5 Ways to Empower Your Customers to Be Your Biggest Marketers

  1. Boost Offline Word-Of-Mouth

Customers are never passionate about you, they’re passionate about what your product offers them. That’s why companies need to reach out to people that do magnificent things with their product and help show them off. Don’t use influencers (or influencer marketing) alone to put the spotlight on your product, use existing customers who are already die-hard fans of your product and shine the spotlight on them.

  1. Build Die-Hard Brand Advocates

Social media has made it pretty easy to build brand advocates for any company. With people constantly sharing their experience on social media, it’s up to you to chime in with help and get them excited about your brand.

Companies that reach out to customers with helpful information score high social points and successfully nurture brand advocacy. Real-time help can turn a negative situation into a winning customer experience and help develop a strong connection with customers. It’s the next step in making your customers become active advocates.

  1. Encourage Customers to Give Testimonials

No one enjoys reading web pages that are boring and full of dry statistics. Try using testimonials to revive them! They are a great sales technique if you don’t push it too much. Inevitably, your website contains some sales material without going overboard.

The right testimonial gains trust of customers and creates credibility with prospects. Clearly show your website visitors that other people dealt with the same issues and were able to overcome them by using your product. This way you can show your visitors that your ultimate goal is to help them.

  1. Dedicate a Page on Your Websites to Use Cases

A dedicated use cases page puts your customer on the spot to tell a story from their own perspective from customer acquisition, to purchase, and on to engagement. Just like you do offline, you’ll want to represent your business online in the best possible light. Let your customers do that for you.

A dedicated use cases page is a way of extending the brand you’ve worked so hard to create. Your website use cases page is an extension of that branding project in order to make it a seamless whole and not just an add-on feature.

  1. Ask for a Much-Wanted Review

Focus not only on your own website but widen your scope and concentrate on external online resources. Reading a positive review from an existing customer can only bolster confidence for a right purchase.

There’s no amount of advertising, tweeting, or direct mailing that has quite the same impact on customers the way an objective peer review does. What you say about your brand doesn’t matter. It’s what others say that counts!

It’s important to remember that soliciting reviews from customers should be handled with delicacy. The biggest challenge is actually getting them, and not dealing with negative ones. It’s definitely not abnormal to think it will turn off customers. So, make sure you make the reviewing process as easy as possible, or offer a small yet appropriate incentive (like a 10% discount or similar offer).

In summary, think about how you further want to leverage your customer relationships. Nothing sells your business more than great marketing for your customers themselves. Any kind of review from a brand advocate influences approximately 90% of a prospect’s buying decision. So, make sure it’s a positive one!

Reason # 64,890,479,465 to Join the Chamber: Enjoy Low-Cost Continuing Education

Many small businesses, especially new startups, can’t afford the cost of attending a well-known conference, hiring training professionals, or even paying for online business courses. Luckily, your local Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce frequently hosts trainings on a wide variety of business topics, giving you a low-cost alternative.

One such event is our monthly education and networking luncheon. The monthly Speaker Series Luncheon is a great way to stay in the know and network with fellow local business professionals. Each month we have featured topic and speakers scheduled, with the goal of helping to keep you in the know and improve your business. Chamber Luncheons are on the 3rd Monday of every month, unless otherwise specified, from 12 pm to 1 pm.

Another such opportunity is the Polk County Young Pros. While designed as an after-hours social event with refreshments, prizes, and networking Young Pros does incorporate education. At least once a quarter Young Pros strives to incorporate topics that are of business importance such as online security, and the importance of public policy. Young Pros meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.

Finally, Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Mid-Willamette Valley Leadership Summit. This is a day event that is aimed at growing as business’ and as community leaders. Topics last year included learning how to implement proven methods for growing as a community of understanding, and opportunities for business’ in any field to work with the government. We look forward to announcing this year Mid-Willamette Valley Leadership Summit soon!

Don’t Only Think About Yourself

Everyone at a networking event needs something. Networking can be described as the process of interacting or engaging in communication with others for mutual assistance or support. Networking is a “give and take” thing and going the extra mile to help others will help inspire other people to go the extra mile for you.

You’re talented! Eager! Ambitious! You have lots of ideas to share! And you want to make sure that every person you meet at the event knows who you are and what you do!

We get it. And yes, sharing your story with new contacts is important. But sharing your life story is overkill. Nothing can set a person off more than an aspiring professional who takes no interest in anything beside her own ambitions.

Stop highlighting your latest accomplishment and start listening instead. Find people with industries or careers of interest to you, and ask them questions: How did they get their start? What do they love about their jobs, and what do they wish they could change? By taking an interest in your contact, you will make her feel valued—and hopefully interested in continuing the relationship. And you’ll likely gain some new insights, too.

If you’re looking for a job, don’t ask for it—work for it. Do some research into what your contact does both in and out of work and find ways that you can contribute your time or support. Perhaps you could volunteer your expertise in social media for the big convention she’s heading up, or offer your accounting knowledge for her non-profit. Maybe you are not the solution, but you know someone who is. Provide some opportunity for contacts to see you in a working light, and you’ll be that much closer to a good referral.

Windermere Western View Properties

Windermere Western View Properties has a distinguished history.  For the past 20 years Windermere Western View Properties has been the leading real estate office in Polk County.  They accomplish this through the loyal brokers that are committed to their clients and through indispensable customer service, integrity and community involvement.

Windermere Western View Properties sets the standard!  Their team of brokers has over 275 years of combined experience in residential, rural, subdivisions, farms, ranches and timber properties.  Windermere Western View Properties has the experience and diversified knowledge to assist you with any of your real estate needs.

Windermere Western View Properties has worked hard for 20 years to build their reputation and maintain their position as the top producing office in Polk County.  Put Windermere Western View Properties to work for you!

http://windermerepolkcounty.com/

4 Steps To Finding A Business Idea

This is probably the most daunting area for people. In fact, the most common reason why people haven’t started a business on the side is because they “just don’t have a good business idea.” This is just a mental barrier though — one that you can easily get past if you look at one area: your strengths. Here are four questions you can ask yourself to find a solid business idea:

What skills do you have? Now, what do you know and know well? These are the skills and knowledge that you have acquired. Think of it another way: We pay for expert knowledge all the time (e.g., language classes, college courses, instrument lessons). Guess what? You can be that teacher too.

What do your friends say you’re great at? I love this question. Not only can it be a nice little ego boost — but it can also be incredibly revealing. Message your family and friends on Facebook or ask them IRL: What am I great at? The answers they give you can be turned into side business ideas.

What do you do on a Saturday morning? What do you do on a Saturday morning before everyone else is awake? This can be incredibly revealing to what you’re passionate about and what you like to spend your time on.

What do you already pay for? You don’t even have to play to your strengths and talents. Instead, you can look to things you already pay for. After all, we pay people to do a lot of different things. There’s no reason you can’t turn one of those things into your own online business.

Tribes by Seth Godin

In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.

Since it was first published almost a decade ago, Seth Godin’s visionary book has helped tens of thousands of leaders turn a scattering of followers into a loyal tribe. If you need to rally fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers around an idea, this book will demystify the process.

It is human nature to seek out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads).  Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. Social media gives anyone who wants to make a difference the tools to do so.

With his signature wit and storytelling flair, Godin presents the three steps to building a tribe: the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.

If you think leadership is for other people, think again—leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma led a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, ran her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle.

Tribes will make you think—really think—about the opportunities to mobilize an audience that are already at your fingertips. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you think.

Promise

Did you know in that in 1986 Dallas Oregon went to Hollywood? Rather, Hollywood came to Dallas Oregon! That’s right, the movie “Promise”, starring James Garner and James Woods, was filmed right here on Main Street and inside the Blue Garden.

Long absent from his family, Bob Beuhler (James Garner) returns home after his mother’s death to find she has left him her estate and placed his brother, D.J. (James Woods), in his care. Harking back to a promise made many years earlier, Bob cannot bring himself to put D.J., who suffers from epilepsy and schizophrenia, in a home. Slowly, he and his brother bond, and in the process Bob rehabilitates his own scars, including the mark left on him by his childhood sweetheart (Piper Laurie).

Join us on Saturday, May 18th for a re-screening of the movie at Dallas Cinema! Tickets are $5.00 and available for purchase online or at the box office!

After the movie, hop on over to Blue Garden for an after party! There will be lots of fun memories shared and maybe even some surprises!

Awards and Nominations for Promise:

 

Awards

  • 1987Peabody Award — CBS Entertainment, Garner-Duchow Productions[5]
  • 1987Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special
  • 1987 Emmy Award for Directing in a Miniseries or a Special — Glenn Jordan
  • 1987 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special — James Woods
  • 1987 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special — Piper Laurie
  • 1987 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries or a Special — Richard Friedenberg
  • 1987Golden Globe Award for Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
  • 1987 Golden Globe Award for Lead Actor — James Woods
  • 1987 Humanitas Prize— Richard Friedenberg[6]
  • Christopher Award[2]:193

 

Nominations

  • 1987 Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Special — Gayne Rescher
  • 1987 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special — James Garner
  • 1987 Golden Globe Award for Lead Actor — James Garner
  • 1987 Golden Globe Award for Supporting Actress — Piper Laurie

Creating a Memorable Website

It’s the goal of pretty much anyone with a website: to have users that come back again and again. They share your content; they engage with you regularly; they tell others about the website. They remember the website. It doesn’t happen by accident. A memorable design is a tool that will help create this user connection. Here, we’re going to look at seven ways to create a lasting impression with seven stunning examples of how to do it. Learn how to create a design that sticks in the long term, and doesn’t fly under the radar!

  1. Make an Impression

Users will remember the first thing they do on your website, as well as the last thing they do. It’s important that the memory is a good one. Strong visuals on the landing page and a seamless finish to an action are key.

  1. Tell a Story

A website is your gateway to the world. It’s an opportunity to tell people who you are and why you matter. Whether the story is that of a brand or a travel blog, effective storytelling is the thread that keeps users hanging on. Telling that story is a two-part process: Strong text to tell, and interesting visuals to show. You’ll need both elements to put together a complete package.

  1. Use Color Effectively

Too much color and a design can cause users to abandon the site, too little color and the design can be forgotten. Right in the middle is an interesting mix of color that will stick with users. The trick to color is to create a palette that works for your content but also contrasts with a lot of the other things users come in contact with regularly.

  1. Do Something Fun

What comes to mind when you think “fun website?” A game? A movie preview? What about design techniques such as color, imagery and typography? Any of these elements can make your design feel like fun. A smiling faces in images or video, bright, saturated colors, something to do (a game), or light, playful language.

  1. Engage the Senses

It’s all about the writing and imagery when it comes to connecting with a users’ senses.

One option is to interact with users and provide feedback. For example, a user inputs something into the website and something else is returned. Another option is to entice them into thinking about your design.

  1. Mix It Up

Some websites are designed to have new content all the time, because they do connect with a repeat user base. Changing the content or tweaking the design can provide new an interesting experiences for users that encourage them to think about your site more often and return to it. The key is that the new experiences should still feel like your content and design.

  1. Remember the Finish

You’ve got a plan to delight designers with your homepage, the visual are stunning, there’s a great call to action, but don’t forget the finish. Just as important as the first impression is the final impression. Knowing how to design this can take a little more work because users might leave your website from a different location than where they enter (at least you hope they do).

Dig through your analytics and find the page where most users are leaving and make that experience a good one. Create an offer to give users something – a good discount or printable/digital element – or lasting memory of the best part of your website.

Memorable website design is one of those tricky areas because it almost happens to users subconsciously. Do you ever stop and say “I’m going to remember that website!”? It’s doubtful. But you do tend to remember some of the elements of what makes a website good. The key is that users leave happy.

Please… Tell Me More

Networking is the backbone to nearly everything in life. It is how we meet new people in all areas of our personal and professional lives. Yesterday we discussed the first step in face-to-face networking – approaching someone. You have exchanged introductions and have engaged in small talk. Now what?

Many conversations die after the small talk. It is the job of the initiator to keep it going. This can be done very easily and fluidly by asking casual questions. These can include asking about their job, education, workplace, or where they live or grew up. What are their hobbies, favorite books, or music preferences? All of these topics can help keep the conversation flowing and create opportunities to find what you have in common with this person. Just remember to only ask those questions that you are willing to answer yourself.

Conversations seem to flow in a basic evolution. This evolution can be seen in nearly every conversation and not just those between two people who have met. Small talk leads into humorous banter, which eventually leads to a deeper discussion of thoughts and ideas. It is often here where you begin to learn more about the person. This knowledge can help uncover if they are a passive candidate who might be a great fit for your organizations.

There are some very basic rules to make your networking conversations successful.

  1. Talk about yourself sparingly. Add your thoughts, but do not hijack the conversation and make it about yourself.
  2. Employ the “Tell Me More” method of engagement. Aske the person to expand on their thoughts.
  3. Speaking slowly shows confidence and reduces the need for space-fillers.
  4. Be judgment-free and show empathy.
  5. Compliment the person’s success, style, or work ethic, but NEVER their beauty.
  6. Avoid the topics that provoke one’s emotions, especially politics and religion.
  7. Mirror their body language and avoid negative body language.
  8. Abide the golden rule – give your conversational partner your full attention. Always practice active listening.

A key concept most are not aware of is that the more questions you ask, and the more others talk about themselves, the more they think you are interesting. You read that right. The more engaged your conversational partner is, the more interesting you become.

Keeping the conversation going beyond the introductions and small talk is the next step in mastering the art of networking. Follow these rules and you will be able to talk to anyone in any setting.

Networking to Get Ahead

Networking is a great way to foster relationships with leaders in your industry. It can also help uncover passive candidates. Striking up a conversation at an industry event, conference, or local networking group can open a world of potential for your organization.

The first step to networking is to approach a new person or a group of people. This can be the scariest step in the whole process. Even the most confident person can become intimidated when encountering the unknown.

Take a deep breath and walk up to the person you would like to engage in conversation. If the person is not already engaged, politely introduce yourself and shake their hand. Remembering that person’s name is key. The easiest way to do so is to repeat their name, “Joe, it is very nice to meet you.”

The best conversation starter after exchanging introductions is to ask a question. “What brought you here?”, “Have you been here before?”, “How do you know the host?”, or “What would you recommend at the bar?” Utilize the setting to frame your first questions. This will break the ice and help both you and the person you are speaking with feeling more comfortable.

Make certain that you give the person your complete attention. Stimulate the conversation by adding input, without “one-upping” the person. Redirect the conversation to yourself by offering a compliment or your thoughts. Then redirect back to the other person by asking a question.

Pauses in the conversation are natural. Do not try to fill them with sounds such as “un” or “ah”. Even though the word “like” is used in many ways, it should never be used as space-filler within your statements. Avoid using these fillers by taking a deep breath while you collect your thoughts.

The key to approaching anyone is showing confidence with a handshake and remembering their name. After you have broken the ice, you can begin asking questions, but always be aware of how you are received. The one you are speaking with should never feel like he is being interrogated. The goal is to create a quick bond that will make both you and your conversational partner feel comfortable.