Marketing at trade conferences - experiences
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:30
Member
Italian to English
Jul 2, 2015

I have often thought of marketing my services at trade conferences, especially since I specialise in the medical field, but admit I find the idea daunting. I was wondering how many translators use, or have used, this strategy.

How useful have you found it to be in terms of increasing your customer base?
How exactly do you approach clients? Do you contact them beforehand?
Do you find it is an approach that potential customers generally appreciate?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:30
German to English
Been there, done that Jul 2, 2015

Attending trade fairs can provide a number of benefits. The obvious one is the opportunity to distribute your business card/brochure to a number of company representatives.
Representatives of large companies at trade fairs generally don't have much input into the engaging of translation services. Reps of small companies generally know what their foreign markets are and who is responsible for them, and are more likely to pass along your sales material. I used to attend the Expo of the Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit every year (I live near there) until they raised the price of admission to an outrageous level. I got several inquiries over the years, and a couple of them turned into good-sized jobs. I also attended the Frankfurt auto show, which is also a parts supplier trade fair. That likewise resulted in a few inquiries, but no jobs, but I got to take part of the trip to Germany off my taxes.

A second benefit is the opportunity to collect company literature which might include product/parts lists, some of which may be multilingual, thus providing you with reference material. When I attended the SAE event, I always came home with a tote bag full of literature, and one year, an IT company distributed a handy German>English


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:30
Member (2008)
French to English
Interesting idea Jul 2, 2015

While I haven't tried this approach it sounds interesting. The benefit of a trade conference is that you never know who from a company might be there. Board members such as the president of a company are often at a trade conference and while they might not be the buyer of translations they might be able to point you to the right person. Then contacting that person having been referred by the president or senior executive could be a good foot in the door.

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laurgi  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:30
German to French
That's the way I started Jul 2, 2015

You can reach direct clients in your specialization field, they can hear you're better than fluent in their language (in my case: not in English, of course) and your knowledge in their field is better than just basic.
The main issue is: most of them need their stuff to be translated in more languages than you can provide.


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:30
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I actually wrote a blog post about this Jul 2, 2015

I find it useful to visit trade fair or two, and there are a few tips I've collected along the way:

http://www.brightlighttranslation.com/the-bright-light-blog/translator-tips-visiting-trade-fairs


To answer your question about whether potential clients appreciate the approach, I would say it's a mixed bag and depends greatly on two things: who you manage to talk to at the fair (sales rep versus product developer/documentation creator/decision-maker etc.) and whether they are actually in need of your services. Their main aim at the trade fair is probably to sell their own products so they aren't always receptive to being sold to, BUT if they are in need of your services they generally appreciate being able to meet you face-to-face.

And IMO, face-to-face contact is GREAT PR for you.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 12:00
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Great article that Jul 3, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:

I find it useful to visit trade fair or two, and there are a few tips I've collected along the way:

http://www.brightlighttranslation.com/the-bright-light-blog/translator-tips-visiting-trade-fairs



Many thanks for sharing this link, it is a great article and a very useful checklist to follow for conference visiting translators.

I have myself never tried out this strategy as until recently I was living in a relatively small part of the world where no trade fairs are ever held. Now I have moved to a more congenial place, Mumbai, and am in a position to put these tips to action.

The greatest hurdle I anticipate with this technique is the natural inhibition I have to meet people. I have always been a recluse, finding it more in my comfort zone to be before the computer than before actual people. But I would suppose that won't be an issue for others wanting to try out this strategy.


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:30
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
It gets easier with practice Jul 3, 2015

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:

The greatest hurdle I anticipate with this technique is the natural inhibition I have to meet people. I have always been a recluse, finding it more in my comfort zone to be before the computer than before actual people. But I would suppose that won't be an issue for others wanting to try out this strategy.


It's intimidating even for us extroverts! But it does get easier with practice so I suggest you jump in and try it a few times, and you'll find an approach that works well for you. You may never be super comfortable but at least it won't be on your list of "impossibles".


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Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:30
Member (2015)
German to English
That is a great article Jul 21, 2015

I very much enjoyed reading your blog post Angela.

It's always refreshing when other people admit to being daunted by such things. It certainly gave me a lot of food for thought.


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Marketing at trade conferences - experiences

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