Dexter Season 8, the Final Cutain Call

ImageLess than a week away, Dexter begins the final season.  I hate to see it end, but am so forward to seeing what happens as this is my favorite show.  8 years… wow.  Before it starts I’m getting reading and will watch Dexter online here and other places around the web.  Showtime’s main website (here) has a lot of goodies to watch as well.

Hope it will be as good or better than the rest…. although trying to top John Lithgow in season 3 will be a tall order indeed.

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QR Codes are Cool – But Do They Work?

QR codes have become instrumental in mobile marketing these days. The unfortunate fact is that most of the people using these QR codes are doing them all wrong. This is a free QR code generator that I use to create my own QR codes in my mobile campaigns.

free qr code generator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I see a lot of these quick response codes showing up in advertisements in newspapers and on flyers and also on storefronts, but they all lead to a non-mobilized website. I just don’t get that. I don’t know if the place they bought the advertisement through was just trying to up-sell them on a QR code or what, but they’re really missing out on a huge opportunity here.

These funky little codes can only be scanned by a smart phone, so it only makes sense that if you’re going to be looking at the destination of that code it needs to be mobile optimized.

Most QR codes lead to a mobile website, or what have seen recently is that they lead to a mobile webpage that tries to get them to download their location from the iTunes Store. Rarely have I ever seen that you are code used at its maximum 100% marketing potential.

What do I mean by that? The simple fact is that when people are looking at things on their mobile phone their attention span is really quick. They don’t have time to zoom in pinch out navigate around a non-mobilized optimized website or go through the trouble of downloading an application if they don’t know what it’s for. So because of that, people themselves have gotten tired of QR codes already, because they know they lead to a failed destination.

So how can you properly use a QR code? The most obvious is to have a mobile website and it leads to or at least a mobile webpage that has something on there to create an action right away. My action I mean what you want from your customer? I you trying to sell them something? Are you trying to get them to sign up for something? Or are you just trying to provide them with good information? To answer those questions then you will know what the endgame scenario is.

Let’s just come up with a fake company and run a quick mobile campaign so you can see how this works.

Let’s say “Brenda” just opened her own clothing boutique of close that she makes and imports to sell at her store downtown. She has done all the normal things, she’s created a website, a twitter page, twitter, etc. And she’s thinking about doing some advertising in the local newspaper and online.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If Brenda was smart in the beginning of making her website optimized for mobile devices and user-friendly, and she is going to make a lot of money provided the products are good.

So she takes out an ad in a local newspaper and has a QR code embedded right on the head that leads to a page within her website that is Mobile optimized and set up to collect e-mails and phone numbers. Of course she will offer incentives like a coupon or a free gift if you enter your name, e-mail, and phone number. While she builds a customer list at the same time.

Also on her mobile optimized website will be a geolocation map so people can find out exactly where she is so they can actually walk into the store. And have a phone number in plain view that all they need to do is tap on and it will automatically call the store directly for any questions that they may have. And this is all done in under 10 seconds of landing on that mobile page.

Same thing goes for advertising on the web, when you set up an advertising campaign to matter who it’s with they will ask you if you want deliver mobile ads as well. If you have your business set up to be mobile friendly than this is going to be even better because you get a much higher return on investment. People search for stuff on their mobile phone all the time even more so than they do on their desktop or laptop computers nowadays, so doesn’t it make sense to have your business optimized for the mobile web?

Properly Marketing Your Local Business Online

So as some of you may know, I dabble in online marketing a bit for a few years with some success. It’s a tough road, things change very fast and before you know it – what you were doing is now obsolete.

This is why I started to market my own “online marketing” services to local businesses here in my hometown. This way I get to actually meet with people and become a bit more social, instead of starring at my computer screen all day long. Felt like life was being wasted.

Things are much different in the real world I have found out. As soon as you mention “website” or “SEO” these business folks cringe. Why? Mainly because they have been hammered for years about all this stuff and none of it really seems to work unless you are a big corporate company. Not true.

These local biz people are very uneducated on how real online marketing works as it has been scammed to death. It’s not about how fancy a website looks or how many “followers” you have on social media – it’s all about targeted leads. The internet is the #1 source for targeted leads. Case in point, Google – their stock price is $733 for a reason, advertisers get great ROI because they can reach targeted customers right away via search phrases.

As good as that is, having a top ranking in the search engines is even better! It has more trust associated with it.  My colleague and friend Greg has a tutorial on how to do this correctly, Click this Link to learn more.  Combine the two and you got gold.  Not to say that social media is a complete fail, but it takes away from the main source which should be your website – the foundation.

Make sure you get on Google Plus for Business – this is a must these days!  As well as Yelp.

From there you can start a plan to online marketing.  You will need a website that has a purpose, not just to look pretty and give general info.  Having a MOBILE optimized website is very important – for some reaosn all businesses are slow to get on this.  People are searching more and more on smartphones for the things they want, if they find your business with an optimized site for mobile they are significantly more likely to call, contact, or walk in the door.

Make sure you submit your website and company info to all the online business directories like Manta, Hoovers, BBB, etc.  This will give your company a solid online footprint and authority.  Also do not ignore social media, it does serve a purpose – and it’s free.  Just make sure you do it right or else it will look amateur thus making your business look amateur.

Photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest are great for businesses that have “photo” value – food, apparel, automobiles, etc.

Finally, lead generation.  This is the most important no matter what avenue it takes; search, mobile, social media, PPC, etc.  Always remember to GIVE your lead something in return for their email/phone number, this will gain trust and value so when you market to them via email or SMS text they will be more open to offers they “know” you already.

I hope this helps some, there is so much more I can blog about.  So, I’ll leave it open to questions:  leave a comment below and I will answer best I can.

Shy Bladder is not a Joke! Sorry Buddy…

Shame on me for making fun of my poor friend Todd. 😦   I did not know “paruresis” really was a real phobia about going pee in a public restroom.  Some of them are SO nasty, can I blame him?

So I did a little research and found a slew of info – this website as it explains it pretty good; paruresistreatment.net.

So now I will help my buddy out and compile a list of treatments for his shy scaredy cat bladder…  Learn something new everyday. 😉

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Fist Cold in Years – Thanks Mom!

Yup, my mom caught a cold and coughed and sneezed all over the place thus spreading her germs to me when I visited her the other day.  Funny thing, I can’t remember the last time I had a cold as it has been many years.  Bad thing is that when I get a cold a sinus infection follows or even tonsillitis.

So, I take it easy, take some Advil and use that nasty sinus spray (which works!) and hope to get better soon.  Someone recommend a neti pot?  Looked disgusting and after reading some horror stories (brain eating amoeba) I think I will just stick it out, perhaps have a shot of whiskey instead!  My grandpa always took a shot of Jack Daniels when he had a cold – or whenever he felt like it.

A New Year And Already Broke

Bah! Well, 2012 is not starting out so well. With all the holidays I also lost a lot of hours at my job and can barely buy bread, literally. I knew it was coming, tried to find a part time job to take up the slack but could not find nuttin honey!

And of course I was warmly informed that a few of my bills would increase, nice. I have been in this predicament before when I lived in Los Angeles trying to become an actor only to realize I do not have any talent. The cost of living there is very high and just about everything you do is 3 times as much hassle. I went into a payday loan place and came out with a parking ticket more that what I borrowed to buy some groceries. Man, that pissed me off!

Unfortunately I had to do the same thing again (get a loan) but I did it different searched for local payday lenders and found some that would do it online without having to go into the office, which is convenient for me because the ones I did find were in a seedy part of town and I did not feel like dealing with that at all.  These cash advance lenders are what I found and after reviewing them I decided to with CashNetUSA (#2 on that page).  It was easier than I thought and it actually worked!  I thought it was all a scam, but turned out not to be.  …so far.

It works like this.  I applied with my job info and my bank account so they could direct deposit.  Now, as with the payday loans you get in person you must agree to pay back on a certain date with interest.  Seemed easy enough, although I do not like the idea of them going into my account and taking money out with interest.  Something about that I do not trust.  But again, did my research and it seems this particular company is legit as they are with the BBB and offer incentives – they want your business and want me to come back.

I just applied this morning and already got the funds, so I can’t tell you about the payback just yet.  Will update in two weeks or so to let you know how that went and if there were any problems.  Hope not.  When you do not have toilet paper and nothing but stale Top Ramen in the kitchen it is time to bit the bullet and get some help even if it means you are paying way too much interest.  I think I will be paying back $118 total.  Not too bad, since the loan was for 100 and the interest will the 18 dollars.  I just hope I don’t get sucked into having to use this service too often, it’s like flushing money down the toilet.

Sure, get a job that pays more.  If Newt Gingrich says it’s so easy, it must be right?  Seriously though, I am not the only one in this bind.  A lot of my friends who have masters degrees are trying to get jobs at Target where they only pay minimum wage (woo hoo).  I have tried doing some online stuff but it fizzled out with no where else to go, did good for a while though.  I wrote a post about it here, read it if you like.

Mmmmmmmmmm

Ayyyy, whatcha gonna do?!

Toki the Cheetah

Just watched a very warm documentary about two cheetah brothers trying to survive in the wild after being brought up by Simon King.  What a journey!  Toki had quite an adventure and so did the “human” who raised him.  It was done by PBS (you can read more about it here), I suggest you check it out.  Most of it is available on YouTube, just search “toki the cheetah” and it will come up.  Hope you enjoy this wonderful story!