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Business Marketing

Creating an Impression – Very Impressive



Good News!

The bad thing about a business card is that generally it goes in the pocket with the stack of 50 other cards you’ve been handed, but a great thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Pictured above is the business card of @jonray (on Twitter) that he handed me at the Austin Mashable party this past week (which was a blast, by the way). I must confess that I was blown away. Why was I blown away? Because I wanted to take the time to deconstruct it carefully so that I would be able to reconstruct it. I wanted to examine this “note” he passed me at the party in place of a card.What was even more impressive is that when he handed it to @khartline of Mashable, guess where it went? I won’t say where she tucked it, but if you think back to high school, it’s where you hope a pretty girl will keep your love note…

It Made Me Wonder…

So the point of this clever little conversation starter is that @jonray took the time to create an impression, and it made me wonder- do we look for opportunities to create an impression in everything we do, even as small as a business card? If it still looks like a business card, maybe not.

Do You Have to be Cutesy?

Should agents make cute folded notes for potential clients? Maybe not, but I imagine that with inspiration like this, one of you is already cooking up a way to “create an impression” right now.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I think it’s brilliant.

  2. Ken Brand

    August 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    It’s remarkable, thanks for sharing.

    Think about those indelible first impressions, the first mental image, the opening riff. Great writers open with it. Great films open with it. The Symphony Conductor lifts her baton. Listen to the opening riff of great Rock n Roll songs, you recognize the first two seconds instantly forever.

    Want to move people? Open BIG = First mental image/emotion/impact Close BIG = Last mental image/emotion/impact.

    For example, your image posts does that in red spades.

    Rock ON – kb

  3. Candy Lynn

    August 4, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I’s say Hugh -@gapingvoid may just have some competition!

  4. Holli Boyd

    August 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    reaction in one word – awesome

  5. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    It’s the little, unique things that people remember, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing- great idea!

  6. Jayson

    August 5, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Everyone always says to make an impression, or to be creative, but it’s 1000 times better to see a great example first hand.

  7. first time home buyers loan

    August 5, 2008 at 2:31 am

    its really mind blowing man !

  8. Jennifer in Louisville

    August 5, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Interesting spin on an old concept. Definitely made an impression. (Though I wonder how truly effective it will be long term. At the end of the day, you are left with a very large, and easily damaged record of his information. In 6 months, will you still have his contact info – or will the most you remember be “the cool dude, don’t recall his name, that gave me the note on paper”.

    I think inserting his “real” card INSIDE the note would have been even better. It would have still gotten his point across – and given you something more durable/convenient for actual use in the long run.

  9. Eric Blackwell

    August 5, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I think it was a great way to get the attention of the recipient. Like Jennifer, I think that there may be some real value in having the professional business card there as well. Shows them that you can do both. Make a great impression AND be professional.


  10. Glenn fm Naples

    August 5, 2008 at 7:30 am

    A very good technique to be different. In addition, to being different – you can read the printing. No matter how a kewl an idea – someone has to be able read it.

    Benn – you should have added a disclaimer – this technique can only be used by those individuals whose printing is legible. 🙂

  11. Benn Rosales

    August 5, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Interesting that another card be used, and maybe he had one, but in this one instance, his approach was compelling, if you read his blog, he even had a plan before attending the conference and wrote about it. He had a goal, he set it, and he executed and he made connections- myself being one of them.

    I’m not easially impressed by people, but in this case, it was a total package. I agree that not everyone will be this deliberate and as polished, but that’s why I said this isn’t for everyone, but how about looking harder at the details.

  12. Jon Ray

    August 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for the write-up! A lot of great advice here in the comments section. Just wanted to say to #8 & #9 that I agree and I already have had a graphic artist draw up the cards that will be inserted into the folded pieces, but at this particular conference, they were not printed yet.

    I also think that it is important to always follow up with people on a regular basis. It’s true that a person might lose or damage the paper contact I was giving out, but I make sure to follow up with all of my contacts multiple times a year, so that they will always remember who I am. The point is that by making a knock-out first impression, they will welcome any other correspondence that I send in the future.

    Thanks, again to everyone who commented. I’d encourage you to continue the discussion over at my blog, if you like. At The Papertank we are constantly creating unique marketing ideas for our clients and I would love to get into a discussion about other things that have stood out to you and made a lasting impression.


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Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?



Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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Business Marketing

Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?

[BUSINESS MARKETING] Would you rather pay less but still pay for shipping, or pay more with free shipping? They may cost the same, but one appeals more than the other.



Person standing over pacakge, sealing with masking tape.

When it comes to competing with huge corporations like Amazon, there are plenty of hurdles that smaller businesses have to cross. Corporations can (and do) undercut the competition, not to mention garner a much larger marketing reach than most small businesses could ever dream of achieving. But this time, we want to focus on something that most people have probably chosen recently: Free shipping.

How important is free shipping to consumers? Well, in a 2018 survey, Internet Retailer discovered that over 50% of respondents said that free shipping was the most important part of online shopping. In fact, when given a choice between fast or costless shipping, a whopping 88% of those surveyed chose the latter option.

Part of this has to do with the fact that shipping costs are often perceived as additional fees, not unlike taxes or a processing fee. In fact, according to Ravi Dhar, director of Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, if it’s between a discounted item with a shipping fee or a marked up item with free shipping, individuals are more likely to choose the latter – even if both options cost exactly the same amount.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dhar refers to the economic principle of “pain of paying,” but the short answer is simply that humans are weird.

So, how do you recapture the business of an audience that’s obsessed with free shipping?

The knee jerk reaction is to simply provide better products that the competition. And sure, that works… to some extent. Unfortunately, in a world where algorithms can have a large effect on business, making quality products might not always cut it. For instance, Etsy recently implemented a change in algorithm to prioritize sellers that offer free shipping.

Another solution is to eat the costs and offer free shipping, but unless that creates a massive increase in products sold, you’re going to end up with lower profits. This might work if it’s between lower profits and none, but it’s certainly not ideal. That’s why many sellers have started to include shipping prices in the product’s overall price – instead of a $20 necklace with $5 shipping, a seller would offer a $25 necklace with free shipping.

This is a tactic that the big businesses use and it works. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

That said, not everyone can join in. Maybe, for instance, a product is too big to reasonably merge shipping and product prices. If, for whatever reason, you can’t join in, it’s also worth finding a niche audience and pushing a marketing campaign. What do you offer that might be more attractive than the alluring free shipping? Are you eco-friendly? Do you provide handmade goods? Whatever it is that makes your business special, capitalize on it.

Finally, if you’re feeling down about the free shipping predicament, remember that corporations have access to other tricks. Amazon’s “free” prime shipping comes at an annual cost. Wal-Mart can take a hit when item pricing doesn’t work out. Even if your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped, take heart: You’re facing giants.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.



Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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