The new year is a time of review and introspection coupled with making new promises for the future. We are often filled with a sense of control over our destiny and a desire to begin again. If you’re feeling the same, here are a few ways you can capitalize on the new year’s momentum by embracing the habits of successful people:
As we move into the new year, take the time to reassess things in your world. What do you want to change? These ideas are only a start. Make this your year to become your most productive, happy, and successful yet.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. We purchase rights from Frank Kenny for our Chamber Nation customers.
On your Advanced Mobile App, when you are in Admin-Only Functions you can now search your Member Database with the 'status' filter feature. Choose from 'Active', 'Dropped', 'Pending', 'Denied', or 'All' to help narrow down your searches.
Chamber Nation has been creating a brand new program to help our customers market the value of Chamber of Commerce membership. This includes a new member education and support website called Members.Fyi (www.Members.fyi). You will find all new material to share and even an area to use for your new member orientation classes we call Getting Started with six easy to follow sections to use during these meetings.
There is also a hidden page you can promote to non-members called www.GetChambered.com that quickly introduces prospects to this website and all that can happen when they become a member of your Chamber of Commerce.
We highly recommend that Chambers of Commerce begin to embrace that "third" word which is "Commerce" and remind the world that the Chamber "IS" the local marketing program and members are provided with Member Assistants to document their products and services for search. Without membership your business is losing out on some amazing services and outcomes.
So that our customers (Chamber of Commerce Executives and Staff) can get the very most out of this program, we have created a special section just for them and is password protected so please contact support for access. The site is at www.Orientations.fyi and you will find a ton of valuable information and educational materials to help you grow and retain membership.
Finally, a bonus tip: create something amazing that people will want to photograph themselves in front of. This can be a giant chair or a beautiful backdrop. Use your imagination. Then post a hashtag poster nearby so you’ll be sure to see what they share.
Even though Small Business Saturday is right around the corner, there’s still time to participate. Show your interest and help others find you through marketing and social media.
NEXT CHAMBER COLLABORATIVE IS WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 5, 2018 - THE TIPPING POINT WHEN THE PROSPECT SAYS - WHY WOULD I NOT JOIN THE CHAMBER?
DON'T MISS THE NEXT COLLABORATIVE ON WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 5, 2018: Luis Hernandez (our show host) will be discussing the difference between “feature and benefit” selling versus “emotional” selling, buyer personas and why it is so important for us to really understand our customers/members better.
After that we will present the question and ideas about "WHERE IS THE TIPPING POINT" when prospects begin to say why would I I NOT join the Chamber? We will also open up a discussion on the Chamber setting up a second level of membership that could offer the biggest return for the member and Chamber.
As our Production Team attempts to complete your Premium Production Member's buildout we run into roadblocks at times. If a member has no email address in your Member Database we have no way of communicating with the member. In addition your member will not receive information about prospective customers.
If your member does not have a website that we can gather information about their business or organization, we ask them to submit information at PremiumEntrance.com. In many cases members do not respond to our requests. When this occurs we ask Chamber Staff to encourage their members without a website to visit PremiumEntrance.com and submit the short form. This will help us to complete your entire member community in a timely manner.
The Holidays are the time for giving - what better time to include a 'Donation' feature to an Event Registration. Add a donation for a local food or toy drive. In Event Registration after you set up your packages, you can add 'Custom Fields'. One of the types of custom fields in your system is 'Open Donation' choose this, add a title and instructions if applicable and you are set.
process to create Newsletters In advanced email Editor - then how to obtain a system Link to display newsletters on your website
When you access the Advanced Editor in the Broadcast Email Message module, you will see
'Adv Editor Categories'. Click there to add, edit or delete categories.
When you create a message in this case a newsletter, you will select the 'Newsletter' category, check the box to 'Publish as Newsletter' and enter a 'Publish Date'. Then proceed to create and save your newsletter. You can send it out as you do with other Broadcast Emails. In addition you can display this and all newsletters you create in the same fashion on your website.
Access MMS Configuration - System Links - item # 26 Broadcast Email Module - there you will find a unique link that you can place on the desired website page. This will display all the newsletters you create so the public can read about Chamber News for months and years to come.
Surveys aren’t the way to good customer service. They might’ve been five years ago, but they’re being used with such an annoying regularity that no one wants to take part in them. But how do you improve your business’ customer service if you don’t know what your customers want? Trust us. There are other ways. Here are a few things you need to ditch in order to begin providing better service.
As I just mentioned, surveys are overdone in 2018. Call the bank, they send a survey. Get the oil changed in your car, survey. Everything is a survey these days. Sure, you can get people to participate through free goods and discounts, but no one wants to waste time telling you how to do your job.
Try this instead: try one-question, emoji-style ratings when you send a follow-up email thanking them for their business. Smiley face or sad face. Or use a clickable star rating the way Amazon or Goodreads does on their reviews. Then give them contact information to a real person if they have more to say. They can rate you in a second as well as ask for a follow-up.
Not Filling Empty Positions
When an employee leaves, there’s a time before you hire again while you’re searching for an ideal candidate. If that process becomes long and drawn out, co-workers are usually called upon to fill in the gaps. After this occurs for a while, management often thinks that position doesn’t need to be filled since everyone is managing fine. Unless you are making it worth the employees’ while financially, you are over-burdening the employee. Burnt out employees don’t provide good customer service, let alone excellent service.
Try this instead: as soon as the employee gives notice, begin the hiring process. As a preemptive solution, always have up-to-date job descriptions on file so there’s no time wasted writing them. Ask good employees for referrals. Fill that position or compensate the individuals who are taking on an increased workload.
Everyone working for you should know two things: what’s expected of them (including how they’re measured against those expectations) and how you expect the customer to be treated.If they don’t know these things, it’s difficult to do their job.
Try this: Give employees processes and missions to go by so it is clear to them to what degree your company believes the customer is always right. This empowers them to do right by the customer on a level that you support, even if you’re not available to ask.
If your employees are always making up excuses as to why something didn’t happen or why they’re not meeting expectations, your customers will grow tired of this. Customers recognize an excuse. Excuses never smooth over any of the ruffled feathers.
Try this: Ban certain language from your employees’ repertoire. Things like, “I’m new” or “That happened because X is new” don’t matter to customers. They don’t want an excuse. They want a solution. Make sure your employees are skilled at providing them.
Square Hole, Square Peg Thinking
Yes, protocols are essential to businesses operations but you also want your employees to be creative problem solvers. They should not feel hemmed in by rules that can never be bent. Sometimes, it is necessary to make allowances.
Try this: as mentioned earlier, let employees know how far they can go to do right by the customer. It’s important they feel empowered to act on the customer’s behalf.
“Not My Job” Mentality
The customer doesn’t care whose job it is. When they have a problem, they want it handled. There’s nothing more frustrating than an underling saying they can’t do anything or the customer being passed around the company explaining the issue each time.
Try this instead: even if the person answering the inquiry isn’t fully equipped to solve the issue, they should remain the main point of contact for the customer. The employee is the one who works for the company. They are the most skilled at dealing with peers and departments. Stay in good communication with the customer and allow one point person for customer convenience and relationship building. This way your customer will see them as an advocate for them.
If you want to start providing better customer service, think of the customer experience. Consider the things that bother you most about dealing with businesses. Then refrain from introducing those frustrations into your environment.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. She is a regular blogger for Frank Kenny who Chamber Nation purchases content from for our customers use.
We have added a scheduling feature to the text messaging module. When you enter your desired message you will see 'Scheduled Date/Time' fields. This way you can schedule a series of text messages to go out in the future.
Your membership organization (Chamber of Commerce) has invested in membership services so they can strategically help their members grow business. This is why we handle your setup, product and service documentation, mobile application, text prospecting, and search engine support.
Aside from this, we also provide your organization with a tool they can use to activate an easy way for you to request people to quickly review your business directly on Google. Normally people who are at your facility that have android devices, or google local operating on an iPhone, will be prompted to review your business. This is terrific for most of us, but what about all of the locals that love your business and have never seen that prompt?
We are going to be showing off this new tool at our next Chamber Collaborative - Be sure to register here for the next meeting.
You can also finish reading about the new Member.Reviews by going to www.Member.reviews
if all of your "new" members are RECEIVING advanced member services, and you would like to offer the same to existing members, here is an example of what you might say.
If you are an existing member who have noticed that new members are receiving additional marketing services, that is because new members are paying a one-time onboarding and technology fee of $49.95 (which you were not charged in the past).
Would you like the same services explained at www.MembershipPublishingSystem.com? Just let us know at the Chamber and we will invoice you a one-time fee of $49.95 and then get you started.
If you have any other questions please let us know as well.
audio portion of this meeting was recorded
We've heard reports of antivirus software or a school or office firewall preventing some features from displaying properly. If you have antivirus software installed, try temporarily disabling it and then logging in. You may also need to check with the person in charge of the network firewall (if you are accessing your Weebly site from a school or office) in order to do this. If this works, you'll need to add Weebly to the software's "safe" or "accepted" list. Just in case they need it, our IP ranges are:
Customer Success Advocate
Check out our Help Center for helpful articles or to chat with a live Weebly Customer Success Advocate. You can also find additional resources with our Community.
We are excited to re-launch a Daily Deals program designed to help drive traffic into our local businesses! It is the perfect time to create or share what specials your business is running as it's just in time for the start of holiday shopping. The Chamber is going to run an ads in print and on social media directing potential visitors to a special landing page on our site. This landing page (which currently looks like this) is where your deals will appear, promoting your locals special or any other deal that your business may be offering. Discounted services, discounts on food, specials on drinks, discounts on merchandise, etc are all examples of what you can load here.
Here is what we need from you:
- Logo or image and text of what you'd like to use in your coupon (along with the details) or if you already have an internet ready image of your deal we can use that.
- Your deal must have an expiration date of 12/31/2018 and no earlier. Your specific deal can change no more than monthly.
- "Mention this" verbiage details so when potential customers come in you can track where the deal is coming from. For example, you can request customers to mention 'chamber deal' in order to receive the coupon pricing.
- The best number to receive a text message. (optional)
Boulder City Chamber Communications Director
How to find the direct link so people can leave google reviews on your member businesses - it was impossible before this trick!
- get the business's place ID from google (visit https://developers.google.com/places/place-id and enter the business name, grab the place ID number that's displayed)
- add the place ID to the end of this URL: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=
If it’s been a while since you’ve innovated in your business, now might be the time to consider a facelift.
Many business owners embrace tradition and refuse to yield. That worked for Blockbuster, too. But seriously, no one stopped watching movies. They just changed the way they did it. The same may be true of your business. To keep from closing your doors, you need to watch for trends. Here are a few that may influence how you think about your business.
Three Not- So -New Trends That Are Shaping Today ’ s Businesses
But for most of the boxes, you don’t know what’s coming in them until they arrive (or you see an early opener on YouTube). The boxes always boast a value of more than you pay for the subscription service.
Why it works: it surprises and delights recipients. Often it streamlines something they need or want and offers an attractive entry price. Many box services use word of mouth and offer discount codes to influencers in their target market like mommy bloggers or YouTube beauty experts.
They pay their contractors a portion or charge them a fee to be listed on their site. Some of them cover the contractors under an insurance policy to ensure the property is protected but the contractor is in charge of their own maintenance, production, and other critical components.
Another idea that’s similar is how direct marketing companies work. They make the product and then have an army of contractors sell it for them. Each contractor runs their operation as a mini business adhering to the manufacturer’s rules for selling and they receive a commission when they move product.
Why it works: fewer start-up costs to hamper growth.
Reshaping a mission
Why this works: a study has found that young people (especially) are willing to pay more for a product that supports a good cause.
If it’s been a while since you rethought your business strategy, it might be time to open yourself up to some of the newer trends out there. These ideas won’t work for every business so consider your offerings and your target market before making any big decisions. However, you might just find that these ideas get you thinking about one that’s an even better fit for your operation.
Things change often with search engines so it’s good to have an agency, guru, or SEO expert at close hand. If you can’t afford one of those things for your business, you’ll have to do it on your own and stay abreast of all of the changes. One of those changes you should be considering is how voice search is impacting SEO.
Voice search is increasing with greater use of mobile and the increase in access to artificial intelligence. If you have a business that focuses on local clients or customers, voice search is incredibly important as local searches are 3 times more likely to be voice searches than text.
But exactly what’s different between voice search and keyed search?
Plenty. Here’s what you need to know and the changes you need to make to what you’re already doing:
4 Ways to Optimize for Voice Search
In voice search, most people ask a question or make a statement surrounding a need. For instance, “Where’s the nearest taco place?” Think about what sorts of questions people would ask to find your business. Then create content around those questions. For example, someone might request “Best dog groomer in Nashville.” Write a blog post under that title. Write a review of several different places where you can get your dog groomed from doing it yourself to a portable groomer to your business.
Offering other ideas besides just your own business makes you a reliable resource. However, there’s no need to directly mention the competition. Speak in generalities of the competitors unless you find that people are often searching for you and your nemesis. For instance, if there’s a rivalry between your hot dogs and another place in town, mentioning them directly could help you “steal” some of their search results.
Use the Right Language
There are regional ways of saying things (not accents) and naming items. Just listen to a comedian making fun of their hometown. For instance, some parts of the Midwest refer to washcloths as wash rags and vacuums as sweepers. If you sold those items and wanted to rank for them locally, you may consider using those local terms.
Also, while it might be hard to rank for some terms like“pizza restaurant,” it might be easier to rank for “best pizza place near me.” Most voice searches will use less formal terminology or language because voice search is based on how people talk. And when they talk to search or their virtual assistants like Siri, Google, or Alexa, they speak like they’re talking to someone they know. They don’t speak formally the way they might when looking something up online.
Localize the Search
Wherever possible, if you serve a community (meaning people in town come to you for your service or product and you’re not an internet business serving all areas), mention the areas you serve. Not only will this clear up any confusion but it will also help you rank in that area. But don’t simply state the name of your town over and over. Any bot can do that. Pepper in things about your town that will help people and search engines recognize you really are serving that area. For instance, if you are a carpet cleaner you might add content to your website that asks, “Having people in for the Waynesville Sauerkraut Festival? You want clean floors. We can help.”
This type of personalization is best used when switched out throughout the year. Websites were never made to be stagnant. Remember to refresh content on a regular basis.
Become More Verbose
When typing in a search, most people use 2-3 word phrases. Voice search is much longer, 5-7 words. You’ll want to keep this in mind when optimizing your content. It’s important to do some search research to find out how people are searching for things that you provide. When it comes to voice, they tend to be more long-winded and describe what they need than when they’re texting it.
If you’re concerned about search engine optimization--and you should be--it’s important to consider how search is changing that, especially if your customers are largely local. Create content and optimize your web copy around how people speak and the questions they’d ask to find you. It’s well worth the time investment to do it now rather than wait until your competitors do it.
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 who we purchase the rights to this content from for our customers.
Meet the Show Host
Luis Hernandez Jr. Professional Bio
Luis Hernandez Jr. is the Communications & Membership Development Director at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce. Previously the Executive Director of ABQWest Chamber of Commerce. Under both roles, he is responsible for growth while improving its programming, member relations, and overall reputation of helping grow businesses in the community.
In addition to his work at both Chambers of Commerce, Luis is a local small business owner/entrepreneur. He and his Wife, Rachael Hernandez, own and operate Elite Music Productions, an Event & Entertainment Planning Agency. They are currently contracted by the State of New Mexico where they plan, book & manage entertainment for the New Mexico State Fair.
He is an active member of the community where he lends his entertainment, social media and marketing knowledge to local businesses, non-profits, and church organizations. He has also done voluntary work for several local programs & events:
When not working, Luis enjoys spending time with family, performing as a musician or seeing a good NM Spanish Music Concert, and of course volunteering at community related events.
LITTLE BACKGROUND AND PLANS FOR THE CHAMBER COLLABORATIVE
Today, we are venturing down a new path of Membership Development and Growth. Because of this Chamber Nation has decided to bring the Chamber Collaborative back in earnest with a highly qualified host from the Chamber industry to share ideas that are working in the field, take input from participants, and have other executives share insights they have to help grow membership.
Fortunately, we have a starting point with a terrific host who has proven first hand membership development experience within the Chamber of Commerce industry. Luis has much to share in this area that we know participants will be excited to learn. Like before we will hold these meetings to 30 minutes, but the CEO of Chamber Nation and others will stay on the line after the session has ended to answer or discuss other issues you may have. We will also provide support for both Docu.Team and the MembershipPublishingSystem.Com. We hope you will register below for future meetings so you won't miss any great ideas on growing your Chamber of Commerce.
- Lower transaction cost. One of the biggest appeals to ACH is low processing fees, compared to checks or credit cards. ...
- Faster processing. ...
- Security. ...
- Convenience. ...
- Ideal for recurring billing.
- Verify that you are using authorize.net for a payment gateway with the MMS, and that you have Customer Information Management (CIM) enabled.
- If you do not have both of these, we cannot turn on auto-pay.(At least not without customization, contact support)
- Auto-pay works best when you have automatic invoices turned on: this creates renewal invoices as part of a nightly batch job rather than requiring admins to Create Renewal Invoice Records by Date.
- This also needs to be enabled by support and has a few prerequisites:
- Make sure that your invoicing is current by going to the "Create Renewal Invoice Records by Date", and looking for the red warning text.
- These members WILL BE INVOICED on the nightly batch job; you will want to bring your billing records current before we will enable this feature.
- This can also be used by organizations that are not using auto-pay. (It only creates the invoices, the members still have to log in to pay or cut a check, etc.)
- This does not need to be turned on for auto-pay to work. It's extremely rare for an organization to use auto-pay without it though.
- This should not be turned on if your organization is fixed-year. (Auto-pay is still fine, though.)
- This also needs to be enabled by support and has a few prerequisites:
- Before turning on auto-pay, you'll also want to check your members to see who is currently paid up or behind. The Member Timeline report will give an at-a-glance view of this, the Paid/Unpaid report will list who is unpaid.
- Members who have several outstanding invoices could find themselves being charged several nights in a row. Even if they are actually behind on their payments, many do not react well to surprise charges showing up on their credit cards. It's better if the organization resolves these things beforehand.
NOTE: Because of the high rate of Credit Card expirations and card number changes you might consider having us activate ACH payments from a checking account for auto payments. Make sure you have Authorize.net enable ACH payments in your Merchant Account.
Once the above is completed, contact Support to turn on auto-payments and/or automatic invoicing. (For a faster response, include a short note indicating that you've gone through the above checklist.)
More information on how auto-pay will work afterward:
- By default, we recommend autopay for monthly membership plans. However, within the Billing Config menu, we have a field for “Auto-Pay Length”. This sets the maximum term length on a member plan that Auto-Pay can be used for by the org, with a concrete maximum of one year.
- New members who sign up and pay for a monthly plan online will automatically be enrolled in auto-pay. New members who sign up for a plan within the maximum term length can opt in or out of Auto-Pay.
- Existing members who are on a plan within the maximum term length can sign themselves up for auto-pay through a link that will appear in the members area, or an admin can sign them up (provided that they have the member's credit card or ACH info).
- If the member's credit card or ACH errors out twice in a row, the system stops trying to charge it, and a warning message appears in the Billing Menu.
Some of these groups are private so you have to apply to get in. A few even require you to answer questions and promise to play nicely with others. Upon acceptance, you can spend all day chatting it up with other like-minded business owners (for free!).
No need to join the chamber, right?
With a chamber membership you get the following things you won’t get from a Facebook group:
1. A Connection with the Community and a Marketable Designation
The chamber is a well-respected community organization. Many people see it as similar to the Better Business Bureau. Your membership plaque or window cling tells customers that you are intending to be part of the community for a long time. Being a member of an online group is not a reputation builder.
2. Knowledgeable Help
With an online Facebook group, someone will ask a question, others will give their advice. This can be a wonderful experiment in crowd-sourced learning. However, it can also have its downside. While the group administrator may have asked a few questions when someone entered, most groups do not vet members. Anyone can offer advice, skilled/experienced or not. It’s difficult to tell the good from the bad.
Facebook also allows frequent contributors in the group to receive a designation next to their names. Be aware this just means they answer questions often. This does not indicate expertise of any kind just a willingness to jump into conversations and post.
3. Hands-on Learning Opportunities
The chamber offers hands-on learning opportunities as well as lunch and learns. For many people, it’s hard to learn by being told what to do. But seeing it or working on it on their own through the instruction of others, can help improve the learning experience. That’s why some chambers have created learning opportunities that include things like social media help and in-person website attention. Check with your local chamber to find out what sort of learning sessions it offers.
With Facebook groups, there’s a limit to the amount of information must people are willing to share. In depth learning will likely occur elsewhere.
4. Ribbon Cuttings
When you open a new location for your business, hit a milestone anniversary or some other accomplishment, your Facebook group might send you some emoji balloons but the chamber will be there with a social media mention, perhaps an article, help on a press release, and/or a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate your time in business.
Your Facebook group may be exceptionally supportive and you may even feel like you have a group of online friends, but it’s likely that as supportive as these friends are, they are not lobbying on behalf of your community and business on a local, state, and national level. Your chamber is. Many businesses forget this valuable part of chamber work. While most businesses can’t afford their own lobbyist, they can afford chamber membership.
I’ve known a lot of people to get “burned” by something they shared on social media. If you need help on a delicate matter within your business, it’s likely you don’t want to splash it across a public forum, even if that forum is a “private group.” If you’re dealing with something sensitive and you need advice on next steps (like in the case of a termination, business bankruptcy or going-out-of-business situation) you don’t want to share that with the world. At the chamber, you can get the help you need or a reference to someone who can assist you without sharing it with the world. Chambers handle delicate situations all the time and they do so with discretion.
There’s nothing wrong with joining Facebook groups. They can be extremely helpful in hearing advice from people who may have gone through similar situations. But these memberships will never cover everything your chamber can do for your business. Still, there’s no reason to choose between one or the other. When it comes to business growth, multiple tools and investments are required, and chamber membership is an excellent one.
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