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How to Abuse Your Friends



Ooh, shiny!

Ooh, I see great potential in friend abuse here… I was online last week and somehow came across– it is a group calling service that allows you to record a greeting and they send it out over the phone for you. With their free account, you are allowed one mass message per day to up to 25 numbers or with a paid account up to 20,000 phone numbers all within a few minutes. It’s a smart bugger too- it recognizes when a call gets voicemail and doesn’t start saying your message until voicemail can record the whole thing!

It can also email the message to recipients in addition to playing the message back in a phone call, there are several ways to import phone numbers and contact information and they offer call reports for seeing exactly what happened with each one of your calls.

Business Uses for DialMyCalls

  • Remind staff of upcoming meetings or changes.
  • Notify clients of newly available listings or price changes. You could have a button on your site for people to sign up to be notified via phone (not everyone cares to check back online).
  • Let your call list know of any upcoming events- parties, networking events, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Have a button for people to sign up to hear daily or weekly headlines from your site “on the go” to see if they should rush to the computer.

What other business uses can you see this tool being used for (and please don’t say telemarketer)?

Smarty-pants reasons/ways to use it:

  • Groom your telemarketing skills in case the second mortgage tsunami hits.
  • Send a daily recording of things the voices inside your head tell you to send to your friends and family.
  • Instead of sending jokes via email (like Wonderful Russ), send them over the phone. That way everyone knows it’s actually funny because they hear you laugh.
  • Record yourself saying “I love you guys so much” in mushy voice and play it into the phone. Send the recording to your parents every morning until they can no longer say “you never call anymore.”
  • Contact other bloggers to let them know it’s red mitten day or that everyone should wear their shirts with popped collars.
  • MY FAVORITE: Abuse your friends by sending the Jingle Bells song sung by dogs. On every Friday in June.

Caveat Emptor:

Remember, when using any sort of phone dialer like this, you must comply with all FCC regulations and you cannot contact anyone on the federal No Call List. Be sure you are in compliance with all laws and please for the love of kittens, don’t abuse this tool (especially by recording anything while angry, drunk, sad, or driving on IH-35). Also, don’t use this to call me, I actually hate recordings and won’t ever sign up for them (but you can send me Jingle Bells songs).

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Sherry Baker

    December 27, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    k you made me come and look to see what was going on today on AG, and you made me laugh. And think: hmmm, whom can I use & abuse with this awesome technology? I’d never had to speak to another client again, just a weekly automated jingle of their line to tell them their home is still listed, we had some showings, and “talk to you soon”. Sounds like a plan… ;P

  2. Ken Brand

    December 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Some would say, someone’s like my team of Realtor Icons, that I’ve deployed a telephonic version of Chinese Water Torture or against the Geneva Conventions – telephonic water boarding.

    Amazing tools of the trade being created and launched everyday. Don’t know if this is my cup of tea.

    I do know I REALLY appreciate hearing about the latest and greatest…thanks for sharing.

  3. Elaine Reese

    December 27, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Sounds like the company that handled all those political robo calls is trying to find a new use for their technology!


    Seriously, the county I live in has a CodeRED alert system, where they call our phone numbers based on our address, if there is a tornado warning/siting that might hit our house. They can make 60K calls per hour. The first/last time they used it, the warning had expired by the time some of us got the call. 🙂

  4. Doug Devitre

    December 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I love it. I like to have fun with clients over the phone. Thanks for sharing.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?




Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.



Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.



Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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