Posts

Branding Your Business One Customer at a Time. If you aren’t actively building a brand for your business, make no mistake, your brand is still being built. In other words, every day customers, prospects and even your competitors are helping to shape your reputation.

Social media means that a disgruntled customer need only post about one terrible experience they had with your business and in the blink of an eye, thousands of potential customers may be swayed to believe that yours is not the type of business they want to patronize. This is unfortunate since one bad experience does not a business make. But that is the world we live in.

While branding is often thought of as creating a name for yourself, it would be wise to remember that it is so much more than that. It is an ongoing process that can literally make or break a business.

So what do your customers, prospects and the public at large think of your business? While it is true that one rogue customer can do an untold amount of damage to your brand, you still have a great deal of control over your reputation.

The key is to remember that every single day, everything you do speaks volumes about your brand in ways you may never have expected. Nothing you do as a business is insignificant. It is imperative to keep this in mind whether you are closing a sale with your biggest client or answering a phone call from a prospect who seems unlikely to ever purchase one of your products.

So how can you make sure you are sending the correct message about your brand every single day? Consider the following:

  • If a current customer calls your business and is put on hold for an extended amount of time, this customer will assume that you don’t value his or her time.
  • If a prospect visits your website and finds it outdated and difficult to navigate, this prospect will decide that your business is outdated.
  • If you make it difficult for a customer to return a product they are unhappy with, your brand will be seen as inflexible and concerned only with making a quick buck.

Whether you have spent huge amounts of money branding your business, or haven’t spent a dime, you must remember that your brand is always, to some degree, in the hands of those who interact with you. In light of this fact, you must never forget that the most effective branding messages take place one interaction at a time.

Making the Most of Tradeshows. In today’s digital marketplace there have never been more ways to promote your business. Despite these new promotional avenues, tradeshows continue to be one of the most important marketing investments a company can make, particularly in the B2B industry.

The average B2B company will investment almost 40 percent of its annual marketing budget on tradeshows. This is not surprising considering tradeshows’ excellent return on investment.

So the question is not if a B2B company should attend tradeshows but rather which tradeshows should they attend. And this is an important question since tradeshows are a tremendous opportunity to show off new products, make new contacts and, most importantly, secure new sales leads.

In light of these facts, it is essential that you attend the tradeshows that are right for your particular company. Before you attend any tradeshow, however, you need to consider the following:

Cost: While it would be great to have a presence at all of the hottest tradeshows, a lot will depend on your budget. Once you decide how much you have to spend, you can determine which tradeshows to attend. It is important to do your research as different tradeshows charge different rates for many of the same offerings, including booth rental. Display design, shipping and traveling costs are all important considerations, as well.

Prepare: Once you have an idea of how much you have to spend on a particular trade show you need to make sure your booth is scaled for your rental space. You also need to make sure you have filled out all the necessary paperwork and are aware of any deadlines so that there are no surprises once you arrive at the tradeshow.

Promotion: Attending a tradeshow is a great way to promote your business but just showing up isn’t enough. Launching a new product? Make sure you have demos and product data sheets ready to go. Further, make sure your collateral is printed, checked and re-checked as far ahead of the tradeshow as possible.

Staffing: Who you will send to a tradeshow is almost as important as the tradeshow itself. The first thing you need to decide on is a point-person who will be responsible for making sure that everything runs smoothly. Next, make sure the individuals who will staff your booth are not only the most knowledge but also the most energetic. Tradeshows mean long and sometimes grueling days and nights of promoting your brand and the products and services you offer.

Finally, the most important aspect of any tradeshow is the follow-up. Make sure all of the leads you obtain at a tradeshow are immediately and correctly classified so they enter your sales funnel in the just the right place.

The Key to Using Social Media for B2B. When many people think of social media, they think of funny cat videos, connecting with long-lost high school friends and sharing family photos. In light of this fact, it is easy to understand why many in the B2B world wonder how they can use social media to communicate with their customers and prospects.

The truth is, social media is an incredible tool for B2B marketers. The key is to know how to communicate your specific message via social media. What follows are some handy tips to help you do that:

Tip #1: Remember that content really is king. No matter what you are posting on social media make sure it is of value. Specifically, it needs to connect, educate and inspire your B2B customers and prospects.

Tip #2: Let your brand’s personality shine through. B2B posts aren’t usually littered with viral videos or funny memes but they still need to convey the personality of your brand so that people are able to get to know you better.

Tip #3: Ditch the sales pitch. Avoid overtly selling your products or services and instead educate visitors on issues that are relevant to your industry. Doing this allows you to be seen as a thought leader and builds trust in your brand.

Tip #4: Spread the good news. While you don’t want to blatantly promote your business, neither do you want to neglect significant company milestones. Therefore, don’t shy away from announcing industry awards your company has received or significant product launches.

Tip #5: Communicate your message in a variety of ways.
Use tactics like videos, blogs and infographics to maintain interest.

Tip #6: Take surveys and hold contests. These types of posts are historically very popular with social media followers and are more likely to be liked and shared. This leads to more attention for your brand.

Tip #7: Get Interactive. Always encourage customer feedback and respond to feedback in a timely manner.

Tip #8: Keep your ear to the ground. Don’t forget to monitor the social media sites of your competitors. This is a great way to find out what others in your industry are talking about and helps you keep tabs on the competition.

Social media is—and will continue to be—a driving force in the marketing world. Therefore, whether you are marketing to businesses or consumers, you must use it to your advantage.