We Share Because We Care: St. Louis Business Expo Spring 2018

by Jennifer Couch

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St. Charles Convention Center ImageI had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours at the St. Louis Business Expo at the St. Charles Convention Center. Not only is this event a business trade show, it’s also a conference with seminars and a great networking event. If you haven’t been before, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve attended, I would recommend attending to see what it’s all about and if it’s beneficial for your business.

I started by walking around to check out the booths. There are a wide range of companies and industries represented from financial institutions, to signs and office furniture, to jewelry and a petting zoo (I’m not even kidding about that; there were little pigs and farm animals to pet!). Some companies were simply interesting to learn about, while a couple of others might prove to be good partners for projects in the future.

If just walking from booth to booth isn’t enough networking for you, the Expo offers a Speed Networking opportunity. It’s a chance to exchange business cards and meet other business owners and executives at the event. I didn’t have time to attend, but you would definitely want to have your elevator pitch ready ahead of time!

Next, I attended one of the Google Grow Your Business Labs, titled, Grow Your Business, Get Found and Succeed Online. This Google Seminar was led by Paige Cahill, a National Trainer for Google’s “Get Your Business Online”. She had a lot of good nuggets of helpful information for businesses. The talk was primarily aimed at small businesses and start-ups, but we’ve seen some mid to large businesses miss the mark on some of these things too.

Small Business Expo Banners ImageTakeaways:

The first thing I heard her say, “email isn’t sexy, but it’s the #1 return on investment” for online marketing. If you haven’t considered email marketing, this sentence alone would have been worth the time sitting in the seminar.

SCORE St. Louis is a great resource for start-ups and small businesses in the St. Louis area. They have 70 local volunteer members who help to mentor and assist small businesses. They also offer workshops and other resources to help start, build, and grow businesses. One of the best features, it’s free!

Google My Business is a free tool, similar to a miniature website, which helps you to get found locally for Google searches. You can upload pictures and videos, manage your Google Reviews, and sprinkle keywords into the business description.

“Convenience is cash!” What that means, you want to be found locally when people in your area search. Don’t miss the opportunity to claim and optimize your Google My Business listing. Even if you don’t have a brick and mortar location, or if you’re a nationwide business, there’s still a benefit to claiming your listing.

Make sure your website is responsive, and then make sure your website is optimized. Have a friend spend a few minutes on your website, and then ask them to tell you what your business does. If your friend can’t tell you, then Google doesn’t know either. If Google doesn’t know what your business does, then your site won’t show up in search results. It’s important that your website is optimized for search engines.

Small Business Expo Presentation ImageDon’t leave money on the table. Your website needs a clear call to action (CTA). If you don’t tell people what you want them to do, then they likely won’t do it.

A few interesting stats:

  • 50% of online searches are done on mobile devices. Do you have a responsive website?
  • 76% of people look for local businesses on their phone and then visit within an hour.
  • 80% of people use a search engine to look for information about local businesses.

Other good tools to use to help improve online presence:

If you need help getting found locally, optimizing your website for search, building a better responsive website, running an email marketing campaign, or tracking your analytics, contact Unidev. We can help with all of that, and more!