5 Reasons to Use PicApp Free Images on Your Blog

Bloggers are constantly faced with finding media, specifically pictures, that will both draw the attention of their audience and entertain. One of the biggest challenges is finding pictures that are not copyright protected. Beyond mining the Wikipedia’s of the world for your photo content, the best picture resource is PicApp.com.

5 Reasons to Use PicApp

  • Free: the images are free to use
  • Copyright: there is not copyright infringement possibilities as Pic App allows you to use their library of photos without legal ramifications
  • Ease of Use: it is very simple to cut and paste the embed code into any blog article
  • Search Engine Optimization: according to PicApp “All PicApp images include the right meta-data to assist search engines index the images and your posts better.”
  • More Traffic: high quality images improve your blog content, help to ensure people stay on your blog longer, and helps to facilitate return visits to your blog

Open House Tips: 3 Steps To Marketing On Sundays

Open House signCourtesy RealtySignXpress.comF

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 9-24-09

How many of you Realtors are guilty of arriving at your open house, spending 30 minutes setting up flyers and marketing materials, and then sitting back and reading the paper? Making phone calls to friends? Feeling bored with nothing to do? Be honest and don’t lie to yourself. If that is the scenario for any of you, I have an alternative activity that will help your business.

Step 1: The Laptop

  • Display an open laptop, online, with pages open to your Facebook Business page
  • Display a second tab with your Twitter account
  • Call to action by asking Open House attendees to “fan” your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter

Step 2: List Building

  • Provide your standard Sign-in sheet but place it next to the Laptop(s)
  • Display a third tab that allows Open House attendees to sign up for your “newsletter” online giving them the option to join you in the “real world” or online

Step 3: Your Blog

  • Display your blog in a fourth tab
  • Call to action by asking Open House attendees to RSS subscribe to your blog
  • Write a blog article about your open house and describe the city, neighborhood, and the property-your online sales pitch

Conclusion: Benefit-Takeaways

1. If Open House attendees do not know anything about blogging, facebook, twitter or social media-this is an Opportunity to provide them with a nice introduction to social media-tutor them (on the spot) if they are willing

2. The Laptop becomes your “coffee table book” a point of curiousity and a conversation starter.

Children’s Tip: Kids hate Open Houses and parents drag them into open houses all the time. If you are bold and want to keep the children inline, set up (with client permission) a non violent playstation game for the kids to play while the parents stroll the property

Wine Marketing: Direct to Consumer Challenges and Opportunities


The acronym “DTC” aka direct to consumer is one of the most important concepts the wine industry as a whole must leverage in order to survive and thrive during our challenging economic times. Direct to consumer sales provide opportunities for  higher profit margins, increased special event sales, and to sell the ever vitally important wine club memberships. Yet with all that is riding on DTC, the awareness of the power of social media marketing as a sales channel remains under appreciated and under utilized.

Case in point, the Winebusiness.com “Direct to Consumer: 2009 Tasting Room Report.” Most interesting in this report are the hurdles or “barriers to maximizing DTC potential for all wineries. The reported challenges as well as  the opportunities to overcome the challenges may surprise you.

Common Barriers to Maximizing DTC Potential

  1. Compliance and Shipping: (39 percent) believe issues of compliance and shipping “still outweigh all other barriers
  2. Lack of Resources: (17 percent)  people, time and money
  3. Effective Technology and Systems: (13 percent)
  4. Acquiring Customers: (13 percent) aka lead generation
  5. Marketing Tools: (13 percent) believe a lack of DTC marketing tools like customer relationship marketing (CRM) and Web analytics

Opportunities to Maximizing DTC Potential

  1. Tasting Room Software: according to the report there are many online systems available to greatly reduce the challenges of shipping and compliance
  2. Lack of Resources: the three resources in question are people, time, and money. The answers should include social media marketing training to help key employees. The other solution is to hire a social media marketing agency to perform monthly marketing maintence and run your marketing program
  3. Effective Technology and Systems: nothing was specified. The obvious technologies that could improve DTC sales would be a blog and a social media marketing plan-strategy to engage with consumers on Facebook, and Twitter. Placing laptops in the tasting room so consumers can directly fan your Facebook winery page or follow your Twitter account(s) creates a bridge from real world to online world.
  4. “Acquiring Customers”: this challenge (lead generation) could be addressed with a DTC Twitter strategy in concert with a Facebook company page for customer relationship management
  5. Marketing Tools: CRM would be the role of a strategically implemented Facebook company page that engaged consumers and created “Call to Action” messaging.  Web analytic measurement tools could be implemented to measure each message delivered in specific channels including the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter for the messages relevance or effectiveness

Sell Wine or Bust: Social Media Is A Winery’s Secret Weapon to Survival

Wine cellar

Computer Shopper published this deansguide article 9-11-09

Is there empirical proof that social media sells wine? If you take my experience, as an example, it does sell wine. If you are a Chief Marketing Officer, Wine Tasting Room manager, or anyone tasked with selling wine you may say no to social media. You may have created a Facebook page. You may have registered on Twitter. You may have even established a blog. Yet all of your efforts have fallen flat with a resounding thud! No uptick in sales, no mad rush to the tasting room, no phone lines burning off the hook. What happened? You forgot to do a lot of something-here are 6 reasons nothing has happened yet:

  1. Participation: you set up your Twitter, Facebook, blog, and LinkedIn presences thinking they would run themselves with minimal participation- wrong
  2. Plan: you showed up on each network without a plan to engage, a strategy, or a purpose
  3. Call to Action: you don’t ask your audience to do anything; your messages simply make statements without a compelling reason for audience participation with you
  4. Targeting: you utilize the “more the merrier” approach where you will shotgun your messages without targeting the audience that is most interested in your products and services
  5. Twitter: you are not utlizing Twitter as a source of sales leads and list building with consumers as well as businesses
  6. Facebook: you are not utilizing Facebook as your customer relationship management tool to build and maintain customer loyalty
  7. Measurement: you are not developing a system to track and analyze which messages are working to engage with customers, which messages are eliciting a call to action. Without this information, you can NOT continually tweak your strategy and messages to improve results

Next Step Calls To Action: Ask For The Order Or Lose Your Business

PattonCourtesy George S. Patton Wiki

Business is a process of strategies that require next steps and calls to action. It is a process of moving forward. In the malady of economic conditions businesses face today, to not ask for the order or to not create a call to action for your consumers is the first step to complete collapse. Although social media is not about the hard sell in your face sales closing pitch; it does provide companies the space to ask for the order or create a call to action with the right tone and in due time.

If you do not ask your audience to take the next step, to do something you want them to do, or to invest in your company, your company will remain stagnant with little growth-and then fail.

7 Call to Action Examples

  1. Send me an invitation with a money saving incentive.
  2. Share links to valuable tips that I can use and associate with your products or services.
  3. Invite me to read spotlights or view photos of other customers experiencing your products or services.
  4. Make me aware of events associated with your products or services.
  5. Ask me for feedback on how you can make your product or service offerings more appealing.
  6. Invite me to share how your products or services are playing a role in my life.
  7. Educate me on how your products or services are helping others.

The bottom line: Message with purpose. Before you hit that magic “share” button, ask yourself if the message supports your business goals. Time is money.