Preparing For That First Business Convention

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Convention|Preparing For That First Business ConventionAs a firm, many milestones come your way. Your first five employees show the start of something promising while surviving your first financial year shows that you have some merit behind what you’re doing. Additionally, framing the first dollar you have ever received in a revenue context can help you tremendously.

But there’s almost nothing as big as that first business convention. For many firms, this can make them as nervous as can be, almost as if the company was a shy entity preparing for its first date. This is because not only does a firm wish to impress, but they will be in the presence of industry leaders whom they may wish to network with.

Of course, the public visibility of such an event is often something that holds additional merit, because we wish to show everyone that we have what it takes to stand with the big boys. To that end, let us consider how to appropriately prepare for your first business convention. With the following words, you’re sure to hit it out of the park:

Hire A Visible Lot

When it comes to booking your expo space, most event halls will ask that you hire an allotment of space. Within this, you may be assigned a booth, or you may be allowed to construct your own display feature yourself. It’s important that you invest in one that will be visible and also gain traffic from passers-by walking the event. In some cases, larger space is preferable to visible traction, and vice versa depending on your goals.

For product demonstrations, it might be worth erecting a large indoor tent for people to walk in and engage with your demonstration rather than watching it behind a large crowd. Additionally, if engagement and ensuring people sign up to follow your social media accounts is your goal, a smaller space may be preferable. It all depends on what you hope to achieve, and if you think that’s a realistic goal or not.

Regardless, it’s essential to consider what your needs are before booking the space, because you need to understand what your budget is going to look like. Additionally, hiring out space on a main stage for a large product demonstration may cost a little more. It’s important to be on top of your planning for this and plan your presence to a T.

Promote Your Attendance

It’s important to promote your attendance thoroughly if you hope for people to come and visit. You might not be a massive attraction at this stage, so it can be worthwhile to promote the event above all things. This is an easier sell, because it shows potential visitors that they have the chance to come, maybe see you, but also have a great day or weekend at said show. Using the event’s social media kit, you may align your marketing with theirs. But if you hope to use their licensed work for anything you may need to discuss this with the event organizers and gain express permission for this. If it’s solely to benefit the event, there may be some room for negotiations.

Craft Your Merchandise

Merchandise is an essential part of running a competent trade show event. If you cater to this carefully, you can market yourself with considerable weight. Consider the practical items you may give out as freebies. For example, if it’s in the middle of summer, a branded baseball cap can be a great idea. If you book an event space near the entrance of the convention center and you hand out a branded tote bag to each visitor, you have managed to give said visitors a place to store all of their other belongings and merch they are given when walking around the event. When all of the competition’s branded merch is hidden within your large branded bag, you can see who the victor of the public imaging war will be.

Merch is a great way to help those who do not know of your presence come to check out your stall, especially if you’re giving away great items such as hooded sweatshirts for engaging with a product demonstration. Everyone likes free stuff, and if the first memory a potential expo-goer has of your firm is something quality, practical and complimentary? You can be sure they’re going to give you that second look later on down the line.

With this advice, you’re certain to prepare well for that first business convention.

Why Including Government Procurement In Your Sales & Marketing Strategy Will Catapult Your Business To The Next Level

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Government Procurement|Why Including Government Procurement In Your Sales & Marketing Strategy Will Catapult Your Business To The Next LevelThe federal government spends over $4 trillion per year, and state & local agencies spend over $3 trillion. Government spending is the largest “industry” in the United States representing over 13% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — with manufacturing second at 12% of GDP.

Yet, despite this enormous opportunity, many companies don’t pursue doing business with the government because of common misconceptions about the government sales process.

I want to set the record straight. It’s time for business leaders to know the facts of government sales rather than believing the many myths surrounding this lucrative and probable client.

Most business leaders believe that government sales are beyond their reach and that the process is just too complicated. But times have changed. Doing business with the government has become more viable for ALL businesses — including small and minority-owned businesses. The process of government procurement has been streamlined — making it very feasible for the smallest of company’s and well worth the effort.

Government sales have evolved so much so that a majority of the spending does NOT go through a bid or RFP process. In fact, 80% of all government spending does go through a bid or RFP. Government agencies are using a wide variety of procurement options to complete purchases within weeks . . .or even days. In addition, the GSA has huge initiative to modernize its procurement process with an eMarketplace, which will help even the playing field further – ensuring that virtually all businesses have an opportunity to sell to the government.

Combined, U.S. governmental agencies represent the largest customer in the world, spending over $7 trillion per year. How can your company make no attempt to sell to the largest “prospect” in the world that spends an average of $20 billion per day?

Some of the best business advice you will receive is that your company MUST designate some resources toward selling to the government.

There are many benefits of doing business with the government. Unlike private companies, government agencies always pay. Most agencies have very high credit ratings, and companies can even get advanced payments from financial institutions on the future payments of government contracts (if necessary).

In addition, government spending is almost recession proof. When the normal business cycle slows and private industry spending declines — government agencies still spend large amounts of money. Government contracts are typically larger and can span multiple years. So, just 1 to 2 multi-year government contracts can have a MAJOR impact on the revenue of your company – catapulting your business to the next level.

If your business does not currently have one… I encourage you to create a government sales initiative to pursue the enormous opportunity of government procurement.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Jack SineyJack Siney is an entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in government sales and procurement. He co-founded his current company, GovSpend, Inc., that aggregates the purchase order data from government agencies at the federal, state, & local levels.

Branded building: does your workplace match your message?

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | Branded building: does your workplace match your message?It’s tempting to treat your company’s branding as an afterthought or, at least, largely limit your branding efforts to social media and digital media content. That would be especially understandable if your operations are largely online-focused, with few customers visiting your physical workplace.

However, preserving consistent branding throughout, not just your online presence but also your office can pay off handsomely – here’s why, plus what you can do to align your branding in this way.

It’s easy to lose track of your supposed mission

Even if you have typed out your company’s mission statement, printed it out in large text and then framed it all for prominent display, your staff’s promotional efforts could still veer off-course surprisingly easily. After all, there’s so much of which you need to keep track…

That “much” includes not only the digital content we have just mentioned but also ad campaigns and marketing materials such as posters, flyers and brochures. If you have different people working on different aspects of the branding, it can soon drift into incoherence, perhaps before you notice.

Consequently, your brand – or whatever it still comprises – could confuse customers, clients and even people inside the company, right up to the executive level. Hence, as advised in an Entrepreneur article, you should put together – and, across all of the company’s departments, distribute – a brand guide touching on subjects like the brand’s voice, tone, colors, iconography and fonts.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | Branded building: does your workplace match your message?Apply subtle but clever visual flourishes in your workplace

In your office, the little things can make a surprisingly large impact. Consider the words of New York-based digital communications professional Betsy Rohtbart in a Forbes piece; she posits: “If your logo is a circle, why put it on a square door? If your logo is a square, why put it on a rectangle tag?”

Along the same lines, she asks: “If your name is long, why shrink your font to make it fit the sign on the building?” The implication is that you shouldn’t feel under pressure to decorate your workspace in the “traditional” way, as succumbing to this pressure could see you missing out.

Your company’s culture should be reflected in the workplace design – and that culture concerns the firm’s values and beliefs, not simply its logo or branding colors. Perhaps you could put up a photograph from when your team participated in a charitable endeavor?

Why is workplace branding so important, anyway?

That question could still have played on your mind if few consumers or clients visit your company’s offices or make it past the reception area. However, as indicated on the Metropolis magazine’s website, office branding can imbue your workers with a sense of identity and connection.

Therefore, it can help to ensure that those workers are all moving in the same direction – and, in this way, genuinely helping consumers or clients. You can further encourage this by investing in luxury office design to create a space that reflects a specific lifestyle and where people truly aspire to work.

Do You Need Help With Your Marketing?

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | Do You Need Help With Your Marketing?It is no surprise to anyone in the world of business that marketing is such a hugely important thing to consider. If the marketing is right, then the business itself is going to be a success, whereas if it is not right, you can’t really tell what is going to happen at all. But knowing that and actually perfecting the art of marketing are two very different things. There might be many occasions in your business’ life when you need a little help with your marketing, and that is something that most people will find, so you are absolutely not alone. But it is good to know for sure when you need that help, so that you can seek it out in time and make the most of it. In this post, we’ll look at a few of the clearest signs that you might need some help with your marketing.

Your Products Aren’t Selling

One of the surest signs that you might need to consult a marketing agency is that you just aren’t shifting any products. There can often be dips in sales, and that can be the result of a number of different things, but you need to make sure that you are aware of when it is due to poor marketing. Even if that is not the reason, you will find that improving your marketing is going to make a huge difference to how many products you sell, and for that reason it is absolutely worth looking into anyway. If you feel that you could be selling more, take a look at your marketing and see whether you might need any help with it.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | Do You Need Help With Your Marketing?Your Brand Is Unclear

As a business, you need to have a strong brand which people can immediately recognize and relate to. This is central to keeping your business in line with what you want to achieve, and it is one of the things that you are going to want to keep an eye on throughout your business. However, if you have come to realize that your brand is actually relatively unclear, then you might find that it is necessary to step back and allow some marketing experts to take a look at it. If they can improve your brand in any way, you are bound to find that this will improve your marketing generally, and the performance of your business.

You Don’t Have The Time

Marketing wlel takes time, and if you just know that you don’t have the time, then that is one of the things that you are going to need to think about too. That is a time when you are going to benefit hugely from giving your marketing over to the professionals, so make sure that you bear that in mind when that crops up. By giving the work to them, you can keep your eyes on the prize in other places, and hopefully it will all come together in a business that is functioning much more accurately and expertly.

How to Promote Your Self-published Book

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Self-Publishing|How to Promote Your Self-published BookAuthors who have secured a traditional arrangement with a book publisher do not need to concern themselves with marketing or distribution, as this will be handled for them. However, self-published authors find themselves in a different position. Of course, some authors write simply for the joy of it, but for many people, one of the objectives of writing a book is for it to be bought, read, and enjoyed by as many people as possible. To achieve this, self-published authors face the challenge of marketing their work and securing multiple distribution channels. This guide does not include every marketing or distribution channel you might want to consider, but it introduces several concepts and marketing tips to get you started.

Create a website or blog for your book

Before you’ve finished writing the book, you could be securing your first readers if you build your own website or blog. Creating a website full of articles and engaging content on topics which are related to your target audience’s interests is a great way to gain visibility online. If your book is about divorce or family breakdown, you may want to create a website which focuses on professional insights and other books which are related. You can then start to add your own insights and excerpts from your book.

If you optimise your content for search engines, when internet users type related words or phrases into Google, your content could be top of the list of results. This is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. You could even create an email mailing list and encourage visitors to sign up to receive updates about your upcoming book or promote giveaways. The earlier you can create your website, the more buzz you can generate around your book and the more time you’ll have to improve your website’s ranking.

Maximise your online exposure

In addition to optimising your website for search engine results, you can also increase your online exposure by getting involved on other websites. This could be by contributing to forums on related topics or genres of literature, or you could write an article for someone else’s blog. Whenever you publish content, be sure to include your byline with a link to your website. Social media is also a great way to maximise your reach, as you can set up a profile on Twitter or an author’s page on Facebook. When you share updates about your book or promotions, you can include a link to your website or the platform where you are selling the book. You can also use social media to engage with your readers.

Hold a launch party

While it’s true that digital marketing is often the strongest force when it comes to promoting and selling a book, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for more traditional approaches. When your book is released, you could hold a launch party and invite influential people in your community. This could be at a bookstore or a library, but if you make enough of a splash you may be able to get it covered by the local press. In addition to selling your book, you could produce and sell promotional merchandise such as t-shirt printing or other products. If people wear or use the products which are emblazoned with the title of your novel, they will spread awareness in their social circles and the general public.

Take your lead from other authors

When it comes to designing a cover, choosing a title, the typography, etc., take a look at what successful books in your genre have done. You may not like all of what you see, but you may find some themes amongst them which could suggest they are more appealing than others. You may also come across repeated vocabulary in the books, which could be useful in your book’s metadata, i.e. the description of your book which search engines will use when trying to match an online query with a result.

Source reviews for your book

Reviews are a fantastic selling tool for many products and books are no exception. The author or publisher of a book can rhapsodise all day long about its merits, but until we know our fellow readers are in agreement, we are likely to be sceptical. If you have published books before you may be able to contact people who have reviewed a previous book with a free copy and a request for a review.

If you have never published before, you could look at the reviews on Amazon for books in the same genre, as they may be willing to give yours a try. It’s best to look for reviewers who write succinctly and seem to have real insight into the books they are reading, as this will result in higher quality reviews of your book. In addition, try to contact around 3-4 times as many reviewers as you would like reviews, as it’s not guaranteed that you will get a response.

You could also promote your book on Goodreads, which is an online community with more than 65 million members. Here you can create a profile page about your book and yourself as well as invite reviews, give books away or host forum discussions about your book.

Write an effective blurb

A blurb is a promotional description of your book which is used on the back of printed versions and online. They are generally around 100-150 words long and give the reader just enough information to grab their attention and intrigue them, so they want to read more of the story. It can include an introduction to characters, plot or the overall theme or it could be a particularly exciting excerpt from the book itself. Some blurbs will also include quotes from positive editorial reviews. Read more about how to write a blurb.

Hire a professional designer for the cover

Never judge a book by its cover is one of the truest sayings out there, but all too often that’s exactly what people will do. If your book’s cover is too plain, unprofessional, too garish or generally poorly designed, you are decreasing the likelihood that someone will give it a chance. Find a professional book cover designer who can work with you to capture the essence of the book in the most visually appealing way.

Use multiple distribution channels

You need to make your book available on as many sales platforms as possible, but it’s best to target the biggest in the early stages at least. Amazon is one of the biggest names in book sales in terms of both print and digital with two self-publishing services. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) handles eBooks and print books are by CreateSpace. Other popular eBook platforms include Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks, and Kobo. There are also eBook aggregator services like Draft2Digital, which will distribute your book to several different retailers, automatically adapting the book into the required format for each.

If you have an e-commerce website which can accept payments and process online orders, you can generate traffic to the website by linking from social media posts. The more people you can get to click through to your website, the higher the likelihood of sales. However, remember that you will need to convert website visitors into customers when they are there or they may quickly leave the website. This not only means fewer sales but also a higher bounce rate, which Google will penalise your website for, i.e. it can damage your ranking score.