July LMM Spotlight: Waite Fusion

*This is the first in my new monthly series, Local Marketing Masters Spotlight, where I highlight local businesses that are doing something really cool with their marketing. If you have suggestions for my next one, please contact me!*

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Diet fads. They’re literally everywhere. Pills, shakes, bars, cleanses, meal plans, supplements, powders – the list goes on and on. But what do these various forms of weight loss plans have in common? They’re all expensive. And with only a select few actually being effective, it’s hard to know which one to trust.

Enter: Waite Fusion

Call me naive, but until recently I’d never heard of “Herbalife Shake Shops.” I’d always thought the only way to try the weight loss shake program was to purchase the (expensive) mix and experiment with recipes on your own. Turns out, Waite Fusion will do that for ya!

How I heard

I first found out about Waite Fusion at a St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce event called Chamber Connection. One of the women who work at Waite Fusion, Amy, was attending for the first time, and we started chatting. I asked her what Waite Fusion was – having no clue – and she offered me a coupon to come try a shake for free. I’m fairly familiar with many diet trends, including shakes, so I was excited to give it a shot sometime. Plus, her outgoing, friendly personality was a draw for me. One day at work when I didn’t pack a lunch, I decided to try it.

Who they are

Waite Fusion itself is located in a tiny blue house-turned-shake-shop on a busy main road in St. Cloud, close to downtown and St. Cloud State University. From the moment you walk in, customer experience is at the forefront. The music is always bumpin’ happy tracks, the young women who work there are extremely friendly and helpful, and the decor is half college dorm half vintage shake shop. Waite Fusion offers 37+ different Herbalife shake flavors and you can purchase them for $7 a piece. The 16oz shake is meant to be a meal replacement, and also includes a “shot” of aloe and a small iced tea. There are also options to start your own Herbalife journey with one of the coaches, if you’re interested in that, but you’re not obligated to.

What they do wellwf4

  • The first piece of marketing was apparent before I even entered the shop. The coupon that Amy gave to me to try a free shake wasn’t the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, but it was perfectly informative. It got three immediate points across: Nutritional – not ice cream. Free – no obligation. And Location – very specific directions. Simple and to the point, this is proof that less is more.
  • I eluded to this next one above: Customer. Experience. From the moment I met Amy until I bought my first shake, (and one of the reasons I keep going back) Waite Fusion made my quick lunch stop an experience to enjoy. No pressure to purchase the whole Herbalife system. No hesitation or judgement if you ask questions. Just a pleasant experience that leaves you feeling like you’ve got a new group of friends.
  • When I got my first Waite Fusion shake, it was a rainy, dreary day. I opted for the cherry-dipped-cone flavor (yes, that’s right) and was pleasantly surprised when I received my simple, Styrofoam cup. A colorful message. “Be someone’s sunshine today.” Hand-written in Sharpie. So simple. So affordable. And so, SO effective. Because, as a millennial, can you guess what I did next? That’s right, I Instagrammed a picture. And you know what happened after that? I had about 5 different people ask me about it. And about a week later? Waite Fusion had at least 2 new customers.
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Not only that, but on a large chalkboard “Selfie Station” at Waite Fusion, they have written #WFShakeSelfie – encouraging people to take a selfie with their shake. And when you’ve got a cute message on it plus you get to humble-brag about being healthy, why wouldn’t you?!

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PLUS they’ve started to also use the cups as a way to message their customers – for example the below cup from my visit the other day. What a simple, affordable way to communicate with an already engaged audience. 

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  • Besides the delicious, healthy shakes and the fun, friendly atmosphere, you know what else keeps me coming back to Waite Fusion? Their rewards program. For every shake you buy, you get a point, and for everyone you refer to Waite Fusion, you get two points. Simple enough, but how is that unique from the million bajillion other places that offer rewards programs? Glad you asked. They use the FiveStars points program, which is tied to a mobile app. Every time you visit WF, you just scan your card at the counter, and the points you’ve earned are reflected in your app. Also, the app pushes out messages to users like “Try our new shake flavor!” or “Double-points today!” or things like that. It’s like an SMS program without being an annoying SMS program. And I love it.

What it (likely) Cost Them

I will preface this by saying I do not know if they worked with an agency/partner on strategy, so I can’t estimate that cost, but I will say that the efforts listed above are likely not over a $2,500 investment, at most. The coupons? Probably designed, printed and cut in house. The writing on cups? Um, what’s the going rate for a pack of Sharpies these days…? And the FiveStars program likely has a monthly fee that they pay to take part in, and is where the bulk of my estimate stems from. Oh, and the customer experience? That’s less about investing in marketing and more about investing in the right people to make it happen. So basically, priceless.

I am a loyal Waite Fusion customer. I do not do Herbalife in my own time, nor do I have an interest in starting, but I do love the product. And about once a week or so, I indulge in the product, because I love this company that is selling it. Using your resources wisely and engaging consumers intelligently pays off, and Waite Fusion is proof of that.

#EmilyFayeSays

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Networking. AKA: Fake It ‘Til You Make It

My first “big girl” job was in the technology industry, and my clients were located anywhere from Minneapolis to Spain to Israel to Germany. Needless to say, my job did not really immerse me into the local business realm, and there wasn’t a strong need for me to get out and network with other local businesses.

However, when I found myself looking for a job in the fall of 2013, I realized that I should have spent more time developing my local connections.

When I was hired at HatlingFlint in January, 2014, I asked my boss if I could attend an event called Chamber Connection. This weekly meeting of 120+ local business professionals is a chance to get together to network & learn about each other’s companies  for two hours every Friday morning.

My first meeting was… terrifying. Admittedly shy, I found myself secluded in a corner on my phone, unsure of how to start conversations or even who to start one with.

A year later, I can walk into these meetings and know about 85% of the attendees names & companies.

How, you ask, did I overcome my fear and learn to network? Follow the simple rules below, and you too can Fake it ’til you make it *cheesy point-and-wink maneuver*

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Find somewhere to network! Kinda obvious. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce for events, or look into joining a local BNI or Biz to Biz chapter. Another great way to get out there: volunteer! Often done in groups, volunteering exposes you to many other professionals while you make a difference. Other ideas include local Rotary chapters, city committees (or some committee with a cause you care about), Community Ed. classes for professional development, local business conferences, or even joining sports teams. Take every group activity you do as a chance to network.

Leave your phone in your car. If that’s what it takes for you to not look at the thing, then do it. Not only will it prevent you from secluding yourself into a corner, staring at a screen, it will force you to find something else to do other than look like a weirdo standing alone talking to nobody. Don’t be that weirdo. I have. It’s not fun.

Start with what you know. Don’t doubt the power of small-talk. It gets a conversation going – even if it’s often meaningless. Is there free food at the event? Comment on its quality to someone! Is the weather unusually cold? Always a good conversation starter. Do you love someone’s cardigan? Tell them! Getting an easy back-and-forth going opens a door for more important questions, and starts to develop a relationship.

Don’t sell. People don’t come to networking events to be sold to. They come to develop relationships. Would YOU want someone trying to sell you their service at a networking event – especially if you have no particular interest in it at the time? It’s definitely okay to talk about where you work, what you do there, etc. but avoid putting people into awkward selling situations when they didn’t ask for it. If you do, chances are they’ll avoid talking to you in the future for fear of being reeled in again.

Listen & remember. When talking to people about their business, interests, family etc. do more listening than talking. Understandably, everyone wants to get their story out there. But the people you’re talking to will be even more impressed when you approach them next time you see them to ask how their daughter Molly did at her soccer game last Tuesday. People love to talk about themselves – and love people who listen. ALSO – Remember peoples’ names. Not only is it polite, but it just plain feels good to be remembered!

Exchange business cards. Always, ALWAYS have enough business cards on you. You never know when you’ll meet your next potential client, and nothing will progress if you don’t swap information first. Of course, don’t just go up to people handing them business cards – establish a bit of a relationship first. But don’t forget to ask them for a card at the end of your conversation. They’ll likely be happy you asked, as they might forget to themselves.

Get active. Volunteer for leadership positions, committee roles, or speaking opportunities. For example, in my Chamber Connection meeting, we have people who greet everyone on Friday mornings as they come in. Members can volunteer to be a greeter for a month. I did so, and that gave me a chance to say hello to every person who entered the meeting – and them to me. Do something to stand out & to get noticed. It might be scary at first, but remember that everyone had a “first time” at something, so you’re not alone.

Recognize others. Did you receive outstanding service at Kathy’s boutique? Or did you eat the BEST sandwich you’ve ever had at John’s deli? Talk about it! Spread the word! Something as simple as saying “Say, have you eaten at Subs R Us yet? I have, and it was fantastic!” during a conversation with someone else can go a long way. When you spread good word about others, others’ will likely spread good word about you.

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And, with all of this combined, you can Fake it ’til you make it. Networking is not first-nature for 99% of us. It’s awkward. It’s scary. It forces us out of our comfort zones. You are not alone. Everyone started somewhere. But in the end, remember that networking is all about relationshipbuilding. Most “expert” network-ers I know are successful because they look at networking as a chance to make friends – and then possibly business connections. Keep it light, fun, and thoughtful, and you’ll do fine.

Please remember, these musings are from my own experience. They’ve worked for me – but do what is most comfortable for you! And as always, thanks for checking out what #EmilyFayeSays!