By Jessica Moretti.
The trade show season is in full swing, and saying you are going to be busy is quite an understatement. Even during this hectic time, do not neglect your loyal customers or ditch your marketing efforts. Instead, use this as an opportunity to get the most out of your trade show attendance by including your customers in the experience. Here are some easy ways to get customers excited about the new products that will be hitting your shelves.
1. Kick off an online campaign a week or two before you head out to market. Give it a fun name, like “Be Our Buyer.” Use the campaign to let your customers help you decide what to buy for the store.
2. If you have it in your budget or live close enough to a trade show to avoid flight and hotel expenses, host a contest and have the prize be a day at the trade show. Have customers submit an essay, saying why they would be the perfect buyer for your store. Who knows? You might even find a new employee.
3. If you are not able to bring someone to the show with you, bring the show to your customers. Crowd sourcing has never been easier than with the help of social media. While at a show, snap a few pictures and post them to Facebook and Pinterest. Then, ask your fans what they like best. Not only will this increase online engagement, it will tell you what products your customers are likely to buy. This can be immensely helpful when choosing between two similar products. To ensure your new picks fly off the shelves, offer ten percent off the product that gets the most likes.
4. One of the most exciting aspects of attending a trade show is getting a first look at upcoming trends. Share some of your favorite trends with your customers by writing a blog post about what catches your eye at market, and why. If you do not maintain a blog, consider dedicating an e-newsletter to the latest trends. Customers love being in-the-know, and they will be excited to stop by your store to see the new products.
5. Even after you return from your travels, you can keep the excitement going with an inventory blowout. You will need to make room for your new products anyway. Use social media, email marketing and word of mouth to help spread the word. Let your customers know that you are having the sale to make room for your new product arrivals. If you have samples of new products, put them out on a special display to entice your customers to buy.
6. After spending time and effort creating excitement around the trade show experience, host a premiere party to announce your new product arrivals. Send invitations through email, creating a Facebook event and providing invitations in-store. Lay down the red carpet, put out refreshments, turn on the tunes and you will start cranking out sales.
7. Bring your efforts full circle by offering special incentives for those customers who experienced the trade show whirlwind with you. From those who voted on product pictures to the folks who helped clear your shelves during the inventory blow out, give them the VIP treatment with some extra special savings.
Jessica Moretti is the marketing communications manager for SnapRetail, a ready-to-use marketing solution to help local storeowners engage and sell to customers using email, social media and exclusive offers. She has a journalism and public relations background, graduating summa cum laude from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.