Make Your “Wow” Message Repeatable!

Bill Graham, Graham Corporate Communications, offered the following comments and suggestions at a recent seminar he led at a membership and marketing conference that I attended.

He also happens to be a faculty member at the Institute for Organization Management program.

His opening statement - communications is not speaking, writing, debating, meeting - those are activities. Communication is a result - did I get an idea in your head?

Communication is not a two way street.  It’s one way!

"Wow" messages have/are:

  • New information: What’s new?
  • Emotionally connected: Who cares?
  • Actionable: What now?

Memorable messages - what are your six words that you use to make a memorable message?

Repeatable messages:

  • If they remember what you said, they may join.
  • If they repeat what you said; they are recruiting for you.

Memorable vs Repeatable - memorable is good, repeatable is better...think buy vs market for you, join/recruit.

Elements of a repeatable message:

  • Sensory - help them, see, hear, taste, touch or smell
  • Profound - memorable, desirable
  • Engaging - tease, awaken, surprise
  • Emotional - make them care
  • Data-driven - use verifiably human info
  • Story-based: testimonials, examples

How to create a story in 5 Steps

  1. Set up the high-stakes situation
  2. Know what the main character wants
  3. Make your audience care
  4. Have a life-changing “wow” moment
  5. Explain value: How does it help?

At the end of the day, are your people remembering your messages and better yet, are they repeating your message?

Good luck in creating your memorable and repeatable messages!

Managing Your Sponsorship Opportunities

I recently participated in a webinar on sponsorships hosted by ACCE and conducted by Sydney Doctor and Alana Turner of Greater Louisville, Inc.

Here are my notes from their talk in no specific order.

Centralize - think about centralizing your sponsorship activities under one person so you can provide a consistent customer experience throughout the conversation with all potential sponsors.

It’s more than an event, it’s a revenue generator and you need to think about it that way.

Less is more!  Focus on what events work best for your chamber and has a positive revenue impact on the bottom line.  Get rid of the rest.

A couple of thoughts on the process:

Do you offer a first right of refusal to those sponsors from the previous year?  If not, you must.  That’s just good business.  And you should ask that question right after the event is done when they are riding high.

Do you have an investor pool - create a list of possible companies who might want to sponsor an event?  Please know that not all investors will take that additional step to sponsor an event in addition to their normal support.  That’s ok, but let them know they always have the opportunity to do so in the future.

Do you have a brochure with a list of sponsorship opportunities with dates, times, and a description of the audience that will attend?  This packet of information needs to be digestible for any potential sponsor.  And you must share it with your members and non-members alike.

When to ask?  I’m a fan of working on a calendar year vs a fiscal year basis.  Start asking in October for the following year and this will allow you to finalize any sponsorship deals by January.

Once you’re in the new year you can always backfill at each event with possible new sponsors to meet or exceed budget.

Alignment:

Do you promote your events around themes?  Technology, Leadership, Finance, B2B just to name a few!

You can pitch sponsorship deals to companies who care about that subject matter and are thought of as thought leaders in those sectors.  That’s a win win!

How about content generation from potential sponsors?  It allows you to showcase your sponsor as an expert in the field and create content for the newsletter, magazine, website for the coming months.

They mentioned that your sponsorship fee should at least cover the cost of the event.  Registration fees should be all profit.  And remember, always load all your costs, not just the price of food/beverage and the rental of the room.  You must include staffing, marketing, etc.  It’s called program-based budgeting.

For a previous blog post on that subject matter go HERE.

And don’t forget about trade-outs for your bigger events.  Think AV costs that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars that you could trade for a sponsorship.

Final thoughts and suggestions:

Ask your potential sponsors what they are looking for from the sponsorship. Make a list.  Delivering on that promise will help you retain that sponsor for next year and the years ahead.

Don’t be afraid to customize your opportunities to get that sponsor.

Do you recap your events with pictures to showcase your event and sponsors on social media?  That’s a great way to also promote the sponsor at the same time.

At the end of the day, the sponsorship should work for both of you. Think partnership not just a transaction.

Good luck!

How to Increase Your Retention Rate

Are you communicating what your member’s value?

Once you know what your members value, communicate that throughout all your communication vehicles (website, newsletter, magazine, social media, etc.)

Go HERE for an article by Cathy Hight on the 10 reasons why members renew based on her many years in the industry.

Do any of her 10 reasons ring a bell with you?  Members renew for different reasons.  It’s not a one size fits all but the list she has set forth is a road map for your chamber.

And by the way, don’t guess what your members value, survey them. This is where your annual member assessment survey plays a role in your strategic plan.

One last thing to remember, when conducting surveys, you should always send to non-members too!

They may become members in the future and it might give you some insights on what they value if they become a member.

Target Marketing by Generations

I read a fascinating article recently that referenced a study by the Zenith agency on target marketing to generations.

And I connected with the idea that we need to stop thinking about target marketing by generations and start targeting based on what individuals want.

I bet you’ve been in those sessions on the characteristics of each generation and then the person next to you says, “that’s not me” and "I hate being labeled."

Well this study talks about basing your target marketing on income, attitudes and mindsets.

For the article by Zenith the ROI Agency go HERE.

It’s worth a read and should be factored into your annual marketing plan.

Auditing Your Social Media Strategy

What social media outlets are you using to connect with your members?

Do you have an official review process in place to make sure you’re spending your resources wisely, based on where your members are spending their time online?

Don’t guess, do your homework and get the analytics to make the right choices.

I recently came across a great article that talks about this subject matter and basically states if you’re not using Pinterest, your members might be missing out on a great opportunity to grow their business.

As mentioned in the article, most folks are spending their resources on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For an article on the Top 7 Pinterest Categories go HERE

For an additional blog post by Hubspot on the Ultimate Marketing Guide to Pinterest go HERE.

I think it’s important to keep our eye on the trends, study what works best, and implement that strategy, based on a yearly review.

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of less is more!  At the end of the day, go where your members are spending their time online.

For a great resource on conducting a social media audit for your organization by Hootsuite go HERE.

Storytelling: Connect and Engage

I recently attended a seminar, on the title of this blog, conducted by Carol Buckland with The Communication Center.

This blog post are based on my notes from her presentation.

She started with the six powerful words – let me tell you a story!

Telling stories affects different parts of your brain and that’s why they are remembered.

Studies suggest 90 percent audience retention using stories

An old adage but is still true today

  • Tell them what you’re going to tell them
  • Tell them
  • Tell them again

Crafting messages using key facts/statistics – or said a different way, proof points is a sound way to go when shaping your story.

The following "Story Formula" was handed out by Carol and is a great tool to use when constructing your STORIES.

  • Select - a compelling story from your personal or professional life
  • Tailor - it for your audience
  • Offer - useful content: a lesson, inspiration, etc.
  • Relate - it to the main message of your presentation
  • Illustrate - your point with unique details
  • Edit - fiercely keep it clear and concise
  • Seal - the deal with a strong takeaway

What is the purpose of your story? You must have a purpose!

You must also know your audience – their knowledge, attitudes, expectations, in order to tell a story that will connect and engage.

Expectations is key, you must deliver on this – think of the radio station we all listen to, WIIFM – what’s in it for me!

The Story - can your audience relate?  Does it reinforce your goal?

Imagine is a great word to start a story!  Fill in with details.  Talk about senses (smell, sound, etc.), sequence (start at the end) and always edit your story.

Storytelling is a performance – be engaging, be expressive, be passionate and be memorable.  Her final comment:

  • Start strong;
  • Finish strong; and
  • Connect the dots

For a resource on storytelling go HERE.

Good luck!

Communicating Your Chamber’s Value

I've written on this subject before and the following are tips from a breakout session I attended recently led by Shari Pash.

What is your messaging? What are you known for? What is your Brand?

Go HERE for a past blog post on that subject.

Are you known for advocacy, knowledge, community leader? Are you a connector?

That’s where you want to be.  Most people have come to the realization that you can’t just be a chamber that does events.  She even mentioned the following:

  • Are you a chamber who does events?; or
  • Are you an event company who has members?

I suggest you want to be in the business of advocacy and helping your members solve-problems.

What are your doing after a new member joins?  Don’t overwhelm them with everything in one email or mailing.  Do the Amazon approach.  Dribble marketing.  Think a 30, 60 and 90 day marketing plan to engage your new members.

Learn how to tell the story of your advocacy work because that’s a great reason for members to join who don’t come to your events.  That is something they will see as real value.

She spent some time on how to respond to the "I don’t have time to be a member" conversation we've all had over the years.  She offered up the following responses:

  • Tell them how you highlight members on your website - maybe a job announcement, highlight a good story of the member;
  • List things that you’ve done on their behalf (things you’ve done for the entire membership);
  • Perks while you work (talk about the things you’re doing for them while they are running their business - attending council meetings, research, etc.).

Start communicating your value!