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GUEST BLOG: Maximise your marketing at industry expos

By WhereTheTradeBuys

The challenges of advertising aren’t restricted to design. Many business owners and marketers need to consider where they will place their printed products once they’re complete — put them in the wrong spot and your ROI could plummet!

To help, we’ve explored the multiple locations available to you when you want to optimise your printed ad for maximum exposure. From store window to trade show, read on for advice on maximising your marketing ROI with pull-up banner placement tips.

Event shows or exhibitions

According to Eventbrite, the UK events industry is worth £42.3 billion and 1.3 million business events are held annually. Corporate hospitality accounts for around £1.2 billion, while exhibitions comprise £11 billion and conferences make up the lion’s share at £19.9 billion! Clearly, this industry is big business and you don’t want your company to get left behind if you aren’t active in trade shows and corporate gatherings. But, how do you maximise your exposure when you’re surrounded by so many other brands?

By using print marketing material like pull-up banners, you can hallmark your brand in someone’s mind much better than you could using digital alternatives at an events or trade shows. In fact, according to a study carried out in the US, participants that viewed print media showed a greater emotional response for it and were able to recall its details better than they could for digital ads. If you want to stand out against your competitors at a major recruitment exhibition and create that bond to entice people to come over, why not design an attractive, descriptive pull-up banner and place it next to your stand? If it’s eye-catching enough, it will draw potential partners and employees to your table where you can begin discussing the key details of your business.

At worst, your print banner’s audience will be more likely to recall your brand after leaving the show than they would if there had been a digital ad or no ad at all. This adds longevity to your marketing strategy that will boost your ROI beyond the event itself

To signpost your business location

According to a study published in The Independent last year, employees in the UK are working more overtime than ever before with 60% of those asked stating that they don’t have a good work-life balance. Basically, members of the public and your prospective clients are feeling too busy to waste much time, which could cause an issue when it comes to them locating and visiting your shop.

Are you easy to find? Even if you’re slightly off the high street, tucked away around a sharp corner or sandwiched between two larger stores; you could run the risk of clients giving up on finding you. By placing your pull-up banner in a location that signposts your building, you can direct your customers, as well as advertise your brand to the general public. Use bold fonts and colours to highlight your address and tell people which other shops you’re next to or opposite so they can quickly work out where you are. If you’re thinking about placing these outdoors, make sure you opt for a quality PVC or vinyl banner to make sure your ad can endure the weather for maximum return on your spend.

Reception or shop entrance

Just because your customer is in your building, it doesn’t mean you can’t promote your brand further. The sleek but noticeable dimensions of a pull-up banner will allow it to stand conspicuously in the corner of your foyer or next to your reception desk, while not overpowering the room and making it look cluttered.

Are you still a family-run company? Have you recently added another line of products to your range? Just reached five or ten years in business? Achievements like these matter to people who walk through your door, and the beauty of a pull-up banner is that you have the space to advertise snippets of success stories — unlike with a small leaflet, for example. Studies suggest that it can take as little as a tenth of a second for us to formulate an impression of something, which means that you don’t have long to portray your brand in a positive light when your customers steps into your building. Designing an eye-catching pull-up banner that not only features complementary colours — perhaps matching your reception décor — pleasant fonts and nice imagery, but also highlights interesting information about your company might be another helpful marketing factor to convert sales from new customers and boost brand loyalty among current clients.

According to an article by the Economist, the section immediately inside a shop building is called the ‘decompression’ zone. This is because customers need to momentarily ‘slow down’ to assess their new surroundings. As a result, this is a great place for promotional material. Even if you don’t have a reception area, you can simply place your pull-up banner just inside the entrance for the same powerful marketing affect — another way to boost ROI.

Shop window

A strong and alluring window display can be the difference between a potential customer stepping inside your building and walking or driving by it. According to store design and display consultant, Linda Cahan, in an article published in Entrepreneur: “Each window should tell a story”. Are you making the most of this key piece of promotional space? If you have floor-length windows, simply angle your pull-up banner so it is clearly visible to people and cars coming from all directions. Or, use a platform to give your advert height so it can be easily seen.

What’s more, a store window is a perfect place to advertise discounts and offers — did you know that 80% of consumers describe themselves as ‘promotion sensitive’? Highlighting a special discount on your pull-up banner placed in your store window will give your offer excellent visibility to help bring foot traffic in-store. Also, research shows that discounts can make it less probable that people will then compare your range with your competitors’! Remember to use contrasting colours and large text to highlight your offer on your banner.

Awards shows

Has your company been shortlisted for an award? There are countless ceremonies for every industry taking place across the UK throughout the year — so, how can you hallmark your brand when you’re surrounded by competitors at a special event?

Of course, promotional material at certain awards ceremonies wouldn’t work, as they’re simply a champagne reception and red-carpet affair. However, some are very business-based and can last all day before the awards section takes place in the evening. In which case, use this time to promote your brand on social media and YouTube. A creative, attention-grabbing pull-up banner stamped with your brand logo and key information you want customers or prospective employees to know will work wonders to promote what you do.

Even seeing a print ad like this for a short while will help your brand stay in someone’s mind much better than if you employed digital alternatives — excellent when you’re trying to get one step ahead of the competition. A Canadian study sound that three quarters of people could remember a brand after viewing it via a print media ad. Conversely, only two-fifths were able to recall the company after seeing it on a digital platform. To boost ROI, create a well-structured pull-up banner or two that can act as backdrops to any interviews you hold or videos/photos you take when your staff are at the awards event. Colour, design, content, and imagery are important characteristics — only use complementary colours, clear layouts, insightful text, and high-quality resolutions. Hashtags, contact information and your brand logo are also essentials. Then, share your snaps or videos on social media to spread brand awareness!

There are multiple places you can put a pull-up banner to promote your company. Bear these key tips in mind to maximise your ROI!

Sources:

https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2015/rarc-wp-15-012.pdf

https://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/print-vs-digital.htm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/british-employees-working-overtime-no-extra-money-record-high-68-days-additional-pay-a7607596.html

https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression #

https://www.economist.com/node/12792420

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223808 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-wong/what-science-says-about-discounts_b_8511224.html

https://www.getelastic.com/coupon-infographic

https://business.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-use-discount-pricing-strategies–cms-28611

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/direct-mail-in-the-digital-age/

Industry Spotlight: Advice and tips on attracting future engineers…

Doug Anderson, sales and marketing manager at Guttridge, discusses the importance of attracting future engineers and offers a few top tips along the way.

As a company, it’s important to not only chase the next customer, but also chase the next employee. The engineering sector should constantly attract new talent and actively encourage more females into what has traditionally been a male-dominated environment. It’s vital that future engineers should be motivated and passionate at the earliest stage in their professional development…

Why work in engineering?

The engineering sector is regarded as a cornerstone of the UK’s economic progression. In the future, engineers will be charged with producing cutting-edge technology and building structures that will help the UK tackle any renewable energy issues. To achieve this, there needs to be as many people entering the industry as possible. Organisations must remove any existing preconceptions and make engineering an attractive career path for all young people, by taking actions to promote and encourage working in the industry. How do we do this? Well here are four tactics to help secure the future engineering talent.

Generate interest early

Firstly, it’s vital to ensure that children and students of all ages, male and female, are informed about engineering. There are many different disciplines within the sector, offering different opportunities. Young students who are passionate about engineering and keen to enter the industry should have the opportunity to make informed educational decisions in order to realise their ambition.

The education sector and schools are improving increasing awareness in the sector, by using dynamic teaching methods to help bring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to life. Attracting girls to the industry is a huge priority as they are still scarce in the engineering profession despite the career opportunities it offers.

As well as emphasising the importance of STEM to students, male and female, it is just as important that teachers and parents are aware of the importance and benefits that working in engineering can bring.

Earning and learning

In the past, engineering companies tend to lack an on-campus presence at schools, colleges and universities which hasn’t helped graduate intake into the sector. However, in recent years the visibility in terms of career potential are now in front of young talent.

The cost of attending university deters many young people, so it’s crucial to make them aware of the existence of other routes to a successful and rewarding career. Apprenticeships and internships offer an opportunity to learn whilst earning a wage, and can become a huge step to further education later in life. In-house training is offered alongside fully funded qualifications to help employees enhance their formal education. Organisations need to provide these development opportunities to help attract engineers from a wider range of social backgrounds. Learning on the job can produce more well-rounded employees – as it requires hard work and dedication.

Removing industry preconceptions

In the past engineering has been perceived as a male-oriented industry, and the lack of female engineers in the UK suggests that very little has changed. Given the diversity roles within the sector, there is absolutely no justification for this.

Perhaps as an industry we need to effectively relay the message that a career in engineering offers a wealth of opportunities that actually take place in very modern and high-tech environments, as opposed to grubby ones.

Wealth of opportunity

The scale of opportunity that engineering can provide for entry level students is superb. Engineering is an exciting career field to be involved in, and new opportunities are always available for qualified engineers. It is a flourishing and fast growing sector, not to mention engineering graduates earn some of the best salaries in the country.

Many engineering businesses have offices overseas, so there are also opportunities for graduates to travel abroad, especially to the MENA area.

When it comes to interviews and the selection process, recruitment of new staff in the engineering sector needs to be based on talent alone, rather than gender or any other arbitrary factor. The more that a company builds its female workforce, the more women will be attracted to fill positions in the industry, and the industry will thrive.

It is therefore up to those currently involved in the engineering sector, to spread the word and improve the appreciation of a career which knows no bounds, and continue to do what we can for our future engineers.

At Guttridge we encourage the STEM subjects by working with The Imagineering Foundation to introduce school children to the fascinating world of engineering and technology. We are seeing extremely encouraging results with our local school and are working hard to ensure the children are inspired to consider a career in engineering.

Access the original article here

 

Forum Insight: 10 ways to succeed at networking events…

Walking into an event room full of people you don’t know can be a scary experience. However, there are proven ways to conquer this fear and make networking an enjoyable and a useful process to do business. Here, we share 10 of the best practices to eradicate those networking nerves.

  1. Plan ahead: Try to obtain the attendee list in advance and highlight the people you would like to meet. On arrival, contact the event organiser and say who you are trying to connect with. If they get the chance, an introduction between yourself and the other party will be made upon arrival. It might also be beneficial to go to the registration area to ask if one of your selected visitors has arrived.
  1. Get there early: If you are one of the first to arrive, it is much easier to strike up a conversation with a small group of people.
  1. Most people are in the same position: If you do not know anyone else attending, it’s good to prepare a few opening questions: ‘Any particular presentation you’re looking forward to hearing today?’; ‘What brought you to this event?’
  1. Join a group: Approaching a group of attendees already in full conversation is a daunting prospect. So be bold, confident, and simply ask: “May I join the conversation? I’ve just arrived and I’m keen to learn what’s going on.”
  1. Build interesting conversation: Ask topical and relevant questions to the specific event. Be a good listener and don’t dominate the conversation with your own stories and business ideas.
  1. Be helpful: Share your knowledge of the industry, your contacts and sources of information. If people perceive you as an experienced and knowledgeable professional, they will want to keep in contact and maintain a relationship.
  1. Use your business card as a tactical weapon: I have a friend who renovates old wooden floors, so his business card is made of a thin piece of wood and has proven to be a guaranteed conversation starter. Be imaginative with the design and the job title displayed. Anything that says ‘sales’ or ‘business development’ could cause people to fear a sales pitch is on the way. So try and think of a job title that encourages a productive conversation.
  1. Receiving business cards: Be sure to make notes on the back to remind you of the conversation and the person. This could become much use in future interactions.
  1. Following up: If you engaged in constructive conversation with an attendee and have agreed to follow up after the event, then set a preferred method of contact and make sure to do so promptly.
  1. What not to do: Sales pitches, even if you’re asked ‘what does your company do’, keep your answer to a very brief explanation. Don’t ‘work the room’ rushing from group to group as this is not the way to form business relationships. It’s better to have had four good conversations than a dozen meaningless chats.

Words by Paul Rowney, director at Forum Events Ltd.

Forum Insight: Savvy SEO tips for start-ups that won’t break the bank…

With 50 per cent of new businesses failing within five years, recent research has revealed that many small businesses are missing out on opportunities to market online due to a lack of digital knowledge.

The research from 123 Reg found that 73 per cent said they did not advertise online and 42 per cent reported having no digital presence. SEO and other terminology also stumped 48 per cent of business owners surveyed, and only 53 per cent said their websites were easily readable via a mobile device.

“Being digitally savvy is especially important for start-ups. It can be the difference between your business being seen in the right places by the right people, and even small changes can have a huge impact,” comments Alex Minchin, founder and director of SEO agency Zest Digital.

Here, Alex shares three instantly achievable tips for small businesses looking to get started with SEO:

  1. Sign up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console and add the necessary code to your website: These are two free tools that will enable you to measure performance, even if you don’t understand it all immediately. You cannot improve something that you’re not measuring, and these tools will measure things such as; the number of visitors landing on your website, the best performing content, keywords driving traffic, any broken links or pages, and the links from other websites that are pointing back to your website.
  2. Start local: Most searches in the micro and small business world include local modifiers such as your city or county, e.g. “Plumbers in Croydon”. An easy way to start to build some gravitas towards your website is to feature on business directories. This creates ‘citations’ (mentions) of your business name and confirms your address and other details, in addition to pointing a link back to your website. It’s crucial to make sure your information is kept consistent, so finalise your details and use the same information as a template for all directories. These things will help to increase the strength and trust of your website. Just be sure to focus on reputable directories such as Touch Local, 192, Freeindex, and Opendi for example.
  3. Focus on the real basics and design each META title and description for each of the key pages on your website as a minimum: The title tag and descriptor underneath the search result is considered as a ranking factor by Google, and can positively influence your rankings for a particular keyword. Your title should include your keyword and brand name as a minimum, but try to be as creative as possible with the character limit (55 is the defacto) that you have available.  In the META description, it’s more important to include your value proposition and key information, for example “free delivery on all orders”, or “free quotation”. Remember, you’re trying to stand out to win a greater share of the clicks against the other websites competing for the same keyword so details and USPs are key.

“It’s widely reported that somewhere around 90 per cent of all purchasing decisions begin with a search engine and a search query.  SEO can therefore play a huge part in the marketing strategy of a small business.

Alex continues. “Sharing your expertise through content and delivering value to your target market is the name of the game, and it’s a playground that, whilst dominated by some larger brands, isn’t policed by them. It’s entirely possible for a small business to compete and win on this channel, and doesn’t have to involve a huge cost in doing so.”