Whether you’re at an expo with hundreds of vendors or a small local craft fair, the strategy behind running a successful booth is the same. When you’re planning your booth, it’s important to know your audience, know your goals, and think about the client base you’re trying to attract. These factors will help guide you with your marketing, display set-up, and interacting with your show’s audience to turn them into loyal customers.
You only get one first impression to make potential customers want to visit your booth, so take time to invest in a banner or sign with your company’s name and logo. Make the banner bright and fun so it is eye-catching and draws your audience to you. Once you get the attention of potential customers, you’ll need to make sure your products are well-promoted and easily visible. It’s not enough to just get your company on their radar; you need to physically draw the customers in and close sales.
Offers and Promotions
Running a table at a craft show is just like running a miniature store, so promoting in-store offers will help boost your visibility and sales. One way to make your customers aware of promotions is to send out email offers and create social media posts that are “in-store only,” so your customers are more inclined to visit you in-person and see your products first-hand.
Some examples of in-store offers include:
- Temporary discounts on popular products
- Customer giveaways
- Discounts for customers if they refer a friend
- “Bundle” discounts
Whichever method you choose will encourage your customers to come back and purchase from your business again, especially if you give your customers additional offers at the end of their purchases. These can include offers such as “10% off your next purchase” or “15% off your next visit when you bring a friend.”
Grow Your Social Media Audience
Posting on your social media accounts can only help grow your audience so much – You need to rely on in-store clients to find your social media accounts as well. This can be accomplished by having a sign with your social media handles at your table and printing them on your business cards.
The reason you participate in these shows isn’t only to gain new clients, but also to personally meet your loyal customers who have shopped from you before, and those who follow you online. If you’re at a show that has a Facebook event page, share that link weekly, beginning as soon as you see the event page has been created. As you’re prepping for the show by organizing your signage or gathering certain products together, share these moments on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. Not only will your audience appreciate a behind the scenes look at your preparation for the show, your excitement will rub off on them. If you plan on unveiling a new product, service, or feature at the show, build up some suspense by posting about it on Facebook, or revealing just enough of the surprise via Snapchat or Instagram. Make your audience want to come and see you by making them feel like a part of the process, giving them things to look forward to and wonder about, and getting them just as excited as you are.
You can also have special deals for people who “check in” at the event and tag your company, or give a certain amount off someone’s purchase if they were one of the first 50 people to visit your booth. Another option is to send coupons after-the-fact to anyone who posted about the event on their social media accounts and used your company’s hashtag, along with the event hashtag. This is a great way to keep your audience engaged and create long-term customers.
Building Your Sale Section
The absolute most important thing to have in your booth is an easily visible sale section. This will help draw your customers in and should not just be something that’s mentioned or noticed after the customer is in your booth. Make sure you have signs in and around your booth saying that you’re having a show special, and push your promotions on social media ahead of time.
Individually price each item that you’re selling, in addition to displaying your prices on your table. This reduces confusion and prevents customers from feeling hesitant about asking the price of an item, which typically leads to the customer walking away empty-handed. When you price your sale items, keep the original price and the new price on the same tag to show the customer that they’re getting a good deal at the show.
Collect Email Addresses
Personally interacting with customers gives you the perfect chance to collect email address to grow your email list. An email list is invaluable because you have a direct way to promote your business to customers through email newsletters, and there is a smaller chance of them missing the deal by scrolling past it on their news feed.
This list will help to capture value from your customers and have an easy, personal way to connect with them again. Every time a new customer purchases from you, encourage them to subscribe to your email list so they can get the deals sent straight to them. It’s easier than you think to collect email addresses in-store.
You can collect email addresses by:
- Having a sign-up sheet for special offers
- Collecting business cards for a giveaway
- Using an iPad to collect emails in a Google form,
- Collecting emails on a paper list
- Using a Google Form to collect information in email newsletters
If you’re at a business expo and your main focus is to get visibility and build your client base, host a free giveaway for your audience to take when they visit your booth.
Some Additional Tips Before You Get Started:
- Never forget your business cards
- Use tablecloths to display your products
- Keep your products at eye level
- Invest in Square (or a similar product) so your clients can pay with credit cards
- Have a lockbox to keep money in and never let it out of your sight
- Don’t forget packaging for your product!
Have you been to a trade show or craft show before? What are some things you wish you’d have known the first time you went? Let us know in the comments below!