Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

3 Things Distinctive Gardens Learned from Big Break Metrics August 10, 2011


Publicity does not equal immediate gratification.


There’s no doubt AmEx Open’s Facebook Big Break for Small Business gave finalist (and winner 🙂 Distinctive Gardens gobs of publicity. And it was a ball (and a ton of work.) The nuts & bolts and bean-counter question is —  did it grow the business. Let’s take a look.


Lisa’s main goal was to use Big Break to drive brand awareness and measure results with some key metrics (read more about that here.)


More of the nitty-gritty is below, but first the big picture observations.


3 things the metrics taught us:

  1. Watch for changes in untargeted categories
  2. Metrics don’t measure psychological highs
  3. Small business is a marathon


OK, numbers chicks

Here are the results. She compared year-to-date numbers during the pre-Big Break period to the 2 weeks of Big Break voting (July 5-19, 2011) in these categories:

  • Foot traffic  – up 4.2%, and 20 people specifically mentioned Facebook
  • Retail Sales (all numbers are year-to-date)
    • Nursery +3%
    • Annuals +.4%
    • Perennials +2.5%
  • Facebook Fan count – + 2027
  • Website traffic – hits were way up
  • Design Inquiry count – 3
  • Newsletter email count – not much change, only a couple new names


A couple notes:

  • Foot traffic up 4% doesn’t sound like much. Until you mash-up foot traffic with weather. Dixon was in the midst of that brutal heat wave that crushed most of the country. In fact, July was the 6th warmest month on record for Illinois. Not many people wanted to be outside, let alone plant anything.
  • Overall for 2011, Distinctive Gardens has had a challenging year. On average they’ve been down double digits year-to-date. So the upticks while small, were welcome.
  • Website traffic was not just up, it went global. Typically their site gets hits from IL and the 4 surrounding states. With Big Break hits came from everywhere, including New Zealand. The map up top tells the tale (it’s from July 10.)

The Surprise

In crunching the numbers Lisa found another interesting up-tick — pavilion rentals.  At the beginning of July their pavilion rentals had equaled all bookings for 2010. In the hot, hot month of July they have never booked a pavilion rental.


That changed this year. During Big Break they booked 6 pavilion dates. (Revenue gets hit w/ deposit money) So not only are they ahead of last year, they’ve already knocked last year out of the park. It’s not their core business, but it’s a solid revenue stream that’s growing.


What’s all this mean long-term? No one knows. But common sense tells me this – when guests come to an event at Distinctive Gardens pavilion, it’s like advertising for the rest of the business.  It’s more eyeballs exposed to what they love – artful plantings.


What, dear reader, do you take away from these numbers?




AARP to fuel Facebook Growth June 22, 2011

Filed under: Ideas — Carla Bobka @ 4:47 pm
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My Mom ❤


AllFacebook is predicting the +50 crowd will fuel Facebook’s US growth through 2013.


I’m not so sure. I am sure the +50 set will experiment with Facebook. But I’m not convinced they will become regular users who stick with the platform. Here’s why.


My Mom was on Facebook for a bit.  Now she’s fed up, so she’s never logging in again. She saw too much unattractive stuff about people she was connected with (people she loves.)


Mom is 68, and pretty computer savvy. What she isn’t, is socially liberal. She believes if you don’t have something nice to say you keep your mouth shut. She believes you keep your private stuff (and parts) to yourself. Dirty laundry is for family, not Facebook. In short, she believes in discretion.


When it comes to Facebook, she’s seen too much, and she doesn’t want to see anymore. It’s not that my Mom is naive, it’s that she doesn’t want to know.


On the upside, she did enjoy catching up with friends who live far away and those she hasn’t talked to in years. Like the bridesmaids in her wedding 50 years ago. And exchanging pics of the quilts she makes with her other quilting buddies. That was wonderful. And they still do that, but not on Facebook. Now the do it via email, the way they have for years. There’s less pollution that way. There’s no worries that my 23 year-old cousin’s boobs will show up in her email like they did on Facebook. Or that she’ll find out about just how much her grandkids are drinking in high school. Or that they lied to their parents or played hooky from work.


If Facebook really wants to keep U.S. growth fueled, here are 5 recommendations for them to consider:

  1. Explanation – Better “Intro” for particular age demographics. Explain not just how to connect to anybody, but how to consider who you really want updates from.
  2. Over communicate – Explain the “Block” feature better and more often.
  3. One size does not fit all – Auto-adjust the “Moderation” and “Profanity” filters based on year of birth of the user.
  4. Get image savvy – Upgrade blocklist filtering capabilities to include image filtering, not just words used in text based posts.
  5. Build a bridge – Partner with organizations like AARP to better talk with the +50 crowd.

Any other ideas you can think of?


Facebook Page Likers June 14, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 1:41 pm
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Follow these steps to find which other Facebook Pages like your Page.


Now it’s simple to find what other Facebook Pages have “Liked” your Page. See the screen shot above. (click on it to enlarge)


Finding Needles in Haystacks April 18, 2011

Filed under: Resources — Carla Bobka @ 3:26 pm
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Have you ever wished your kids came with instructions? Check YouTube.
Whatever you’re stuck on, there’s probably a video on YouTube to help. It has become life’s instruction manual. And it’s just gotten easier to use so you can find gems.
Next time you go to YouTube’s search box notice the other suggested topics across the top of the screen (the green, above.) And the “Filter & Explore” (red, above) button opens a box that gives you more options to narrow your search.
“Filter” lets you select what types of videos you look for.
  • HD
  • Playlists
  • Music
  • Stuff uploaded today or this week.
“Explore” offers suggestions on other key words you might want to explore or search for in conjunction with your original search word. They are all based on Google’s vast array of information on topics.
So, in the example above for “Bruce Springsteen” you can easily get only the music videos or only the newest stuff.

Do you have any helpful tips for seaching through YouTube?




14 Basics of Business Pages and Personal Profiles April 9, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 7:30 am
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After a couple conversations this week I’ve decided  to post a Facebook functionality fact* list.
*that’s “at the moment” anyway
A couple conversations pointed out to me that there is confusion over the way Facebook profiles and pages work and interact with each other. Folks considering a Page are hesitant to begin for fear they will be annoying their friends and family with work related posts from their Page. I guess I’m so immersed in this, I take some things for granted.
So here goes. This is how things work at the moment.
  1. You must have a personal profile to create a business page.
    • It is a violation of Facebook terms and conditions to use a personal profile for your business. So don’t bother creating a bogus profile.
  2. You “friend” a personal profile. And someone has to “accept your friendship” for you to show up in each others’ newsfeeds. (this is a 2 action process)
  3. You cannot “friend” a business page.
  4. Business pages get “liked.” (If you see the “Like” button, it is a Page not a profile.)
  5. A personal profile or a business page can “like” a business page.
    • There is no reciprocal action by the business page in the “liking” process. It is 1 action, by the liker, and you’re done.
  6. A Page that “likes” another Page does not count in the Fan/Like count shown on the page. (at least now right now, and personally, I think it’s weird they don’t count.)
  7. Posts from a business page you have liked will show up in your personal newsfeed.
  8. Posts from personal profiles do not show up in business pages newsfeeds. Ever.
  9. Every time you log into facebook you land on your personal profile newsfeed.
  10. Posts from your friends and pages you have liked show up in your personal newsfeed.
  11. In order to post to your business page you must login and specifically go to your business page. If you post as soon as you log in, the post will go to your personal profile, and all your friends will see it. And none of your fans will see it.
  12. Your friends don’t see your newsfeed. They can see your Wall, not your newsfeed.
  13. Pages can have an unlimited number of fans.
  14. Personal profiles are limited to 5000 friends. If you get to 5000, you can’t be anyone else’s friend and friend requests will just stack up.

That’s it. What did I miss? Or what other questions do you have?





Relationships and Instant Gratification October 25, 2010

Filed under: Ideas — Carla Bobka @ 12:14 pm
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A recent Brains on Fire blog covered a topic I’m passionate about – business relationships. One paragraph is particularly important, it speaks to the convergence of instant gratification, relationships and reality.

“The instantaneousness of technology gives you the feeling that you can get anything you want, right now. But that’s not how real life works, and it is definitely not how relationships work. They take time, hard work, and patience. Our desire for instant gratification is not neutral – it requires careful handling.”

Technology is changing many processes. Mostly, the steps in the process are rearranged because of what technology makes possible. Traditional step 4 may now be the new step 2. And it may occur much sooner than it used to after step 1. But that doesn’t mean there are fewer steps to take.

Do you believe in instant gratification in relationships? And if you do, are you a seeker of or a giver?