Easy 3 Step Strategy to Improve Engagement for Your Trade Show Event

Easy 3 Step Strategy to Improve Engagement for Your Trade Show Event

 Trade shows aren’t right for every business but generally, if used properly, they can be an excellent way to generate awareness about your company, build leads, and nurture existing customer relationships.

If you are a new business planning your first trade show, know that all of your event planning tasks should flow as follows: Inform, Interact, Inspire, Invite. I like to use those terms over pre-show, at-show, and follow-up because it clearly lists what you’re going to be doing in each stage.

Step 1: Inform

When you start planning for an event it’s very easy to think others are as aware of the trade show as you are but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. You have to let others know about the event, that you’ll be there, and remind them.

The best marketing channels to build awareness for your trade show event are: social media, direct mail marketing, and email marketing using a targeted list, and your blog.

  1. Direct Mail: save-the-dates to current clients, community members, leads
  2. Email your list and add to it, any additional business leaders located in the region the event will be held. This step allows you to introduce yourself, your company and how to learn more.
  3. Social Media: generate awareness, invite your audience, use hashtags with the event name
  4. Blog about the event and takeaway

Keep an eye on your email opens, unsubscribes, and social media shares. As the event nears, follow up with anyone who interacted with your announcements but haven’t yet committed to showing up.

Step 2: Interact

There are two parts to Interact at this stage:

1. Before the trade show
2. At the trade show

Before the trade show, be sure to take time from your other planning activities to respond to social media and blog engagements. Building relationships starts here. Also, you may consider reaching out by phone to your list of existing customers or potential customers in the region of your event. Again, build those relationships.

Then, interact at the show. Be sure to build in opportunities to make this possible. Events can be chaotic so figure out how you will interact with your booth guests in a way that’s fun for them and supports your takeaway.

Step 3: Inspire

This stage is all about the experience booth guests will have during the event. Give them something that they can take with them once they leave. Memorable experiences inspire. Creating an opportunity for a solid takeaway inspires. What will create this experience that is specific to your company?

Step 4: Invite

 Please don’t forget to re-invite your guests to engage with your business and complete the sale. It will be important to keep a list of who stopped at your booth and create a targeted follow-up list. During your follow-up, refer to the great event and remind them of the experience they had.

It’s very easy for this powerful experience you give guests, to rest as an isolated event. By inviting your guests to interact with your company post event, it lets them know you are there for them for the long haul.

Good luck with your event!

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Content Marketing Focuses on Why Brands Help Their Customers

Content Marketing Focuses on Why Brands Help Their Customers

Content marketing has grown with an increase in purpose-driven marketing. This movement connects companies with their “why.”  We all know the power of word of mouth. Content marketing develops stories out of testimonials. You don’t see stories in numbers, but stories bring an exceptional ROI.

Whether it’s shoes, vitamins, or energy medicine – products and services help people.

It’s easy to get swept away by directives and sales goals, letting fear of falling numbers cloud your thinking. Stories of transformation happen daily however. Your products and services are helping people. When you build content around why that is, you connect people and cause disruption.

My first experience working with a company that was using customer stories actively in their marketing plan was Hammer Nutrition. For years they’ve been published inspirational stories highlighting race stories, fueling strategies, and incredible sports rehab. Listening to these stories first hand, lead me to become loyal to the brand. These stories inspired me to run more, and I was able to because of their great products.

REI also knows the power of emphasizing member stories. As a result, more and more people are opting outdoors. They see others doing it, and receive not only success stories but how-to’s direct from the brand. Then there’s Fitbit. And Apple. These technology products change peoples lives. It’s easy to influence customers when your brand’s life changing stories are out in the open.

Companies that listen to their customers will do better at content marketing. Companies that have a content marketing strategy that’s dialed in and honest, have the power to influence and secure a movement. Regardless of what product or service it is, inspire others.

You never know who out there needs to hear your message.

Connect through Rice Content Marketing and Design. Let’s turn the stories your products naturally create, into opportunities for growth. I can’t think of a company or vertical content marketing wouldn’t benefit.

May you be inspired by what you do.

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How Often Should I Be Updating My Header Image?

How Often Should I Be Updating My Header Image?

The header is an important part of your initial presentation.

Today, business websites and social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, showcase a top-level header image. There is debate as to how frequently this image should be updated, if at all.

Not surprisingly, there is no one answer for every company. How often you change this image depends on if you’re an educational, service or product based business.

How to determine if your header image should change
Your primary graphic welcomes visitors to your page. Product based businesses typically have the same goal to grow new and returning visitors. In this case, you will want a plan to update the image. Use this location to highlight new products, your latest photo shoot, or special promotion. In this scenario, customers will stop at your header image much like they would a storefront.

If you’re a service based business, your goals are primarily lead generation. Once you gain clients, unless you offer an educational aspect to your site such as a blog, your return visitors may not be as high. In either scenario, you’d test your image for influence on conversion rates. For a service based site however, this becomes a great tool to identify behavior. Tracking traffic in relation to header image updating can help you improve lead capture.

I will discuss header images for educational websites in a later article. The header image should certainly be updated annually. Keep in mind, if you have seasonally specific images or images with staff that may no longer be at the organization, it’s a good idea to change it.

To reiterate, there is no one way for all businesses. A generally rule of thumb however, update product based website headers three to four times a year. Update service based header images twice a year. And, educational based website headers as needed, returning to a standard brand image.

Benefits to changing your header image often:

  • Generates interest
  • More opportunities to capture customers

Keep in mind, if your site does see a lot of traffic currently, changing the image too frequently can have alternative effects:

  • Creates confusion unless all images follow an identifiable brand style
  • Doesn’t give non-daily routine visitors a chance to absorb the information – if new product or sale information. You don’t want your loyal customers to feel left out!

Always make sure as with any creative content, that the images are unique and align with your brand style guide. For established brands, reference the style guide for direction. If you need custom digital advertisements for your website or social, visit ricecmd.com.

Lead by Purpose Towards Meaningful, Memorable Content

Lead by Purpose Towards Meaningful, Memorable Content

There is not much more that I feel needs to be said following that headline: Lead by Purpose Towards Meaningful, More Memorable Content.

Purpose-driven marketing is a hot-topic and I hope it’s here to stay. What is it? Purpose-driven marketing refers to advertising and marketing campaigns to broadcast a company’s “why.”

Calling this a millennial strategy will only prevent companies from taking advantage of this documented growth opportunity. Focusing on brand values carries genuine weight.

Being true to your brand sustains authenticity.

Here’s why purpose marketing is so powerful:

  • Everyone can relate to finding and focusing on purpose, resulting in cross market awareness
  • When you get clear about your company’s purpose, you will be able to make better connections within your target market
  • It’s easier to connect with values than brands
  • Taking the popular credit union model, people helping people
  • Gives brands more opportunities to build fan culture
  • Builds brand loyalty

The benefits of purpose-driven marketing go on. If you’re worried about how to sustain personal or professional growth, consider your purpose. If you’re a new or long-established businesses and can’t locate a strong value statement or “why” for your brand, consider starting with Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why – ”

Purpose is something as a business owner, I have spent quite a bit of time identifying. It can be hard to do this on your own and is something at Rice CMD we do as part of your identity development and brand voice clarification. If you are on the journey to craft your brand values or purpose, it will be rewarding. To translate these messages into memorable, authentic content, contact me at Rice CMD.

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Why New CMO’s Need A Content Marketing Strategy Immediately

Why New CMO’s Need A Content Marketing Strategy Immediately

You are hired on to save a brand and improve content marketing. There is not currently a reliable agency on record and your marketing team is still being pieced together. You’ve managed marketing and design projects single-handedly in the past, so why does this feel overwhelming? One of the hardest parts of coming into a new department is getting to what you were hired on for. This is normal.

  • Step 1: Make a plan
  • Step 2: Find a branding specialist to safeguard brand messaging and current campaigns
  • Step 3: Focus on getting up to speed

Creating a strategy for securing all public-facing strategies will buy you time.

In any new position, regardless of role or responsibilities, you are most likely going to be managing the piles of tasks left between your predecessor’s departure and your arrival, training, and getting to know the brand.

If you think you’ll be able to carve out valuable production time, think again.

Yet, marketing campaigns must go on during this time so how do you prioritize? Bringing on external marketing support for your brand messaging and campaign development is in your best interest at this time. Choose your creative company wisely, make sure their availability fits into your schedule. You may hire them to focus on content marketing initially and realize how many more resources they can provide you. They will  protect the brand and free you up for bigger-picture planning and budget analysis.

At Rice CMD we believe a good content marketing strategy is like a well oiled engine. When you care for all the parts then leave it alone, you’ll have a reliable vehicle. If we can help you with your creative development and content marketing strategies, please connect.

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