YOUR ACTION PLAN FOR THE WOMEN’S LIFESTYLE EXPO
So, you have decided to make the investment and book a spot at this year’s Women’s Lifestyle Expo (“WLE”). We can promise that this will be an exciting ride.
Don’t forget, success is not only measured in direct sales but also in gaining valuable exposure and continued recognition for your brand, even after the Expo finishes. Recently, an exhibitor told me that she was selling products to professionals who would then on-sell these to the end-customer. She decided to give her products away on the second day of the expo, as she had sold very few on the first day. She did not make any money off these gifts until months later, when the orders for more came in and they still keep coming in. She has not only recouped her investment when she gifted her products, but it is making her money now. So, just remember to think outside the box and go with the flow.
We have lots of regular exhibitors, who wouldn’t want to do their business without “Expo”. So, we looked at what they do and how they make their time at the Expo so successful, not to mention FUN. These steps are based around their own personal experiences.
We now have a great community and we are each other’s greatest supports. It is fun to meet and connect with as many fellow exhibitors as possible.
Now, without further ado, here are our suggestions:
TWELVE weeks to go – Time to choose your marketing platforms
1. Social Media
We mostly use Facebook, some LinkedIn and Instagram. Have a look at our beautiful posts. Please feel free to share our posts amongst your pages to get the word out that you are part of WLE this year.
There are also logos on our webpage that you can use in your own social media posts. They are there to be used. So, go wild!
Sending emails to your database seems a no-brainer. Tell your database that you are exhibiting at WLE and that they can find you there. You can also create a link in your email to your and/or our website, so they can click on them if they wish, giving your customer control.
3. Online Communities
On a general note, you may have already joined some relevant online communities where you are allowed to contribute content. If not, join one or two and then create a post introducing you and/or your business and that you are at the Expo this year. Facebook is always a good place to start. There are also some general community pages, where you can contribute posts, often on a certain day of the week.
ELEVEN weeks to go – Time to review your professional image
Have a look at your business logo, your photos, your webpage, etc. Could they do with updating and using fresher images? Or maybe you still need a logo or a colour scheme?
For those of us who are not overly creative, this exercise can be daunting. So, that is where the professionals come in. You may be surprised how affordable some of these services are. Word-of-mouth recommendations are often a good place to start.
We would recommend staying local for whoever you use. You can meet them face-to-face, before you invest with them.
The people we work with are all from the Sunshine Coast and we thoroughly recommend them. They are:
Felicity Jane – webpage creator www.felicityjane.com.au
Kara De Schot – marketing designer www.karadeschot.com.au
Paula Brennan – photographer www.paulabrennan.com.au
Chloe Horder – videographer www.chloehorder.com
TEN weeks to go – Time to decide on your Expo goal or goals
1. Direct selling
During this week, you should decide what exactly you are going to promote at the Expo. and what you want out of it. Will it be a certain product or service? If you are trying to be too many things to too many people, you will spread yourself too thin. This may also be confusing to potential customers. The Expo attendees want to know what you are offering in one glance, when they are walking past your site.
The clearer your message, the more people you will attract who are genuinely interested in your business. This creates “quality of contact”, which means that people who are in the market for your product or service will stop, are interested and stay for a look and/or chat. You can then do what you do best.
No one can sell your product or service like you can, as you have the passion for it. Passion is infectious, as you come across as genuine, which always helps when selling.
2. Increase exposure of your brand
You will gain valuable exposure at the Expo, even if people are not immediately purchasing. For example, if you run a competition, you will get people’s contact details, which you can add to your database.
It also pays to have ‘Expo specials’ for your attendees. For example, offering your first service session or first product for free or at a significantly reduced price, makes people interested and they don’t want to miss out. That is why limiting your repertoire works so well, as you can concentrate on it. Also, offering more of the same, usually means you get it for a smaller outlay or less effort.
NINE weeks to go – Time to order your merchandise, posters, leaflets, etc
Having something to give to people, like magnets, pens, postcards will mean that they will remember you after they get home. If you need posters, etc for your site, this is the time to order all of these things.
There are lots and lots of printers around the place, as well as online services you can use. Again, we would suggest using someone local. Not just because it fits with our business ethics, but also because you can talk to them in person, explain what you would like, etc. And you don’t have to rely on having it posted to you, as you can go and pick it up.
EIGHT weeks to go – Time to get your exhibit site organised
This is a fun thing to do, creating your space at the Expo. If you have been before, you would have seen that a lot of businesses go all out. Attractive sites are usually very popular, as people are drawn to good-looking exhibits. Keep clutter out of sight, try a subject theme or colour theme, display something that gets people’s attention or that is a conversation-starter.
If you are stuck for ideas, our Expo Interior Designer, Maureen Walters from the Maroochydore Homemaker Centre (www.MaroochydoreHomemakerCentre.com.au) would love to help you. Just click on the link and make an appointment with her and let her know you are creating a site for the Women’s Lifestyle Expo. She will give you a special rate then.
Interior Designers can assist with getting you started, giving you ideas or they can design and set up the whole thing. It is totally up to you how much or how little you want to involve them.
SEVEN weeks to go – Time to come up with a few relevant #hashtags
Before the Expo, we will let you know which hashtags we will use. It always creates momentum if we all use the same hashtags.
If you also want to use some of your own hashtags, you should do your research on hashtags, as some might seem obvious and innocent enough to you, but they might not be that at all! So, come up with a handful or so and then keep using them every time you post on social media.
SIX weeks to go – Time to think about creating/expanding your database
Everyone in business would know that selling to your previous clientele is always easier than finding new ones. But you still need fresh leads all the time too. This where WLE comes into its own, as you have access to thousands of attendees over the two days.
You can be as creative as you want to come up with ideas on how to do that. For example, to increase your database, running a competition works well. It provides you with potential customers’ contact details. Maybe you can even give everyone who enters something and then do a draw for the big prize. Again, your imagination is your limit.
We have seen some very creative competitions, including throwing a sticky ball onto a disc with different prizes. That was hugely popular and no one would have guessed it was for an accountant ☺
FIVE weeks to go – Time to design and create content for your chosen media platforms
So, once you have decided on your goal for the Expo, you will find creating content for your marketing platforms much easier. There is nothing like focus, to make you motivated to talk about your service/product.
Basically, any which way you choose to make contact with the community and your database is fine. Just make sure you mention that you are coming to the Expo and that you will have ‘Expo Specials’, etc. This is already increasing your exposure, providing you with brand awareness.
FOUR weeks to go – Time to share our posts again and include the logo on your website
As mentioned before, we have created some posts for you to share on your social media platforms. There are also logos that you can use in your own social media posts and on your letter head, if you use emails for your marketing. Please feel free to use them. You can find them on our website.
THREE weeks to go – Time to check everything
Now is a good time to check that everything is done, ordered, picked up, paid for, etc.
Have you organised back-up for your site? You cannot do it alone for two days straight. You need breaks.
Some people even set out their site at home as a rehearsal, just to see how it will look when it is all put together. Is the space too cluttered? Is it too empty?
Go through your action plan again, step by step. If you have forgotten something, there could still be enough time to get it done.
TWO weeks to go – Time to think about “going live”
It seems to be all about video content these days. You can include it in your emails, websites and social media posts. We are still working on this too ☺
Have a look at some to see which ones appeal to you and which ones are more successful than others and then just launch into it. We have been told that you will learn things with each one you do. We better get onto it. Make them fun and people will watch.
ONE week to go – Time to pull it all together
Check your emails when you have to be where. For example, bump-in is on the Thursday from 2pm to 6pm; bump-out is on Saturday from 4pm to 6pm.
Have you got pens, Velcro fasteners, pins, scissors, etc?
There should not much else to do this week, but getting mentally ready and looking forward to meeting fellow exhibitors, making new connections and generally enjoying what you have created.
And remember, don’t worry, there is always help. Just ask ☺