Archive for Marketing
Exhibiting your product or service at a trade show is a great way to network with industry experts and customers but can be very, very expensive. How do you know if it’s right for your company? Glad you asked. You’ve come to the right place. I’m going to take a minute to address the pros and cons of having a booth at a trade show so you can weigh your options and see what works for your brand.
Face Time: A trade show is a great opportunity to meet distributers, manufacturers, industry experts, and customers. No matter how good your social marketing campaign may be, nothing beats meeting face to face in the real world. You could really amp things up by handing out specialized promotional products from QLP to booth attendees. The free swag may be enough to convert random passersby’s into loyal customers.
Credibility and Visibility: Your presence at a trade show, even a small targeted show, demonstrates your credibility in your specific industry. Also, just being there makes you visible to people who would have never encountered your brand on their own.
Observe Trends and Competition: Attending a trade show is a great opportunity to see what trends are hot in your market. This is also a great time to take a look at your competition and see what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and how you can do better – or show off how much better you already are.
Demonstrate Your Product: The trade show is the perfect venue to demonstrate your product and show how it works and show why people need it. This also allows individuals to provide feedback about product and tell you what they like about, what they don’t like about it, and how it can be improved.
Expense: The expenses of having a booth at a trade show, even a small one, can get out of hand very quickly. You have to consider the price of the space itself, installation, labor, cleaning, traveling, lodging, display costs, and numerous other factors. Also, there might not be an immediate ROI on the expenses. If you have a successful exhibition, it may be weeks or months before the people you impressed start to drive up sales for your brand. The presence at a trade show can make or break a small company, especially in this economy.
The Competition: Where as a trade show or expo gives you an opportunity to observe the competition, it does the same for them as well. If your competitor outshines you to the point where attendees remember them and not you, then everything you’ve done has been for nothing.
Stress: Just attending a trade show, expo, or convention can be stressful. There’s a definite sensory overload, with flashy signs, loud music, and unruly crowds all vying for attention. Having a booth at a trade show is even worse. You have to worry about scheduling and making sure there’s always someone present. You have to worry that the products you brought to demo do not malfunction or break down. There are also the customers and visitors. Anybody who tells you the customer is always right has obviously never worked in retail or the service industry.
Is having a booth at a trade show right for you? Only you can answer that. Hopefully this article has helped to get you a better idea of what to expect.
Whether you are running a business, trying to build your reputation as a freelancer or trying to get the word out about a cause, there are 5 fairly easy ways to market yourself online.
1. Your Website
Traditional websites were fairly static, one-way conversations where the website’s purpose was to inform/education, promote or sell to a specific audience. Today’s consumers want more than that – they want to know who they are doing business with; they want to know the voice behind the product and they want to be able to have a conversation with that voice.
If you have a traditional website, add a blog component to it and open up the conversation between yourself and your potential customers (and existing ones, too). Not only does it give a voice to your brand, it allows you to educate your customers, build a relationship with them and market yourself.
WordPress the perfect platform for adding that blog component. It is open-source, free, and very easy to learn. You can add it on to any existing website or you can start from scratch and let your blog be the face of your online presence.
2. Your Email
This is a real easy one!! Use a signature block in your emails that you send out. Include your name, website address, tagline (if you have one) or one-liner highlighting your area of expertise, and any other contact information you want in front of your potential customers.
3. Get Social
There are social networks for everyone and everything! Facebook, Twitter, and Ning are just the tip of the iceberg. Social networks allow you to expand your own network and tap into the connections of others with similar interests. Be professional, consistent and genuine in all of your social networking endeavors and you never know what doors will open!
Discussion forums are another form of social networking. Find forums that are in your area of expertise or your potential customers area of interest and get involved. Ask questions and answer questions, be genuine and willing to give before you expect to receive anything!
4. Be Part of a Two Way Conversation
Develop a list of other sites that encourage two way conversation and get involved. Leave meaningful comments on posts that interest you. Always use your first name or recognized nickname when leaving a comment. Do not insult the site owner by leaving “keywords” in place of your name – I usually delete those comments here. Do leave the URL of your website in the URL field (when available) and use an email address that works in the event that the site owner would like to continue the conversation directly with you.
5. Be a Guest Author
Most blog owners I know will gladly post an article written by someone else along with a byline, if that article is well written and pertinent to the site. This is a great way for you to share your expertise with a different audience and expand your reach at the same time.
This is by no means a complete list! What are some other ways you have used to market yourself online?
Thanks to Ryan at College Crunch for inspiring this post.