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February 2011 Playground Photo of the Month

Letter From The Chair Hello to All Our NPCAI Members,

This month's Playground Photo of the Month recipient is T.F. Harper

Here’s What’s Happening at the NPCAI! Our Board Is Growing! The NPCAI would like to Welcome Tom Peeples of Peeples Playground Consulting, Matt Walsh of Precision Playgrounds and Dr. Joe Deutsch Professor of Physical Education at North Dakota State University to Our Board as of 2/1/2011 and we now have 12 Trustees. We only have 1 Seat left to fill so we encourage you to send us your application today!

T.F. Harper & Associates LP is a fullservice Recreational Equipment representative with a long history in the park-recreation, playground and general construction markets. They have been in business for almost 40 years with a combined focus in park and play for over 25 of those years. T.F. Harper & Associates LP , has

been a member of the NPCAI since 2000. Description of Equipment: Forest Trail Elementary School Location: Eanes ISD, Austin, TX Manufactured: BCI Burke Company Installed by: T.F. Harper & Associates, Sold by: Tommy Harper If you are interested in submitting your playground for consideration please email us at npca@playgroundcontractors.org. If your photo is selected for the any month in 2011, we will have it published and your will receive recognition for your work and a gift from us, for your participation. Digital Specifications: High Resolution PDF files are preferred. Delivery: Files will be accepted via email UNLESS they are over 6 MB. Formats: Grayscale / CMYK color images must be TIFF, .PDF, or .EPS format. 400 dpi or higher.

The NPCAI is growing and currently stands at 255 Members! This is Great News!!!!!! The NPCAI currently has 85 Members enrolled in Our GL Insurance Program and we are aggressively seeking 100 Members so by all means make sure you get a quote for your business.

The NPCAI is closer to being able to offer Our members a Nationwide Worker’s Compensation Insurance Program. Stay tuned as this Program will not only save you money but can also help you meet your Military AHA Requirements as well as assist you in many OSHA Safety Policy Requirements.

The NPCAI Playground Construction School will soon be expanding and offering a more “in-depth” FOCUS on Post Installation Inspection and Documentation.

The NPCAI is also actively pursuing Member Discounts from a variety of areas from Tool Manufacturers – Hotels – Equipment Rental Companies – etc.

With that said, We would like to personally “Thank You” for Your Support and Hope You Are Off to A Great Start in 2011. Remember: What a Critical Part We Play In Successful Playground Installations as we are the final link in a successful Playground Installation. The NPCAI Mission is: To professionally construct today's pre-manufactured playground equipment. THE NPCAI IS: A worldwide partnership formed to contribute to the advancement of the playground building industry by promoting playground installation as a legitimate contracting profession within the playground industry. THE NPCAI LENDS SUPPORT: To all playground safety programs, guidelines, and standards that promote playground safety by assisting the public in identifying the need for a professional playground installation. THE NPCAI SEEKS: Active participation in and contributions from its membership and corporate sponsors for the development and growth of individual members, their contracting businesses, and the playground construction profession worldwide. THE NPCAI OFFERS: MEMBERS A VOICE in the playground industry through leadership opportunity and networking to affect industry changes to address developing needs. MEMBERS ANSWERS to everyday installation questions and immediate access to information regarding certification, licensing and industry standards.


February 2011

Letter From The Chair (con’t)

NPCAI Board of Trustees

Remember:

NPCAI Chair Roger Davis P: 704-487-7774 E-mail: rdcpsi@carolina.rr.com Chair Elect James Charles Snider P: 440-877-9151 E-mail: jcsnider@cvsnider.com Past Chair Karen Spears P:1-888-895-5437 E-mail: kspears@hiwaay.net Treasurer Jeff Barber P: 800-385-0075 E-mail: jeff@playspec.com Secretary Brad Rhoads P: 888-346-2882 E-mail: brad.rhoads@mattaproducts.com

The NPCAI Continues to offer the Playground Construction School. The Next Playground Construction School is March 23-25, 2011 in Chicago, IL. Upcoming Events: • • • •

March 23-25, 2011 Chicago, IL Playground Construction School November 1-4, 2011 NRPA Congress & Expo - Atlanta, GA November 3, 2011 NPCAI Social Event, Atlanta, GA November TBD 2011 Tampa, FL Playground Construction School

Become a NPCAI Qualified Contractor and Use The NPCAI Qualified Contractor Status As A Tool Here at the NPCAI, we have the foundation in place -Now it’s up to you to: Best Playground Contractor You Can Be! Become a NPCAI Qualified Contractor and Continue to Support The NPCAI! Roger Davis – CPSI – NPCAI Chair. rdcpsi@carolina.rr.com

Trustee Tom Norquist P: 256-845-5610 E-mail: tomn@gametime.com Trustee Randy Atchison P: 403-242-8740 E-mail: randygpi@telus.net Trustee Marylou Iverson P: 360-908-3479 E-mail: ml.iverson@gmail.om Trustee Dr. Joe Deutsch P: 888-788-9504 E-mail: joe@imaginationplay.com Trustee Tom Peeples P: 720-351-7309 E-mail: playgroundsafety@live.com Trustee Matthew F. Walsh P: 904-636-5106 E-mail: matt@precisionplaygrounds.com

A Note From The Executive Director Dear NPCAI Members, The International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI) is so important to all individuals in the Playground Industry and to our future generations. We invite you to be involved in the NPCAI and gain a wealth of knowledge. In this month’s ezine you will find a common topic to the articles listed below in which is Marketing. You will be able to discover how marketing tips can help your business, latest updates from State of Wisconsin Contractors Licensing Board. Please visit our NPCAI website and enjoy the benefits of membership. Don’t forget to check out the member benefits page to see what we can help you with. We ask, and challenge each and every one of you to join us and help in any way that you can. Remember it begins with a good foundation and NPCAI will support you every step of the way. Good Health and Happiness,

Sylvia Salazar, NPCAI Executive Director npca@playground-contractors.org 1-888-908-9519


February 2011

Features

NPCAI Social Sponsors 2010

NPCAI Welcomes New Board Member, Tom Peeples of Peeples Playground Safety Consulting, LLC. NPCAI is pleased to announce a new Board Member to the Association. Below is his profile and please welcome him to the association. Tom Peeples has over 30 years experience in the parks and recreation industry and is Certified as a Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) by the National Recreation and Park Association Certified Playground Safety Instructor Training and Certification Program since 1994. Tom is a member of the National Playground Contractors Association International (NPCAI), is an active member on several American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) playground committees and serves on The National Recreation and Park Association Certified Playground Safety Inspector Exam Development Committee. Throughout his career, Tom has been in charge of creating, developing, managing, and implementing park and playground safety inspection and maintenance programs, and establishing and implementing Comprehensive Park and Playground audit checklists, which have received national recognition. Tom has extensive experience in park, playground, and skate park maintenance, repair, installation, planning, design and project management. He is practiced in working with risk management, attorneys, contractors, installers, vendors, manufacturers, and in public forum. Tom Peeples, CPSI, NPCAI P.O. Box 745657 Arvada, Colorado 80006-5657 (720) 351-7309 playgroundsafety@live.com

KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play by Darrell Hammond. KaBOOM! is the story of my childhood in a group home with my seven brothers and sisters and the journey that led me to build a national non-profit that harnesses the power of community to improve the lives of children. I'm excited about the buzz my book is generating so far. Maria Shriver, best-selling author, activist and journalist, said "It takes equal parts audacity, creativity and vision to build an organization as successful as KaBOOM! - and Darell Hammond has that special blend." "A searching and practical journey through triumphs and disappointments, KaBOOM! will inspire and enlighten you with the boundless possibilities of imagination, creativity and play." - Sir Ken Robinson “Read this compelling, engaging book and be inspired.” Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund The book can be found at borders.com www.kaboom.org/book


February 2011

Features NPCAI Welcomes New Board Member, Matthew F Walsh of Precision Playgrounds, Inc.

Join us on these social networks

NPCAI is pleased to announce a new Board Member to the Association. Below is his profile and please welcome him to the association. Matthew has enjoyed an extensive and successful business career that began with sales territory management for the Wilson Harrell Company, the largest USA Military Sales Brokerage company in the industry. He successfully managed large sales regions from San Antonio, TX, Seattle, WA; San Diego, CA and the Washington, DC area. Matthew is the father of a son, Doyle, who attends Law School at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale and a daughter, Kelly, who is a pre-med student at FSU in Tallahassee. In early 1991 he returned to Florida where he invented, designed and manufactured a trademarked beach utility item that sold for over 7 years in Wal-Mart, Target & regional specialty stores as part of an expanded product line he produced. In the mid 1990’s Matthew was part of the first wave of manufactures to produce products in Mexico under the NAFTA trade agreement. Matthew expanded the range of production opportunities needed to meet the USA insatiable demand for high quality, low cost items by establishing an extensive network of China based production facilities. He worked successfully with small and mid-size USA manufactures to meet all or most of their production and logistical requirements. After 15 years of successful China manufacturing and logistical relationships the North American retail landscape was changed over-night by worldwide economic chaos. Matthew recognized that the dramatic changes across the economic landscaped and was introduced to the playground industry by a business associated. The unique and acclaimed reputation of Scott Craft , President of Precision Playgrounds had instant appeal and interest. Matthew is the Senior Vice President & Partner of Precision Playgrounds Inc. a 9 year old Jacksonville, FL based installation company for recreational and playground equipment. Matthew has been a partner since Dec. 2009.

Blueprint By State Blue Print for Becoming a Wisconsin Registered Contractor.

State of Wisconsin Department of Commerce-Credentialing PO Box 78780 • Milwaukee, WI Telephone: 608-261-8500 or Fax: 608-283-7400 E-mail: madisoncred@commerce.state.wi.us Website: https://apps.commerce.wi.gov/credential-online-application According to the state no person or entity may engage in a con‐ struction business or offer to engage in a construction business  that affects public buildings, places of employment and one—and  two– family dwellings, public swimming pools and water attrac‐ tions unless the person or entity holds a registration issued by the  department as a registered building contractor.   Class code: 7644  


February 2011 The Playground Contractors Role with the NPCAI!

Building Your Business Economists Predict Growth in 2011 Economists have grown more optimistic about the outlook for U.S. growth next year, predicting the expansion will accelerate as 2011 progresses, according to the latest forecasting survey.

As we come to the final link in the chain in becoming a True Playground Contractor.

The 55 respondents raised their growth projections for gross domestic product for nearly every period, including the current quarter. On average, the economists now predict GDP will grow 2.6 percent in the current quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up from the 2.4 percent growth they projected in last month's survey. The economy grew 2.5 percent in the third quarter.

The NPCAI Mission is: To professionally construct today's pre-manufactured playground equipment.

For the year, they expect GDP will rise 3 percent. Meanwhile, they have reduced the odds of a double-dip recession to 15 percent, the lowest average forecast of the year, from 22 percent in September survey.

THE NPCAI IS: A worldwide partnership formed to contribute to the advancement of the playground building industry by promoting playground installation as a legitimate contracting profession within the playground industry.

THE NPCAI LENDS SUPPORT: To all playground safety programs, guidelines, and standards that promote playground safety by assisting the public in identifying the need for a professional playground installation.

THE NPCAI SEEKS: Active participation in and contributions from its membership and corporate sponsors for the development and growth of individual members, their contracting businesses, and the playground construction profession worldwide.

THE NPCAI OFFERS: MEMBERS A VOICE in the playground industry through leadership opportunity and networking to affect industry changes to address developing needs.

MEMBERS ANSWERS to everyday installation questions and immediate access to information regarding certification, licensing and industry standards.

The majority of the respondents said there's a better chance the economy in 2011 will outperform their forecasts than that it will underperform. Thirty-five economists said the risks to their forecasts are more to the upside; 14 said the risk was to the downside. Data on trade, retail sales, consumer sentiment and manufacturing have been looking better. Economists also were generally encouraged by news from Washington on a tax-cut compromise that included an unexpected temporary reduction in payroll taxes in addition an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. The survey was conducted from Dec. 3 to 8, so not all of the forecasts take the tentative tax deal into account. Strong data on exports also caused some economists to push up forecasts. Macroeconomic Advisers, for example, raised their fourth-quarter GDP tracking forecast by 0.3 percentage point to 2.3 percent. - Courtesy of Wall Street Journal

Landscape Structures Honored With Disability Matters Marketplace Award Springboard Consulting, LLC recently announced the Disability Matters honorees for 2011. Of 16 honorees in five categories, Landscape Structures Inc., a Delano, MN-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer, received the Marketplace Award for its commitment to providing inclusive playgrounds to children and families of all abilities. The Disability Matters awards represent businesses that serve as role models for their peers in Corporate America, the U.S. Federal Government and small businesses alike for their initiatives to recruit, provide support and market to the disability community, which is now the largest and fastest growing minority segment in the world. “It is so personally gratifying to see the incredible commitment of our honorees to the full inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in so many aspects of their organization,” said Nadine Vogel, founder and president of Springboard Consulting and the Disability Matters Conference, and the mother of two children with special needs. “Their passion and dedication to high standards for this most important work, inspires employees and customers alike.” This year’s winners will be honored at the 5th annual Disability Matters Awards Banquet & Conference to be held April 6-7, in San Jose, CA. In addition to Landscape Structures, Alaska Air Group, Inc.; AMC Entertainment; and The Braun Corporation were honored with the Marketplace Award. Cisco Systems, Inc. and KPMG LLP received the Employer of Choice Award, Morgan’s Wonderland and Words, LLC received the Small Business Award while CSX Corporation Inc., Manpower Inc., Naval Sea Systems Command and The Procter & Gamble Company were honored with the Workforce Award, and Landscape Structures Honored with Disability Matters Marketplace Award and Best Buy Co., Inc., Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), EMC Corporation and QUALCOMM Incorporated received the Workplace Award. To learn more about Disability Matters, visit: www.consultspringboard.com/category/disabilitymatters-2011/


February 2011 Tool Box Tip

Building Your Business Building Better Business Practices Hello to All Our NPCAI Members, First Things First! I’d like to “Thank And Congratulate” All Of You Playground Contractors who have found a way to survive in today’s economy and I URGE YOU now more than ever to maintain Your Best Business Practices! The Better Business Bureau has established Eight Key Principles known as the BBB Standards for Trust which I will talk about today. When it comes to Marketing the BBB is a well respected source for Our Customers. Let’s start with: 1.

Marketing 2. Collect testimonials from your customers and use them in all your advertising. Testimonials provide evidence that your product or service delivers the results you promise. For maximum impact, use only testimonials that describe specific results the customer enjoyed.

State Park & Recreation Conferences March 2-5, 2011 Utah Recreation & Parks Association Conference Midway, Utah www.urpa.org March 6-9, 2011 New Jersey Recreation & Parks Association Conference & Expo Atlantic City, NJ www.njrpa.org March 8-11, 2011 California Recreation & Park Training Conference Sacramento, CA www.cprs.org March 14-16, 2011 Massachusetts State Conference & Trade Show Hyannis, MA http://massrpa.org March 16-18, 2011 Nevada Recreation and Park Society State Conference Henderson, NV www.nrps.org

3.

4.

Build Trust: As any Business Owner knows the foundation of a good business is to Establish and Maintain a Positive Track Record in the Marketplace. Word of Mouth and good references are the best advertising you can ever wish for so let’s talk about the basics of Building a Positive Track Record. Advertise Honestly: Adhere to Established Standards of Advertising and Selling. The BBB recommends the following guidelines on Advertising: A. Follow federal, state/provincial and local advertising laws. B. Abide by the BBB Code of Advertising. Supply, upon request, substantiation for advertising and selling claims. Correct advertising and selling practices, when recommended by BBB. C. Adhere to applicable BBB industry codes of advertising. D. Cooperate with BBB self-regulatory programs for the resolution of advertising disputes. E. Use the BBB name and logos in accordance with BBB policy. F. Avoid misleading customers by creating the false impression of sponsorship, endorsement, popularity, trustworthiness, product quality or business size through the misuse of logos, trustmarks, pictures, testimonials, or other means. ALWAYS Tell The Truth: Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms. An accredited business or organization agrees to: A. Make known all material facts in both written and verbal representations, remembering that misrepresentation may result not only from direct statements but by omitting or obscuring relevant facts. B. Ensure that any written materials are readily available, clear, accurate and complete. Be Transparent: Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy. An accredited business or organization agrees to: A. Upon request, provide BBB with all information required to evaluate compliance with BBB standards. This may include, but is not limited to business name, address and contact information; names and background of principals; business and banking references; licensing and/or professional accreditation; and a complete description of the nature of the business. B. Clearly disclose to customers: * direct and effective means to contact the business * terms of any written contract * any guarantees or warranties accompanying a product * any restrictions or limitations imposed (e.g. limited supply, maximum number available per customer) * the business’ return/refund policy * any recurring commitment into which the customer may be entering, including information on how future billing will occur * total cost of the transaction, including tax, shipping and handling, and other related charges C. If selling products or providing services on Web sites or via other electronic means: * provide any required product labeling information * disclose the nature and terms of shipping, including any known delays or shortages of stock * provide an opportunity to review and confirm the transaction before the sale is completed * provide a receipt summarizing the transaction after the purchase


February 2011

Building Your Business Building Better Business Practices (cont’)

Why Sponsor the NPCAI Social? 5. Honor Promises: Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations An accredited business or organization agrees to: A. Fulfill contracts signed and agreements reached. B. Honor representations by correcting mistakes as quickly as possible (Trust Me: We All make Mistakes)

With money very tight this year we wanted to provide the benefits to you of social sponsorship! NPCAI has created sponsorship packages to meet almost all budget sizes. These premium packages are loaded with additional value-added exposure that helps to make your sponsorship investment even more visible. NPCAI invites you to consider sponsorship of an NPCAI Social. event as an essential component of your 2011 marketing plans. Consider these five reasons of how sponsorship can help to achieve your marketing goals: 1. Enhance company image – Sponsoring an NRPA event or program that appeals to your target audience can help to shape buying attitudes and generate a positive reaction. 2. Heighten visibility – Sponsorship of an NRPA event or program will generate heightened visibility not only at the event, but will also earn you considerable visibility beyond the event. 3. Differentiating from competitors The mere act of sponsoring an event or program is a significant way to create competitor differentiation. Your company name has the opportunity to stand out head and shoulders above the competition. 4. Helping with good "Corporate Citizen" role - Sponsorship allows companies to be viewed as a "good neighbor." To be seen supporting the park and recreation community is extremely powerful and creates enormous goodwill. 5. Increase booth traffic - Sponsorship can also be a powerful promotion and sales tool. Research by The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CIER) indicates that exhibitors who use sponsorships can effectively increase booth traffic by more than 35 per cent.

6. Be Responsive: Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith. An accredited business or organization agrees to: A. Promptly respond to all complaints forwarded by BBB by: 1. Resolving the complaint directly with the complainant and notifying BBB, or 2. Providing BBB with a response that BBB determines: * is professional, * addresses all of the issues raised by the complainant, * includes appropriate evidence and documents supporting the business’ position, and * explains why any relief sought by the complainant cannot or should not be granted. B. Make a good faith effort to resolve disputes, which includes mediation if requested by BBB. Other dispute resolution options, including arbitration, may be recommended by BBB when other efforts to resolve a dispute have failed. BBB may consider a business’ willingness to participate in recommended dispute resolution options in determining compliance with these standards. C. Comply with any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a BBB dispute resolution process. D. Cooperate with BBB in efforts to eliminate the underlying cause of patterns of customer complaints that are identified by BBB. 7. Safeguard Privacy: Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their information. An accredited business or organization agrees to: A. Respect Privacy Businesses conducting e-commerce agree to disclose on their Web site the following: * what information they collect, * with whom it is shared, * how it can be corrected, * how it is secured, * how policy changes will be communicated, and; * how to address concerns over misuse of personal data. B. Secure Sensitive Data Businesses that collect sensitive data online (credit card, bank account numbers, Social Security number, salary or other personal financial information, medical history or records, etc.) will ensure that it is transmitted via secure means. Businesses will make best efforts to comply with industry standards for the protection and proper disposal of all sensitive data, both online and offline. C. Honor Customer Preferences Businesses agree to respect customer preferences regarding contact by telephone, fax and email, and agree to remedy the underlying cause of any failure to do so. 8. Embody Integrity: Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity. An accredited business or organization agrees to: Avoid involvement, by the business or its principals, in activities that reflect unfavorably on, or otherwise adversely affect the public image of BBB or its accredited businesses. Effective 2/1/2011 and Used with Permission 2/1/2011 RD So what does this mean to us as Playground Contractors? It means your potential customers have (3) Three methods to verify your ethics and credibility. 1. 2. 3.

As Always Your Customers can verify your Credentials with NPCAI. The Better Business Bureau can supply them with Your Accreditation, Rating and other details about your business Your Own Customer Reference List

Hope You Have A Great Spring and As Always, Roger Davis, NPCAI Chair


February 2011 Benefits Available to Members! Making us

The NPCAI offers many benefits to its members. Such benefits include

• NPCAI embossed membership certificate.

• NPCAI membership card • A monthly E-zine • Free Listing on the Online • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Directory Free Website Listing RFP Listing Playground Wiki Free Access to over 200 forms. Aflac Discount Program General Liability Insurance Program Free copy of the Playground Magazine. Free Classifieds Your company information is given out to any interested individual seeking your services $100 savings on the Playground Construction School. Errors & Omissions Insurance Coverage Annual NPCAI Social Event Sponsorship Opportunities Qualified Contractor Credentials.

Most Important NPCAI will support you every step of the way.

Building Your Business Seven Steps to Local Business Marketing Success. As I'm sure you've already discovered, it now takes more than your typical newspaper ad, radio spot and industry show to get the sales you used to get. Why? Because the dynamics of the market have changed dramatically. Consumers are more cautious than ever and are doing more research to be sure they are getting the best products and services at the best possible price. And where are they going to do their research - you guessed it...the Internet. And if you think that just hacing a website is enough, you are sadly mistaken. You obviously need your website to be found by your prospects. But, according to some studies, 90% of people searching for products and services on the Internet never search beyond page one. Take a moment to think about how many times search for something on Google and how many times you actually go past page one during your search. If you’re like most, not too many times. That means that for all practical purposes, if you’re not on page one, your prospects will never find you! To make matters worse, take a look at all the time money and resources you’ve already spent creating that beautiful website that 90% of your potential clients and customers will never see. How frustrating! You already know how important marketing is the success of your business. But, if you're only using the traditional "offline" marketing and lead generation strategies described above, then you're working twice as hard for half the results. Now it's time to work on your Internet marketing. Here are Seven Steps to Internet Marketing Success for Your Small Business. Step 1- Create a website - It's hard to believe, but yes, some small business owners still don't have their own website. If you are one of those small businesses, I can almost guarantee that no matter how successful you are today, without a website, your days are numbered. Sorry to be so blunt, but that's the reality. Hire a good website designer and you can have a basic site up in less than a week. Hire a professional who knows as much about business as they do about websites. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so spend a little more and get it done right. Step2 - Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Keyword Research - There is no point in building a website unless you can attract visitors. The biggest source of traffic for most sites are search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN (Bing). SEO or search engine optimization is a strategy used to improve the on-site or on-page content and coding of your website in order to become more relevant to the search engines for your niche and keywords. Implementing SEO strategies will help increase visitor traffic because your site will rank higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). The Importance of Keywords- Understanding and identifying the keywords that your potential customers “type in” is a major factor to online success. In addition to these keywords, it is important to use a geo-local strategy to include town names near your business. This powerful combination should be the foundation for all your other lead generating traffic strategies as well. But keywords that appear to be obvious at the outset are not equal in effectiveness. Some are certainly worth ranking for while others will bring you lots of traffic but that will be hard to convert. In the “keyword world”, there are what’s commonly referred to as “research keywords” and “buying keywords”. Different keyword search terms are used at different points of the buying process so you need to be sure you chose wisely. Step 3 - Drive Qualified Traffic to Your Website- There are many ways to drive traffic to your website, some cost you little in terms of actual cash, while others are more sophisticated and complicated and will need to be budgeted. I have listed below what I consider to be the most effective online strategies to drive traffic. Video Marketing- This local business marketing tool has been helping small business owners for years. It’s the secret your competitors don’t want you to know about. Why? Because they know the power of this incredible tool. We have gotten Google page one ranking for some of our clients in under 6 hours! Link Building- According to Google – “Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. Webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”


February 2011

Building Your Business Seven Steps to Local Business Marketing Success. (Con’t)

NPCAI Calendar of Events For all practical purposes, these ‘backlinks’ are counted as ‘votes’ regarding the quality of your website, and is based on the logic that the more websites that are actually linking too you, the better your website must be. Due to this, one of the ways to start improving your website’s search engine results is to start building up a reliable base of backlinks. The strategies I use to build backlinks for my clients include: Article Marketing, Press Releases, Document Sharing Sites and Social Bookmarking. When you integrate all 4, it can be very powerful.

March 23-25, 2011 Chicago, IL Playground Construction School November 1-4, 2011 NRPA Congress & Exposition Atlanta, GA November 3, 2011 NPCAI Social Event, Atlanta, GA Now Seeking Sponsors! November TBD 2011 Tampa, FL Playground Construction School.

Social Media Marketing- Over 40% of the most visited websites in the USA are social media sites. These include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. Social media marketing is a method of promoting your brand, product, service or company by making your presence known via a variety of social media networks. Although joining these websites is free, using them to market your business and drive traffic to your website requires a new set of skills not used in traditional forms of marketing. Using social media marketing does require an investment in time in terms of “tweets and posts”, but for those using it effectively, it can pay off in terms of new customers. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising- If you have the money to pay for the advertising, you can run ads on Google Adwords, MSN or Yahoo. PPC advertising is all about bidding for the top or leading position on search engine results page and listings. Advertisers do this by buying or bidding on keyword phrases that are relevant to their products or services – the higher the bid, the higher the spot in the sponsored or advertising section on the search results. These sponsored ads appear on the top and right side Google. PPC advertisers then pay their bid price every time a visitor clicks through the website. Setting up a Google Adwords account is free, but not knowing the “in and outs” of setting up effective campaigns, ads, tracking and conversion methods can cost your company a lot of wasted time, money and resources. On the other hand, a well designed adwords strategy can drive a lot of traffic and significantly increase sales and profits. Blogging– Blogs provide a unique vehicle for any business or business owner to reach out to clients and prospects in a more personal way. Marketing becomes more personal and people get to see a different side of the business. The best part about blogs is that the search engines are always looking for fresh and relevant content so the more you blog relevant keyword rich posts, the more likely it is you’ll be found and read. Local Search Engine Directories- Google and other search engines will often provide a map with 7 – 10 listings of the top businesses related to search terms or keywords that are typed in by the user. Many times this is the first place consumers look at when trying to find a local business. One of your objectives is to get first page placement in the maps section. This is done by creating and claiming your company maps profile. And although these profiles are free to set up, the process can be very time consuming and cumbersome if not done correctly.

New Members! • A & A Playground Services, Inc. • Olson Fencing, Inc. • USP Alabama, LLC. • Total Recreation Products, Inc. • Ralph Doe • A & D Construction Services

Step 4 - Convert Website Visitors into Leads- Everything you do on your site should have one overriding objective – turning visitors into leads and leads into sales! The only way to verifiably do this is to capture their contact information – at minimum first name and e-mail address. Website “surfers” behave rather impulsively on the Internet, so much so that many times they easily forget where they were even 10 web pages ago. That’s why it is so critical to convert as many first time visitors as possible…and quickly! And the best way to convert a visitor to a lead is by asking for their name and email address through an opt-in form. Step 5 - Create a Follow Up Marketing System - Once you get website visitors to “opt-in” to your mailing list, they want and expect you to send them information and offerings. One of the fastest, easiest and most effective ways to follow up with your prospects and current clients is through e-mail marketing and newsletters. Why? Because all you do is compose an e-mail, customize it to suit your readers and niche and click the broadcast button to reach thousands of people instantly! The advantages of using e-newsletters to do your follow up marketing is: •It builds long lasting relationships. Relationships that foster trust and trust that makes you money •It keeps you top of mind (TOM), so you’re the first person your e-mail list members think of next time they want or need what your products and services.


February 2011

Building Your Business

Mark your Calendar Upcoming Play Industry Events & CPSI Courses

Seven Steps to Local Business Marketing Success. (Con’t) Step 6 - Create a Referral Marketing System- As small business owners, we are so conditioned to closing the next deal, that we forget what a great resource our current customer base is! You know what happens at many companies after a prospect finally does become a customer, not much! Many times, they are all but ignored in terms of marketing time, money and resources.

February 28-March 2, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) McAllen, TX Phone: 1-512-267-5550 http://www.traps.org March 8-10, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) Sacramento, CA Phone: 1-916-665-2777 http://www.cprs.org March 9-11, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) Mercer Island, WA. Phone: 1-360-459-9396 http://www.wrpatoday.org March 9-11, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) Merriam, KS Phone: 785-235-6533 http://www.krpa.org/ March 15-17, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) Milford, DE Phone: 302-422-1104 http://www.cityofmilford.com/ March 16-18, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) Las Vegas, NV Phone:702-455-7513 http://www.nrps.org March 17-19, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) Littleton, CO Phone: 303-231-0943 http://www.cpra-web.org/ March 21-23, 2011 National Playground Safety Institute (CPSI Courses) Bismarck, ND Phone: 701-222-6455 http://www.ndrpa.org/

Seriously, think about your own business – do you have a referral marketing SYSTEM and budget in place right now? Most don’t and that is such a shame and a missed opportunity to increase your sales and profits. Step 7 - Track Your Results and Continuing Improve- Analyzing your web traffic statistics can be an invaluable tool for a number of different reasons. The aim is to use the web traffic statistics to figure out how well or how poorly your site is working for you and your visitors. Web traffic stats can help you determine effective and ineffective areas of your website including keywords used to find you, where visitors go once they get to your site and how much time they actually spend on each page. These statistics will reveal vital information about the effectiveness of individual pages, and visitor habits and motivation. This is essential information to any successful Internet marketing campaign. So there you have it - your 7 steps to Local Business Marketing Success. If you follow these important steps, you are sure to increase your search engine rankings, drive more traffic to website, convert more prospects and of course increase your sales and profits. But you better get going, because your competition is reading this article too! Source: David Carleton

Develop your company’s image within the Playground Construction Industry. By advertising in our annual publication, NPCAI Member’s Online Directory & Buyers Guide, which is read by all of our members, related industry leaders, Parks and Recreation Directors, City Planners, Architects, Board of Education, and is the leading resource for the playground professionals? We are committed to increasing the value of this essential tool by offering additional information that is relevant to the professionals we serve. Prices range from $100 to $2000. With the internet continually evolving as an important way for Playground Associates and Playground Buyers to gather services and/or product information to assist them with their jobs or projects, the time is perfect for you to reach that specific market with a BANNER ADVERTISING. Featured at our website www.playgroundcontractors.org the site is current and archives information for the industry. You’re advertising opportunities for full banner ads (468 X 60 pixel) and sponsorship ads (120 x 60 pixel). Price ranges from $400 to $2000. Interested, let us know how we can help you.

The statement and opinions express in the foregoing articles are those of the author, and not those of NPCAI. Copyrighted © 2011. International Playground Contractors Association. The Playground Insider is a registered trademark owned by the International Playground Contractors Association. All rights reserved. This is members ezine.


The Playground Insider February 2011