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Marketing Your Products
 
Effective importing-exporting with trade leads
September, 2006
 
Ever wonder, how some importers and exporters get suppliers and buyers from other countries so easily? After trying their hand on eBay an increasing number of people are looking for either a foreign supplier for the items they are trading locally or global buyers for the unique product that they sell. If you are one of them, or you have recently decided to explore import-export business opportunities, using this simple method you can also find buyers and sellers from other countries easily and effectively.

There are several means people use to look for a foreign supplier or buyer, which include attending trade shows, contacting trade section of embassies and chambers of commerce, posting trade leads on the Internet, etc. However, posting trade leads on the country and industry specific bulletin boards is by far the easiest and cheapest technique which brings pretty fast results.

What is a trade lead?
By trade lead we understand a categorized advertisement of buy, sell or service trade opportunity related to export and import. Before the Internet era World Trade Centers, Chambers of Commerce, Export Promotion Bureau and some other Government agencies used to collect and publish trade inquiries and circulate them by mail to subscribers. Subscription cost of many of those lists some times was and still is quite hefty. A number of trade journals have also carried special sections for trade inquiries. In any case, the process of getting a lead and acting on it was slow, time consuming and sometimes even outdated.

Today, thanks to the Internet, the situation has changed dramatically! The development of e-commerce, global trade growth and increased use of the Internet have helped proliferate numerous bulletin boards, trade leads sites and B2B portals. Some of geography specific trade leads portals have become prime destination for both importers and exporters planning to do business in those countries.

Why post trade leads
You can find a supplier or a buyer for a product either by browsing or searching among the existing postings. Another option is to post your very own trade leads ad. In general, use of the trade leads pages including postings does not require a payment on most of the sites.

Initially, once you are on a trade leads portal, you should check out whether the products you are planning to sell or buy are already posted in last several months. If you are lucky and found traders of desired items, before contacting them, do some researches. Read the profile of the company - most trade leads portals have options to post company profile. Check out their websites, if links to websites are given. Don't forget to run a Google search on the company and its product. Since Google gives heavy emphasize on the contents from forums and web logs, you may get interesting information on your prospective business partners and their products. The profile of the company, its website, products information and the way they are represented online will help you better understand how professional the company is, how long it is in the market, and whether this company is a viable option for you.

You should also post your own trade leads ad, especially if you are a buyer. Buy post leads are only 20 to 25 percent of all trade leads postings available online. It is only natural that they get more attention. Other reasons why you should post your own ads are:

1. Many good suppliers prefer to browse and search for clients than to post their own ads.
2. Your one posting on one trade leads portal may get published on many others as most of the trade leads portals have posting partnership programs with other portals from noncompetitive geographical areas. This gives you a much bigger exposure than you expect.
3. Your posting may get indexed by search engines, which will allow you to show your requirement to an even larger audience.

How to make your trade leads informative
If you follow the steps described on the trade leads portal correctly, it is pretty simple to create a trade lead posting. The problem is how to make your trade lead interesting so that among hundreds of others yours would still capture necessary attention from prospective buyers or suppliers.

Catchy but precise and short subject line
First, you have to come up with a good headline for your posting without making it too cheesy. Keep your subject line short, well within eight to ten words. Avoid using unusual key pad characters. Don't over use marks like "!!!" to grab extra attention. Make it specific. If it is a sale trade lead emphasize on the value of the product and what is special about it. If it is a buy trade lead clearly state your requirements.

Body of the trade leads
This is the descriptive part of your trade lead. Your prospective partner will take a decision whether to contact you based on the information you give here. Too often, people write very vague information in the body of the trade lead. As a result they don't receive expected amount of response and wonder what went wrong! If you are selling a product:

• Describe the product very thoroughly
• Mention what are the advantages of your product in comparison to the competitors
• If you are offering extras along with the product, state that
• Give a link where people can see your product online
• Mention terms of sale, shipping terms, packing and location of the product

If yours is a buy trade lead:

• Clearly describe your requirement
• If possible give a link to a picture of a similar product
• State quantity required, delivery time, shipping destination and other vital information

If the portal you are using for trade leads has features that allow having a storefront, creating profile, developing your own electronic catalog, take advantage of these wonderful attributes. These will help you build a professional online business stature.

If you never used a trade lead to get a buyer or a seller, try it! You will be amazed to discover how easily you can do cross country business.

Source: marketingsource

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