Pursuing The Obvious
Getting noticed isn't easy, but it's essential in the decision-making process.
Kathy Vass, Marketing Editor
Regardless of money spent, January is a great time to review how the rest of the world perceives your company. Is it accessible? Is it easy to gather basic information about your company, and how easily are new contacts generated?
services to their segments, the purchasing manager’s game of hide-and-seek is that much tougher. Make it easy for purchasers to find you, speak with the correct sales contact and get the information they need.
As the new year begins, take time to hunt down and participate in as many guides and directories as possible. If upgrading is beyond the reach of your marketing budget, most directories offer some level of free service.
From the publisher’s perspective, buyers’ guides and directories are a great way to build and reinforce the community of readers. They help build editorial and advertising opportunities, as well as draw in new industry participants. Getting them completed correctly is a difficult business. It is essential that you provide correct information to the publication, and update that information as necessary before publication each year.
Mind Your Own (Internet) Business
Put updating your website on the early to-do-in-2005 list. Visit your website and see if it represents your business. If you currently don’t have a website, search engines such as Google may help you find website-building tools. Consider a small, informative website a basic necessity for doing business in 2005.
Often, once the website is up and running, companies fail to keep information current. Websites have become a major source of information that feeds sales leads and public relations of all kinds — it pays to get it right. If your company has changed address, telephone and/or fax numbers (even the area code), or personalcontact or product information, spend some time updating your Web pages.
Consider posting new information and using your website in 2005 as a marketing tool for building awareness of current products and services. Basic who, what, when, where and how information can be enhanced with tie-ins to promotional materials, recent articles and links to recent articles about your company.
At the same time, keep your website from missing the point. Can a potential customer get to a company representative quickly and identify a physical location and telephone number? There is nothing more frustrating than a great website with no contact information — a sales dead-end.
One of the biggest buzz phrases in Internet publishing is “vertical search” — sort of the anti-Google of searching. Broad platforms such as Google and Yahoo! that offer large numbers of hits (search results) against standard industry-specific jargon are confusing and inefficient for users. Often, searches are cluttered with unrelated results. Publishers are looking for ways to develop vertical search capability and return industry-specific information against those same search terms.
Some large firms are doing this with intranets as a way to share industry-specific knowledge throughout their companies — the intranet version of a library services division. Tie into this trend by making your website an information source for your sector of the industry.
Don’t be bashful about spreading good news from your company. Publicize changes in people and product. Make a strong sale? Promote a member of your company? Develop a new product? Win an award? Tell the world — everyone notices a winner.
If you don’t have a marketing department or work with a communications firm, start small with an e-mail list of publications and newspapers that can get the word out. Make sure you put accessible contact information regarding your company on the press release. Good editors fact-check and build on the information you’ve provided with a phone call.
Don’t know how to write a release? Go to a major company’s website press room and find a model.
It might seem odd for an editor to suggest public relations, but experience shows good information gets out. If you don’t abuse the service, most publications will use the information if possible. Try to hold back on making a pitch — if it reads as too promotional, most editors will question their readers’ interest and suggest you pay for an ad instead. If it doesn’t make their publications, it still gets your company noticed and can be a positive channel of information.
Get out your company events calendar and schedule back two months from a specific event to alert the media, your current customers and potential customers of your efforts at that event.
Look for ways to extend the reach of trade show investment. If nothing is budgeted, look for low-cost opportunities to maximize your draw. Consider this promotion a show plus — it reinforces money spent on the show by drawing attention to your participation, but is promotion in its own right. Some companies find supporting name recognition, branding and product awareness coupled with the fact the company is accessible (participating in the show) is an effective way to complete the program of a significant show investment. People will come into a booth rather than stand outside reading a sign.
Become An Expert And Share
Technical sales provide a storehouse of information. Someone in your company knows something your customers and potential customers want to learn about. Build your brand by taking a leadership role with this information.
Technical sales is a practice that is accessible to companies of all sizes — it’s all about the quality of the information. Stay away from the sales pitch, and don’t worry about being basic. Basic information is often a door opener that helps a sales team get the details across.
Methods of sharing technical information include participation in a technical conference or writing an article for your website. Develop an article for your sales team as a way to share company knowledge and its leadership role in the industry; submit it for publication to trade journals and associations. Taking an active role with information is an inexpensive way to educate clients, one of the initial efforts of marketing — building awareness and preference.
2005 will demand focused marketing in a tough sales environment — a little early maintenance goes a long way.
Make Sure You're Listed In Textile World's International Buyers' Guide And Blue Book
Textile World publishes its International Buyers’ Guide each year in the July issue, as well as the annual Textile World Blue Book. Both provide great opportunities for you to market your company to potential buyers.
Suppliers to the industry — machinery manufacturers, fiber suppliers and chemical producers, to name a few — should take full advantage of a free listing in the International Buyers’ Guide, which also is available year-round, free-of-charge on-line at www.TextileWorld.com.
Listings include your company’s complete contact information and up to five products offered by your company.
Boost your visibility in the Buyers’ Guide for a nominal fee. An upgraded listing includes a bolded name, a company description and hotlinks to your company’s e-mail and Web addresses, as well as up to 35 products listed.
It’s easy to become part of the Buyers’ Guide, as all information is maintained on-line. For more information, go to the Buyers’ Guide section of TW ’s website and follow the link for Add/Update Listing.
The Textile World Blue Book provides an opportunity for textile manufacturers to highlight products and processes offered to the rest of the supply chain. It’s a free marketing tool that increases your company’s visibility in the global marketplace.
For more information about either resource, contact Rachael S. Dunn rdunn@TextileWorld.com.