Viral Business Starts at Home

I attended a general session presentation by Johnny Earle, of Johnny Cupcakes, who by the way, doesn’t sell baking goods.  They sell T-shirts!

It was a fascinating talk and his remarks were delivered in a rapid fire way.  The following were my notes.

His overarching theme was “Everything is an experience!”

He talked about:

  • Failing - fail fast - think of it as experimenting;
  • Experimenting is how you grow;
  • Sell memories, stories and themes;
  • Social media giveaways are a way to connect;
  • Collaborate to grow - it gives other folks a chance to learn what you do; and
  • People like new experiences - what are you doing is this arena?

He went on to say, what makes you unique?  You want to stand out from all the other chambers in the neighboring towns, his insights:

  • Testimonials sell - it creates trust;
  • Events foster real relationships;
  • Good design is inviting;
  • It’s all about human to human;
  • Write notes on your business cards; and
  • Customer loyalty - you must be loyal to them.

He ended with your brand is your story!  For a past blog post on What's Your Brand go HERE.

Using Design Thinking to Solve Problems

I recently attended a session sponsored by Associations Catalyzing Entrepreneurship (ACE) on problem-solving using the design thinking method.

The session led by Garth Jordan, senior vice president, corporate strategy at the Healthcare Financial Management Association and Arianna RehakCEO and co-founder of Matchbox Virtual Media.

Many say that design thinking is a powerful process for problem-solving, and has tremendous potential for associations.

It’s human centered, learn by doing, team based approaches to maintain organizational speed and flexibility.  Have a core group of people go and ask additional staff questions to get a since of what is going on in your organization.

You need to get information from the end user, the member. Ask them what they want.  Solve their problems making them a hero in their office.

It's all about the member.  You need to get your staff to think that way.  Everything we do is helping our members grow their business.

They discussed the different stages of design thinking:

First

Understand - research, gain insight, empathy, define.  Less people x more time in understanding = lots of insights.  Find the powerful themes to be able to ask the right questions.

Second

Create - brainstorm for ideas, ideate.  Asking the right questions to the right people is key.

Third

Deliver - prototype, test.  Learn and grow from feedback.  Think fail forward.

And finally, when these different stages come together - feasibility (technology), desirability (user), viability (business), where they intersect, that is innovation!

For resources on design thinking go to:

Email Marketing Techniques that Drive Results

I attended a seminar recently on the title of this blog that was led by Jay Schwedelson, Worldata, on email marketing.

The following are my notes based on his presentation and you may be surprised by some of his suggestions which is based on recent research in the email marketing sector.

Email Marketing - how much is too much?

  • 92% who unsubscribe haven’t opened that email in a year.
  • Delivery to the inbox is the key - engagement from a previously sent email!
  • Studies say open rates go up if you’re sending at least 5x a month.
  • Don’t send emails about your keynotes or registration info.

You Must Be Relevant

  • FOMO is the key to email marketing.  Fear of missing out!
  • Offers that expire have a 62% overall respond rate for BtoC and 55% for BtoB.
  • An offer must have urgency to it!
  • Subject lines.  Go to subject line dot com.

Top Words to Use

  • Free, limited, exclusive, tomorrow, today, last chance.
  • Free is the number one word for the subject line for emails.
  • 38% open rates increase if you use the word urgent.

Quick Tips

  • Half sentence subject lines...
  • “The most valuable...” - People will open to learn what it’s about.
  • “Our keynote is...”
  • Title casing - capitalize each word in your subject line...
  • Use brackets or parentheses boost open rates by 31%
  • Inbox rate is key, not deliverability rate.  The difference is showing up in spam filters.
  • Subject lines that start with a number “5” has a 21% increase in open rates.  Think listicles.
  • Pre-headers - the words after the subject line will increase your open rates by 24%.
  • Single offer emails work.  One email, one offer.  Don’t send an email with multiple offers.
  • Use light box to get emails - it’s a pop up on your website.

He went on to talk about auto opens and auto clicks being done by companies and associations to protect their networks.  Think of it as a different version of your current spam filter.

Tools and Free Stuff

  • If you're looking for a great resource on evaluating your email "subject lines" go HERE.
  • For a great resource on when to send emails based on days and times go HERE.

Good luck with your email marketing campaigns!

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.