Broomfield Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Membership: A Nice Bonus for Employees

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Green

If you’re a chamber member, you may not give a lot of thought as to what that means for your employees but there are a lot of benefits for them as well.

1.      Lunch and Learns

Chambers host Lunch and Learns and other seminars on topics such as social media and personal branding. These topics can be worthwhile for your employees. You can even use it as a free or inexpensive form of professional development.

Don’t assume your employees know about these perks. Circulate the learning schedule among your employees. This is an effective way to get even more value from your chamber membership. Many younger employees are looking for ways to boost their skills and these sessions are a quick and easy source for learning.

2.      Discounts on Events

Another benefit your employees may not be aware of is discounts on tickets to chamber events. Oftentimes, the chamber offers discounts to members on their event tickets. Speaking of discounts…

3.      Member to Member Discounts

If your chamber offers member to member discounts you want to make sure your employees know about them. This can be a considerable cost savings to your employees and a nice perk you can pass on when someone joins your company.

4.      A Way to Meet People in the Community

If you recruit outside of your community and bring people in from other towns or states, they may wish they knew more people in town. Sure, you can introduce them to other employees but it’s nice for them to get to know people outside your company as well.

For people from your community, the chamber offers them an opportunity to brush up on their networking skills, which is critical to professional development.

5.      The Ability to Shine

Another benefit of chamber membership for your employees is a golden moment where they can shine. This may be the chamber picking up a social media post of theirs, the chamber accepting a guest blog from them, or a speaking opportunity to showcase what they know. This gives your employees a time to shine as well as represent your company proudly.

Some business owners only use the chamber membership themselves and forget to tell their employees that they can use it as well. There are many reasons that it benefits you to do so, but one that is important to your business is getting your employees out in the community. It not only gets your name out there but shows that your company and company culture think community involvement is important. This is the type of thing that makes a big impression on customers and potential customers who begin to know, like, and trust you when they see you contributing.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

 

 

The Most Common Reasons You Don’t Have More Customers

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Green

Sales could always be better, right? Here are a few tips on how you can turn things around fast.

Are you dissatisfied with the number of customers that you have? No, this isn’t some sort of infomercial selling a sales technique. The number of customers you have, or lack thereof, may be directly attributable to something you are or aren’t doing, not because your business isn’t viable.

No blaming here. I’m simply saying there could be a quick resolution to getting you more customers. Here are a few ideas:

Your Hours

If your business hours are inconsistent or inconvenient, customers may not do business with you. This is true whether you are a brick and mortar store or you’re operating online. If they don’t know when you’re open or they can’t get in touch with you, the average person will go elsewhere.

You need to ensure your ideal audience knows when you’re open. But it’s also important that you are open when they need you to be. Think of this as a new way of personalizing your offerings to them. For instance, if you sell something that busy working parents need and it’s the type of object that they would come in and pick up on the way to school, you may be well served to open early. However, as convenient as those early hours are for working parents, if you don’t market them they won’t know that they can stop in at seven in the morning to pick up that last-minute item.

Parking

If it is difficult to find parking around your place of business people may decide not to do business with you. While circling a block for a parking space may not seem like a reason to forgo doing business with someone, when mega-retailers like Amazon can deliver something the same day (sometimes within two hours of placing the order) it is difficult to convince people that looking for a parking space is worth the effort.

Another factor that may be limiting your business is having to pay for parking. Some businesses with paid parking validate. A shopping area near Dallas took a cue from tech companies and has paid parking meters that use the pay what you think it’s worth idea. There are no tickets issued. Visitors just pay what they want. This type of creative parking brings in revenue without people feeling like they had to overpay.

Slow Website

The virtual side of paid parking is a slow website. A slow website is a deterrent to doing business with you online.

Again, what’s a little wait?

But to the customer who wants to get something done in a hurry, this is bothersome. Whether they are circling the block looking for a parking space or sitting on their phone waiting for your site to load, these situations detract from your offerings and make them want to go someplace where they can purchase goods or services faster.

Nobody Knows You

Marketing is essential to all businesses. However, the kind of marketing you use is important too. You need to market your business but you also need to encourage word of mouth marketing by your existing customers. That means making it easy for them to talk about you.

You can do this by asking for reviews, by creating QR codes that you place on business collaterals so people can scan them and be redirected to a popular review site, or you can send out an email campaign after someone purchases from you and ask they review you.

Another popular tactic is to listen to people talking about you online. When they do, thank them for mentioning you. Regardless of whether the comment is complimentary or critical, you should always thank them for their review. If there’s something that needs to be addressed do so in a semi-public way. For instance, if someone complains about your service, thank them for bringing it to your attention and ask how you may contact them to help remedy the situation. That way everyone who stumbles across the conversation can see you handled it without seeing the details of the solution.

Nobody Knows What You Do

Most of us have a personal and professional network. But you might be surprised by the percentage of those groups that don’t know exactly what you do. They may know that you have something to do with catering or they may know that you have some sort of store. But they may not know the details of what you do and who you best serve.

It is not bragging to talk about your business. You could be in a position to solve a problem for your network so you should make sure they know what you specialize in.

It can be hard to talk about yourself. If it feels that way, show your network what you do. For instance, consider sponsoring an event for a group you are involved with like your child’s sports team, the PTA, the Chamber of Commerce, or a community event. By doing so, you are bringing attention to what it is that you do and you’re showing that you care about your community. People want to do business with those they know, like, and trust. These types of local sponsorships are a good way of establishing those success measures.

Value

Do you provide something of value to your ideal customer? Are you giving them a product or service that is different than the competition? For example, some stores offer childcare while the parents browse. Several grocery stores offer a free snack for children as their parents shop.

These types of examples help solve a problem for their ideal customer–parents of screaming children can’t shop. Providing childcare or a snack is a small price to pay for their ideal customer to be able to spend some money in the store. These types of benefits bring their ideal customers into their store even if their prices are slightly higher than the competition because these stores do something to make their ideal customers’ lives easier and solve a problem (what to do with the kids when you need to shop). What can you do for your customers that makes your business invaluable to them?

If you’re unhappy with the number of customers you currently have you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars in advertising to remedy this. In today’s market that may not even be the most effective way to reach your audience. Instead, look for reasons why they may not currently be doing business with you.

Most businesses’ initial reaction to a slump in sales is to lower prices. However, if you do something that no one else does for them (and that they need or like), price becomes less of a factor. Before you lower your price, see if these easy adjustments don’t help you increase the number of customers you have.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, Event Managers Blog, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com.

Experience Is the New Marketing Gimmick

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Green

I’ve worked with many businesses in creating content for their website. When I do, one of the questions I ask is what makes them different from their competition. Almost always they answer their customer service and their willingness to stand behind their product or service. Perfect. Except…

Every business thinks they have these things. And even if they do, this does not make them unique in the marketplace. They need something else.

Service and standing behind their product or service are exactly what everyone wants in a business. Most people patronize a company believing that they have these things. Good service and quality are expectations. We don’t go to a restaurant hoping or expecting we’ll have bad service. We don’t buy something in the hopes that we’ll have to replace it in a couple of weeks.

We expect service and quality out of businesses, even at a low price point.  That means you don’t want to use them as differentiators unless there’s something you do that is so over the top it is unheard of, like a “triple your money-back guarantee.” But it’s difficult to offer that kind of guarantee and stay in business.

You need a gimmick to begin to differentiate your business.

Most people don’t like to use that word anymore. It reeks of inauthenticity and lacks the transparency that modern-day marketers pride themselves on.

But if you dig deeper into what a lot of companies are doing when they offer experiences you’ll see these are just modern-day gimmicks with a twist. And they’re exactly what you need.

What Is Experiential Marketing or Experience Marketing?

Experiential marketing is the idea of using branded experiences to have a memorable impact on your customers. It can be something that is built into your business like waiters who sing opera while serving meals or something you do as a one-off like a company-sponsored flash mob dancing in the subway.

It may seem frivolous but experiences make an impression in a way that commercials and ads don’t anymore.

Why You Need to Provide a(n) Gimmick…Experience

  1. People value experiences. Studies have shown Gen Y is spending more money on experiences than items. Offer your audience a memorable experience and your branding will remain closer to top of mind.
  2. There’s a lot of noise out there. As I mentioned earlier, businesses are competing on the same level. They’re going after the same audience with the same value proposition. You will never stand out in the market this way. Offering an experience can help set you apart.
  3. People share experiences. Social media is making storytellers out of everyone. People are now sharing when they go to restaurants, when they take trips, and even when they see a rainbow or sunset. We are sharing every part of our lives, or at least the good parts. Because of this, we have a constant need for content and things to share. If you provide a meaningful experience, they will talk about it.
  4. Customers own your brand. In the age of Mad Men, they used to be able to control what people saw and thought about their products, services, or business. That is no longer the case. Customers own your brand now thanks to review sites and social media. Your brand is no longer so much what you are saying about it as what people feel and share about your company. Providing an experience can help you frame your brand in a beneficial light.
  5. It is likely to improve sales. Experiences improve sales for two reasons in addition to what was mentioned above. They bring more people in and the novelty entices people to try it. For instance, think about Carvana, the vending machine for cars. The actual sale of the car is probably similar to thousands of no-haggle pricing operations. But how you actually receive the car is quite different. Upon purchasing your car, you’re given a large coin that you then put into what appears to be a vending machine. A lift goes up to the car that is sitting in the glass tower and brings it down to you below. The experience is fascinating to watch and people are drawn to share with their friends and family about their new car purchase. When was the last time you talked about the purchase and not about the car? Carvana gets people talking about the experience surrounding the car acquisition, something that sets them aside from their competition.

Making a Gimmick More Palatable to Today’s Audiences

Okay, some modern-day marketers don’t really like the term “gimmick.” Marketers have cultivated a softer side, one that no longer believes in misleading the customer. But whether you call it a “gimmick” or an “experience”, the point is you’re trying to get the attention of your audience by providing them with something memorable. But to do so for today’s audience there’s one thing you need to do.

You need to make sure the experience you’re providing is one that entertains, educates, inspires, or solves a problem for them. If your experience does one of those things, it will be a lot better received and no one will consider it a selfish marketing gimmick or ploy.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and provide them with something meaningful for their lives. It doesn’t have to be meaningful in a universal way. You don’t need to shoot for the Nobel Prize, but you do need for your customers to see it as beneficial to them personally.

If you can isolate what is meaningful to them you can provide a memorable experience on even a small budget. But if you misunderstand your target audience and their needs, even a big-budget experience will fall short.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

 

How to Think Like A Storyteller

150 150 Pat Monacelli

By Christina R. Green

You’ve likely heard how telling your business story can help you connect to your audience. However, for storytelling to be effective for your business you don’t want to treat it as a marketing trick that you use on occasion when you’re writing copy for your website. For the most conversions and amplification of your message you want to think like a storyteller.  Here’s how you can become an expert business storyteller even if you can’t tell a story (or a joke).

  1. Don’t shy away from friction. The story is in the struggle even when it comes to business. If you leave out the challenges, you’re leaving out the interesting pieces. You’re also leaving out the part that people identify with. If you explain what you were struggling with–feeling like a fraud–for instance, there are people in your audience who will understand because they feel the same way. When you leave out the struggle you leave out the very thing that helps you connect to your audience in the most powerful way. Always remember the difficult times and the solutions that helped you because people are looking for solutions.
  1. Go big or go home. Storytelling has become a marketer’s parlor trick. But for the most effective storytelling you need to go larger than your company. You’re not doing business in a vacuum. Your efforts have a much broader application than what they do for your bank account. Don’t dwell on your own success. Focus on the path and guidance you help provide for others. Show how you assist your customers, but better yet, highlight how that assistance is allowing them to make a difference in the greater world. Think of what you do as it contributes to the ripple effect. Tell the others’ story (the outward ripples) more than your own.
  1. Talk about yourself. Before you begin creating a monologue of how awesome you are, when I’m referring to talk about yourself I mean sharing details about your life. This goes back to struggles, lessons, and happy moments. You want your audience to see you as human, not a braggart. Think about how effective stories are in teaching a lesson. Look for ways to tie in things that happen in your everyday life with your business. This could include your own customer service reflections from being a customer of other businesses or even things that you’ve learned from your children or grandchildren. Don’t be afraid to share cute stories. Again, you want people to identify with you. Sharing stories from your life can help them do that. If you want to become a natural storyteller, you need to start recognizing the stories that are transpiring in your own life. If you don’t feel comfortable naming your closest family members, give them nicknames. But tell the stories.
  1. Look for employee stories. This goes along with always keeping an eye out for a good story. Don’t assume only the owner or managers of a business are the keepers of the business story. Spend time with those on the front line who are speaking directly to your customers. Hear their concerns and their challenges and condense those things into a single word. This can become your story theme. For example, if support hears over and over about the frustration with something taking a long time, think about what stories you have in your personal life that can relate to that. Just as a publisher may tell a writer to “write to the market” or write about what people most want to read, you need to think of your business story and your audience and find ways to produce or disseminate stories that meet the needs of your audience.
  1. Think visual, audio, and written. Some people love to read, others prefer movies, other’s love audiobooks. When you take on your business story, make sure you create stories in multiple mediums, unless there’s a reason your (entire) audience dislikes one of them. If you are not a gifted oral storyteller, if you have a voice that sounds like nails on a chalkboard, that’s okay. There’s likely someone in your circle who is good at that kind of storytelling. Think of employees or your friends. Employ their help. Don’t just ignore the power of oral storytelling or any of the kinds of storytelling mentioned in this paragraph.

Storytelling is a commitment and an ongoing component in your marketing. It should not be a cheap trick to be pulled out when it is convenient. You want to hold your audience’s attention and engage with them. Storytelling is an incredibly effective method for doing so. But to be successful at it you need to cultivate the mind of a storyteller and that means looking at the world as a story waiting to unfold.

 

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

 

Hoosball 2019!

150 150 Pat Monacelli

The Broomfield Chamber’s 2nd Annual Hoosball Tournament was a great success. Eight teams turned out to do battle on a giant human foosball court, with Summit Financial Solutions defending their 2018 championship in hard-fought final against the Chamber HYPE (Helping Young Professionals Evolve) team.

We also had a great turnout from fans cheering on all eight teams. Thank you to all of the teams, referees, volunteers and fans for making the day one to remember. And special thank you to Presenting Partner Elevations Credit Union, Title Partner Summit Financial Solutions, and Court Sponsor Profile by Sanford.

Check out some of the day’s images…and we hope to see you next year!