Member Benefits

Social Media and Business - The Business Blog

In an earlier post for the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association I wrote about doing an "audit" of our member sites and their use of social media for business. This is a continuing series that I hope will help our membership fully understand, appreciate and utilize the power of social media to promote their Blog Image
business and sell more products and services. Each post will cover a social media example that you may wish to incorporate into your marketing efforts. Let's go!

The Business Blog

This can be the building block and cornerstone of everything you do regarding social media content. Creating a blog for your business allows you to do a number of things like:

  • Telling Your Story - Nobody knows your business like you. Writing a blog about your business allows you to share your story with customers old and new. The best thing is that you have control over the story line and that is important.
  • Improving Search Engine Finds - If you have a static website, something that doesn't often change, your site will be overlooked by the search engine algorithms that are constantly seeking new content. If your site doesn't change search engines will pass it by and if you can't be found you can't do business.
  • Giving the "Back-Story" of Business - Look, your customers know what you do but so many are interested in how you do...what you do. With a business blog you can tell real stories about how you've impacted customer needs. You can even use the words of your customers to polish your brand.
  • Creating Content for Other Platforms - By writing short blogs and then using other social media tools to point customers back to your website becomes a win for connecting those tools back to your business.

OK...but "How do I go about getting this done?" I hear your pain and frustration. Let's start with the basics:

  • Find A Blog Host - This might involve getting your IT people involved. NTPDA uses Typepad as our source but there are many more. If you are using a WordPress design they have a blog "plug in". Costs for blog hosting range from free to $20 a month. It's an investment if you use it.
  • Incorporate the Blog - Once you've found a comfortable format have your IT professional or "webmaster" incorporate it onto the homepage of your website. That way the first few lines are always seen and you are always updating your site. You can see how that is done on our NTPDA.com site.
  • Know Your Audience - You know who your customers are and who you want to reach. Keep your blog posts directed to your target. And, remember this isn't always about "selling" it's about telling a story that meets the interests of those you want to reach.
  • Create a Calendar - This is the strategic part of blogging. If you write it down, it gets done. Let's say you want to write one blog post a week. Set aside that time on your calendar and write a draft in a word document. Keep it to under 400 words. 
  • Take Notes - I often hear, "But, I don't know what to write about!" That's why you should be taking notes between blog posts. What happened over the  past week that folks might find interesting? Jot it down and then go back to it during the time you've set aside for writing.
  • Use Photos - People respond to images. Incorporate photos into your post. Once you get it going you might be able to embed video. The creative side of this doesn't have many limits.

I know it sounds like work...and it is...but if you want to expand your sales and polish your brand the Business Blog can go a long way to that goal.

Thanks for reading and if you've got comments or questions feel free to drop them into our comment section.

Michael

 

Michael P. Libbie is a marketing professional who has been a member of NTPDA for nearly 20 years and has been the author of many of our blog posts.

 

 

 


Investment or Expense

In business we're all to aware of these two words. An investment usually means we expect some sort of return for the good money or time that we've Accounting imageexpended. An expense can also bring us a return but often it is simply the "cost of doing business". It can be a capital expense or keeping the lights on. The expense allows us to do business.

The same can be said about your membership in the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association. You can go ahead and pay your dues without expecting much in return...an expense...or you can be wise about your "investment" and expect value and a return on your dues payment.

We really hope your view of NTPDA Membership is an investment. But, to really get the most of your membership it takes just a bit more. The return on your investment depends on your involvement.

I'm really not sure of another organization that gives as much back to its members as does the NTPDA. Recently we published a sheet of "benefits" that membership brings you...it filled nearly four pages. But, the trick is to use them...but to use them ya gotta know about them. One of them is our NTPDA Scholarship Program that we wrote about last month. To check out the others head to our website or follow this link.

Investment and Involvement are also linked with you and your company make the decision to be truly engaged in your association. You can do that through a number of ways:

  • Volunteer - There is nothing like learning about the workings of your Board of Directors other than volunteering to work on a committee. This year our goal is to get more involvement from our Membership in a committee structure from Membership to Planning;
  • Attend - Your association holds two events each year. Our Summer Meeting and our Annual Trade Show and Meeting. When you attend these you become involved in making sure your investment pays off. Real business ideas and solutions along with creating relationships with fellow members and the folks who supply us with goods and services.

In the end it's your choice. We know you've got a bunch on your plate. We all do. But, here is a way that you can get the most out of your NTPDA investment and that one word is..."Involvement".

Thanks for reading!


NTPDA Scholarship Time!

Each year the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association offers our Annual Scholarship Program. NTPDA contributes $1,500 and the sponsoring company of the Diploma Scholarship recipient contributes $500 for an award total of $2,000. The scholarships are awarded to deserving student who are NTPDA members, employees of members, or dependents of members or employees. Our scholarship applications are open to U.S. and Canadian graduating high school students, or current college students, enrolling full-time (12 or more credit hours), toward a diploma or degree at an accredited college or university.

The scholarship awards are based on academic achievement, extra-curricular/community service activities, evidence of leadership, work experience, short and long-term career goals and the applicant's overall response to each of the question on the application. Financial need is not considered in the review process and there is no distinction made on race, religion or gender of the applicant. Completed applications must be accompanied by written verification of affiliation with a NTPDA member company and a Recommendation Letter from someone outside of the sponsoring company or your family.

Sound good so far?

The Details

NTPDA will invoice companies following the selection of the recipient or recipients and one check will be sent the recipient from NTPDA in the full amount. Scholarship recipients must provide evidence to the NTPDA office that college registration is complete before scholarship funds are disbursed.  Upon receipt of such evidence, the NTPDA will issue a check to the recipient. 

The lifetime maximum an applicant may receive a NTPDA scholarship is two.  There is a limit of two scholarships awarded per paid membership per year.  This includes Regular, Associate and Affiliate members.

The selection process is an extremely difficult one because of the many outstanding applicants each year.  Therefore, great care is taken to assure that impartial and unprejudiced choices are made.   Applications are sent to the NTPDA office where they are logged in and noted with the date received and assigned a student code.  The numbered applications are then sent to the Scholarship Committee and the original kept in the NTPDA office.  Based on the criteria above, the committee then ‘rank’ the applications, choosing the top ranked as the recipients of the scholarships.  Their selections are then forwarded to the NTPDA office for announcement to the Association and in the student's local newspaper.

Applications MUST be complete and received in the NTPDA office by Monday, March 18th, 2019.

And...here it is.  Download the application here.

Good luck and thank you! 


Say "Yes!" to Phoenix in 2020

For those of you who were part of the fantastic National Tractor Parts Dealer Association Annual Meeting & Trade Show that just ended in Mobile, Alabama you KNOW ho much this means for not only business but also building relationships with fellow members.

However, for those of you who did not make the trip here is a quick video with some sights and sounds of our time together. Perhaps you'll catch the fever to be with us in Phoenix in January of 2020 or in social media #NTPDA20.

 

Not only does your association do great things for our members we also believe in "giving back". Last night at the St. Jude Auction member raised over $11,300 for the children's charity. Well done and it's how your association family rolls.

Look, next year we're at a wonderful venue in the Phoenix area...and, if you start planning now (like we are) Harrah Casino Floor you'll be prepared to join us for our 36th Annual Meeting and Trade Show which promises to be even bigger and better than Mobile.  Some things to consider:

  • Talk with your Board Members about what you would like to see in 2020;
  • Visit with us about your business needs and how we can assist in building your business;
  • Start to set aside some funds for airfare and lodging. A little set aside each month goes a long way;
  • Reach out to us with suggestions for our display area and networking.

The NTPDA is here for you and your business.

We hope to see you, through the year, and watch for our Summer Session in Sioux Falls.  Safe travels and thank you all for your membership and your interest in your association.

 

 


Wish You Were Here!

We are in Mobile for the 2019 NTPDA Annual Meeting and Trade Show and if you didn't make it...well, we wish you were here. We have so much coming up Mobile AL Night Shot that we know will help move your business and our industry forward. And, yes, we'll have time to get together with friends and actually do business.

For those of us who are here, and on the ground, the next few days will fly by. Our Early Bird Gathering is Thursday evening and, if you've ever been with us, you know it will be great.

On Friday we'll launch into "Going Beyond the Brand" which has everything to do with employee and customer engagement. How can we get our employees to become more engaged in what our customers want and need. Karen Video Grab 5 Oct 2018And, know what?  Most of that has to do with listening and being responsive. To get there Karen will talk about transparency and the customer experience. It's not always price but it is about winning.

Also on Friday we'll dive into your online presence with "Online Excellence - Redesigning Your Website From THe Ground Up".  What is it that consumers want to know and see when they first get to your site?  How can you use technology to create a winning relationship with your customer and how can your website engage? Nicholas will have answers to your questions.

And by the time we get to Thursday evening we'll be in our Trade Show area with dozens of opportunities to do business here in Mobile.

And, that's just Friday!!

We really do miss those of you who can't be here and we're going to do our best to get you to see the value, along with the fun, of being at our Annual Meeting and Trade Show.  Be watching out Facebook Page and our Twitter Stream @NTPDA all week long for updates, video clips and more.  You can also follow us by using the hashtag #NTPDA19!  Easy, no?

And, we haven't even talked about Saturday...yet.

 

 


Look Who Says "Hi!" - Meet Karen McCullough

Our Annual Meeting and Trade Show is quickly approaching and we figure you want to know more about our speakers....right? Presto! Meet Karen McCullough who will be in Mobile to talk to us about BRANDING. What is it? How do you sustain it? How does business live it? Who creates it? How does it work?  Yes, lots of questions and Karen will be with us to explain it all!  And, she's fun!  Save the date, registration will be opening soon!

 


See you at the Spa!


Retention, Recruitment and Workers Comp

We can all agree that the labor market is tight. There are HELP WANTED signs everywhere. Take a drive along any paved road and you'll Help Wanted Come In see them nailed on fence posts, written on billboards and scrawled on the sides of semi-trailers. The issue is serious and you would think any employer would use whatever they can to increase worker retention and recruitment. Even focusing on workers compensation.

What?

We get it...say the words "workers compensation" and eyes glaze over. But, think about it. If you have a solid system to deal with worker compensation claims you do two things:

  • Improve your employer/employee relationship with the injured party;
  • Polish your employment brand as being fair and concerned. 

The key is to take the time to focus on a system to engage the injured employee and the treatment facility all to make sure the employee returns to work quickly and whole.

Recently Michael Libbie, a long time member of NTPDA, shared an interview from his radio show, Insight on Business the News Hour, in which he had a conversation with a firm based in Iowa, Colorado and Arizona that specializes in Human Resource Management. By no means does the NTPDA wish to tell you to use the firm that is being interviewed. We are simply trying to share the information that could help you and your business retain valuable workers and build a positive message about your business which can enhance your  recruitment ability. 

If you would like to listen to the conversation just click this link. Then, consider what procedures you have in place to deal with workers compensation. We know our members can often be in a business where unintended  injuries can happen. We just hope you have a plan to deal with them.

In this tight labor market we need all the help we can get.

Thanks for reading and remember to make plans to be with us in January!  We've got a dynamite program coming together and you do not want to miss it! 


New Member Benefit - Omaha Streaks!

Everybody already knows that the best steaks in the nation come from Omaha, Nebraska. What? You don't? Well, let us introduce you to Omaha Steaks a new Omaha Steaksbenefit for our members. See, we told you we bring value to your membership!

All you need to do is be a member of NTPDA and follow this link to Omaha Streaks and BAM! You've got mouth-watering goodness delivered to your home or to your business. Think employee appreciation? 

The goal of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association is to offer you real value through education, involvement, public policy and...yes, your tummy! 

Thank you for being an NTPDA member now remember to season correctly!

This is your National Tractor Parts Dealer Association making a difference every day for our members and their customers!  Thank you for coming by! 

 


Working For...Value!

One of the working committees of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association is our Membership Committee. We meet on a regular basis with one goal, "What can we do to create real value for our members...existing or otherwise." Our president Scott Schelling from Rock Valley Tractor Parts chairs the Benefits Image meeting and when we get to Member Benefits with Stephen Haas from DLS Worldwide things get really interesting.

While we can't yet share all of the new member benefits, because the Board has to ratify them at their next meeting, they are, in a word AMAZING! Should a member take advantage of any of these existing or soon to be announced benefits your benefits will pay for your membership. That's right. Use the benefits and your annual membership to NTPDA is...well, covered.

One of the things we can share is that over the next several months members of this committee will be touching base with former and current members who operate near the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Our Summer Event (formerly known as The Summer Board Meeting and for a very short time Summer Smash) will be inviting business owners/managers to come and hang out with us in Minnesota. Get to know the members and leadership team and become more active.

The dates for our event are July 11 - 14. It's not to early to pencil the date in. We promise not only a good time but also information and ideas that will help move you and your business forward.  As always, should you have thoughts, ideas or suggestions make it a point to connect with us! Shoot us an email NTPDA@NTPDA.COM or follow us on Twitter @NTPDA or here is our Facebook Page.

Bam!  Oh...one other thing for our friends up north.  We hear you got...snow...again. Could somebody please turn the calendar to April?

 


Membership Committee Update

Last month the reconstituted Membership Committee of NTPDA held a telephone meeting and lots of ideas were floated. The first being the decision to let our membership know that YOU are welcome to attend Summer Smash, the meeting formally known as the Summer Board Meeting. Summer Smash

Here’s the deal: For years the Summer Board Meeting has been open to any member of NTPDA but…the name alone…suggested it was only for leadership. We want to turn the event into a fun and educational effort open to everyone.

Currently the Committee and President Scott are working on the details and the agenda but please…mark down the dates: July 11 – 14 at the Embassy Suites in Minneapolis, MN. We’ll be sending out more details in the coming weeks so watch for it!

Other suggestions from the group:

· Enhance Benefits Package

· Include a Trial Membership Program

· Reactivate “concierge” (welcome wagon) program

· Incorporate Networking Exercises

· Build Up the Education Tracks for the Annual Meeting

· Develop New Member Outreach and Orientation Programs

And there were many more.

Our goal is to listen to the Membership and be proactive in presenting real value for your membership dollars. We think we can do that with what we already have as well as building in new programs that are a true positive return on your investment. The Summer Smash is just the start.

Hope to see you there!