Saturday, February 28, 2009

YouGottaCall Members at CT Home Show

Large crowd keeps trusted businesses busy at the annual CT Home Show

Avi and Tahl Smith Rapaport of We Care Computers had a steady stream of prospects.

The booth for 1-800-Got-JUNK and Doody Calls was manned by Paul and Martha Stansel.

Alan Mardirosian of CT sponsored a give away Red Sox and Yankee gear - and does not hesitate to let you know which he supports.

These Trusted Service Providers are part of your Connection Engine. When you use their services or refer a friend you'll earn rewards for your favorite charity.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 Featured on Hartford's Fox 61 News

We were excited to be contacted by Rick Hancock of Hartford's Fox 61 News last week. He was interested in a story on

Rick interviewed Lisa Farren of the Good News Garage and me. Watch the story by clicking here.

We are excited about this press exposure and the growth of our community. But the key to becoming a vibrant, thriving community is the involvement by each Member. Consumer members stand to benefit as they can connect with their network's trustworthy local businesses. Businesses and worthy, local charities like the Good News Garage also benefit each time a referral results in new business.

Thanks to each of our Members for your active involvement, continued suggestions and enthusiastic use of the network for connecting with your neighbors, local businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

- - Tim

Tim Tracey, Founder
YouGottaCall Blog

Connect-gine (kĕ-nĕkt'jĭn) – n., an online network of real, off-line relationships consumers use to identify and contact local, trusted service providers.
A means for quality, local businesses to develop a self-sustaining source of new business that replaces local advertising.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Are Social Networks The New Newspaper?

Excerpted from Rick's RSS by Rick Hancock of Fox 61 News:

Last week my state’s largest daily newspaper, The Hartford Courant, (it also bils itself as ”America’s oldest continuously published newspaper“) took a gigantic digital step forward into the future. It created a Facebook page and begun inviting “fans” to join. This week the paper took another big digital step forward and created its own Tweeter feed. Hooray for them.

The Courant brags that 800,000 people read the Courant via the newspaper and online. So, far – as of this blog post “only”192 Facebook users have become Courant Facebook fans. By comparison The New York Times Facebook site has 357,678 fans.

The Courant’s current low fan base probably has more to do with little to no promotion in the paper or the main Courant website that readers can now check them out on the social networking powerhouse. Talk about a soft product launch!

So what are the advantages of news organizations jumping on Facebook? ” Facebook is the “newspaper” for many people,”says Quinnipiac University Journalism Professor Richard Hanley.. ”It is much more powerful than the traditional newspaper because it incorporates news about friends and family into an interface where more traditional news can be posted. I’ve seen the future of newspapers, and it is Facebook.

My Take

The oldest example of mass media in the US, The Courant is a natural fit for social media. Through Hartford’s history it was sold and consumed in the community. In a way it was the community.

It was everywhere people were - available for purchase on every corner, generously distributed around barber shops, diners, offices, trains, buses - the most popular and frequent conversation starter.

It was the prime spot for job listings, real estate purchasing and classifieds.

Like The Hartford Times it was home-delivered and found on kitchen tables and in stacks next to dad’s favorite chair. Perhaps agreeing on little else, the generations would hash over the box scores, Dear Abby and upcoming white sales.

A Courant route was reason for pride and income for the disciplined, early rising pre-teen and high schooler. Courant delivery routes were coveted and accompanied by pre-dawn war stories.

Like any newspaper, The Courant was marked up, folded up, circled, scissored and spread out for the puppy or the parrot. Even spread in the garden. Every inch was useful.

But there have been several partings of the ways between The Courant and its readers. Now easy, immediate access to opposing political views is available. Social media and its user generated content provides what editorial boards and 3AM press runs can’t.

As the community increasingly incorporates digital media and online news it will be interesting if The Courant will find its audience and its voice there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Local Biz Has Two Minds About the Web

Small Business Not Keeping Up With Online Presence
by Jack Loechner, Friday, February 13, 2009, 8:15 AM


According to research from Webvisible and Nielsen, reported by Marketing Charts, though 63% of consumers and small business owners turn to the internet first for information about local companies and 82% use search engines to do so, only 44% of small businesses have a website and half spend less than 10% of their marketing budget online.

The study uncovers a significant disconnect between the way small business owners act as consumers vs. the way they market their businesses online.

92% of searchers say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines.

Webvisible found that online search and e-mail newsletters are the only forms of traditional media that are growing among consumers who wish to locate local products or services. Compared with two years ago, respondents report they use search engines and email newsletters more, while they use newspapers, magazines, direct mail and radio less:

Consumer Use Of Media Compared to Two Years Ago (% of Respondents)
Media Use More Use Less
Search engines



E-Mail newsletters



Yellow page directories



Local newspaper






Direct mail






Source: WebVisible and NielsenOnline survey November 2008, February 2009

Though less than half of small businesses do have a website, the ones that do are not happy overall with their online marketing. Among those small businesses that have a website:

  • 51% believe both the quality and ability of their site to acquire new customers is only "fair" or "poor"
  • 99% of small business owners are directly involved in the marketing
  • 65% believe it is very important to know where their customers come from
  • Only 9% are satisfied with their online marketing efforts
  • Only 7% of small business owners say their primary marketing goal is to get more visitors to their website

My Take

This is more than a disconnect - it is schizophrenic.

Ninety-nine percent of business owners run their own marketing. They overwhelmingly turn to the Web first when they need to locate a local business. Yet 56% do not have a Web site for their business. Doesn't this seem crazy?

While this is illogical, it is easy to understand. Local business people are busy all day long running their business. And they're putting in long hours doing so. Most don't have time for chamber of commerce meetings or networking groups, never mind updating their Web site or blogging.

Their problem is the Web isn't yet an easy to use marketing weapon. It's a "nice-to-have", but not yet a "gotta-have". Plus, 93% of their competitors who have sites aren't getting the results they could be because they're employing them as Web 1.0 brochure-ware - not strategic marketing tools.

Plus, these businesses are getting word-of-mouth referrals from their satisfied customers, neighbors and friends. They do not see a sufficient incremental return on their investment in time and money needed to design, build and manage another ad channel.

This is where's patent-pending process is crucial - it provides local businesses with all of the benefits of a Web page with none of the hassles. Plus, it allows them to connect with their best source of leads - their real, live network of customers and friends.

In time, the Web will be the leading tool local businesses use to gain new customers. It will be more friendly, more intuitive and more social. As I posted in "Social Media - Getting Local and Getting Real" it will support real, local relationships and provide real, social revenues.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Michelle MacPhearson's "The Social Myth"

My Take:

“The Social Media Myth”

Michelle MacPhearson (; Twitter: offers this 31 page downloadable guide to social media. It is useful as a means for viewing social media as an important - and simple - piece in your marketing.

Michelle sent me a well timed, follow-up email asking for my "take aways". This in itself demonstrates her marketing skill. Follow-up is so often overlooked - it prompted me to read the article, which I'd been too busy to do when I first downloaded it.

My biggest take away from “The Social Media Myth” is that social media is changing rapidly. Each new development is making it easier to use.
• Open architecture - Open Social, OpenID, (Facebook Connect)
• Mobile enabled
• GPS integrated

“Social ergonomics” is driving these design enhancements. When its evolution is complete, social media will have morphed into an invisible, continually used aspect of our daily routines. At that point its value will be maximized for users, content providers and advertisers alike.

For now we invest time into developing social media marketing strategies that weave the functionality of the available platforms into our marketing mix. Later on it will be seamless and user friendly.

A key to the development of sturdy, valuable social media platforms is the careful consideration and mimicking of our natural, social behavior. It will be successful in the long term when social media uses the power of the Internet to accentuate the effectiveness of
  • our necessary communications,
  • our actual relationships, and
  • our trusted recommendations.