January 22, 2014

4 Essential Elements for a Top Notch Booth at a Craft Show or Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Meredith @ 10:44 am

booth

Pop up retail events are a major revenue stream for my company. We sell our products at all kinds of events such as street fairs, comic cons and festivals. A large part of our success with pop up retail has been booth set up. Here are some of the most important elements of our booth:

1. Awesome Signage
You can’t sell products to people if they don’t notice you, that’s why an eye-catching outstanding display is key. Make sure your booth is tidy, well-merchandised and easy to browse. You want your customers to be able to see all the product options, pricing and the brand name itself pretty easily.

When we exhibit at shows we use a large logo banner in the front of our booth and display pictures of our best selling designs right up front. That imagery lures people into our booth and gets them to shop. Having our signage front and center means we can grab the attention of passersby and help them decide that they do want to stop at our booth. They don’t have to get close to get an idea of what we sell.

2. Loss Prevention
It’s a sad fact that sometimes people steal, and as a small business that can be a huge problem. It’s a good idea to merchandise your booth in such a way that stealing from you would be hard. If you have products that customers can touch and pick up, make sure they are all within your view so you can keep an eye on them. For more expensive items you may want to have them in a display case so people can’t pick them up and walk off. Sometimes when I do conventions other exhibitors have their booth so covered in products that they can’t possibly keep an eye on everything, making them a target for thieves.

When we exhibit at shows we display our messenger bags clipped to the side of the booth so they’d be hard to grab and run off with. We keep our tees neatly folded in in shelves behind us so customers can’t just grab them. We keep lower dollar value items like keychains and pins on our table, but that means fewer items on the table to steal and the items that are there are low cost items that wouldn’t be a nightmare to lose.

3. Marketing Materials
Exhibiting at shows should be as much about marketing as it is about selling your product. We maximize our exhibiting experience by having a newsletter sign up at our booth and giving out fun free swag with our branding.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: do not give out swag that just has your info on it. People don’t keep business cards or a vinyl sticker with just your logo (unless your logo is super awesome, like the Johnny Cupcakes logo or something).

When we do shows we give out vinyl stickers featuring our cute characters like Fuzz Aldrin. Our url is in the bottom corner but the focus is on the art and it gets people to take these stickers and keep them. They end up on skateboards, car bumpers, laptops and other places they’ll get seen which is a great advertising tool for us. We also hand out funny comic strips that people keep and hang up at home or work.

We give out all this free swag that people are happy to take because it’s cute and funny. We are happy to give it away because we know it will help them remember our brand. Even if they don’t buy today they might buy in the future or send friends our way.

4. Well-Organized Inventory
When you’re busy at a show the last thing you want to do is root around for inventory under the table. Having your inventory organized helps get customers in and out faster and helps you restock displays quickly.

We keep our shirts neatly folded in stacks sorted by design and then size so we can easily find a large mens Fuzz Aldrin shirt or a small ladies Unicorn Ranch shirt in a few seconds. We even organize our stacks of shirts by color so we know all the black shirts are on the right and all the jewel tone shirts are on the left.

Traveling with items like clear plastic storage boxes of varying sizes helps keep like items together and makes it easy to see what’s in each box. Even separating like items by size or style into large ziplocks helps avoid digging around for things you need to find quickly.

Got some favorite tips for exhibiting at shows? Share in the comments below.


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November 8, 2012

Using the Ground Game Strategy for Growing Your Business

If you followed any of the coverage of the US elections this fall, you probably heard the pundits talk about two things: how much the candidates are spending and who has a better “ground game”. This is interesting because the same exact tools that win elections can help you win as a business. It’s pretty well acknowledged that a big part of Obama’s success was his ground game, and I’m a big believer in developing a ground game for your business too. You can win by spending money — many elections have been won that way — but it’s not the only option.

Here are three ways I’ve used our ground game to boost sales this year, even though we didn’t spend much money on traditional advertising:

1. Shaking hands and kissing babies
When people feel a personal connection to a brand or a political candidate, they’re more inclined to throw their support that way. This is why political candidates get out there in front of voters and it’s why I spent most of my year getting out in front of my customers. By the end of 2012, we’ll have appeared at 16 pop-up retail events all over the US. We traveled north to Boston, west to Chicago (twice). We did events in Philadelphia (THREE times), DC (2x), NYC (3x), Pittsburgh, and Baltimore (3x). In March we’ll head south to Orlando. We travel to large events with tens or even hundreds of thousands of consumers, and our primary motivation is to get them to meet us and love us — even if they don’t buy anything right away.

We know just showing our line to people and chatting with them will help spread our brand awareness. They might not buy from us today, but there’s a good chance they will remember us and buy from us some other time.

You can employ this strategy, too. Think about festivals, craft shows and outdoor markets, but also think about trunk shows and home parties. Choose activities that appeal to your target customers and enable you to talk to them one-on-one.

2. Making It Stick
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: give people a reason to remember your brand. Political campaigns are usually happy to give you t-shirts, bumper stickers, pens, all sorts of stuff with the candidate’s name on it. They want you to remember their candidate so when it’s time to vote, you’ll remember to vote for them.

We employ the same strategy. We are always giving away loads of fun free stuff. We give it out at shows, we give it out with our orders. We give out cute vinyl stickers with our characters on them, 1″ pins, funny comic strips. We don’t give out stuff that looks like marketing material; we don’t just give out a business card, we give out something our customers would actually want so they’ll keep it and remember us.

Just yesterday a customer told us he ordered from us because a friend of a friend who lives across the country came to visit, and had one of our vinyl stickers on something. That’s how he found us.

3. Staying on Message
If you have a message that resonates with your audience, you’re more likely to attract their support, whether you’re running for office or promoting your brand. What does your brand do? Does it make life easier, does it make your customers more attractive, does it help your customer be a better parent? My own products are conversation starters — we design items you could wear out to a bar and it’s likely that someone will strike up a conversation with you based on what you’re wearing. We’re not just selling clothing, we’re selling human connections.

When you’re presenting your product on the ground, think about how you can present more than just the product: how can you present the benefits of owning your product? Think about employing signage, videos, live demos or brochures depending on the item you sell.

Have you used ground game this year to boost sales? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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