All posts tagged marketing

Gaining Advice & Strategies at Monthly Tech Talks

With so much required of a business owner, it can be easy to put marketing at the bottom of the list. Between paying bills, training employees, working with vendors, and the everyday operations of a business, who has time to update a website and post on social media?

Marketing, however, plays a huge role in attracting customers and building relationships. Without marketing, how are people going to get to know you and learn about what you have to offer?

In February, we began a series of “Tech Talks,” to bring members together to discuss strategies for marketing their businesses and organizations. The idea was brought to us by Jessica and Saxon with Child Development Centers Inc.

“As we were working on growing our organization’s marketing, we needed a way to brainstorm with other advanced users and to get new ideas,” said Saxon.

“Each month, we leave with new strategies and a better understanding of marketing, and we are also able to learn more about other businesses and organizations in our region,” said Jessica.

Natalie Cubbon with the Oil Region Library Association (ORLA) has been a regular at the monthly Tech Talks and has been applying what she’s learned to her organization.

“Tech Talks at the Chamber allow me to grow as a digital content creator & social media marketer,” Natalie said. “Being able to learn from other businesses and organizations is so valuable and has been a great opportunity to form connections within our community.

Tech Talk topics have ranged from photography and videography, to online crisis management and analytics and measurement.

Our next Tech Talk will be Friday, December 20, and the topic will be “Instagram and Facebook Stories.” The Tech Talks are held on the third Friday of each month from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Chamber Office (24 Seneca Street, Oil City).

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s December 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Tech Tip: Preparing for the Holidays

Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here, soon followed by Christmas and New Years. This time of year can be busy and overwhelming, but these tips should help you prepare your marketing and technology:

  • Start early & schedule: Things will get chaotic, so start getting ready now. You can even schedule social media posts ahead of time.
  • Look at your reports & prepare accordingly: How much of your products do you sell each week? What time of day is busiest? Look at your reports so you know how much extra inventory to stock and when to schedule staff.
  • Make sure technology is ready: If you plan on adding new items or holding sales, be sure to add them to your POS system. Also, don’t forget to update your social media and website with any special hours, and make sure to train staff on any changes. This is a great time to update software to newer versions if needed, too.
  • Get creative: You could have some of your best sales days during the holidays! Do your research to see what people would be interested in buying. Plan giveaways and sales, add new items and create special gift boxes or baskets, and consider shipping products to customers. Don’t forget to tell your audience online what you’re doing!
  • Get your staff involved: Don’t only focus on the customers—happy staff will treat customers well. Dress up, decorate, or have a party! Also encourage your staff to share your posts online.
  • Keep on top of your office work: During the busyness of holiday prep, it can be easy to forget about your accounting, billing, and payroll. Make time each week to take care of this.
  • Collect data: You will most likely have a lot of people shopping with you, including many new faces, so get to know your customers. Ask them questions in person, like where they come from and how they head about you, and collect information online, too, by using your website and social media insights. Use this data to make decisions later.

We discussed this topic at our Tech Talk on Friday, November 15, at the Venango Chamber. More details coming soon on our next Tech Talk. We wish you the best of luck during the holidays!

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Tech Tip: Incorporating Video Into Your Marketing

Since the first traditional television commercials more than 75 years ago, video has been a tool used by businesses to engage their audience. Today, we have channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat, but many of the same concepts apply.

Videos are more personal and convenient for consumers. Whether it’s a behind the scenes tour, interviews, tutorials, or a story, video is a good choice when trying to sell a product or service.

There are many options for equipment—cameras, mics, tripods, lighting equipment, etc—but to start shooting video you really only need one device—your phone. Some important factors when shooting include:

  • Good lighting
  • Simple background
  • Limited background noise
  • Keep it short
  • Hold the phone horizontally

When conducting video interviews, also remember to make the interviewee comfortable, have consistent framing, have the person repeat the question when answering, and have them look to the side of the camera, not directly at it.

Gathering b-roll is also important, which is various shots of scenery, groups of people, buildings, and similar items. It’s always better to get more footage than you need, which can be cut down later.

Including video in your marketing can be intimidating, but start small, get inspiration from others, and follow these easy tips, and you’ll be a pro in no time!

We discussed videography at our Tech Talk in April. Tech Talks are on the third Friday of each month from 8-9 a.m. at the Chamber.

Creative and Unpredictable Ways to Attract Business

Creating more or better exposure continues to be one of the greatest challenges for our businesses and communities.  Whether you are trying to attract customers, employees, or attention, it seems harder than ever to stand out in the crowd of distractions.

When it has become easier than ever to simply get what we need from the convenience of our home or office, with online ordering and communication, the burden is on us to give our audience a reason to show up.  Several local businesses have taken a chance in doing something unpredictable or special and we have noticed!

Who doesn’t know Gina? 4 Your Car Connection’s business ambassador, providing a fun greeting from in front of the business, but also engaging in social media and fun stories that engage members from across communities.

Pets can be a great way to show your friendly business climate, as customer greeters or creating a stress-free work environment for employees.  Dr. Kate Eckert brings her English Lab Bruno to work every day.  The Oil City Warehouse Mall and Best Printing both have pet kitties who lounge around the businesses and often are a pleasant surprise to customers, conveying a relaxed atmosphere.  And of course, the Venango Chamber dog Niko, Susan’s golden retriever, provides a connection to our neighbors and visitors walking by (pictured on cover).

Using color can be a great way to call attention to your business.  G Rex Wireless, in Seneca, stands out in the crowd along Route 257 with their bright green building, and the butterfly mural on the side of Buffalo Street Lanes is a popular photo attraction for visitors to Franklin.

Hoss’s recently added the option to bring your own bottle, giving customers the choice to compliment their meal with their favorite wine or beer, which can now be conveniently purchased next door at Sheetz, the chain making a significant investment in adding beer caves to its stores. Fat Dogs in Oil City is capitalizing on its proximity to a scenic overlook and by adding weekly concerts during the summer, providing another reason for customers to visit their ice cream and hot dog shop.

With the change of seasons, it is the perfect time to consider trying something new and creative, possibly taking inspiration from those shared in this article.  To get the most mileage out of any new tactics, be sure to share stories and pictures on social media. And be sure to let us know at the Chamber, so that we can tell others!

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Social Media Tip: Representing Your Brand

1898759_640719425965494_2098128373_oIf someone sees a post from your business on social media or visits your page, can they easily recognize what the business is and what you do? Like with your signage, merchandise, and other materials, your brand should be consistent on your social media accounts. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Profile Photo: Your profile photo should be your logo, a version of your logo, or a photo of your sign (with your logo on it). Keep it simple!
  • Cover Photo: Your cover photo should coordinate with your profile photo and make a person understand your brand immediately when visiting your page. You could have a nicely designed cover photo (like the one in this article) or simply a photo of your product or inside your business
  • Post Images: You should always try to include an image with posts to catch your audience’s attention. Try to include a representation of your brand in that image as much as possible. You could have a product or merchandise (with your logo) in the photo, or create a graphic yourself, with your logo on it.

For creating your own images for your profile photo, cover photo, or post images, is a great tool. We also have members who help businesses with social media. Visit our member directory for more information.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.