Marketing

Start Your Trade Show Planning Now!

In just a couple of months we'll be packing up and heading to San Antonio for the 2017 NTPDA Conference and Trade Show. Now is the time to start planning Texas Sample Trade Show Booth for a successful event  After all it costs money to travel, stay at the hotel, take time away from the office and send staff. You really should make it worth the time, money and effort.  Here are several things to get you started:

Associate Member - Exhibitor

  • Small Can Be Large - You don't have to bring EVERYTHING but you do have to be uncluttered. Lots of items often cause confusion and a mess stick to what is HOT or NEW;
  • Use Video - If you can bring one or two large video screens show something interesting about your business, get some testimonials, film something during the event and then play it back. Video will drive an audience.
  • Plan Your Presentation - While our group is small we bet there are several members that you really want to sell. Make a list of five or six and really concentrate on making those connections;
  • Promote Your Attendance - Sure you can send out an email but why not really make an impact. Send what we call a "bump" to your target customers about a month before the show. A "bump" is an envelope with something cool from your company to the attendees. If it is a nice pen...just send the box with a note to come to your booth to pick up the pen in person. Use your imagination;
  • Look Sharp - Wear that logo shirt or sweater and keep your brand alive;
  • Elevate - If you are asking people to sign something or enter something don't make them bend over. Make sure your registration table is at counter height;
  • Turn Off The Cell Phone - We all have voice mail. If you really, really need to make a call excuse yourself from the booth and go elsewhere. Remember the reason you are at the trade show is to sell you and your products/service;
  • Send a Thank You - Don't do the cheap email message. Send a hand written note to your contacts when you get back and let them know you'll be calling; 
  • Follow Up - It does no good to collect business cards or attendee data and then not follow up. Take notes during your conversation and then make sure you follow up a week or two following the show. 

Remember, you are there to represent your company, build relationships and sell something.

The Annual Conference and Trade Show is January 18 - 21, 2017. Be watching for more information and your registration information.

 

 


A Perfect Storm for Used Parts?

A "perfect storm" may be brewing in farming communities that could have a direct impact on the used agricultural parts industry. In a report published by the Perfect Storm Road USDA this month we learn that, once again, farmland values in the "Farm Belt" have slipped. Lenders have seen another 2% drop in the value of an acre of farm ground. The reason is low commodity prices which, in Iowa alone, will cost farmers $2 billion in income this crop year. The other issue is the rise in oil prices. In just the past week we've seen a barrel of crude go from near $40 to knocking on the door of $50. We are all aware that agriculture uses an abundance of petroleum products from fertilizer to fuel.

All of this, if we pay attention, may signal an opportunity for the used, rebuilt, re-manufactured parts business.

When farmers see the economic reality of lower prices and higher inputs they begin to re-think their spending patterns. If, for example, they can save several thousand dollars on repairs this fall it's money in their pocket.

This has a direct impact on members of NTPDA if we start telling our story. Farmers have long been independent do-it-yourself experts. And when they realize the economics of doing business with you...you are more likely to increase your business.

But, they have to know about you and how you can help so here are three things you might consider over the next several weeks.

  • Share the Story - If you are using social media you should start telling your story about being an independent business who can assist the agricultural community through this economic downturn;
  • Your Website - If you have, and you should have, a call to action on your website you should use that space to highlight the savings and benefits of doing business with you and how you can provide high quality service at lower prices. If you have a business blog (and you should) consider pointing that call to action to the story about how you can help;
  • Media Connections - We all have local newspapers or radio stations. You should consider writing a quick piece about the economics of the farm economy and then pitch that to the media outlets. They are always looking for solid stories that impact their listeners or readers.

You have an excellent story to tell and people are seeking answers.  Go get 'em!


How About a Checkup From the Neck Up?

Doctor FunnyEveryday our NTPDA Members go to work making life better for their customers and employees. That, at least, should be the goal because when we are "other focused" we all get what we want.

So, how can your association make your life/business better?  That is constantly the focus of our Board of Directors and staff and we think, based on your response to some recent polls, we may be on target.

Next year we'll gather in San Antonio to offer your business a "checkup from the neck up". We'll help you take a hard look at current business practices and ask you what you think has worked and what might need work. We'll spend time on marketing, social media, sales, employee recruitment and retention. We'll listen to what you've done and offer some tips on how you might change some tweak some things to boost your level of happiness.

Sure, we'll have fun and have the opportunity to enjoy the company of our family and friends but we also want to deliver value for your membership and we, honestly, want to help your business get better.

We're looking forward to doing that business checkup in San Antonio and be watching for registration information soon!


NTPDA and Social Media

Social Media HandsPerhaps you have noticed an uptick in our social media efforts. That's because we've refined some search items and we've been reaching out to more and more members as well as potential members.

Part of the future success for the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association is going to rest with how well we share the value of membership. While it's true that, when we get together, we have a great time it is also true that your association leadership is attempting to help you become more successful. We do that by sharing topical news items, links to new sales ideas, marketing advice and member to member sharing.

So, here is something you can do for us...get social.  

If you are using social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube make sure you hit us up as well.  Let us know what you are doing. Share with us your news. Tag us in your posts and let us use the power of social media to help promote the work you are doing.

Search for us on Facebook: National Tractor Parts Dealer Association

And on Twitter we are @NTPDA

Together we can make an impact and make a difference.


Using All the Tools

We enjoy finding news about our NTPDA Members and when we were checking the Internet came across this great article from The Detroit News about our
Steiner Logoassociate member Steiner Tractor Parts.  If you want to go and read the article go ahead but promise to come back!

What we liked about this was how well the article focused on the lifestyle of repairing old tractors and how that hobby has grown into a huge business: "What started as a four-page flyer...has grown into a 616 page phone-book size catalog..."  This is also a great example of something called "Earned Media" or sharing a story with reporters and then following up to make sure it's carried.  Remember this is in The Detroit News, not a rural publication but valuable in helping them build their brand.

And that's not all. A visit to the Steiner Tractor Parts website told us their crew is using all the marketing tools they can to increase their "findability". From Pinterest (Yes...Pinterest!) to Facebook and YouTube our friends at Steiner understand that marketing to multiple segments of the community pays off.

We just thought you might find it interesting and helpful as you continue to build your online and in person business.

Hope you had a fantastic Independence Day Holiday!


Paying Attention to your SEO?


SEO ImageThe world, it seems, buys from the computer. If not making the direct purchase from the computer we, at least, go to the Internet to find where we can buy an item. The Total Retail Survey of 2016 looks at the buying habits of consumers and in the United States and Canada 40% and 38% respectively make decision purchases based on product and supplier reviews.

But, first they have to find you.

We just completed a quick study using five different computers that have had zero interaction with agricultural parts. In other words the words "Ag", "Tractor" and "Parts" were never used in any product search. We know because we picked people without any connection with agriculture. In each test we asked our subjects to do a search for "Ag Tractor Parts" just to see who and what popped up.

The good news is that several National Tractor Parts Dealer Association regular members showed up on the first page of the search. There were also paid advertising on the first page and that varied from computer to computer. 

The bad news is that many of our members did not make the first, second or even the third page of the search. What can you do to improve your ranking and "findability"?

  • Paid Google Ad Words - You can pay for keywords and that investment will drive your search results but, frankly, it's a gamble;
  • Review Your Home Page - If the wording on your home page has not changed in some time the "search bots" look at that and think, "Nothing new here, let's move on!" It's critical that you alter, at least every month the wording on your home page and your "About Us" page. It will help get you found;
  • Social Media Interaction - If all you are doing is Facebook it is not enough. It helps but remember, you are limited to your "Likes". To reach out further you'll have to invest in other platforms. You could start to Instagram parts tractors, combines and people you work with. You could do SHORT YouTube videos of a delivery or a parts tractor or a burned combine it all matters and making sure you have keywords in your description helps;
  • Do a Blog - What better way is there for people to learn about your "back-story"? Tell about your founding, your experience, your customers...it all adds up.
  • Don't Just Broadcast - If you do Social Media don't just broadcast your message but interact with others. Ask questions, do a poll, have some fun. People don't always want to be "sold" they just want to be human and interact.

Hope this helps move your SEO and your website ranking.

 


Not So Rosy Down on the Farm

The numbers are staggering.  According to the USDA Farm sector profitability is forecast to decline for the Harvest Imagethird straight year. U.S. net cash farm income is forecast at $90.9 billion, down about 2.5 percent from the 2015 forecast levels. Net farm income is forecast to be $54.8 billion in 2016, down 3 percent. If realized, 2016 net farm income would be the lowest since 2002 (in both real and nominal terms) and a drop of 56 percent from its recent high of $123.3 billion in 2013.

So what?

Farmers all across the United States will be seeking ways in which to hold down their costs just to break even with last year. There isn't much they can do when it comes to seed and inputs but there is plenty they can do when it comes to fixing and repairing their equipment.

This is a golden opportunity to increase your sales and your standing in the agricultural community.  How? It may take some work but here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Let Farmers Know - Don't expect that all farmers know about you and your business. Take some time, and some cash, and let farmers know that you exist. That can come in the form of paid advertising or in social media; 
  • Focus on Cost Benefit - If you offer free shipping, quick delivery or any number of added value options make sure your customers are aware;
  • Create a Call to Action - Not every visitor coming to your website knows exactly what to do. Make it easy for the visitor to go to the right place. Tell the visitor if you have live chat or a message service where you can answer their questions quickly and accurately. Consumers often need to be told "what to do".

The downturn in farm income is real and when you reach out to your customers and let them know you understand and you are willing to help...you'll boost your brand and your sales.

 


Welcome to Kansas City!

All of us at the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association are pleased you've made the trip to Kansas City to KC Save the Date Front help grow your business!  We've got an exciting line up of speakers, social events and more to keep you busy over the next several days.

Tonight (Wednesday) Danny Byer will help us "Tie One On" with his Danny Byerinformative and useful keynote about networking for a purpose. You want to get more out of your networking efforts?  Danny, an author and well known speaker will help you do just that.  And, he just may have a few books with him so you can continue your efforts and make networking a successful business strategy. 

On Thursday we'll learn about the Sandhills Cloud from our friends at Tractor House. What is it?  How does it work?  Is this the future of...everything?  Those questions and more will be answered. 

Than Mike James from James Environmental will join us for a conversation about OSHA. What might your business do before, during and after an audit.  Important information that could save you thousands of dollars.

After lunch we'll launch into the Marketing Masters Boot Camp. Four solid hours of work to help you hone your marketing, selling and employee management skills. The result, if you do the work and apply the NTPDA_Logo_Camo methods you'll be taught, can result in a thirty to fifty-percent increase in your bottom line. You said you wanted value from your membership...and here it is!

As a reward...sort of...we'll spend Thursday night in a "Welcome to Kansas City" reception. You'll have an opportunity to practice your new-found networking skills and have some one-on-one time with our Marketing Masters. Ask questions and learn more!

On Friday we'll spend time in the NTPDA Marketplace where you'll network, buy stuff and have plenty of time to get ready for our General Session and Election of Officers. Then, it's back to the NTPDA Marketplace and finally off for dinner and cocktails for our closing banquet.

One other thing you should know. We'll be filming some of the events for our success reel and next year's marketing. Just so you know!  And the Hashtag for the event is #NTPDA16

Welcome to Kansas City!!  This is going to be...EPIC!


You! Yes, We're Talking to You!

If you've been keeping up with our efforts you know the NTPDA is about to launch Man Finger YOUwhat may be the most valuable event in our association history. In order to add real value to your membership we've made plans to bring you, the NTPDA University during our Annual Meeting and Trade Show in Kansas City.

So what is it?

The program is a sales and marketing seminar that will last for several sessions with international presenters who will help you build a tool to boost your bottom line by as much as 50%.  No gimmicks, no fast talk, no sales pitch, nothing to buy...just a proven method that will help your business sell more, be more and reach more customers than ever.

Why are we doing this at our Kansas City Boot Camp?  Because our members NTPDA_Logo_Camo expect real value for their membership dollars and, if you were to go out and sign up for this session it would cost each of you $495 tuition.  However because you are a member of NTPDA we're not charging an admission it comes with your registration to Boot Camp 2016!

Over the next several weeks we'll be reaching out to regular members, associate members, past members and those businesses that may have been missing out on this great value added association. 

Get ready...it will be here before you know it!