My recent post: To Boldly Go... received a very nice (and kind of unexpected) compliment from Mark Goodyear (Goodword Editing). Unexpected in the way that he saw it as a 'case-study: marketing for a specific event', which hadn't been my intention (life is full of nice surprises ;-))
Since most other preparations for the big Exhibition are almost complete (still can't shake that feeling I'm forgetting something important!) I thought I would use some 'left-over' time to talk about the software programs I used (use, will use) to help me with marketing this event.
Our aim for exhibiting on Kent's largest business-2-business exhibition this year (our first time) is to (re)establish more and better contacts with the many Architects, Interior Designers, Property Developers and Self-builders (our ADDS-group). We are filling a 6 by 2 meter stand on Wednesday afternoon with many our large sample boards to show off our 5 main ranges of natural wooden flooring to give this group the best possible (first) impression of what we can supply (and install) on Thursday.
Filling a stand is one thing, attracting many visitors to it is another. Through a telemarketing project 3 years ago we already had a list of 90 possible contacts in our newsletter database, and some 'random' collected business cards of others. Since end November last year I'm using Mamut's 'Sales and CRM software package' (daily used for keeping track of all 'conversations' - quotes, order confirmations, job-details, maintenance services, delivery and installation dates and even emails sent - with our customers). My growing experience with the program and with some help from my friend Lesley (Ashford Computer Training - ACT) it was simply a matter of filling a new database with contact details of our ADDS-group. Mamut allows you to create numerous different databases in the package (very different than the 'cheapskates' of Sage).
The best part of using Mamut for this is the document template facility, combined with group 'tags' you can attached to every contact. And the facility to add more contacts under the same company name. In Word I had written our invitation to our ADDS-group, turned it into a template and presto, with one (no make that three) clicks 125 invites were mail-merged, plus 'registered' as printed on all separate contacts. Creating an envelop per contact was easy in the same way. We added a little piece of wood to the letter and envelop to make it more intriguing - you have to stand out from the crowd somehow.
The best is yet to come. I've just finished printing lots of A4's (and cutting them in even more A5's) 'fill-out' forms for our stand visitors coming Thursday. That way I can track how many of the invited companies were intrigued enough to pay us a visit and how many new (and uninvited but very very welcome) contacts dropped by. I've already created two different templates in Mamut for the follow up on Friday: one for invited and visiting contacts and one for invited but not visiting contacts. All I have to do on Friday morning (after we 'rebuild' our showroom!) is add the appropriate tag (visited - not visited) to the contact details and just let the printer do its work (twice - sure you've figure that one out for yourselves).
Life Business made simple!
The Mamut software package also helps us the keep in 'constant' contact with our existing customers and by doing so (Happy Reminders) we are able to generate 'return' sales (customers do move home sometimes and want another Wood You Like floor in their new house) or maintenance contracts. All realised with a few simple clicks (and proper templates) once a week and once a month to remind them (at least every 6 months) of our existence.
But there is another software program I will start using after the dust of the exhibition is settled (Mamut is very versatile, but not everything I want to establish marketing wise can be done with it). I will turn myself into a 'job-seeker' (probably miss-using the Jibber Jobber online program for that, but don't think Jason Alba will mind) and will enter details of all visiting ADDS in the program, creating a wish-list of jobs (orders) that I can access everywhere, plus see which company has network possibilities for me and other network contacts.
I will keep you posted of my 'trials and tribulations' with this. First have to 'survive' the Exhibition (still can't think of that one item I'm bound to forget)
(Scorpia, I'm getting gratefuller for your index idea with every post I write!)