Blogging Success Stories and You Gotta Try CamelCamelCamel.com!

Hello friends! It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

Real World Stories of Blogging Making Things Happen

One of our goals for our blog this year is to tell more real world stories about the work we do. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard some great stories from our clients about things that have happened because we are blogging together.

DurvetWe’ve been blogging with Durvet for a couple of months now and they are already seeing great results. One of Durvet’s challenges over the years has been that a lot of people in Kansas City don’t know who they are or what they do. (They supply animal healthcare products on a massive scale out of their warehouse in Blue Springs.) Mark Niblo wrote one of the articles in their first month of blogging and somebody from the Kansas City Star saw it on LinkedIn. They contacted Mark to ask more about Durvet and they’ve decided to write a piece about Durvet for the Star.

Straub ConstructionWe’ve been blogging with Straub Construction for over a year. In last month’s blogging session, Ernie Straub mentioned that someone from the Kansas City Business Journal had recently given him a bunch of kudos for their blogging and social media efforts. Their impression was that Straub has really ramped up their presence on social media over the past few months and they’ve been seeing their stories on LinkedIn.

These are just two examples. Who knows what an article in the Star or visibility with the Business Journal might do for Durvet or Straub Construction. What I do know is that it makes conversations happens. It raises awareness. And it happens on a consistent basis.

CamelCamelCamel.com

CamelCamelCamel.comDo you love buying stuff from Amazon as much as I do? If you shop there often and haven’t heard of CamelCamelCamel.com, you’ve gotta check it out. Did you know that Amazon changes their price on items multiple times a day based on purchase volume, number of views, etc.? CamelCamelCamel.com can show you the price history for any item. You can see the highest price it ever sold for, the lowest price, and get a feel for what a good deal would be for an item. It’s amazing!

Our free Amazon.com price tracker monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop. Click To Tweet

I use the site in a couple of ways:

  • The easiest way is to click on the Popular Products tab. This will show you pages of products that are being bought the most by other shoppers. It also tells you if it’s a good deal or best price based on past pricing data. It’s a great way to browse current deals on Amazon.
  • The other way I use the site is to monitor the price of an item over time. For example, if I want to buy a 4K television, I find it on Amazon, copy the URL and paste it into CamelCamelCamel.com. I can then set up an alert to happen if the product drops below a price threshold (basically if it drops to a price I would be willing to pay for it.)

Try it out… you will love it.

Shameless Call to Action

We do three things really well:

If you or someone you know could use our help, I would love to talk to you about it!

You Have to Earn Word of Mouth Referrals Every Single Day

Post author: Jason Terry

Did you know my fellow Blue Guru, Mic Johnson, is a serious foodie? If you’re friends with him on Facebook, he routinely posts pictures of all types of food, restaurants, etc. Mic has introduced me to so many great restaurants in Kansas City, but my two favorites are sushi places.

Bob WasabiThe first is Sakura on 75th and Nieman. Most people call it the “sushi train” because they have an oval train track that runs for lunch and dinner. It carries blue and green plates (the different colors represent different prices per plate) of all kinds of sushi past your hungry eyes. Take what you want, enjoy the sushi, and stack your plates!

The second, and more recent, is Bob Wasabi Kitchen on 39th street near KU Med. It’s definitely one of my new favorite places to go for great sushi and some of the freshest fish in the city. It costs a bit more, but the quality is worth it. Mic and I had lunch there together recently to celebrate our newest client.

This leads me to the point of this blog post…

Mic is a raving and loyal fan of these restaurants. He’s told everyone he knows about them. We’ve taken dozens of people there for lunch and dinner, personally and professionally. There’s no question in my mind that Mic is ultimately responsible for many tens of thousands of dollars of business for Sakura…and he’s just getting started with Bob Wasabi Kitchen.

And this translates to the business community as well. Mic does the same thing for the people and businesses that he trusts and believes in. He goes out of his way to make strong referrals with the goal of helping everyone involved. Mic is the definition of what it means to be, as he calls it, a “Brand Advocate.”

You Have to Earn Word of Mouth Referrals Every Single Day. Click To Tweet
Bob Wasabi Sushi

The Rainbow Roll at Bob Wasabi Kitchen

Here’s what’s really amazing: no one pays Mic to be a brand advocate. Restaurants earn (and keep) his loyalty by providing great food and excellent customer service. The plumber he refers all the time has done many jobs for Mic and his friends for a reasonable price. And now I use him too.

Every week Mic shares emails with me where he’s connecting people he knows because there’s a great opportunity for them to do business together, help one another, learn something new, etc.

The most important thing of all is that these people, restaurants and companies are able to keep Mic’s loyalty by continuing to provide great food, products and services. And the smartest ones thank him for it, which makes Mic want to help them even more (if that’s even possible).

All of this means more business and exposure for those he advocates for…and the opportunity for more life experiences for those who know him and benefit from his referrals.

You can’t buy word-of-mouth advertising, but you can definitely make it happen by consistently doing great work, helping people and being thankful.

Breakout Kansas City – Brain Teaser and Team Builder

Post author: Jason Terry

Breakout KCRecently, Mic and I took Missy and Trista to Breakout KC. If you haven’t heard of Breakout KC, it’s an experience where you get locked into a room and have to solve puzzles to get out. And you only have sixty minutes to make it out. Yikes!

Breakout KC is located in the River Market area. There’s plenty of parking, but it’s a little more north than most people go in the River Market, so you should give yourself extra time to get there, get parked and into their building.

There are four different game room themes:
River Quay Casino: 31% success rate
The Truman Room: 24% success rate
Room 13: 34% success rate
Szechuan Secret: 19% success rate

We walked into the lobby of Breakout KC not really sure what to expect. We got signed in (you have to sign a waiver to participate) and waited for our game room to be ready. When it was time, we were taken to “Room 13” and given some quick verbal instructions.

And then the timer started!

Breakout KCWhen I saw the countdown begin, my stress levels went up. I’m a competitive person when it comes to games, and I wanted to make it out of the room before the sixty minutes ran out.  That’s why this can be such a good team building experience. You get to see first-hand how people work together under pressure. You will definitely learn something about your friends, your family or the people you work with if you do this as a group.

There’s a TV monitor up high on the wall in the room. A game operator monitors your progress and will give you text hints along the way if you are struggling. I think our game operator did a great job letting us figure things out while not getting stuck too long on any one puzzle.

I don’t want to explain exactly what we did in Room 13 because you need to experience it for yourself. Part of the fun is walking into a completely unknown situation and working together to figure out what needs to happen next. What I will say is that there were plenty of fun puzzles and a couple of really tricky ones. And as far as Room 13 goes, a REALLY big surprise about halfway through. We didn’t make it out in time, but we got through about 80% of the puzzles. The rooms are set up for 8 people to play and it was just the 4 of us. I’m sure we would have done better if we’d had more friends with us.

My Recommendation?

Breakout KCSo Breakout KC was a blast. I didn’t know what to expect, but ended up really enjoying the experience. I definitely recommend that you try it out. It’s about $30/person to play and a good value for getting to do something really different and fun.

People come from all over the country to play the game rooms at Breakout KC and it’s right in our back yard. (In the lobby, there’s a map of the United States with push pins showing where people have come from to play. Most of the country has pins in it.)

It would be an excellent team building event for your staff. It will give your brain a workout!

The Flywheel Party in Omaha Was a Blast!

Hi friends!  It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

Fly Party at FlywheelIf you’re a web development client of ours, you know that we’re raving fans of Flywheel.  Flywheel is a web hosting company based in Omaha that does nothing but host WordPress powered websites.  We love these guys because their hosting is rock solid, they provide excellent support, and they are fun to work with.

Last Friday, Flywheel had their first “Fly Party.” It was an open house for their new digs in downtown Omaha.  I realized it would be a great opportunity for me to meet the people that I’ve talked with on the phone, chatted with for support and seen pictures and videos of via social for the last two years.

I’d never been to Omaha before.  Can you believe that?  It’s an easy three hour drive (just take I-29 North until you land in Omaha.)  The highway dumps you right into the heart of downtown Omaha.  I was surprised to see dozens of great restaurants, shops and even casinos.  Plenty to do for a long weekend.

Anyway, I walked from my hotel to Flywheel’s party and got a really warm welcome.  Kyle Putnam was the first person to greet me and give me a tour of their offices. He made me feel like part of the family.  He even introduced me to the Jamie Bush special… gin and sweet tea concentrate that reminded me of a Long Island Iced Tea.  Jamie is the marketing coordinator for Flywheel.  (Yes Jamie, you are famous now because there’s a drink named after you.)

Flywheel Party in OmahaThe Flywheel office is a techie-retro space that felt like a cool mash-up of Apple, Chipotle, and HGTV.  And maybe a little Mork & Mindy’s egg chair (see the blue conference room pic with the white chairs.)

Their offices are beautiful and spacious.  They had to upgrade in 2014 to make room for about 30 employees (and they are adding more all the time.)

Dusty Davidson is a co-founder of Flywheel and it was fun to see him in his element.  He’s the reason we signed up.  He had to be proud of the friends, family, clients and employees that were together celebrating!

T-Rave is a “happiness engineer” for Flywheel and one of the people I’ve worked with a lot.  I was excited to see that he’s a LEGO fan like me… check out his desk in the pics below… There’s a LEGO Back to the Future Delorean and a Ghostbusters set!

It was surreal to finally meet so many people that I’ve had a virtual business relationship for the last two years.  I was really glad I took the time to get myself to Omaha and hang out with a bunch of people that have built something special.  Their company culture is contagious… I can see why they are growing so quickly.  And it reminded me yet again why we love working with these guys!

Fly Party at Flywheel Fly Party at Flywheel Fly Party at Flywheel

Evercontact Is Awesome… It Automatically Updates Your Contacts in Google Or Outlook

Hey there…it’s Jason with this week’s Blue Gurus blog post!

Every once in a while I find a tool or service that blows my mind.  Evercontact wins that prize for June!  Thanks to Tony and Joe at Umzuzu for recommending it to me.

Evercontact

How often do you find yourself pulling up a contact record in your phone and realize you don’t have the business address listed as you’re trying to drive to their office? Okay, maybe I could plan a little better, but that really does happen to me more often than I’d like.  What about when you are trying to call someone and all you have is their email address and no phone number?  I am happy to tell you that this rarely happens to me now because of Evercontact.

Why Was My Mind Blown?

Evercontact is this magical service that goes through your email inbox every night.  It looks for email signatures from all the people that are sending you email.  When it finds an email signature, it grabs all the information it can… street address, main business phone, mobile phone, email address, website address and more.  It then looks in your Google Contacts or Outlook Contacts to find a match.

When a match is found, Evercontact updates your contact record automatically with the new information. If you don’t want to trust it right away, you can choose to have Evercontact send you an email that shows you the new information it found, and you can update your contact record by clicking a single confirmation link.

How It Works

So let’s say that I have Mic Johnson in my contacts with just his name and email address.  And then Mic sends me an email that has a signature at the bottom with his mailing address and cell phone number listed.  Evercontact finds the match and adds the mailing address and cell phone number to my contact record in Google Apps, and I don’t have to do ANYTHING for that to happen.  And then, because I have my mobile phone connected to my contacts, Mic’s record on my phone will be updated automatically with the new information as well.  Can you see the value in that???

TECH TIP: If your company or organization uses Google Apps, you can install Evercontact for everyone in your Google Apps account at one time, as long as you are an administrator.

I have email conversations with a lot of people every week.  Evercontact is always there looking for updated contact information for me.  It is worth every penny of the $59/year that I pay for the service.  I highly recommend you check it out and save yourself the time of manually updating your contact records!

Blue Gurus Art…Courtesy of Signature Snapshots

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

Excel Anesthesia LogoExcel Anesthesia is one of our newest blogging clients. They are fun to work with and have started seeing the value of telling stories on their website and through social on a regular basis.

We recently did an employee spotlight on Jenny West, the practice manager for Excel Anesthesia. I interviewed her for some additional content in her blog post and really enjoyed our conversation. She was a little hesitant at first to talk about herself, but once we got going, she had a great time and really opened up. One of the cool things I learned about Jenny is that she has a side business called Signature Snapshots.  (The link goes to her Facebook Company Page.)

Signature Snapshots

Signature Snapshots - Jayhawks

Signature Snapshots creates unique, custom word art composed entirely of pictures from the Kansas City area.

Jenny looks for naturally occurring architecture, fences, benches, etc. that are shaped like letters. She takes these pictures, notes the locations and now has a library of “letter pictures”.

I saw some examples of the work she’s done and absolutely loved them. I knew right away that it would be a really cool thing to have her create a Blue Gurus piece for my office.

We’re really proud of Kansas City and what Jenny created for me is a fun way to express that Blue Gurus focuses primarily on Kansas City-based clients.

Blue Gurus Art!

 Blue Gurus Art - Signature Snapshots

Here are where the letters came from:

B – Plaza architecture
L – Bench at the Kansas City Zoo
U – Swing at a park off of K7
E – Old Excel Anesthesia office building barricade

G – A fence
U – Bike rack at an elementary school on Roe Blvd.
R – A bench outside of a Petsmart
U – A statue at the Legends
S – A picnic table

Do you want Jenny to make something for you?

If you’re interested in having Jenny create something unique for your office, you can email her at jenny.west18@yahoo.com.  The process is easy and her prices are very reasonable.  Oh, and please tell her that Blue Gurus sent you!

The Past Couple of Weeks Have Been Painful. Have You Been There?

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

Well, the last two weeks have been interesting for me (Jason).  Interesting is the word I use in place of “awful, terrible, and sucky” when I’m trying to stay positive.  I’m sure you’ve been through periods in your life where it seems like the universe is out to get you.  Things just aren’t working.  Or worse, they’re breaking right and left. 

Here’s the story of how I got here.

It all started with our new washer and dryer.  We decided to put in a new washer and dryer proactively so that we wouldn’t have to worry if our older set just stopped working one day. We have a 2nd floor laundry room and I was really glad the installers were moving them up there instead of me having to do it.  Unfortunately, that was about the only thing they did right…

A couple of weeks after the install, I came home to find water damage on our ceiling.  Oh no.  I immediately had that pit-in-my-stomach feeling.  We checked the washer and dryer and sure enough, there was water behind the washer.  And so began the frantic process of stopping the water source and getting a company out to dry everything out before mold could set in.  Sage Restoration did a fantastic job. I was recommended to them by my great friend and client, Kandy Meehan at Home Rental Services. Read more

A BIG Thank You, Sports Commission, Happy 4th (Belated), And Flywheel!

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

Sometimes, when I’m sitting down to write my blog post for the week, I realize that I have a TON of things going through my brain.  It becomes hard to pick any one topic, even though I could write a full blog post about each of them.  This is one of those weeks.  So here you go!

Thank You!

Thank YouI’ve talked to a lot of businesses that had slower months during May and June.  I saw that in our business as well.  Mic and I both continue to “show up” and our efforts are paying off. July is going to be the biggest month in the history of Blue Gurus! 

There are so many people to thank for that.  Here are just a few!

Read more

What The Heck Is FeedBlitz And Why Do We Love It?

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

JasonOk, you technical people probably have heard of FeedBlitz and might even be using it on your website. For those of you who don’t know what FeedBlitz is, here’s a simple explanation.

If you currently have a blog for your business, and you invest time and energy updating it regularly like you should, then you probably want to make sure as many people as possible see your articles. 

One of the ways people see your content is when they visit your website. You may have a “Recent Blog Posts” section on your homepage that shows the most recent three to five blog posts. Or you might also put links to your blog posts on social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Old School or Out of Touch?

That’s all sound strategy, but what about the people that don’t come to your website regularly, or aren’t using social media tools?  Those people probably have an email address.  So the fallback strategy is to get your content to them with a monthly email newsletter.  And that is a good idea!  But it might be taking you more effort than it should. 

Enter FeedBlitz.

FeedBlitz LogoFeedBlitz is a cloud based service that monitors your RSS Feed for new blog posts.  In layman’s terms, this means that whenever you create a new blog post on your website, FeedBlitz knows about it and can act on it.  Read more

A Love Story. Well, Sort Of. I’m Calling It “Mic Recommends Hangers Cleaners” [VIDEO]

Mic Johnson, Blue Gurus

Post written by Mic Johnson,  Blogger | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Content Guy | Social Coach | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk Fanatic | Cancer Volunteer

The Ask

I got the email below recently from Kathleen Cussen, VP of Sales, at Hangers Cleaners. My wife Missy and I have been customers of theirs for years. I first heard about them in 2006 when I was a Chamber Champion with Keri Abell for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Hangers Cleaners Logo

I also met with owner and all-around-great-guy Joe Runyan over lunch a few years ago when I was in a career transition and was looking for my next gig…which, ironically, ended up being Blue Gurus!

“Good morning. I am writing to you today to ask a favor. Joe and I want our most loyal customers, like you, to do a video testimonial. We will use this video on our website, in-store T.V. monitors, Facebook, You Tube, print ad’s, etc…(so comb your hair!). 

If you could create the video with your webcam, or flip-cam and send it back to us as an attachment via email that would be great! If you need help creating the video, we are more than happy to come to you, or invite you here to capture the video. 

All we want to know is, why you use/LOVE Hangers Cleaners? Let me know if you are interested and/or would like us to capture your testimonial. We would like to have the video by mid February. Thanks for your consideration!” Read more