Content creators will tell you the key to great content is to create content that is educational, entertaining, or inspiring. Educational content is extremely needed even with the plethora of content on the Internet. A good meaty piece will keep people from having to do additional research. Often it will get shared and bookmarked.

Entertaining content brings some levity to our day and if it’s funny enough and relates to our situation, we share it with our networks.

But inspiring content, that’s where the real power is. Because not only is the content enjoyed at the moment, but a really inspiring piece stays with you long after.

I’m reminded of the quote:

When Pericles talks, men applaud. When Demosthenes talks, men march.

An extraordinarily inspiring piece motivates action. That is an extremely powerful role for a business owner to hold. Imagine content so strong it inspired someone to do something, to alter their existing, engrained course of action.

Inspiration is a language that goes straight to the heart and pumps through the rest of the body with the urgency of a fast-beating drum.

How Can You Inspire People?

If you have a truly inspirational story about overcoming the odds to start your business, you are fortunate. If not, here are a few ways to inspire your audience anyway.

Overcoming Fear

Even if you didn’t overcome heartbreaking odds, you still opened your own business. You are the boss. You work for yourself, you are accountable to you. There are thousands of people daydreaming of the day they can do the same, but they are mired in fear. Fear of:

—failure
—not being able to pay their bills
—not being able to maintain their current lifestyle
—not knowing what they are doing
—not being good enough
—people questioning their abilities
—failure (I know I wrote this one already but it is so strong it needs to be mentioned twice)

Even if your story is one of privilege, you can tell of the struggles you have. Money is not the only thing that keeps people from following their dreams. Often it’s fear. Tell your story of how you opened your business. Be honest about your fears and doubts and struggles. There is undoubtedly someone out there who needs to hear your message and if they are inspired to action by your words, they will remember you.

Overcoming Doubt

While this ties in with fear, it’s important to share that every business owner struggles with doubts. Some come internally, some externally. When one person  my own business a lot of well-meaning friends continued to forward me jobs they thought I’d be interested in “just in case things didn’t work out.” But these friends only inspired me to work harder.

Share how doubts inspired you to be the successful person you are. Everyone has doubts, whether they are personal or professional. Sharing your past doubts will help people feel more connected to you and voicing the doubts you were able to overcome may inspire others to do the same.

Be Positive

It is very rare to be inspired by the negative. When was the last time someone around you complained and you were inspired to action? Maybe you were inspired to no longer spend time with that individual or maybe you were inspired to curb your own tendency to complain after hearing what it sounds like to others, but rarely will someone hear a complaint and think, I’m going after my dream today because of you!

People who make us feel good are inspiring. People who are positive about the world, regardless of their current difficulties and challenges are inspiring. People who lift others up even when they are behind, people who remind us of the good in this world, they are inspiring.

Be more positive to be more inspiring, even if it’s a brave front you put on in front of the world and that deep down you’re struggling with your own doubts. Wear your inspiration like a bright red coat and soon you will begin to feel its power. There’s something about helping others that makes you feel good.

To improve your shares on social media and responses on the blog increase the amount of inspirational content you post. You can create your own by telling your inspirational story, or you can curate the posts and shares of people in your community. When someone inspires you, thank them, and share their inspirational story with others. Soon people will come to you for inspiration and that’s when you can motivate them to act, just like Demosthenes.

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Steve Crozier, a long-serving member on the Chamber’s Business After 5 Committee, wants to share the benefits he’s seen from being involved over the years.

For nine months in a calendar year, Business After 5 provides a unique opportunity for members to connect in an informal way, often with a theme (and networking activities) designed to make those connections as easy and productive as possible.

“Our Business After 5 gatherings are consistently one of the best ways to connect,” said Crozier, a sales representative with EXIT Twin Bridges Realty.

Crozier would specifically like to have members take that to the next level.

“Becoming a member of our BAF committee is an area that leads in itself to new connections throughout the Chamber,” said Crozier. “It’s part of what makes the Chamber such a strong place to build and maintain relationships and stepping forward as a member of the BAF committee would be an even more valuable move in that direction.”

Please contact Crozier by email (sarniarealtor@gmail.com) or phone (519) 466-3755.

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In order to make SPARK Conference bigger, better, and of more value to our guests and solidify it as an annual event; it has been moved to Friday, May 1st 2020.

Spark has become what we believe to be a promising annual signature event for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce!

Stay tuned for more information!

For more information,  please contact Noah Harding at (519) 336-2400.

 

 

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If you’re a small business you may find it’s difficult to keep up with the resources and marketing dollars of megabrands. But don’t get discouraged. There’s an underutilized tool that can help you much more than you ever considered.

Social media can bring you a world of attention for very little money. Its only cost is time. But if you don’t have a good, strong following you’re just shouting into the wind. Still, when you need attention right away, growing a social media following seems to take forever. And when you’re worried about revenue, you don’t have forever. But there is a tool in your community that can help you improve your reach, share its audience, and get your content in front of people who make decisions, and better yet, purchases.

It’s a chamber membership.

Ways a Chamber Membership Does Wonders for Your Business Marketing

Many business professionals think of joining the chamber for networking but few understand that the chamber also offers a world of marketing opportunities. Here are a few of them.

Social Media Attention

It’s likely your local Chamber has a larger following on social media than your business does. The Chamber can help you get in front of your target market and help your content achieve more views. Once you establish yourself as an industry expert, you’ll have more traffic visit your site. And often posts shared by the Chamber feel like endorsements to the Chamber’s audience. Their social media platforms are highly respected.

Industry Expertise Speaking Engagements

In addition to helping you share your content, the Chamber may have opportunities for you to showcase your expertise in a non-sales way. For instance, if you are a CPA and a new tax law or exemption is available this year, you may be able to talk to Chamber membership about the topic in a lunch and learn. By doing so, the Chamber audience will see you as an industry expert and possibly turn to you for their tax needs. The opportunity to write blog posts and newsletter content for the Chamber may also help your brand.

Social Media Expertise

If you’re struggling with social media as a business owner, you can pay to take an online course or you can consult your local chamber. Some have lunch and learns on social media or new features on social media platforms, while others offer social media membership tiers that provide businesses with the social media know-how that they may be lacking.

Content to Share

Nowhere in the Social Media How-To book does it say you must create all your own content. The Chamber can be a very rich source of content and while you don’t need a membership to use their social media posts, they often make some content available to members-only through newsletters and other places that you may not see by merely following them as an outsider.

Chamber Directory

A Chamber directory lists your business for all to see. The directories come in print and online versions. Most people believe that chamber member businesses are reputable organizations so to be listed in the directory not only brings traffic to your site but conveys legitimacy as well. If your community is a travel destination, your chamber may also have a public map that it gives out to visitors. This can be an inexpensive way to get noticed as well.

From an SEO perspective, Chamber websites are often highly ranked and considered sites of authority. A link to your business from a site of high authority can mean more traffic and a higher rank for your site.

A Final Word About Chamber Marketing

Networking and the Chamber are synonymous for many businesses but they often forget all the marketing resources the local chamber can provide. Speak with your area chambers to understand how you can leverage their marketing acumen and resources to help alleviate the stresses on your marketing engine. When you’re at your limit on time and money, calling in a business partner like the chamber to help can do wonders for extending your reach.

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As we get closer to the wrap up of the Chamber’s year, it’s useful for any member to consider what priorities, particularly when it comes to one of our key activities—advocating on issues of importance to area businesses—we should be focused on next year and beyond.

With that in mind, the Chamber is reaching out to members with a survey specifically related to Advocacy.

A link to that online survey can be found HERE.

Advocating directly to various levels of government, and not only to policymakers but regulators who play a role in influencing decisions that affect business is one of the key responsibilities of the Chamber.

It’s one that our leadership takes very seriously as a key way to make sure that members of government and the bureaucrats and regulators understand the impact—positive and negative—of initiatives that ultimately affect the competitiveness of a business.

This is an ongoing challenge but one that can’t be overlooked in its importance.

Quite often, our elected representatives seek out the opinion of business, including the research that our colleagues at the provincial level—the Ontario Chamber of Commerce—and federally—the Canadian Chamber of Commerce—have undertaken.

But there are also times when it’s up to the local Chamber and its leadership to step forward to add to the discussion when it comes to important initiatives.

The more timely our involvement, the more likely it is that legislation or regulations that create value for our community and the businesses that continue to strengthen us will head in a direction that all of us can better appreciate.

For that reason alone, please take the time to fill out the survey by clicking HERE.

Your responses will play a critical role in improving our ability to advocate on your behalf.

 

 

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Throughout our history, members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce were often among the first to volunteer to serve in wars that have come to define the quality of life—and particularly the freedom—many of us have come to take for granted.

But as we approach Remembrance Day 2019, let us not forget the collective and individual sacrifice so many of those who were left behind—and those who returned with injuries sustained in those conflicts—have unselfishly made over those years.

Remembering is a powerful human emotion and one that takes but a moment to express, whether individually in our hearts or in a public ceremony of gratitude and solemnity.

However you choose to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we encourage you to think back on the sacrifices made and how the flow of time since has made us a richer community, country and society.

Bless those who sacrificed on our behalf and given us the freedom to remember their sacrifice.

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If you’re looking for a new way to reach your clients or customers or to increase your exposure to a new generation of visual learners, you should consider YouTube. It’s easy and engaging and helps your audience get to know you more effectively.

Your small business social media strategy most likely includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe even LinkedIn. Pundits will tell you that you need to be where your audience is. You might be surprised to know, but it’s likely your audience is also on YouTube. It’s the second largest search engine after Google, and can be a strong addition to your social media plan.

If you’re interested in reaching Gens Y and Z, YouTube is a must. Many people think of it as a music video or TV clips platform but it’s so much more than that. It can be a critical component of growing your business.

Here are  5 Do’s (and a few don’t’s) of making the most of YouTube to market and promote what you do:

#1 Do Create a Variety of Videos

Gen Y and Gen Z love to utilize YouTube to learn, and there’s no better way to capture their attention than with videos. They would much prefer to see how to do something, rather than reading about it. But videos are not just for Gen Y and Z; YouTube is one of the easiest platforms for all ages to use.

Consider creating how-to videos about using your products, employee features, product features, telling your business story, offering advice, or creating a “behind the scenes” tour of your business.

But don’t make the videos too long. Videos need to be short, to the point, and well edited. If you can’t cover a topic in three minutes or less, you may need to break it up into several videos. Having a series of videos is actually a perfect way to keep your viewers engaged and get your view numbers up, after all, people love binging once they find a video producer they like.

YouTube does have some video limits you will want to keep in mind. The maximum file size you can upload is 128GB, and the accepted file formats are .MOV, .MPEG4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEG-PS, .FLV, .3GPP, or .WebM, plus a few others. If your video was created in a different file type, you will need to use a video editing software to change it, and YouTube Help has tons of information on how to convert files. But these are pretty standard when using any type of recording device, from your phone to your PC or Mac.

#2 Do Create a Channel and Embed Your YouTube Videos on Your Website

This tutorial shows you how to create your channel. Creating a channel allows you to customize the YouTube experience for your customers and visitors. It is also a great way to keep all your videos in one place.

#3 Do Utilize Livestream

YouTube will give you a unique livestream link that will allow you to interact in real time with your customers. This is ideal for contests, unveilings, game play, grand openings, and other moments you want to share the live excitement.

But don’t pick a time to livestream that will limit your audience. If it’s too early, too late, on a Tuesday at 2 p.m. when everyone is in school or at work, you won’t reach as many people.

#4 Do Interact

Ask your viewers to leave you comments and create a dialogue. You can also include your link in the comments for people to shop. They can even leave you reviews right on your video page. Answer their questions right there on the video, too! It shows viewers that you take the time to read the comments and respond. Don’t forget to ask for likes and follows. That’s pretty standard of any YouTuber and your audience expects it and will likely oblige you.

#5 Do Show Your Sense of Humour

Use some humor and don’t forget to try something new each time. People go to YouTube to learn and to be entertained. But there’s a lot of competition there. According to YouTube, 300 hours of video are uploaded every second. That means you need to do something that will stand out. Try to shoot for being inspiring, education, or entertaining if you want to get noticed.

YouTube is a great social media tool that tends to be forgotten when it comes to small business’ marketing strategies. When you utilize YouTube, you’re going to get noticed by people who are visual learners and it’s a measurable way to make an impression. So don’t be afraid to try out YouTube and make videos that will capture and engage your customers.

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Sandy Marshall, whose vast petrochemical expertise, including his current role as executive director of Biooindustrial Innovation Canada, has earned him a spot as a speaker at “Scaling up 2019,” a three-day conference on delivering a bio-circular economy took place earlier this week (November 4-6) in Ottawa.

A link to the Ottawa conference can be found HERE.

Marshall, who was raised on a farm not far from Sarnia, graduated as a chemical engineer from the University of Waterloo before joining what was then Polysar Inc., a predecessor to the current Arlanxeo.

He became executive director of BIC in 2016.

Marshall was one of several speakers talking about the future of Canada’s industrial bio-economy.

At another event, held in Sarnia in September and hosted by BIC, Marshall pointed out how outcomes around this new economy will be measured in decades, not the typical quarters many firms typical use to measure progress.

“This is a long game,” Marshall said. “BIC has been around for 12 years, officially, and we’re just starting to see some outcomes. We have to look at this in decades and not in quarters.”

 

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Lambton Public Health, a unit of the County of Lambton, is reaching out to members of the business community to develop a better understanding of how cannabis legislation has affected the workplace and how employers have responded to the legislation.

Crystal Palleschi, an epidemiologist, is asking for ONE survey completed per workplace, with a deadline of November 22, 2019 to take the survey,

The survey (which takes about 5 to 7 minutes to complete), can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

 

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Digital marketing, or web marketing, and social media have a very low cost to entry but that doesn’t mean we should ignore tracking our investment and return. While ROI is not entirely possible when it comes to measuring the success of a relationship and loyalty, it can be applied to the proof of such – gaining more new customers and retaining the existing ones.

You need to continue (or enter into) digital marketing and social media regardless of what your initial attempts are producing. To throw away the idea of digital marketing because you’re not seeing results is like tossing out a cookbook because you made a recipe in it that you didn’t like. If you’re not seeing the results you want, change the recipe to suit. The same holds true for social media and digital marketing. But you’ll have trouble adjusting your marketing recipe if you don’t know what you started with.

Do This First

Before you begin tracking you need to do two things:

—Draw a line in the sand. List all of your followers, likes, subscribers, etc. as they stand today. Your success needs a baseline, so write it all down.

—Start tracking your digital marketing efforts by day. There are a number of software platforms that can help you keep track of your digital marketing efforts, or you can track them in a spreadsheet, or use pen and paper. Use something you can update quickly and extrapolate the information you need just as fast. If you don’t, you’ll stop using it. You’ll want to track when (and what) you post to your blog and social media, any marketing emails, when you send your newsletters, etc. You’ll need this info because you’ll compare your efforts to your traffic and inquiries.

What Should I Be Tracking on My Website?

There are several things you need to start tracking on a weekly basis. A weekly basis is ideal because it allows you to see trends quickly and readjust as needed. Monthly allows too much time to elapse before you notice the numbers.

For the first several weeks after you start tracking look for true patterns before you begin tweaking. Until you have historical data you won’t know a random blip from a need for course correction.

The data listed below can all be obtained from Google Analytics. If you don’t have analytics set up on your site, do so today. It’s important. Really important.

Assuming you do, you need to track:

—The number of unique visitors to your site each week.

—Where your website visitors are coming from (traffic sources). Look at organic, direct, and referral sources. Organic searchers reach you after typing in a keyword associated (hopefully) with your business. Direct referrals key in the name of your business or your URL. Referral sources come from social media, outside links on other blogs and other places that “refer” them to you. If one area is weak, try some marketing activities to change that.

—The number of blog readers each week.

—The number of new customer inquiries you receive and where they’re coming from.

—Which customer inquiries become customers. You’re looking for patterns here. Maybe you notice that people referred to you from your company page on LinkedIn are twice as likely to buy from you as people coming from Facebook.

—Abandonment rate, if you have an e-commerce site.

—Effectiveness of your call-to-action. Every page must ask your audience to do something. Whatever you’re asking, needs to be tracked.

There is no way to measure return on investment without a calculation. You must measure a baseline and note the changes that are occurring to gain a better understanding of what is working and what needs to be adjusted.

If you continue to plug away at your marketing, taking stabs in the dark, your efforts will fall flat because you won’t recognize opportunities to build on successful trends nor will you notice disinterest with particular posts. Digital marketing is not a final destination, it’s a journey towards business success that needs to be evaluated periodically. You want to provide your customers with something they want. Without digital marketing you’ll have no way to know whether you’re accomplishing that or not.

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