throughout Okun’s trial
  • Mob Ties: I received numerous phone threats by associates of Okun or his representatives to “stay quiet” about the investigation
  • Hell’s Angels: my first blog article was about the 50th Anniversary of the Oakland Hell’s Angels and the party planned for the occasion. I was contacted by a former Angel who approved of my writing and one man who claimed to be a member of the “81″ who promised to make things “hard” if I didn’t watch what I published
  • 330,635 Views: the number of page views deansguide has garnered
  • 1,062: top traffic day on deansguide. Not huge but satisfying considering the blog’s many reiterations
  • Reuters, Nielsen, Fox Business, Computer Shopper, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and other media sites have republished deansguide articles
  • 700 & 2,000: deansguide has published 698 posts and I have written over 2,000 blog articles since I began blogging

Conclusion

I have met Kings, Queens and paupers through my writing. I have been threatened, harassed, and bullied. I have been lauded as a savior and scoffed at as a quack. My subject matter has included the Hell’s Angels, Real Estate, Social Media tips, wine, Mob figures, networking, Silicon Valley, business self help, and hundreds of other subjects. Throughout my writing experience one thing comes to mind- advice from one of my dearest friends “Chili Eye” Charles Henderson: “just let the bullets fly, write like you stole it. Write with a run and gun style.” Without Charlie’s encouragement I would have never started this blog- thank you my friend rest in peace brother!

Garvey Brothers Vineyard Management Company Launches Blog

February 10, 2010, Napa Valley vineyard management company, Garvey Brothers, launched their first blog GarveyBrosVMC with the goal of providing an insiders view of the vineyard management industry and Napa Valley and Sonoma Valleys.

The Garvey Brother’s Story

Garvey Brothers Vineyard Management company was established in the spring of 1998 with a core value proposition in mind: “provide quality farming services to vineyards in the St. Helena and Rutherford Appellations” of Napa Valley. As a result of hard work, dedication, prayer and a little luck, Garvey Brothers VMC now manages 400 acres and provides consultation services for an additional 75 acres.

Licensed and Certified Farm Labor Contractor

Garvey Brothers VMC is a licensed and certified Farm Labor Contractor. This license not only provides protection for our vineyard owners in the form of a security bond, but also ensures that Garvey Brothers VMC is kept up to date on all new employment laws and regulations, providing additional value to our clientele.

Philosophy

At Garvey Brothers Vineyard Management, the goal is to provide excellent service and to make a seamless connection between our Team of Field Workers, Vineyard Owners, Winemakers, Administration Team, and Management. While we strive for this “seamless connection” we are working with the utmost integrity and remaining fiscally minded- as we continue to produce premium wine grapes in both Napa and Sonoma Valleys.


Twitter Wine Industry Case Study: Drive Traffic To Your Tasting Room

The following Twitter case study was written by Innerarchitect.com CEO Susan Hanshaw. The research was compiled by deansguide and analyzed by both of us in an effort to recognize the true ROI for Twitter. Our study was based on a 12 week marketing campaign we executed in the Napa Valley for a prominent boutique winery. The goal: drive consumers to the winery tasting room Monday through Friday.

Our white paper will be published in the coming weeks. If you are interested in receiving a copy, and you work within the wine industry, leave me your comment with email address.

Inner Architect recently compiled findings from a 12-week project we completed a few weeks ago for a boutique Napa Valley winery. Using a CRM tool, we tracked all our efforts and measured the results. The rates in which we converted messages to visitors–unheard of in email or postal campaigns--speaks to the power of targeting, personalized messages, and most importantly, 1:1 marketing.

The Campaign

We were working with a small budget that afforded only an average of 7.5 hours of time per week. Our goal was to generate traffic to the tasting room during the week, Monday through Friday only. We recommended that we could be most effective with a special offer, so we ran with a complimentary tasting for 2 offer.

The Measured Results

A CRM approach to this project provided us with the ability to measure the results of our campaign. Anyone who says that you can’t measure the ROI of social media simply hasn’t thought out the measurement points and set up a disciplined system for tracking.

Our CRM reports tallied that we made 260 unique offers in the 12-week period. These 260 offers were not mass blasts into the general stream. They were targeted messages delivered via Twitter’s @mention feature to prospects we identified using Twitter search.

We sent 84 people to the tasting room, with an average of 3.4 people per visit. That’s a gross conversion rate of 32% generated from 25 users, or a net conversion rate of nearly 10%. Anyone who has experience measuring email or postal campaigns understands that these rates are untouchable in the “traditional” channels.

Key ROI Finding

By keeping track of our efforts, we were able to uncover a key indicator that a prospect will convert to a visitor. Comparing the response rates of the group that visited the tasting room to the non-visitor group enabled us to see that 84% of the visitors responded to our first tweet effort versus only 26% of the non-visitors.

What this possibly points to is an opportunity to increase ROI by investing time only in prospects who respond to our first tweet and shifting more time in searching for targeted propects.

Twitter as a Direct Marketing Solution

A white paper is now in the works to describe more fully how Twitter can be utilized as a direct marketing solution. If you are interested in receiving a copy, email us your request and we’ll send you a copy when it’s done.

Parkwhiz.com: Find Your Dream Parking Spot

Have you ever dreamed of driving into your favorite sold out concert, sporting event, or major bash knowing you would have a front row primo parking space just waiting for you? If you have the willingness to pay a premium, I have the service you have been waiting for all your life: ParkWhiz.com .

The following is a description provided by ParkWhiz on how they can help you find the impossible parking spot.

ParkWhiz: How it Works

Get a guaranteed, reserved parking spot near hundreds of top destinations across the U.S. using ParkWhiz.

Find Your Parking

ParkWhiz.com offers reserved parking for hundreds of locations across the US, including stadiums, theaters, and airports.

Purchase

When you find parking that meets your needs, you can reserve it immediately at the specified price. Click the Reserve Now button. Your parking is fully paid for – there are no extra fees or surcharges when you park.

Print or E-Ticket

After you successfully purchase your parking space, you’ll instantly receive an electronic ticket for you to print at your convenience. Select locations also offer the option of using an e-ticket on your smart phone.

Park

When you arrive to park your car, present your ParkWhiz reservation receipt to the parking attendant who will show you to your parking spot. Your reserved spot is already paid for and waiting for you, so just park and be on your way!

How Important is Influence Within Social Media?

Influence is a hotly debated subject within Social Media circles. Many people believe that your influence, within social networks, is your most valuable commodity. Others believe that influence is often overrated and rarely measured with all relevant factors taken into consideration. Yet long before social media existed, influence was often considered critical in the sales process. Whether you believe in it or not you should consider Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence: Science and Practice”

Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence


  1. Reciprocation: If you take care of your customers, your customers will take care of you
  2. Scarcity: It’s easier to tell something that people perceive as popular and in short supply
  3. Authority: The customer will believe in you if you’re knowledgeable
  4. Commitment: If your customer publicly commits to an order or request, he’s likely to go through with the sale
  5. Liking: Ever bought something from someone you disliked? Every turned down someone you liked?
  6. Consensus: It’s easier to close a sale if everyone around is also buying your product

Guy Kawasaki’s One Tip to Becoming The Effective E-Mailer

In my previous article “Pingdom’s 2010 Internet by the Numbers” one of the most amazing, yet easy to believe, statistics was the fact that 89.1% of all emails are spam. In many cases people send emails that are not spam but because of the subject line or length, their efforts are deleted because they appear to be spam.

Guy Kawasaki describes 13 tips to becoming the effective e-mailer in his book “Reality Check.” Although each tip is worthy of mention, one in particular is the platinum standard: Keep it Short.

Keep it Short

Instead of diluting Guy’s tip by paraphrasing or interpreting it, I am going to provide this tip verbatim:

“The ideal length for an e-mail is five sentences. The ideal content level is one idea. If you’re asking something reasonable of a reasonable recipient, simply explain who you are in one or two sentences and get to the ‘ask.’ If it’s not reasonable don’t ask at all. My theory is that people who tell their life-story suspect that their request is on shaky ground so they try to build up a case to soften up the recipient. Another very good reason to keep it short is that you never know where your e-mail will end up- anywhere from your minister to the attorney general.”

Conclusion

The most important ideas within this tip:

  • The ideal length of an e-mail is five sentences
  • The ideal content level is one idea
  • If it’s not reasonable don’t ask

10 Simple Ingredients to Utilizing Social Media

Understanding how to leverage social media is like learning to cook. No matter how sophisticated your skills become, the best way to “cook” is to stick to the simple ingredients. Keep it simple stupid aka KISS rule is the most effective advice I can give any of the late adopters just beginning to understand social media. What does it mean to stick to the simple ingredients?

10 Simple Ingredients to Utilizing Social Media


  1. Plan: you must have a master plan for your Social Media efforts
  2. Objective: identify your goals and business objectives in utilizing Social Media
  3. Networks: identify which network(s) you will utilize.
  4. Audience: where are your customers/prospects? Which social networks are they using?
  5. Tools: identify which tool(s), third party applications, that will help you automate and save time in executing your plan
  6. Measurement: how will you measure your Social Media efforts? Without measurement strategy, you will never know how effective you are or can become
  7. Honesty: be true to your style, your company mantra, stay within your philosophies. Don’t be something you are not
  8. Communication Mix: do not spam a network with hard sell messages. Ensure your communication mix is giving value 70% and serving your sales needs 30% of the time
  9. Avatar: use pictures of people, or you, as often as possible when branding your social network profile
  10. Commitment: if you are going to utilize a social network then you must be present, communicate, and engage consistently. This is not a part time endeavor!

Solutions: The Key to Connecting With People

When you are out at a networking event or meeting new people how do you answer the question: “What do you do?” If you are like most people you begin to dust off your elevator pitch in an attempt to dazzle and wow the questioner. Unfortunately your efforts to impress people with your “standard” elevator pitch is often the very reason why you do not connect. Eric Tsai’s “Creating the unforgettable elevator pitch” is a fantastic strategy that will improve your ability to connect and create business relationships.

Are you a Macro or Micro?

Most people when presenting their case for others to connect with them regurgitate two types of answers to the question: “What do you do?”

Micro: a micro pitch  describes a person’s daily tasks, the mechanics of their job or business

Macro: a macro pitch describes the industry a person works within

Using either the Micro or Macro pitch is a mistake because, in most cases, neither pitch provides solutions to the problem(s) the person asking you what you do really wants to hear.

How can you help people?

The way to connect with people when they ask the question “What do you do?” is to “focus in on how you help people- specifically, the problem(s) that you solve.” As Tasai states “The ugly truth is nobody really cares about what you do; it’s about how you do it.”

Conclusion

If you and your business provide solutions to the problems your targeted prospect is experiencing in their business, you should use your  pitch to describe those solution(s). By being succinct and direct with your answer, you will begin to connect and create a curiosity in your prospective networking partner.