Here are three marketing questions I'm often asked about by event businesses.

  1. How should we go about growing our prospect list?
  2. What’s the best way to get and use testimonials
  3. How can we grow our client base? 

Answers to those questions that you may find useful for your marketing are as follows;

How should we go about growing our prospect list?

With a plan. Within this include all the possible opportunities for list development.

Start with your website.

Does it have a sign-up mechanism?

If you are publishing content which you hope will attract people to your site, it makes sense to have a sign-up device of some kind on your website.

People who like your posts and click through to your site are obviously interested in what you offer or what you have to say.

Encourage them to find out more from regular email updates. They get those by signing-up. 

List development is really what we are talking about rather than just list building.

The goal is a quality list and a more responsive and receptive list of prospective clients.

Publishing excellent information is a proven way to grow that kind of database.

Publishing more landing pages on your website is another proven strategy.

Landing pages give you space to go into much more detail about a subject. They can be meaty articles in their own right.

On those pages you can include strong calls to action and that can include signing-up to your list or requesting a sales call. 

Extracts from your landing page articles can also be used as posts in social media.

And those posts can direct people back to your landing page... I'm sure that you get the picture.

What’s the best way to get and use testimonials? 

Asking for them is the first step and although that sounds obvious many businesses don't have a strategy for obtaining and using testimonials to build sales. 

Keep in mind that a testimonial strategy doesn't have to be complicated to be effective.

First, the timing of your request is important. You need to ask at the right time.

Usually, that is when a client is in the process of enjoying the benefit your business has provided or very soon afterwards.  

Don't leave your request for a testimonial too long. Strike while the client is still highly enthusiastic about you!

Also, ask for the right sort of testimonial.

Many are very bland statements that say how "great the XYZ team were to work with..."

Instead, ask your clients for testimonials that describe the difference you made, the improvement gained or the results exceeded. 

Why? Because that's what other companies will want to happen for them too.

They want results and they are more likely to be influenced by one of their peers then they are by your email sales letter.

And that's why it's important to personalise your testimonials.

There should be someone's name and job title as well as a company name credited to your testimonial.

Statements like these with that kind of authorship are just much more powerful.

And that guiding principle applies to video testimonials as much as written ones. Maybe more so.

How can we grow our client base? 

The best way to build your sales and your client base is not to lose the clients you already have.

Retention of current clients is the foundation stone of business growth.  

There is an excellent ad on TV. It's from Aviva Insurance.

It shows a man in disguise man trying to get one of those great introductory offers that new clients are being offered.

Sadly...he's unsuccessful. His supplier unceremonially squashes his appeal. 

The ad is funny but it illustrates an important point and that is we are often guilty of expending great effort to gain new clients while neglecting the ones that we already have.

To combat this, keep things fresh with your existing clients.  

Make them offers and bring them trials of new products and services.

Most of all, strive to exceed their expectations so that they never want to look elsewhere.

Beyond your current clients, it's always worth asking what sort of clients do you actually want? 

When you know why you want a certain group of people to be your future clients, ask yourself "what do they want?"

What do they really, really want? to quote from that well-known Spice Girls tune.

To get that answer you need to do some research and some deeper thinking.

If after this you are still happy that this is the group for you... you can tell them why your business will be such a good fit for them.

That's because you understand their needs, frustrations and motivations.

Then offer your group low-cost ways to try you out so that they can experience the difference you bring. 

If at first, you don't succeed, keep offering, wherever possible lowering or removing the risk to them so that they can get started with you.

And all the time practice retention with existing and new clients.

Just remind yourself of the lengths and effort your business went to in order to get them to buy from you the first time.


David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051

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The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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