Marketing with Gas Saving Tips

Fricken hell. I just paid over $50 to fill up my gas tank. Way over $50. What I wouldn’t give for a hybrid right now (and a hybrid & electric vehicle refueling station!).

With that said, everyone and their Mommas have been trying to cut their gas bills. The smart folks at saw an opportunity in this and recently sent out an email newsletter full of gas saving tips, along with a gentle reminder to check out their products too. is an ecommerce shop that specializes in aftermarket car parts and accessories. The CEO, Mike Brown, started this site in 2005 with a buddy to sell parts for modifying BMWs. They started this while still in attending undergraduate classes at Chapman University. A year later, at the young age of 21, Brown was named the Global Student Entrepreneur of 2006 by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization from among 10 finalists from the United States, Canada and Sweden. Smart guy!

And their gas tips are pretty smart too:

At the Gas Pump

  • Buy gas at the coolest times of the day usually early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not up. At these times, the gas is the most dense, meaning you pump more gas in early mornings or late afternoons than at noon when the sun is at its highest point and density of gas is less. The gas pump measures volume of gasoline pumped through, not density.
  • Avoid topping off the gas tank, overfilling causes the gasoline to slosh around inside and leak out of the gas tank

General Driving Habits

  • Traveling at fast speeds in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed.
  • At highway speeds, use your a/c, and on city streets roll your windows down.
  • When possible use Cruise Control. On highways constant speed, in most cases, saves gas.
  • Drive at a steady speed. Constantly slowing down and speeding up consumes gas.
  • Avoid tailgating. Not only is tailgating unsafe but the driver in front of you is unpredictable and can slow down at any second.
  • When driving up to a hill, if you must accelerate, do it before you reach the hill, not on it.
  • Try to avoid driving on rough roads when possible. Dirt and gravel roads use up to 30% of gas mileage.
  • Stoplights are timed for motorists advantage. Staying at the speed limit increases the chance of having green lights all the way.
  • Remove excess weight from trunk or inside car – spare tires if you have roadside assistance, backseats, and unnecessary heavy parts. The more weight in your car the less gas mileage you get.
  • When traveling, use as much trunk space and cab space as possible to avoid using a roof rack that creates drag on the highways.
  • Carpool. All riders help you buy. Carpooling reduces the amount of cars in traffic.
  • During cold weather check car for ice frozen to the frame of your car. 100lbs can be quickly accumulated.


  • Avoid warming your car up for prolonged periods of time 30-40 seconds is enough time.
  • Idling your car for one minute consumes the same amount of gas when starting. Don’t stay in a drivethru go inside.
  • Avoid “revving” this wastes fuel needlessly and washes oil down from the inside cylinder walls resulting in loss of oil pressure.
  • Accelerate slowly from a complete stop.

Recommended Check-Ups

  • Get your car checked regularly to guarantee the best fuel economy for your vehicle. Keeping air filters clean maintains good fuel economy.
  • Use recommended grade of motor oil.
  • Inspect chassis and suspension parts for occasional misalignment. Bent wheels, axels, bad shocks, broken springs, etc. can create engine drag and are unsafe at high speeds.
  • During good weather season remove snow tires, traveling on deep tire tread decreases gas mileage.
  • Keep tires inflated to the maximum recommended limit. Get tires periodically spun, balanced, and checked for out-of-round. (check manufacturer’s specs for max tire pressures).

Air Intake Advantages

  • There is common misconception regarding intakes. Some people believe that it is only for making your car louder. Although this is true, an air intake system does more than that. Not only it make your car sound better, but it will also give you more horsepower and more miles per gallon. Since the engine is breathing easier, it doesn’t have to work as hard to produce its power.

    Therefore you use less fuel. If you wanted to take your performance and your miles per gallon even further, then I would recommend replacing your catalytic converters to Hi-flow catalytic converters and install a larger-diameter exhaust system. Both improve exiting airflow from the engine and increase horsepower along with increasing your miles per gallon. Since you are saving money at the pump, these modifications will soon pay for themselves.

    With 18 mph with your stock intake, we calculate that with an aftermarket intake you should save approximately $500 per year by using an aftermarket intake of good quality. This is based on 30 miles per day of driving at $5/gallon.

Traveling Tips

  • Before driving, plan your route. Determine your destination(s) and find the best way there–this includes the distance needed to travel to the destination, the amount of traffic involved during your commute, and the time of day you travel. Planning your destination ahead of time will help you save a significant amount of gas and time during your day.

    There are GPS devices today that include live traffic information features that will help you during your drive to your destination.

Low Price Gas Locator Websites

  • – can help you find cheap gas prices in your city. It is a network of more than 181+ gas price information websites that help you find low gasoline prices. All web sites are operated by GasBuddy and has the most comprehensive listings of gas prices anywhere.
  • – Mapquest Gas Prices finds the cheapest gas prices in your area. Helping you save money on your next gas purchase.
  • – provides you with Gas Prices, Gas Mileage Tips, Articles on Hybrid, Diesel, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, and more!

Great tips, huh? An email newsletter with this much content is sure way to get forwarded to friends and friends of friends. The tip I most appreciated was buying gas at the coolest times of the day. I’ve heard most of the other tips before, but not this one.

A smart email marketing move if I’ve ever seen one, especially with today’s gas prices. Brown & everyone and their Mommas thanks you.

The New Google Keyword Tool

Happy happy, joy joy! Google has updated their Keyword Tool. You can now get the exact number of searches on particular keywords.

That may sound pretty benign to you, unless you’re an internet marketer of some sort. In which case, it’s HUGE news. Enormous. In the past, you had to guesstimate the amount of traffic you could receive from each keyword. But without exact numbers, all you’d have were relative measures of effectiveness.

So why is knowing the number of searches on a keyword important?

You’ll know which keywords are important to your customers
Say you sell portable GPS units. If you use Google’s Keyword Tool, you’ll find that the phrases “navigation system” and “portable navigation” are typed into Google much more often than “portable GPS unit”. With this information, you can write product descriptions with those keyword phrases and bring in more traffic to your site.
You’ll be able to estimate customer demand
If you are thinking about a new section to your site, the number of keyword searches can give you an idea of customer demand. This can even apply to non-web businesses. In John Battelle’s book The Search, he calls search engines a “database of our intentions.” Want to find out if there’s existing customer demand for a new product line or service offering? Google’s Keyword Tool can give you an answer to that.
You’ll be able to estimate potential revenue for a new web niche
Affiliate marketers are always on the look out for new and untapped web niches. However, not all niches are created equal. Some generate more traffic than others. With Google’s updated Keyword Tool, exact searches can be determined. This can be plugged into a financial model used to estimate monthly revenue per keyword. With this data, you can know accurately which new niches to tap into.

Up till now, internet marketers have been using the handy keyword service Wordtracker. One of it’s more useful features was offering an estimated number of searches on particular keywords. Google’s update now trumps that, since Google is able to provide the exact number of searches.

This doesn’t mean Wordtracker is out of the game, however. They still offer other useful features, such as estimating the level of competition per keyword and a Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI), which helps find untapped keyword niches within a general topic.

The internet marketing world is buzzing with this news right now. Ed Dale, internet entrepreneur and marketer extraordinaire, even provides some information on how to determine the exact number of searches from Google’s Keyword Tool.

And as Dale says, this is enormous! ENORMOUS!

Scrabulous vs Scrabble, Round Two

Scrabulous You know what reminds me of that clueless little kid who always gets the joke after everyone else has gotten it, laughed, and moved on to another topic?

Hasbro (HAS) and Electronic Arts (ERTS). (No offense, guys.)

They just announced that they are going to be launching a Scrabble Facebook application later this month. Too bad everyone’s been playing Scrabulous for the last year.

“Millions of Facebook users who have been playing it are unlikely to make the switch,” writes Caroline McCarthy of CNet. “Who says they’ll even notice the presence of the new game?” Too true, too true.

Technically, Electronic Arts is going to be the one actually building this app, since they own the rights to the digital versions of the board game. The rights to the board game seem to be a bit convoluted. While Hasbro owns it here in the US, Mattel owns it elsewhere. Weird.

To be fair, the dynamics of large publically-traded companies make them slower to react to new phenomenon like this. They probably already have a wish list of a thousand things they want to, and need to do. And a Facebook Scrabble game just wasn’t on that list.

That doesn’t change my opinion that they missed a really cool social media marketing opportunity though. They missed it, and a smaller player—Scrabulous—beat them to it.

What is Social Media Marketing?

My skin is tingly. It gets this way whenever something new is on the horizon, something big.

I remember feeling this way back in college. Something called the World Wide Web was creeping onto the scene. It was still in the domain of universities and geeks. Then a roommate told me the Web was going to be commercialized. When I heard that, I looked at the web site I had just built, imagined making a career out of this, and felt my skin go tingly.

The new thing making me tingly is Social Media Marketing (SMM). Okay, maybe it’s not such a new thing. Cutting-edge bloggers have been talking about it for a while now. There was even a conference on it back in April.

But I’m starting to see traditional companies peek into SMM. They’re lifting the curtain, poking their heads in, and wondering if they should join all the fun. In high-tech marketing speak, the Early Adopters are starting to buy into SMM. Maybe even some of the Early Majority too.

So what is Social Media Marketing?

I define it as: a specialization of marketing that involves using online social media channels to promote a business’s products, services, or brand.

So what is Social Media?

Good question. Chris Garrett describes it as the “tools, websites and software that allows people to connect and share.” Scott Monty points to a very amusing video called “Social Media in Plain English” that explains it in, well, plain english:

Can you give me some examples of Social Media Marketing?

Sure. Since this field is still so young, there are a very wide range of tactics, some more effective than others. Here are some examples of SMM tactics:

Create an online video

That video above is a sweet example. It was created by the husband and wife team at CommonCraft Productions. They created a few free videos like that and “Podcasting in Plain English” and “Twitter in Plain English“. These funny videos became viral and spread onto blogs like Scott Monty’s.

The intent? To promote the services of CommonCraft, who’ve created explanation videos for clients such as Google (GOOG), (CRM), H&R Block (HRB), and others.

Offer a free product/service to a blogger

The book publisher Kogan Page hired a marketing firm to send out free books to various bloggers (including me!) in the hopes that some of the bloggers would write favorable mentions or reviews. This can be tricky as some bloggers may write scathing reviews. I tried to be balanced in mine.

The intent? To generate more sales for Kogan Page’s books.

Get your website listed on a link aggregation site

The link aggregation site can be a massive traffic generator. If your website is featured on, you can get an onslaught of users visiting your site. A couple of years ago, Richard MacManus found a way to game and almost guarantee being featured.

The intent? To get a lot of visitors and new customers. However, the effectiveness of this tactic is debatable, as incoming visitors don’t always convert into customers. It can still give you SEO benefits, though. But be careful about gaming, as that can start a community backlash against you.

Create a common-interest group on a social network

Facebook allows you to create common-interest groups, such as the “Louis Vuitton” group or the “Chocolate = Love!” group. You could create one of your own, based around your brand, product, or service, and speak to your customers directly. It’s like an informal, ad hoc focus group, but much cheaper.

The intent? To speak and listen to your customers directly. “It’s like free market research” says one entrepreneur who’s tried this tactic.

Write catchy content

Some call this linkbait, others call this just plain catchy content. Last year, Johnny Virgil wrote a hilarious blog entry about the 1977 JC Penny Catalog he found in his wife’s grandfather’s attic. His entry was so catchy and viral that it spread like a really bad showtune that gets stuck in your head for hours.

The intent? Well, Virgil wasn’t trying to sell anything, though he’s placed Google ads and a PayPal donation button on his site since then. But as a marketer, such a tactic could generate significant pageviews on your site, and hopefully some sales too.

Facebook Marketing Can Help in Unexpected Ways

To the non-web marketers out there: If you have any teenagers in the house, you can bet they’re on Facebook or MySpace (NWS). But did you know that, for the sake of your business, perhaps you should be too?

This past February, Entrepreneur Magazine included a piece about one small business owner’s unexpected findings through Facebook:

After Alicia Rockmore’s Ann Arbor, Michigan-based organizational products company, Buttoned Up Inc. scored shelf space at Target, Rockmore began doing research to keep the big red bull’s-eye happy. A friend invited her to join social networking site Facebook, so she created an individual profile touting her business. She hit pay dirt when she found an existing group of Target customers on Facebook.

“They talk about what they like, what they hear is coming from Target,” says Rockmore, 42. “It’s like free market research.”

That’s my favorite price. Free. Aw yea.

This is part of a new phenomenon called “social media marketing“, where you use social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to reach out to current and potential customers. Sites like this aren’t just for teenagers anymore. If used correctly, they can augment the power of word-of-mouth marketing and make your brand louder and stronger.

It’s a tricky new field though. If you come across too corporate and have no personality, or have a truly awful product, it can backfire. Some companies have faced harsh criticism and negative publicity doing this.

That’s why Rockmore’s approach is a safe middle ground. Even though she created a profile to promote her business (which can attract loyal fans as well as competitors and detractors), she didn’t see the value of Facebook until she found a group of consumers similar to the demographic she was trying to reach.

There are hundreds of groups on Facebook. All are formed by motivated people covering any number of topics, hobbies, and interests, such as:

There’s bound to be a group that fits your target demographic on Facebook. Once you create an account and find a few relevant groups, join them and monitor their discussions for a couple of weeks. Get a feel for the temperament of the participants. You may be able to gleam lots of information just by reading their rants and raves.

When it comes time for more direct information, you can be more proactive and write a message to the group. Ask them for their opinion or suggestions. Be careful not to come across too corporate though, or you might be labeled as working for “The Man.” Also keep in mind basic netiquette, which are a set of informal do’s and don’ts in online communication.

You may be thinking, “That’s great for Rockmore, but my customers don’t use Facebook.” If that’s true, then you’re right, don’t waste your time or brain cells. But if there are potential customers sitting there right now, tweaking their Facebook profiles and complaining about your products, then maybe it’s worth it.

Currently, about 84% of Facebook’s members are between 14 and 26 years of age, according to About 30% of their members have a household income of over $100,000, according to iMedia Connection. There’s some more data on Emergence Media too.

Does that sound like a demographic you want to reach? If so, then perhaps, for the sake of your business, you should get an account. And if you’re not sure how, just ask that teenager of yours.

The 1977 JC Penny Catalog

1997 JC Penny catalog Were you born in the 60s or 70s? Then perhaps you are guilty of wearing clothes like these.

Ha Ha! (That’s me laughing at you.)

Johnny Virgil is the insane mastermind behind this hilarity. Started back in January 2005 on a dare from coworkers, Virgil’s funny blog 15 Minute Lunch sadly isn’t all that profitable. In an interview with, he said, “I actually got a check for a hundred bucks after about 2 years.”

However, his entry on the 1977 JC Penny’s catalog turned out to be quite a delicious piece of linkbait.

Linkbait is a controversial method of marketing; some think it’s okay, others, not so much. Basically, linkbait is any method (blog post, blog comment, etc) done to generate a link back to one’s own site. Some social media marketers do this intentionally by tailoring their blog entries to be interesting/catchy/sensational/controversial enough to inspire other bloggers to link to them. Others, like Virgil, did so unintentionally.

He even provides a quick summary on the traffic impact the 1977 JC Penny post had. Most of his traffic came from webmail servers, meaning his entry is now one of those emails that get forwarded around. That’s how I found out about it too.

Most social media marketers aim at writing serious and insightful pieces for linkbait. Virgil’s piece is a great case study on using humor to attract traffic. So what’s that mean for businesses?

  • Write hilarious content; people love funny stuff and will enthusiastically send it to all their friends.
  • Consider an “email this entry” feature to help readers send the entry around; this will help you control the email’s content too.
  • Be prepared for other bloggers who may steal and appropriate your content as their own; include links back to your site.
  • Make sure the content is related to your business in some way; a funny story about rabbits isn’t going to help you sell toner cartridges, for example.