Category: Business Advice

11 Reasons to Not Miss Yorkshire Business Market 2018

Visitors and exhibitors at Yorkshire Business Market 2017

Now in its 14th year, the Yorkshire Business Market was created to offer a low-cost way for Yorkshire organisations to showcase their products and services. Since the first YBM, this business expo has developed into a go-to event for company decision-makers from all over the county. If you need a bit more convincing before you register to attend, read our top eleven reasons why you shouldn’t miss the Yorkshire Business Market, being held at the Pavilions of Harrogate on Monday, 30th April.

  1. Wide range of exhibitors

Whereas normal trade shows have exhibitors from one industry, YBM is open to any Yorkshire organisation. At YBM18 you’ll find an eclectic mix of products and services, including premium cars, an outstanding wine and beer merchant, and several marketing agencies. Whether you’re looking for accountants, solicitors or even mediation training, you’ll find it at Yorkshire Business Market 2018.

  1. Partners to make us proud

To determine whether our event is worthy of your time, just look at who’s supporting us: Hornbeam Park Developments, DNG, Ad:Venture, Stray FM, fsb, Bettys, and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership. We feel incredibly fortunate to have support from such a fantastic group of organisations, and they will have representatives on their stands to tell you more about their products and services.

  1. Business Growth Hub

Whatever type of advice you need to help your business grow and develop, you’ll find it in the Aire room (stands A44 to A66). Harrogate Borough Council has brought together an impressive collection of 12 organisations who can provide advice, support, and grant funding for businesses across Leeds City Region, York, and North Yorkshire. The hub includes:

  • Coventry University Enterprises
  • Ad:Venture
  • YH Training Services
  • Harrogate College
  • PAPI Project (University of York)
  • Harrogate Borough Council – local authority
  • Harrogate Borough Council – shared ownership housing
  • Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
  • Digital Knowledge Exchange
  • NYCC Adult Learning and Skills Service
  • NYCC Trading Standards Service
  • York Science Park
  1. Federation of Small Businesses breakfast meeting

The FSB are back to host their popular networking breakfast meeting, which runs from 7.30am to 9.30am, so that exhibitors and visitors can both attend before the official market opening. This year’s keynote speaker is Paralympian Elizabeth Wright. Tickets are £5 for FSB members and £7.50 for non-members. For more information and to book your place, visit the Eventbrite page.

  1. Expert Seminars

YBM has become known for it’s great selection of expert-led seminars and workshops – which are all FREE to attend! This year is no exception with sessions throughout the day on topics such as funding your business, GDPR and LinkedIn marketing. Visit our Seminar page for more information.

  1. Mentoring

We’re delighted that experienced business mentor Julian Horrocks is with us again this year. Julian is offering FREE, 40-minute mentoring sessions throughout the day. These valuable sessions ideally should be pre-booked by emailing [email protected], or by enquiring at Reception on the day, should there be any still available.

  1. Grand Opening

We’re extremely pleased that this year’s Yorkshire Business Market is to be officially opened at 10am by David A. Kerfoot, MBE, DL, the newly appointed chairman of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

  1. Small but perfectly formed

We receive a lot of positive feedback about YBM being a manageable size. Event centres are normally like aircraft-hangars, so you only see a tiny percentage of what’s on offer. At YBM visitors can see nearly 100 stands and still have plenty of time for meaningful discussions and negotiations. Despite not being a sprawling exhibition, we attract over 1,000 decision-makers every year.

  1. The Three FREES

YBM is not only FREE to attend, there is plenty of FREE parking in proximity to the venue. And to make it a hat-trick, FREE WiFi is available to check your emails.

  1. Competitions galore

As you’re chatting to exhibitors, don’t forget to enter their competitions. You’ll find everything from simple business card draws to really challenging quizzes, and there are some great prizes on offer. You gotta be in it to win it!

  1. Friendly event

We pride ourselves on being one of the friendliest business events out there. Our community spirit shines through as we emphasise the importance of what Yorkshire organisations bring to the marketplace. It’s not about hard selling tactics with our exhibitors; they will want to get to know you and your company to determine whether their products or services are a good fit for your goals.

Don’t forget to register your attendance on our website, and your name badge will be waiting for you at reception.

Business Seminars for CPD at YBM18

Seminar at Yorkshire Business Market

On Monday 30th April, around 100 exhibitors and 1,000 decision-makers will be at the Harrogate Pavilions for the 14th annual Yorkshire Business Market. While the event is a fantastic networking opportunity (which is why so many exhibitors keep coming back), it’s not all about sales. YBM is also the perfect place to learn, as free business seminars for CPD run all day, starting at 10.30am. This year we have a fantastic line-up of speakers and topics as follows:

1. AD:VENTURE – Grant Funding and Debunking the Myths Around Barriers to Accessing Grants: Daneile Moore

This presentation will give you practical insights into how the grants element works, as well as debunking a few misconceptions linked to public funding. We’ll explain how we can help you access the grants and, and where that’s not suitable, help you access alternative finance options. The seminar will also give a brief overview of the wider programme offer and will allow the audience to interact and ask questions. #ThinkBig #ThinkAdventure

2. FSB – Business Finance Made Approachable – become confident in raising finance: Florian Reinhardt

Speaking to financial professionals can be intimidating if you lack a finance degree. Consequently, hundreds of people are losing out on better deals every year as they take the first offer coming their way to get it over with. It shouldn’t be like this. Drawing from years of experience in finance, Florian Reinhardt, Head of Partnerships at the FSB Funding Platform, will demystify the funding world and provide some useful advice on how you can step up your game to get the funding you require.

3. Agenci Limited – GDPR Requires Action; Stop Thinking About It. Make a Plan. Take action: Gary Hibberd, MD

Covering Cyber Security and the GDPR in one presentation, Gary will explain why we need this regulation and how it improves our businesses and will provide practical advice on steps you need to take NOW to prepare for the changes ahead.

4. Yorkshire Energy Systems – Renewables for Business: Chris Wilde, Director

Renewables are now mainstream; they are the future, offering cheaper and more secure alternatives to traditional fossil fuel sources of energy. Yet many businesses are not taking advantage of the opportunities they offer to cut overheads, improve the bottom line, help the environment, and enhance their public image. Part of the problem is poor media coverage leading to myths such as, “There is no subsidy for solar, so there’s no point now,” and “Heat pumps only work with underfloor heating.” This talk will dispel some of these myths and explain why every business                                                               should be looking at renewables to tap into the great potential they hold.

5. Bee Social Marketing – Killing it with LinkedIn; speaker John Ranby, Director

John Ranby, Director of Bee Social Marketing based in Harrogate will be sharing some of their LinkedIn secrets that help generate leads on LinkedIn for their clients. LinkedIn has become one of the best places online to generate leads for your business and actually grow your business. If you’re struggling, or just want to brush up your skills, this talk is for you.

Whatever your organisation and sector, the Yorkshire Business Market’s business seminars for CPD provide valuable opportunities to gain knowledge and skills to help your business prosper. You don’t want to miss this exciting day, so follow the link to register. (And if you’re quick, there are a few stands left if you’d like to be part of this successful event.)

Yorkshire Business Market visitor registration button

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Why the Yorkshire Business Market Stands Out

The Yorkshire Business Market has been a leading business expo for 13 years, with many organisations returning every year. This vibrant, community-driven event was created to showcase the array of exceptional SMEs based in Yorkshire. Exhibitors have the opportunity to meet and engage with over 1,000 decision-makers. Detailed below are comments from just four of the organisations who’ve experienced the benefits of exhibiting at YBM. There are only a handful of spaces left, so don’t miss out.

Wild and Co, Chartered Accountants, Harrogate

Digital Plus, visual graphics specialists, Leeds

“Digital Plus first exhibited at the Yorkshire Business Market over 10 years ago and since then, have found it to be a very valuable way to reach out to new customers within a very professionally run and managed exhibition. We have gained numerous clients who are still working with us, for example, the first year we exhibited we gained Martin House Hospice (who exhibited opposite us also) as a new client, as well as Leeds Bradford Airport and Wetherby Racecourse, to name just a few. Every year brings new opportunities to meet new prospects and to also catch up with ‘old acquaintances’ that you meet almost every year. We would encourage anyone looking to gain new customers or indeed just to raise their brand profile to make attending Yorkshire Business Market a No1 priority on their yearly ‘to do’ list.” Ian Thomas – Sector Sales Manager – Digital Plus

Storyteller Marketing, Otley

“I exhibited in 2017 for the very first time. My company was just a year old and I hadn’t taken a stand at any other business exhibition before. I heard about it on the grapevine, being Yorkshire based and all. I took the smallest stand and met some lovely people surrounding me while setting up. The team were on standby to help me with anything I needed and to make sure all was in order with the stand I had booked. I had a constant flurry of people coming by all day and from all kinds of sectors, such as retail to property. I left the day thrilled with 14 enquiries, of which I turned 4 in to clients. All in all, the event was well worth doing, from the social media promotion in the run up to the event, all the way through to the post-event communication to check on how I felt the event went and of course, the new clients I accrued! I think this is a no brainer, great exposure for your brand and a great sales-driver. Tip – get promotional merchandise to make your exhibition area stand out from the rest! Happy Exhibiting.” Olivia Scott, owner

OSR Medical, Ripon

“OSR Medical decided to attend Yorkshire Business Market, as we are a new company, looking to create new business contacts. We have confidence that YBM will be a great place to create contacts, after hearing such great things from previous YBM attendees. We need to make our brand known and are excited to attend. After working with StrayFM over the past few months, we think YBM will be a great success for our business. YBM is a great annual event, where local businesses can connect with lots of contacts on one day and under one roof. So, we are excited to meet other businesses by making our stand fun and interactive, with a great challenging competition. We look forward to seeing you there.” Damien Longley, Director

Whatever your business, it’s clear that exhibiting at the Yorkshire Business Market on 30th April will raise your profile and give you the opportunity to add new clients to your portfolio. The businesses who keep coming back know it’s the ideal environment.

7 Ways to Get Your Business Posts Seen on Facebook

7 Ways to Get Your Business Posts Seen on Facebook

7 Ways to Get Your Business Posts Seen on Facebook

Facebook’s new algorithm means that it’s more difficult to get your business posts to appear on timelines, but by following these seven suggestions, you can still successfully use this platform for your marketing needs, and get your business posts seen on Facebook. To download a PDF version of this A4 infographic, click here.

poster on 7 ways to get business posts seen on Facebook

To download a PDF version, click here.

Why Every SME Needs a Business Mentor

For the 2013 Sage Business Index, 11,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 17 countries were surveyed about mentorship. While 93% of those questioned accepted that having a business mentor would help their business prosper, only 28% actually hired one. In the UK, the result was even lower at 22%. When you look at the benefits that mentors bring to Startups and SMEs, it’s somewhat surprising that less than a quarter of UK businesses go down the mentoring route. If you think it’s difficult to calculate the ROI, here are just a few of the reasons that should convince you hiring an experienced external advisor will be money well spent.

It’s all about goals

A business mentor will work with you to tailor a strategic and practical business concept with achievable long- and short-term goals. These goals would be reviewed and updated periodically. Any blockers to success would be identified and (hopefully) eradicated. Your mentor will suggest proven marketing strategies, such as raising your organisation’s profile at events like the Yorkshire Business Market.

No one knows it all

You might have come up with the hottest new product or service on the market, but that doesn’t automatically make you an expert at running a successful business. You need to know about finance, sales and marketing, IT, HR and compliance. Hopefully you’re competent in some areas, and the business mentor will fill in the gaps, provided you’ve done your research and chosen the right advisor.

Objective eyes

Your mentor will take an in-depth look at your business, then tell you what you’re doing right, and more significantly, what you’re doing wrong. It’s easy to miss things when you’re immersed in a project, especially one where you’re emotionally invested. A mentor will be quick to spot anything that needs attention.

It’s not what you know…

If you’ve done your homework and chosen a mentor with a varied and well-rounded background, the networking opportunities alone should bring a justifiable ROI. An external advisor can connect you with individuals and organisations from a wide range of sectors, creating opportunities for new leads and better supplier options.

Confidence boost

Even the cleverest entrepreneurs can feel a bit lost at times, and although not a life coach, a good mentor should be able to motivate you and boost your confidence when it’s waning. Empathy is a necessary asset for a good business mentor.

A second opinion never hurts

Big decisions about finance or expanding your business can always benefit from outside advice. Chewing things over with colleagues can help, but a second opinion from someone outside the business who’s ‘bought the t-shirt’ can pay dividends. A worthwhile business mentor is one who spots an error in judgement, then stops it from happening.

Growth

If you’ve chosen the right mentor, growth won’t be limited to your business. You’ll also grow from the leadership and management skills passed on from your advisor. These will help you develop into a more effective CEO.

How to pick your mentor

You probably won’t go for the first mentor you see; interview several before you decide. Consider the following when choosing an external advisor:

  • Look for skills and experience that are relevant to your needs.
  • A good mentor is one who practices active listening.
  • Your overall business philosophies should be similar.
  • Do you have a rapport? The mentor in question could have an excellent resume, but if you don’t hit it off, the process will be less successful.
  • Remember that the ideal mentor for you now may not be the right person several years down the line. You may end up using several mentors long term.

Hopefully now you know the benefits of hiring a mentor, you’re ready to take the next step. The Yorkshire Business Market provides the perfect opportunity, as experienced mentor Julian Horrocks is offering FREE 40-minute ‘Meet the Mentor’ sessions. YBM takes place on Monday, 30th April 2018, at the Pavilions of Harrogate. Pre-booking is essential for Julian’s sessions, which you can do by clicking below.
Reserve a mentoring slot

Relationship Marketing is a Marathon, not a Sprint

Tortoise and hare illustrating relationship marketing

There’s so much buzz about relationship marketing, and if you’re not familiar with the strategy, it may sound irrelevant for your business, or too time consuming. The latter is true in the short-term: you will have to devote time to building relationships, however you’ll end up saving time when your customers keep renewing without you having to do any hard work. It’s about building trust and it should pay dividends if done well.

Determine your target market

Hopefully this is something you’ve already done. If not, relationship marketing isn’t going to work. You’ll find it far easier to hone sales and marketing campaigns towards specific groups or audiences. Trying to appeal to everyone is wasting resources. Look at your current customer base and see what they have in common. Then create a typical customer profile. If you’re unsure, conduct some market research at a business event or set up a focus group. You can use the profile to target audiences on social media and for email campaigns.

Key questions and active listening

Think about how you’d act on a first date. You’d (hopefully) ask key questions to find out about the other person, but more importantly, you’d actively listen and make a mental note of the responses. It’s similar with relationship marketing. While you shouldn’t get too personal, it’s useful to find out your customers’ interests and what motivates them. Rather than steering the conversation around your products and services, find out about their organisation’s general goals and challenges. Chances are the customer will end up steering the conversation towards how you can help them, without you having to. All this data will help you nurture the relationship. And remember to leave your ‘super sales’ persona behind. Be authentic and natural.

It’s better to give than to receive

If you’re not into relationship marketing, your customers may cringe when you contact them, as they know you’re only getting in touch to try and sell them something. You may find them avoiding your calls, and if you’re bombarding them with sales emails, they may opt out from your mailing list, which is the last thing you want. With relationship marketing, it’s never about the hard sell; in fact, forget about selling altogether (yes, I’m serious). It’s about giving. And we’re not talking free lunches (although that can be a nice way to get to know your customer). It’s more about how you can assist businesses with any goals. This might take the form of advice, free resources, or putting them in touch with one of your suppliers. Customers will then see you as someone who has their best interests at heart – not someone who just wants to make a quick sale. If you know your product or service isn’t the optimum choice to meet a customer’s needs, rather than pushing it on them anyway, be up front and recommend a competitor. That’s not utter madness; it’s a way of getting people to trust you and your judgement. It will also make it more likely they recommend you to others. Forcing a sale will only bring negative feedback. Remember, relationship marketing is about the long haul.

Connecting

Once your relationship is established, engage regularly with your customers. You may not have the resources to schedule frequent visits, so why not make time for Skype chats? It’s more personal than an email and gives the opportunity for a more relaxed conversation. Another important way of connecting with customers is on social media. Follow your customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Engaging with their posts will:

  • Help build the relationship
  • Keep you in their thoughts
  • Expand your reach to other potential customers

Being active on social media is always a positive marketing strategy, particularly if you offer free tips and information, rather than trying to sell. Have you noticed how few businesses use LinkedIn for overt sales posts? Even on Facebook and Twitter companies are realising that it’s better to share expertise to build trust, which in turn generates enquiries. Useful information such as case studies, white papers, eBooks, tips, troubleshooting guides, blogs, infographics, etc., should bring in more solid leads than continuously posting about your products / services.

Keep your promises

Establishing an in-depth connection is about trust. This means you must keep your promises, however inconsequential they seem to you. By not ringing a customer at an agreed time, you’re inferring you place little importance on their business. Your goal should be to ensure that your customers always feel highly valued, and that you’ve always got time for them.

Relationship marketing is not about the short term. It’s about building a foundation of knowledge and trust. Your customers will be far more likely to keep coming back, plus they’ll be inclined to recommend you to others.

An excellent place to start your foray into relationship marketing would be a business event such as our Yorkshire Business Market. Our event takes place at the Harrogate Pavilions, on Monday, 30th April.

Find out more about Yorkshire Business Market

Top Alternatives for SME Funding

SME funding Yorkshire Business Market

At one time, unless you were independently wealthy or had generous relatives, getting funding for your business meant going cap in hand to the bank. Provided your business plan met the bank’s stringent criteria, and you had sufficient collateral, a loan was agreed. The problem with many startup companies is that they either don’t fit the bank’s perception of a good risk, or they don’t wish to go down that route. In the modern marketplace, there are several alternatives for SME funding that an independent financial advisor could talk you through.

1.        D.I.Y or Bootstrapping

According to a 2016 report by The Company Warehouse, 56% of new businesses in the UK went down the bootstrap route, i.e., were completely self-funded. This contrasts with the number of startups who sought out a bank’s help – under 7%. Using your own money or borrowing from relatives can have advantages:

  • Attractive repayment periods and fees
  • More independence to run the business as you see fit, without corporate investors and banks breathing down your neck

Of course, not everyone can adopt the bootstrap approach.

2.        Venture capital or business angels

Venture capital (from a company or fund) is usually a significant investment in exchange for a share in the business. A business angel, on the other hand, is an individual with the funds to invest seed money into businesses, usually in exchange for equity or convertible debt. If you’re seeking a smaller amount of startup funding, then consider finding an angel investor on sites such as UK Business Angels Association. The advantage of using capitalists and angels is that they should bring valuable knowledge, skills, and experience to help with your business.

3.        Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, or peer to peer finance, is where many people invest small amounts in new or existing businesses in exchange for equity. Platforms such as Crowdcube let users know about new investment opportunities and make it straightforward to sign up. You set the investment goal and the end date for the campaign, then sit back and wait, and (hopefully) watch the money flood in.

4.        Partnership

If you’ve examined and rejected all other forms of SME funding, it might be worth considering a partnership. This could be someone who shares the responsibilities and day-to-day running of the business, or a silent partner. Both have their pros and cons. It helps to lighten the load having an involved partner, however if you aren’t well matched, it can cause more headaches. A silent partner would not interfere in how you run things, but they wouldn’t be available to offer hands-on help, should you need it.

While the most popular funding approach for Yorkshire SMEs might be the bootstrap approach, this becomes more difficult to maintain as your business grows and you want to develop new projects. Fortunately, there are other alternatives for startups and existing businesses.

The theme for the 2018 Yorkshire Business Market is Growing and Financing Your Business. The event is being held on Monday, 30th April at the Pavilions of Harrogate, and is open to all businesses across Yorkshire.

[button link=”https://yorkshirebusinessmarket.co.uk/” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] LEARN MORE[/button]

 

Disclaimer

The Yorkshire Business Market is not a financial advisor, therefore we accept no liability if companies pursue any of the above funding alternatives. Always seek independent expert financial advice before entering into any financial agreement.

 

 

YBM 2017: Best Stand winners

Winners of the Best Stand awards at YBM, the best business networking event in Yorkshire.

As well as competing to win new business, all exhibitors were aiming to win the Best Stand titles and prizes.

The competition was judged by Jean MacQuarrie, editor of the Harrogate Advertiser series, who toured the stands in the morning shortly after YBM opened.

This year, her judging was based on the way exhibitors interacted with visitors. Jean took this approach so that the focus was taken away from the biggest and brightest stands and created a level playing field for every company exhibiting. It didn’t matter if you were a starter business on a tiny budget or a nationwide brand with thousands to spend: it was the way you reacted to your visitors which was key to the final decision.

As ever, the competition was at a high level, but in the end the winners were chosen on their ability draw in the visitor and interact with them. In the opinion of the judge, our two winners did this very well and that’s what set them apart.

However the naughty step was being swept in readiness for those committing the deadly sins of the exhibitor: sitting at the back of your stand, being on your phone and (horror of horrors) munching on a sandwich! You have been warned… the judge sees everything.

Working Wardrobe stood out for the high levels of attention given to each visitor to their stand and use of the personal approach first and product second. They were awarded the prize for Best Large Stand.

Wild & Co Chartered Accounts only had a small stand but they caught the visitor’s eye with a simple numbers game and leader board which really held the attention, allowing the team to spend quality time with each visitor. They were awarded Best Small Stand.

Harrogate in Bloom were Highly Comended by the judge, as their enthusiasm seem to “grow” on visitors to their stand.

Prizes were supplied by Bettys – a wonderful hamper of goodies, along with a certificate marking the achievement.

Protecting your intellectual property

by the Berwins team

“Protecting my idea? Errm… no. I’m sorry Dragons, I hadn’t thought of that.”

As even the most casual viewer of Dragons Den will know, no matter how good an idea or well thought out a business proposition, a lack of protection can be a real stumbling block.

 

Assessing the Risk

In many ways, it’s a fairly natural problem to arise and one many start-ups will come across. You’ve had a fantastic idea. You’ve tested it, refined it, seen the potential for it to become the business you’d always dreamt of. There’s so much else to think about and plan, that even if Intellectual Property (IP) makes it onto the to do list, it’s not likely to be near the top. Should it be?

Well, the answer depends on the type of business you’re operating and your plans for it. There are three areas of IP to consider:

  • trademark: a symbol, word or sign which distinguishes your goods or services from competitors;
  • copyright: rights granted to the author, composer or publisher of a literary or artistic work;
  • patent: the title or right to exclude others from making, using, or selling a specific invention.

A key part of any business plan should address these points and identify whether, if a competitor were to replicate what you are going to build your business on – most commonly a distinctive brand identity – it would harm your ability to trade and flourish.

 

Protecting Competitive Advantage

Whatever your industry, you’re going to face competition and differentiating what makes your business special is vital. Here, a trademark is a particularly powerful tool and gives you the legal backing to take actions if someone else were copy your special ingredient without authorisation.

In much the same way that you wouldn’t make a significant investment in a property without protecting it with insurance, you need to consider safeguarding the competitive edge which makes the business you are building unique.

 

Building Value

But IP shouldn’t just be considered another cost, rather an investment. For any business, your brand is a hugely valuable asset. It’s the first thing that most customers see and, coupled with the product and service you offer it’s at the heart of what brings them back for more.

It’s also one of the key things you own ‘dragons’ – the investors or buyers key to your growth or exit strategy – will take notice of and a registered trademark not only increases security, but also adds value to your business.

Ultimately, protecting your intellectual property will involve time and consideration. It will also have a cost implication. It is, however something any new or existing business owner needs to explore because, while you may be registered at Companies House and own a domain name, failing to protect your brand could damage or devalue your business.

So, IP. Can you afford to be out?

 

Find Berwins at this year’s YBM on stand W17 in the Wharfe room.

10 Tips For Getting A Great Return From Your Next Event

by Steve Phillip, Linked2Success

Steve Phillip offers social media training for business ownersI exhibit and speak at various events around the UK and many of these I’m paid to talk at. When I exhibit however, I’m usually paying to rent a stand in the organiser’s hall to promote my services. In either case, I never turn up without first letting the world and her dog know that I’m going to be there.

I’m always surprised when organisers of events I’m involved with, send me an email to thank me for frequently tweeting my attendance at their event. Often I’m provided with a database of registered attendees and again, the organisers thank me for emailing attendees to let them know where they can find me on the day and, in the process, I end up indirectly promoting the entire event by inviting my clients and other business contacts to come along.

 

Don’t Blame The Organisers If No One Shows Up On The Day

I know from experience, that there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into getting paying and even non-paying visitors to turn up to any event. Weeks of marketing; flyers, emails, newspaper ads, radio, the list is endless and as stand holders, we often rock up to the event, raise our pop-up banners, lay out the obligatory bowl of Quality Street and wait, with baited breath, for the throngs to storm our stands.

However, it’s the efforts of us, the stand holders and speakers, that helps to ensure that the foundations, laid by the event organisers, result in an amazing event on the day. It’s a joint venture and you’re not going to achieve a return from the time and money you’ve invested, if you’re not prepared to spend some time promoting your appearance at the events you exhibit and speak at

 

10 Top Tips for Promoting Your Participation at Any Event

Digital and social media marketing has made promoting most things, these days, both easy and inexpensive but you will need to invest some time. Here are my top tips for getting a great return from your event:

Tip 1: Email your current database and let them know you’ll be at the event and which stand you can be found on (provide a room map if available). Don’t just rely on one email either, create 2 or 3 variations of your message leading up to the event.

Tip 2:  Consider running a competition, which requires event visitors to come to your stand. Include the competition in your emails and promote it on your various social media sites. Facebook users love competitions.

Tip 3:  Message your LinkedIn connections – review your connections and identify those you’d really like to have a meeting with. It’s a great excuse to get back in touch with some of those useful but long lost connections and rekindle the relationship with them.

Tip 4 : Find out which #hashtag is being used by the event organisers and include this in your tweets to promote your attendance.

Tip 5: – Use a scheduling site, such as Hootsuite, to plan your LinkedIn updates and tweets, so they continue to be shared with your followers, whilst you’re busy on your stand or speaking. Speakers can pre-schedule a tweet to say “Looking forward to speaking at #XYZevent in 15 minutes in Hall B” rather than suddenly finding you’ve run out of time to tweet and miss the chance to get more people in the room.

Tip 6: Consider a Facebook or LinkedIn Paid Ads campaign and target specific types of individuals, inviting them to attend the event and visit your stand or hear you speak.

Tip 7: Post a short video, if you’re speaking at the event. This tip will only apply if you have a speaker show reel or some decent video footage of you speaking. A great video will help draw more visitors to the event to hear you speak.

Tip 8: Post images of your stand, so that people know what your stand looks like. People may know roughly where you are from the floorplan but could end up walking right by you, because they didn’t recognise your stand.

Tip 9: Use your amplifier network, to retweet your tweets, share your LinkedIn updates or Facebook posts. Who are your close followers and connections who regularly share your content? Try tagging them in your event updates and posts and when they like or leave a comment, you’ll also reach their audience of friends, family and business connections.

Tip 10: Most important – follow up immediately after the event. Make sure you email, promptly, those hot enquiries and consider giving a shout-out (tag them) on LinkedIn and Twitter to those important business contacts who visited your stand and then engage with them when they respond.

 

These days, great event planning is not just about making sure you’ve packed the banners, tables and cloths etc, it’s about how you promote yourself before, during and after the event. That’s the way you end up achieving a real return on your investment.

Looking forward to meeting everyone at this year’s Yorkshire Business Market. I’ll be opening up the speaker seminars at 11:00am with my talk on ‘Attracting More Of The Right Customers Using LinkedIn’

 

Steve Phillip is Managing Director and founder of Linked2Success Limited. Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of professionals around the UK, in Europe and the USA, in companies such as The British Red Cross, Toyota GB, FedEx, The Civil Court Users Association, Deloitte, as well as many small to medium sized businesses, to attract more of the right customers and strengthen their online brand presence, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media.