Posted by on Jan 4, 2021 in Advertising, Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Automation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Tradeshows | 0 comments

Why You Should Take a Breath and Re-evaluate Your Marketing Plans

by Deb Harrsch

Welcome to January 2021! It’s finally here.

We’ve made it through the holidays. We figured out how to visit with our families and how to be safe doing so. We’re still in the midst of this major wave of COVID-19 and we’re all eagerly awaiting vaccines to make life a little easier.

Now, your boss wants to know, “What are we doing for marketing in 2021?”

Before you start reeling off a list of marketing activities, let’s stop for a minute. I think that while you may have started the 2021 planning process in December, this particular January it’s important to take a breath and reset your expectations. I know there is still uncertainty as to what this year will serve up.

We do know we are still in a world where digital communications are the primary marketing method, and that’s not going to begin to shift until at least the second half of 2021. You also must keep in mind that some things will never go back 100% to how we used to market.

So, How Are You Going to Tackle 2021?

Your 2021 marketing will be a combination of how we marketed before the pandemic and what we did last year.

You began a digital rebirth and learned how to function in a virtual world last year, and that same buyer behavior is going to continue this year. This January, you should start your marketing planning with a re-evaluation of where you are now. Have a look at the assets you created last year. Review the work you did around your buyer personas and what your customers’ awareness-consider-buy journey is today.

Take a deep breath and first make sure you’ve matched each persona’s awareness-consider-buy journey with strong calls to action. Then lay out all the assets you have and map them to the journey.

Applying Your New Marketing Skills

Now it’s time to figure out how to apply all the new skill sets you learned about last year – and how you are going to implement them going forward. If you need a refresh on those skills, check out these blog posts:

Next you’ll begin building out – and documenting – your marketing strategy and the implementation plan. This is where integrated marketing is most important, because you can think through and use all the marketing tools in your toolbox. Be sure that you have everything working together and working toward the same goal – your web copy, your white papers, your case studies, and your videos.

2021 Strategies

In 2021 and beyond you’ll need to outline strategies for both virtual marketing and in-person marketing as we start working our way back to in-person meetings. We need to keep in mind that we might be able to attend trade shows in the second half of the year once vaccines are available, but that is up in the air for now.

But, remember that even if we do get to attend trade shows in-person, they will likely never again look the way they did in 2019. In 2021 at least, they will probably become a hybrid model of virtual and in-person. I think that every single one of us over the course of this past year has realized how important the personal touch really is. We’ve tried to duplicate it with virtual events and tried to do it with Zoom calls and it has worked to some degree, but we all know that shaking hands and being together on the trade show floor is important.

There are several good things that have come out of adapting to pandemic lockdowns, however. The situation has given us an opportunity this last year to increase our marketing toolkits, whether it’s:

  • creating assets like white papers and case studies
  • learning to use social media to increase brand awareness and leads
  • reviewing our traditional marketing
  • building story videos, proof point videos, and how-we-work videos
  • or experiencing the cool technologies that build virtual trade shows.

I think that you should be rolling out and using all the new tools in your toolbox both while we’re at virtual trade shows, and when attending in-person trade shows. We’ve talked to clients for a long time about building video tools or interactive marketing tools. Some have executed and some have not, while others are in the process of building those tools. If we consider that at least the first half of your year is still virtual, then you need to dive in and do some videos or podcasting so it’s available in your toolkit.

Let’s Get Going!

We endured a lot last year. We’re still working on coming to grips with the pandemic. We continued building our businesses. We tried to figure out what we needed on the fly. But, we are starting to see a little light at the end of a long tunnel and it’s time to implement some of the strategies we worked on last year. Lay it out and make sure your plans are tight.

If you need help, give us a call.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Dec 4, 2020 in Advertising, Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Website Strategy | 0 comments

Managing Marketing Through the Fog: What We Learned About Marketing in 2020

by Deb Harrsch

This is our last post this year and I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad to see the end of 2020. I know that everyone is tired of dealing with COVID, and tired of trying to find the silver lining. We’re tired of thinking about it and preparing for it every time we leave our homes – and even tired of being at home.

It’s not just about business, it’s about our personal lives too. Everyone is thinking, “What’s it going to look like for the holidays? When am I going to see my family again? When am I going to see my friends again?” And you know what, the answer is this: it’s unfortunately going to be a bit longer. I wish it wasn’t the case.

Yes, it’s hard. There’s no doubt about that. But, the good news is that we can absolutely get through this. It is just another challenge in our journey, and we will all have stories to tell about how we survived both personally and professionally. We just need to be patient and hang on.

We are all managing through this fog of indecision and uncertainty. If anyone still feels like they are the only one feeling that way, please give me a call because I will tell you that you’re definitely not alone.

And guess what? Not only are we managing our day-to-day activities in a fog, but whole companies and sales and marketing and product management departments are managing business in a fog. We’re all struggling for clarity, we’re trying to manage it, we’re all trying to figure things out – and we can’t rely on last year’s data.

How to market without historical data

Marketing departments tend to do things based on data. We ask: “What did we do last year? What publications did we advertise or publish in last year? What trade shows did we do? And how well did that provide sales leads and awareness?”

I don’t think a lot of that data is relevant anymore. While I think you should look at your data and should monitor it monthly, 2020 has been a challenge for all of us. Many marketing departments are lacking clarity and struggling to manage this mass of marketing without any data relevant to today’s environment.

Yes, we can learn from history, and we should always learn from history, but things have changed. We must pay attention to the fact that things have changed. We need to process the change and collect and act on current data while keeping aware that there could be more changes.

What did we learn over the course of this year?

  1. We learned that as organizations we have to be more digitally focused and think more broadly.

As I mentioned, the old data doesn’t apply here so you can’t do the same thing you did last year just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Frequently, marketing departments tend to do the same things that worked the year before. But, now you have to figure out what tomorrow might look like. And yes, that’s going to mean educated guesswork and testing. The best part about this is we get to put on our creative hat and think outside of the box.

We learned that a strong digital strategy is key. Without a digital strategy and without a place for people to find out information about your products or services, or go buy your product, you’re sunk. Take a hard look at your website – are you marketing to your customers? Are you being the thought leader in your industry? If not, it’s going to impact your sales more now than ever, because there’s nowhere else for people to go to get the information.

  1. We learned that we need to be able to pivot our marketing at almost a moment’s notice.

It may be time to pull out our copies of “Who Moved My Cheese?” for a refresher. When someone moves your ability to market in the ways that always worked in the past, as marketers, we need to be able to pivot and that’s not always as easy as you’d like it to be.

For example, look at trade shows. They disappeared – except for virtually – this year and the truth is, you’re probably not going to any trade shows at the beginning of next year either. It’s scary, but very true. And looking ahead to how conferences are held, it may not go back to the way it was. We all learned that trade shows and conferences are very important, but they cannot be the only way to get our message out and reach our customers.

In order to easily pivot your marketing, you need to have a full range of tools in your toolbox. This means the right marketing software coupled with the right content.

  1. We learned that it’s crucial to be organized and have a real marketing plan. When marketing departments didn’t have a marketing plan with a digital strategy and the organizational ability to implement it, they weren’t able to pivot – they were stymied. Instead, what happened was companies tried to bolt together random sections of pipe (the ‘pipe’ being a metaphor for marketing activities) creating a new marketing initiative to replace what had been budgeted based on prior years’ marketing efforts. The result of bolting small pieces of pipe together was a very leaky pipe – those leaks were all their potential leads and customers disappearing through the holes in their marketing.

We learned that you can’t just bolt pieces together. Every time you do, you add a joint and every joint represents a potential problem. You have to think about your audience holistically and create a solid length of pipe – an overall marketing plan.

Marketing is not just a website. It’s not just your print advertising. It’s not just your digital advertising or social media. It is a whole functioning organism that needs all of its parts and systems to work together to keep the entire body healthy.

What this has proven to even the most doubtful of marketing managers is that you need a holistic and integrated marketing plan which includes a strong digital strategy as well as a non-digital strategy. You also need the right messaging and assets to deliver on both those plans.

  1. We learned that the market has shifted and sales and marketing must improve collaboration.

I have talked about how sales and marketing need to be best friends in the past and it’s never truer than right now. Both sales and marketing need to step up. Sales needs to start contacting customers one-on-one to get real facts which drive the development of messaging and KOLs. Marketing needs to use that information to continue reaching out – to keep the brand front and center.

Overall we’ve learned that things can change quickly and we have to be prepared as organizations to not just look at what we have right here and now, but to see the full picture. We have to continually evaluate strategies and how you’re marketing. We must re-think how you spend your marketing dollars.

We need to remember that when we get back to whatever “normal” looks like now, it will change again. 2020 is not the first change, but I do think this particular change has forever altered how we think and deliver marketing in a B2B world. Companies should embrace the holistic marketing approach to succeed.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2020 in Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Tradeshows | 0 comments

New Year, New Email Marketing Program

Brandwidth Solutions Offers Email Marketing Tips

by Scott Fuhr

Happy 2020! The New Year is a new opportunity to consider what’s working well in your marketing and what can be improved for the coming year. For email marketing, that can mean tweaking the foundations of your program.

Respondents to a recent study from Marketo indicated that the most effective type of marketing technology (martech) was “marketing automation/email/CRM.” Furthermore, they also marked “increasing marketing ROI” as the number-one challenge to the success of a martech strategy.

As we covered previously, you can use email marketing to promote trade show appearances via pre-show marketing and post-show marketing. These efforts can include email sends to a show list beforehand, and multi-touch campaigns, drip campaigns, or lead nurturing campaigns to the trade show attendee list after the event. You can even use email for webinar marketing.

Email isn’t going anywhere soon.

There are many different ways to customize your email marketing campaigns so they can perform beyond your expectations, including:

  • A/B testing
  • Multi-touch campaigns
  • Template approaches

And, while having a fancy marketing automation platform is helpful, you can also perform many of these approaches in simple programs (like Constant Contact). The point is to get started somewhere.

Testing Email Subject Lines

Let’s look at A/B testing. This is the art of testing a portion of an email send before deploying the entire send, with the goal of improving the open rate. While testing can be based on different portions of the email – like the subject line or the send-from address – the most common I see is based on the open rate of two different subject lines.

Instead of sending your email out to your entire list, you can make two different subject lines to test (A and B). You send subject line A to one-fourth of your list and send subject line B to another one-fourth of your list. After you send that test, you determine which subject line had the higher open rate. Then, you send the winning subject line to the remaining one-half of your list. The idea, of course, is that the remaining emails will naturally have a higher open rate than they would have without doing the test.

Multi-touch Email Campaigns

One of our clients recently held their annual customer event. Instead of sending out one email promoting the event and hoping that people would come, an entire multi-touch campaign was built around the event that included at least eight sends prior to the event, sends that occurred while the event was live, and post-event sends that included a link to a satisfaction survey. A post-event email we did for this event to attendees that provided the satisfaction survey link garnered a 41% open rate and 15% click-through rate. According to Emma and Eventbrite, an event-related email typically achieves an open rate of 21-30% and a click-through rate of 3-11%.

Tip: Make several of the pre-event emails more personal by highlighting some of the individual speakers and what they’ll be covering that’s unique to the event. This approach puts faces to the speakers’ names, and potential attendees can see the value of the content before the event even starts.

A comprehensive email marketing program like this takes potential attendees on a journey that highlights what makes your event different, conveys the benefits of attending, and invites attendees to keep in touch after the event ends. The result: relationship-building that leads to sales. You’ve now started building a foundation for a relationship or are continuing to nurture one through these regular communications.

Enhance Email Campaigns with Marketing Automation

Multi-touch campaigns can be enhanced by marketing automation technology. Platforms that provide this approach allow you to take email marketing one step further by automating some of the tasks of relationship-building.

For instance, typically we set-up email programs that automatically provide a white paper or other thought-leadership deliverable when a recipient opens the email and completes a form. A list of the leads can be provided showing who downloaded the deliverable and these can be passed along to the sales team for follow-up. Someone who actively downloads your content is more likely to have a conversation with your team. According to Demand Metric, 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.

Programs can also be built to provide an automated cadence of emails over time. Think a segment of prospects needs to be introduced to your organization and, as such, they are put on a program that delivers them information about your products and services over a period of several months to warm them up. You’re staying top-of-mind. And, for those with marketing automation platforms, all the results from these emails can be delivered straight to your CRM and the platform can even score your prospects according to their interactions with you.

Get Better Results with an Email Template

How many times have you received an email on your mobile device and when you try to read it you have to move the screen around to read the whole message? What has likely happened here is that the email wasn’t optimized for mobile devices.

Using a template approach can easily solve this issue. Many email systems come with pre-selected templates you can choose from, and I recommend trying one of those to start with to get better mobile results.

Exclusive Tip: We’ve found that an average of 23% of our emails were opened on a mobile device over the last six months. If you’re not sending mobile-friendly emails, you’re disappointing a good portion of your audience – which may lead them to unsubscribe or delete it before being read. It has been suggested that as many as 15% of users will unsubscribe when a mobile email displays poorly.

While some templates may not be to your liking exactly, there are often simple options available to remove and add sections (like header banner images, photos, logos, and text areas).

If you have graphic designers on staff – and we do – enlist their help to create some of these images for your templated email sends. This will help create an overall cohesive look and feel for your brand and get recipients of your emails used to identifying your messages with your organization.

Coming Up…

In our next post in February, we’ll look at some real-world examples from the areas above. Email marketing can be nebulous and is an ongoing work-in-progress as technology evolves. The good news is that we can help you get started with your program or can enhance your current program.

Start increasing your open rates and ROI from email – get going by calling us today.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Sep 12, 2019 in Advertising, Brand Strategy and Design, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Website Strategy | 0 comments

5 Ways B2B Blogs & Social Media Can Transform Your Marketing Efforts

BWS B2B social media and blogAre you ready for some surprising statistics about B2B social media, corporate blogging and purchasing decisions?

It’s no wonder B2B companies are placing more emphasis than ever on blogs and social media.

Here, we’ll be covering the five most compelling reasons you should incorporate social media into your B2B marketing approach – and why corporate blogging should be at the top of that list.

B2B Blogs: A Crucial B2B Marketing Strategy

When we think of ‘social media,’ sites like Facebook or LinkedIn generally come to mind.

I believe blogs – due to their role in marketing content distribution and community engagement – occupy a unique space. They are located right at the intersection of content marketing, social media and SEO. Blog posts range from thought leadership reflections to keyword-rich industry content to educational content, events, and product announcements. In addition to copy, they often incorporate video, infographics, images, charts and more.

They are also among the top methods for attracting new customers. In fact, HubSpot reports that 55 percent of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.

Here’s why.

  1. Better SEO & Increased Web Traffic
    Blogs drive traffic to your website. Period. One reason is that websites featuring a blog have a 434% chance of ranking higher on search engines, according to Tech Client. That ranking is important as research shows that 75% of users don’t scroll beyond the first page of search In the first two years after introducing a blog and all organic social media program, a Brandwidth client saw significant increases in website traffic.

When no new content is added to a website, the website is ‘spidered’ or indexed less frequently. Fresh blog content encourages search engines to visit the website more often – leading to better search engine ranking. It also ensures your content is seen & ranked by Google soon after it’s posted.

  1. Generating More Leads…and Better Qualified Leads
    Would you like to receive 67% more leads? This is how.

Blogs are a favorite of search engines. When a potential customer enters words or phrases into a search engine to get their questions answered, blogs with those topics appear high in the search results. So if you’ve created the right content speaking to the challenges of your potential buyers and populated it with the right keywords or key phrases, customers will benefit and search engines will rank your company content higher.

This strategy is so effective that companies with blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67 percent more leads than those who don’t.

  1. Increasing Brand Awareness
    You put a lot of time and effort into creating compelling marketing content. It makes sense to cross-promote that content across all B2B social media channels to increase awareness of your brand. Blogs also give you the opportunity to showcase your brand personality.

Blogs offer a fertile starting point for a suite of content. For example, let’s say you write a blog discussing the ‘Top 10 challenges facing the XYZ industry.’ You can transform those 10 points into an infographic, and promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. You can take one or two items from the list and create a short ‘how-to’ video on that topic. You can develop social posts teasing some highlights to pique interest and drive traffic to the content on your website.

Whether your customers are searching social media platforms to see what you are talking about today, or are using search engines to learn more about you, social media and blogging net you visibility.

  1. Improving the Buyer’s Journey

Blogs are a great place to start prospects out on the buying journey. Inbound marketing with blogs allows prospective customers to seek you out. Blog content should be more educational and informative, rather than sales-focused. As a result, it’s seen as less ‘threatening,’ and more likely to be considered objective.

Long-form content is also ideal for sharing ideas, fostering discussion and introducing visitors to your brand in a way you never could in, say, a tweet. Blogs are also the perfect environment for embedding a call-to-action – driving visitors through the sales funnel to specific landing pages or product or service pages.

  1. Engage With Your Prospects & Customers
    Effective B2B social media functions as a community where your business can engage with interesting data, visuals, video and more. LinkedIn and Facebook Groups can offer the ability to reach wider audiences and drive traffic to a blog post demonstrating your thought leadership in the industry. Twitter allows you to engage in real-time discussions happening in your space. With social media and blogs, companies can address key industry challenges customers or prospects are facing right now.

When it comes to customers and prospects, social media also delivers more ‘touches.’ It is commonly reported that it takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. We’ve become impervious to traditional advertising and sales, and people are conducting more web research on brands than ever before. The use of blogs and social media allows you to make more of those critical ‘prospect touches.’

Use Your Blog & Social Media to Transform Your Marketing

One of the keys to a successful blog strategy is posting consistently, either with more frequent (likely shorter) posts or longer, less-frequent ‘anchor’ content. Keep your social profiles active, and share industry-relevant information that engages your audience and demonstrates your brand’s knowledge and capabilities.

 

This post was first published by Jen Mizak at www.LMwrite.com. Jen heads up Brandwidth Solutions’ social media team. She helps businesses increase visibility & boost sales by tapping into their customers’ needs with engaging blog and social media content.

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Posted by on May 20, 2019 in Advertising, Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media | 0 comments

Are You Stealing from Your Future Revenue? The Risk of Cutting Marketing Expenses First

When it’s time to tighten the belt on the budget, what’s the first thing that goes? Other than employee perks like free coffee, that is. It’s marketing.

Why? Because it’s easy.

It’s hard to cut operating costs, research investments, or sales expenses. But it’s easy to cut advertising and PR campaigns, social media, email marketing and even content marketing. Those are simple nos.

To the CFO, marketing looks like a line item. It doesn’t show direct revenue – it just shows an expense, making this category an easy target to draw a line through. But it’s getting harder to do that now because there are marketing communications tools that can show ROI for a range of activities.

Don’t Cut Marketing Expenses First.

The economic market is always changing. We’ve had bull and bear markets. And now – after enjoying a long bull market – the forecast is that we’re headed into a down market. It’s anybody’s guess at this point. But once the bad news begins, your CFO will take a harder look at expenses and the first thing he may want to cut is marketing.

Just because it is an expense doesn’t mean that it isn’t an important expense. The way we look at it at Brandwidth Solutions is that it’s a critical investment in your future.

Remember the classic studies done on companies that invested in heavier advertising, radio program sponsorship and creative pricing tactics during the Great Depression? Those companies ultimately became the market leaders in their respective industries: Kellogg, Procter & Gamble, MGM Studios, and Yuengling among them.

The companies that cut marketing? They disappeared.

During a depression, money is tight – much tighter than in a bear market. But guess what? Human behavior remains the same and therefore this dynamic hasn’t changed. So if you’re thinking that you can eliminate your marketing budget with impunity, you may want to think again.

4 Reasons Why Cutting Marketing Spend Puts Future Revenue at Risk

There are solid reasons why you really don’t want to cut investments in marketing. Marketing activities make an impact nine to 12 months ahead of sales. If you cut marketing now, you will lose your momentum nine to 12 months later.

  1. The Challenge with Long Sales Cycles

For most of our clients, long sales cycles are the norm. If your sales cycle is 12 to 18 months long, it can be really hard to match the marketing expense you made 12 to 18 months ago to the actual sale of your product or service today. Calculating your ROI in this case is difficult.

Sometimes you can easily understand marketing ROI if your CRM is used properly or if you’ve submitted a quote. But sometimes, even when you are presented an opportunity or a request for proposal, you don’t know how or from where it came. You won’t always have a handle on exactly what marketing event generated enough interest to ask for a quote.

If you have a sales force that’s well-trained, they’ll know to always ask, “How did you hear about us?”

But let’s face it, usually the sales person is so excited about the opportunity that they’re not thinking about how a simple question like this can drive future sales. Instead, they’re thinking, “How do I get this sale? What are the things I need to do to get this sale?”

For long sales cycles, the marketing ROI is usually in the form of lead generation. If you cut marketing, you’ll cut your lead generation activities – ultimately, cutting your sales.

  1. Lasting Brand Awareness Takes Time

Your customer isn’t going to remember you just because they saw your product once. It takes time to build awareness of your brand. It takes time to build your product’s reputation. It takes time for your potential customers to understand your expertise. It takes even more time for them to make a buying decision.

It used to be that it took 5-7 “touches” (meaning exposures to your brand) before a prospect remembered your brand. Today, that number is even higher. This means that building your visibility and thought leadership is an ongoing process.

If you cut your marketing budget, you won’t be able to capitalize on the marketing investments you’ve made and like those companies in the Great Depression who cut their budgets, you’ll also disappear from the conversation in your industry.

  1. It Takes Money to Make Money

There’s a reason why this adage exists. When sales aren’t fully funding operating expenses, or when the economy looks bleak, the tendency is to try to cut costs and save your pennies to ensure your survival.

Let’s look at it another way. If no one knows about you, you don’t exist. Or, if you’ve disappeared from view (say, all of the advertising or articles you used to publish are discontinued), the assumption is you went out of business.

Not a good feeling, is it?

If you are not participating in your industry’s conversation in some fashion, you won’t be able to generate any leads. If you can’t generate leads that convert to sales, you really will cease to exist. You’ve got to continue to market your product or service even in lean times to ensure that you stay top of mind for prospects that need your product.

  1. Stand Out: Do What Everyone Else Isn’t Doing

Let’s go back to the successful companies in the Great Depression, or we can look at examples of some of the greatest investors like Warren Buffett, Jim Rogers, or John Templeton. In both cases, the choice was made to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing. That choice ensured visibility and created immense success.

If your product is “best in class” but your industry is experiencing a pull back, get out there and keep marketing. When you stay visible during downturns, your customers will see you and confidence in your company will increase. When they are ready to buy, they’ll remember you.

What Can You Do To Reduce Marketing Costs without Harming Your Business

All is not lost if you absolutely must make changes in your marketing budget. You can look at that line item and say, “Okay, we need to reduce spend.”

There are certainly elements that will keep you visible and in the decision-making mix. Your customer audience is shifting and getting younger. They search for products and services in the B2B space like they do in their personal life. These are the behaviors you’ll want to take into account when you seek to reduce your marketing spend.

What do you cut and what do you keep?

When you think about your customer profiles, you’ll want to keep social media and advertising. Maybe you decide to not do any print and you chose more digital advertising. Perhaps you use Google display ads instead of Google AdWords to cut your spend.

You should never cut down on your content because your content is your thought leadership. You can reuse it over and over. And certainly, you need to stay in the press and you’ve got to keep attending trade shows.

To make marketing a line item expense and then just put a line through it and say, “I’m not going to do this anymore,” puts you in the position of losing out on your future sales.

Don’t steal tomorrow’s revenues by cutting your marketing efforts today.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2019 in Brand Strategy and Design, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations, Social Media, Tradeshows | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 2: Make Your Trade Show Booth the Most Popular One in Town

Have you ever noticed that there’s usually one or two booths at every trade show that always seem to be mobbed by attendees?

Maybe it’s the giveaways (who doesn’t want the latest VR glasses!) or the cool free t-shirts, but it’s usually because a company got their pre-show promotion plan right.

Why Should Anyone Visit Your Booth?

The reason to visit your booth shouldn’t be because of what you’re giving away.

You need to make your message compelling. Let’s think about the question “What’s in it for me?” Only, let’s turn that around a little and ask instead “What’s in it for my customer?” Why should they visit my booth? When you answer that question correctly and turn that answer into your exhibit messaging, you have a compelling reason for your prospects to visit.

Your booth should allow your potential leads to quickly self-identify. Your message needs to target those who are looking for what you offer and draw them in.

Some other ideas that give your potential customers a reason to visit your booth include:

  • introduction of a new product or service
  • show-related discounts
  • sponsored events at the trade show
  • presentations

Present Your Expertise

Most trade shows have educational tracks providing ongoing learning opportunities for attendees. One of the best ways for you to gain visibility at a show is to lead a session or present research to establish your thought leadership. Look into signing up to be a presenter, teach a session or an exhibitor workshop.

Demonstrations and lectures can also occur at your booth. You should consider designing a short presentation educating potential customers about your product or service. Plan to deliver the presentation several times during the show and post the schedule at your booth. Don’t forget to invite people to attend. You may even want to hand out your presentation schedule at the show.

Contact trade journals and let them know about any new products, services or research you’re rolling out at the show. When you have news to share, you should always send out a press release and invite the press to your booth for interviews. An article about your company published after the show is a great way to keep your visibility high and new leads coming in!

Make it an Event

High energy, fun – and knowledgeable – staff is your first ingredient to making your booth the place to be. A great theme and ongoing interactive events provide visitors with an enjoyable experience they won’t forget.

You can offer a demonstration of your product or service which is always valuable. But have you thought about providing an interactive tour of your facilities or a key piece of equipment? Or how about setting up a white board and asking booth visitors to comment on a question?

Don’t forget simple things like games, giveaways and drawings. These are always excellent ways to draw traffic to your booth and and gather leads for your sales staff. Creating an overall theme for the show that relates to your offering gives you a unique opportunity to make your booth an event.

How Do You Drive Traffic to Your Booth?

You can have the best message in town, but if you don’t promote it no one will know you’re exhibiting – and they won’t visit and engage with you.

As I mentioned in last month’s post on how to exhibit at trade shows, communicating and promoting your attendance at a show is critical to getting the foot traffic you need.

It’s all about the pre-show prep and how you carry out your plans while at the show.

Trade Show Tools
Your first step in driving traffic to your booth is using the tools trade show promoters make available to exhibitors. Typically these will include:

Exhibitor lists
Show floor maps
Company listings
Show-branded email campaigns

Make sure that your listing and all information you submit to the show promoter is correct and up-to-date. You’ll also want to be sure that your benefits messaging is clear and concise. This should be a very short elevator pitch – what benefit does your product or service give your customer. And don’t forget to include a persuasive reason why they should visit your booth!

Many trade shows also offer the option for exhibitors to send customized email campaigns to their email list before the show. This is an important tool to consider since it provides a way for you to promote your booth & services to potential customers who are not already on your own email list.

Let’s not forget that conference attendees are at the show for a reason. They are looking for the products and services their companies need. They are serious about identifying the companies that can deliver the right products and services.

That means they’ve been scouring the listing of exhibitors, researching your company and putting together a short list of companies to talk with at the show.

You need to be on that list.

Use Every Promotional Channel
Promoting your trade show booth goes beyond using the tools the promoter has available. There’s a reason why the phrase “an oldie but goodie” exists. It’s because the ‘old’ ways of promoting events still work – and work well.

Direct Mail Campaigns
I think we can agree that scientists and lab personnel are probably not spending every day glued to their computer screens. Even those of us who are glued to our digital lifelines still respond to direct mail campaigns. Once you choose your trade show theme, put your graphics department to work and create eye-catching direct mail pieces that start a conversation with booth visitors.

Email Campaigns
In addition to the custom emails you can often send through the show promoter, you have a very valuable email list of your own. Your CRM holds targeted lists of your customers and prospects you’ve identified and email is the fastest, easiest way for you to get the word out about your trade show attendance and your booth.

Create interest in your booth with a series of creative, informative emails that invite your customers and prospects to visit and participate in your activities.

Social Media
Have I told you about the company who put up a single post on a social media channel and expected the world to see it and show up? It doesn’t work that way.

Social media is an excellent channel to use in concert with email campaigns and direct mail campaigns.

We always recommend an integrated approach to promoting a trade show presence. Social media can use the theme, images, and can re-purpose the content from your other campaigns to create a campaign that will extend your reach beyond your mail and email lists.

A social media campaign is not limited to just one post on one channel. By using multiple posts on multiple channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can reach new audiences, reinforce your direct mail and email campaigns and build interest in the activities you have planned for the trade show.

In addition to concentrated efforts using these 4 promotional avenues, don’t forget to promote your presence on your website as well as through digital ads and print ads. Putting your pre-show plans in place and executing on them is a sure-fire way to see the booth traffic you want and to ensure that you haven’t wasted your marketing budget.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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