As a start up Event Management and Venue Finding Agency, we have one very clear objective; to grow our client base and increase awareness of what Clearwater Events can offer to potential clients.
On paper, this sounds so easy. But, with limited funds and resources available as a start up, sales activity becomes a complicated balance of investing time and money with activities that maximise return. As we sit down to review our marketing and sales plan for 2013, we have one question to answer? Do we invest in a Sales Manager or continue using social media as a key tool to maximise our event management and venue finding opportunities?
Everyone talks about social media, many claiming it’s the new business development tool. Your target audience is likely to review and engage with social media and the best bit is that for the most part, using it is free. Appealing indeed when you consider our event management and venue finding growth objectives.
Using social media as a key communication tool allows us to develop a selling platform by delivering appealing, rich content to an audience of potential clients. By providing content that is current and ‘appealing’, we have the ability to showcase our event management and venue finding skills whilst having the opportunity to engage with people that may procure our services. A perfect sales strategy some would say. Again on paper, this sounds easy, but how do you do this in practice?
For Clearwater Events, we use a limited number of social media platforms, which allows us to focus time and energy in creating a well-balanced social media presence. Engaging in a chosen few ensures messages are not spread too thinly across the web and allows focus on delivering real impact.
Many of us understand the value of SEO on our websites and the better the SEO, the easier it will be for search engines to find you. The same can be said for social media. By focusing on key platforms and ensuring a consistent keyword insertion to posts, you can actually enhance your overall SEO, where your social media and website work together.
All our posts, no matter where they go are SEO rich allowing us to drive awareness of our event management and venue finding services. By taking this approach, not only does the content create awareness, but the keywords improve your ability to be find by search engines especially the big ‘G’.
Content is important and we have found that planning our social media activity for the month ahead to be the most productive and useful. Hootsuite for example allows you to link all your social media platforms together, so that you can manage your posts from one central hub. In turn, you can write content, post, but better still schedule when and at what time to send the post!
Using hootsuite, we focus on the big three social medial platforms, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter along with blogging as tools to increase our event management and venue finding presence,
A new member joins Linkedin (it is said) every second. Considering this, Linkedin has to be the most effective networking platform on the planet. Spending a little time every day building an effective profile, joining groups and actively taking part in discussions can prove far more effective than attending a networking event serving soggy sausage rolls and results create sales.
By taking an active role in discussions and forums we can reach out to a large UK audience of potential event management and venue finding buyers. Linkedin for us has largely replaced face to face networking and allows us to communicate and interact with valuable business contacts, which cuts right to the chase and helps identify real sales opportunities.
They say if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest in the world! With this in mind, using Facebook Pages for business can be just as powerful as your website and creating a business page takes moments.
We see Facebok Pages as our department store window, a window that teases viewers to look further and explore. Our page entices viewers with snippets of our event management and venue finding social media content, encouraging them to click on the links to explore further. Ultimately, all links lead back to the website, which in essence is our department store. Here viewers not only view the post they were originally interested in, but also view all our departments’ aka, our event management and venue finding services. A perfect tool that pulls potential clients to our website.
But, remember, what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook and considering this, can you imagine how Facebookers can influence your brand and reputation – both positively and negatively – with a simple click?
Consider Twitter as your online voice. Twitter well, and you become an influencer where followers re-tweet posts and new interest is sparked. Our aim is to post tweets, which generate interest and ideally a re-tweet, creating a marketing platform that beats any telesales or direct marketing campaign.
How? Well, for example we travel on a train to London. We tweet saying that we had a great journey on that said train operator. The train operator retweets and hey presto, your company name and tweet and has been sent to 1000’s of their own followers.
Twitter gives quick snippets which should drive readers to the website to learn more. It’s a key selling platform as it behaves in real world scenarios and captures real life opinions and thoughts. It’s networking, marketing and relationship building in the palm of your hand (held device).
So, where does the Sales Manager fit into all this? Social media drives traffic to our website and increases our event management and venue finding market presence. It can help showcase our skills, talents and creativity and certainly forms a key selling and networking platform.
Through retweets, posts, blogs and discussions, the power of referral allows new audiences to identify and engage with the brand, which again creates a powerful sales tool. But, what is doesn’t do is make the sale and further more, relies on referrals to increase readership
Social media in my opinion relies heavily on the user making their own assumption and opinion on what is being ‘socially shared’. It offers a selling platform to those already interested but doesn’t always drive home features and benefits compared to competitors. However, how do you get people to actually
To do this, we must rely on a Sales Manager, a real life sales guru who can turn soft leads into strong sales. Not aggressive, but certainly persistent, a Sales Manager can listen, understand and identify solutions to event management and venue finding needs. For me, a Sales Manger needs to balance social media with more traditional sales activity, which creates a brilliant balance of ying and yang. They can increase awareness, drive traffic online and increase social medial presence through offline sales activity.
Managed well, social media can create leads, referrals and interest to the Clearwater Events brand and product. But, to convert this interest, we need a real life Sales Manager to take it to the next level where we can hopefully close the deal. So as we look at our 2013 marketing and sales plan, our event management and venue finding services will be grown through a careful balance of online social media, supported and controlled by a real life Sales Manager.