How to Make Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location

FBD2, Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location
Photo Courtesy of Flickr, Yellow Sky Photography

Stuck in the back corner of the hall or behind a column? Miss out on getting into the main exhibit hall? Here’s how you can see all your clients and prospects and have a successful show:

1. Pre-show announcements.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an elaborate mailer, or a quick text or e-mail, send something telling clients and prospects you’re not going to be easy to find, but the extra effort will be rewarded. Don’t forget to maximize your presence at the show on Linkedin and Facebook.

2. Sponsor a coffee break.

Convince show management into allowing you to sponsor a coffee or beverage break. Then put a very large and colorful sign nearby with a map to your booth and a prize offer for attendees who find you. 

3. Give them a yellow brick road.

Negotiate with show management to let you place stickers on the aisle carpet leading attendees to your booth. These can be arrows, footprints or pictures of your product.

4. Give them what they want.

Do some serious brainstorming and come up with a novel – a really, really novel – promotional item that will allow people to wear or carry your logo to the masses. The right item will cause people to ask where they can get one for themselves.

5. Let Elvis do your talking.

Hire talent to hand something (samples, coupons, flyers with maps to your space) to attendees as they come into the facility. Some show managers will let you rent space or will designate a specific location for this activity.

6. Give them the shirt off your back.

Dress your entire staff in shirts with a map to your booth on the back and your logo on the front.

7. Sponsor headrest covers on the shuttle buses.

Put your logo and booth location on the back of every shuttle bus seat headrest so that everyone knows how to find you once they are in the hall.

8. Network like a madman!

In addition to every networking event, take advantage of social media. Tweet a ‘Thank you for visiting our booth’ message to every visitor to your booth. This leads to a reply or a retweet that not only creates a bond with the prospect (enhancing the possibility of a conversion) but also takes your brand and booth location to the followers of the prospect leading to more potential visitors.

9. Get friendly with show management.

Don’t be afraid to talk to show management about your dilemma. The more they know that you are serious about maximizing your presence at their show, the more likely you’ll be able to get first option on a better location if someone pulls out or is a no-show.

Good luck and have fun!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Are You Being Lazy on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has become a popular social media asset in the online business world. An increased number of business owners and employees alike are building profiles and becoming more involved with this powerful networking tool. Unfortunately, most of these people don’t realize they’re at risk of missing out on the full value of this social networking platform.

This risk stems from the simple act of being lazy on LinkedIn. Many people are guilty of this. This isn’t an attack on anyone, but if people are spending a lot of time establishing a presence on LinkedIn, why not use the tool productively and regularly to get all the benefits?

Here are 6 signs that you are being lazy on LinkedIn:

1. You send generic LinkedIn connection requests

By sending a generic LinkedIn request, you’re requiring the invitee to figure out who you are, if you have something in common or if there’s any relevant reason to add you to his or her connections. This has lazy written all over it. If you truly want to connect with a vital prospect on LinkedIn, send a nice personalized connection request explaining how your future connection will be mutually beneficial.

2. You neglect to add a good photo to your profile

Your LinkedIn photo is an important way for connections to identify you. While some people make a conscious decision not to add one due to either a security or privacy issue, there are very few good reasons to skip adding a photo on LinkedIn.  Others make the mistakes of using bad photos. These include photos taken from 100 yards away, group shots and photos from ten years ago.

3. You provide vague recommendations for others

If someone asks you to write a recommendation, try to write a good one.  Use specific examples of his or her work and more importantly, the impact this individual has had on you, your career or your company. If you can’t think of something great to say, ask the person you are recommending for a few ideas like projects or results you can highlight.  Just make sure what you write is true or else your credibility will be questioned.

4. You join groups then promptly ignore them

There are some great groups on LinkedIn. You can pick up new ideas, meet great people and share your story. However, this only happens if you actually participate. Many people simply add groups and never engage with them. The best thing to do is start with five, establish yourself, and then add more if you feel you can devote time to them.

5. You don’t have enough connections

The purpose of LinkedIn is to create a network consisting of old and new potential. You then have the opportunity to enjoy the explosive nature of now being linked to an extensive community of prospects and leads. If you have less than 100 connections, you are missing out on the great value that Linkedin provides. Everyone knows (or has worked with) 100 people. Get started today by sending out five connection requests and repeat this daily to gradually build your network.

6. Your last status update was July 5 . . . 2010

Updates to your profile remind people that you are still active. Updating your profile all across the social web is a good idea, but on LinkedIn, it’s a great idea. You can share content from Twitter by using #in within your tweet to make it easier. You can also like, comment on or share an update from someone else.

No matter how you score, stay focused on this great tool and don’t let your hard work up to this point go to waste!

SOURCE: Tim Tyrell-Smith, TimsStrategy.com

Why Isn’t Your Small Business Using Social Media?

While the phrase “social media” easily resonates with business owners these days, it’s surprising how many aren’t actually involved with this ever-growing facet of marketing.

This disconnect became more concrete in the latest Small Business Success Index survey. While the SBSI showed an “almost universal awareness among small business owners of Facebook and Twitter” only 27 percent of the entrepreneurs used Facebook for business purposes, and a mere 7 percent were Twitter users. LinkedIn garnered 18 percent.

Despite the tepid survey results, small businesses that have tried social media often see results: 63 percent say it helped make their customers more loyal. Other say social media has helped them stay engaged with customers, build brand awareness and identify and attract new customers.

So why aren’t more small companies doing it?

Many small business owners worry that social media is too “time-consuming” and that getting started can be very overwhelming. When FB Displays & Designs, Inc. first decided to integrate social networking into their marketing strategy, they had hired a college intern to build all of their profiles and begin initiating relationships. Over a short period of time, solid connections were steadily built across the board and members of the team could naturally maintain and interact with others among the different sites. Today, they use their social media presence as an outlet to interact with others, share important information and retain mutually beneficial relationships with their “friends and followers”.

Creating a successful social media presence boils down to a 2-step process:

1) Listen. Where is your key audience online? Set up Google Alerts for your business. You’ll begin to see where the conversations about your business are taking place. Listening helps you develop your voice.

2) Engage. Be sure you aren’t just blasting out information and news about your business. Interact directly with your followers. Ask them what else they would like to see from you and your business.

It’s important to remember that building a social media presence requires patience. If you’re not sure which site to begin with, find out which one is most popular with your customers. Learn the site to the best of your ability, refine its use and decide whether to move on to another. Social networking is all about building relationships and whether it’s online or off, relationships don’t happen overnight.

SOURCE: Rieva Lesonsky, www.AllBusiness.com Blog

We’d love to hear your thoughts on social media. For those of you currently involved on social networking sites, what strategies do you find work the best for your company?

Free Marketing to Grow Your Business

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It’s a common perception that in order to make money you must first spend money. And even though often times this is true, we have found a few ways around it. Here are some tips that will help you market your company for no cost at all!

Network– you’ve heard it before, networking is essential to business growth. Everywhere you go is a potential networking opportunity, which means free marketing for yourself as well as your business. Think outside the box and try new places. Look on eventful.com under conferences, learning, organizations, or any other categories for upcoming events in your area.

A great place to start is by volunteering. Not only will you be giving back to the community (which should, of course, be the number one reason for doing it) but you will also be meeting new people, which could lead to valuable business connections. Check out volunteermatch.org for local volunteer opportunities.

Use Social Media Sites– there are so many free social networking sites full of people looking to build business connections, just like you. Facebook and Twitter are good, but LinkedIn is a business networking website that declares its “mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Check out these sites to get the most out of LinkedIn for your business:

Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business with LinkedIn
33 Way to Use LinkedIn for Business

Be an Expert– write a blog on your topic of expertise, comment on other blogs, and volunteer to be a speaker to get you and your business out there. A really great way to generate publicity is to become a media source for reporters. There is a very useful website that will match you up with a reporter helpareporter.com.

Other free/low-cost opportunities

Do you have any free marketing tips?