Posted by Camille Leon with Judy Bazis of Illuminate Festivals
If you are in the wellness world, there is a good chance that you have (or are considering) signing up to exhibit in a booth showcasing your products and services at a wellness fair. Perhaps you have learned the hard way that some events are better for your business than others…
This is the second (and last) in a series to help you make the most of your investment.
First, it is good to recognize that you are investing both money and time. Even if the booth is given to you for free, it will take time to prepare, be there and follow up with new leads. All three of these activities are key to making the most of your booth at this event!
Second, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, some things are out of your control. At live events, allow yourself and the event producer grace for the weather. Event producers do their best to choose the day(s), time(s) and venue (indoors, outdoors, location) in order to create the best success for everyone, both vendors and visitors. But if you are indoors on a sunny day or outdoors on a gray day, it will impact attendance and you’ll have to make the best of the circumstances. Bring a sunny disposition whatever the weather and expect to have a great time. Your joy is infectious, and a big smile goes a long way in making the event a success for everyone!
Third, what you can do to make the return on your investment (ROI) really pay off:
  1. Ask the event host/producer:
  • What do they provide for your booth? Some events include the table, tent cover, and tablecloths for each booth. Some do not. You’ll want to know so you can prepare accordingly. Be sure to ask if access to an electrical outlet is included. If not, how much is it? Is there a discounted price if electrical is pre-ordered? Illuminate Festivals Founder Judy Bazis recommends events that do provide the basics because the event will have a more cohesive and professional look and feel. It is possible to have a bohemian-hippy vibe without it looking like a yard sale, but it does take some effort. Presentation matters!
  • Can you sell your product/service at the event? Some events allow for this. Some do not, and some services are better suited for private sessions rather than the public visibility of live events. What makes sense for you at this event? Is your goal simply brand awareness, or are you looking to build your clientele? Having a clear intent going into the event helps you achieve your goal. If you are offering services, keep in mind that mini-sessions are best for the event environment. They give attendees an opportunity to learn about you and your services, as well as give some a try. Do not get bogged down by offering services to one attendee to the exclusion of others; think of events like speed dating – see if there is a connection, and follow up after the event to further the professional relationship. Be sure to get contact information!
  1. Branding Your Booth: You want to attract attention for your booth so people stop by to check out your products and services. Having a large gift basket to raffle off is a great way to bring people in and get them to sign up for your email list. You can fill the basket with your own products or, if you are a service provider only, those of others. Google or search on Pinterest “craft fair booth ideas” to get inspiration for your exhibitor space. “For those offering products, we highly recommend adding lights to your booth. One of our exhibitors who offers crystal jewelry said that his sales increased by 30% after adding lights to his booth,” says Bazis. Not all venues have great lighting, so bringing a few lights just in case is a great idea. The same goes for extra tables; you may have an extra bit of space unexpectedly, so take advantage of it to display more of your inventory. If you have access to electricity, how about having a slideshow of your products and services running on a laptop or digital picture frame? It gives attendees more information about all of your offerings while they walk by or wait at your booth. Plus, creating the slideshow is a labor of love; you get to share your vision and mission clearly in words and pictures for the world to see. A great way to start is to deconstruct your website and then rebuild it in a slideshow format. Many exhibitors who have done this expressed satisfaction at the end result, and felt it brought more engagement with their booth at events. Try it!

  2. Follow Up for More Results: Signing people up for an email list only helps when you send an email newsletter or more personal follow-up emails. Given that good events are often busy with hustle-and-bustle, follow-up emails are a strong way to increase your ROI even when you can sell at the event. Send your email within 1-2 days of the event and then give yourself a regular schedule for ongoing emails. Some people will be ready to buy today; others will need time to think it over and then make a purchase. You want them to think of you when they are ready! Be sure to send out reminders to your email list about upcoming events where you will be exhibiting, and of any special deals you will be offering at the event.
Illuminate Festivals Founder Judy Bazis shares her top tip for making the most of your booth at your next event, “Stand up and smile! Shy exhibitors who sit looking down at their phones instead of engaging with attendees is a huge turn off. Be open and genuinely interested in connecting with those who walk by your booth. Engage with potential customers by asking questions such as, “Are you familiar with Reiki?” or “May I show you what I like best about this product?” It’s important to be mindful of the energy you are bringing to the exchange, and not to come across as aggressive. Also, don’t be “Debbie Downer” by making discouraging or negative comments. Bring your A Game. A pleasant demeanor and nice smile is always appreciated!
Camille Leon is the Founder and CEO of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
She is also an Author (Fresh Starts / Transformation in Action) and Artist.
She helps people find holistic approaches to health, life and business.