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Chamber Sponsorship 101

Advertising, Chamber News, Tips, Tricks and Advice

Let’s get this straight… An article in a chamber of commerce-published magazine about why it’s a good idea to sponsor chamber events?

Predictable, if not preachy?

Only, this is a guest article written by a small business owner whose entire marketing budget – 100% – is dedicated to chamber memberships and sponsorships.

So, let’s get to it…

Why Sponsor Chamber Events? 
To Support the Chamber, Of Course.
A lot of pre-pandemic chamber sponsorship spending was of the “good community citizen” variety – an understanding that chambers do an important service in the community, and that service needs to be financed. 
That purpose hasn’t changed at all, but the way businesses spend money sure has. 
Chambers everywhere have seen the frequency of big, sustaining checks fall, replaced with a need for more, albeit smaller, supporters. 
This is a trend that chambers are grappling with every day, and if sponsoring your chamber because you believe in its mission, and the team, is your reason for doing so, you deserve all the credit in the world.
Why Sponsor Chamber Events? 
Two Words: 
(Targeted  Marketing)
But, many businesses don’t think that way. So, why sponsor chamber events? Because nowhere on the planet will you find a better targeted marketing opportunity.
Yes, social media offers tremendous targeting tools, as do some other forms of advertising (if they happen to have the right audience for you).
But, week-in and week-out, chambers put the audience you need in a room for you, where you can talk to them directly, as opposed to simply sticking ads (they don’t want to see) in their faces.
On top of that, they have their bigger audience segmented for you… Events about marketing are going to draw people with that interest. Energy forums will capture that audience. Young professionals newsletters can put in front of your future hires.
Doing Sponsorship Right
But there’s a caveat… You have to do it right.
Sponsoring an event isn’t handing the chamber a check and just accepting their thank you from the podium. No, it’s an important part of your marketing strategy, and requires a process.
Which means:
1. When you scribble the check, let the chamber team know what you hope to get out of the investment;
2. As a sponsor, you are partly responsible for the event taking place, so put your team in the room and, while networking, call attention to your sponsorship by thanking people for attending;
3. Most chambers will give sponsors a list of attendees – get that list and use it… You have an easy hook for following up with people: they attended the event YOU sponsored!
Where else can you do laser-targeted marketing, AND help the organization fulfill its mission?
Here’s your opportunity.
Craig Turner spent eight years with the regional chamber of commerce in Western New York before starting his own business. Momentum – The Business Growth Agency consults with chambers of commerce, and their members, throughout North America.
– By Craig W. Turner, 
Momentum – The Business Growth Agency
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5 Great Lessons from Customer Service Mistakes

Tips, Tricks and Advice

A cruise ship captain once said, “There’s always a weird person at your dinner table. If you’re sitting with several couples and you can’t figure out who the weird one is, chances are it’s you. ”The same can be true of customer service. Every business is convinced they offer stellar service but if you can’t think of a company in your area that offers bad service, it might be you. It’s statistically impossible, not to mention an abuse of a super lative, for every business to offer “the best” service. One is better than the other. We aren’t all 5-starsall the time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the experience. 5 Great Lessons from Bad Service If you’ve recently received some bad reviews or customer service complaints, here’s how you can learn from them.

1. Listen and respond. Most people will give a business another chance if they feel heard and if something was done to remedy the situation. The remedy may be offering a free service, discount, coupon, or other incentive to try your business again. A florist that missed a delivery deadline for a special occasion and failed to communicate the error, credited the customer125% of the order and guess what that customer did? They gave the florist a second chance. This time their delivery and product were flawless. Mistakes happen. Most people understand that.

2. Under promise and over deliver. It’s always good practice to build in a buffer of time (or cost) on a project or delivery. The customer will be pleasantly surprised when it takes less time (or money) than expected. A doctor’s office admin shared that they tell everyone a specific series of testing will take three hours, but it usually only takes two and a half, although it can take three. She said that way everyone is pleasantly surprised and not upset. When they used to tell patients two and a half hours, any minute over that meant angry patients yelling at their staff. Now everyone is prepared and expects three so if it takes less than that, they’re thrilled.

3. Turn a complaint or bad experience into an FAQ on your website. FAQs are a great way to help people get the info they are most curious about, not to mention bring some good SEO your way with a page that ranks highly in important keywords. When you have a misunderstanding with a customer on a process, procedure, sale, or return, ask yourself if other customers could benefit from that understanding. If so, add an FAQ about it.

4. Set a tickler and make a new friend/loyal customer. If you have an incident of lack luster customer service, follow up with them before it is resolved, once it is resolved, and a few days or weeks after it’s resolved. This kind of attention will make your customer feel like you care. It may also be a good reminder to order/buy from you again. Some businesses create a special email campaign to earn trust back again. In the mail campaign, they look to reengage the customer. A handwritten note checking in can also be very effective.

5. Be preemptive. Reaching out after someone uses your services can be an effective way to make an impression. A pet border sends an email to every pet who stays with them thanking them for vacationing there and reminding the pet parent to let them know if they have any questions or concerns. It’s a nice touch and makes pet parents feel like the business cares. This can quell any concerns they may have over the stay and places a friendly face on the service. Disappointing experiences don’t have to be the end of the customer relationship. There are many ways to salvage the relationship and help reestablish trust.

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27 Ideas to Celebrate Mother’s Day at Your Business

Tips, Tricks and Advice

Mother’s Day is an ideal way to honor the women in your life who have helped you become the person you are today. In recent years, it has surpassed the celebration of one’s own mother and encompassed grandmothers, women we think of as second mothers, mother-in-laws, furmoms, best friends, and even female mentors. Mother’s Day is also a great way to honor women in our world who have made a difference. Broadening the definition of mother also allows for a more inclusive celebration on a day that can, for some, be a sad occasion. While everyone may not have a mother living or a good relationship with one who is, everyone has a special woman in their lives who they can celebrate. Mother’s Day can now be transformed into a time to honor those women who have nurtured us and helped us grow, whether they gave birth to us or not. Keep that in mind in your marketing.

27 Ideas to Celebrate Mother’s Day at Your Business, Here are some engaging marketing ideas to celebrate this heart-warming holiday:

1. Host a contest by inviting people on your social media page to share stories about thespecial women in their lives. Allow people to vote on the best and award prizes.

2. Offer a Mother’s Day discount. Offer a discount to your audience and invite them toshare with their favorite moms out there.

3. Give away a Mother’s Day flower (or other free item). Provide a flower to every woman who walks into your store (or buys something from you) and wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.

4. Record a video of your staff telling stories about women who influenced them.

5. Share your mother’s best recipe.

6. Create a gift guide. Work with other businesses to list their items and services as well.

7. Offer last-minute, e-delivery of gift cards.

8. Send reminder emails counting down the days until Mother’s Day with gift suggestions or ways to honor their mom.

9. Create a video of a DIY project for mom.

10. Host a special event moms would enjoy.

11. Create kits of things moms can do with their kids.

12. Create a taster or tester bag, free with purchase to all ladies in your store.

13. Offer a free consultationor roll out a new service for busy moms.

14. Create a page (or landing page) dedicated to Mother’s Day shopping.

15. Create a themed board on Pinterest of gift ideas, places to take your mom, or activities to do together.

16. Offer a “Tell your story”session or memoir writing for moms class.

17. Create a special wine-pairing or tasting event in honor of moms.

18. Host a tea at your business. Encourage people to dress up. Offer prizes for best hat or outfit.

19. Post mother-related quotes on social media in the week leading up to the big day.

20. Hold a Mother’s Day selfie or funniest video contest.

21. Host a photo contest of moms with your product.

22. Offer chair massages for moms while people browse or wait for food.

23. Run a “Caption this” picture contest with an endearing picture of motherhood.

24. Invite people to share pictures they think epitomize motherhood.

25. Encourage people to share generational pics of mom, grandmoms, great grandmoms,etc., or post about how much you miss your mom if she has passed on. You might be surprised how many people identify with this sentiment on Mother’s Day.

26. Host a “Tag your mom (or a special woman)” for a chance to win contest.

27. Post funny questions on social media. Categories could include “hardest working momin the animal kingdom,”“Who has it harder—boy moms, girl moms, both?”, “Signyou’re a mom”, or “This or that” questions “like which would your mom like more as agift—chocolates or jewelry?”.”

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Tips, Tricks and Advice

Section 132(a) of the IRS code allows employees to pay for their qualified commuting costs (up to specified limits) with pre-tax dollars.  The program was created to encourage commuting in a way that reduces road congestion and improves air quality so qualified expenses include transit passes, vanpooling, bicycling expenses and work-related commuter parking, but excludes the cost of fuel to drive a personal car to work. 

As a pre-tax benefit, the program provides employees with a savings on their federal payroll tax since the designated benefit amount is deducted from their gross income.  If any employees reside in a state that recognizes pre-tax benefits, the savings will increase. Employers who provide this benefit save on payroll taxes since the employer does not include the designated benefit amount in the employee’s gross income.

Qualifications and restrictions of this program include:

  • Transit benefits are for any public or privately-operated transit service.  Transit passes, farecards, tokens, vouchers or passes are included. 
  • Vanpooling is a valid expense provided that 80% of the mileage is for the transport of employees to and from work, the van must have seating capacity for at least 6 workers plus the driver and at least half the seats must be used.
  • Commuter parking is valid if parking is at or near the worksite and the employee commutes to work via transit, vanpool or carpool.  Parking for residential purposes is excluded.

Please feel free to speak to an MBA Advisor for more information and instructions for setting up a Section 132(a) plan.

The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce offers its members access to My Benefit Advisor as a solution for employee benefits, including voluntary offerings. For more information about My Benefit Advisor, visit our website at wyccc.mybenefitadvisor.com or contact Dawn Card at (800) 377-3539.

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