This week on #Smallbizchat LIVE, our show featured three guests: Designing a Powerful Social Media Plan for 2019 with Alex Romanovich, @alexromanovich, How to Make Money with Tradeshows & Live Events with Dianna Geairn, @iSalesGirl, and How to Grow Sales and Your Business By Being a Celebrity CEO with Ramon Ray, @RamonRay.
I pulled three of the best questions from each of them to share with you. Every third Wednesday of the month, Smallbizchat LIVE is broadcast on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube channel and on Twitter @SmallBizLady.
Alex Romanovich is the Founder, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer at Social2B, a digital and social media marketing boutique consultancy, assisting global brands (B2B and B2C) in leveraging new advances in digital and social media marketing, data analytics, and new omnichannel marketing strategies. You can learn more at www.social2b.com.
SmallBizLady: Does influencer marketing help any business?
Alex Romanovich: Yes, if you choose the right persons with a relevant audience. However, recent research and my panel discussion at AdWeek shows that Community based Engagement is much more powerful than influencer marketing, which is now being questioned by the consumer, and the brand itself.
SmallBizLady: How could brands surprise you with social media in the near future?
Alex Romanovich: Video content will become more search friendly and remain as an integral part of marketing on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
In 2019, you will see more of:
- Live streaming for personalized outreach,
- Video product demos,
- 360-degree videos, and
- Personalized video messages from brands and prosumers alike
SmallBizLady: We talk a lot about personalization. What can you say about that?
Alex Romanovich: The first step is to make your future social media campaigns as personalized as possible. So, the personalization as the most powerful trend of the upcoming year should be a must for every brand that wants to get consumer’s attention. Personalization can extend from naming the consumer to embedding personalized greetings into video and other content, to creating personal responses in chatbots and using AI to gather personal information for special promotions.
Dianna Geairn co-founded TradeShow Makeover™ to help companies STOP leaving money on the Trade Show Floor. With over 45 years of combined trade show experience, TradeShow Makeover™ clients achieve dramatically improved results from their investment in conferences, summits, trade shows, and expos. You can learn more at www.irreverentsalesgirl.com.
SmallBizLady: What business opportunities are available at LIVE events that you can’t get anywhere else?
Dianna Geairn: Trade shows, conferences, summits and expos create marketplaces with unique business opportunities for companies who know how to capitalize on them. Unfortunately, most companies don’t know how to make the most of what’s available – so they spend lots of money and come home with no new business. The top 3 opportunities that live events make available that are not available (or very hard to get) otherwise are:
- Face-to-Face interactions. No matter how popular digital engagement has become, face-to-face human connections are still more powerful than any other kind of engagement. This is where we develop trust, rapport, and a willingness to engage in the future (provided the first meeting went well).
STATISTIC: The cost of a face-to-face meeting with a prospect at a tradeshow is $142. The cost of a face-to-face meeting at a prospect’s office is $259. (Center for Exhibition Industry Research CEIR)
- The Decision Maker’s Attention: In our research, executives and business owners tell us that while they are unwilling to answer phone solicitations or emails throughout the year, they specifically attend live events to meet with vendors and explore new business solutions. Think about all those ways you work to get an executive’s attention: Social Media, Content Creation, Emails, Phone Calls, Requests for Referrals. Executives mostly ignore you throughout the year. But, they are open to having these conversations while they are at a live event. If fact, many are going specifically for that reason.
STATISTIC: 92% of tradeshow attendees come to see and learn about what’s new in products and services. (CEIR)
- Access to the Decision Maker’s checkbook: Executives come to find new vendors, new solutions. And many come with a budget. Unfortunately, most booth staffers don’t know how to engage them.
STATISTIC: 77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended. (CEIR))
Sad Story: On Friday, I was talking with a CEO. He had just left a trade show of software suppliers and he was looking for a new partner. He had $50k to spend. Each booth he visited, he was ignored. The 2 people he engaged at booths took no time to find out about him and only “pitched” features and benefits. He left the show with $50k in his pocket, super frustrated and annoyed. The worst part? All those potential vendors have NO IDEA that they missed a sale!
SmallBizLady: What are the 3 biggest mistakes small businesses make when it comes to LIVE events?
- They fail to prepare. Done well, a company can arrive at the event with meetings already scheduled, a plan to meet new qualified prospects with the perfect questions to ask new contacts, and a plan to follow up once they get home from the show, including the messaging and mediums you will use.
a. When you prepare for all aspects of the event BEFORE you go, it becomes easy to generate revenue from the show.
b. Much like Sun Tzu says in The Art of War “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war.”
- They come to “pitch” their products instead of to create a memorable experience for their ideal customer that will leave them wanting to connect afterward (and remember who you are, so they take your meeting).
- They don’t ask for the appointment. When someone is interested and you see a good fit, it is not time to ask for the sale – it’s time to ask for the appointment. Schedule time right there to talk after the show. Everyone has a smartphone or a calendar with them!
SmallBizLady: How do I decide which shows/conferences to attend?
Dianna Geairn: We recommend that, if you’re not familiar with a show, you should “walk” that show first. This will save you money and give you a flavor of what opportunities are available at the show (booth placement, special event sponsorship). If you’re familiar with the show and you know that your ideal customers are there, it may be a good opportunity to exhibit at the show. Work with the organizers to determine the opportunities they recommend for you to put your best foot forward. Ask a lot of questions. They know what works and what doesn’t about their show.
Ramon Ray loves burnt pancakes, bacon and eggs. He is also a four-time entrepreneur, best-selling author, global speaker and event producer. Ramon sold one of the company’s he founded, his third book was a best-seller, and he’s in the process of writing his fourth book “Celebrity CEO”, Ramon is the founder of SmallBizTechnology.com and Smart Hustle Magazine – two leading resources for all things small business startup and growth. You can learn more at https://www.ramonray.com.
SmallBizLady: What is personal branding and why is it so important?
Ramon Ray: Personal branding is NOT corporate branding. It’s about how YOU as a person, the owner of your smaller business are represented to clients and potential clients. It’s important in a marketplace where many services and products are the same—getting people to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you as a person is important. Also, personal branding is about building a fan base, a community (not customers) who THEN want to buy from you
SmallBizLady: How do you start your personal branding if you are just starting out?
Ramon Ray: Be yourself; don’t copy others. Think about what makes you different from others. What are you doing to enable your community to rally around your brand? The simple way to get started is “social media”—by regularly EDUCATING your audience, you’ll build trust and credibility. As you grow consider things like hosting events or getting media attention.
SmallBizLady: Why is video so important to you?
Ramon Ray: Video humanizes and personalizes your brand. It gets your FACE in front of the customer and prospective customer. “Everyone” loves video (ie Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video). YOU as a small biz owner should use it too.
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