Friday, February 11, 2011

How to make a tradeshow profitable - we have a plan!

1.  Prepare months in advance.   Develop a written action plan and timeline with specific tasks to be completed and assign names of individuals responsible for accomplishing each.   Details matter!   Think about and commit to the look of your tradeshow booth, plan how you will communicate before, during and after the show, determine who’s going and what apparel each person will wear that will reflect a cohesive look and professional image, make travel arrangements, and select a memorable and effective giveaway item.

2. Pick the right tradeshow.   You know where your customers are.  Participate in that tradeshow and make an impact.

3. Market yourself before the show.   Don’t go to any tradeshow with the idea that you are going to walk away with orders without some advance marketing.  Tell all likely attendees to the tradeshow that you are going and tell them multiple times.  Traditional mail, email, tweet, company facebook page, blog, on hold message, account managers, customer service managers, and any other way you typically communicate with clients and potential clients.  Tell them WHY they should come see you – Do you have a new or upgraded product or service offering? Are you offering a special discount?  Is this an opportunity to finally meet face to face?

4. Stand out in the crowd.   Set yourself apart from other participants with a unique look that showcases your brand, peaks interest, and drives attendees to your booth.    Give 2 levels of promotional items -- one that you can give away to the “collectors” and one that you give away to clients and true prospects.   Branded items should be targeted to your customer base.  Whether your tradeshow audience is stay at home moms, plant managers, C level executives, or someone in between, know your audience and choose your giveaway item wisely.

5. Collect information about competition and clients.   Most tradeshows today allow for electronic collection of attendees information that is supplied to each show vendor.  Make sure you not only receive the list, but use it effectively to reach out to potential clients and existing customers.

6. Follow up with clients and prospects.  And not just once!  Track your sales from contacts at the show.  Commit to a goal of at least 3-5 times the cost of the show in sales over the next 12 months.  Never go to a show with the idea that we just want to “get our name out there.”  Spend your money on other marketing initiatives for this.  Tradeshows are intended to acquire new clients and expand relationships with current clients.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Client Appreciation Marketing

Be unique, thank your clients.

1. Say “Thank You”, at every opportunity.   How many of us write up the order, turn it in and go to the next prospect or task at hand?  I mean, we’re doing our clients a favor, aren’t we?  Our product and service is better than the competition.  We delivered it on time, without hassle, under budget and we threw in some added value to the whole order on the back end. They should be thanking me, right?  Think again. 

If you don’t go out of your way every time you come in contact with a client or prospect to thank them for their time, the order, the opportunity to be in the running, the coffee while you are in their waiting room, etc. etc., then you are missing an opportunity to remind them that you are there to serve and become an integral part of their team as a vendor or as a partner.

2. Say “Thank You”, at every contact with a useful gift.  Pen, ruler, travel mug, paper cube, calendar or any one of thousands of other branded items.  It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to be something of value for that particular industry or person.  Make sure YOUR company brand stays in front of the customer and your prospects!

3. Say “Thank You”, after the sale.  This is the most under utilized common courtesy in American business.  In other countries it’s done on every sale by giving a gift back to the customer as a thank you for their business.  Not in America.  Even if it’s just a thank you card, do it!  But if you want to really make an impact, send them something that will cause them to reflect on you and how great it was to do business with your company.

4. Say “Thank You”, at the end of the year or during the holidays.  Your top clients need to be remembered at the end of every year.  Take this opportunity to set yourself apart by sending a branded gift that tastes great or a logo’d gift that will be used time and time again throughout the coming year.  Don’t miss this opportunity to be unique and be remembered.

5. Say “Thank You”, with random acts of appreciation.  Random gifts that show appreciation are always good!  They are remembered and appreciated even more --unexpected random gifts are great way to show your customers that they are thought of and valued, not just during the normal gift-giving time of year.  Standing out and being remembered is what it’s all about.