Taking the Meeting to Those Who Missed It

Today's guest post is by James Lee. Take it away, James!

Your marketing doesn’t have to end when you pack up and leave the trade show. You can extend the life of any meeting, conference, or convention—and you can do it almost for free. Here’s how.

Blog it, Tweet it, Facebook it

You can set up a show blog using a free host such as Blogger.com. Your blog, like your Web site, reflects the personality of your business—make it personal and use photos. Use the blog to post daily messages about the meeting.

Use Twitter while the conference is still in session to post short headline news of the day; your tweets can link to more detailed posts on your blog.

Write an e-newsletter about the Big Event and send it to your mailing list. Send e-blasts of special news and topics concerning your business, company or brand, and the things you learned or taught at the event. If you do this regularly and build in a way for recipients to share them, your message will spread. Keep e-blasts and e-newsletter items short, simple, and fresh, and include links to your Web page and social media pages so that readers can respond.

Use every available social media outlet you can think of and have the energy for—after all, they’re free. But remember that social media is not about reaching thousands of people; it's about building relationships. As you’re your e-newsletters, keep your social media messages simple, targeted, and relevant to your customers and their friends and followers (your potential customers). Don't forget to let people know where you are, and what you have to offer, with Foursquare.

Shoot it Shoot videos of your meeting with a camera or your smartphone. If you aren't good with a camera, you likely have a staffer who is. Make the videos available to all who were there and all who could not be there.

Or you can make a series of videos about your expertise and experience in your niche after the Big Event. Keep them simple, but make them entertaining ("Brought to you by Ourbrand!"), instructional ("Here's how Ourbrand makes sugar cookies!") or vicarious ("Here's what you missed at Ourbrand's Big Event!). Post them on YouTube and provide the link in your e-newsletter or e-blasts to keep your message going. Or sign up for your own free YouTube channel.

Hub it Too many social media platforms can quickly become overwhelming. HootSuite, Twimbow, and Seesmic are social media dashboards in a Web application that you can download for free to help manage multiple accounts, organize your conversations, keep your message on target and spread your message without you going completely insane.

Advertise it Advertising doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are the old standbys, the free listings you can get in directories that are all over the Internet. Make sure your business is in them all, with up-to-date address and phone information, a map, and, most important, your URL. Yahoo offers free classifieds, and you can always advertise on Craigslist. It's not only free, it's popular for people looking for a specific item, or sometimes just browsing in the miscellaneous section.

If your meeting yielded promotions for customers; if your conference yielded a need to market a new service or product; if your convention or trade show put products out for inspection and you'd like to multiply the number of people who see them, then advertise all these things immediately. Tie the ad to the recent convention by letting those who weren't there know what they missed and which products you are emphasizing, or rolling out, after the show.

James Lee is a marketing analyst for Amsterdam Printing, a leading company in the promotional pens and personalized calendars business. James has owned small businesses himself and at Amsterdam concentrates on marketing ideas that utilize personalized pens, mugs, and other promotional items such as keychains, magnets and apparel.

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