Dear Brad of brad-slavin.com
Sorry for the confusion and the upsurge in traffic. I hope the redesign goes well.
I have had some emails requesting some insight into where the traffic is coming from. Well it started with Engadget yesterday and then spread to twitter and a few other sites. I am not really sure of where all the traffic is coming from because youtube does not have really good analytics – but here is a screencap of the bit.ly stats. Thanks for the folks at http://skitch.com/ who make this oooh so easy to do. (no not paid, nor sponsored – I just like their application)
Click for the bigger image.
Screencap from Youtube
I was reviewing the comment to views conversion rate on the youtube video and it really sucks. I think it works out to be .006% views to posts. Not complaining, but on the blog the numbers are yet unknown. I have started tracking in GA using the technique found at http://www.tdcreative.net/blog/how-to-track-wordpress-signups-and-comments-with-google-analytics/ but if anyone has a better method let me know.
Update – Just made the edits to track submisions, and I hope nothing broke. However if you need to reach me, just send email.
I woke up this morning and my cell phone was vibrating, I thought that it was a server that had gone down and these were the inbound emails…but alas it was just the deluge of emails from Youtube about my Microsoft Store video.
Link back to the Engadget posting – http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/17/microsoft-store-employees-break-out-in-dance-video/
Well back to the grind, feel free to poke around.
I just hope that Microsoft has a sense of humor. Some of those comments are scathing.
Last night on our way to a birthday party at the Derby Deli & Dueling Piano Bar – Lisa and I stopped in at The Shops at Mission Viejo mall to kill some time. Traffic from San Diego was a little hectic so I figured that some time spend doing some retail therapy might do some good.
As we walked into the mall I was confronted with the early signs of Christmas and while the prospect of walking the mall with “deck the halls” at my back brought a grimace to my face but the little kids running by the well lit displays made me remember what the holidays are all about.
Walking down the main corridor of the mall I saw a huge white banner that read “Microsoft Store – Now Open”. I guess I have been disconnected from the platform for quite a while because I did not even realize that Microsoft had store but I have heard so many great things about Windows 7 I just had to check it out. I half expected the store to be a bland uninspiring cheap knockoff of an Apple Store, but WOW was I in for a surprise.
From the moment you first step through the door you can feel it, something is special, something is electric in the air. So many smiling faces, so many people engaged and fully committed to the experience and NO I am not just taking about the employees the nearly sixty shoppers in the store were having a riveting experience interacting with what is clearly the future.
Words really can’t do the experience justice so here are some videos that I created on my new Kodak ZI8 in 1080p mode.
Project Natal is the next level of user interaction with a computer. I had not even heard about it, I guess like so many other things Microsoft it looks to be game and life changing.
We have all seen the previews of the interactive table but I actually had the chance to “interact” with it. The table uses 3D bar codes to determine what object has been laid down. I tried taking a picture of the bar code with my phone and displaying the picture to see if I could clone it, but no luck there.
Mid way through our visit the entire store broke out into song. Now I have seen this gimmick before at Coldstone Creamery and I know how they have been criticized in the media for it, but here it did not seem forced nor contrived, I would honestly say that this was the staff letting go, having some fun and not taking the brand all to seriously.
I was absolutely floored by this experience, Microsoft has made a bold move to capture new market share. I ordered a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate edition – I have been a hard core Mac person for the past five years, I completely bypassed the Windows Vista experience but something is telling me that I am at a precipice looking directly into the future. Oh, and I just canceled my order for the 27inch iMac quad, I need a little time to think it over.
Its easy to see that Microsoft primarily is a software company committed to changing the world through technical innovation and that Apple is a hardware company that is changing the world through design innovations. They need each other to push the limits of their own visions.
A quick list of some of my favorite marketing resources,
Marketingsherpa.com – One of the top research firms that track with is and is not working in all aspects of marketing. Well known for their charts of the week and whitepapers, their work is often cited by other top marketers.
marketingpilgrim.com – Stay current with the latest in online marketing news and developments.
Marketingprofs.com – Excellent marketing tools and advice for the marketing professional. Very timely and action oriented information that can be applied immediately to improve your success.
Quantcast.com – Especially their Media Planner tool, because you want to make the right media buying decisions based on vertical, demographics etc
Google Alerts – because you want to track what people are saying about your brand
pipl.com – A great way to do homework on prospects or clients.
ppchero.com – Learn potent pay-per-click strategies and tactics.
trendistic.com – Discover trends on Twitter.
Google Insight – With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties
sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/ – Seth is one of the cornerstone conversation creators for the Marketing world. He is a best selling author and trend setting in the marketing world.
web-strategist.com/blog/ – Jeremiah Owyang is a Web Strategist. I will not go so far as to call him a futurist but he is on the cusp of emerging communications including social media and the impact to the individual and to society.
kaushik.net/avinash/ – Avinash Kaushik has built the seminal site on web analytics and understanding the intention buried in the data.
marketingcharts.com – Chats and data for markers in Web and Excel format.
econsultancy.com – Home of Rebecca Lieb – an accomplished and potent author of SEO books. The site provides expert advice on improving digital marketing and e-commerce.
webinknow.com– Online marketing and PR, an excellent resource where David Meerman Scott asks some of the most provocative questions in marketing today.
thefuturebuzz.com – Adam Singer talks about spreading buzz online for whatever you are doing.
Thank you for your time on the phone today.
To confirm, we are meeting on (day of week), (day) at (time) for (minutes).
The purpose of the meeting it (state concisely the purpose of the meeting).
I would like to accomplish the following objectives:
At the end of the meeting we should have exchanged enough information to be able to determine if it makes sense for us to continue our dialogue, and, if so, to decide what are next step should be. If it is apparent that there is not a fit, we can close the file.
If these objectives are not consistent with your expectations, please let me know.
I look forward to seeing you on (date and time)
This simple format for writing a followup email for a meeting will go along way in establishing trust and credibility with your clients.
My favorite Google Voice feature is the ability to have all of my voice-mails transcribed and emailed to me. Most of the time there is about an eighty percent accuracy, or when it stumbles I can listen to the audio directly. For me it is a huge time saver when I am on the road or at a conference.
One of my biggest failings with Google Voice is that it was just not able to handle the voice-mail of my most common phone…my cell phone. Well the folks at Google have done it again and that feature is now available your cell phone because of a a new Google Voice feature.
The way it works is that Google handles the call via the remote call forward feature, the person on the other end of the phone hears a short announcement that Google Voice is trying to locate you, then your phone greeting is played and Google intercepts the recording. I must admit that this is pretty slick! I used to use a service to transcribe my emails but having the power of Google – this tops my list of favorite new cloud services.
To activate, click on the settings button in your Google Voice account and if you have your cell phone defined there will be an option to activate the service on your account. You then have to identify your phone Carrier, mine is Sprint and then you enter in a string of numbers to enable remote call forwarding.
The entire process took about 45 seconds to complete, and now I get my voice-mail transcribed and emailed to my phone. You do loose the ability to call into your Sprint voice-mail and retrieve your messages – but I have not yet encountered an issue where I needed to worry about this.
Chasing down positive review for your business can be daunting. Here is a quick template that I put together to ask for a positive online review using one or more of the common online review services like Google or Yelp.
Here is the background on why having online reviews of your business is important, not only for credibility but also for search engines optimization. I urge all of my clients with local businesses to use these online review services.
The Internet has come full circle, where once you could find anything you wanted in any part of the world, now the major search engines have placed a specific focus on connecting local businesses to local customers. Google and Yahoo have their maps integration but all of the major search engines are prioritizing local results above some of the most notable national brands. The challenge now is to rise above the local clutter of businesses in your area and do the things that have been proven to work in enhancing your local business listing.
One of the most critical aspects of local search optimization is having honest reviews of your business from your past and existing clients. One of the easiest ways to to this is simply to ask. You will never get anything if you don’t ask for it, and when you do here is a quick email template that you can use to help insure that if you gave excellent service that your customer will provide you with an excellent review.
It has been a while since we have spoken but I wanted to reach out to you and ask you a favor I am trying to expand my business and I have chosen to grow my practice by leveraging the Internet, I would like to ask you to positively review my services and the experience that you had with our firm on Google and Yelp/etc.
A typical review takes about 5 minutes to complete, and it mentions when we did business, your opinion of our services and perhaps it mentioned if you would consider referring me to a friend or doing business with us again in the future should the need arise. Online reviews are read by prospective clients and business partners and I am confident that the service that we provided to you would warrant a positive review.
However, if you feel that you would not be able to provide a positive review of your experience please stop what your are doing, and pick up the phone right now and call me at 111-222-3333 or responding to this email right now. I pride myself on providing excellent customer service and if for any reason you don’t feel that this was evident in your situation please let me know.
You can review my business at:
Link to google business listing
Link to Yelp Listing
Once again it just takes a few minutes, but your positive words can really help me grow my practice. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.
Business Owners Name
Pretty straightforward – if you want an online review of your business. Ask for it. But make sure that you use the term “positive review” so that you have a much higher likelihood of getting a great review. And if the person is unwilling to give you a positive review hopefully they will give you a call and let you know how you can make it right by them.
The Background Story – My Quest for a local bank in San Diego
About a year ago I opened an additional business account at Regents Bank in San Diego after checking with the bigger national banks in town. I spent about two weeks talking to a number of reps at the big box banks and they all had amazing features, online everything, account access anywhere, free this, free that and for a while I was tempted to just move my business to them. There was a guy at Wells Fargo that had me convinced that joining their institution would be the perfect fit for my business and that if I ever needed anything, a car loan, a business loan, a credit card, a merchant account, heck even a toaster…that Wells would take care of me.
I signed the paperwork and then called Jeffrey Wilber at Regents bank. I have known Jeff for about 5 years now, he sees me when I come into the bank every few weeks and we have had lunch a few times. I only had one question for him, really I was about to switch banks and I asked him, why I should stay with their small local bank.
His answer, the commitment that Regents Bank has not only to their customers but also to their employees. The people at the bank had been there a long time, they know the business and more importantly they know their customers. I thought about the glitz and glamour at Wells and I called the rep and asked him how long has been with the bank and what is goals were. He said about 11 months and he hoped to move to their private banking side, he told me that there would always be someone to take care of my account and not to worry there would be someone to take his place.
I called Jeff, and opened my additional account at Regents Bank and have been really happy ever since.
Fast Forward to 8:23am today. I get a phone call from the Regents Bank Fraud department to tell me that there was suspected fraudulent transactions on the account. A number of gasoline purchases were made in the past few hours in Iowa. I said, that the card was in my wallet and that these were not my charges. He said that he would close the account and I should go to the local Regents Bank office in La Jolla and get a new card.
Bank opened and I was in the door within just a few minutes. Behind the desk was a woman that I had never met before but I said “I am here because the fraud department called!” and her response was “Oh, you must be Brad from WebHEAT. Someone else is dealing with this but we all communicate and we were expecting you.” WOW. Did you hear that!? I am not the person responsible, but we all communicate and I will get you taken care of! I had NEVER met her. AMAZING.
They handled the issue is just a few minutes. And I was back to my day.
So to my FRIENDS at Regents Bank, Dan Yates, Jessica, Ryan, Cecilia, Ken, Jeff and the rest of the team that I have never even met. Thank you for operating a real community bank that really cares about each member!
I just had my first Facebook FML – I guess it had to happen sooner or later. I went to high school with Rachel.
Just got off of conference call with Dan Kennedy where he discussed his A to Z marketing strategy and his info summit. Just like most info marketers he gave some real information, held back some of the finer points and then introduced his product.
For those of you who missed the call here is the Dan Kennedy formula for creating a successful info product.
ap + ql + mf + rr + ci + wn = Big $
Seems simple right?
I read a really interesting article that did make me say – Huh! Why is that.
I like most Americans watched the Obama speech and the outburst was anything other than expected. Its something that has never happened in the hundreds of years of the Congress so why was there a “perfect photograph” of the moment? The outburst was just a second, how exactly did this picture get created? Was it a lucky moment or perhaps something more sinister?
You Lie! – Joe Wilson Read it for yourself.
Lisa gave me the most amazing birthday present ever she enrolled me in Machine Shop Basics for some personal development. I have always wanted to learn how to run a lathe and a mill, I love the feel of metal, the clean lines and the glimmer of stainless steel.
SO I get there today and there are 90 people crowding around a small classroom listening to the instructor talk about the vocational training that City College offers. She spoke about Electronics Assembly, Electronic Testing and Machine Shop. She mentioned that this was the largest group that she had ever seen in her years of working for the district and that spaces were limited.
She asked for a show of hands on how many people were planning on the machine shop class and about 30 people put their hands up. Now this was really the most motley crew you have ever seen, people of ever age and every walk of like united by the one reality – that they needed a skill to get a job. Man, there were people there with some hard luck stories, people who needed bus tokens to get to school and subsidized textbooks.
A amazing video on decision and how context and the default changes the results.
Utterguys.com you are at the top of my list today – Customer service is just so critical. I just got off the phone with Jason over at the UtterGuys.com – Its about 1pm on Saturday in Florida. I placed an order with them on 7/9 – 9 days ago for a Shop Fox D2058 base for my new router. I have the confirmation email but no item. So I logged into their website last night to check the status, I was expecting 4-5 days for shipping and when I logged at http://www.utterguys.com the system had no order history.
Minor mix-up no problems… I called and after giving Jason my customer number he hummed and hawwed and said he would call me right back. About 10 minutes later he did, and he said “Sir I need you to check your spam folder or inbox because we sent you two emails and then canceled your order because it was not in stock at utterguys.com”
I explained to him that I did not get an email and that nothing was in my spam box but the order did have my phone number and I wanted to know if they called? He said we did not call just canceled the order. I explained to him that I was waiting for my new tool until the base came in because at 600 pounds I did not want to pick it up twice! He said that it would be back in stock in 2-3 weeks and I then asked if they would then ship it out to me, but this time express rather than ground.
This is when things turned bad… told me that this was not something that they did, and that this was not there issue – yes I do have an invoice and yes my credit card was valid but no they would not be shipping it to me, because as far as they were concerned I would have to reorder it.
Hummingbird claims to be the software that the “Twitter Elite” don’t want you to know about. The developers claim that by using Hummingbird software you can automate to the building of a huge twitter following in a matter of weeks rather than months or years. I am a skeptic, I have always been the person that wants’ know “what’s the catch” or if something is to good to be true it probably is. Skeptical not cynical 🙂
So I plunked down some hard earned cash on April 20th of 2009 and decided to give it three weeks. Today is March 8 and I feel that I am in a pretty good position to be able to give this review. So that’s 19 days of owning the software, probably 15 days of using it, and I am SHOCKED at how well it works.
Here is the background information:
1. I created a brand new twitter account on the 20th of April. I added a picture to the account and I had ZERO followers at that point. Here is a copy of the email receipt to show when I got the software.
2. I searched the Internet for some relevant links in the niche that I was interested in and then copied the URLs into a text file on my desktop making some notes to what the web page was about.
It looked like this:
My tweet, and then the url that I found:
How to do a short sale – http://www.ehow.com/how_8132_short-sale.html
Snag a great deal on a short sale http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/27/real_estate/short_sale.moneymag/index.htm
How to exit your property with a short sales http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/archives/2007/03/the_new_exit_st.html
I created about 40 links like this by searching google for “short sale 2009”
Earth Class Mail is a service that I have been looking at for a long time as a solution to my bad habit of NEVER checking my mailbox.
They have a system that handles physical mail via email it is called Earth Class Mail brlliant! On more than one occasion I have had to visit the post office because my mailbox filled up and they “impounded” the mail and halted delivery. Ouch!
The majority of my bills are electronic, I get the statement, I use my bill pay software to pay the bill and I never have to touch paper! No spam, no junk mail, no credit card offers, no coupon packs. And after a while you also get no checks from clients 😉 because the mail carrier stops delivering the mail… Ouch.
After picking up the huge box of paper (time after time) I realized that 99% of the volume and almost 100% of the weight was just junk…trash…(well actually recycling) but its a problem. There is just no reason that there should be so much junk. The other issue is that with all of that crap, its easy to miss the important pieces of mail trapped in the folds of the local coupon books.
The other reason to consider an all digital delivery for your mail is to protect against identity theft or if you are a vagabond and like to travel. This way you can get your physical mail sent to your Inbox wherever you have access to your email. Check them out – I will and I will keep you updated. Once again, Earth Class Mail for handling your physical mail via email.
Looks like the government is at it again. Doing their best to keep our information safe (subtle irony here). There were 48 files that were breached from a server containing information on over 45,000 FAA employees and retirees.
You can read more about it on the FAA website at – http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=10394