Can you believe Thanksgiving is here? Black Friday Shopping Tips.

Black Friday Shopping TipsI can’t believe that Thanksgiving is here! Yes, we’ve already started decorating our home for the holidays and begun shopping for gifts, but it still seems like summer was too short. I don’t know if you enjoy retail therapy as much as I do, but Black Friday is almost here. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I’m excited about Black Friday. But I’m not getting up at 4am to go shopping… I do it all online.

Most people enjoy looking for a deal. Especially the afternoon of Thanksgiving and a big meal. You’re warm, comfortable, everything’s closed and there are so many ads to look at! Yes, I look through the physical ads, but the majority of my deal research and shopping is done online. So I thought I would share the websites I use to do research. Here we go!

Websites for Deal Shopping

DealNews.com

This is probably my favorite website. I’ve mentioned DealNews.com on the Blue Gurus blog in the past, but it’s been a while. They’ve got some great Black Friday roundups and what to expect from many retailers on Black Friday. Here’s a direct link to the Black Friday roundup.

CamelCamelCamel.com

CamelCamelCamel.comIf you shop on Amazon, this is a must-have resource. CamelCamelCamel.com tracks the prices of every product that Amazon stocks. Over time. So you can see what the price is today, what it was a few months ago, and see whether or not it’s a good deal or the best price it’s ever been. There’s a section called “Popular Products” that lists the top 500 products being bought on Amazon.com at the time… check it out.

YouTube.com

YouTube logoWhen I find a new product I’m interested in buying using DealNews or CamelCamelCamel, I go to YouTube.com to find reviews. I watch reviews from different people to get a good perspective about the pros and cons of the product.

You may have seen a product on Amazon.com with a bunch of good ratings, and bought it… most of the time that works. But sometimes the positive ratings are pumped up by bogus reviewers. I like getting an honest opinion from reviewers I trust on YouTube. Jim’s Review Room is one of my favorite channels for tech product reviews.

Bonus website: UncommonGoods.com

Uncommon Goods LogoI wanted to include UncommonGoods.com because they have gift ideas for men and women that have everything they need. They have everything from the F-Bomb paperweight to an office desk plaque that reads, “I’m not bossy. I am the boss.” Many of you know I’m into music. Last year, Trista bought me a Rock Band sculpture that I love. It’s on our kitchen counter next to our digital photo frame. :)

So there you go. Now you know what I will be doing Thursday afternoon and Friday morning of Thanksgiving week. I hope you’ll join me with your contribution to the United States economy. Have a great week!

LiveChat for your website… And don’t miss the next Hats Club event!

The Hats Club LogoBefore I talk about LiveChat for your website, I wanted to mention the next Hats Club event. The event is November 14th at 4pm and will be hosted at Apex Business Advisors (the Darth Vader building at College and Metcalf.) I’m going to be on a panel talking about local businesses giving back to the community. It’s good timing because Thanksgiving will be right around the corner! Please consider coming to the event for networking, food, and hopefully some good conversation about giving back. For more info or to sign up, use this link. I would love to see you there!

LiveChat for your Website

LiveChat LogoI was working with my friends at Kenton Brothers recently, and one of the goals was to implement a chat feature on their website.

Kenton Brothers installs and supports commercial security systems… everything from key card locking hardware to video surveillance, turnstiles, and more. This involves a bunch of technology that has to work well together (they call it the security pyramid). And ongoing support is an important part of the security relationship. As a result, having an easy to use chat feature on their website became a priority.

David Strickland and I did some research and determined that LiveChat is one of the most popular and feature-rich chat systems available. The Kenton Brothers website is powered by WordPress, so we downloaded and installed the LiveChat plugin made for WordPress. We had it set up and configured in about an hour. And we were impressed. They’ve really thought of everything.

Hybrid 24/7 Support

Chat will be available on every page of the website in the lower right hand corner. (I say “will be” because they are doing internal training on using the chat support tools before turning it on. It should be up and running soon.) LiveChat is an intelligent system… in other words, it says “Chat” whenever Kenton Brothers staff is logged in and ready to take a chat request. If nobody is logged in, the chat box turns into a “Leave a Message” box. If someone leaves a message, it turns into a service ticket within the LiveChat system to be addressed the next time an employee logs in.

Canned Responses

The chat system is familiar, just like sending text messages on a phone. And from a support perspective, there are lots of bells and whistles that make it efficient for your team to use… including canned responses to common questions. You can set up canned responses with text and even links to pages or PDFs on your website for more information. This becomes really helpful if you get a lot of the same questions. And from a sales support perspective, it’s great because you can respond with links to product data sheets, pricing information, case studies and more without typing it all up every time.

Rating Surveys

LiveChat: SurveysAnother nice feature is immediate feedback. Whenever a chat session is complete, you can ask for feedback. From a simple thumbs up or down graphic to a short list of quick yes/no questions (all configurable), you can see if your support is effective. And you can do so over time with the LiveChat reporting tools.

Integrations

And when I said they’ve thought of everything, that includes the little details like customizing the look of the chat window so the colors match your website perfectly. And there are plenty of integrations with other systems. For Kenton Brothers, we connected LiveChat with MailChimp so that people can opt-in to get the KB email newsletter. If a visitor checks the box, they are automatically added to the appropriate list in MailChimp. This works because the visitor has to provide their name and email to start a chat session. Once the chat is complete, a transcript of the chat is sent to the visitor’s email address. So you have their email address if they opt-in for your newsletter.

LiveChat is an excellent way to provide helpful support on your website for your clients and prospects. You need to be able to dedicate the resources internally to respond to those requests… But it seems to me that you would want to dedicate those resources to be responsive. And I think it makes a lasting first impression. Something good happens in our brains when we go to a website of a company that has real, live people ready to help with sales or support questions.

If adding chat to your website sounds interesting, be sure to check out LiveChat’s website for features and pricing. And no, this isn’t a sponsored blog post… I just really like their system!

Drudgery + Review your credit card statement = Worth it

I am disciplined in many things… but one of them I’ve been slacking on consistently for years is reviewing my credit card statements. Sure, I’ll take a look at them occasionally, especially if the balance seems high. But for most months, the number is roughly the same. So I just pay the balance.

But last week I received a text message from a really good friend of mine:

Text MessageThe Question: Jason, do we still use HostGator for our web hosting?
The Answer: No. That was supposed to have been cancelled a couple of years ago.

When you have a successful business, there’s a good chance you’ll have a lot of companies you pay regularly for products and services. And as your organization grows, it becomes harder for one person to know if every charge on the company credit card is necessary.

In the web hosting example above, we developed a new website together and moved their hosting to Flywheel. We don’t mark anything up… our clients have a direct financial relationship with their web hosting company. So there was no way for us to cancel the old hosting account.

Our point of contact at the client said they would get the old hosting account shut down. But they didn’t. We checked with them a month later and they said, “oops! I’ll take care of that this week.” And they didn’t. Next thing you know, that person is no longer working for the company. Unfortunately, the monthly charge from HostGator kept getting paid.

And I thought to myself, “I wonder if I’m paying for anything every month that I really don’t need?”

Time to review the Blue Gurus credit card statement!

Credit Card StatementI went through the last three months of Blue Gurus credit card statements. I found three items that we either don’t need or could reduce the cost by moving to a different plan. Happy face! And then sad face for not taking care of it sooner.

VaultPress

One of the services was VaultPress. The fee is $15/month to back up our WordPress powered website. But we moved our hosting to Flywheel years ago and their backup solution is reliable. So I canceled our VaultPress account. And then thought about the fact that I couldn’t get back hundreds of  dollars that had been spent over the past few years. (VaultPress is a great service, I just don’t feel that it’s necessary when you have a great hosting company with reliable backups.)

eFax

When I started Blue Gurus in 2009, people were still faxing signed contracts. So I set up an eFax account. And for the first few years, we used it often enough to justify the expense. It was around $170/year. But I can’t remember the last time I got a signed contract or any other documentation faxed to me. So I called eFax to cancel. They offered me a reduced cost per year as a valued customer. I said no thanks. Then they cut the price to $50/year with an allowance of 30 faxed pages per month. And I feel that it’s probably worth $50/year to be able to send and receive faxes, so I switched to that plan. Saving me $120/year.

Google Fiber

We have Google Fiber for our home office. And we’ve been watching the monthly bill go up as the price of having HD cable channels increases. The silly thing is that we rarely watch cable TV. I watch Netflix and YouTube more than anything else. My wife likes HGTV and ABC. She can stream HGTV for free, and Google Fiber has a smaller cable plan that gives you only the local HD channels. So I switched and I’m saving $75/month. The bill went from $185/month to a little over $100/month.

Time to review YOUR credit card statement?

Based on my experience over the past week, there’s a good chance a lot of companies should review the monthly and annual charges they’re paying to make sure the services are necessary. And if there are any line items you don’t recognize, compile a list and send that out to your team for confirmation.

I set up a recurring calendar item to review this quarterly… maybe it would be helpful to do the same if you don’t already have a process in place.

I just saved $1,000/year by spending 15 minutes reviewing my credit card statement. If you accept the challenge, I would love to know if you find anything you’ve been paying for that you no longer need! (I promise to keep it confidential.) And thanks for reading! Please forward this to a friend that you think might find this helpful.

Not Boring: Email and Calendar Subjects that Move the Needle

Something came up twice today, so I just had to write about it. It’s all about more effective email and calendar invites. Sounds boring, I know… But trust me, if you adopt these ideas, you might even get compliments from people about your emails and calendar invites. Here we go!

A Helpful Email Subject Can Move You to the Head of the Line

Blue Gurus: Email and Calendar SubjectsWhenever I send an email to someone I don’t know very well, I always include “Blue Gurus” or “Jason Terry” in the subject. Why? Because most people use their inbox as their TO DO list. I want my email to stand out in that list. So I include my name or company name, and it really works. I’ve had people comment on it many times.

Here are two examples:
“Blue Gurus – Proposal for your new website attached!”
“Jason Terry – The insurance paperwork you requested is attached.”

The people on the receiving end will read it and hopefully take action right away. But that doesn’t always happen. So when they look back through their “read” emails later that day, mine will stand out. It works, I promise.

If It’s Not on the Calendar, It Doesn’t Count

Blue Gurus: Email and Calendar SubjectsThis is something that has been really helpful in my business and personal life. On the business side, I have a lot of things going on… just like you. So I really have to use my calendar effectively or things get missed or I have lots of conflicts.

It’s embarrassing and unprofessional to miss an appointment with someone. And that almost never happens to me because I’m disciplined about sending calendar invites for just about everything. If I need to be somewhere, or it’s important to get something done that day, it goes on my calendar.

And on the personal side, my wife Trista and I used to have lots calendar challenges. This was years ago… and it was a real problem for both of us. We finally shared our electronic calendars and agreed, “if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t count!” This put a stop to most of the issues we had with work, date nights, social events, family gatherings, vacation, etc.

Be Clear About Purpose or Goals with Calendar Invites

I love this best practice. And this is one of the things that came up today that inspired this story.

Blue Gurus: Email and Calendar SubjectsMy friend Michelle Keller at Swope Health Services sent me an agenda for our monthly meetings. I wrote back and complimented her for being so organized (which isn’t surprising because she’s a communications professional.) She told me that she generally doesn’t accept calendar invites that don’t have a purpose or agenda included in the Title or Description of the invite. That made sense to me. I usually include the purpose or task list in calendar invites I send… but not all the time.

I’m going to try to do a better job with this moving forward. Even if that’s just a few bullet points that are important to cover with the people I’m meeting with. That will be more effective than just winging it.

Here’s an example:
When I send a calendar invite to someone to meet for coffee, I could just title it “Coffee” and add the people I want to invite and click Send. But I want to be more helpful than that, especially if it’s the first time I’m meeting them. A much better title would be, “Sarah and Jason – Meeting of the Minds”.

  • This reminds both us who we’re meeting. It’s easy to forget when you are busy or if it’s the first thing on a Monday morning.
  • I choose to put their name before mine to be respectful… it’s just a nice touch.
  • Personally, I would look forward to a “Meeting of the Minds” more than I would a “Coffee”.
  • I often include my cell phone number after my name in the subject. If they’re running late, they can easily call me to let me know.

So there you have it. And I don’t think this subject is talked about enough. (See what I did there?) I really hope you got at least one thing you can use from Email and Calendar Subjects that Move the Needle. If you have any best practices with your email subjects or calendar invites, let me know!

How to create a link you can send to people when asking for a Google review.

Last week, I talked about the idea that when you help others, they will help you. I also mentioned I would be doing a blog post this week on how to create a Google Business review link that you can send to people… when asking them to give you a Google review.

Leaving a Positive ReviewAbout a month ago, I noticed I had only TWO Google reviews for Blue Gurus. I sent an email to about thirty friends that I’ve done business with for years, asking if they would give me a Google review. The response I got was humbling. They all gave me a 5 star review, and most importantly, they all took the time to give me a review.

I could have made it easier for them.

When I sent my request for Google reviews, I included instructions on where to go to write a review. It’s basically the “create a link from Google Search” method outlined below… but I could have done the work for them. It would have been better to include the direct link in my email. (For an example, here’s the direct link to write a review for Blue Gurus.) But it was NOT obvious how to copy that URL to be able to paste it into my email request. Since then, I’ve learned a couple of ways to get that URL.

To create a Google review link from Google Search:

  1. On your computer, use your browser to search for your business on Google.
  2. Find your business listing and click Write a review.
  3. Copy and paste the URL you see in your address bar (after the review popup appears).

Google Review: Write a Review link on your business page

If these steps don’t work for you, you’ll need to use the PlaceID Lookup Tool instead.

To create a Google review link using the PlaceID Lookup Tool:

  1. Click here to open up the PlaceID Lookup Tool.
  2. Enter your business name in the “Enter a location” field at the top of the map.
  3. Click your business name in the list that appears. (If it doesn’t appear, you probably need to claim your business listing with Google Business.)
  4. Copy your Place ID, which you’ll see beneath your business name. (See the Blue Gurus example below, our Place ID is: ChIJeyRkNjWVwIcRmIeFGEdQBho)
  5. Add your Place ID to the following URL to create your link: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<place_id>

If you type “Blue Gurus” into the PlaceID Tool, you will see something like this…

Google Reviews: PlaceID Tool

And the PlaceID URL for Blue Gurus would then be this. (Notice <place_id> has been replaced with the actual Blue Gurus Place ID.)

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJeyRkNjWVwIcRmIeFGEdQBho

So there you go!

Now you know how to create a link that takes someone directly to Google to give you a review. There are lots of ways you can send this out… a link on your website, an email, in your email signature, as an update on LinkedIn… use whatever method works best. For me, it’s kind of a big ask, so I sent an email one at a time to the people I was asking to provide a review. I didn’t want to make the mistake of trying to automate the request with an email campaign and a list of email addresses.

Was this helpful? Let me know if you end up using this information to ask for reviews! And if we’ve done business together, send me your review link and I will gladly write a Google review for you.

When You Help Others, They Will Help You. Including Google Reviews!

Last week, I asked a question. The question was, “are you feeling overwhelmed?” And one of the solutions I talked about was walking. The reason this works well for me is that it gives my brain some space to work and it also crosses something important off my list… exercise.

The day after my post went live, I went for a walk at the Lenexa Rec center. I’m always looking for something interesting to listen to while I walk, whether it’s a new Spotify playlist or someone talking about an important topic. I’ve mentioned Simon Sinek in past blog posts… and I stumbled on one of his speeches that I hadn’t heard before.

That link will take you to YouTube, and the video is 39 minutes long. My hope is that you can listen to this next time you are walking, on a long drive or have some downtime. I think you will find it worth your while and maybe even inspirational.

When You Help Others, They Will Help You

Helping OthersOne of the things I took away from that presentation was the real world examples he used to prove that when you help others, they will help you. He goes into a story about how the military works. How the men and women in service are willing to give their lives for each other. He explains how this happens, and it’s compelling. (Here’s a direct link to that part of his speech.)

Basic training is where this begins. Many of the people joining elite branches of the military are incredibly fit and physically capable. And at first, the goal for some is to try to finish first, to prove how good they are. They want to impress their instructors.

But the military knows that the only way for these men and women to succeed and form a bond with their fellow recruits is to put them in situations that they can’t accomplish on their own. They make obstacles too wide to cross without the help of a teammate. The recruits that aren’t willing to help others get to the finish line, so that everyone can finish, end up being excluded from the group. They learn the hard way that they’re going to succeed as a team or not at all.

This story was part of a bigger idea… paraphrasing, “We have to feel safe with the people we live with and work with. If we don’t feel safe, we’re forced to spend time and energy protecting ourselves from each other. This makes the entire organization weaker and exposes us to external danger.” And the only way we’re going to feel safe with the people we live and work with is by supporting each other through many situations. Consistently.

It really does work… Google Reviews for Blue Gurus

Leaving a Positive ReviewAs I was thinking about the idea of helping others, I realized that this happened for me recently.

Blue Gurus only had two reviews on Google… because I’d never really focused on it. I decided to send out about thirty requests to people that I trust, respect and do business with. People that I’ve known for many years. People that I have strong relationships with because we’ve helped each other through many situations.

I asked them if they would be willing to give me a Google review. The shocking and humbling result is that every person went online and gave a 5-star review for Blue Gurus. I even got apologies from some… because it took them a week to get to it. This happened right on the heels of me listening to Simon Sinek talk about how far people will go to support you, when you’ve supported them. Cool.

So next week, I’m going to share how you can ask people that you trust for a Google review. There’s no easy way to send a link that they can click on to get to the place where they can leave a review. But I figured out how to create that URL and will give you step by step instructions.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you end up watching Simon’s presentation, and what you think about his content.

Royalty free music for your video soundtrack? FreePD.com to the rescue!

In a previous blog post, I talked about royalty free images for your blog posts under the CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) licensing agreement. In other words, images that are totally free to use as you want, even commercially.

And in another recent blog post, I talked about the DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone taking some cool aerial footage. But if you watch the video, there’s no sound. It’s because I didn’t have any music I could add to the video without worrying about copyright issues.

The only thing missing was the sound!

FreePD.com for Royalty Free Audio FilesSo now I have great photos and video footage, but when I try to create any kind of cool video with this media, I have to worry about copyright issues for the sound.

The right music really enhances a video. So I decided to do a Google search for “CC0 free music” and found a website called FreePD.com. This site has over 850 MP3 files that you can download to use as music tracks in your videos. And there are some really good tracks in the collection. For a $10 donation, you can download ALL of the files, almost 5 Gigs worth of music. The site is operated by Kevin MacLeod, and the majority of the music is his original work.

So I went ahead and donated $10 and downloaded everything. And then I got the following personal message from Kevin that was a reply to the PayPal transaction:

Thank you very much! Cheers.
– km

I responded to Kevin with, “Kevin, thanks for the quick note. I was looking for CC0 music for some family trip video work I am going to be doing. LOVE what you are doing… labor of love I am sure. I can’t imagine the amount of time you have invested in your work and making it available to people like me. Thanks again.”

And his reply:

Woohoo! You are literally the first person to thank me for putting up CC0 music. :-) That’s awesome. Tell your friends about it!

Which is exactly what I’m doing right now. And the best thing? I can even include a few of the tracks here for you to listen to. I can use them commercially on the Blue Gurus website, or in a personal video I put together about a recent trip. It doesn’t matter, because the music is all protected with the CC0 license.

So thanks to Kevin MacLeod and his FreePD.com website for the following tracks:

Ukulele Song (this would be great for a Caribbean vacation video)


Inspiration (I can see my drone taking off)


Happy Whistling Ukulele (reminds me of a cleaning detergent commercial?)


Stereotype News


City Sunshine

And if you are reading this in our email newsletter and can’t see the audio tracks, be sure to click here to go to the actual blog post in your browser to play the audio files. Enjoy!

Your LinkedIn Headline Needs to be Interesting

By Jason Terry, talking about taking a few minutes to update your LinkedIn Headline.

I was doing a couple of days of LinkedIn training for a company in Wichita recently when I realized I needed to update my profile a bit. As I made those changes, I also thought it would be a good time to review my LinkedIn headline. Since helping companies with their blogging efforts is a primary source of income, I decided to add “Storyteller” to my headline. And during training, I noticed that 95% of the LinkedIn profiles I reviewed had the default headline… the title for their current position.

Blue Gurus: LinkedIn Headline

Why does your LinkedIn Headline need to be interesting? Because it’s an important part of the impression you make when someone looks at your LinkedIn profile for the first time. It’s an opportunity to start building a relationship with someone before actually meeting them.

Here are the reasons behind the terms I use in my headline…

Principal of Blue Gurus

My LinkedIn headline starts out with Principal of Blue Gurus. This is my current title. And by default, that’s what LinkedIn uses to create your headline when you initially set up your profile. I think your current title is a good place to start, but there’s an opportunity to let your headline do a little more work for you.

Storyteller | Web Developer | LinkedIn Trainer

The next part of my headline includes 2-3 business related functions. I chose to list what we do for our customers as my three business related ideas in my headline. It’s a quick way to let people know what I actually do for a living.

Scuba Diver | Guitar Player | LEGO Collector

  • The last part of my headline includes 2-3 things that I’m passionate about outside of work. I’ve been scuba diving since 1999 and I make it a priority to go on a dive trip every year. (You might be surprised to know how many business owners scuba dive.)
  • I listed Guitar Player next because I sing and play guitar at my church. Notice I didn’t list this as “Worship Leader” because I don’t want to alienate half my audience at the beginning of a new relationship. My recommendation is to stay away from religion and politics on your LinkedIn profile… those can be talked about once you’ve established a relationship (if it even comes up.)
  • Finally I listed LEGO Collector. I grew up playing with LEGO and still enjoy the more advanced sets as an adult, like the recently released LEGO Millennium Falcon. And lots of people have kids that love LEGO. It’s another conversation starter.

Your Headline Shows Up in Search Results

I did a search for “Jason Terry” and got 1,733 results on LinkedIn. You can see in the picture that my profile stands out from the rest because my headline is included in the search results. This makes it a little bit easier for people to find me, and also might draw people into my profile because it looks more interesting.

Blue Gurus: LinkedIn Headline

If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn headline in a while (or ever), please take this story as a friendly reminder. All you have to do is log into your LinkedIn account, click on Me | View Profile, and then click on the blue pencil to the right of your profile photo to edit your picture, name, headline and more!

You know it’s a good blog post when the pictures tell the story.

By Jason Terry, talking about taking a blog post from good to great through pictures. If you can get the meaning of the story just by looking at the pictures, you’re on the right track.

I was recently doing a blog post with a client when an important idea hit me in the face. I wanted to share that experience with you, minus the pain.

This story was about bringing your kids to work day and how the company makes it a really big deal. To see the blog post on Straub Construction’s website, go here.

Bring Your Kids to Work DayFeatured Image

The first thing you will notice is the featured image. It has ten employees and eleven kids. Imagine what it took to herd so many cats against a wall for this shot. Ernie Straub is flanked by his work family and their kids. That must have been a really cool moment.

I chose to use this as the featured image for the story because it captured the emotion and scope of the moment. Sure, there were lots of other great pictures to choose from, but this simple photo against the wall in their offices just felt right.

Telling the Story Through Images

Bring Your Kids to Work DayAfter the featured image, there’s a series of great pictures of the employees and their kids throughout the day. They start in the conference room reviewing architectural plans.

Next is a drone shot in the parking lot. It’s a really interesting picture because of the perspective. And it’s just different to see what your taking a photo of from 40 feet in the air.

Back into the office for an estimating exercise. The joy on Hannah’s face and Ernie apparently being attacked from all sides by the kids made me smile.

Next, they took the kids to a job site to show them a construction project in process. The first thing that hit me when I saw these pictures is, “wow. They really do take this seriously.” Imagine the planning it took to make this happen. And I’m sure the kids LOVED it. I don’t know of another company in town that goes this far for Bring Your Kids to Work Day. Do you? And I ask that question seriously, because if you work for a company like that, I want to know about it!

Finally, the kids got to build their very own washers game, and spray paint the washers a custom color. At the end of an awesome day, they get to take home something they helped build, an ongoing reminder of what a great day it was.

Bring Your Kids to Work DayLet’s Continue to Focus on Good Pictures For Our Stories!

I’ve written hundreds of blog posts over the past ten years. And I’ve helped clients publish hundreds more. It’s rare to see the pictures tell the story like they did in this particular blog post. Kudos to Matthew Straub for pulling all of these images together, including piloting the drone for the overhead shot. (You can see him in the right side of the picture with his head down over the controller… :)

I am going to renew my focus on capturing images for my stories. If you’re involved in telling stories for your company or organization, I hope you will too!

Choosing the Email Address for Each Person in a Google Contact Group

By Jason Terry, with another solution to a problem that has been nagging him for a long time! Picking the email address to use for a contact in a Google Contact Group.

Do you use Google Contacts to keep track of all the people you know? If not, then you can move on to the next thing in your day… thanks for reading!. :)

For those of you that DO use Google Contacts, you’re probably aware that you can create a Contact Group. This is really handy when you find yourself emailing the same group of people a lot. For example, I’m involved in a few peer advisory groups. And the blog teams for our clients. These are groups of people that I email on a regular basis. And I’ve set up Google Contact Groups for all of them.

Before I go into picking the email address for each person in a Google Contact Group, I will quickly show you how to set up Google Contact Groups.

Blue Gurus: Google Contact Group

Setting up a Google Contact Group

  1. Log into your Google Contacts
  2. Click on any of your contacts.
  3. You will see a button (like in the screenshot, labeled Groups) that has a three-headed group icon. Click it.
  4. In the drop down, you can create a new group or assign the contact you’re currently looking at to one of the existing groups in the list.
  5. If this is the first group you’ve created, click Create New.
  6. A new dialog pops up where you can type in the Group Name. Do that. Then click OK.
  7. And now the group will show up in your list of groups. Click the checkbox next to the group you just created to add your current contact to the group and click Apply. (This is an easy step to miss… you have to click Apply to actually save the group affiliation.)

Sending a Group Email

Once you’ve set up a Google Contact Group, all you have to do to send a group email is start a new email. In the “To” field start typing the group name, and when it shows up, click on it. The “To” field will then be filled out with all the contacts in your group! It’s that easy. And really useful.

Here’s the Problem…

Many of the people in my contacts have a work email address and a personal email address. And when I send group emails, they usually have a strong preference about which email I use for group communications. But for some reason, Google would just pick an email address. Sometimes it was the right one, and sometimes not. This ended up being a manual process for me to fix… silly, right?

The Solution

There’s an easy fix, that I guess should’ve been obvious to me… but it wasn’t. Refer back to the screenshot above. Do you see the second arrow labeled “Choose Email” that points to a little drop down icon next to the group name? All you have to do to pick exactly what email address you want to use for that group is click the drop down. All of the contact’s email addresses will show up in the list, and you can pick the one you want to use for the group. (Important: You have to click Apply for the change to be saved.)

And that’s it! I’ve gone through all of my contact groups and chosen the correct email addresses for each person in my groups. It’s a small thing, but it was really annoying to manually fix when sending a group email. You might have already known about this solution, but I’m sure some people missed it like I did.

If you didn’t know about this setting in Google Contacts or you found this blog post helpful, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or shoot me an email… I would really appreciate it! Thanks for reading!