Your booth is set up, and all of your paper work is ready to write those orders. It’s time to set your phone a blaze…and social network your days away. Use your down time wisely! These simple tips will build your brand and make the most of your Trade Show efforts.
1. BUILD YOUR CONTACT LIST
There are few things more important than obtaining leads. Building your contact list and obtaining email addresses of everyone who walks by or comes into your booth is an important component of your participation at the event. At the NYIGF 2,800 exhibitors and 35,000 buyers will be attending the show, leads equal sales so that’s a lot of email addresses …use all of this traffic to your advantage.
Here are a few ways to effortlessly build your contact lists that you can use for email newsletters and social networks.
- Sign up sheet. Nothing is more simple than to have a journal, or paper on a clip board available to obtain email addresses. If you can’t do anything fancy…at the very least do this – something is better than nothing and nobody will judge you for the presentation.
- Business card drop. A bowl a cool box, whatever you use – offer your future buyers a quick and easy spot to drop a card. *super tip: make small pieces of paper available and a pen – lots of buyers have ‘forgotten’ their business cards. Buy a cheap little spiral notebook they can rip a page from.
- Raffle. Simple business card drop – everyday or every hour or day or at the end of the show a lucky winner get’s a prize! – pick a winner!
- Take Notes. This trick is something that I was very attentive to.. on every email, business card or order sheet I wrote notes that helped me remember who customers were. Little things to jog my memory and give me something to chat about personally when I followed up.
2. EMAIL YOUR CONTACTS
There are a multiple of email marketing tools to choose from. Depending on the size of your contact list – you can even find free services. Send an email out to announce that you are at the show. Include your entire email list and tell them where you are and how fantastic your booth looks. Mention, sales, specials and your social media links. *super tip: If you have customers or buyers in the city that you are in for the show email them individually, let them know you are in town. Invite them to the show or if you have a free day or some time, stop by and visit them.
3. PHOTOS & VIDEO
- Take tons and tons of photos and videos. Tons of your booth, hotel, street, restaurants, subway, trade show lines, other products, booth neighbors… etc. Take a pic of anything and everything. You don’t need to post them all, but you never know what you’ll want to post or blog about later in the day or after the show.. and photos tell the best story.
- Instagram. Use Instagram to add a little pizzaz to your photos and tag the trade show location or city you are in. Use hashtags and follow new friends. Share your instagram posts across all your social networks by linking to facebook, tumblr, pinterest, twitter, posterous etc…
- You Tube or Vimeo. Have you heard that photos and videos are the most searchable and valued content on the internet…well..they are. We’ve all seen hilarious viral videos. If you have that video camera/phone handy you never know what situations may arrise. Take videos of interesting experiences and exciting events. Be sure to talk about how much fun you are having, what a great success the show is, how great your booth looks, how super your staff is holding up, how amazing your spouse or friends have pitched in…etc. *super tip: try to get yourself in the videos, everyone loves to see the owner or principal of a company.
4. BE SOCIAL Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin
Post it. Feel it. Mean it. Say it. Don’t be shy. Be as genuine as possible. When a potential new customer comes into your booth and thinks your product was the best thing they ever saw? Well tweet it, post it. Let the world know. I bet there are others who agree or want to come by and see or view your website. *super tip: post more to twitter, pinterest and instagram – not facebook. Keep facebook posts to no more than 3x per day.
Follow it. / Like it. Everyone you meet. You’ve just written a new order, now Like and Follow that buyer immediately. That order is written, your delivery date is set. Tweet the big news and say thank you to that person. Let their fans, friends and followers know you just received a signed order. Let the world know you are now associated with them and it’s a great way to keep a record of what happened after the show once it’s all done. Check that contact sheet you are building, or look through the cards in the bowl – follow/like them. It’s the easiest way to keep in touch and send them a follow up later.
- Tag it. If you have just met your new best friend, take a photo of the two of you, tag them on facebook or instagram. Be sure to use a hashtag and set your location.
- Pin it. Did you just see the cutest, best, most functional, fabulous new product while you walked down the halls of the show.. well pin it.
- Tweet it. NYIGF is coming up #NYIGF ..use hashtags! Monitor what’s trending, search for mentions of you, your product, your business. Reply, Retweet and chat.
5. SHARING vs. SELLING
People that attend tradeshows aren’t looking for the hard sell. Instead, try to educate them about your business and how it can help them achieve their goals. Remember, it’s not all about you! Your products, price point, sales strategy, marketing strategy are all benefits to they buyer. Keep this in mind both in person and in posts.
6. BLOG IT
If you are a savvy blogger, you know the power of blogging, tagging, categories and back links, use these tips n’ tools to your advantage and post live at the show. Don’t forget to name buyers, new friends and take lots of photos. If you don’t have a blog ..yet.. write down stories about the show. Shows are always filled with inspiration, keep a journal. Jot your thoughts, funny experiences and interesting new ideas down. Whether it’s a blog post or a piece of paper, you can always use the ideas later to post on social networks, to use as a tool to remind you of interesting things and the people you met or a post show blog post.
7. WEBSITE UPDATES
- Announcements. Let your customers, buyers, leads, friends know you are at the trade show.
- Launch. New products, are you at the show launching a new product or this seasons new styles, maybe you’ve chosen a few ‘best sellers’. Post these selections on your website – mention leed times and availability.
- Offers. What are you going to do with all those samples that buyers have been touching for days? Give it away, Put it on sale or have a contest!
8. LOOK UP & SMILE
Social engagement vs. Personal engagement it’s all a balance. Stand don’t sit and don’t spend a lot of time on your phone. The trick to keeping socially engaged and personally engaged is not looking down at your phone the whole time. You want to make eye contact and talk to people so you might need to write down a few thoughts quickly and then tweet or post about them when you take a break. Nothing is worse than walking into a booth and the person is on the phone and doesn’t bother to engage you right away because they’re too busy tweeting. That potential buyer doesn’t know that you are totally psyched they walked in because they saw that their tag says Anthropologie… they just know you are not paying attention to them. Hold off tweeting your pal 3 booths down about the news 🙂
9. STOP N’ CHAT
While social media is hugely important for engaging, sharing, and building your businesses digital profile. Nothing is more important than good old fashioned person to person networking. Shake hands, meet new people, chat with your booth neighbors and talk to absolutely e v e r y o n e!
10. FOLLOW UP
This is almost impossible to do while you are the shows, but I’ve got some friends who somehow every night while back in their hotels review they’re newly obtained business cards and send an email, tweet, linkedin, facebook message to their new contacts. It’s impressive and will put you and your business way ahead of the pack. If you can not do this while at the show be sure to do it back at your office. It can not be stressed enough… FOLLOW UP! It is super important to call, email, send a carrier pigeon whatever you do…just be sure to do it. Most companies drop the ball on this, so here is where you will have the greatest advantage. Take those lists and business cards and put them to work for you. Upload the new contacts to all of your social accounts and email database. Also, be sure to check your social networks, blog comments and emails for items you might have missed during the show. Thank your new friends and business associates and be sure to engage with them and mention the conversations you had.
When a buyer heads back to the office after the shows, they’ve promised, purchased and probably gone over their budget… make sure you maintain the relationship. You can lose a potentially great customer by simply not sending a follow up email.
Smile, don’t forget your phone/computer charger buy some hand sanitizer and have a great show!!
Jen Lew is a social media strategist, she is not affiliated with any products or companies mentioned in her blog. Her opinions and suggestions are from her own experiences as an entrepreneur and small business owner selling Jen Lew Designs products at various Trade Shows all over the country.