Marketing Monday

Marketing Monday: American Express Open

Each Monday, I profile a person or company doing something cool online to promote themselves. If that’s you or someone you know, contact me. I love new ideas in internet marketing!

Maybe it was the television commercials with all the beautiful but also competent business owners or the fact that I’m completely fed up with my bank but I finally activated my American Express business card this weekend.

In straightening things out for my new accountant, I wanted to set up some recurring business charges and create a business only Paypal account on this new card.

I originally got this card because of the benefits (Cash back? Points for things I need? Cool!) but I realize my decision was made because of some subtle (or maybe not so subtle) things American Express has done to brand this whole Open concept.

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Marketing Monday: The Juice 2.0 Conference

If you want to organize a good conference, take a lead from the Juice 2.0 folks! Meanwhile, if you think your business should be profiled as part of Marketing Monday, do contact me.

What I Learned Losing The Juice 2.0 Conference Pitch Contest

In my world, no news is bad news. If I have something good to say, I’ll change my status update of Facebook, tweet, write a blog, or call my mother (or all four).

It is no coincidence that I was pretty quiet online Friday and Saturday, in part because I didn’t even make round one of the pitch session. (And in part because there was no working internet connection at this conference!).

I will say that the conference was a worthwhile one to attend and that I will go back when they have the follow-up version two years from now. Here are some general observations from my two days at Juice 2.0 Conference:


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Marketing Monday: Stingy Scoundrel Book

Every Monday I profile a person or business doing something cool to promote themselves online. Think there is someone I should consider? Contact me and let me know!

Breaking Even began as a personal finance blog back in 2007. Since then, it’s become about business and other things on occasion but a money theme, even if barely noticeable at times, runs throughout. (It’s no coincidence, for example, that TCT crafts mostly cost under $10 to make.) When asked what my blog is about, I say “Money. Well, kind of.”

That said, I still follow a lot of personal finance and money bloggers and when Phil Villarreal sent me an email a few months ago about reviewing his how-to-save-money book and I accepted, because I like books, especially when they are free and go with the theme of my blog.

I noticed a few weeks after our communication that reviews of his book were all over the blogosphere. Then, his book became a New York Times bestseller.

How’d he do it?

Phil may look like he's lurking behind his book but his book promotion techniques have been the opposite of creepy and passive.

He sent his book to anyone who’d review it. 
I noticed a few of my favorite bloggers had read the book so I asked Phil how many people he had review it.

“I contacted about 130 bloggers and journalists (about reviewing the book) and got positive responses from 100. I’ve probably gotten about 60 reviews so far and am working on getting yeses or nos from those who got books but haven’t yet reviewed them.”

Also, he’s always looking for more people willing to review it, so contact me if you want to read this book and review it on your blog.

He followed up about reviews.
I am a classic example of why people need to follow up. I am often happy to do something for someone else but I am also a little forgetful. Phil emailed me a few times to see if I was still planning on reviewing the book.

According to him, “Follow-ups are key because almost all my reviews came after I asked whether they’d gotten the books and intended to write anything. I bet I wouldn’t have gotten half of my reviews had I not followed up.”

He was specific about what he wanted.
After I sent him the link to the review, he asked me to crosspost it on I would have personally never thought of that but I’m happy to do it. One more example of why it never hurts to ask for what you want!

He created a Facebook page for additional buzz.
I hadn’t noticed there was a ‘consumer products’ category for FB business pages. Makes sense!

On his Facebook page, Phil links to the coverage the book has gotten in addition to letting people know what’s going on with the book. And since bloggers like links to their sites (good for SEO) and people love spending loads of time on Facebook (good for making people feel popular), it’s a win-win.

He didn’t just link to good reviews.
People buying things, online or otherwise, appreciate transparency. Mighty Bargain Hunter had a negative review about the book on his blog and, like all the other reviews, the Facebook page linked to it.

Phil had no reason to ignore opinions differing from his own because…

He believes in his product.
Phil, like many successful people, has really internalized his belief in what he’s doing.

“What keeps me going is that all but 3 people have written very positively about the book, which makes me believe it’s worth putting all the effort into promoting it. I’m going to continue searching for more coverage until the publisher tells me the book is no longer in stores.” Yay tenacity!

He has a publicist.
Now I was wondering how a guy who works for The Arizona Daily Star,, and OK Magazine had the time to promote his book (let alone write it initially). The answer: he has a publicist that he works with.

At some point, it may be worth paying someone to coordinate your efforts on a book launch, event planning, etc…especially if you have a full time day job.

So if you have a book, it’s certainly worth promoting it online. ‘Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel’ proves that even with a small publisher, you can have a successful with hard work, smart planning, and good relationships with bloggers.

Oh, and here’s a link if you want to buy the book!

Marketing Monday: Calfinder Blog

Every Monday, I talk about individuals or companies promoting themselves in a neat way online. Feel free to contact me to nominate yourself or a friend; I’m always looking for new ideas.

When I think of groups of people who have a good excuse to not be on the internet much, I think of building contractors.

I know a few contractors (from my hardware background) and when someone wakes up super early to work hard on a construction site all day, it is perfectly understandable for them to not have time to, say, catch up on blog reading on their lunch break. Those of us chained to our desks (you know, in a nice way!) have it easy as far as following internet trends.

Calfinder is a nationwide service matching contractors with home renovators. Part of their site is a frequently updated blog about remodeling trends, DIY tips, and information about locations and contractors. I use this blog as an example with some of my clients (and have emailed it to my family a few times) to show what a company can do with a blog.

Don't think contractors are online? Think again. Even professions that are traditionally non-bloggers are getting online, and accessible to the rest of us.

Here’s what I like about Calfinder:

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Marketing Monday: Garfunkel and Oates

Every Monday, I talk about individuals or companies promoting themselves in a neat way online. Feel free to contact me to nominate yourself or a friend; I’m always looking for new ideas.

It’s almost a sure thing to say that video is the next big internet thing.

Alright, that came out wrong. I am certainly not saying that people aren’t using video effectively now but I think that in the next few years, just like now most everyone has a website, in a few years most everyone will have video on their website. And as cameras get more affordable and videos get more search engine friendly, there will be more of a reason then ever to finally get in front of a camera.

Having recently begun to appreciate Youtube more myself, I have begun checking out cool videos. Among my favorite ‘series’ is Garfunkel and Oates.


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Marketing Monday: My Smile Bites!

Every Monday, I profile some cool promotional idea I run across and why I think it’s effective. Have a cool marketing idea your company is putting in place? Contact me, I might write about it!

When I think of 1-800-DENTIST, I think of happy but generic looking people on the phone helping me find a dentist. Not exactly something new.

I was contacted by Jill, one of their marketing folks, about the video contest they are holding which I do find interesting.

The basic idea is that contestants upload a 1-2 minute video talking about why they need a smile makeover. The winner gets up to a $30,000 smile makeover. You may remember that Office Depot had a similar upload your video to win contest for small businesses called ‘Survival of the Smartest’ that ran this summer.

Here’s why I think the campaign is interesting:

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