Author: adminsln

Save Local Now, a FREE chamber member benefit, is here to help small business drive consumer traffic. Now more than ever we see the value in supporting local business. At the most basic level, buying local ensures that more money stays in the community. In fact, for every $100 spent at a locally owned store, $45 remains in the local economy. By shopping at the local “mom and pop” style store, consumers can rest assured knowing that they’re doing their part of keeping their communities unique and thriving.

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This highlights the vast importance of Save Local Now’s “Buy Local” initiative. What we mustn’t forget is that buying local actually saves money. Small businesses are often close to home, meaning that you don’t have to travel as far to get there. Products (like fruit and produce) are made or grown at local locations, meaning that they don’t have to travel as far to get to you. This means that, in many cases, there is no middle man (which translates to lower prices for the business owner and, of course, the consumer).  

Save Local Now gives endless amounts of support to small businesses; more specifically the marketing tools they need to better promote their business. We know how busy the small business owner is; we know how little time there is for email marketing, social media, etc. The tools we give small business owners, such as free SEO services, deal and event publishing, email marketing, real-time analytics, etc. is so crucial to helping their bottom line. Essentially, Save Local Now created an easy way for small business to be everywhere consumers are today.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a time with Save Local Now: savelocalnow.com/training

The first major shopping holiday is upon us, and although Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday for consumer spending, 40% of consumers actually start their Christmas and Hanukkah shopping well before the most SPOOK-tacular day of the year.

While ghosts, goblins and ghouls may be popping up all around town, don’t be afraid to create Halloween specific promotions on your Save Local Now digital marketing platform! Use fun vocabulary when you name them, such as “Slashing prices!” “Eat, Drink and be Scary!” and “Join us tonight for some Fa-BOO-lous fun!” Whatever you do, don’t be a scaredy cat! Share what you create on social media and through email marketing to let your consumers know that they can find what they’re looking for – LOCALLY.

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7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site, so don’t be a scaredy cat! Directly share what you create on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ using your SLN platform.

Save Local Now: All treat, no trick.

Happy haunting!

So you’ve got Facebook down, you’ve started the “Twitter” thing, and you’ve dabbled in the world of Google+ and Linkedin. With all of these social media sites already on your tool belt, why bother tackling Instagram? Well, if this interactive and creative platform doesn’t hook you like it already has so many other small businesses, maybe the following figures will:

  1. 200 Million Users

Instagram is one of the hottest social sharing apps right now. With over 200 million users, their popularity (and most importantly influence) is unlikely to diminish in any foreseeable future. Getting an Instagram account and becoming familiar with the platform sooner rather than later is only going to be vital for your business as this number continues to rise. After all, 200 million users offers a lot of possibilities for you to introduce your business to new customers and solidify your presence within that customer base.

  1. Daily Use

It’s estimated that 70% of Instagram users log in to their Instagram accounts at least once a day (38% of which are logging in multiple times per day).  With all this daily use, you can easily keep your followers up-to-date on what you’re doing, any new products coming through the door, upcoming events, and promotional deals. (Instagram)

Consistency and frequency are key when it comes to promoting your business on social media, so make sure you are keeping your material fresh and new so your followers always have something to like!

  1. SEO

A solid range of outlets is crucial to creating a stable online reputation, and solidifying your company’s SEO. Being on sites like Facebook and Twitter is vital, but in order to further increase your SEO, you need to make sure you are active and visible on more than just a handful of sites. Instagram is another great site that can help bump up your SEO without requiring the time associated with traditional methods.

  1. Even the Playing field

Instagram levels the playing field and allows you to show what your company has to offer. How is this possible? Well for one, it’s free. On Instagram, businesses don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars on third-party marketing help in order to create custom content.

Instagram is also quick. Snap a picture of a new product, throw a filter on it, add some hastags, toss in a fun comment and you’re done. It’s that easy.

  1. Interaction

There are 8,500 likes per second on Instagram and 1,000 comments are made per second. With all of this customer engagement you can create lasting impressions on your followers. Developing relationships through personal interactions is a fantastic way to create loyal, repeat customers. (Instagram)

Below is the Getting Started Guide to posting a deal on SLN with helpful hints from one of our Digital Marketing Consultants!

Once you log into your Save Local Now account use the green menu in the top left corner to access your Deals & Promotions. (HINT: You don’t always have to think of a deal as a discount, sometimes giving away a reward, letting people know updates about the business, or asking for more social media followers is a great way to use this section as well).

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Once on that page, you will see all of your active and inactive deals along with your deal inspiration. To create a new deal, click “Create a Deal or Promotion.”

Step 1: Image & Title

To add an image, hover over the image box and click “Change.”  If you want to change the image later, hover over the image and click “Delete.” We recommend using high quality images or bright colors to attract the attention of your customers. (HINT: This is not a great place to use your logo. You should put your logo in the business profile and then try to find a stock image or a great picture of one of your products for the deal. If you need help with this, reach out to us and a Digital Marketing Consultant might be able to give you a great image).

To edit any text, click into the dotted section. The first section is the title of your deal. We recommend using numbers to catch the attention of your customers.  For example:

  • $10 for $20 worth of____
  • All services 25% OFF
  • Buy 2 get 1 FREE

(HINT: The more you can discount or offer the better. Remember, we aren’t taking any portion of the proceeds and you can always remove the deal any time).

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Step 2: Describe your deal

Click into the section to edit any text. Once your cursor is inside the box you will notice several editing options. You can add a little flair to your description by using italics, bullet points, etc. We recommend keeping this section short, while still letting your customers know what this deal includes and/or excludes.

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(HINT: Be creative! Pair up with other businesses in town to offer package deals, encourage people to act fast or hurry to create excitement. Also, keeping it short and sweet will help to boost your SEO).

Step 3: Deal Type & Valid Dates

Select a type for your deal (you can select more than one). Then, edit the valid dates to let people know how long the deal is valid. Make sure you double check the dates when you finish.

(HINT: You are not committed to the end date, you can always re-post or take down a deal at any time. To create urgency, sometimes it’s better to have deals that look like they will end soon!).

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Step 4: Custom Button

You can add a custom button to your deal. This would be a good place to link your menu, a picture of the item on promotion, a registration form, etc. If nothing else, we recommend linking your website or social media page!

(HINT: “Click Here” gets the highest % of clicks over Go and Submit (Hubspot). If there is a site where customers can directly purchase, contact, or reserve something-that would be the ideal link to use).

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Step 5: Final Step

Customize your deal by adding a fun color to the border!

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 5.15.59 PMPublish your Deal to make it live on the app and website! You can continue to edit your deal even after it is published, or take it down any time by sliding the button to “No.” You can always re-edit and re-post a past deal.

Share your deal on social media or via email. This is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your deal is being seen.

(HINT: I repeat from above: This is the most important part! You have posted the deal! Now TELL PEOPLE about it!).

Many companies experience their best profit margins in the summer. However, and more often than not, when the warm weather starts to fade so do the customers. For many small businesses, autumn means a drop in profit and a noticeable slowdown in overall sales. We’ve put together a list of tips for keeping your marketing fresh, so you can avoid the dreaded “slow season.”

  1. Never forget the power of “free.” Offering your customers something for nothing is a great way to keep them coming in through the door. Whether it’s free samples, a loyalty program, or free swag; if you give it, they will come.
  2. Don’t skimp on social media. It’s easy to update your Instagram when it’s bright and sunny out, but the veteran social media user knows that consistency is key when it comes to adding and retaining customers. Try to stay as active on your various networking sites in the fall and winter as you are in the spring and summer. This will keep you fresh in your customers mind.
  3. Use the holidays to your advantage. Taking advantage of all the holidays and festivities in the fall and winter months will help you maintain a steady buzz about your business. Offer holiday themed deals, have seasonal sales, and orient your product for specific seasons to drive business. Are there any local harvest festivals in your area? Getting involved in seasonal community events will keep business flowing.
  4. Get Interactive. Giving your customers the ability to interact with you and your business will create a sense of loyalty. By reaching out to your customers online (via email, social media, etc.) and in person you give them a personal reason to keep coming out in those cold months.
  5. Have fun with it! Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t be just as motivated and excited as you are in the summer. Your mood will be infectious and will get passed on to your customers. This could be as small as making sure your employees are offering a warm hello as your customers walk through the door to an extravagant winter advertising campaign. Stay cheerful and your customers will thank you.

Young people these days…always submerged in their smartphones, tablets and laptops for hours on end – never taking time to appreciate the world and all it has to offer. Well, not only are these young people (“Millennials”) accessing more content and learning more information than ever before, it turns out they have something to teach us about marketing and publicity. Thinking like a Millennial can actually help promote your business’ next event or outing.

Here are some tips to harness the marketing power of the Millennial:

1.)  Millennials like short and sweet messages

The reason so many younger people are flocking towards Twitter and away from Facebook is because the platform offers concise content with less clutter. Millennials know how to tweet something catchy and bold in 140 characters with smart hashtags to emphasize their message.

Use Twitter to build excitement around your next event and engage your community. Create a hashtag for the event that people will begin to recognize and repeat. Smart, short tweets with clever hashtags will intrigue your target audience and create a buzz around your event.

2.)  Millennials are anywhere and everywhere online

So why shouldn’t your business be, too?  Millennials have shown us that using one social media platform to get out a message only covers a small portion of the audience and restricts the type of content they can post.

If you have the means to do so, use different types of social media to promote your next event. Post pictures, messages, hashtags and links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.  If the Ice Bucket Challenge has shown us anything, it is that video content is a great way to get attention and support.  Post a short video about your event and business to show your audience what it’s all about!

3.)   “But First, Let Me Take a Selfie.”

We all know of the obsession younger people have with taking selfies, but let’s be honest, you’ve probably taken some too.

During your event, take pictures of what’s going on and post it to social media. Even commission one of your employees to go around and take pictures of themselves or other people doing various things at the event. A live stream of activity will encourage more people to come and check it out.

The bottom line here is to be engaged in and passionate about your event. People will notice your enthusiasm if you post correctly. It will increase community engagement and heighten curiosity about your business and the event.  Be smart.  Be clever.  Be excited.  And embrace your inner Millennial!

Citation: DiRoma, CJ.  “Why You Should Think Like a Millennial to Promote Your Next Event.”  17 Aug. 2014.  <http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/08/millennial-promote-your-event-online.html>.

As a Digital Marketing Consultant, I get a lot of questions about how to make the most out of social media (Facebook in particular). Facebook is still a very useful networking tool. 56% of Americans have a Facebook account and if you’re a business, it’s important to take action on these sites. If you haven’t been using social media, don’t feel overwhelmed. We’ve got you covered! Here are some tips on on how to utilize social media and get the word out about Save Local Now.

1. Set up your page.
Start by setting up your page and adding your information. Make sure you request a web address like facebook.com/savelocalnow to make it easier for people to find you. Also include this web address on your business cards, on your website, and any marketing materials you have.

2. Identify Your Audience
Encourage your customers to “like” your business page. Invite all your friends and customers. If you want to get more likes you could have them enter to win a prize if they like your page. Keep in mind though, it’s not all about the number of like your business page has; it’s more important to genuinely connect with the people your engage with on Facebook.

3. Share It
Share your deals, events and promotions. Save Local Now provides you with easy 1-click social sharing. After your create your deals, events, and promotions on the Save Local Now digital marketing platform, easily share them to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages. Sharing is one of the best ways to get more consumers aware of your promotion, getting you more clicks and more people redeeming your offer. They can also share your promotion on their FB page, and their friends can share it on their FB page, essentially spreading the word for you!

4. Create Quality Content
If your having trouble deciding what to post here is some inspiration: show some personality or spread a little wisdom. Have a fun fact of the week or a tip that relates to your business. Share business updates, post photos, participate in throwback thursdays with old photos of everyone in the office. Share interesting facts or promotions; the content you share should be interesting and inspiring for your followers. Be authentic, responsive and consistent.

5. Measure and Adjust
Facebook and Save Local Now have tools that will help you measure the traffic you are getting. On Facebook, visit Page Insights regularly and look for trends; this will help you maximize the impact of every post you share. On Save Local Now, subscribe to your Weekly Impression Report in the settings tab. Your subscription will allow you to view your impressions on a weekly basis so you can see how effective your social media shares are to see what’s working and what might need some improvement.

PRO TIPS
Try and post at least 4 times per day and schedule those posts accordingly; you’ll soon find when your consumers are most active on Facebook and what types of posts and promotions they are most interested in.

We hope you find these tips informative. Remember to like our Save Local Now page and feel free to share any of our posts. You just might find some inspiration there. Now get out there and be social!

I am a huge fan of people watching and I just got back from the Superbowl of chamber of commerce conferences (I dare you to say that last part fast 5 times). The day I got back to my office it just so happens that a serendipitous bit of luck bounced my way. I stumbled across a great blog article by Brittany Leaning about the 12 types of people you’ll find at a conference (original article found here). I could not agree with Brittany more and laughed as I read about each personality and  nodded my head up and down saying “this is soooo true.” The only thing I felt was missing was the addition of a 13th personality (number 12 on this list) titled “the collector” or “swag thief” (hence my efforts to create my own addendum here on our blog). So buckle your seat belts, enjoy the ride and nod you head along with me. Here are your:

13 Types of People You’ll Find at a Conference

1) The Networker

The_Networker

Goal = Meet smart people

The networker aims to meet and make lasting connections with other professionals in the industry. Chances are, they have a lot of connections on social media and have connected to attendees through the conference hashtag ahead of time. You’ll probably see this person chatting up multiple groups of people during happy hour and handing out business cards.

2) The Sponge

The_Sponge

Goal = Learning

This is the person who’s just at the conference to soak up as much information as possible. You’ll probably see this person juggling a laptop, smartphone, and notebook with a pen, and diligently taking notes (or live-tweeting) from each. The biggest struggle this person faces is deciding on which sessions to attend (they’re all so great!!).

3) The Innovator

The_Innovator

Goal = Get inspired

If you watch TED Talks on a daily basis and your favorite book is Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, you might fall into the “innovator” category. These are the people who go to conferences to get inspiration and spark some creativity. Entrepreneurs, thinkers, and problem solvers would fall under this bucket.

4) The Superfan

The_Groupie_2

Goal = Meet the keynote speakers

You’ll find this person all over social media before you even arrive at the conference. One superfan conference habit includes excessively tweeting to the hashtag that you’re “so excited to meet @speaker.” Superfans never forget to include a speaker’s Twitter handle in hopes that he or she will retweet or reply. If there’s a book signing at the conference (or maybe even if there isn’t), the superfan is first in line with every book the author has ever published in hand.

5) The Job Seeker

The_Job_Seeker

Goal = Get a job

Job seekers might have a few different goals for a conference depending on which stage of the job hunt they’re in. If this person is in the awareness stage, he or she might simply listen and learn about companies, jobs, and people they’d like to work with. If this person is beyond that awareness stage, he or she may have already made connections with people ahead of time via LinkedIn or Twitter, and wants to give them an elevator pitch in person, along with a resume or portfolio.

6) The Deal Maker

The_Deal_Maker_2

Goal = Establish a business partnership

Similar to the “networker,” the deal maker attends a conference with the goal of creating business partnerships. This could be for co-marketing, co-branding, sponsorships, speaking opportunities … the list goes on. This person might even take a tip from the networker, making lasting relationships first and doing business sometime after the conference.

7) The Blogger

The_Blogger

Goal = Write high quality content

This is the person who attends a conference specifically for blog (or other content) fodder. You’ll see this person listening to keynotes and breakout sessions while writing down an outline or quotes on a laptop. When meeting bloggers in-person at a conference, watch out because they might be wired! Just kidding … but they might try to write down some quotes from your conversation (after asking for permission, of course).

8) The Teacher

The_Teacher

Goal = Relay knowledge to teammates

I don’t mean teacher in the traditional sense, but rather the person you send to the conference who will come back with awesome takeaways. The teacher should take excellent notes and relay them back to his or her team. This person might even write up a wiki page or create a presentation to show your team when they return.

9) The Thought Leader

The_Thought_Leader

Goal = Stay successful

These are generally the conference speakers. These folks talk specifically about a subject matter they know almost everything about. They’ve probably written books and countless blog articles on the same topic and have loads of followers on social media. It might seem like they have a buzz on, but really they’re just riding the adrenaline from taking the stage.

10) The Spy

The_Spy_2

Goal = Competitive intelligence

This is the person who goes to a conference solely to check out the competition. This person might ask: What does the competition’s presence look like at this conference? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Then, this information is compiled, analyzed, and turned into a plan of action. Attending a conference as a spy is actually a popular sales enablement tactic and can give your sales team the soundbites they need to close more deals.

11) The Salesperson

The_Deal_Maker_4

Goal = Make a sale

Similar to the deal maker, a salesperson aims to close on a deal. The difference here is that salespeople are usually only interested in selling their company’s core products and services. This interaction could happen during the conference, or sometime after the conference when the prospect has thought the deal over.

12) The “Collector” or (even worse) “The Swag Thief”

thief animated GIF

Goal = Bring home booty to fellow team members

There is always someone hitting up each and every booth for their giveaways. Just look for the over stuffed convention tote jammed with USB adaptors, stress balls, pens, handfuls of breathe mints, stuffed animals, and those nice soft cloths for wiping finger prints off your tablet, phone, or computer (my personal fav). I am not just talking about stuff you can fit in a bag. God forbid someone is giving away free drinks or food. You will inevitably see some one pounding Jack and Cokes while stuffing their face with Icecream or popcorn (I’ve got pictures to prove it).

13) The Partier

The_Partier

Goal = Have fun

Finally, we’ve reached the inevitable. You know, the person who rages at all the parties, dances with everyone at the concert, and seriously takes advantage of the free drinks. It’s okay to have a little partier in you during a conference. In fact, it could be a great way to break the ice! However, I’d suggest attending a conference with some of the first eleven goals in mind — you’ll be a lot more productive that way. 😉

sharkOften times the business world can mimic some of what we see in the natural world. With National Geographic’s ever-so-popular Shark Week coming to an end, we thought to connect marketers to the most powerful fish in the open sea.

1. Intuition

A shark has 6 senses. This means they are constantly aware of their surroundings. One of the best things a marketer can do is be aware of what is going on around them (both with their business and with their client base). What’s trending? What are people searching for? What part of your business is being utilized the least? Put your sensors out there and feel around in order to develop a plan of attack. The Aberdeen Group tells us that 79% of leading marketers use analytics to track how specific pieces of content preform, which, over time, allows marketers to know exactly what will work and what won’t in advance. Use your impressions page in Save Local Now to stay on top of your campaigns and see what is working best for your company!

2. Tough skin

A shark’s skin is made of something called “denticles,” meaning that the outer layer of their skin is literally made of tiny little teeth. This makes for a pretty impenetrable outer layer. One of the best things a marketer can do is be prepared for trial and error. Take the bad feedback along with the good and learn how to make changes as needed in order to keep swimming.

3. Adaptability

There are over 470 different species of shark; with each species, you will find a wide range of specialized skill that helps them survive in their environment. Businesses should also learn how to adapt and how to change their message, even sometimes their product, in order to meet the customer at their level. Maybe you had a certain idea for how you were going to brand yourself but it doesn’t seem to be working. Take a look around the market and see what other successful businesses in your industry are doing. Then come up with your own plan to blow them out of the water!

4. A mutually beneficial relationship

Sharks have a mutually beneficial relationship with fish called remoras that often swim with, or directly attach themselves, to many species of sharks. Both species benefit from this relationship as remoras get transportation and a free meal and sharks get a good cleaning! When you think of marketing, you should always try to think of it as married to sales. Your sales team needs a marketing plan that works for them, while marketing needs feedback from sales in order to grow and develop accurately.

So next time you think of how to best market your business, remember to think like a shark!

While I would love to take full credit for this article, alas, this article was inspired by this one.

Introducing one of the newest perks to the SLN platform…..(drum roll please)…the Save Local Now Widget!  We never stop trying to improve our platform for chambers, businesses and consumers alike; and this is just another great way to keep everything local and promote your members.  Not sure what a widget is or how it works?  No need to fear, we’ve got you covered!  

What is the Save Local Now Widget?

The Save Local Now Widget allows chambers of commerce to take the content they and their members post on Save Local Now and embed it directly within a website.  It’s a great way to add quality substance and drive more traffic to a chamber and its member businesses.

Need a visual?  Check out one of our partner chambers, Boost Fayetteville, for an example!  http://www.boostfayetteville.com/promote/

How does the widget work?

There are three separate Save Local Now widgets: Local Businesses, Local Deals and Local Events.  You can use all three widgets or any combination of the three, depending on your need.  We provide chambers with a customized code for each one, which just needs to be copied and pasted into the website framework. It’s that easy!

Anything else I should know about the widget?

The widget team at Save Local Now has worked with a variety of websites and chambers, providing suggestions for each one to make sure everything functions perfectly.  Bonus: once the widget is installed, our team can color match it to fit the look of any chamber’s website.  

How do I get started?

Interested in learning more about the Save Local Now widget for your chamber’s website?  Visit http://blog.savelocalnow.com/widget/ to set up a brief call today!  We’ll go over all the details and answer any questions you have.                                                                                                 *You must be a signed chamber partner with Save Local Now to use the widgets.*

This is a win-win for chambers and businesses alike.  Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.