Trade shows are one of the best places to learn, network, garner new business, attract new customers and interact face-to-face with trade show attendees.
They are also a huge investment. Are you making the most out of every dollar that you're putting into garden industry trade shows?
Chances are, your garden business could be doing more.
Mastering the art of PR at a trade show is not easy. You will have a lot of balls in the air if you're trying to both sell and market at the same time.
But, don't overlook marketing! It is just as important as selling.
Read on for 10 tips for to master garden industry trade shows, conferences and events
10 Tips for Trade Show Success
- Create a marketing plan. Think of garden PR as your "silent salesman" working the crowd from the pages of the garden media websites and magazines, increasing your brand recognition and, in turn, increasing traffic at the show and sales after the fact.
- Attract new customers. Many are shifting their focus onto the new garden consumer: Millennials. And Millennials love to be engaged. Design your booth so it gives them something to do or something to watch. And be approachable... without being creepy.
- Maximize your time. Schedule meetings in advance. Don’t leave it to chance. Remember everyone there is just as busy as you are, so the sooner you get an appointment on the calendar with them, the better.
- Bring lots of business cards. Networking is one of the keys to success and being prepared - in an elevator, lobby or at the bar - can be the difference in making the sale.
- Have Swag. What you giveaway at trade shows often defines your presence there. If you've got stellar swag, you can guarantee word will get around fast! People will be selective in what they choose to bring home, make sure it's your stuff.
- Engage with Media. To make your PR a huge success, start creating the buzz before the event on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and your blog. Include links to your social media on all media material and make contact with reporters and bloggers at least eight weeks before the event starts.
- Be brave. Don't be intimidated or afraid of approaching people. Introduce yourself and have specific questions prepared to make the sale. If you don't already have a contact with the company you have an interest in, be sure to get a business card. It's not enough to only give someone your contact information.
- Get social. Social media a great way to connect with people before, during and after a show. Follow them on their active social accounts. Use the trade show’s hashtag and tag people and brands in your pictures.
- Post Show: Press Release Distribution. After the show is over, issue a success release about how well your new garden product or plant was received. Quote some customers or trade show officials. Make sure that your Online Press Kit is up to date. Post coverage on your website and social media sites.
- Post Show: Follow up. About a week after the trade show, follow up with any contacts you made at the show and get them the information they asked for promptly.
Approach these events with an open mind. In most cases, you’ll discover useful nuggets in places you never expected to find them.