This week's blog is a guest blog from our friends at Tallahassee Grapevine. One of their highlighted stories this week is "5 Tips on Tradeshow Success".
Tallahassee is a hotspot for Tradeshows in Florida. From weddings to government, Tallahassee is a melting pot of meeting planners and vendors and there is sure to be something for everyone. We are pleased to bring you this story this week and hope that you join us on May 14th for the Capital Events Tradeshow!
5 Tips on Trade Show Success
by Tony Miller, Head Grape
Tallahassee Grapevine has its own niche with the locals. We receive over 150,000 hits a month and of those, around 40,000 are unique. We have over 9700 subscribers to our email. So you can say we enjoy a modicum of success.
People always ask me how did I get so many newsletter subscribers. My answer is "One at a time." I go on to tell them that the two most successful things we did were having Booths at Trade Shows to get email addresses then to keep in touch with them via my Newsletter. The Booth and the Newsletter went hand in hand.
Here are some tips for making the most of a Trade Show:
1. Ask yourself, "Is My Customer Going to Be There?"
Grapevine set up booths at local events because we cater to people who enjoy attending local events. They signed up for our newsletter to be kept aware of upcoming events.
We also set up booths at events catering to non-profits and businesses. The non-profits were educated on how they could use our site to promote upcoming fundraisers and the businesses learned about how Grapevine could help them educate the local public about aspects of their expertise.
All three: The General Public, Non-Profits, and Businesses are groups Grapevine needed to market to – and all three for a different reason.
Who do you sell to? Perhaps you want to reach future brides for your photography business, then a Wedding Expo might be best for you. Do you want to reach Politicians and Public Officials to build awareness of your cause? If your cause helps children, you might want a booth at the upcoming Children's Week at the Capitol. If you have a banquet facility or cater to people putting on events, you might want a booth at the Capital EventsTradeshow, which caters to event and meeting planners.
Make a list of who your customers are then try to find trade shows that attract those people.
2. Lure them into your booth with trinkets or candy.
At first, Grapevine tried to have contests to get people to sign up for our email newsletter. We gave away gift certificates to local restaurants. However, most of the people that signed up for the newsletter, signed up because they wanted to hear about upcoming events – not for the chance to win something.
Others passed us by because they figured they would not win – so they did get the chance to hear more about what we offered.
At another event, I had another gift card raffle. But I decided to also have a bowl of Blow Pops to give my guests. I hit the jackpot. People came to my booth for the Blow Pops and inquired about what we do. After all, at events where they are eating sausage and peppers and other great food – they really wanted that Blow Pop to cool their breath!
After the Blow Pops were such a success, we never went back to doing give-aways.
Since I was trying to attract new readers to the general public, I had to get them to write down their email address for me. But if you are at a trade show for professionals, you could have a fish bowl to collect their business cards – but you should also have a sheet for people to fill out if they don't have a card.
At the Food Festival, I got over 400 people to sign up for the newsletter. The Blow Pops are only 10 cents each – so that is only $40 for 400 new subscribers – what a bargain.
3. Keep in Touch with Them
Make sure you follow up with them the week after the Trade Show. In my case, I added them to my weekly newsletter list. If you are at a trade show, write them a note stating that you appreciated them coming by your booth and that you are available to answer any questions or set up an appointment.
If my newsletter was full of ads or was not high-quality, many of those subscribers would have opted out right away. But since I only contacted them once a week, with information they wanted to know and not a sales pitch – I earned their trust and retained most of the people that signed up.
Don't hound them – send them a newsletter full of hints and tips for their industry. They would appreciate that and continue to accept your correspondence.
4. Don't try to tell them Everything at the Show
People are going from booth to booth meeting a lot of people and learning too many things to remember. Your main goal is not to monopolize their time but to get them interested in learning more, outside the trade show in an appointment.
Jan Morgan, of Arborworks Tree Service, routinely has a booth at the annual Home Show. They offer free estimates to people that stop by their booth. She has her appointment book with her at the show to schedule the estimates right at the booth then gives the guest an appointment reminder card. Smart. This eliminates the follow-up phone call or email to schedule it, because by then, the moment is gone and their busy lives become a deterrent from scheduling.
5. Be Hands On
Are you selling a product? Let people try it right there at your booth. Let them see it in action. Maybe have a short video you can play them showing the product being used in its intended environment and include a couple testimonials.
Are you selling a venue? Have a video tour or a Google Street View tour of the property for people to play with.
Tallahassee Grapevine would hook up our computer to a 40" flat screen TV with our site on it. We would let people use the mouse to browse the site and show them exactly what it offered. We also showed them the latest newsletter, so they knew what they were signing up for.
Some opportunities to get exposure are coming up right here in Tallahassee. If you have a program or service for Florida's children and families, you might want to partner with Children's Week. There are information booths set up inside the Capitol Rotunda for the week of April 7th thru the 12th. Click Here for More Info.
An upcoming show that Grapevine will have a booth is the Capital Events Tradeshow. This expo will attract association executives, meeting planners and industry leaders. Click Here for More Info.