You know you should market yourself and your business but aren’t sure where to start. You’ve heard that trade shows are a great way to meet prospects, build your brand, and grow your business. But you haven’t found the right trade show for you so far. Maybe it was too pricey, or it wasn’t the right fit for your target audience. So now what? Fortunately, many other ways to market yourself and your business don’t involve renting a booth at a high-profile event or convention. You can have a virtual presence on social media, such as LinkedIn or Reddit; you can collaborate with other businesses online and off; you can reach out directly to people who might be interested in working with you, and you can build relationships by attending events in person.
Start with research
Find out which shows are coming up in your industry and who is hosting them. Google can help you discover upcoming events in your area, and Eventbrite can help you find events near you that are happening later in the year. You can also consider joining associations and networking online with other people in your field. If you’re starting to network, you might want to join a mastermind group where you can meet people who can help you grow your business. Finally, look at the types of events and conferences in your area, and plan to attend at least one event per month.
Build your online presence
You’ll want to develop an online presence so people can find you, be familiar with your brand, and stay connected with you online. Start with a website and a blog where you can showcase your expertise and share tips and insights with others in your industry. If you are just starting out or have been in business for a while but don’t have a website, now is the time to get one up and running. Templates are cheap and easy to use, and websites hosted with WordPress are easy to manage yourself. Next, create social media accounts on major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Finally, consider signing up for Reddit to reach out to people interested in your industry and demographic.
You can build a network and meet other people in your industry by joining online forums and groups. Join a professional association and attend an event in your area. You can find industry-specific associations online or look up the Chamber of Commerce in your area to find out which associations are based there. Join a mastermind group where you can meet people who can help you grow your business. Taking the initiative to find a group that’s right for you, and actively participating in the group once you’re a member, is more likely to get you the results you’re after.
Host your own event
If you want to host your own event, there are a few ways to do it, virtually or in person. Hosting an online event is a great way to bring people together and converse about your industry without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home or office. Virtual events can be hosted through various platforms, such as Zoom, GoToWebinar, or Facebook. Hosting an event in person, whether it’s a seminar, workshop, or meet-and-greet, is another way to bring people together. You can do this at a meeting space, a local library, or a cafe. When you do have your own event, you’ll want to research exhibition stand design and build companies to help you organize the affair. You will also need to consider things like audio and visual equipment, laptop rental and catering.
Set a launch date and invite the press
If you’re launching a new product or service, or have some other reason to call attention to your business, consider setting an official launch date and inviting the press to cover the event. For example, launch a podcast, publish a book, or hold a webinar. For example, if you’ve been blogging for a while, you might want to consider publishing a book. This can help you stand out and bring new readers to your blog. Likewise, consider setting a launch date and inviting the press to cover it if you’re launching a new product or service. Show off your product and offer a discount or free product to encourage people to write about your business, as this will drive up community engagement.
When marketing yourself and your business, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a tradeshow booth to capture the attention of potential clients. Instead, you can reach out to people directly, build relationships, and host your own event, virtually or in person. When marketing yourself and your business, you need to think big picture and be creative. You can’t just rely on one or two ways to market yourself. You need to be thoughtful and deliberate about how you attract new business, and you need to explore lots of different options. Creativity and effort allow you to reach out to new people and build your business without spending much money on trade shows or conventions.