Gotta love ’em – Vendor Events are a wonderful opportunity to connect with other businesses.
If you are displaying your products or services at upcoming vendor events, please – seriously, I mean it – please – make sure that you are making the most of the marketing opportunities that these events truly are for your brand and your business.
Stop for one moment – Really think about this.
What are your goals for this event?
- Perhaps you will be reconnecting with current customers and meeting their friends, colleagues, and cohorts.
- Of course, you will hope to connect with new customers or prospects.
- And, of course, you will be selling your products or setting up appointments/meetings.
- You will absolutely want to focus on increasing your brand recognition.
- Networking with fellow vendors and those planning/hosting the event can be great for building relationships and keeping top-of-mind in your industry.
Here are just a few tips to help you make the most of your vendor event.
1: Reconnect with current customers and meet their friends, colleagues, and cohorts.
This is a great opportunity to connect with your current clients plus colleagues and prospects (and even friends and family, when appropriate). Use your email marketing and your social media platforms to connect and tell them, “I’d love to see you there!” and “Bring a friend!”
Not only will the event planners appreciate the extra attendees but a vendor fair is an excellent opportunity for your fans to introduce their people to you. Consider a special offer to your current customers, too, especially if they introduce you to someone new via the event.
Vendor events are a perfect situation to build relationships and name recognition. Go ahead, introduce your customers to other vendors. You will be adding value to your time and effort at this event.
2: Connect with new customers or prospects, Be Interactive
Naturally, you will be standing by your table. Standing (and smiling) will make you more approachable and people will naturally want to interact with you. Help them to feel comfortable browsing your products or services and asking questions. If you feel awkward, straighten or rearrange items to busy yourself.
Draw folks in with conversation. Ask them, “How are you enjoying the event?” or “What’s been your favorite booth so far?” Invite them into a conversation and they will linger.
Have something to DO at your booth. Make sure your display is interactive, and have plenty of samples. If you sell something wearable, let people try it on. Again, this encourages lingering and gives you a better opportunity to connect with people.
3: COLLECT CONTACT INFO:
I just can not stress this enough!
Your database is gold to you!
Offer a giveaway or raffle prize to collect your prospects’ name, phone number and e-mail so they don’t just walk off with your information and disappear into oblivion.
Encourage people to sign up for more information, for a current special offer, for a helpful resource download, or to receive your email newsletter.
4: Increase your Brand Recognition – Make the most of your space.
Have a conversation piece that reflects your business and causes people to stop and check it out more closely.
Make sure your booth or table reflects you and your brand. Have promotional materials ready, get your logo printed on a tablecloth in your brand colors and have attention-grabbing signage and decorations.Offer ‘takeaways’ that represent your brand and display your website or other contact info.
5. Network! Schmooze your fellow vendors – they’re some of your best prospects!
Spend time getting to know your fellow vendors. Seriously, they are very likely to be some of your best prospects and future fans! Check out your fellow vendors beforehand. Look them up on social media and say “Hello, I look forward to meeting you!” Sign up for their newsletters and share them with your contacts or on social media if you feel it’s appropriate.
For those who you could cross-promote with, ask them to keep your info at their table to pass out–or better yet, to point people toward your booth. Of course, you should offer to do the same. Bring along a small goody with your information included and give them out to the other vendors before or after the event.
6. MAKE IT EASY TO SHOP
- Allow sampling
- Encourage trying on
- Have prices clearly marked
- Have gift certificates available
- Have wish lists available
- Offer complimentary gift wrap
- Offer specials and discounts
- Offer free materials with your website info to allow folks to shop from home
7: Set yourself up to schedule one-on-ones or consultations with potential clients
Have your calendar ready and offer an incentive for them to schedule their consultation or one-on-one with you on the spot. Have a system set up ahead of time to contact these potential clients within a day or so of the event. (Consider an online scheduler program or an email marketing system with auto-responder capability)
8. The special sauce – the cherry on top of the sundae – the secret ring – is in the FOLLOW-UP.
The real power of a vendor events lies in your follow-up.Take the information you collected enter it into your email marketing database immediately. Have a ‘Thank you” or “Welcome to” email newsletter ready to go!
Follow the other vendors on their social media platforms. Like, Share, Engage with them there, as well. Help them amplify their message and you will find they will naturally do the same for you, helping you increase your own reach and engagement with your potential audience.
Of course, nothing can replace the personal touch. If it’s appropriate, follow-up with a personal email (or even better – a snail-mail card – perhaps purchased at the vendor event) or phone call.
Now – The most important thing to bring to your next vendor event?
Bring your winning personality and be prepared to engage!
Email marketing got you confused?
Schedule a free 20-minute consultation with me to discuss how you can make the most of the opportunity to ensure that you have a consistent and branded digital platform (website, social media, email marketing) that will help keep your business relevant and top-of-mind with your current and potential clients and customers.
But, in my opinion, the absolute-most-important element in a successful holiday marketing season is keeping in touch via your email marketing.