Category Archives: Announcements

13Jan/09

Retail aCCess – Creating Customer Communities

Lakeland retailers were at work well before their shops opened yesterday, meeting at Bramble Ridge Golf Course for the inagural event of the Lakeland Chamber’s Retail aCCess program.  After indulging in Chef Paulie‘s superb omelet bar, attendees were treated to an informative and inspiring presentation from Mary Kay National Sales Director, Bett Vernon.  

Bett’s 24 years as an entrepeneur provided her insights into creating customer communities and persevering.  She likened our current economic situation to a deep winter storm back home in South Dakota.  Even on the darkest of days, she knew that, early or late, the Spring would come.  She encouraged us to use exceptional customer service to set us apart from our competition and turn our customers into a salesforce.  Without undue optimism, Bett painted a hopeful picture for those willing to put their customers’ needs above their own.

My portion of the program was intended to show that the internet can be used to deepen personal interactions with customers instead of substituting for them.  I went over how companies can use blogs, twitter, facebook, and other social networking applications to enhance their customers’ experience.  I even snuck in a picture of Chef Paulie at the omelet bar!

Many thanks to Jennifer at the Verizon Wireless store at 4120 S. Florida Ave.  for providing us with internet access.

Staff Picks and Additional Reading:
Bett recommended subscribing to SUCCESS Magazine,
published by Darren Hardy.

Matthew recommends you read “Tribes” by Seth Godin.

Amy recommends “Word of Mouth Marketing” by Andy Sernovitz.

12Jan/09

Marketing Mondays – Seth Godin on Email

Seth Godin, author of “Permission Marketing,” Small is the New Big,” and “Tribes,” is an expert at using the internet to deepen human connections.  In a recent post to his blog, Seth outlines several simple principles for creating more personal, meaningful interactions with the people we email.  Terry and I were discussing these principals and how there was a time (pre-email, pre-SMS) when this type of courtesy was common sense, but in the era of facebook and mass email, it’s good to be reminded on occasion.  While these guidelines may require additional time and forethought, your clients and co-workers will greatly appreciate the effort:

Here are some easy to follow tips that will help you avoid being seen as a spammer, or having your emails trashed or ignored. The thing is this: email reduces friction. Greedy, lazy organizations have embraced this and tried to figure out how to blast as many emails as they can as cheaply as they can, relying on the law of large numbers. The real law of large numbers is, “using large numbers is against the law.”

I want you to add friction back in. If you want to be seen as being personal, the best strategy is to be personal, which is slow and expensive.

  1. Don’t send the same email to large numbers of people.
  2. If you have more than a few people to contact, you’ll be tempted to copy and paste or mail merge. Don’t. You’ll get caught. It shows. If it’s important enough for someone to read, it’s important enough for you to rewrite.
  3. Careful with the salutation. Don’t write, “Dear Claudia,” if you don’t usually write “Dear” at the beginning of all your emails.
  4. Don’t mush the salutation together with the rest of the note. If I had a dollar for every email that started, “Joe, When experts come together…” That’s not personal. That’s lazy merging. See rule 1.
  5. Don’t send HTML or pictures. Personal email doesn’t, why are you?
  6. Don’t talk like a press release. Talk like a person. A person is reading this, so why are you talking like that?
  7. Be short. The purpose of an email is not to sell the person on anything other than writing back. If you don’t have a personal, interesting way to start a conversation, don’t write.
  8. Don’t send an email only when you really need something. That’s not personal, that’s selfish.
  9. Do you have a sig with a phone number in it? Your phone number? If you don’t trust me enough to give me your real phone number, I don’t trust you enough to read your mail.
  10. Don’t mark your email urgent. Urgent to you is not urgent to me.
  11. Don’t lie in your subject line, and don’t be cute. You’re not clever enough to be cute. Just be honest.
  12. Following up on an impersonal spam email is twice as dumb as sending the first one. Invest the time to do it right the first time.
  13. Anticipated, personal and relevant permission mail will always dramatically outperform greedy short-term spam. I promise.
  14. Just because you have someone’s email address doesn’t mean you have the right to email them.

Marketing Mondays is a weekly feature of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce’s blog, offering insights and guidance from some of today’s leading marketers, adapted to meet the needs of our member businesses.

07Jan/09

Retail aCCess – Creating Customer Communities

“Creating Customer Communities” 
How can you keep your small business growing in today’s economy? Relationships!


Join fellow retailers as we discover new ideas that keep customers engaged
& coming through your doors.
 
Monday, January 12, 2009
8:00-9:30 a.m.
Bramble Ridge Golf Course
2505 Bramble Ridge Drive
$10, includes full breakfast

 
RSVP today!
· At LakelandChamber.com- Click on Chamber Store
· Email mstevenson@lakelandchamber.com
· Call Mary Stevenson at 863-688-8551 Ext. 232

 

Retail aCCess is a new, hands-on tool for retailers! Created with you in mind, this series of workshops will offer attendees the opportunity to hear new ideas and take home ways to build a better business. From HR issues to grassroots marketing to embracing technology, you won’t want to miss out!

 

16Dec/08

Last Minute Christmas wish

In these hard times, I know many businesses are having to stretch to make a profit and some to just make ends meet. I offer a word of well wishing this Christmas season. We all must look at how we do business and adjust, because in the end we will all be better for it. But for non profits it is quite another story. Non profits are being hit, some would say, the hardest. So here is my holiday plea, for a couple of non profits, that was forwarded my way. Let me reiterate these were not solicited, and it is my way of offer to help. So if you can the following organizations would greatly appreciate it.

This came for the Boys & Girls club, they are looking for cans:

Boys & Girls Club LogoThe BGC is up to over 300 cans, getting closer to its goal of 500.  500 canned goods will get the BGC a Wii game for the kids.  We can collect until end of business day Thursday…I am willing to come to you.  Happy Holidays!!

Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry
OFFICE 863-686-1719 CELLPHONE 863-712-2710 FAX 863-686-4057 Kelly Lane, Director of Development at bgclakeland.com:

If you are downtown, the staff at the Chamber is pulling together a can or 2 so you are welcome to drop off even just a can here. 

 

If you are interested in some last minute volunteering for Toys for Tots give George Overstreet a call 863-670-589:

Toys for Tots is looking for volunteers to work at the warehouse Today, Weds and Thursday.  The warehouse is open from 8am until 10pm each day.  It’s the last push to get the toys picked out and separated to be send out to the schools before Christmas break.  All the toys will be delivered on Friday to each school for the parents to pick and bring home.  This is why Thursday is the last day to volunteer. 

Toys for Tots Warehouse

Address–602 Page St, Auburndale FL–On Hwy 92 go to Recker Hwy and turn–then proceed to McKean St turn north

and proceed to Page St –the warehouse #602 is at the end of the street on the left side.

Or call Monti Sommer of AMIfor any clarification.  863-412-0039.

Thanks for your help.

12Dec/08

December Business & Breakfast Welcomes Local Bloggers

Thursday, LakelandLocal.com bloggers (and local celebrities) Chuck Welch and Lorrie Delk Walker joined Chamber members for a discussion about new media trends for small businesses.

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Hosted by GLT Total Office in their Combee Road showroom, the breakfast provided a perfect platform for local companies to learn a bit more about blogging, twittering and maximizing search engine results. Even with Chuck’s “techy” language, the entire room was intrigued at the possibilities that exist beyond the traditional company web site.

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Lorrie took center stage to speak for just a minute about how search engines find web sites- the more your site changes, the more appealing it is to the spider-bots that comb for information! Who knew?

The open invitation from Chuck still stands… anyone with a specific question should feel free to contact him via LakelandLocal.com by commenting on his posts.

Thanks to GLT Total Office &  Regions Bank our presenting sponsor for the 2008 Business & Breakfast Series.