Sharing my expert tips on how to plan for a market booth (expo booth)! Saving you time and money, doesn’t stress you out, and makes you profitable – that’s the whole point! I would certainly consider myself a seasoned exhibitor. From industry-focused commercial networking pop-ups to the full-on wedding expo booth, I pride myself on not being the most extravagant expo booth, but definitely one of the most memorable. I have been able to build relationships without being “sales-y”, sharing my experience and knowledge about everything my potential client would want to know, and building a brand that resonates with clients long after they’ve left the event. With a 90% booking rate with clients with that, I would schedule a consultation either during the expo or with an initial email inquiry leading me to have a 6 figure income within the first year of business. Markets/Expos are a great way to get an audience with your target market, but you will only have moments to create an experience that converts your viewer into a client/customer. Here are my expert tips to help you have an incredible first-time experience with your booth
- Establishing Your Brand: Make sure you have to know what your brand is, your target market, your aesthetics, your logo, font and your values. Making sure that your BRAND IS COHESIVE through will certainly help with your brand awareness and your future campaigns. If you need help with creating this foundation for your business check out Houston Studio ® for their Brand Identity services. Branding also includes your website being up to date and on point, digital marketing is available, fonts, guidelines, branded mock-ups, etc.
- Choosing the expo opportunities that are right for you: While I’m a firm believer in “you get out, what you put in” when it comes to marketing opportunities of this scale there is still the decision “Is this going to get the return that I desire”. And to that, there are certain things to take into account: Is it the target market for you? Is it within your budget? How many sales/bookings/services would I have to book in order to break even and/or profit? What’s the expo’s track record with events and ability to bring people to events? (I am happy to say that KBW has sold out of all of our events and even won the award for our 4th of July float on our first try — We sell out and go big!) And how much content and brand awareness are you willing to create because you have this market opportunity! If you’re going to invest in your business, might as well stretch those marketing dollars and build that content/promo video/reels!
- Marketing Materials: Order your takeaway marketing materials early. We use Houston Studio to design our elements and Minuteman Press in Humble for printing of our flyers, catalogs, shirts, banners, and expo stand-up banners. Making sure that you brand elements are carried on to your marketing materials will help your potential client remember you distinctly. I always try to spring for marketing materials that are going to set me apart from my clients, but don’t feel that you have to spend a ton of money. Stay within your budget. Your brand will shine through by you just being you too.
- The Backdrop: A well branded impressive backdrop. I’m in the commercial/marketing industry so that’s my agency’s style so I prefer a double-sided portable and easy setup advertising aluminum Pop Up Banner Backdrop like this from amazon. I also love seeing those gorgeously designed custom walls, canopies, walk through booths that you feel as if you’ve been transported to someone’s living room, dining area, or venue.
- The Big Display: Check out Pinterest for their incredible shelving displays. Get creative and use elements you already have around. Chances are things around your home are great to display elements and most likely already on-brand for you. Bar high table(s) are great “walk-up” to view products if there are touchables. Coffee tables for lounge settings, and gallery walls are awesome for larger pieces or many smaller pieces.
- Your Dress: Be sure to be sensibly smart with your attire, on brand, and/or branded uniform. Comfortable shoes is a must as you will be standing for the entire time. If you’re not standing you’re not approachable or doing it right. Sitting sends the wrong message to prospective clientele.
- The Conversation Map (Your Sales Pitch): Practice a pitch and call to action. You see their interest in their eye when they see your booth and they make their way over. Awesome! They see something they like! This is a great opportunity to see what they’re looking for and really get into the details, share some knowledge of something they probably didn’t think of, and share with them the great deal you have for them on the information they just gave you. The key is to be a great listener and find out more about them and conversationally walk them into how they can get started/more info/locate you, etc. I wouldn’t try to pressure anyone to book on the spot, I certainly don’t like making decisions like that myself (but I’m also one that knows what I like and what I don’t pretty fast). And if the opportunity allows I even encourage for the guest to go check out a lot of my same industry friends. [Pairing creatives with the right client has always been my thing – See more at Houston Studio ®]. Everyone is happy all around and my industry friends always paid it back to me. Karma. It’s good!
- Create a QR Code: Create a QR code that directs your potential client or even the quick/introverted passing shopper to all the places they can find you and more information about your services. I like doing QR to my link tree – it includes instant download freebies and all the information they could need. I use QR Code Generator.
- An Awesome Giveaway makes for a great email list: With that QR code have a giveaway link or special offer to get them in your email funnel. An email list is gold! You can now update them with a product, information, guides, and packages that they would be interested in. Giveaway can be large or small. That’s really up to you. If it’s just your time/talent or it’s something you already have readily available at no or little cost to you it’s a great way to create an incentive for someone turning over their email to you. I’m a sucker for freebies so sign me up!
- A little help goes a long way: Have at least 2 people working the booth with you so can build the relationship through conversation with the potential client, guest, or customer. It’s good to have an extra set of hands anyways and it allows you to have a moment to grab food or go to the bathroom break without leaving your booth unattended.
- Decorate and Collaborate: If building and ordering your backdrop or setting for your booth is too overwhelming and you want to just roll into the expo ready to rock and roll, look to event design companies to assist you in building out an expo booth that’s not only stunning, it’s custom to your brand. That’s not in your budget? Have vendor friends in the event industry? See if they will collaborate with you and loan items to jazz up your expo booth with an exchange of including signage to credit their work. Table linens, floral, display wall, lounges, etc.
- Wifi or Power Need to Making the Sale: Make sure you get wifi access and charge for your merchant portal or an electrical outlet (also great for TV or lighting) for your till/register if you are planning on making sales on site.
- Light It Up: If you have something to display such as a gallery, jewelry, or glass items great lighting makes all the difference and really shows off the quality of your pieces.
- Create a checklist: You don’t want to forget a thing! Make a list of the items you have to bring with you: If you’re like me you just like being prepared.
- Review the exhibition guidelines, timelines, setup, and breakdown guide: Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have it all stored up in your noggin. Plans change sometimes and most expos have strict rules that don’t allow certain things. This is a sure way to look like a pro even if it’s your first time knowing the ins and outs.
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