Deciding Which Trade Shows to Attend This Year

1 Feb

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The personal relationships and business reputation that you can develop through trade shows is an ROI that you cannot really obtain anywhere else. However, you need to attend the right shows to make sure that you are building the personal relationships and business reputation that actually matter. Your business is probably on a budget as well. Even if you have multiple shows to attend, you may have to make a choice. Here is a short post on how to choose the trade shows to attend this year.

Defining Your Intent

Before you begin looking up keynote speakers and planning logistics, plan out the objectives for your year. The trade shows that might increase your overall leads may not be the same shows that would be best for a new product launch or a loyalty plan.

Shortening the Discovery Process

There are quite a few trade show calendars that you can search for new ideas on what to attend. Before you get a shortlist, you should look around a bit. New shows are popping up all over the world. The globalized economy is more connected than ever, and you may find a show that you did not even know existed. Here is a good calendar to get you started.

Studying the Event History

Once you find a number of interesting shows, you can check the history of those shows online. In the same way that you might check a review for a restaurant before going, you can now check the event history of shows. Take a look at the comments that other attendees have left in past years. Cross-reference their feedback with the goals you set for your business when defining your intent.

Getting the Timing

You may be able to attend more shows with a little logistics work at the beginning of the year. Shows that are close to each other may save you money on travel costs. You may be able to bring exhibits from one show to another that is within the same time frame. You should also consider how the timing of shows coincides with your internal schedule. For instance, a new product expo is no good if you are not going to be done with your prototype.

Looking at the Press

In order to shorten your list, you should look at the additional marketing opportunities that each show offers you. Some shows will have sponsorship opportunities or have speaking slots that you can use to advertise. Prioritize the shows that have the highest ROI, and contact them early to get on these special lists.

Segmenting Your Audience

The total number of attendees at a trade show is much less important than you may think. You want the right people, not the most people. Although the global audience is great to touch, realize that around 50% of attendees at a trade show will come from a 200-mile radius. Is this local audience important to you? If not, then you may be able to skip the show.

Creating a Budget

You now have a shortlist of trade shows and the schedule to attend them. It is time to get the budget together to attend them all. There is a reason that the money comes after the planning stage–hopefully, you have chosen shows that will expand your profitability. If this is the case, then the upfront cost should not matter. If all of your shows brings you $100,000, then a $10,000 expense, no matter how painful in the short term, is always worth it.

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How to Win the Online Marketing Battle

30 Jan

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The quest to convert target customers into clients is never-ending. The battle to connect with such clients has moved to the web across the past couple decades. It is no longer enough to advertise on radio, TV, billboards, magazines, and/or newspapers. If you own, manage or advertise for a business, it is imperative you win the online marketing battle. Here’s how to do it:

Tap Into the Power of Inbound Marketing

Today’s competition for business requires exposure those who spend time on the web as well as those who do not use computers or smartphones. Just about every company needs a healthy mix of traditional outbound marketing with inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about connecting with clients who already express an interest in your product or service. These are the prospects who are most inclined to transition into loyal customers. Consider adding something like a membership form for your website. This way, new visitors to the site will be able to obtain more information about your offerings. Whether it is a membership for discounts, industry information, product/service updates or anything else to keep target customers in the loop. Regular correspondence with such clients keeps your company at the forefront of their mind. This consistent contact through online channels will prove essential to keeping target clients thoroughly engaged with your business.

If an online membership or club does not jive with your business and what you offer, consider implementing an email marketing campaign in which those who have expressed an interest in your offerings are provided with an electronic newsletter. An email campaign such as a newsletter will establish your business that is worthy of respect as well as prospective clients’ business. Though an email marketing campaign, online membership or other clubs might not generate an immediate impact on the bottom line, it will catalyze business as time progresses. Be patient, make a genuine commitment to inbound marketing and you will enjoy an uptick in business in the ensuing months and years.

Social Media Matters

Business owners and managers who take the time to study their competitors will likely find these groups have a strong presence on social media. If your organization has not yet established a presence on the popular social media sites, it is time to do so. Appoint a social media manager to manage your company’s accounts on these platforms. This professional will ensure prospective clients are engaged on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Use these platforms to provide clients with updates regarding products and services, tips from industry insiders, sales updates, and other important information.

Establishing a presence on social media does not mean you have to employ a full-time social media marketing manager who makes a lofty salary with full benefits. Rather, you can start out with a part-time employee and gradually increase the workload as time progresses. In fact, you might find it prudent to lean on a tech-savvy employee to handle social media responsibilities during lulls in work. Above all, your company’s social media presence should be engaging. Provide interesting information that gives prospective clients insight or facts and they will begin to view your company as a trustworthy authority figure worthy of their business.

Content is Still King

It is often said content is king when it comes to the web. This statement was true a decade ago and it is still accurate in 2018. Companies that generate a steady stream of intriguing content that helps customers solve problems or better understand the product or service offering will inevitably enjoy a spike in business. However, any old content will not engage prospective clients. The content must be laden with keywords and key phrases relevant to your industry and possibly even your locale, depending on the type of services and products you provide. The use of such keywords will help your content rank high on search engine results pages. Highly-ranked website pages will lure in target customers, provide them with captivating content and ultimately lead to a considerable bump in conversions.

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4 Essential Elements to Effectively Market Building Materials

25 Jan

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Marketing is an important element of selling products and is very visible for things like consumer goods. Well-known marketing examples for items like toothpaste, refrigerators, and clothing abound. It isn’t a significant leap to apply those elements to drive sales for products in different industries. Indeed, building a brand around building materials utilizes many of the same tools, techniques, and resources.

  1. The Brand Matters Everywhere

Building a brand across multiple channels widens its reach. Instead of focusing solely on establishing a brand within the B2C space, it’s essential to extend that it to other audiences like those in the B2B environment. Establishing a presence within the B2B space can build partnerships, connections, and loyalty.

  1. Cultivate Influencers

The influencers within the building materials industry make a difference when it comes to the products that are chosen by consumers. This is true whether these consumers are homeowners or other businesses. So who are these influencers that need to be cultivated? Think about the engineers, builders, architects, and contractors that are important in the sector that you’re targeting. Those are your influencers.

  1. Don’t Dismiss Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth advertising is what traditional marketing was built on. Instead of this factor being unimportant in the digital age, it simply must be adapted so that it works for the changing times. It’s important to harness the right tools and techniques to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing in a way that presents your company in a favorable light.

  1. Identify Relevant Online Social Platforms

Though it’s likely that there will be some overlap within your target audiences when it comes to the online social platforms they use, some will be more specific to certain segments than others. LinkedIn, for example, is often where you can find influencers. Facebook and Twitter are used by both consumers and influencers. YouTube has traditionally been where many consumers get their information.

Does the marketing strategy you have in place for your building materials company contain the four essential elements outlined above? If not, can you envision a clear methodology to implement any that are missing?

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How Automation Sets You Up for Big Growth

23 Jan

 

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If you have not embraced the AI revolution in marketing, you will soon find your business squarely behind the eight ball in your industry. Automation is one of the core implements/takeaways/precursors of artificial intelligence. Its proper use sets you up for big growth in every aspect of business. Here’s how:

Cost Reduction

Big growth doesn’t start with big revenues. You need to shore up your supply side first, and automation in either your production or your marketing can help tremendously.

Production automation has been a part of our business culture since the Model-T Ford assembly lines. The modern version of this automation actually helps in the procurement of more personalized vehicles – the money a company makes from selling the base model aids in customization for special customers. The same is true of your marketing department – use automation to cut down on your manpower and overhead in customer acquisitions to redirect those resources into loyalty programs, PR, and mid-level sales funnel functions.

Customized Manpower

Big growth comes from big ideas. Big ideas don’t come from your CRM, logistics or administration software. No matter how robust those platforms may be, they can only organize and feed off of the data that your employees put into it.

If your employees spend all day on repetitive tasks, they are demoralized and otherwise unable to deliver the unique ideas that give your company its unique personality and core competencies. When they are relieved of tasks that require only a rote knowledge of procedure and mental function, they respond with customized ideas that lead to higher ROIs (even if most of them are never implemented). This is why Facebook and Google give their employees 20% of the workday to brainstorm and even fund some of the best ideas from those sessions. You may not have Facebook and Google money, but you can do the same thing on a smaller scale by giving your employees the gift of marketing automation.

Higher Revenues

Automation in your marketing department can lead directly to higher revenues. If you find a message that resonates with a certain buyer profile, that message should be repeated. There is no reason to employ a human to key in this message over and over – this is when automation is most useful. Modern automation platforms allow you to imprint cursory personalization modifiers into a repeated message for a more sophisticated communication.

Many companies forego marketing automation because they believe the technique is see-through. The true strength of marketing automation is that your clients know you are using it. You are in the B2B marketplace – most of your clients are probably serving their clients using the same techniques! Your buyers are more interested in your professionalism while using the tactic. Can you keep up with your own lines of communication? Do you direct the correspondence to the correct person? Do you know when in the sales funnel to create truly personalized messages?

Channels for Outreach

You can synchronize your communications channels through modern automation. Your social media outreach should be high on your list of priorities to automate as much as possible.

You can easily save time and money by updating all of your social media channels as you update one of them. IFTTT is a great resource to begin the process, although there are more sophisticated platforms out there.

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Your Best Demand Generation Practices for 2018

18 Jan

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The new buzzword for improving interest in your products and services is demand generation, which is fast becoming a vital metric for many companies. Not only does good demand generation help the supply chain, it also leads to happier customers and more alignment between sales and marketing. Here are some of the best demand generation strategies that you can use in 2018.

Automate and Centralize

Marketing automation platforms have made processes in the middle of the sales funnel far more efficient than ever before. Over half of all B2B firms are now using automation to nurture leads and, believe it or not, create more personalized content. Around the top of the funnel, centralizing the source of your leads gives you additional efficiency for the automation that you employ around the mid-level processes such as closed-loop reporting, vendor management, and standardization/enhancement.

Using Account Based Marketing Strategies

Email blasting cold contact lists is no longer viable in the modern business landscape. There are plenty of new tools that can precisely target accounts based on directed strategies. Segmenting your accounts from the beginning can help immensely when it is time for your sales and marketing teams to align themselves to go in for the kill.

A New Focus on Data Quality

Big data is so 2014. If you are not properly segmenting and organizing your data, then you will find scaling your demand generation to be a big problem. The tips above can help you avoid wasting money on low-quality leads, which will usually create a higher conversion rate for the business. You must also try to enhance your current leads with more precise data points. The entire subdiscipline of MarTech is focused on this, so get digging and find the right tools.

Your Qualified Lead Velocity Rate (QLVR)

You should be looking at a hard growth in your qualified leads on a month over month basis. This growth should be consistent, as your real-time rate is the best predictor of future growth and revenues. The revenues that you report in the current month usually do not represent the leads that were converted in that month – lead times for B2B firms is usually half a year to a year. The calculation for QLVR: your current month’s MQL (marketing qualified lead) conversion/ last month’s MQL. Multiply by 100 for the final metric.

Customer Service Communications

You can expect a 36% increase in customer retention if you purposefully align your sales and marketing teams. Alignment means that sales and marketing shares vision and metrics, communicate on a regular basis, and share in each other’s successes. Improved communications in your customer service line obviously lead to better customer experiences, and your marketing team will benefit from the input from sales. Marketing can increase demand generation from the additional information about the buyer’s journey, and the department will also have more leverage to support upselling and cross-selling.

Direct Client Interface

Your marketing team must take on the new responsibility of engaging directly with clients. Your frontline salesmen have knowledge about your buyers that is unique. Your marketers need the same sort of vision in order to increase demand generation. Clients may also help your marketing team identify opportunities and industry trends that are difficult to see from high rise offices away from the streets.

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