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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. 😉

Local business is all about community, and what better way of promoting the importance of community than charity. Local businesses thrive because of their community’s loyalty and dedication, so it is of the upmost importance that businesses participate in charity work and promote their dedication to their surrounding communities.

What difference can philanthropy make, and is it worth a small business’ time?  Companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors.  People want to see their own communities thrive, and they also want to build relationships with businesses and brands.  If your small business can give back and earn a customer following, why wouldn’t you?  Helping others, while gaining community exposure, is truly a win-win for all.

Research shows that giving back has powerful effects. 89% of entrepreneurs donate money, both personally and through their companies, according to a study by Ernst & Young and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. What’s more, 62% say giving back makes their companies more successful in the long run (Fidelity Charitable, 2010).

Want to start a philanthropic effort through your small business but don’t know where to start?  Follow these tips to hit the ground running.

Tips:

Build relationships within your community.

  • Look at your community to see what’s important. Are the schools struggling? Does the animal shelter need donations? etc.
  • Building relationships start by making genuine connections with your customers.  Start conversations with them and try to learn a little bit about everyone who comes into your store!
  • The community is where your business operates, and improving this environment adds to the value of your product or service and increases the quality of life for everyone in the environment.

Get your employees on board. 

  • Giving employees an avenue to give back is important for morale and builds a collaborative and inspired team.
  • If your employees love what they’re doing and feel like they’re making a difference, work ethic and attitudes are bound to improve.
  • Volunteering also provides leadership opportunities for employees, which leads to increased staff performance, fulfillment and, ultimately, increased productivity and sales

Let customers know how you’re giving back. 

  • “I’ve found that customers really want to know how you’re making the world a better place,” says Erin Giles, an Aiken, S.C.-based business philanthropy consultant who helps entrepreneurs find causes they’re passionate about and incorporate their message into their business (Lavine, 2013).
  • Moms and Millennials are particularly interested in a business’ corporate social responsibility platform, Giles says (Lavine, 2013).
  • Don’t be afraid to brag about your philanthropic initiatives.  Post notices around your business and your community to let people know about your efforts and encourage others to get involved.

Some suggestions on how to give back:

  • Churches, little league sports leagues, local chapters of the Red Cross and Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs, donations to scholarship funds, sponsorship of a local sports team, etc.
  • Spreading good will establishes your business as the neighborhood do-gooder and community leader.

Big or small, giving back can only benefit your business and your community positively.  Reach out to those who need a helping hand and broaden your appeal at the same time.  Remember to be creative and have fun with whatever philanthropy you choose to pursue.  It’s sure to bring a smile to someone’s face!

Works Cited

Lavine, Lindsay.  “The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line.”  Entrepreneur Magazine.  26 June 2013. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226974>. 

“Entrepreneurs are More Likely to Give to Charity.”  Fidelity Charitable. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.fidelitycharitable.org/about-us/news/11-12-2010.shtml>.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to dive into analytics as a small business owner. The hardest part is to decide where to start and how much time to spend on extrapolating data. My advice would be to start small and work your way into platforms with more advanced metrics (MailChimp). There are enough free sites out there (Facebook for one) that can help you understand your customer just a bit better. As far as time commitment goes, after you learn how to use the analytic tab in Facebook, you can check it once a week to see what trends are developing and what messages are working the best. Ah, but let’s get down to why you need to spend time, and possibly money, on all of this collected data.

1. Big box companies are kicking your butt.

Hell, baseball teams are using analytics to get better. Just ask Brad Pitt…er…Billy Beane from the Oakland A’s (Moneyball, a great movie). My point is that smart people with a ton of resources are killing it in the real world and you are quickly being left behind. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you are totally screwed. If you are lazy and hate technology, you are totally screwed. BUT – if you are an entrepreneur, and you need to get your marketing nerd on, then check out these 10 places to analyze web data. If you want to analyze a whole marketing campaign then try Save Local Now (cough, ahem, shameless plug).

2. Big data will grow by 44% over the next decade.

This report suggests that data will soar 44 times over the next decade. Cloud adoption is exploding and more and more data is available to be analyzed.

data_growth

This represents both an opportunity and a challenge.

The Intuit 2020 report and many other sources support that “those who become proficient in collecting, managing and analyzing this information will gain competitive advantage.” INTUIT 2020

Of course by definition, those that don’t will be left behind. Someone once said “knowledge is power.” It’s at our fingertips, people. Go get it!

3. You can can save yourself a ton of time (eventually).

You must give a little to get a little. It takes money to make money. Okay, you get where I am coming from. In order to harness the power of analytics, you must take time to learn how to use platforms that track data (Facebook, Google, Constant contact, Save Local Now, Hoot suite, etc.) Then you must learn how to use that data to your advantage.

An overview of HootSuite Analytics and uberVU via HootSuite.

Think of your data as a report on your virtual storefront. You can now see which device people viewed your product or service on. Email analytics will let you know what time of day it was opened, from which device it was opened, and in some cases, it can tell you where they opened it (which town they opened in or the location of the IP address …but lets not get into that). With just a few pieces of data you can begin to paint a picture of your audience and the type of interaction they are having with your digital store front.

In short, analytics allow you to

  • gain invaluable insights into your customer’s behavior;
  • examine facts rather than assumptions or guesses;
  • make educated decisions on how to improve to your website, App, Email marketing campaigns social media post, daily deals, events calendar, etc.

In the long term, this means more of the right traffic, sales and profit. And more time to enjoy your entrepreneurial success.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

9products

As you should know by now Save Local Now offers 9 different products to help your small business compete with large marketing budgets. If you aren’t familiar with these 9 products you could always set up a training to learn how these products could benefit your business. But I digress…the bottom line is while some of these products will work behind the scenes and save you time and effort, most of them will gain a whole lot more traction if you follow one simple step. Here it is, are you ready?

**…*…Tell your customers!…*…**

Save Local Now gives you the tools and products you need at a price you can’t beat (FREE!) but that doesn’t mean we’re magic. The best way to get people in your community to shop locally is to tell them about Save Local Now!

It starts in your business. Tell all your employees about Save Local Now and that they should use it and promote it to customers and friends.  Make sure they know there is an app and a website and even set them up as a user on your account if you want to (we can help with that).

Then, make sure both you and your employees are telling ALL of your customers. word of mouth is the best way to get things out but even if you cant personally talk with every customer, make sure they are getting a rack card to tell them a little bit more about how they can save local (right) now! Your chamber should be able to supply you with these rack cards-all you have to do is ask. When you tell people about Save Local Now, your business, as well as the whole community benefits! So make sure you remember this one key tip and spread the word!

In today’s digitally charged consumer market, the best marketers are your consumers.  Many new customers are driven to businesses through word-of-mouth (WOM) reviews, and many loyal customers choose to abandon or stick with a company based on continued experiences.  With social media and consumer review sites everywhere, it is vital that customers are happy with your goods or services.

This applies to audiences new and old.  Companies often focus their marketing efforts entirely on gaining a new customer base.  While this is obviously essential to growing a business, it also essential not to overlook those customers who have been on the bandwagon for a while.  Pleasing both groups and maintaining positive relationships with customers is the most effective marketing tool you can have.

Financial and resource constraints also make it difficult for many small businesses to push out big marketing campaigns.  This is yet another reason why building a loyal following and maintaing positive word-of-mouth reviews is crucial.  It is a cost-effective way to get new faces in the door and new clicks on your website.

But how do you make sure that your word-of-mouth reviews will help and not hurt your business?  It’s easy.  Allow the customers into the company, and make them feel valued.  This can be done by:

  • Actively responding to comments and posts on social media.  Engage thoroughly with customers who take the time to communicate with you.
  • Immediately respond to any complaints or issues raised as these can quickly grow out of control when not addressed.
  • Make sure the content you are posting to your accounts is effective, well-planned, and not overwhelming.
  • Maintain your manners.  Create a notification system that will allow you to thank new customers who make an account, sign up for a newsletter, or join your community.  They will appreciate a personal acknowledgment of their engagement.

A 2013 study by Nielsen found that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of marketing.  However, the study also found that 72% of marketers are still not harnessing the power of customer referrals (Lowitz, view source: http://blog.getambassador.com/6-amazing-stats-that-prove-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-here-to-stay/).  For small businesses with limited marketing budgets, focusing power on social media and customer loyalty is a sure way to make the most of WOM and bring more success to your business.

These are simple ways to begin and maintain a good relationship with new customers.  Building a loyal base will be vital to the future of your business.  Once people start talking about your wonderful customer service and personal touch, more will come.

It is easy to find time to get some exercise outside of work, but what about exercising at work?  I’m not trying to say you need to run on the treadmill during your lunch break, but there are a few simple strategies you can implement throughout your day to enhance your normal movements.

Below are 3 easy steps that will help you stay healthy while at work:

1)  Switch up your posture throughout the day.  If possible, trade your desk chair for a yoga ball or a standing desk, or hold meetings and conference calls as walks.  The extra movement will do you a tremendous amount of good.  The Save Local Now headquarters often uses yoga balls instead of chairs.  Whenever you walk into the production room, you are bound to see our interns, Sarah & Tracey (pictured below), bouncing around!

yoga balls

2)  Take breaks every few hours.  It’s important to leave your desk periodically and walk around.  These breaks from your desk are good for your eyesight, your muscles, and your overall wellbeing.

3)  Leave your brown-bag lunch at home.  The best way to plan a walk or break during your day is to commit to getting lunch.  Going outside and walking to a deli or restaurant will give you a well-deserved breath of fresh air and break from a hectic day.

This is our favorite step, because not only are you getting some good exercise, you are also helping local restaurants!  Save Local Now is fortunate to be located in downtown Chagrin Falls, OH where there is a plethora of delicious, local restaurants.  But even if your office is not within walking distance to some restaurants, just walking around during your lunch break will do the trick.