I am launching a new website,, dedicated to non-grape winemaking.

Photo credit: Emiliano De Laurentiis for iSante magazine.

I love traditional grape-based wines as much as anyone. In fact, I grow several varieties of grapevines. I also have many varieties of berries, orchard fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables.

So what else to do but begin experimenting with making wine from the abundance of my own back yard?!

And of course, I want to have a way of sharing my experiences with others. Tell people who are interested what tastes good, what tastes bad, tricks to make things easier and resources for getting started.

And so was born.

If you have any interest in wine, especially in wine making or in non-grape wines, go check it out. And tell a friend or two!


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Adopt an Orphan App

Whether you already have a smartphone app for your business or not, you might consider “adopting” an existing app. LL Bean did this recently with the “Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder” app. This handy little app lists public parks and recreation areas within 100 miles of you (or any location you specify). It’s searchable and the list can be filtered.

But most relevant is that the app caters perfectly to the very same demographic as LL Bean’s customers. By adopting and co-sponsoring the app, both LL Bean and the app’s makers benefit. LL Bean benefits by being able to serve its customer’s interests better without incurring any cost for doing so. The makers of the ParkFinder app obviously benefit from exposure to LL Bean’s very large customer base.

So what existing apps can you partner with and just what might be involved in such a partnership? Let’s start with the easy part.

Forging A Partnership

The terms of the partnership you establish with the maker of an existing app will almost certainly be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Having said that, here are some things you might consider offering or asking for:

  1. Promote or distribute the app to your customer list
  2. Ask for sponsorship mention within the app, such as on a splash screen
  3. Paid advertising placement within the app (provides income to the developer and advertises your business to the app’s users)
  4. Highlighting or priority placement of your products or locations in lists returned by the app
  5. Provide content for lists and/or information used by the app
  6. Offer to host all or part of the app’s online content on your web server(s)

A partnership could involve some form of financial transaction but doesn’t need to so long as both parties receive value from the arrangement.

Finding An App To Partner With

It’s much more difficult to generalize about finding apps to partner with. This is where personalized assistance would be beneficial. (Please contact us if you would like to have a professional marketer handle this for your business.)

So let’s just examine some hypothetical ideas to get a sense of what’s possible and what angles to take.

  • If you’re a veterinarian
    • A pet medical records app
    • Listing of pet-friendly hotels
    • Holistic pet food recipes
  • For dentists
    • A game where players extract teeth from a crocodile
    • Dental care alarm clock with alarms for brushing, flossing and even checkups
  • Auto Mechanic
    • Troubleshooting and diagnostic tool
    • App to find the best gas prices
    • Auto accident reporting checklist
    • Flashlight app
  • Hotel or Bed & Breakfast Owner
    • Vacation planner
    • App that makes restaurant recommendations
    • Calendar app
    • Road trip app (i.e. to help you find the world’s largest can of spinach)
  • Skating rink or skate shop owner
    • Roller derby apps (used by officials to run a derby bout)
    • An app that shows skate-friendly paths (similar to jogging or biking paths)

The connection between your business and the function or focus of the app you adopt needn’t be direct. The ParkFinder app has nothing to do with LL Bean’s business of selling clothing. There should just be some logical correlation in order for the partnership to benefit both parties.

Do You Make Proper Use of Affiliate Marketing?

A friend of mine came to me recently for advice. He runs several websites and even gets lots of traffic, but not a lot in terms of monetary returns. He isn’t selling anything on his sites but he does have banner ads and a few other revenue sharing streams of potential income.

screen shot showing a representative sample of the site's content

He asked me to take a look at a couple of his sites. The first one I looked at is a recipe site about ethnic cooking. It gives lots of recipes and cooking tips for local dishes from all over the world.

I like the concept but it took me about 1/10th of a second to recognize two potential opportunities that he isn’t currently taking advantage of.

The first problem is one of positioning. The site targets mainly immigrants, helping them to find recipes to make dishes from their homeland. I could be completely wrong but that seems a bit to me like putting up a site to teach Americans how to make a burger.

Even if I am wrong and immigrants really do need a resource to find these recipes from their homeland (and don’t already have relatives still there who they can contact for such recipes), the real key is that lots of non-immigrant Americans enjoy ethnic food. This site completely ignores that demographic. I think proper marketing to what I’ll blanketly call “white America” could yield a nice little spike in traffic if done well.

That’s all well and good for generating additional traffic but if it’s traffic that still isn’t generating income then it’s just more people.

Which leads me to my second observation.

Many of the ingredients used to make the recipes featured on this site are not easily obtainable at your average grocery store in “white America”. So I suggested to my friend that he find sources to buy the ingredients, specialized cooking utensils and anything else featured on the site. Especially the hard-to-find stuff.

Once he’s found those sources, forge an affiliate relationship with them. Then lace the recipes with hyperlinks connecting readers with the resources they need to actually make the recipes.

Just looking at the one screen shot above, there is the potential to embed many affiliate links.

Multiply that by the 7,000 or so (and growing) recipes featured and he has the potential to start earning a tidy little income.

I told him that he doesn’t need to find a few people to hand over thousands of dollars. He could be just as happy with many thousands of people each giving him a nickel here and a few pennies there (in affiliate commissions).

Mind you, these two observations took me literally less than one second. I didn’t even explore beyond the first page of his website.

How much better could you be doing if you had a true marketing professional help you figure out alternate ways of leveraging what you have to offer?