I recently went to a local bridal expo and craft show and had some really interesting conversations with a number of the business owners who were actively choosing to limit their business success.
Most did not have a site and most seemed to think that they could not have one because their stock changed so much and so often that they could not keep up with the images online. I can understand this concern because I have faced it with my work too. But such a point of view is making them miss out on a fabulous 24/7 marketing tool.
The answer is that you do not have to put all your work online. You can start with phase 1 having information like:
* calendar of exhibitions and shows for the year so customers know where to find you so they can come and spend money with you.
* contact details so customers can easily contact you to place orders.
* online email newsletter subscription so customers can give you their details so you can remind them about upcoming shows (newsletters can be monthly or just once a year, but building the database list of interested customers is vital for business growth and success)
* product range so customers know what you will have at the show.
* images of your goods so customers can see what you have to start to get ideas.
These images can come from magazines that have featured your work, ones you have taken of your work at shows, as well as taking specific ones for the site – just like any other marketing images you need to develop for brochures and flyers.
Communicating with your potential and existing customers is vital for success. Letting customers know where to find you, especially if you have a mobile business that does trade show displays and expos, gives customers the opportunity to find you easily and to be ready to shop with you.
If you do not communicate with your customers then they can forget you, not know that you are doing a particular show nor know how to contact you to find out when you will be where.
An email newsletter for your customers can be created and managed through an online newsletter service. I found mine by going with the service used by a business author I respect so thought if it worked for him it would work for me.
These small businesses spending lots of money on trade show booths and attendance are forgotten about because they are choosing to miss out on having a website – a powerful 24/7 marketing tool.
With a website a small business can grow it as needed. The site can start out small and information based and then grow into a large site that is a mixture of content and e-commerce. That is how I have built mine and it is successful so it is possible to build it progressively as you learn and money is available.
So when you are looking at spending a heap of money to promote your business think through how customers are going to remember you and find you again. If you see problems seek the solutions.
Those small businesses exhibiting at the expos and shows I went to are missing out on a lot of extra sales and income from their exhibitions all because they are missing the marketing boat by not having a website.
Belinda Stinson is the designer and owner of a popular and successful jewelry and jewelry display stand gift idea store. Belinda also offers a range of business and marketing articles online published in the monthly email newsletter to help other businesses success.