Tag: networking

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Top 10 Trade Show Tactics To Grow Your Business


Spring is fast approaching, and it brings with it a season of local and national trade shows for businesses like yours and ours. Trade shows often serve as a launch pad for new business enterprises and the proverbial “bread and butter” for existing enterprises to grow. However, trade show participation often come at high costs for registration fees, promotional items, travel, labor and other expenses. This might put some small businesses at risk of not getting a good return on investment (ROI).

We are excited to offer you the top ten researched-backed trade show tactics to help you get the best ROI from trade show participation. Let’s begin with the most obvious:

 

  1. Nail First Impressions

Studies show that your first impression has a high impact on the actual long-term status of your relationship.[i] First impressions are even more important at trade shows because attendees are flooded with information about dozens of companies and its crucial that you and your business stand out.

In reality, you only have about 10 seconds to capture the attention of people passing by before they become uninterested in what you’re selling. — Rachael Sprung, HubSpot

To draw people in to your booth make sure your exhibit visually stands out, even if you have a limited budget. Utilize colors, large signs, banners, and make the most of your branded materials or incorporate inventive technology to make your set up more appealing and interesting. It is also important to create unique and interesting content to draw people in and then have that content lead to a sale. Finally, refine your elevator pitch; make sure it communicates who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique quickly and effectively.

 

  1. Engage Employees in All Aspects of the Show

Employees are part of your brand, so it is wise to utilize them as marketing tools for your business throughout the show. Some creative ways to include employees into your trade show display would be to have them disguised as show attendees interacting with your booth, creating an internal sales competition, and having an employee be a featured speaker.

  • Have employees dressed as show attendees and surround your booth to create the illusion of a crowd to draw other attendees. This works because social proof generates trust. When onlookers see others interacting with your brand they will wonder what the buzz is about and want to find out for themselves. If you utilize employees in this way be sure that you have sufficient employees working the booth to engage onlookers.
  • Create an internal sales competition. Have your best sales people on the floor and make it a competition among them as to who can generate the most leads or close the most deals. This will motivate employees to put in extra effort and make the most of the show.
  • Have a team member speak at the show. This proves that your presence has been vetted by the event planning committee in charge of the tradeshow.[ii] Having an employee speak at the show gives your brand visibility and validity with show attendee. Nothing builds trust faster than teaching something of value without asking for anything in return. Attendees with have a favorable view of your business if they gain something beneficial from your organization without having to give anything for it.

 

  1. Extend Your Reach With Inventive Promotional Items

Promotional items are extensions of your brand. Having promotional giveaways that are easily visible are simple ways to get people talking about your booth. Go beyond a branded stress ball and create unique promotional items to stand out from other businesses. Another way to maximize the benefit of promotional items is to turn it into a game. For example, those who wear items or sign up for your mailing list have a chance to win something big at the end. Creating a game gets people interested in your booth and excited at the change of winning something, while promoting your brand and generating warm sales leads.

 

  1. Identify Companies That Will Be In Attendance and Leverage Your Research

Go through the attendee list in advance and identify potential customers and prospects. If the event is more intimate, you can conduct a competitive analysis on the attending companies competitors so that you have the ability to, on a more personal level, show companies how they will be able to use your product to compete with their competitors.[iii] For example, Hubspot has a free tool, ‘Marketing Grader’, which can be used to grade the marketing programs of companies that will be in attendance. A leaderboard can be created to show top-ranked companies and be displayed on a screen at the event booth.

This allows you to make targeted communications and have prepared information to be more effective in communicating the ways you can improve the business of prospective clients.

 

  1. Schedule Pre-Show Booth Meetings with Potential Customers

Reach out to attendees 4-6 weeks prior to the show and set up meetings at your booth before the show starts. Reach out with personalized messages for each potential client.

Make it about networking, not selling. Learn about what they do, do not make it about what you do. The focus in these meetings should be to create relationships, not sell products. Creating a personal relationship with potential clients before trying to make a sale will make an eventual deal go more smoothly.

 

  1. Utilize the Experience and Resources of Other Companies

Your biggest resource before and at a trade show is other companies. There is much to learn from companies that have been successful and those that have failed. Trade leads and contact information with brands selling different products and services with the same target market as you. This is a way to instantly double sales opportunities; this gives you the most ability to affect your ROI for the show.

Before creating booth materials and while planning for the show, research successful trade show leaders and adjust your strategy. Take time to look into tips and tricks from organizations that have been very successful at trade shows. Explore other trade show booths and learn how they are marketing their products and services and ask or observe to determine if they are effective or not.

 

  1. Have Interactive Elements

Adding unconventional elements to your booth will generate interest and give attendees a better understanding of your value proposition. Anything that distances your booth from traditional trade show booths will benefit your businesses performance at the show. Incorporating touch screens is a helpful tool to increase engagement because it gives those interacting with your booth more to do than listen to your employees sales pitch.

 

  1. Bring Your Best Clients to the Show

Create repeat business by buying a ticket for some of your best clients. It is easier to get more business from an established client than it is to obtain a new customer, so inviting existing clients to the show is a way to maintain your relationship. A strong relationship with a prior client will make them an additional evangelist of your brand to help you secure new business as well.

 

  1. Stop Selling, Focus on Networking

Creating relationships first, before trying to make a sale, will be better for your business in the long run. Having an established relationship will make finalizing a deal later on much easier.

Ask questions about others first before attempting to sell your product or service. It is more natural flowing when you ask someone about their company and where they come from first, because they will likely ask about you in return.

Build relationships; ask questions about their business and themselves. Find common interests. Networking is more beneficial to your business than giving a sales pitch to every show attendee you interact with. Creating relationships will lead to more business long-term and leave attendees with a more favorable view of your company.

 

  1. Follow Up ASAP

After the show, contact leads as soon as possible so they do not forget about you. Typically, wait one day after the show to follow up with prospects. Follow up with any items you told customers or prospects you would send them upon return to the office.

Following up soon after the show is important because once prospects get back to ‘real life’ they will begin to forget the impression you made on them at the show and the conversations you had.

 

Was this information helpful?

 

Please, share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

References

[i] Gibson, J. C. (n.d.). 15 Trade Show Booth Success Tips. Retrieved February 09, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-c-gibson/19-trade-show-booth-succe_b_10066960.html

[ii] Sprung, R. (2012, March 12). 6 Tactics for Turning Trade Show Interactions Into On-Site Sales. Retrieved February 09, 2017, from https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31690/6-Tactics-for-Turning-Trade-Show-Interactions-Into-On-Site-Sales.aspx#sm.0000vph4sv19rxdtku03lu8l7tus0

[iii] Gleeson, B. (2013, September 05). 7 Tricks For Tradeshow Domination. Retrieved February 09, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2013/09/04/7-tricks-for-tradeshow-domination/#516298e64a1e

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Branding Etiquette – Rule #3: Practice What You Pitch!


Whether you are trying to raise money for your business/organization or just want to perfect your business strategy, a solid “elevator pitch” is an essential tool for achieving your goals. An elevator pitch should be delivered in 60 seconds or less or as a one page overview of your business. Think of your elevator pitch as a verbal executive summary that gives a quick overview of your business and details of why it’s going to be successful.

One of the key things your pitch should include is how your business is going to solve a problem. If your business does not address a problem, it is not a viable business venture. My recommendation is to strive to resolve the “W5H” questions that I typically ask during new client consultations.

  • Who are you?
    • Your name, title and company.
  • What do you do?
    • The problem that you’re solving.
  • Where can they find you?
    • Including digital and physical business locations.
  • When?
    • Hours of operation, seasonal operation (i.e. tax preparation)
  • Why should customers choose you?
    • Address your competition. Discuss why your business is different. Consider mentioning your education or years of experience.
  • How?
    • Briefly, describe how you are going to do to resolve the problem.

If you can answer as many of these questions as you can within 30 seconds, you will likely impress many people at networking event, secure new customers and develop successful partnerships. But, it does end there. You must practice what you pitch. Here are some ways to do that:

Be Prepared

This is a three-fold process: do your research, build a brand, and rehearse your pitch. Before you develop and verbalize your pitch, it is important to do your research to determine how you can answer the W5H questions to give the best first impression.

Then build a brand that visually represents and communicates your business idea. Why hook them on the pitch when you don’t have a logo, business card or website to reel them in?

Now, that you’ve done your homework and have lead capturing brand materials, you should practice giving pitch. Entertain your friends and family with your pitch bloopers of verbal pauses and mispronunciations. Record yourself on audio or video (the video can also be used later for marketing your brand). Rehearse until you are comfortable pitching with few mistakes to both very important individuals and large audiences.

Be Consistent

One of the worst worst things you could do for your brand is give an elevator pitch that you cannot validate. If you pitch that your cleaning service passes 100% of home inspections, it would be in your best interest to ensure that it never drops to 99%. This emphasizes the importance of making realistic projections about your brand. It is also very helpful to collect testimonials that validate the consistency your brand’s reputation.

Be Easy

When you are prepared with a good elevator pitch and have a track record of valid and consistent customer satisfaction with your brand, you obtain a high level of confidence in your brand. This confidence impacts the way you deliver your pitch. It should become so second nature and easy to execute that you impress your audience by the articulation just as much as the content. After all, shouldn’t marketing your business be easy?

It takes time, commitment and effort to develop and deliver a great elevator pitch. It should sound the same every time you give it. People should remember how and what you say in your elevator pitch. Most importantly, your work should reflect what you say in your pitch. Don’t forget that you are your brand. Become known for keeping your word. Follow Rule 3 and Practice What You Pitch. #MakeYourself

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Local Veteran Needs Your Vote for $150K Small Business Grant


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: TJ Jefferson

Fresh Touch Publicity

404.913.2122

tjefferson@ftpublicity.com

 

Local Veteran Needs Your Vote for $150K Small Business Grant

Warner Robins, Ga.- Air Force Veteran Brian Wyatt, owner of B-EZ Graphix, needs help from the community as he vies for a $150,000 small business grant through Chase Bank’s “Mission Main Street Grants” online campaign. He only needs 250 votes by Oct. 17 to be eligible for the next round of getting his business plan viewed by a panel of judges such as actor/entrepreneur Nick Cannon and co-host of ABC’s “The Chew” Carla Hall.

Last month, after five and a half years, Wyatt completed his enlistment as a Senior Airman in the 461 Air Control Wing of the Robins Air Force Base and was awarded the Air Force Sergeants Association’s Regional “Airman of the Year” in 2013 among competitors in 12 southern states. He has been a freelance graphic/web designer for 10 years, working with the Macon Indoor Flea Market locally and other clients in Atlanta, Chicago, and Memphis, Tenn. Wyatt submitted his application to use the $150,000 grant money to expand his staff, purchase office space and upgrade technology.

“B-EZ Graphix has revolutionized the way we communicate with our members,” said Juan F. Garcia, President of the Middle Georgia Chapter of the Air Force Sergeants Association. “The newsletter and web design has streamlined and made passing information to our members and social media followers faster and kept every member more informed than ever before. No other chapter website has come close to what we have been able to accomplish.”     

B-EZ Graphix is very involved in the community by offering complimentary services to local organizations like the Ruth Hartley Mosley Women’s Center of Macon, Ga. and provided free logo designs, highly discounted business card and website design services to non-profit organizations in Georgia and beyond. In the month of October, a portion of proceeds from B-EZ Graphix will be donated to the Georgia Alzheimer’s Association. Also, B-EZ Graphix has sponsored and donated to events like the Champaign-Urbana Day Fashion and Talent Show in Central Illinois, toy drive in Wyatt’s hometown of Chicago, and The Simply Giving Project in Memphis, Tenn.

“No other agency is reaching out to help these organizations the way we are,” Wyatt said. “We make their grassroots marketing efforts easy and effective by refining their professional image into a visual brand that grabs people’s attention. This grant will help extend our reach.”

Votes can be submitted at www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/business/detail/21165.

Mission Main St Grant

Visit www.b-ezgraphix.com for a design quote or more information.

 

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About B-EZ Graphix

The primary mission of B-EZ Graphix is to encourage entrepreneurship by making the marketing and brand development process easy and affordable for start-ups, non-profit organizations and minority-owned businesses. These organizations represent an “untapped” market that larger marketing agencies tend to ignore for larger, more established and profitable enterprises. B-EZ Graphix accomplishes this by working closely with clients to design and develop their brand products, such as logos, websites, business cards and much more. Additionally, B-EZ Graphix supports the re-branding and strategic marketing efforts of established enterprises by providing a cost-effective option to outsource their needs.

 

©Fresh Touch Publicity, LLC is a publicity consultancy company designed to assist businesses with maximizing its exposure.

 

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A Historic Treasure in Middle Georgia


The story of Ruth Hartley Mosley is a fascinating one. Her contributions to Middle Georgia and the Civil Rights Movement are invaluable. She was a very successful business woman and leader in community service. Not unlike my great-grandmother, Addie L. Wyatt, who is one of my greatest personal inspirations. Ruth left her home in the trust of the local community to serve as a Women’s Center and a resource for educational development. I visited the center to speak with the Executive Director, Gerri McCord, and see how me and B-EZ Graphix can contribute to the Ruth Hartley Mosley Women’s Center (RHMWC).

It was inspiring to learn that Ms. McCord retired into the position of serving as the Executive Director and practically volunteers her time and energy into serving the community from there. She has gone to great length to establish some powerful partnerships and leverage community initiatives to keep the RHMWC standing. She took the time to share her vision with me as well as the areas of need that the RHMWC has to fill in order to achieve those goals. Unfortunately, Ms. McCord’s many attempts to find good help to renovate and raise awareness of the RHMWC have not been very fruitful. The RHMWC has been the victim of a great deal of sub-par services to include work in renovations and in communications. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the house and the connectivity int he media center is poor impacting its ability to be used by the local community.

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Come on man! You must put in a more effort for a place this meaningful to the community.

I specialized in Information Technology and Communications during my career in the military. So, on an impulse I volunteered to help Ms. McCord get the media center back up and running. I also offered a FREE logo package to replace the impractical and unimpressive logo that the previous designer made for her. I figure that would at least get them off to a good start. I will also make moves to get Ms. McCord some fresh new business cards that will inspire anyone she hands them to, as well as a new better looking website that will be easier to find on the web. My spirit will not allow me to permit such a historic treasure in the community to continue to be ignored and unnoticed. I will also pool my resources to coordinate some volunteers to come and help do some handy work around the house as well to help save the center some money in renovations. These are just small things that entrepreneurs can do to give back to the community that gives to us. I’m certain that Ms. McCord’s gratitude will not end with a simple “thank you.” I strongly believe that even if I don’t reap rewards for my contributions in referrals and resources to help my business grow, I will receive them in Heaven. I can live with that.

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New Beginnings


I founded B-EZ Graphix in October of 2004 simply to give a name to the business I had been conducting as a freelance graphic and web designer in Central Illinois. I made a little money providing an affordable design solution for local businesses. But, it wasn’t my primary source of income (I was a chef). Rather, I considered design to be a lucrative hobby that helped me financially sustain myself through college. At that time, I would not have bet that it would become my way of life. Nearly 10 years later as my military career comes to a close, I am embarking on a risky adventure to operate B-EZ Graphix full time and work solely for myself. I am taking charge of my own destiny. And I am happy to share my new beginnings with each of you.

Naturally, I have many apprehensions about embarking on this quest to realize my success. But, I have faith in God, in myself and, most importantly, in the purpose of what I do. I think the people in my network can see that in the way that I speak and carry myself. Confidence is hard to hide. And I believe it showed tonight as I attended a Networking Mixer in Macon, Georgia. It was hosted by the Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages (MGBP). I introduced myself to Mr. Alex Habersham, the Publisher of MGBP, the week prior and I believe he observed my confidence as well. He invited me to the mixer and to meet with him about opportunities to work with MGBP. Just before the networking mixer began, I handed him a written proposal about how we can leverage each other and we carried on with plans to meet the next day. The mixer itself was one of the best I’ve ever attended. It occurs every second Tuesday at Overtyme in Macon, GA. There were over 60 attendees in the building all at once, and ever more that came in and out. It became evident that there is a large B2B market for me here in Middle Georgia that I should leverage as I explore new beginnings for B-EZ Graphix.

To my surprise, a brief 5 second introduction of myself and B-EZ Graphix (courtesy of Mr. Marc Parham of CAPBuilder Network) had dozens of people searching the room for me to get my business card and network with me. I must admit, I was taken back because that negated any fears I had left about becoming a fully committed entrepreneur. I even won a door prize! I am now more excited than ever to move forward with my commitment and leverage my new network in Middle Georgia to expand B-EZ Graphix and advance its mission. I will continue blogging to share my progress with my fellow entrepreneurs and small businesses in hopes that one day you’ll realize that you are just as capable. Until then, be easy, be blessed and be loved!

-B. Wyatt

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A Personal Touch


One of the initial challenges that entrepreneurs, new and small businesses face is determining how to compete with larger enterprises with greater resources. The most highly rated approached to overcome these challenges is to offer exceptional services. Again, this may seem difficult with  limited resources. However, small businesses have the ability to offer something that large competitors cannot – personal attention. The ability to offer individual attention and personal service to customers weighs heavily on the likelihood of generating brand loyalty and developing a persistent consumer base. However, it alone is not a key to success for entrepreneurs.

For example, while consulting with a new client, I learned that she was becoming very discouraged by all her efforts to market her salon despite all her efforts. She had hosted events, offered incentive discounts and invested in SEO services to get her salon greater visibility and generate leads. She had estimated that if she can get people through the doors of her salon, she was confident that she could provide the personal experience that would keep them coming back and referring friends. But, she was missing some key elements to her marketing and branding efforts. Her salon did not have a logo, her website was a bit unorganized and unimpressive and her social media accounts presented conflicting information and brand design elements. In essence, her brand lack the credibility that a logo and a consistent brand presence provides.

The lesson learned here is that while personal services offer a strategic advantage of operating a small business, it is ineffective if you do not couple it with a credible brand. One must choose carefully when to execute marketing and branding strategies. In this case, it is important to secure a consistent brand and niche first. Afterward, that personal touch will make all the difference when competing in markets with larger enterprises.