International trade exhibitions have started up again in some countries. Customers are now deciding whether to go.
- Will there be international buyers visiting the exhibitions?
- Is it worth my time and money to take part in an exhibition in 2022?
- Is it safe to send staff to international exhibitions in 2022?
The problem is that there are no clear answers to these questions because the situation is changing too quickly. This makes it hard for manufacturers to make decisions about exhibitions that need a lot of planning.
If you decide not to take part in an exhibition, then what do you do instead? You have some challenges that you need to find solutions for:
1: How can I find new customers in international markets?
2: How can I present products to new and existing customers?
In this article I will give you a few tools and solutions to help you answer these questions. I will also advise you what you should not do so you don’t waste your money on bad solutions.
How can I find new customers in international markets?
Customers are only going to find you through online search at the moment. This is a great time to save some of the money you would have spent on exhibitions, and spend it on your own online marketing instead.
So what should you do?
The first thing is to review what you already have and see if it is delivering results for you. These are a few things you should check:
Does your website work well on cell phones?
You can check that with this free Google tool here
Most web searches start from cell phones now, so having a good looking, easy to navigate mobile site is important. If your site is not mobile friendly, it is very likely that you are losing potential customers to your competitors.
Is your website hosted in a foreign country near your customers?
You can check where your website is hosted here
The hosting location of your website is important for speed and also for your search ranking. If your competitors have hosted their English website in the USA or Europe they may rank better for search results as their site will respond more rapidly than a site hosted in Taiwan.
To find out more about web hosting, you can read this other article here.
Is your website really slow in foreign countries?
You can check your real website speed in foreign country here for free.
Does My website appear in search results in other countries?
You can check that with this website here.
Just type in your keywords if you know them (your product name, not your company name) and select the country and language , then look at the results. If you don’t appear on page one yet, don’t give up, it is still possible.
Do take note of any competitors that appear on page one as you can monitor how they are doing compared to you with this simple tool
Make a note of your results compared to those of your top 3 competitors:
Make a simple table like the one below to compare your results with your competitors.
If you are number one and doing better than the competitors, then that’s great Congratulations!
If you are not number one, then you have identified what the problems are and you need to find someone to start working on improving your situation. We are happy to advise you on the best solutions.
How can I present products to new and existing customers?
The solutions for these two types of customers are a little different:
Presenting Products to New Customers
New customers are going to find and view your products first through search engines and your website. Then if you have done a good job with the site, they will find your product page and see your images and content.
Search -> Website -> Images -> Content
If you are already doing Ads or SEO this will help you to attract the right kind of customers and help them to find you. If you are not doing SEO or Ads, then please have a look at this article that explains how important they are and why you should be looking at them right now.
Content and good quality product images are very important. You have hopefully made the effort to make sure that customers can find your website. When they are looking at the site you want to make sure that your product sales pitch and images are appealing.
Yes. You do need to sell your product! A specification table and a list of features taken from your old catalog is not good enough any more. Creating some really good content and images is a great way to make your company stand out from the competition.
Presenting Products To Existing Customers
This is a challenge for every business. The good news is that over the last year customers have become used to online meetings and presentations. Customers are more willing than before to speak with you online to get to know your products.
Here are a Few Ideas to Help You:
Online Presentation Meetings
Usually, when I hear the word “presentation” I start to feel sleepy. I think we have all had to sit through long, boring and poorly written presentations, but that is not what I am talking about.
Using the latest web tools you can easily make your presentations much more interesting and attractive to customers. Creating some new video content and writing better sales content is a great investment that can make a real difference.
The most common problem with online meetings is that customers have a poor internet connection and a low resolution camera and microphone. This makes it much harder to have a smooth and successful meeting.
If possible you should have each person on their own notebook or cellphone. This will allow for better interactions and allow people to take turns speaking, rather than all trying to share one microphone.
I know that Zoom is very popular, but I still prefer Google Meet for most meetings as it is so easy to set up and share. It has great screen sharing features and chat functions to help you during the meeting too.
Online meetings are a real sales tool!
One thing that really surprises me is that customers are not using this free sales tool as much as they could.
If you receive an email inquiry that seems to have great potential, instead of only sending an email response, why not invite the customer for a quick chat on Google Meet?
This is something that most of your competitors are not doing. It is a simple way to make your company stand out and will also greatly increase your chances of a sale.
Things you should probably not invest in for 2022
I have written an extensive article explaining the benefits and also the problems with sales platforms like Alibaba, Global Sources and others.
It is wiser to spend money on your own company’s website and advertising rather than to give it all to another platform. On those platforms you will have to compete with hundreds of thousands of other suppliers for business and they are not at all cheap.
2.Online Exhibitions (It’s Just a Website!)
Online exhibitions are just a sales trick by exhibition organisers to try to regain lost income. There is no point in joining an online exhibition unless it is completely free.Your company website can be your own exhibition. You won’t need to compete with all of those other companies for customers’ attention either.
These are essentially pages in your website or someone else’s that ook like an exhibition stand with all of your products. People can then click on these products to find out about them.
I have never understood the value of these as they make no sense at all to me.
You already have products on your website, you also have videos (I hope), your customers will see these and decide if they want to contact you or not. If you don’t have great content and videos, make them!I have only ever seen manufacturers looking at their own virtual exhibitions, never customers.
They are usually very slow, hard to use and a waste of everyone’s time and money.There are much better ways to show your products to customers than this. If you would like to find out more, please let us know.