Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Social Media Marketing Demystified Wrap-up!

The Fall 2013 Ticket Summit® Plus webinar series kicked off yesterday with Social Media Marketing Demystified, an hour-long webinar led by email and social marketing expert Ron Cates of Constant Contact. In this webinar, he provided practical tips and best practices for promoting your business across a variety of platforms.

Throughout the webinar, Cates emphasized the importance of integrating your social media efforts with your email marketing campaigns. Use a separate email to announce your presence on a social network, and be sure to include links to all of your networks in your emails, he suggested. He also emphasized the importance of making your newsletter content shareable, which will automatically increase your readership.

Cates also stressed the importance of providing content that people want to read, rather than sales pitches or grabs for shares and likes. He says to aim to “inspire trust” by providing your followers with content that is relevant to them and their business. “Everyone has content,” he says, and recommends asking yourself questions customers might ask about your product, business, or industry to generate potential content. This kind of content does not take long to write, but will drastically increase your marketing ROI.

The webinar concluded with Cates’ recommendations for tools to improve your social measurement. Personally, Cates uses Google Alerts and TweetDeck to monitor sentiment about his brands. He also recommends NutshellMail, which sends recaps of activity and allows you to respond to posts right from your inbox. Constant Contact provides numerous resources to help you build your following.

Follow Ron Cates on Twitter at @roncates or connect with him on his blog.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Get your Swag on at Trade Shows and Conferences

Exhibiting at trade shows is an important way to network and build professional relationships within any industry. It is an effective way to establish and extend your company's brand and services. Consider the hustle and bustle of the conference environment and the competition to stand out from the crowd, as you take the time to prepare a booth that will tell your company's story and highlight your capabilities.

Swag items are the little give-away items you'll take away from a trade show display.  Your choice of swag can go a long way to help you attract foot traffic during a trade show, and also create lasting impressions over time. Careful thought should be given to selecting the swag items to represent your business.

Flashy swag items at your booth are great to attract people, but if these items aren't useful over time, they will fail to support your efforts to create lasting connections with the conference attendees. People may be more impressed with the swag than with your business. Think of sensible items with enough pizazz to bring people to your booth so you have the opportunity to engage them and sell your services.

The ideal swag item should be something your contacts and potential customers will use over time, but also something relevant to your industry. For example, if you are a technology company, a useful high-tech device would be logical; if you are an agricultural company, perhaps a gardening tool, or even a pen that is designed with images or shapes of agricultural symbols.

Remember to brand your swag with your company logo and a means of contact. Printing your company website or a QR code on your swag will support communication and interaction over time. Even if your contact loses your business card, that really cool pen or flash drive with your web address will be a handy reminder of who to contact long after the show.