Local Businesses and the Art of Trade Show Marketing

Trade shows present a great chance for networking, but at their core, these gatherings are meant for businesses to market their products or services. In fact, trade shows generated a full $12.6 billion in revenue during 2015 alone. This statistic proves that trade show marketing is valuable, but this is only the case if local business owners are using the right strategies – such as the following.

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Local Businesses and the Art of Trade Show Marketing

1. Promote Ahead of Time Via Social Media

One tried-and-true method of getting attention at a trade show is by marketing the event ahead of time. Use social media to let clients know the event is coming up. It’s smart to provide great reasons – and even incentives – for why a person should show up and come to the booth. It’s even smart to start a hashtag prior to the event and then utilize it on the day of.

2. Use Guerrilla Marketing Tactics

In a perfect world, every trade show attendee would be attracted to a booth based solely on the quality of the product or service being offered. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world, but guerrilla marketing tactics can make up for this.

One great trade show guerrilla marketing tactic is holding a raffle or contest. Others might incentivize potential clients to tweet something about the booth. Still others simply provide a cell phone charging station to ensure people show up. Guerrilla marketing works if a business owner can figure out which tactic works best for them.

3. Utilize Employee “Plants”

When trade show attendees see a crowd gathered around a booth, their inclination is that something special is going on. It’s simply human nature. This is why business owners should have a few employees come to the show dressed in normal clothes. These workers should gather around the booth and act interested. This will attract others who may actually show real interest.

Trade shows are a powerful marketing tool, and business owners should prepare for them months in advance. This preparation along with the right promotional tactics can go a long way in securing part of the aforementioned $12.6 billion in yearly revenue.

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3 Customer Loyalty Plans that Actually Work

Customer loyalty is a tricky thing to come by. In fact, one study showed that nearly 80 percent of consumers would jump ship within a week of a single negative customer service experience. This obviously makes customer service important, but gaining loyalty requires much more. Fortunately, business owners can use the following customer loyalty tips to hang onto their best clients.

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3 Customer Loyalty Plans that Actually Work

1. Create a Customer Loyalty Program

One of the quickest and most utilized methods of garnering customer loyalty is through a simple loyalty program. These once were nothing more than “We’ll punch your card for each purchase, and on the 10th purchase, you get something free.” They’ve evolved greatly since that point.

Now local business owners can get clients to sign up for loyalty programs through their email, apps and a variety of other methods. Come up with a way to incentivize customers to be loyal, and they’ll remain loyal.

2. Strive to Fix Every Perceived Misstep

While touching base with every upset customer may seem like a tedious task, it’s important to remember that many national franchises do just that through their social media channels. Whether someone takes to Yelp, Facebook or calls in with a complaint, budding entrepreneurs should do everything in their power to make things right. If customers know a manager will go the extra mile to keep their business, they’ll understand how important they really are.

3. Get Personal

Consumers don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine. They want to feel that a company looks at them like real people – not just profits. When someone takes the time to comment on Facebook, have a marketing manager reply. If someone leaves a positive review online, the business owner should take the time to reply. Get personal with clients, and they’ll feel like they’ve found a home.

Fostering customer loyalty is never going to be an easy job, but it’s certainly one worth engaging in. The best marketing tactics in the world mean nothing without customer loyalty, so it’s something that every business owner should focus on.

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Doomsday Prepping and the Art of Effective Marketing

Doomsday preppers, typically just referred to as “preppers,” are people who actively prepare for a catastrophic collapse of society. It could be by building bunkers or learning outdoor skills, and these people aren’t a rare breed. The show “Doomsday Preppers,” in fact, drew 4 million viewers for its premiere. With this currently being so popular, it seems prudent to look at the marketing lessons of doomsday preppers.

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Doomsday Prepping and the Art of Effective Marketing

Find a Niche

The first marketing lesson learned from preppers doesn’t come from the preppers themselves – but rather from those who market to them. Most people can look at flint, MREs, and machetes and just see random products.

Many companies, though, see them as marketing gold. By throwing in some survivalist language when marketing normal products, they easily increase their sales. Local business owners should do the same. Find a niche and go full force into it.

Old School Isn’t Out of Date

If society collapses, preppers aren’t going to depend upon cell phones, supercenters, power grids, and water treatment facilities to save them. Everything they stockpile, from ham radios to generators, are old school methods we don’t typically use. Everything else simply won’t work.

While local business owners won’t likely be marketing during the Apocalypse, they should take a lesson that antiquated methods aren’t obsolete. Email marketing, direct mailers, and even the newspaper still have marketing potential.

Don’t Be Afraid to Adapt

The main goal of doomsday preppers is adaptation. When society collapses, they are prepared to adapt. Budding entrepreneurs should be ready to do the same with their marketing. If an invested strategy simply isn’t paying off, it’s okay to tweak it or go a different route. If demographics change, it’s okay to switch targeting methods. Adaptation, both literally and figuratively, isn’t a four-letter word.

Most people wouldn’t even say doomsday prepping and marketing in the same sentence. Their preparatory ideology, however, holds the same truths in the promotional world as it does the survivalist.

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How Local Businesses Can Market at Community Events

People fall in love with companies for many reasons, but more and more, consumers are gravitating towards businesses that get involved in the community. Over half of people worldwide, for instance, say they will pay more if a company does socially responsible things like getting involved in the community. This creates a unique promotional opportunity, and businesses that use these community marketing events will see benefits.

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How Local Businesses Can Market at Community Events

Sponsor Something Locally

Sending a check to charity is a great thing, and if the organization publicizes the gift, it’s even better. To ensure a bit of exposure, though, many local business owners simply sponsor community events or booths that are present. This can be anything from buying ad space in the outfield of the high school baseball field or renting an event booth for a local cancer treatment organization.

Pull an “Inception” Event

Anyone who has seen the movie “Inception” remembers the basic premise of “a dream within a dream.” Local business owners can take a tip here and host an event within an event. After purchasing space at a local festival, for instance, they could hold a contest, instructional class or even a dance off – if it’s somehow relatable. These mini events easily catch people’s attention.

Do Some Homework

Many community events, ranging from concerts to festivals, attract a certain demographic of people. A rock music festival, for instance, might bring in people in their 20s and 30s. An international food festival, on the other hand, could attract families. Business owners need to know who their audience is at these events and prepare to market in a way that appeals to them.

Marketing a local business is a tough job, and that’s why it’s so important to do it right. Not everything is online, and if budding entrepreneurs can perfect their marketing skills at local events, they’re very likely to see a boost in sales.

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The Offline Marketing Mistakes Businesses Must Avoid

While online marketing is obviously very important, it doesn’t mean that local business owners should ignore offline strategies. Even in the newspaper business – a dying industry – three-fourths of advertising revenue comes from offline ads. This proves that entrepreneurs can’t solely focus on digital. If they’re making the following offline marketing mistakes, though, it can be just as bad as having no offline strategy at all.

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The Offline Marketing Mistakes Businesses Must Avoid

Not Integrating Online and Offline Marketing

Offline marketing certainly has its own individual benefits, but businesses that fail to integrate online and offline marketing are making a mistake. Ways to do this could include putting up hashtag or QR code signs at marketing events, offering incentives for people to “check in” at a location via social media or create some form of offline teaser advertising that drives people to a website. Whatever the specific course, integration is integral.

Not Utilizing the Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages has rebranded itself as “YP,” and business owners should certainly have a presence on that site. As it turns out, though, print ads in the phone book are still very useful. A full 40 percent of Americans use a phone book yearly. While business owners in rural areas see a better return on investment, 13 percent of New Yorkers still consult the phone book weekly. Business owners should give some serious thought to this offline marketing tactic.

Overlooking Direct Mail

Direct mail is another offline marketing strategy that many local business owners have overlooked lately. Again, this isn’t always a good tactic. In fact, nearly a quarter of Americans have made a purchase over the last year because they received direct mailers. Some things never change, and people’s love for getting mail is one of them.

Offline marketing might one day become pointless, but for now, it still serves a purpose. Businesses across America continue to see benefits, and as long as they can avoid these offline marketing mistakes, those benefits will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

Please do me a favor by sharing this post with your friends. You can also let me know what you think of my post by leaving me a comment on my Facebook page and about other topics you would like me to cover.

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3 Quick Ways to Get User-Generated Content for Marketing

Local business owners and their marketing managers are typically wondering how to create informative and interesting content. This is a constant necessity, but over the years, marketing professionals have recognized that user-generated content can be just as valuable. Even back when MySpace was still the social media giant, data showed this form of content increased sales. Fortunately, learning how to get user-generated content is as easy as learning a few tips.

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3 Quick Ways to Get User-Generated Content for Marketing

Reward Clients for User-Generated Content

One of the best ways to elicit any type of behavior is by offering a reward, and this holds true in the user-generated content arena. Companies can have a contest where the winner is chosen from those who submit tagged, in-store photos of themselves. It could also be as simple as giving a discount to clients who “check in” on social media. Find a way to incentivize user-generated content and it will come.

Keep an Eye on Review Sites

Most business owners understand the importance of keeping an eye on customer reviews left for their company. What many don’t realize is that they can utilize these reviews as a form of user-generated content.

As it turns out, people really trust online reviews. This is why marketers spend so much time trying to make sure they’re positive. What is the point, though, in waiting for people to seek out these reviews? Take the time to find positive testimonials and share them, even if it’s just via screenshot, on social media.

Create In-Store Signs

One method of getting user-generated content that’s overlooked far too often is simply putting a sign up. The sign could be nothing more than a unique hashtag with a call to action. The call to action tells people to use the hashtag to let their friends know they’re getting a new car, dress or whatever specific items the store carries.

User-generated content is worth its weight in gold, so every budding entrepreneur should strive to elicit it. It won’t replace all of content marketing, but it will certainly make a dent.

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Why Business Cards Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool

Whether it’s social media or a website, most local businesses have a variety of digital marketing tools at their disposal. Of course, this doesn’t mean that offline measures aren’t still effective. The good, old-fashioned business card, for example, is still an effective marketing tool. It’s not just a method of keeping in contact with other professionals, and the following benefits prove it.

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Why Business Cards Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool

Creates Legitimacy

The biggest benefit of having a business card to hand out is the legitimacy it lends to a company. An entrepreneur without a business card is like a company without a website. It’s just not normal, and people will view it as unprofessional. Becoming an industry thought leader is essential, and creating legitimacy is the first step in the process.

Statistics Do Not Lie

When people discuss marketing statistics, it’s typical to explain how effective something like videos or email newsletters can be. When one delves into the statistics related to business cards, however, it becomes clear these miniature billboards are effective.

Current data shows that a company experiences a 2.5 percent increase in sales for every 2,000 business cards handed out. This may not seem like much, but one only needs to look at the math to understand how big this is.

Business owners who print their own cards spent about $0.05 per card. This ends up costing $100 for 2,000 cards. Even if a business only brings in $50,000 in a year, a 2.5 percent increase is $1,250.

Helps with Networking

Some local business owners think they’re going to set out and succeed with only their hard work and investors. In reality, success usually requires relationships with both those inside and outside of an industry.

Setting up mutually beneficial marketing relationships and exchanging information on suppliers are just some of the benefits of strong networking. When meeting other professionals that can potentially help a business flourish, a business card gives off a strong first impression and ensures an entrepreneur’s contact information isn’t forgotten.

While the entire world may seem digital, it’s still important for local business owners to work within the offline world. Having a professional looking business card is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

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These Offline Marketing Mistakes Are Hurting Your Business

While online marketing is obviously very important, it doesn’t mean that local business owners should ignore offline strategies. Even in the newspaper business – a dying industry – three-fourths of advertising revenue comes from offline ads. This proves that entrepreneurs can’t solely focus on digital. If they’re making the following offline marketing mistakes, though, it can be just as bad as having no offline strategy at all.

The Offline Marketing Mistakes Businesses Must AvoidNot Integrating Online and Offline Marketing

Offline marketing certainly has its own individual benefits, but businesses that fail to integrate online and offline marketing are making a mistake. Ways to do this could include putting up hashtag or QR code signs at marketing events, offering incentives for people to “check in” at a location via social media or create some form of offline teaser advertising that drives people to a website. Whatever the specific course, integration is integral.

Not Utilizing the Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages has rebranded itself as “YP,” and business owners should certainly have a presence on that site. As it turns out, though, print ads in the phone book are still very useful. A full 40 percent of Americans use a phone book yearly. While business owners in rural areas see a better return on investment, 13 percent of New Yorkers still consult the phone book weekly. Business owners should give some serious thought to this offline marketing tactic.

Overlooking Direct Mail

Direct mail is another offline marketing strategy that many local business owners have overlooked lately. Again, this isn’t always a good tactic. In fact, nearly a quarter of Americans have made a purchase over the last year because they received direct mailers. Some things never change, and people’s love for getting mail is one of them.

Offline marketing might one day become pointless, but for now, it still serves a purpose. Businesses across America continue to see benefits, and as long as they can avoid these offline marketing mistakes, those benefits will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

Please do me a favor by sharing this post with your friends. You can also let me know what you think of my post by leaving me a comment on my Facebook page and about other topics you would like me to cover.

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3 Email Marketing Myths to Ignore at All Costs

Whether local business owners know it or not, email marketing is still a powerful force. Of course, this is only the case if it’s utilized properly, and one of the quickest ways to fail in this endeavor is by not knowing the email marketing myths to avoid. Keep in mind that 80 percent of consumers will unsubscribe from an email list if it’s not useful, and falling for the following myths will undoubtedly lead to that.

corinne-kutz-2112511. “Spam” Keywords Are Bad in Subject Lines

When the internet was full of HTML web pages, flashing banner ads and free Napster, email spam folders weren’t too sophisticated. In many cases, simply including words like “FREE,” “SALE” and “DISCOUNT” were enough to get messages sent to the spam folder.

This is no longer the case. Spam filtering technology has expanded in leaps and bounds, and as long as a company isn’t utilizing actual spammy techniques, these keywords will do no harm.

2. Sending Too Many Emails Is Bad

The idea that “too many emails is a bad thing” depends on one’s definition of “too many emails.” A business owner certainly doesn’t want to send out three emails a day, but many companies only send out messages once a month. This needs to stop. Composing and delivering four valuable and informative emails in a month’s time will increase open rates.

3. The Best Day to Send Emails Is…

Some people say that Thursday is the best day to send marketing emails. Others swear by Tuesday. In reality, the believers of both of these statements could be wrong – and right. The simple fact is that the best time to send an email can vary by industry, business size and a variety of other factors. Marketing managers can analyze open rates and figure out the real best time for a business to send their messages.

Email marketing has managed to survive the onslaught of social media and other promotional formats. It’s not likely to go anywhere soon, so avoiding these email marketing myths is essential to success.

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3 Marketing Strategies That Never Go Out of Style

Technology has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last few decades. Even with all of this advancement, though, the old adage of a true classic never going out of style still holds true. While most people might think of music and cars when they hear this, it also applies to the marketing world. That’s why business owners should consider these tactics if they haven’t already.

andrew-neel-178721Consider Sign Spinning

People once – and still do – hire individuals to serve as walking billboards. This marketing method, however, has seemed to evolve into “sign spinning.” A person standing on the side of the road spinning a sign is undoubtedly eye-catching, but does it work? As it turns out, some statistics show a 40 percent increase in sales once a company starts utilizing sign spinners. They may seem silly and they’re certainly not the human billboards of the past, but if it works… it works.

Donate Products and Gift Certificates

While donating to charity can certainly bring attention to a business, offering products or gift certificates for local contests can pay off as well. Whether it’s a local high school raffle or the local rotary club’s silent auction, this little investment can pay huge dividends when it comes to new customers, great PR, and increased referrals.

The Good Old Business Card

Business cards can be left in dentist office magazines, pinned to public bulletin boards or simply handed out to anyone a business owner gets chatty with. It’s one of the oldest marketing methods to still prove successful, and this is in large part due to the affordability of printing them. If 50 business cards cost $3 and even one consumer makes a purchase, it’s been a profitable day.

Some incarnation of the aforementioned offline marketing tactics has been in use for centuries, but that doesn’t make them any less effective. They may be no replacement for digital marketing, but they’ll certainly help add to your bottom line.

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