Category Archives: Marketing

Choosing The Right Tradeshow

Let’s face it, everybody has exhibited at a tradeshow and at the end of the show said, “I’ll never do this show again”. With the proliferation of trade shows these days, which show do you choose? Well, first of all you don’t just choose one show and let that be your agenda for the year; you plan your schedule strategically. I would suggest, depending on your industry, let’s take manufacturing for example, you choose no fewer than two shows per year and more, if warranted (more on that in a minute). Two shows, one in the spring and one in the fall, allows your organization the benefit from any sales cycles that may exist. More to the point it allows your sales force to interface with prospects and suspects, not to mention customers, which may only get perfunctory attention during the rest of the year. And, it provides excellent momentum for introduction of new products and services. More than two shows? Absolutely, if your organization has opportunities in sectors of large market categories.

But which shows? Here are some suggestions to consider: If the show is National, where can your space be positioned and what is the trend in exhibitors? Can your space be positioned near the entrance or are you going to relegated to some obscure space in the back of the hall? When the calls to entry comes in, are the same number of exhibitors signed up this year as last OR is it negative gain? Is the show manager, your industry association? And, if so, are they offering symposia on meaningful industry issues (or maybe no round tables or topics at all)? If so, can your sales manager be a speaker or at least on a round table discussion panel? If not, chances are your customers will feel the same and skip the show. I would poll your ten top customers and ask what show(s) they attend. And, if there are several new prospects or suspects that have high potential, ask them as well. A blinding glimpse of the obvious? Probably. Good marketing? You bet.

What if the shows your organization is considering are simply Regional or Local in scope? I would call the show manager and ask about attendance over the last several years. If it’s up or steady; it’s definitely worth considering. If not, what’s the point?

If it’s Regional, I would definitely ask the same set of questions but I would look for the participation of my competition as well. If your competition is there, you may be conspicuous by your absence. If not, it may be a golden opportunity, especially if the attendance is up from one year to the next. If your competition has been there but not recently, you may want to ask some more questions and see if the right set of prospects and suspects fits your goals.

If it’s Local, I would definitely check the venue. If the venue is a hotel or motel, it may be OK but only if you are offered adequate space (definitely not a hallway). If it’s a convention center or exhibition hall, definitely worth considering – the venue is right around the corner and you can rotate manning the booth throughout the show so it’s convenient for everybody.

Remember, NO MATTER WHAT THE SHOW, the organization that ends up with the most visitors to its space is the organization that wins.

3 Innovative Ways To Build An Optin Email List That Stands Above The Crowd

With so many optin email lists out there, your really need to come up with a hook to attractive subscribers. It needs to have something special or different. It could be something you offer inside every newsletter issue, like interviews with experts. Or the hook could be a unique incentive that website vistors can take advantage of immediately when they sign up.

Here are 3 ideas you can use for your own sites, or use as inspiration to get you thinking a little outside of the box:

— Build an Optin Email List by Creating a Private Members Only Site or Section —

Create a private web site and have people sign up to get free, immediate access. For example, you could say, “Subscribe to our free e-zine and get free access to our private membership web site!” You can choose to have them receive a username and password every time they want to login, or you can just provide a link to the site in your welcome email.

Your private members only site can be as big or as small as you want. Some of the things you can include inside are: reports, software, articles, ebooks, etc. Inside the site, you can advertise your affiliate programs, as well. And you can follow-up to let them know about updates, new products they might be interested in, the latest news in your industry, etc.

— Build an Optin Email List By Giving Subscribers a Free, Tangible Gift —

Instead of offering a free ebook (or a whole package of them) like most everybody else, promise to give your visitors something they can hold in their hands if they give you their contact information.

For example, you could say “Subscribe today and get our new report mailed to you via First Class.” You could print out your report on standard 8 x 11 sheets of paper, fold it up, put it inside an envelope, and mail it off.

Or you can offer a tips booklet and mail it to new subscribers. Or you can create your own CD full of information targeted toward your market and mail that. Or if you have a wholesale supply of a product of interest to your subscribers, then you can send one to each new subscriber. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Follow-up possibilities include: articles (your own or written by others), tips you pick up, news in your niche, reviews of products or other interested, related websites, etc.

— Build an Optin Email List Through a Contest or Sweepstakes —

Hold a free contest or sweepstakes at your website where they must give their contact information, including their email address, to enter. Make the prize something that your niche market will be interested in. Otherwise, they’ll never want to enter.

If you already have an ezine up and running, you could offer free automatic entry for new subscribers. For example, you could say, “Subscribe to our free newsletter and get automatic entry into our contest.” You’ll also want to retroactively include current subscribers.

You can announce the winner(s) at the end, as well as send any new contest announcements or product announcements. Or you can make this an ongoing contest, where you give away the same thing to one (or more) lucky people every month. That way you’ll entice many subscribers to stay on your list.

You can find niche products to give away through wholesalers or dropshippers. Or you can create it yourself. One of my favorite ways to do this is create a CD-Rom with a guide or report (or sometimes several) that my niche market will find interesting.

Once again, you can follow-up with tips, articles, news, new product announcements, or just an announcement of each monthly winner(s).

Hopefully, now I’ve inspired you to take some action or encouraged ideas of your own with these tips. Any idea, the more popular it gets, requires you to think outside the box every now and then in order to be effective. Building an optin email list is no different. And with newsletters and ezines saturating the Internet day by day, you need to offer something a little different to make them want to sign up to yours. Or you’ll just end up getting left behind.

Promotional Business Products

That depends on how serious you are with your business venture. Is this a de facto hobby, or a true business that you plan to grow, market and make successful? If you fall under the second category, then you might seriously consider getting some promotional business products. They can make the difference in acquiring and keeping customers.

If you’re reading this article, chances are that your business is primarily online, so there might be other questions for you to consider if you decide you do need promotional products. What kind of customers are you dealing with? Do you have interaction with them through the mail, via the Internet, or even face-to-face? Depending on how you interact with your customers, you may want to choose different kinds of promotional items.

Make sure that your promotional business products mesh with your marketing strategy and message, meet with your client needs, and won’t bring down your business. Be careful not to fall into any of these traps when choosing.

DON’T PURCHASE THROW AWAYS

If you’re going to spend money on something, it should be worthwhile. Make sure that your client will use the product. Don’t sacrifice quality. If you’re going to buy pens to give away, make sure that they are good pens that write well. If they aren’t, the client will throw them away and won’t see your name every time he needs to write down a phone number.

DON’T BLEND INTO THE CROWD

Be creative. Try to find a product that speaks to what your company is and that your clients will appreciate. If you think you can pull it off, try to make your promotional items funny without losing relevance. Nothing would be better for business than for Jim to show Bobby the hilarious promotional items that you gave him. Now Bobby has been exposed to your company and will be more likely to contact you.

DON’T BUY ARBITRAY PROMOTIONAL BUSINESS PRODUCTS

Make your promotional business products relevant to your company and part of your overall marketing strategy. If you run a nature photography website, mail key chains with one of your nature photographs attached. All of your promotional business products should remind customers of what you do and the quality of your work. Don’t settle for a product with just your name on it. Make sure the product says something about you.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR BEST CUSOMTERS

If possible, tailor some promotional business products to your better clients. Try to get something a bit nicer for the people who buy $300 worth of ad space a week on your website. And make sure that it is something that this client will truly appreciate. If your best client is a kayak tour company, give them waterproof compasses, not magnets. Don’t ever spend so much time and effort trying to acquire new customers that you forget to keep your established customers happy.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE AGE IN WHICH WE LIVE

Technologies are constantly changing and being created. Take advantage of that. A good promotional business item might be an e-mailed screensaver or a personalized widget for your customer’s desktop. Promotional items can be downloaded, in CD form, or just on a website. Be creative. The better and more memorable your promotional business products, the more customers and revenue they will bring you.