Marketing Your Business To The Next Level
Every small business is looking for the marketing strategy that takes it from a small independent to a lucrative business, able to compete at the very top of the industry. Unfortunately, this widely shared ambition makes it very difficult for small businesses to set themselves apart from competitors in crowded industries and marketplaces.
There are, however, a number of marketing techniques and tools that you can use to boost your small business’ reputation and brand awareness without breaking the bank.
Firstly, the offline and online marketing are no longer two separate entities. Your customers and potential customers are connected to the internet almost every waking minute. Whether they are sat in the office on the internet, walking down the high street playing on their phone or sitting on the train with their tablet in hand, they are connected to the net. 3G, the newly rolled out 4G and numerous Wi-Fi hotspots across every town and city, the number of places people aren’t online are rapidly decreasing. Your marketing strategy needs to have this at the forefront.
The consequence of the ‘ever online’ world has been a complete paradigm shift. Every offline transaction, advert or marketing ploy must direct customers online to your company’s social media presence. This is where you can interact with your customers, find out what makes them tick and offer them the very latest products and promotions.
On the other hand, your online marketing tactics should ultimately result in an increase in sales. In its simplest form this could be a customer being directed through to an online store, although you might just have to be a little more subtle than that. Think about mobile tickets, coupons and promotions that make customers’ offline lives easier. These are the sort of tactics that will turn customers into champions of your business and your brand.
A significant proportion of people searching for a store or office in the offline world will begin their search online and hence, your online visibility could be the difference between success and failure. It is essential to optimise your websites to ensure they are regularly achieving top five rankings on relevant search result pages. Blog, drop in key words, increase the number of incoming links to your site – do whatever it takes to ensure customers and clients can find you online in seconds. If you are unfamiliar to the world of online marketing, enlisting the help of an internet marketing company could well be a sound investment.
Another facet of online marketing is the ability to quickly and accurately perform analytics. Google Analytics, for example, will quickly allow you to test what online marketing strategies are working for your business. Regularly change your tactics to ensure you are effectively reaching the widest possible audience possible.
As a separate entity, offline marketing is still extremely valuable. Signs, banners, TV and radio advertising, even flyer drops are all still cost effect ways of increasing sales and brand awareness.
Trade shows and business exhibitions are another (often unexploited) form of marketing in the offline world. Either by setting up a stall or simply visiting, you will be given the opportunity to meet dozens of relevant suppliers, distributors and clients. For the best results, host an exhibition stall and demonstrate to your target audience exactly what sets you and your company apart from the rest of the competition with a quality designed display stand. Do your research and discover the best approach to effectively plan for, host and follow up a stand at a business exhibition.
Whatever approach you take to marketing, careful planning and regular analysis is important. Set yourself clear, achievable goals and (using the like of Google Analytics) regularly identify whether these goals are being met. By carefully monitoring your marketing strategies, you will save time, money and be able to understand exactly what works in your industry.
Finally, attending business and enterprise seminars is often a valuable use of your time. At these seminars, industry leaders can present the very latest in marketing techniques that are achieving success in other sectors. Learn as much as you can and never stop searching for education.
There are so many ways to market your business to the next level. With innovative thinking, careful planning and an amalgamation of offline and online marketing there is no reason you can’t lift your small business and turn it into a successful market leader.
Visiting A Business Exhibition
Business exhibitions are fantastic arenas for companies to come face to face with their clients, suppliers, distributors and competitions. A hub of activity, there provide the opportunity for all the stakeholders in an industry to meet and discuss everything from new business ideas to what they would like to see on the market.
These events are not just about improving sales; businesses can benefit hugely by simply attending business exhibitions on the other side of the exhibition stand.
To identify business events relevant to your business, get in touch with your trade associations and relevant enterprise groups. Speak to your distributors, suppliers and clients to discover the trade shows they attend. Discover events in industry relevant media, publications and press releases. To find out more about the types of organisations and clients that attend these events, get in touch with the exhibition organisers.
Planning is vital a for a successful visit and failure to do so could see your company waste time, letting the team aimlessly wander or chat to familiar colleagues and associates. The visiting team should identify the organisations and clients attending the exhibition and arrange appointments with relevant parties to ensure efficient use of company time. After all, attendance is about meeting people relevant and useful to your company rather than visiting interesting stalls and stands.
Before you attend, decide upon a goal or purpose. Are you looking to meet new suppliers? Do you want to mingle with your clients? Are you even trying to take a sneaky peak at what your competitors are doing? By setting clear goals you will ensure your day is productive and not a wasted investment of company time. Ensure you attend an event where the relevant parties will be in attendance. Many companies attend business exhibitions with good intentions but spread themselves too thinly with vague objectives or waste time by having none at all.
Prepare for the event by ensuring you have a stack of business cards printed, the contact details of anyone you will be meeting that day and any relevant company literature that might be useful to give to clients or suppliers. Do not leave things to chance – do your research and know exactly who will be attending the exhibition, several days in advance. In the same breath, do not overbook yourself. Firstly, you risk your team missing appointments and letting people down. Secondly, you should allow the team some time to browse and visit demonstrations and talks that they had not planned for.
Once you are at the event, ensure your first priorities are to achieve the goals that have been set out. Introduce yourself and converse with the parties you set out to meet (unless of course you are on a covert opportunity to spy on competitors) before you wander around the exhibition.
After your targets have been met, make the most out of the exhibition whilst you have the chance. Investigate new products, attend demonstrations and discover what is cutting edge in your industry. Do not be afraid to ask questions of anyone; information on your suppliers, distributors, clients and competition is also extremely valuable to your company.
Be open minded throughout the day. It is very easy for teams, used to attending business exhibitions, to believe that they know it all and have seen it all before. By attending presentations, demonstrations and talks with an open mind, it is entirely possible that your business could come across something new, exciting and very relevant.
Networking is also a key part of attending. Be prepared to meet anyone and everyone in your business sector; they are attended by a number of important figures and key industry players. Attend workshops, seminars and discussions, time permitting, as they can be extremely valuable for your company. Introduce yourself to people and take the initiative to build business contacts. Whilst you should have specific goals and targets, it is always beneficial to build new business contacts.
After the event it is important to follow up on all the contacts you have made throughout the day. Prioritise to ensure you get in contact with those particularly useful or relevant to your company within 48 hours. Other contacts should be reached out to within the week. Without following up on the day, you risk letting the hard work you put in go to waste.
As you can see, there is a lot to bear in mind when visiting a business exhibition. However, with a little planning and an open mind attending such an event can be extremely lucrative indeed.