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What’s Dad Doing Here? 2.oh no

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Web2.0 as it is, claims to be new.  Many in the tech and web design industry claim truthfully that it is nothing new- I agree with this, sort of.  Honestly, clean style sites have been around for a very long time, ask Apple Computer.  The idea of a fresh clean page with little clutter that gets to the point in a way that speaks to a consumer rather than selling to the consumer is maybe where web2.0 may have a right to claim itself as new.  The “New Style of Professional Copy” is in and of itself something web2.o has given professionals  permission to just be themselvesThank God

Blogging today is explosive, there is no denying that in any way shape or form, and has many believing that it is the new way to tap into the growing market.  Add to that social networking sites that seem to spring up daily, and you get a sense that there must be some truth that we can somehow market to the new and newer 20-30 somethings using this platform.  The fact is, many come across as Dad at the college sorority party– this was pointed out recently in the latest copy of GQ magazine in reference to political candidates using the social networking arena to spew more politics.  Watching Hillary on a video being funny and herself has its advantages if the audience likes Hillary, but if they never liked her in the first place, chances are she will come across as Mom at a high school school dance. Yuk.

The stakes are high with mainly the 20-30 somethings being up for grabs, social networking could potentially retrain entire demos to do business in new ways and Realtors will want to be at that party as well as virtually thousands of other industries.  The problem is, how are you perceived?  Are you the elephant in the room?  Do you convey?  Do you speak their language?  Chances are you don’t.  A Realtor calling another Realtor a fat cat (using 70’s vernacular) is just another moron to a younger demo because the idea that you say fat cat somehow makes you cool and somehow relates to me is presumptuous- the plastic Realtor who is old and is trying to be younger comes across as old and trying to be younger, nothing more than another dork ignored at the party. The truth is, web2.o says be yourself, not someone else- why insult their intelligence?

It has always been my opinion that social networking sites are a fad, but will not go away, therefore you must embrace it. These sites will morph into something much greater, the way bellbottoms morphed into the tapered legged jeans some of you still wear.  1980s called, they want their jeans back– but anyway… It is advantageous for any and all business to get into the conversations buyers and sellers want to have.  It is also advantageous to understand the ideas web2.o present and what they do not or you may end up spinning yourself out of business because you’ve completely lost all credibility to all demographics.  Relating as it relates to conversation is just that, relating, not giving up who or what you are as a professional.  Inviting in and respecting a know it all consumer will only add value to your conversation because the perspective becomes grounded in reality- how it really relates. This makes this concept an exciting must participate opportunity for Realtors even if you aren’t quite sure how to fit in.

It is my humble opinion that blogging is also fad.  Believing that all humans want to broadcast their thoughts beliefs and emotions online or read yours is absurd.  However, what social networkers really do enjoy is the human interaction via technology- chat functions and the ability to wink at a cute girl from a distance without the fear of all out rejection.   This is where I believe the smart money will be spent- creating that human interaction functionality for a consumer to interact without actually having to step into the salesmans den.  A get to know you courtship by reading YOU, who YOU are, what YOU like, and what YOU stand for- developing a sort of personal connection that allows a real comfort zone for the consumer as well as the ability to join a conversation of personal interest. A webpage was close, but lets face it, it missed the mark in the sense that it actually made the business look bigger and not so approachable. 

Web2.o is old hack.  The new name begs a web-second-point-oh look at the internet, technology online, and the opportunity it gives to business and consumers is simply a cry for attention- RE-INVEST in us!  “The dotcom didn’t really bust, we just shed off the bloated and not so informed.”  Web2.o is a fashion trend, possibly a very expensive one over the long term with 2.o v2.3 beta soon to be released. But this 2.0 version is permitting  you to change your site to something a little more lose and baggy with less fringe.  It is also permission to change your copy to more of yourself or corporate philosophy as opposed to the professional jarg consumers have always heard- but as with any trend, it will change.  Colors will change, technology will change, information will become more fluid and ever changing, because now you’re blogging with the consumer shaping the topic and content- but the one thing that should not change is you.  You are the one constant from now until then and your reader wants to know you the product

So, are you the elephant in the social networking room?

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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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Austin Realtor's Wife

    June 6, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    This is my favorite RealtorGenius article so far. You’ve really captured what so many are missing in the blogosphere. It isn’t about teaching an old dog (or plastic smarmy Realtor) new tricks, it’s about giving a relatable platform to businesses in general.

    Great work!!!

  2. Jonathan Dalton

    June 6, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    My daughter set me up for a MySpace page. I never look at it. Yet I keep getting messages weekly from an agent who insists on weekend broadcast e-mails.

    Maybe it’s working. I dunno. I’m just too old to deal with it, to be honest. And I know it.

  3. B. R.

    June 6, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    lol I feel your pain…

  4. Loren Nason

    June 7, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Well said.

    I completely agree with you that Social Networking and Blogging is the new Fad and at the same time do believe it is here to stay. The hype might die down but it won’t die because social networking and blogging feed every humans desire to gossip about something.

    Yes its all gossip and I love reading it all. I actually have convinced myself that I learn something from all the blogs I read.

    I am addicted to blogs and i just signed up to yours.

    Loren

  5. B. R.

    June 7, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Loren- Why thank you, it’s awesome to have you!

  6. john harper

    June 8, 2007 at 6:08 am

    First time here. Great post, to the point that I have subscribed to follow your genius for a while.

  7. Chris Lengquist

    June 8, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Exactly. I find my clients that come from my blog use the blog as a quiet stalker. They can peek in on me, my business beliefs and thoughts without actually having to talk to me. If they see I present no immediate danger and might actually know what I’m doing, they call. Works perfectly for both parties.

  8. Agent Scoreboard

    June 8, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    I’m don’t know quite how something can be a “fad” and yet be here to stay… but I think your point is made, however I don’t think we have any choice but to get a myspace page (here is mine: https://www.myspace.com/agentscoreboard/)
    and talk. I don’t think the Google generation is going to come to us.

    As a card caring member of the yahoo generation that has been developing internet applications for over 10 years I can tell you that more than just looks have changed in web 2.0. Never before have we been able to so easily create and share such rich content. I can RSS your whole blog and that of others to create a community of information that “I” want and that is important to me, I can find information about something and what others think of it. I can manipulate data from multiple sources in new and exciting ways and then convey that to my friends.

    What I think what is more interesting is the creation of media darlings based on their online presence like the ones I write about here https://www.agentscoreboard.com/blog/2007/06/05/do-you-know-allison-stokke/

    Good blog… I love austin…

  9. Kris Berg

    June 9, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Bravo! I see evolution taking place. We all have these blogs. Neat. We pulled it off. Now what the hell do we do with them? Turning the corner from hobbiest (like one who takes up golf because everyone else is playing) to business blogger is a tricky maneuver and our next challenge. Great post.

  10. B. R.

    June 9, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Scoreboard…
    >It has always been my opinion that social networking sites are a fad, but will not go away, therefore you must embrace it. These sites will morph into something much greater, the way bellbottoms morphed into the tapered legged jeans some of you still wear…< Fads morph, they are further developed into greater things by consumer demand- point being, ignoring this will only put you further behind in the game. As for web2.o being more than... the basis for my comment is just that, the basis... this too has grown into so much more that you have no choice but to ride the wave. The objective is, not losing who you are or your message as a professional along the way. These are fast changing enviorns. Thanks for commenting! On my way to 6Flags! Thanks Kris, it is a pleasure to have you by! Don't be a stranger... BR

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Business Marketing

The secret to crafting consistently high-converting emails?

(BUSINESS 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.

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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

Restaurant chains are using COVID to masquerade as indie food pop ups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Applebee’s and Chuck E. Cheese appear on delivery apps under aliases. Is this a shifty marketing scheme or a legitimate practice?

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chuck e cheese pizza

Restaurants have pivoted hard to stay alive during dine-in shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some are selling grocery items like eggs, flour, and yeast (check out the pantry section at the Brewtorium!) while others have created meal kits so families can cook up their restaurant favorites at home.

Meanwhile, a few large chains have been busted for re-branding their kitchens to sell more meals. A reddit user in Philadelphia reported that they ordered pizza from Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings thinking it was a local business they had yet to try, only to learn it shared a kitchen with Chuck E. Cheese. As it turns out, Pasqually is a member of Munch’s Make Believe Band, the terrifying mascot band led by murine bad body Chuck E. Cheese. Pasqually is the confusingly human drummer (and Italian pizza chef?), joined by lead canine guitarist Jasper T. Jowls, sweetheart chicken Helen Henny on the tambourine and vocals, and the dinosaur? Closet monster? D-list muppet? Mr. Munch on the keys.

Though this inter-species band should be disturbing enough for us all to rethink our childhood memories of Chuck E. Cheese (let’s be honest, Disney World should be the only place allowed to have adults parading around in giant mouse costumes) what’s more upsetting is the competition it creates with locally owned restaurants. In West Philadelphia, there is another restaurant called Pasqually’s Pizza.

Chuck E. Cheese is not the only restaurant re-branding to save their hides. Applebee’s has launched a “brand extension” called Neighborhood Wings. Customers can order larger quantities of wings (up to 60!) from Neighborhood Wings, but not Applebee’s. You know, for all of the large parties people have been hosting lately (thanks COVID-19).

This restaurant run-around is further evidence of the noise created by third party delivery apps. GrubHub, Postmates, and others have been criticized for taking huge commissions from already low-margin restaurants, and providing little added value to profitability and industry worker wages. Using these platforms as a means to build shell restaurants for large national chains is just another example of third party apps doing a disservice to both its clients and customers.

Of course, Applebee’s and Chuck E. Cheese are franchises. If one wanted to go out on a limb for these brands, it could be argued that they are indeed ‘local’ businesses if their owners are local franchisees. The third party apps are simply another platform for businesses to gain a competitive edge against one another within a specific customer segment. Furthermore, consumers should hold themselves accountable for their patronage choices and doing their due diligence when investigating new pizza and wings options.

Nonetheless, it behooves all of us in this pandemic to get to know our neighbors, and build relationships with the small businesses that are the lifeblood of a community. Restaurants exist thanks to local customers. Try placing your order directly on their website, or give them a call. I am a restaurant worker, and I truly am happy to take your order.

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Business Marketing

Restaurants might actually lose money through Grubhub and similar services

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Restaurant owners are asking themselves if third-party food delivery apps are nothing more than a good, old-fashioned shakedown.

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grubhub site

If you haven’t seen the GrubHub receipt that has everyone outraged, you probably should. It exposed the food delivery apps for their unreasonably high commissions and excessive charges to the restaurants (on top of the changes to the consumer).

Many people, in an honest attempt to support local restaurants while staying home and safe these days, have started ordering out from their favorite small, local eateries. And they should! This could be the lifeline that allows those restaurants to survive being closed for upwards of a month. However, if they order through a third-party food delivery service, they need to know that a good chunk of their money goes to the service, not the local business. Plus they are paying extra for the service.

It’s a big bummer, to say the least, a bamboozle some might say. Why would restaurants agree to use these services at all, then, if they aren’t beneficial? Well, they initially served the purpose of helping smaller restaurants and food trucks sell to a wider customer base without having to incur the cost and manage the logistics of offering delivery. Not all of the charges are immediately apparent, either, although I am sure they are in the business agreement.

GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats all charge eateries a commission between 15%-30% to even work with them. This is for the most basic level of service. When GrubHub, for example, wants to stimulate more sales, they may offer a deal to consumers. This could be a dollar amount or percentage off of a customer’s order or free delivery.

Everybody loves a deal, so these promotions are effective. They drive more sales, yay. The restaurants, however, incur the full cost of the promotion. You would imagine GrubHub would share that cost, but no, they don’t. If that weren’t unscrupulous enough, GrubHub then charges the business the commission on the full, not discounted, price of the order. Unctuous, right?

Sure, restaurants have to opt in for these specials and other promotions the third-party apps are marketing, so they know there’s a fee. Yet, if they don’t opt in, they won’t appear as an option for the deal in the app. It’s deceptive, feels like a bit of extortion to me. All of these delivery apps have some sort of similar way to rack up fees. For a mom-and-pop food truck or restaurant, the commissions and fees soon eat away at the already small profit margins restaurants usually have.

It’s simply wrong, so wrong. But wait, there’s more! Another nasty, duplicitous practice GrubHub (specifically GrubHub) has implemented, with Yelp’s help, is to hijack the restaurant’s phone number on Yelp. This means if you look up your favorite restaurant on Yelp, and call in an order from the Yelp platform, your call will actually go to GrubHub instead. And get this–they charge the restaurant even if you pick up the order yourself, not only for delivery.

These third-party companies have even started buying up domain names similar to the restaurants to further fool patrons into ordering through them. They also have added restaurants to their platforms, even if the restaurants haven’t agreed to work with them. They seem willing to do anything to get a cut of restaurants’ hard earned dough (and ours). Loathsome! How are these scams even legal?

It happened to me recently. I kept trying to order for pickup at the restaurant, but somehow the order kept going through GrubHub. Bamboozled!

RVB bamboozled

This boils my blood and breaks my heart for these restaurants. In my other life, I am a blogger for a hyperlocal blog whose sole purpose is to highlight, celebrate, and promote local everything. I’m also the internal marketing chair for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, where we work with local restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and such to promote them and help raise their visibility in the community.

I only bring this up, because I’ve sat with these restaurant and food truck owners, listened to their stories, seen the fire in their eyes as they talk about their recipes. They’ve regaled me with stories of how they got started, what inspires them, and when they had their first successful day. It’s delightful to see the intensity of their enthusiasm for sharing good food with people and how much of themselves they put into their restaurants.

In the original post that lifted the curtain on this shady practice, the Chicago Pizza Boss food truck owner Giuseppe Badalamenti, says the money he got from his GrubHub orders was “almost enough to pay for the food.” Badalamenti had participated in some promotions, which admittedly reduced his cut dramatically, yet the whole premise came as a shock to customers who have been spending their dollars to keep these local businesses afloat. Then here comes the third-party apps, poking a hole in the floaties.

It comes across as downright predatory. Thousands of people have sworn off these apps in favor of calling the restaurant directly for pickup if you are able. This way, you ensure the business you want to support gets the full bill amount. You can get the restaurant’s number directly from Google Maps or the business’s social media or website. This is the best way to help your favorite places stay in business.

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