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10 Tips For Attracting That Audience #eventprofs #tradeshows July 25, 2011

Filed under: Event and Meeting Tips — attract2engage @ 7:03 pm

So you have done all the brainstorming, attended all the meetings, drafted up a great committee or jump-started an enthused Board of Directors to launch a new product, event, tradeshow, conference or idea. You have done your homework and been meticulous in the planning phase. Now it’s time to market that bad boy. 

 

The question is, how do you want to do that? Tap in to all your social networks? Send out Press Releases? Advertise on the radio? Give teaser speeches at other events? Keep blogging away? Yes. Of course you want to utilize all of those to market your event. Below, are ten action items that will help launch your product, idea or event into success and attract the audience you desire.

 

 

Be What You Are

You’ve built a business that is only applicable to corn famers in Northern California? That’s great. Focus on that and be the very best NorCal corn resource out there. So many businesses don’t see themselves for what they really are or they want to be everything to everyone. But understand that how you see yourself is not necessarily how others see you.

 

Just as it’s very difficult to get your users to change their behavior (and it’s well-known that you should avoid trying), it’s probably even more difficult to get them to think about you differently. Do some homework, find out what people think about you and then make sure that you’re marketing yourself to that topic. Anything else is going to border on a waste of effort.

Make It Pretty

This is something that’s so easy to overlook and people forget about it, losing themselves in the product versus the presentation. Whether you’re building an app, a website or even designing your business cards, take the time and invest the necessary money to make them look good.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times we’ve seen interesting ideas come through here at TNW, only to pass them by because they were ugly or too difficult to use. If Google has learned its lessons, then it’s high time you do too.

 

Know Your Customer

Often times, as businesses evolve (not pivot, evolve), we find out that our base of customers expands or even changes completely. I was recently talking to a CEO who had that exact problem. The product could be used as a white-label offering and it made the CEO realize that the customer wasn’t only the end user, but also the businesses who bought the white-label option.

When you’re building your product, make sure that you’re spending ample time to think up the scenarios that might not be immediately obvious. At the same time, make sure that you’re not catering to the fringe cases, but please do make sure you’re paying attention to them.

 

Find Your Audience

I’ve talked about this in my interview on Mixergy, but I’ll go over this again here. There should be no shame in making sure that you’re sending things to the right people. For instance, if you send me a pitch on a location-based service, it’s probably going to get passed over. Send it to Martin Bryant, however, and you’re likely to get a more open mind.

Likewise, it would be foolish to send a story on the inner workings of your bookkeeping app’s technology to Cosmopolitan, even though they might be very interested in how the app could make someone’s life easier. That is to say, often times, there are 3 or 4 different stories all surrounding the same product. Make sure you find them.

 

Craft Your Media Pitch

There are common mistakes that we see so often and they all make it more difficult to get media coverage for your startup. The number one mistake is that people view a press release as a pitch. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Your press release is the supporting information of your pitch. It should contain all of the things that we need to write the story, but the pitch is the hook that will make us want to write it in the first place.

Are you in a private beta? Let us know. Can we get access for 100 or so people? We need to know how. Have assets such as videos, social media profiles and the like? Make sure to include them. Are there big changes coming up soon? That’s important to the story. Put it all together, include it in your release and please be available to answer questions.

 

Avoid Cliches Like The Plague

It can be argued that cliches are cliches for a reason – they’re often little nuggets of truth that have stood the test of time. But when it comes to marketing, they’re near certain death. You’ve heard them all before, usually in local radio and TV commercials. Those claims of “free parking” and “conveniently located” have been repeated so often that they’re meaningless.

If you want to stand out, you need to do so by saying (and being) something different than what everyone else is beating to death. Pivot, ground-breaking, magical, synergy…these are words that make me delete a press release on-sight and you would be best-served by avoiding them entirely. Even if you are have pivoted into a ground-breaking photo-sharing application that uses synergistic analytics to seem magical, you should find another way to say it.

 

No More “Me Too”

When Skype announced a partnership with Facebook, we got a flood of pitches that were all directed at “we do this too”. While it might be natural to want to be included into a flood of news about something with which your company is related, it’s very easy to get lost in the shuffle.

You can bet that there’s something about your business that’s unique to you, instead of being just another version of something else. If that’s not the case, then you might want to stop reading this now and start over with a new idea. Your idea’s already been done. If you do find it to be true, make sure that you’re providing us with what sets you apart instead of what makes you the same.

 

On Embargoes

It’s Monday and you want your story to go out on Wednesday. If you have a definitive reason (new code push, updated application, etc.) for why you need to wait until Wednesday, then that’s great. But if you’re just deciding to make everyone sit on the same story for no particular reason then you can bet that your embargo will be broken by someone anyway. You might as well not use it.

On that note, nobody wants to play second fiddle. That is to say that every media outlet should have the go-ahead to publish the information at the same time. If you tell someone “just wait until The Next Web has published, please” then they’re likely to tell you to get bent.

 

Go Where Your Customers Are

While trade shows, media coverage and the rest might be important, nothing beats customer interaction. If you’re using social media and your customers are too, make sure you’re doing it right. Just blasting out information with no interaction is useless. Nothing will build loyalty quite like someone feeling like they’re talking to a real person.

Monitor for mentions of your name using every tool you can. Be that through Google alerts, a social media dashboard or something as simple as a Twitter search. When conversations are going on, walk up (virtually) and introduce yourself. We’re in an age where people don’t always buy products, they buy a feeling. Make sure you’re there to give it to them.

 

Return To Mom and Pop

There was a time when you walked into a corner store to buy something from someone you knew. You did that because they were appreciative of your business. As the big box era came on, the focus shifted to being all about saving dollars, appreciation be damned.

These days, the Internet is the corner store and everybody can talk to anyone regardless of location. You have to bear that in mind and start providing that same warmth that the old stores used to or else face the consequences of Internet wrath.

This article was pulled from thenextweb.com by Brad McCarty

These tips were initially posted to give advice for those businesses investing in startups, but after reading I think they are good tips for anything that you are trying to market, even if it’s an annual event that has been going on for 50 years. Bringing something new to the table, revitalizing old ideas, and establishing a new precedent is something that should be thought of every time you begin your marketing campaign. In essence, there is nothing worse than a stale cookie at an event you are attending for work, even if it is free. (That goes out to my meeting professionals, especially those who order the catering) 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Anna

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How To Really Get To Know Your Social Media Circle #eventprofs #engage365 #assnchat

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 6:34 pm

If you want to really be engaged with your audience, you need to know who you are talking to. Why not send them a “Getting to Know You” survey?  Social media has allowed us to get up close and personal with our customers,  and the public in general,  that it is important to understand your audience for the most effective communication with them.  Here are some general questions you can ask your audience that might help maximize your results in online communication:

 

1. Describe your professional occupation.

2. What sort of Social Media platforms do you use most professionally?

3. What traditional marketing tactics do you like to use?

4. Are you interested in learning more about how to integrate different marketing tactics?

5. About how much do you rely on your Social Media circles for helpful tips, relevant information, guidance and all around professional help?

 

It’s good to make it short and sweet. It’s not about building a contact list so you can blast them with emails, so dont ask for any contact information. View it as a simple “getting to know you” questionnaire.

 

Here is a good example of how a survey was used effectively, and how to understand the results:

http://bit.ly/rm00pJ

 

If you want to come up with other questions, think about the networking experiences you have had at other events and draw on the conversations you have had with your colleagues. Ask them professional questions that you would really like to know and are interested in, just as you were sitting with them face to face, chatting over the danish cart they just brought out for he mid- morning break. Thanks for reading!

 

Anna

 

 

 

 

Best Practices for an Excellent Board of Directors #nonprofit #assnchat July 21, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 5:18 pm

The Board of Directors is everything. It should be where the buck stops. It should be where important decisions are made. It should be strong, willing, and able. If you don’t have a strong Board, these years may prove to be rocky for your association, and in fact could begin the unraveling of the whole nonprofit if you are not careful.

“In successfully-run associations, members of the board of directors possess good communication skills, carefully plan ahead, make good judgments based on sound decision-making practices, delegate work to qualified committee or advisors, exercise initiative and independent thinking and work well together as a team.”

“While there are leadership success stories, there are also leadership failure stories. If a board members cannot work together and do not abide by the governing documents, state statutes and their moral obligation of fiduciary duties, these board members can send their associations into political turmoil, financial collapse and physical deterioration. It is in the breakdown of good management practices and the lack of skilled leadership that give rise to claims of breach of fiduciary duty.”

Fiduciary duty is “the relationship of trust and confidence between one in a position or power, dominance or authority and another who is dependant on that person’s decision making, or exercise of authority”

Summarizing important fiduciary duties:

  • Utmost care: board members are bound to a higher standard.
  • Integrity: board directors must act with fidelity and honesty.
  • Duty of full disclosure: of all material facts which influence a director’s decision.
  • Loyalty: no “personal agendas” or conflicts of interest.
  • Duty of good faith: means total truthfulness, absolute integrity, and total fidelity to the association. The duty of good faith requires board members to always act in the best interests of the association.
This information was pulled from hoamanagement.com via Joanne L. Willoughby.

Below, you will find a list of best practices for all board of directors. If the board can follow this guide, that set term of directors will flourish the association immensely and leave a positive impact for other directors in the years to come.

1. Recruiting New Members.

They are thoughtful about their new members – and select them carefully. They don’t add people just because slots are open. They vet their new members carefully

2. Orientation.

They orient their new members carefully – to help them get up to speed on strategic issues and also to help them feel a member of the group.

3. Clear Expectations.

They lay out clear expectations for board members. My friend Sandy Rees (who’s sitting here with me over coffee this am) says “If they don’t have clear expectations, they are setting themselves up for problems either now or later.”

4. Enforced Expectations.

They discuss expectations often as a group. That way they stay alive, and get recognized and accepted.

5. Annual Planning Retreat.

And they have an annual retreat to discuss strategic issues and to forge closer working relationships among board members. The planning retreat helps them establish and know what their goals are.

6. Social Time.

They make social time among board members a priority. Because they know this helps create closer personal relationships among board members, which in turn, engenders trust and a sense of team.

7. Meetings.

They make sure board meetings are interesting. That board meetings focus on important issues. That meetings don’t waste members’ time.

“Every board member needs to leave feeling jazzed and excited about the organization,” says Sandy on her second cup of coffee.

8. Term Limits.

They enforce term limits, no discussion, no question. Rotating new board members keeps the board fresh, and open to new ideas. Everybody knows and accepts this.

No term limits means that the board evolves into more of a social club – and this is clearly not in the organization’s best interest!

9. Consent Agendas.

They use consent agendas to save meeting time so they can focus on what’s really important – following up on their strategic decisions.

10. Fun.

They have fun together, which establishes camaraderie. They take time for fun and for getting to know each other. You want your board members to enjoy their time on the board.

11. Group Process.

They pay attention to the intangible issue of group process – how the board members work together as a group. They do not engage in negativity, handwringing or naysaying.

They make sure that one group (usually the long time board members) does not dominate. So nobody ever says “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

12. CEO.

They have a strong CEO who the board members like and trust. They stand by their CEO. They are in a partnership relationship with the CEO.

13. Focus.

They are willing to stay focused on what’s best for the organization -NOT their personal agendas or preferences.

14. Conflict.

They welcome strong discussion at board meetings, but they keep it cordial. Warm personal relationships developed through social time help create a comfortable environment for rich discussions.

They are willing to challenge each other, and willing to ask questions.

15. Respect.

They never embarrass a fellow board member in front of the other board members.

16. Adhere to Structure.

They never go around the CEO to individual staff unless they are working on a specific project directly with staff.

17. Giving.

Board Members All Give.

They all make a proud personal gift individually each year, putting their money where their mouth is. They encourage all other board members to give.

18.Messaging.

They know why their organization needs and deserves financial support. They are clear on what the message is.

19. Self Evaluation Process.

They have a board self-evaluation each year and they discuss it frankly.

20. Monitoring Progress.

High performing boards have a way to measure how well they are doing. They measure themselves against goals, both as individuals and as a group.

21. Bias Towards Action.

They are action-oriented. Board members understand that their job is not just to come to meetings and pontificate.

22. Individual Action.

Each board member knows what his or her job is.

23. Decision Making.

They establish who is supposed to make what decision, and they are clear about it. They have clear ground rules on how decisions are made.

24. Communication.

They are clear on how communication is supposed to flow.

25. Committees.

Committees all have a specific reason for being, specific deliverables and action items. There are not endless committee assignments.

26. Team Spirit.

Your board works together as a team. There is a team spirit energy that pervades everything they do.

Creating a high performing board is just like creating a team. Everybody has to be clear on their purpose and what their job is.

This list was taken from Gail Perry’s blog.

Thanks for reading! I work with four sets of Board of Directors from different associations. Some are more hands on than others, some are more domineering than others, some appreciate my input more than others. But the one thing they cannot deny is that they signed up for this position and therefore should be aware of their responsibilities. Sometimes they need a little reminding and nudging, but in the end, with these ideas in mind the Board will will be active and the association will benefit IMMENSELY! #leadership

Anna

 

Monday is Twitter’s Global Day Of Giving #mobiMonday July 20, 2011

Filed under: Relevant Articles — attract2engage @ 4:17 pm

I have always wondered how this works. Its just too easy. When the tornado’s of April 27th, 2011 hit the state of Alabama, and the southeast, we were unaware of just how deep the devastation ran. Viewing the aftermath was hard to swallow – seeing the University of Alabama’s student housing demolished and families with no homes, no where to go, and worst of all, many with no insurance. Within days southerners were grouping together for the clean up, and on an even larger and global scale, the fundraising began. I know many people who wanted to get out and help with the labor but for a number of reasons, such as distance from the devestation, could not. That’s when the beauty of sending a text, with just one word, showed it’s massive power to reach millions and make an enormous impact. I am sure you have all heard of similar text messaging campaigns for various fundraising purposes. Even if you are a new, smaller, nonprofit who does not have a lot of history, there are options for you to explore when thinking about launching a mobile fundraising campaign. Below are 7 essential tips for nonprofits considering this great and easy to use fundraising option.

 

GIVE thru your mobile device, right here right now to your charity

http://m.give.mobi/

Read on to start up a mobile giving campaign…

Know the Rules

The mGive Foundation has some pretty rigorous standards in order to approve organizations. Among the eligibility requirements, organizations must have 501(c)(3) non-profit status, file a form 990 demonstrating an annual budget of at least $500,000, have been in operation for at least a year and report all of its expenses to the public.

But what if you don’t have a half a million dollar annual budget, or can’t afford mGive’s $499 monthly fee? There are now solutions for smaller non-profits with shorter histories. MobiPledge is designed specifically for small non-profits, for example.

Another option is to start a text-to-commit program using a text marketing service like Momares. While it doesn’t offer the benefits of direct donations attached to constituents’ phone bills, it is a way for smaller non-profits to create fundraising opportunities through mobile.

Build Your Foundation

Successful mobile campaigns can do much more than just text subscribers and ask for money. Before you can think about fundraising, you need phone numbers. Use all of your existing platforms to ask your community for their phone numbers. If you already have a strong database, great; but you should always be thinking about new ways to gather this information. Think about asking through direct mailings or via your social media accounts. Add a widget to your blog or website where your community can opt in to mobile alerts.

Once you’ve collected a large group of phone numbers and organized your lists, you are ready to kick off your campaign.

Engage

Further develop a relationship with your subscribers. Don’t send an immediate request for money without first explaining your organization and your mission. You can start by appealing to your subscribers emotions and latch on to the things they’re already thinking about (like a special event or holiday).

Tennyson Center for Children, a Denver-based non-profit for at-risk teens, ran one of Snyder’s favorite campaigns. After building a list of numbers, they sent a text on Valentine’s Day saying “Happy Valentines Day! Our Hearts are with you and you have all of our Hearts.” Later that month, they asked for a $10 gift. Tennyson Center for Children increased their annual budget by 8.7% after integrating mobile into their organizations’ infrastructure.

Think Big

Big events with big audiences are the best opportunity to solicit text message donations. Because text campaigns seek micro-donations, the moment your non-profit has its largest captive audience is best time to launch a campaign.

One of the first successful instances of a text donation campaign was during the 2008 Superbowl, when United Way asked for a $5 donation via text message to help prevent child obesity. Since then, mobile giving has been integrated into other major events, like the New York Center for Autism’s Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert for Autism Education in partnership with Comedy Central. For example, when actors Olivia Munn and Will Forte came onstage in the same dress, audience members could vote for best dressed. There was also an ongoing poll as to which type of milkshake — chocolate, strawberry or vanilla — should be poured on John Hodgman’s head. Each text response made a $10 donation to the autism center. By the end of the night, the event raised $130,000 just from those texts.

Don’t worry if you lack the scale of the United Way (and the budget to buy a Superbowl commercial) or the celebrity connections of the New York Center for Autism. There are ample opportunities non-profits with fewer resources to capitalize on crowds — high school sports games, county or town fairs, and fundraising galas are ideal times to recruit excited donors.

Think Outside the Box

Mobile campaigns can do much more than just solicit donations. Mobile is a great channel to find volunteers for specific events or inform people about a rally. Organizations can also text bit.ly links to more information about their programs and where their work is being done.

Don’t Oversaturate

One of the biggest challenges in today’s market is the risk of oversaturation. While we might ignore emails in our inbox, text messages generally have a better conversion rate. Snyder claims that 85% of text messages are read within 15 minutes of being received. This means that there is a higher chance your audience will read text messages you send their way.

Snyder warns her clients to strike a balance between engagement and oversaturation. The worst thing that could happen after you’ve acquired mobile subscribers is to drive them to unsubscribe. This can happen if your messages become overwhelming and unwanted.

Try to limit donation inquiries to once a month, followed by a message of appreciation to those who donated. Beyond that, only send one additional message each month, such as acknowledging a relevant holiday or event at your organization.

Know the Limitations

Mobile campaigns are usually simple, but that can be a mixed blessing. The no-fuss nature of mobile communication means it can be more difficult to collect additional information about individual donors. Most mobile campaigns also don’t allow donors to select how much they want to give. While this sets a minimum (usually $5 or $10) for donations, it also limits larger donations, unless users want to text you 100 times.

This article was gathered from mashable.com, written by Zoe Fox.

Thanks for reading! And, some food for thought, once you have built your network of phone numbers and contacts, think beyond. Now that you have this list of people who are willing to donate, probably because they are an advocate for the cause, don’t let it go to waste. Remember not to over-saturate, but use this list to inform them and promote other like-minded events and happenings in the area. Your local promoter will thank you, and in a way you are perpetuating the cycle of giving by helping him out!

Anna

 

Good Questions to Add to Your RFP To Find Greenest Transportation July 19, 2011

Filed under: Event and Meeting Tips — attract2engage @ 3:57 pm

When it comes to “greening” my contracts I need all the help I can get. There are so many little tips one can use to reduce the waste a meeting can generate, we often forget that these practices can start from the time your attendees hit the ground in your destination city.  The link I have provided below is a great way to start hosting and boasting a green meeting.

 

It’s a simple form that covers everything from:

  • the transportation company’s environmental policy
  • environmental management system
  • confirming the type of vehicles the transportation company uses (hybrid/ alternative vehicles)
  • to who is accountable for the environmental management system

 

Don’t get caught in a bad contract with a company who will be shuttling your speakers and attendees. If you can start off on a “green” foot, it’s the first step to show your attendees that you care about your carbon footprint and that you are making the efforts to do something about it.

 

Another tip that is not included in the RFP form is to suggest that the transportation company has some sort of sinage that represents they are a green vehicle, have certification, or are part of a environmental management system. That way you will be sure to leave a positive impact on your attendees without leaving a negative one on the environment!

 

Click here for the sample form/ questions:

 

http://bit.ly/pXxRFK

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Anna

 

Crash Course on #Google+ #eventprofs #engage365 July 13, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 7:11 pm

If you are not a web programmer or don’t have those innate skills on understanding and operating new social media websites like myself,  this “Google+ 101” slideshow might be beneficial to you.

 

As the Google+ site is still in the “testing” phase and you need an invite to join, the author of this slideshow will send you an invite for sharing the link, like I have done.

 

I am still determining if I want to use Google+ as a personal or professional page, I am beginning to lean towards professional as I have had much success with my new Twitter page and my professional blogging.  If you do end up joining, let’s get together and be in each others professional “Circle”. as I am guessing the new phrase is going to be….“GOOGLE+ ME!”

 

Here is what you will learn in the slideshow:

Google+ is the latest in social media innovation offering a series of tools to help you stay connected with the people/ things you care about.

Step 1: Set up a Google+ profile

Step 2: Integrating your Picasa photo album(s) (if you have one)

Step 3: Establishing your “Circles”

Step 4: Checking your privacy settings

Step 5: Adding your contacts

Step 6: Organizing a “Huddle”

Step 7: Mastering the “Hangout”

 

There is additional information on +Streams, +Circles, and +Sparks. Also, you will learn how to get started chatting, hooking up to your mobile phone, and sending a private message. At the end, there is a great Google+ Cheat sheet for fast learning.

Please click the link below to start the slideshow:

http://slidesha.re/pk2rhY

 

Thanks for reading! I hope you will have a great experience on Google+ with an easy transition into it thanks to the slideshow.

Anna

 

Addressing the Relationship Between #Nonprofit and its Corporate Sponsors #eventprofs #engage365 #sponsorship

Filed under: Event and Meeting Tips — attract2engage @ 5:13 pm

The link I have provided in this posting is a sample term sheet that might be useful when you are considering setting a policy or guidelines upon receiving sponsorship from a corporate partner.  You will find several paragraphs of clauses addressing a variety of topics that might come up when establishing a relationship with a corporate sponsor.

 

For example, here is some advice on writing a clause about your non-proft hosting special events:

 

 “Nonprofits need to be in the drivers seat to design programs and special events that meet their needs – not primarily their sponsor’s needs. The nonprofit should maintain control of the program, choice of venue and content of special event.”

 

I like this sample form because it gives you advice on what clauses you should include, and then supplies you with the wording for such a clause. If you present this to your sponsor, not only will they appreciate it, but you will look professional, organized, and show that you understand the importance of what their sponsorship means!

 

Click the link below to see the form:

http://bit.ly/omYSne

 

Thanks for reading and I hope you will find this information useful.

 

Anna