Accept credit cards with 0% hassle!

October 31, 2011

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Accept credit cards hassle free!

Many small businesses struggle with the desire to accept credit cards but the hassle factor or the costs make it seem impossible.

I wanted to share a solution that we’re using at McLellan Marketing Group with great success.  It’s called Square.

Square is an app tied to your iPhone or Droid (or iPad).  When you sign up for the service, they’ll send you a credit card reader that fits into your smartphone.  You can either take credit card charges via swiping the actual card or by manually entering the data into the touchpad of your phone.

10 minutes after downloading the app and filling out some information so they can get the funds into your bank account — you can be accepting credit cards.  It really is that simple.

In terms of fees, you’ll pay 2.75% if you swipe the card and 3.5% if you enter the charges in manually.

No long term contracts, no up front fees, no waiting to be approved.  The only downside to Square is that, unlike PayPal, they don’t give you the tools to automate accepting credit card payments via your website.  But odds are — if you are making that many transactions — you need a more robust tool anyway.

This isn’t the solution for everyone.  But especially if you are a service based business who doesn’t have a daily need to accept credit cards — but when you need to, you’d like to do it quickly, easily and affordably — Square just might be the ticket.



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Essential Twitter Tools

June 10, 2011

Twitter is an important part of my daily communications and community.  I use it to:

  • Share great resources
  • Chat with friends and peers
  • Share my own writing/posts
  • Access resources, articles, and keep current
  • Test ideas, vent, laugh and connect
  • Give myself a mental floss — you never know what you’ll see, read or jump into

But…I have a day job so I can’t spend all day, glued to the Twitter screen, waiting for someone to say something relevant.  So, I rely on a handful of Twitter tools that make it much easier for me to accomplish my goals and cover my day job as well.

Let me preface my tool talk with this statement:  Twitter is not about automated conversations between your bot and mine.  It’s about real interactions between real people.  But that does not mean all automation is bad.  It’s about finding the balance.

Twitter Tool #1: HootSuite.

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Re-arrange tweets into conversations

Much has been written about this software.  It allows you to manage your Twitter activity (follow the main stream, when someone directs an update to you or sends you a direct message) but what I appreciate the most about Hootsuite is that it allows me to schedule updates (on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) so I can be sharing resources, blog posts etc. throughout the day, even if I’m in a meeting or asleep.

It also lets me “re-arrange” tweets into conversations, as you can see in the screen shot to the right.

Twitter Tool #2: Boxcar

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Keep me in live conversations 24/7

Boxcar is an app on my iPhone and iPad.  It streams any message sent directly to me (I have it set just for Facebook or Twitter but you could set up Google Voice, e-mail and much more) right to my device and pops up with a portion of the message so I can decide if I want to read it, respond to it etc.   It’s very elegant and simple and very easy to set up and use.

This allows to to respond in real time — no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

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Pre-set a handful of blogs to autopost





Twitter tool #3: Twitterfeed

This is a tool I use very sparingly.  You create an account and then add URLs that post new content (typically blogs).  Then, anytime one of those sites has new content, it automatically tweets it out on your account.  (You can set it up to do Twitter, FB and others).

I would only add blogs that stick to their core content faithfully and consistently deliver A+ content.  In my Twitterfeed account, there are only about 10 blogs loaded up.  I can regulate how often it updates my status with someone’s new content and it tells me what my Twitter friends are clicking on.  I don’t want to bombard my Twitter followers, but I also don’t want to make them wait until I get to my feed reader to share the best stuff.

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Manage your followers with a click!





Twitter Tool #4: ManageFlitter

Oh how I love this tool!  With a couple clicks, I can see what tweeps I follow that have gone dormant, who are the super talkers (might be bots) and who has stopped following me, etc.  Then, I can unfollow or add people very quickly.

This used to be one of my most laborious tasks… cleaning up my Twitter followers.  But now I can do it in minutes and it keeps me connected to the people I want to follow and disconnected from those who got bored and haven’t tweeted in 6 months.

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What the set up screen looks like

Twitter tool #5: Tweet Old Post

This WordPress plugin allows me to tweet out some of my older posts from my blog.  I’ve been blogging for over 5 years, so in theory, there’s some good stuff in there.  This plugin randomly grabs an old post (I can identify categories I do/don’t want included) and tweets it out.  I can add a prefix like A golden oldie… or a hashtag like #GreatestHits so my followers will know what’s up.

This is a great way to breath new life into old but still relevant content.

So there you have it….these five tools (along with some RSS feeds for listening by topics and Twitter lists for listening to my favorite people) are how I manage my life on Twitter.  They let me connect in real time, share my favorite writers, schedule some of my tweets and manage my followers.

I hope that at least one of these tools is a new find for you and that a mix of them can make your Twitter experience even better!

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Is your mobile app about you or about me?

March 30, 2011

It seems like just about everyone is jumping onto the mobile app (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry) wagon these days.  Most apps fall into one of four categories:

  • They’re functional/useful (they help you do something you want to do)
  • They’re about access/ease (they help you get stuff/information you need)
  • They’re entertaining (they amuse us, keep us busy, are funny)
  • They’re lame (they couldn’t think how to fit into one of the above, so they’re sort of dumb)

For many brands, they’re rushing to be there but have no idea why.  (which leads to lame apps like Coke’s* — where you you tip it back and it’s like your drinking a Coke – sound effects and all)

It’s much easier to create a functional or get me access type app.  You’re Walgreen’s and you let me renew my prescriptions.  You’re DropBox and you let me access my files. But to be genuinely entertaining AND drive home your brand message?  Now that’s impressive.

See the difference?  Coke’s app is about them and how refreshing they are.  Walgreen’s and DropBox are about the user and what they want/need.

That’s why I am applauding Sealy’s app called the In Bed Tagger.  (Keep in mind that their tagline is: Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it.)  Watch this brief video to see their app in action.


They got it.  An app isn’t a sales gimmick or supposed to be a digital brochure.  And it’s not about them.  Their app is all about the user and having some fun with the old fortune cookie game.  By focusing their app on us… it tells us a great deal about them.


*In fairness, I will say Coke’s other apps, like their snowglobe app, are much more about the user and therefore…more fun and more like the brand I know and love.


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