New Years Resolution for Your Business

It will soon be a new year and as a business owner I'm sure you are thinking through business plans and how you plan on growing profits during 2012.  When you have a passion for the work you do of course you want to let other's know about it.  We know about that at MilitaryAvenue.com!

First and foremost, if you are not a MilitaryAvenue Partner yet, why not?  You can create a free ad to get the word out to area military-families.  Get started right now: http://militaryavenue.com/ListWithUs.aspx

But you can take it another step.  With a paid ad you gain much more exposure and it can be dollars well spent!  First Class Packages are as little as $5 a month (paid for a year upfront) and puts your ad on top of all the free ads at your military base or post page.  Generals Packages and Featured Partner's Packages step it up a notch and then some.  You can see examples and read details at the bottom of our List With Us page.  It is money well invested into your businesses.

Do you want to see your business throughout your local installation at MilitaryAvenue.com?  Featured Partners and Base Sponsors get their face in front of more military families!  Featured Partners have a 198x123 banner that is rotated throughout their sponsored installation and Base Sponsors are displayed prominently on every page of their post or base.  There are great examples and details at our List With Us page.  A little money up front can yield a great return!

We also recently announced National Marketing options.  (Marketing to the Military - Nationwide Advertising Opportunities)  Banner ads, Tweets, Facebook Sponsorship and so much more!  Don't miss these opportunities if you have a broader audience then just around your base or post.

Do you have a network of businesses you could share MilitaryAvenue with?  A wedding planner could share us with photographers and caterers; an apartment complex could share us with moving companies and storage units; a restaurant could share us with other small businesses in their network, in their town, on their street.  Help promote small-business development in your town.  Tell others about MilitaryAvenue.com.

We hope you have a great New Year in 2012!  With a little planning, a bit of budgeting and introducing yourself to the military community we know you can prosper.

Military Dates to Remember 2012

The New Year is almost here and we promised to provide updates for our 2012 Military Dates to Remember!  Here is the first six months and we will update as the calendar continues to roll!
 
Your military community will appreciate your knowledge of their events.  Show your appreciation with marketing efforts, simple "thank yous" from your sales staff and patriotic window displays or website images/pages.  Don't forget your social media efforts too!  Nothing like a mention on Facebook or twitter to draw friends, likes and shares!  Do you keep up with MilitaryAvenue on Facebook or Twitter?  How about our Military Discount Facebook page?  We welcome your comments as a partner on Facebook too! A great way to make others aware of your military support! 


January

1st New Years Day

16th Martin Luther King Jr Birthday Observance

31st US Launches first satellite in 1958



February


1st National Freedom Day

2nd Ground Hog Day

14th Valentines Day - Did you know?  If you know someone in the military you can send them a Valentine's Message via The Stars & Stripes.

20th Presidents' Day


March

11th Daylight Savings

19th  Operation Iraqi Freedom begins - 2003

20th First Day of Spring

April

Month of the Military Child!

Celebrate Military Children - Nothing more important than the children of our serving military personnel! Recognition of their sacrifice is a great way to say thank you!

6th Good Friday

8th Easter

12th First Space Shuttle Launch

27th Arbor Day - Plant a tree for the Earth!

30th End of Vietnam War in 1975

May

MilAve_Deborah busy supporting
other military spouses!

National Military Family Appreciation Month 
A great opportunity to recognize military families!

2nd 2011 Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden killed by US Navy Seals



11th Military Spouse Appreciation Day (the Friday before Mother's Day) - Some great ideas on how to reach out to Military Spouses on their day! "101 Ways to Thank a Military Spouse"



13th Mother's Day



19th Armed Forces Day (Third Saturday in May)

28th Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)

June

June 14th Flag Day - Fly it Proudly

June 14th US Army Birthday

Thank you for the great support to your military community! Please pass on these dates to business organizations such as your chamber of commerce to insure that they are appropriately recognized! One other quick recommendation is to not just have a sale on days like Veterans Day but include a military discount or some recognition such as a small token of appreciation daily, weekly or monthly! Recognize those serving or who have served in some manner! Be military friendly and the word will spread rapidly! Some great ideas in Tips: Your Military Rewards and How to Win the Hearts of the Military Community

Are you aware of a local event that the military community needs to know about? You can place it directly on MilitaryAvenue! Go to the installation home page in your area and go to the Upcoming Local Events at the bottom center of the page and click on the Let Us Know to tell us about it! We will review and quickly post!

Marketing to the Military - Nationwide Advertising Opportunities

At MilitaryAvenue we pride ourselves in helping local military-families find local businesses that support them.  There are unscrupulous businesses out there that are ready to take advantage of the 'new in town folks'.  However, our Partners have affirmed our core values, Trust, Value and ServiceWe know that you will be there for our military families, welcoming them to your neighborhood.

A MilitaryAvenue Partner can have a free ad on MilitaryAvenue.com at their local installation if they offer a military-discount.  This is our way of saying 'Thank you!' for giving from your bottom-line back to those who serve.  There are other opportunities too: First Class, General and Featured Partner Packages.  (Learn more: MilitaryAvenue Partners: You too can be a General)   You can even be the exclusive base sponsor, A Market that Rewards the 'Sponsors'. All of these opportunities will put you at the heart of your local military installation.

We also know there are times when businesses want to reach out nationally and we want to give you that opportunity.

Note: We offer a percentage discount for each extra-month you pay for up front. As an example, if you pay for six months up front we will offer a 6% discount on the total cost of advertising. If you want to take advantage of this offer contact us at sales@militaryavenue.com or dale@militaryavenue.com so that we can create a package tailored to your needs.



Newsletter Ad:
Each month we send our newsletter out to our Military Family subscribers.  The average subscriber is an Active Duty Family between the ages of 28 and 37.  What a great demographic for your business!  We can place an image (160 x 600 pixels) in our monthly e-publication for $400.  Grab US military-families' attention from around the world for as little as 3-cents per newsletter. 

http://www.militaryavenue.com/shoppingcart.aspx
Enter Newsletter Ad to purchase


Facebook Sponsorship:
We will mention your company with your message for $40 on our MilitaryAvenue page (http://Facebook.com/MilitaryAvenue) and Military Discount page as well as on Twitter at @MilitaryAvenue.  We want to keep our military families engaged and so this is a rare-opportunity.  Here is an example of a Facebook Sponsorship in the past: http://www.facebook.com/MilitaryAvenue/posts/170356336387715.

http://www.militaryavenue.com/shoppingcart.aspx
Enter Facebook Sponsor Ad to purchase



Blog sponsorship:
Place a banner ad on "Our Letters to You", a military family blog, on the right side above our index of blog-posts, http://militaryblog.militaryavenue.com/.  This option would be $100 for one month (Image 160 x 600 pixels).  Your banner may rotate with up to 4 other banners.  Historically, this is approximately five-cents per page view if you are sharing rotation-space, and as our readership grows your cost-per-page view decreases.

http://www.militaryavenue.com/shoppingcart.aspx
Enter Blog Sponsor Ad to purchase



Military Alerts - Local Military Discounts sent directly to our military families:
Once a month we publish Military Alerts to our subscribed Military Families. This monthly email is full of local military discounts but has the opportunity for up to three nationwide banners (250 x 60 pixels).  At only $300 per month this opportunity is approximatly two-cents per email.


http://www.militaryavenue.com/shoppingcart.aspx
Enter Alerts Banner to purchase


advertising rates as of 12/7/2011

We can also accept checks for these advertising opportunites.  Please contact us at sales@militaryavenue.com or dale@militaryavenue.com if you would like to make payment that way.

Our network trusts us to bring them trustworthy support.  All advertisement must be approved by MilitaryAvenue.com.  We reserve the right to refust any advertisement that we are not personally comfortable recommending to our military-families.

Thank you for being a part of MilitaryAvenue.com.  We look forward to introducing you to our military-families.  You may also take a look at our media kit for some more information: http://www.militaryavenue.com/Media.aspx

Quick Summary:
prices as of 12/7/11 and subject to change
http://MilitaryAvenue.com

THE HOME DEPOT’S "GIVE THE GIFT OF GOOD" Contest - A $20,000 Makeover of a Military Family's Home

A Gift from Home Depot for a military family
As a Military Avenue Partner we would like to extend a wonderful opportunity in assisting us with giving away $20,000 to a military family in need. The money may be used in several ways;

* New HVAC (heating and cooling) system
* Accessible bathing, like a new walk-in tub/shower system or Modification of existing tub/shower system to make accessible
* Roofing repair or replacement
* Blown-in Insulation
* Replacement Windows
* Fencing
* Gutters
* or a new Water Heater

We have to act fast, in fact, we have about 72 hours to find this family and submit their name and information. Once we submit their information they will be 1 of 9 candidates to receive the $20,000 in renovations.Your business has been a part of our site by assisting military families with products, services, and military discounts. We felt it only appropriate to give you a chance to point out a family to us.

Here is your next step. We need your entry to MilitaryAvenue no later than this Saturday, the 19th of November at noon EST. Remember, all you have to do is email the name, military affiliation and two or three pictures of the military entrant (family if so desired, is welcome as well). Please email them to photos@MilitaryAvenue.com. Tell us their story or have them send it direct to us by commenting here:  http://militaryblog.militaryavenue.com/2011/11/home-depots-give-gift-of-good-contest.html

We will choose our winner and forward to Home Depot at the close of the contest at noon on Saturday.

We appreciate the Home Depot Foundation for selecting us to be a part of this great program. We also can’t thank you enough for being a part of our site, together we have and will continue to assist the military community in many ways.


Home Depot Contest Rules:
http://www.militaryavenue.com/Content.aspx?Name=home_depot_gift_of_good_rules

Military Dates to Remember 2011- 2012

s
Say "Thank You" on Veterans Day!
We frequently get visits to MilitaryAvenue for folks looking for military important dates! To help, we will again begin placing important dates for the military community for followers to see!  Well in advance of the date, so you can reach out and plan to recognize the events appropriately!  We will also post on twitter!

We are posting through June 2012 and will update as we gather new or updated information! Some dates may not be particular to the military but think of a deployed service member returning after a deployment and enjoying Thanksgiving with their family. Last year there was an empty chair while they were gone! Or maybe a Valentine's Day reunion for a couple after a lengthy separation!  We added a few for just convenience as well.










November

6th Daylight Savings

11th Veterans Day

Some great ideas for year round recognition on MilitaryAvenue's 101 Ways to Thank a Veteran!

24th Thanksgiving
Calendar for one military family with special events written in


December

25th Christmas

31st  New Years Eve


A Soldier and his son










January

1st   New Years Day

18th Martin Luther King Jr Day



February

1st Freedom Day

2nd Ground Hog Day

14th Valentines Day

15th Presidents' Day

Veterans Day 2011 - What are you going to do for our Military-Veterans?

Next month is Veteran's Day and a great chance for you to note their sacrifices and protection of our great country. As a MilitaryAvenue Partner what are you doing to recognize our Military and Families this upcoming Veterans Day? Start preparing now for this day of recognition for those who have frequently given so much for their country. Many military families are operating with a second or third deployment over the holidays! Can you say "again"? Many Military-Veterans didn't get the recognition they so deserved so many years ago. All Veterans and families could use a simple "thank you" from all of us.
Welcoming our Military to your place of business

Here are ideas to jump start your recognition of Veteran's Day. Make it something that makes veterans and their families feel appreciated:
  • First of all offer a Veterans Day Special, for our veterans. Offer something from the heart that you know your military-veteran customers will appreciate. It is only a small token of what they have done for us!
  • Hang a "Veterans, Thank You" sign on your door (Something like: http://militarymarketing.militaryavenue.com/2010/05/what-does-your-storefront-or-website.html)
  • Sponsor or become involved in a Veteran's Day parade and encourage others as well
  • Add a special event to our Event Calendar so the new military families get the word about the local area (How to place an event on MilitaryAvenue)
  • Have your sales staff made aware of military customers and task the staff to thank them for their service
Getting the word out
An example of a Military Reward for Veterans Day
(click on image for detail)
  • First of all, if you are having a Veterans Day Special, log on to your account and update your reward. Do this before November 1st so that it will be included in our monthly-Alerts!
  • If you are not a MilitaryAvenue Partner yet NOW is the time! A Military Discount year round equals free advertising! (List with us)
  • If you are offering a remarkable military discount or incentive for our Veterans we will add it to our growing list - Veterans Day 2011 - Military Discounts. Last year's list was circulated by official military-organizations, military-spouse and family groups, and so much more and is STILL looked at every day.
The Reward that you have earned

To show our appreciation for your support to our veterans and their families we are having a "We Thank Veterans Campaign" until November 11th! Make the promise to thank veterans and we will offer you a ten percent (10%) discount on any upgrades with the discount code, "VETERANS". Log in to your account and build your upgrade! During checkout enter the discount code and it will be automatically discounted and your ad year starts again! Thank you!

Supporting the Relocation, Travel and Lifestyle Needs of the American Military Family

Celebrating Military Veterans and Families this Veterans Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Grand Rapids, MI, October 5, 2011 - MilitaryAvenue.com is seeking businesses that value, support and wish to recognize our past and present military members this Veterans Day.

Veterans Day is the perfect opportunity to take part in MilitaryAvenue.com’s ‘Celebrating Veterans Giveaway’. As a business that supports America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines consider donating a national gift-card, Visa Cash Card or merchandise to this giveaway recognizing the sacrifices of our Veterans, Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve service-members. It is a simple way for a business to say “Thank You”.

Businesses that participate in MilitaryAvenue.com’s Veteran’s Day Giveaway will experience increased brand awareness among military families. The giveaway announcement at ‘Our Letters to You’, an award winning military family blog (http://militaryblog.militaryavenue.com) will include a business logo and website link for the participating company for each donated gift. Businesses that play a part in thanking our military veterans through this giveaway can expect to see their company mentioned throughout social media circles including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Past giveaways at MilitaryAvenue.com to military-families have been met with great success. Veterans do not expect to be recognized but they appreciate and support the businesses that do take the time to acknowledge their sacrifices. Read stories of thanks at Marketing to the Military, “Thank You” (http://militarymarketing.militaryavenue.com/2011/08/thank-you.html).

This should be a Veterans Day Military Veterans and families will not soon forget. Please contact a MilitaryAvenue.com team member before October 20, 2011 to donate a gift that a military family can win in a random drawing of entries on November 15, 2011.

About MilitaryAvenue LLC
Founded by a team of military and Internet veterans and based in Grand Rapids, MI, privately held MilitaryAvenue supports the relocation, travel and lifestyle needs of the American military family. MilitaryAvenue.com is a free global and local online guide to goods, services and community information for over 240 military installations in the U.S. and abroad through the nation’s largest database of military discounts, the most comprehensive directory of local base community businesses, and an extensive library of articles and resources for the military family experience.

Contact:
Leanne Kocsis
MilitaryAvenue.com
877-425-9992
Leanne@militaryavenue.com
http://www.militaryavenue.com

# # #

Autoposting on Facebook

I just read an interesting article on SocialMediaToday that I know is quite appropriate for our Business Partners.
On average, Facebook Pages that show posts via a third party app such as HootSuite or TweetDeck, as opposed to linking the old fashioned manual way, receive 70% fewer likes and comments.   Linking to your Facebook Page via auto post is a very common and time saving practice and while I have dabbled in it, for the most part I stay clear from it for the simple reason of posting via an auto post just doesn't look as good or as appealing as doing it manually - posting a link directly from your Facebook Page.
- Facebook Autoposting - A Social Media No-No

We have found that third-party apps like TwitterFeed are great for Twitter.  Automatic posting makes it very easy to share our latest articles, blogs and even military discounts!  Our followers enjoy retweeting them and our readership grows.  However, Facebook is a much more personal experience and we at MilitaryAvenue have always steered clear of automatic posting.  Instead, we pick a few key articles, an empowering quote for the day, and a general question to engage our military-families. 


As for the articles we elect to share, we select a photo to catch our readers' attention and add a comment as to why this article is relevant to them, the military family.  Our user experience is much more engaging this way.  As a small business owner you too have to find the balance of 'too much information' (which often comes with auto-posting) for your followers as opposed to falling off their radar with not enough posts.  You want to share the right amount of engagement, making your business a trusted resource.

Find your balance, share the posts relevant to your fans, and you will be on your way to being a valued resource to your customers.  Best of luck!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com



By the way, if your business does have a Facebook presense be sure to pop over to our MilitaryDiscounts page an introduce yourself: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Military-Discounts/112981725440917We post new and updated discounts to our Facebook Friends at Military Discounts (over a thousand growing very fast) and love the interaction from our Business Partners as well.  What a great opportunity to engage with potential new customers!

Our Military and their Education

Learn more about the GI Bill at http://www.gibill.va.gov/
If you are in the business of education the US Military Member is a great potential-customer. They have goals, benefits, and drive. Get to know your customers ...

The majority (86.0%) of officers have a Bachelor’s or higher degree. Few (4.6%) enlisted members have a Bachelor’s or higher degree, while most (94.0%) have a high school diploma and/or some college experience.

In the past nineteen years, the percentage of Active Duty members who have a Bachelor’s and/or an advanced degree has decreased for officers (from 89.6% in 1990, to 86.0% in 2009) but has increased for enlisted (from 2.5% in 1990, to 4.6% in 2009).

Visit our Education Center to read about our Military Education Answers, articles and resources.

Source: 2009 Demographic Report as published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy).

The Military Member: Young and Vibrant

What a great marketing-demographic the Military Member is.  They are young, with a steady paycheck, and looking for businesses that are loyal and trustworthy.  Get to know your customers...

More than one half (51.5%) of Active Duty enlisted personnel are 25 years old or younger, with the next largest age group being 26 to 30 year-olds (21.3%), followed by 31 to 35 year-olds (12.3%), 36 to 40 year-olds (9.4%) and those 41 years old or older (5.5%).

Almost one fourth (24.3%) of Active Duty officers are 41 years of age or older, with the next largest age group being 26 to 30 year-olds (21.9%), followed by 36 to 40 year-olds (20.2%), 31 to 35 year-olds (19.8%), and those 25 years old or younger (13.8%).

Overall, the average age of the Active Duty force is 28.4. The average age for Active Duty officers is 34.7, and the average age for enlisted personnel is 27.2.

Source: 2009 Demographic Report as published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy).

Where does our Active Duty Live?

Get to know your customers...

The Albany Marine Band, stationed at Marine Corps Logistics Base
Albany, GA, performs at the Marine Week Proclamation Ceremony
at the War Memorial in St. Louis, MO.
(Photo by LCpl Daniel Wetzel)
While the Active Duty population is located throughout the world, the three primary areas in which Active Duty members are assigned are the United States and its territories (86.5%), East Asia (6.3%), and Europe (5.8%).

The ten states with the highest Active Duty military populations are:
  • California (163,034),
  • Virginia (129,948),
  • Texas (129,440),
  • North Carolina (110,286),
  • Georgia (75,058),
  • Washington (61,326),
  • Florida (59,135),
  • Hawaii (46,394),
  • Kentucky (42,001), and
  • South Carolina (37,268).

This is just the Active Duty military-person. There are more family members then military personnel so for the most part you can at least double each number to get a picture of how many military & family members live in your state.

Source: 2009 Demographic Report as published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy).

SHE Serves, too

The female-soldier, sailor, marine or airmen.  It is a growing population, despite our US Military size shrinking.  (See last week's 'Active Duty Military Population').  When marketing to your customers don't forget this very important member of our US Military. Get to know your customers ...

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ashley Taylor checks the signals on a
satellite receiver/transmitter July 7, 2011, at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Taylor is a
mission systems journeyman assigned to the 1st Special Operations
Component Maintenance Squadron.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joe McFadden)
Women comprise 200,888 or 14.3 percent of the DoD Active Duty force. The percentage of women in the Active Duty population is greater in 2009 than it was in 1990 (from 11.5% of officers and 10.9% of enlisted in 1990, to 15.5% of officers and 14.1% of enlisted members in 2009). Overall, the number and ratio of female officers (35,611) to female enlisted (165,277) is one female officer for every 4.6 female enlisted members. This ratio varies across the military Services with the Army retaining one female officer for every 4.1 female enlisted personnel, the Air Force retaining one female officer for every 4.3 female enlisted personnel, the Navy retaining one female officer for every 5.3 female enlisted personnel, and the Marine Corps retaining one female officer for every 9.7 female enlisted personnel.

Source: 2009 Demographic Report as published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy).

Thank You!

Thank you to USAA, Sitter City, Home Depot, Sears, Army Wife Network, Homes for Heroes and Dee Ramsay Burnett of Prudential Network Realty.  Without you and the support you have for our military and their families we wouldn't have been able to have such a wonderful giveaway earlier this month, One Thousand Posts - Let's Celebrate!  

MilitaryAvenue Partners, This giveaway was such a success that I would love to do another drawing soon.  My thoughts on a Veterans Day giveaway follow some very kind Thank You notes from some of our winners.  So please read through if you are interested in participating and thanking our Veterans with a gift.


To My Friends at USAA,
I just wanted to send out a huge thank you for sponsoring the recent contest for MilitaryAvenue.com, a company that supports our military family with so much great information and guidance.  I am one of the winners of the pendant and it is beautiful!  We love USAA already, after having insurance and banking with you all for over 13 years, we couldn’t ask for more.  Your friendly staff, your great products, and your ability to handle your business so that we don’t need to worry about our money is such a gift and we are grateful for it, especially in the times as they are now, knowing we can rely on your company to do what is right. Thank you for the last 13 years, for the beautiful gift, for your support of institutions like MilitaryAvenue.com that support us when we need it most, and for your support of military families across the globe…here’s to so many more.
Gratefully Yours,
Stephanie
(Proud Marine veteran and military wife for 15 years)


I wanted to thank you again for your Giveaway Extravaganza and of course all the ways you help the military folks. I got my $20 Gift Card from Sitter City today and was so excited. I love getting goodies in the mail! I had never been to their website before and it was very neat to check out.  My daughter is getting to an age where having a reliable babysitter might be nice sometimes when friends aren't available. I'll be sure to pass along the site to my friends, too. Please pass on my thank you to the kind people at Sitter City.  I appreciate their generosity. :) I plan to put my $20 gift card in a safe spot in my purse and pull it out on a day that I just want or need something special for myself like a manicure or something. Maybe I'll get one done for the Khaki Ball! Whatever I do, I'll think about y'all (Military Avenue and Sitter City) and enjoy it. So, thanks again!

Christine


Thank you USAA for this wonderful gift. We found out the week of our 16th wedding anniversary that we won and can't wait to do something romantic and fun with it. What a treat to be able to spend a great date night with my husband and not even have to work it into the budget! Thank you so much for the gift card and the great services your bank offers. We LOVE USAA and the AWESOME customer service we always receive!

Thank you,
Jennifer


I won a gift card from Sittercity. I plan to use it for a date night with my husband- coincidentally, using a babysitter that we are finding via Sittercity! I have been using the service for a year and a half and it is so wonderful that military families get a free membership. We just moved to a new area and I don't know how else I would be able to find a reliable babysitter.

Thanks again,
Erika


Would love to thank SitterCity for being so gracious and sponsoring this giveaway. It is greatly appreciated! - Michelle


Thank you so much for the great gift package of Army Wives materials. My son loves the tattoos and the book looks very interesting. I look forward to reading it and then passing it on to another Army Wife to enjoy. The included cd is amazing too! I also plan to view the "New Spouse Orientation". Although I am not a new wife, I'm curious of the information they include. I will also be passing that on to new Army Wife so she can be encouraged with the information as well.

Again thank you. It was such a surprise to win something and even more fun to receive it in the mail and not know what it was! I had a Christmas in August! Thank you!!! - Dana


I was so appreciative of my $100 visa gift card [from Homes for our Heroes]! I splurged on a new tote bag and am waiting to spend the rest when my husband comes home on his RnR! Probably just on movie rentals or a nice dinner out, but I'm so excited to have just a little extra during our two weeks together! - Aprille


I won one of the gift cards from Sitter City and I'm planning to use it for breakfast with my husband one weekend. We have six kids, so breakfast may just be coffee, but we'll enjoy it. Thank you! - Heather



That is a whole lot of appreciation from the heart!  Thank you again to all of our Giveaway Extravaganza sponsors.  Your gifts made this Army Spouse very proud.

To our MilitaryAvenue Partners: I would love to do something for our Veterans and families for Veterans Day, November 11, 2011.  If you are interested in donating a gift please let me know, leanne@militaryavenue.com.  We had so much success with this giveaway that I know your gift, like a Visa Cash card or another universal gift would be very well received and then *you* may just be the next company to receive such a warm and appreciative Thank You!

Active Duty Military Population

Last week we learned that there are 3.6 million members in our US Military but have you ever wondered what branches they serve in?  Get to know your customers...

Active Duty: Member Highlights
Service Branches

"Taking aim." Army Spc. Paul M. Cattorn, a squad automatic weapon
machine gunner assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry
Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force
Storm, provides security for Afghan National Security Forces.
The Army has the largest number of Active Duty members (549,015) followed by the Air Force (328,847), the Navy (324,239), and the Marine Corps (203,075). There are also 42,426 Active Duty members of the DHS’s Coast Guard. At a total of 1,447,602 DoD Active Duty and DHS Coast Guard Service members, the military force of 2009 is 29.9 percent smaller than it was in 1990 (when there were 2,065,597 Active Duty members).

The percentage change in the number of DoD Active Duty members in each Service branch compared to 1990 has varied significantly. Compared to 1990, the Coast Guard and Marine Corps have increased 16.9 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. Conversely, the number of Active Duty members is lower in 2009 compared to 1990 for the Army (24.6%), Navy (43.5%), and Air Force (38.1%).

Note that our Military Population is smaller since 9/11/01 and yet with such greater job demands.  What can you do today to thank a Military Member for their diligence?


Source: 2009 Demographic Report as published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy).

How large is our Military Population?

Your customers live all around the world. They may be across the country now but moving to your area soon. They may be a part of the National Guard or Reserves and travel to your area on Drill or Reserve weekends.  They may be the next customer to walk through your door.  Do you know how large our US Military Force is? Get to know your customers...

The total number of military personnel is over 3.6 million strong, including DoD Active Duty military personnel (1,405,176); DHS’s Active Duty Coast Guard members (42,426); DoD Ready Reserve and DHS Coast Guard Reserve members (1,079,627); members of the Retired Reserve (220,645) and Standby Reserve (25,808), and DoD appropriated and nonappropriated-fund civilian personnel (882,674).

DoD’s Active Duty and DHS’s Coast Guard Active Duty members comprise the largest portion of the military force (39.6%), followed by Ready Reserve members (29.5%) and DoD civilian personnel (24.2%).



Source: 2009 Demographic Report as published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy).

What Does Your Ad Say to Military Consumers?


We have some great military supporters on MilitaryAvenue! In fact, our MilitaryAvenue Partners are the best! You are part of an elite group of business patriots! Congratulations!

Now the next step: What are you telling your military audience as a Partner? That you support them during wartime? That your ad demonstrates your willingness to recognize their sacrifice? Does it show you are professional, your service or product is worth spending their combat earned dollars on?

Let’s take a look at two ads. First is an example of an ad that needs more information to create interest. The second provides more information and will draw folks to read more and find out who you are and what you are providing.




There is space for your business profile, your contact information, credentials, number of years in business, certifications/affiliations, business hours, your website/phone number for the Military Reward coupon, the Military Reward coupon and more! Many ways for you to tell a military community member why they should contact you, visit you online or in your store! Think about how you choose a company to conduct business with and open the door to your military community.

We place your ad(s) in two places on the site at each military installation (in its category and in the Military Rewards area), place them on MilitaryAvenue's Military Discounts Facebook, Tweet them on twitter accounts and send out a monthly email (Alerts) to followers at your installation(s). We are reaching out with your message! What it says is up to you!  Here is a second ad, please compare it for its marketing appeal and information for our readers/followers:



The profile is filled, you know where they serve and the information has obviously been well thought out and presented.  Notice how they reach out to the military community with their comment "We are eager to serve our Military neighbors..." They also have their logo on their ad for visual appeal!


Would you like to read more on how to edit your ad?  Please go to our Welcome page for specific directions on how to edit!



PS:  Please join us at Businesses That Support Our Troops on Facebook. It is a group forum that allows you to connect, find out new ideas (like these) from other businesses that are making it with the military community and much more! We just started, be among the initial members to join.

Businesses that Support Our Troops

Collaboration. Networking. Inspiration.

What works, what doesn't?  Start to network with businesses around the country that support our service-members and families.  Share your discount, your events, your ideas.  Ask questions, involve those who have been there and done that, become an advocate for your community.  Join us today:

Businesses that Support Our Troops

Put a Face on Your Ad! Fall Kickoff and Back To School Special for MilitaryAvenue Partners

Facebook Image for your Ad! Send the right message!
We are excited!  We are featuring a Giveaway Extravaganza for our military community after posting 1,000 blogs for them!  Gifts worth $$$$ to the military community from our friends - that includes you!  Now we are returning the favor to you!  Remember we are all about discounts!  We want you to reach out to the military community with a Fall Kickoff, Back to School Special with a reduced price for upgrades to your ads!  Put a face to your ad to the new folks in your neighborhood!  Add a hot link with a click of a mouse to your website (we hope it features a welcome for military personnel) and be placed above the free ads!


Your Real Estate or other products/services
shown to thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers!
We are taking 20% off our ad prices!  So a First Class Package would be $48 for one year and a General would be $164!  Just go to our shopping cart (secure through google) and enter either "First Class Package Fall Kickoff" or "Generals Package Fall Kickoff"!

After your payment has processed expect an email from the MilitaryAvenue team with simple upgrade instructions!  You won't regret this decision.

We also accept checks!  Mail to MilitaryAvenue 7914 Loop Rd Middleville MI! As soon as we receive your payment we will upgrade the ad and allow you to post your new image(s) and website information for the hot link!

Close the deal! Reach out to the young
social media conscious Military Community!
Any questions or problems please give us a call at 616 855 4134 or toll free 877 425 9992!  If you prefer email send questions to us at sales@militaryavenue.com or dale@militaryavenue.com.  

We can't wait to share your image, your business, your website with the military-community!



Don't Wait!  This offer will end on September 30th!

A Reason to Go Back! Thank You Gazelle Sports!

Sifting through my mail I was shocked to find a post card from Gazelle Sports!

I just had a great experience with a business! I will be going back!

Thank You Card Received by the Author
How do you get your customers to return? How do your customers find you? Have you targeted the military community around your post, base, station, camp lately! Do they feel welcome? Appreciated?

First, I am a cancer survivor with a foot that has had two surgeries and a leg that had one surgery. Both have special requirements: shoes for the foot and bike type shorts for the leg. So one of my doctors recommended Gazelle Sports in Grand Rapids and I took his recommendation. I felt appreciated and cared about at this company!

The customer service was fantastic with personal service and the sales personnel paid attention to detail, answered questions and did not hype sales of other products. But they did point out other products that might be helpful. Is your sales staff knowledgeable of your products? I was impressed with the help I received while fitting the shoes (bought two pairs) and the recommendations for a leg fitting pair of shorts was right on the money!

The military community recognizes that kind of service and will recommend you to other service members and their families! How do you treat them?


The Gift of a Military Discount

I just returned from one of my new favorite local businesses, Taylor Rental in Avon, Ohio.  My husband and I decided to rent a paint sprayer to paint our aging deck.  It is an every third year project for us and one we don't look forward to.  (In fact, the last time it was done my husband was in Iraq and my mom, dad and I did it.  Clever way to get out of it there, hun.)  Our time has become more and more valuable over the years and spraying the paint onto the deck followed by a quick rolling job sounded like a great option to an otherwise three or four day project.

But what makes Taylor Rentals my new favorite, you may ask?

After a few phone calls with their helpful staff trying to narrow down exactly what we needed we walked in to their store, baby in tow.  The gal at the front desk wore a smile as a permanent accessory to a great store-front.  She smiled with my 10-month old.  Told us exactly what we needed to do, swing around back to pick up our equipment.  She set expectations and was upfront with their cleaning-charge.  Explained the charges and then asked for our credit card.

As my husband, a National Guard soldier, opened up his wallet she must have seen the flash of his Military ID.  Without a second thought she asked if he was in the service and he replied, "Yes".  She quickly added Taylor Rental offers a 10% Military Discount and took it right off the bill.  Just like that.

We didn't ask.  We didn't expect it.  It was just a gift.

Do you take the time to listen to your customers, interact with them, treat them as more then just a transaction?  If you do expect them to come back!  I know we will.

Giveaway-Extravaganza - We NEED You!

We want to introduce you to the military-community in a fun and exciting way this summer!  Be a part of our Giveaway-Extravaganza when "Our Letters to You", MilitaryAvenue's award-winning Military-Family Blog hits 1,000 posts.  (That's a lot of writing, a lot of readers and a lot of military-family face time!)  This is a great opportunity for you, the MilitaryAvenue Partner.

What are we looking for: A gift around $25 to $50 that we will give to a military family.  It has to be a national gift.  As an example, a $50 Visa Card, or a $25 gift-card to military-family stores like AAFES.  If you have the budget you can contribute an iPad or GPS, for example.  If you are a national business or have a web based business you can send them your product as a gift.  You can include a business card or pamphlet as well with your prize!  These families are not going to forget your generosity.  (BTW $25 to $50 is the suggested value but you can spend what you feel is appropriate.)  The limits are endless...

Getting the word out to the Military Community

I want to reiterate how thankful we are for our MilitaryAvenue Partners! You are the businesses and the communities that support our military and their families.  They need to know you stand behind them, beside them and with them.  (As a military spouse, I can tell you, that thought is from the heart!)

Your story, your discount, your support is a very important piece of the MilitaryAvenue story.  (I would say the most important part.)  The part that lets the military know about the support they can find in their community.  So how do we spread the word for you?

Military Discounts Page.  This is one of our most visited pages on MilitaryAvenue.com.  Military families find their branch, then their installation, and WA-LA! they have a page of businesses in their community that support them!

MilitaryAvenue Alerts.  Once a month, usually on the 1st, we send out a simple email to all of our subscribers with their local military discounts. **This includes your discount!** Your support for our military-families: Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Going Viral with MilitaryAvenue and CNN - "Tell Your Story"

Do you see the byline in this image taken from a CNN live broadcast? MilitaryAvenue.com was featured in a midday story on Military Spouse Appreciation Day last month!

May was Military Appreciation Month and many businesses responded with some great support to the military community! Did you know about Military Spouse Appreciation Day? Armed Services Day? Memorial Day?

We received some great coverage from CNN on Military Spouse Appreciation Day with our blog on 101 Ways to Thank a Military Spouse! When they made contact about our blog and talked about it live on CNN, we jumped a bit with excitement!  CNN recognized that we were supporting this great group of patriots and we asked them to "Tell Our Story" and they did!  After their coverage and being posted on several Facebook pages including the official US Army page the blog went viral!

Great Examples of How to Reach Out to the Military Community

Why are some businesses successful at reaching out to the military community?

Fantastic Sams shows their colors!
We just attended a special event for military spouses at Ft Knox, called a Field Exercise that was a wonderful time! It brought together 300 Army spouses (most had seen their soldier deploy multiple times – some up to six times) and provided them an opportunity to learn coping skills and laugh together about military life and its challenges!
AWN

Hosted by Tara Crooks and Star Henderson of Army Wife Network, the Field Exercise also gave away some wonderful gifts!



Super Military Supporters
MilitaryAvenue.com was there as a sponsor and coordinated with three local businesses to provide gifts! All three outdid themselves and now have an audience at Ft Knox! Think about what you can do that would be special for a military spouse or family or veteran! Reaching out is more than the sale on Memorial Day for the general public. These folks did more than that! They provided pizza gift cards, coupons, spa packages and salon gift cards and coupons as well! When we approached them we had simply ask for a door prize from each. They responded with what else can we do? When we described the program they reacted with coupons and business menus for each of the attendees in addition to their wonderful door prizes! Their total giveaways to attendees were more than $4,000! 


Smart folks at all three companies! Military folks are very loyal and spread the word about companies that support them! A big thank you to Alpha Salon and Spa, Papa Murphy’s Pizza in Radcliff KY and Fantastic Sams in Radcliff as well!

Coupons and gift certificates at Field Exercise
Do you want to reach out? Do you have a military discount? It does not have to be huge! Just a small token of appreciation will do! Build an ad on MilitaryAvenue.com to tell them about your company and how it supports the military community! Read why our followers like to follow MilitaryAvenue!

Military Discounts, MilitaryAvenue and YOU!

Recently we polled our Military Families as to what their favorite part of MilitaryAvenue.com was.  They had a wide list of choices because, quite frankly, we have a lot to offer.  We were very eager to learn what was the most interesting to them.

We have our military-family blog, "Our Letters to You"; written by military-families for enjoyment, knowledge and empowerment.

Daily we post articles from the Department of Defense, the Commissary, Military OneSource, USAA, and other great resources for our military-families knowledge:  http://militaryavenue.com/ReadingRoom.aspx

At each installation we have local information, phone numbers, social media sites, and much much more.  By the way, we are always looking for more local information to add.  If you are familiar with the area and want to tell our users a little more about it please send two or three paragraphs to leanne@militaryavenue.com so that we can share it with our families.

Military Answers is a great resource for military families.  Ask a question and other supporters will answer it.  Learn more: You ARE the expert!

Each month we publish our Military Family Newsletter to our subscribers.  Here is a quick glimpse at May's: http://conta.cc/kzrAoT. You can subscribe as well: http://militaryavenue.com/Answers/Signup.aspx

What was most valuable to all of our families polled?
Local Military Discounts.  That is you! Your business.  Your support for the military community.  Thank you, our military families have noticed.  Let's keep our families visiting our site and learning more about the companies around them that support them.  Share MilitaryAvenue.com with businesses in your area.  Print some of your own Military Discount coupons from MilitaryAvenue.com to put next to your register.  Ask your customers if they have heard of MilitaryAvenue.com.  We are gaining momentum and we are thrilled.

So it's more important then ever to keep your MilitaryAvenue.com Ad updated.  Your ad is on MilitaryAvenue.com as well as published in Military Alerts.  Potential customers are going to see what you have to offer; how you describe your business; and how much time you have taken to extend a virtual 'hand-shake' to say 'We want to meet you'.  Make sure you are giving them a great first impression!

Update your ad today: http://militaryavenue.com/Partner/Login.aspx
Not a MilitaryAvenue Partner?  Start an ad today: http://militaryavenue.com/ListWithUs.aspx

Military Spouse Appreciation: Colleen Bay and Her Hero, LLC

Flexibility is the name of the game; add in a dash of passion and a sprinkle of 'go-get-em' and you have the recipe for a woman with a heart for her business!  We are happy to introduce Colleen, a MilitaryAvenue Partner and more importantly and Army Spouse.  Read on to learn about her fabulous fashion-line and ways that she wants to support you, the military family.


Your Name: Colleen Bay           
Your Company Name: Her Hero, LLC
Quick description of your business: Her Hero is an online boutique where you will find one-of-a-kind creations for today's military moms, spouses, daughters, sisters, and girlfriends. An exclusive shop featuring contemporary sweetheart jewelry designs, chic clothing, and unique gifts; all centered on military life. Hero Hero's mission is simple...to give military spouses, moms, and sweethearts a fashionable way to showcase their pride.

What is the best way to reach you?: colleen@herherostore.com

What Branch of Service did your spouse serve in and when: US Army- EOD- current active duty

What do you most enjoy about the military lifestyle and why? Moving around with my family and getting closer to my family with each move.

What lesson as a military-spouse have you gained that has helped you in the business-world? It is what you make of it. Living in the middle of no-where KS can be the worst or best duty station…it is what you make of it. My business will thrive as long as I continue to cultivate it and treat it like a real business, not a hobby or past-time. It is what you make of it.

What do you most enjoy about your line of work now? Giving a way for fellow military spouses a way to showcase their pride or remember a fallen hero.

How does your company support the military family? My products provide military family members a fashionable way to their pride.

If you could send a message of encouragement to all of our military spouses what would you tell them? Believe in your dream and don’t ever feel sorry for yourself b/c you are a military spouse. Military spouses are the strongest most dedicated women I know and I am honored to call myself one.

Any last thoughts to share? Her Hero is continuing to grow and expand its product line. Please email me with any ideas, wants, or needs. Thank you for your support.


Learn more about Colleen and 'Her Hero' by heading to MilitaryAvenue: Partner Ad

Want to read more Spotlights on the Military Spouse?  Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2011 - Spotlight MilitaryAvenue Partners

Learn more about becoming a MilitaryAvenue Partner: http://www.militaryavenue.com/ListWithUs.aspx

Military Spouse Appreciation: Jen Zajac, Helping Your Child Sleep

Ahhh... sleep... as the mother of an eight month-old I'm /just starting/ to remember what it is.  There are many things that can affect a child's sleep pattern from infant to school age children.  Today's Featured Spouse knows all about sleep and wants to help you!  Jen is an Air National Guard Spouse and we are so glad to call her a MilitaryAvenue Partner!

Your Name:  Jen Zajac
Your Company Name:  Helping Your Child Sleep

Quick description of your business: I provide customized consultations to parents of children who have difficulty falling or staying asleep.  Consultations are customized to each individual family's needs and tailored to the parent’s parenting style. A step-by-step plan is developed of how to implement appropriate routines and structure that will ensure that the child will get the right amount of sleep. Recommendations are provided to assist the child in developing the ability to fall asleep with a sense of security and comfort.

What is the best way to reach you?:  The best way to reach me is through email at Jen@helpingyourchildsleep.com.  Parents and families have busy lifestyles and I've found that email is generally the best way to provide consultation regarding sleep problems.  I check and respond to emails throughout the day. 

What Branch of Service did your spouse serve in and when:  My husband currently serves as a F-15 pilot at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, MA.  He has been in the military for 10 years.   

What do you most enjoy about the military lifestyle and why?  I enjoy meeting military families from across the country.  I have also had amazing opportunities to travel with my husband on TDY deployments and I am grateful to have had that special time to share with my husband. 

What lesson as a military-spouse have you gained that has helped you in the business-world?  A successful military spouse needs to be independent and self-sufficient.  Your spouse is not guaranteed to be there all the time and so one must always be prepared for that reality.  There are no sick days when your spouse is deployed.  As a military spouse and social worker, I understand the never-ending needs of other military families.  My main goal is to help military parents help their children become as well-rested as possible.

What do you most enjoy about your line of work now?  Helping parents find solutions to their children’s sleep problems is incredibly rewarding.  Many parents contact me when they are extremely sleep-deprived and at their wit’s end, having tried everything to help their children get the they know their children need. After gathering more information, I provide the parent with a specific plan and include step-by-step instructions to help their children become well-rested, happy, and healthy kids.  The results are usually clear within days.  I can immediately sense the absolute relief the parent feels the first night everyone gets a solid stretch of sleep.  It’s an unbelievably gratifying process to be a part of.   

How does your company support the military family?  It’s hard enough for two parents to get dinner on the table, get the kids into bath, read stories, and try to have lights out at a reasonable hour.  Many times, military spouses have to do all of those things by themselves, and especially during their spouse’s long deployments, exhausted military spouses can get overwhelmed by all of these tasks quickly.  I provide support to these spouses to help them prioritize tasks and get a solid routine in place so that the children know what to expect each night and things don’t get out of control.  I’m also aware of the impact of these tight economic times on military families and so I’m proud to offer a military discount on all of my consultation services. 

If you could send a message of encouragement to all of our military spouses what would you tell them?  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  There are many people out there who know who would gladly offer assistance if only they knew what kind of help you could use.  Ask the neighbor next door to help you take out the trash or fix that broken fence post.  You might be surprised about how generous people can be. 

Any last thoughts to share?  Sleep is as important to the body as food.  Sleep is fuel for the brain and body.  If we don’t get enough, our body, brain, and emotions pay the price.  If you, as an adult, are exhausted after waking up all night long with your children, think of how tired your children must feel!  Don’t spend another sleepless night thinking things will magically improve on their own.  Learn the tools now to help your child sleep so that your whole family can be well-rested! 


Learn more about Jen and 'Helping Your Child Sleep' by heading to MilitaryAvenue: Partner Ad


Want to learn more about our Spotlight on the Military Spouse?  Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2011 - Spotlight MilitaryAvenue Partners

Want to learn more about becoming a MilitaryAvenue Partner? http://www.militaryavenue.com/ListWithUs.aspx

Military Spouse Appreciation: Patty Jones, Little Pat Pat's

Today's spotlight is Patty Jones, a Navy Spouse and former Navy herself!  She is a new MilitaryAvenue Partner and we are thrilled to have her.  We value all of our MilitaryAvenue Partners because THEY value the Military Family.  Do you know a business that does the same?  Let them know about MilitaryAvenue.  They too can become a MilitaryAvenue Partner!

Your Name: Patty Jones

Your Company Name: Little Pat Pat's

Quick description of your business: Unique and handmade gifts for baby's and new moms, plus so much more!

What is the best way to reach you?: Via my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittlePatPat or email pthjones@yahoo.com

What Branch of Service did your spouse serve in and when: I served in The Navy from 1995-2001 and my Husband has been serving in the Navy since 1993 and is currently stationed at NAS Oceana

What do you most enjoy about the military lifestyle and why? I love the opportunity to meet so many new and amazing people. Moving around so much we are exposed to so many wonderful people that I never would have had the chance to know if I had stayed buried under the snow in Upstate NY my whole life. My husband and I joke that there isn't room in the pack out for many knick knacks, so we collect friends instead!

What lesson as a military-spouse have you gained that has helped you in the business-world? Initiative and drive. As a military spouse I need to be the one to get things done, I need to take risks and try new things. We spouses have to be able to assimilate quickly into new environments and that sometimes means jumping in with no net. In my business, it's just me. I have to juggle running my household, taking car of my amazing little three year old, being a good wife and finding time to work and grow my business. If I don't get something done...it won't get done. I am in control and I find myself taking risks and applying my initiative and drive every day because I believe in my business and I am passionate about making it work.

What do you most enjoy about your line of work now? I love knowing what I make is more than just functional. I like to picture happy babies wrapped in one of my blankets or a sweet child hugging one of my stuffed owls. I strive to keep a very personal connection with my customers and as a result it is incredibly rewarding every time I them happy. My former job as an accountant didn't offer me that same emotional connection and it is a dimension of my new business that I find the most fulfilling.

How does your company support the military family? My company supports the military family by offering quality products at extremely low prices compared to competitors. As a military spouse myself I am always looking for ways to stretch my money but not sacrifice value and quality and so every time I design something new I keep that in mind. I also submit my products on a regular basis to other military spouses as blog giveaways and fundraisers. I feel that the blogging community has become just as, if not more important of a connection between military spouses as our local groups, to help provide support for each other especially during deployments and I love to help out a fellow spouse!

Plus we are currently offering a discount to all service members and their spouses through this wonderful site and it's is easy to access us worldwide through Facebook and the Internet.

If you could send a message of encouragement to all of our military spouses what would you tell them? We live a life that is hard for anyone who has not done it themselves to understand. So much of our everyday is determined by factors out of our hands that it can lead to feeling frustrated or insignificant and lonely. I have found that the best way to avoid that is to take control of the things I can. To find something that I was passionate about and then just do it. Dive in to something that makes you happy and that joy and fulfillment will bubble over into every other aspect of your life.

Any last thoughts to share? I have always dreamed of being my own boss but never thought it was really a possibility. Then one night last winter I showed a stuffed animal I had made for my daughter to some friends and they loved it. I tossed and turned all night wondering if I should take the risk.

The next day I had an online shop and made my first sale within the week. With hard work and the support of my family and friends I have turned that stuffed animal into a successful small business. Every day isn't easy to balance everything on my plate but I go to bed happy to know that I am living my dream. I am so happy I took a risk on myself. I love to share my story and hope that it helps motivate other moms and women to follow their dreams because they really can come true.

You can learn more about Little Pat Pat's at MilitaryAvenue.com: MilitaryAvenue Partner Ad


Want to learn more about our Spotlight on the Military Spouse?  Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2011 - Spotlight MilitaryAvenue Partners

Want to learn more about becoming a MilitaryAvenue Partner? http://www.militaryavenue.com/ListWithUs.aspx
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