How Consumers Find You

Marketing can be more disorienting than ever before. There are old and new types of media, trends coming and going by the day, more competition than before, and professionals claiming giving out watered down information at seminars. So, for our recent Lake Chamber Morning Connections session, we wanted to cut out the middleman and go straight to the consumers.  We pulled together a panel of people ranging from 20-70 years old and asked them, “what gets your attention?” and summarized their responses for you!

Quality over quantity

Our panelists unanimously agreed: Don’t bombard your audience with social media posts. Keep messages direct, eye catching and relevant. Over-advertising makes the business look desperate and untrained. We’re in the age of information, don’t add to the clutter, stand out against it when necessary. Sometimes less is more, it shows that your business has something important to say when it does advertise.

This goes alongside with identifying your target audience. Who are the people most likely to be buying your product? If you’re marketing toward community members, go to local events, stay involved and angle your sales and messages toward relevant topics. Before reaching deep outside your target audience, capture the one that’s most likely to be interested.

If you’re going to make an app, make it worthwhile

As our oldest panelist, Bob Moffat said: “Apps are easier than ever to write, but I don’t want to download something unless it has something I want.”

True across every participant we had: Apps can waste a lot of time, so don’t push one on your customers if it’s just a sleeker version of your website. Offer exclusive coupons, relevant reward systems, and consistent upgrades. Starbucks does this incredibly well, pulling in customers with free drinks and an eye-catching star system.

Apps are an extra hurdle that your audience will have to jump through when they’re judging your business. A nice looking and easy to navigate mobile website can be just as, if not more effective.

We all Google, we all look at reviews

No matter who you’re marketing toward, get your business a Google listing. When people are new to an area or seeking something, in particular, they’re most likely to turn to a Google search. Google loves working with new businesses and make the process incredibly easy. They even call it “The best 10 minutes you can spend on your business today.”

Similarly, make sure to Google your own business. Look at what people are saying on Yelp or similar sites, see how you can improve. Consumers value those little stars next to your name. Our panelist and avid traveler, Chip Wiesel spoke on this.

“After a lot of traveling, I’ve made it a point to only go to places with 4/5 stars. It has saved me so many times over the years,” said Wiesel.

Also, please, please make your website mobile friendly. All of our tech-savvy panelists (and myself) noted that a non-mobile friendly website was likely to make them click away and find another option.

Younger people look toward their elders for trade service recommendations  

If you’re in landscaping, HVAC, plumbing or any of the major trade professions, aim your market sights a bit higher. According to our youngest panelist Natalie Reed, she and all her friends go straight to their elders when it comes to these services.

“We don’t know much about these services, so it’s natural that we go right to our parents for advice about landscaping or insurance,” said Reed. “I’m much more likely to ask for advice on a business like that compared to other businesses.”

So what can you do as a business to get the parents’ attention? Show up on time, do your job and be efficient everyone over 30 echoed.

“I don’t want someone telling me that they’ll be at my house sometime between 8-12. I have kids, I have places to be,” our panelist Shelley Sprang said.

Word of mouth trumps all

After our meeting was over, people began sharing stories about asking janitors, car salesman and other locals where the best local spots were and being blown away with their recommendations.

Anyone who comes into your business could be that special patron who recommends you to all their friends, so treat them like it! Good customer service brings loyalty with it.

We would like to thank all of our panelists for helping us with this event: Natalie Reed, Seth Marana of Ramsburg Insurance, Shelley Sprang of Pegasus Farm, Chip Weisel of Hartville Health and Wellness and retiree Bob Moffat.

A Networking Story: ONE Bite Taste Event – A Year Later, Partnerships have Grown & Prospered

As we started planning this year’s One Bite Taste Event for the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce, the same theme kept popping up in our brainstorming session.  It was the absolute success of the networking that occurred at last year’s event.  Introductions were made, mutual interests were realized, partnerships were created.  Like I’ve never seen in my 7.5 years at the Chamber.

What is it about our members that made this so naturally occur?  I’ve said this for a while now, and it’s pretty simple.  They’re here to see what they can give, not what they can get.  They don’t come with a mindset of what’s in it for them, they’re genuinely interested in who they will meet and what they can learn.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.  And it makes me so proud to be a part of this business community.

I’d like to share a story from that evening of a partnership that has grown and prospered over the past year with two of our member businesses.  Lisa & Alan Frank, owners of Ermanno’s Pizza in North Canton, connected with Rudy Moyer, Master Gardener at GentleBrook Farms during the event.  Lisa tells their story below:

alan rudy at gentlebrook“This was an opportunity that worked out the way all great things do—unexpected and at just the right time. We met Rudy Moyer at One Bite, an event through the Lake Chamber. As he talked excitedly about his parsley pesto (It’s seriously some good stuff!) and explained to us what he did and his connection with GentleBrook, we knew the stars had aligned, and we had met someone who was not only a master in his field, but had a true passion for making a difference through his work. We learned about GentleBrook and the delicious things they were planting and harvesting. This connection literally helped pave the direction we were heading. We wanted to source locally, support locally and work with others who were just as passionate in our business.  This sums up Rudy and his GentleBrook horticulture team perfectly.

You almost just want to capture Rudy’s love for his horticulture team and his work in a photo. We can taste this local love and hardworking passion in the lettuce, basil, spinach and arugula that Rudy and his GentleBrook team grows and harvests for us. We are continuously collaborating with Rudy and his team on different, unique items for our pizzas and salads. Do you know how many different kinds of basil there are? Do you know that arugula just isn’t “arugula”? There are different kinds based on where you live? Have you ever tasted a Mexican Sour Gherkin or seen a tie-dyed tomato or nibbled on Swiss chard straight from the garden, bit into a ghost pepper (Now that will wake you up!)

After a morning with Rudy and his team, we felt like we had just traveled the world and took our palates on a wild ride. We use arugula, basil (Arat, Genovese, Thai and Purple Ruffles), cilantro, lettuce, spinach and a variety of dried herbs all year and seasonal items when available. But we are actively working with10533271_704886176213310_5631071886302582614_n Rudy and discussing our needs for year-round produce. We are so excited about how much this beautiful partnership has blossomed in just one year and can’t wait to see how it evolves in years to come.

All this in just ONE BITE of Rudy’s parsley pesto? OK—we may have eaten way too much of that parsley pesto! But it was so worth it!   In more ways than one.  That’s why we will return to the One Bite event this year!”

For more information on Ermanno’s Pizza, go to www.ermannospizza.com (they are changing their name soon to SOL Pie Pizza) and GentleBrook, go to www.gentlebrook.org.  Interested in attending or participating in the One Bite Taste Event?  Call Christa Kozy at 330.877.5500 or visit Lake Chamber’s website.

ermannos to sol

 

Intern Insider

“…to be a strategic short term investment to the long term work of the organizations we partner with.”
So reads the mission statement of the Oral Roberts University Missions & Outreach Department, an organization that that has been a large part of my college experience and has impacted the way I live forever.

The summer before a college student’s senior year is otherwise known as “internship summer.” It’s the last chance to get professional experience before graduation comes in a few short, scary months. Pressure is on in the search for the perfect internship. I had two things in mind during my hunt: the above mission statement, and an unforgettable quote from one of my favorite professors, “20s are for learning, 30s are for earning.” In other words, my utopia internship was somewhere that I would have opportunity to contribute and also be contributed to. I wanted to actually make a substantial contribution other than coffee runs and making copies, but I also wanted opportunity to learn and grow as a young professional.

During my search I got connected with Lake Chamber President Christa Kozy as a reference to possible opportunities in my hometown. Naturally, a little bit about what she does at the chamber was weaved in our conversation. Christa was telling me about the various businesses she recommended I inquire about internships and all the while I was thinking, ‘Why don’t I just work with you?’ When she told me the summer would be busy with event planning, blogging, and staying on top of social media platforms, I finally brought to life my original inner thought. I saw that my skill sets matched the need, allowing me to potentially make a substantial contribution while also learning from such a poised yet personable professional.

When all things were made official, I came home and began my internship at the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce. What I set out to find in the perfect internship has been fulfilled in more ways than I imagined. I could make a list of the connections I’ve made or job references gained. I could tell you the number of blog posts I wrote or fliers that I posted around town. I could tell you how this summer has prepared me for postgraduate life and how this was the ultimate internship for a Communications major. But it’s all so temporary. The greatest impact of this experience has been the people of Lake township. I have had opportunities to speak words of encouragement to people of all sorts and have been immensely touched by the integrous work I observed in this community. In every interaction, from mechanics to doctors, from bankers to baristas, I was impacted by the truth that Lake township is made of a different caliber of people. You are hard-working, respectable, and determined. You are full of kindness, faith, and life.

My skills may have been sharpened, and I may have made life a little easier in the chamber office for the summer. But I finish this internship with much more than a resume-builder. I finish with a certain sense of responsibility to carry on the business and life principles I acquired through learning from the finest of people, all of you. That transcends job descriptions and resumes and bleeds into every sphere of influence I may ever have. In whatever job, city, or community I find myself in, I will serve better thanks to the people of the greatest little town there ever was, Lake.

intern collage