I’ve just spent a day at a business to business exhibition in my local Town Hall. What a fantastic opportunity to promote local businesses to their peers. Sadly the opportunity was largely wasted.
The biggest problem was that it was arranged in too much of a rush, under three weeks is way too ambitious. That might have been mitigated with some sustained marketing to the right target market. However the organisers simply mailed their own database which did not have enough local names on it.
Focus on those with most to gain
As with any marketing the target needs to be those who stand to benefit most from the offer, in this case local businesses. Working out who our target market is and how they will benefit from our offer is the first thing we need to do. This will allow us to craft our message so that it it resonates with our prospects.
When the message is clear we need to ensure that it reaches the right target. Sometimes we need help. That’s why so many successful business people work on joint ventures.
Who has access to the target?
When our database isn’t adequate for our needs we need to think how we can access more names. There are many ways to do this:
- Buy a mailing list being really specific about the data we want
- Use targeted Google, Facebook or LinkedIn ads
- Ask people on our mailing list/ in our network to send a message on our behalf
- Find people with access to our target market and offer them a reward for sending out our message.
- Use searches and hashtags on social media to find groups and influencers in the target market and then engage with them
In the case of our event the organisers could have contacted the local Chamber of Commerce, the Business Improvement Districts (we have several), the numerous local networking groups and the local media. They did none of this. Neither did they engage on social media or join in our local Twitter hour which would have reached a sizeable number of people in the target market.
The local council could have done so much more too. They could have used their website, their social media, the intranet, their noticeboards and they could have allowed a flag or banner outside the venue.
I hope lessons have been learned and that the event can be repeated next year with a much longer lead time and active involvement from the local business community. I for one will do everything I can to make the event a success.