This past weekend I attended the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. This show hosts over 100,000 attendees from over 100 countries.
The mix included suppliers, restaurateurs, the media and entrepreneurs, like myself, hoping to tap into this lucrative 600 billion market. For the past year I’ve been building restaurantbrandingroadmap, an e-learning product, a web site and business that serves up marketing and branding help to this niche market of independent restaurateurs. I hope to launch the first product within the next 60 days. To date I have built a membership model website and a robust blog. At the same time I’ve been aggressively building a base of future buyers and fans via twitter, Facebook and my opt-in community. Part of my growth strategy is to get into the minds of my market, so I can better deliver on their unmet needs and to build a network of restaurant product and service providers that I can partner with to accelerate the project and monetize my efforts.
Attending any large tradeshow is a significant investment for a small company. To attend this show, I will spend about $3,000. before time costs. This covers travel expenses for two, show attendance fees, special business cards I printed that promote the restaurant product and an online subscription to watch the Tampa Bay Rays TV on my laptop so I don’t miss a game
A show this size can be overwhelming without a good game plan. So Lauren (My Chief Problem Solver) and I came up with ours to ensure a healthy ROI at the show.
1.) Before you go, set your accountable goals and your action plan to achieve them.
- For us it meant taking home 500 new contacts.
- Discover at least 10 promo partners.
- Make 5 media contacts.
- Identify at least 50 resources for content.
- Learn at least 20 new marketing ideas.
2.) Print something that you can hand out that speaks to why you are at the show.
For us, in addition to our Brain Tattoo Branding Business cards, we printed special cards that included our restaurant product, site and social media addresses.
3.) Identify targeted companies you want to meet and schedule your day.
4.) If you go with a colleague like I did, don’t hang out together all the time. Don’t sit next to each other at a session or on the shuttle. You can cover twice as much ground if you both go different ways.
5.) Don’t wait to get home to sort out your hot new contacts and ideas. Take action while stuff is fresh on your mind. Organize your thoughts and leads, contact your new friends in social media right away. The next morning we already had traction from our new contacts on our site and social media accounts.
6.) Take pictures and keep good notes of your journey, the people you meet and new resources. These pics will not only give you follow up material for your new contacts, they can be seeded in social media and in your blog.
7.) Stay focused on who you want to meet. This show had over 1800 exhibits, only about 20% mattered to me concerning business goals. Don’t forget your mission.
8.) Look professional, but dress comfortably. I usually wear my red glasses and some creative jacket or outfit. This seems to be a magnet for conversation and strangers get the vibe I’m a creative thinker.
9.) If you say you are going to follow up with someone after the show, do it! This is part of your brand. Keeping your promises.
10.) Stay at a cool hotel. The likelihood of meeting cool people will increase. We stayed at the Sax. I love this place, it’s hip, has good energy and is in the heart of lots of interesting and fun places. The House of Blues is next door.
11) Bring a ton of business cards, if there are 100,000 people at the show you you can easily burn through 1,000 cards.
12) Make sure you have downloaded all the apps to help you be productive.
-For us this was a QR scanner on your smart phone., so you can bookmark cool things. Many booths used this digital tool.
-Instagram to take and share photos.
-The NRAshow app to view the schedule and map layout quickly.
If you are interested in restaurant or hospitality branding, do check out my other blog. There will lots of great new posts concerning this exciting industry.
Confidence is a condition you manifest when you do things with competence. Self-esteem is a belief level you buy into about yourself, when you’re not doing anything at all. To enjoy a great life and a rich business or career, they are both needed to be mastered.
I consider myself an emotionally healthy person. I also know that I can always improve myself. I’m interested in learning things that can make me more effective with my business, my personal relationships and things that provide me with a more fulfilled life.
Back in January Alan Weiss, a coach and mentor of mine for the past decade, offered a one-day workshop on self-esteem. Alan is known as the million dollar consultant. He’s authored over 40 books, works all over the world and has guided me on many business projects. His Self-Esteem Workshop was $2,500 and limited to 6 people in every workshop, it was sold out until April.
There’s no debate here, lower than peak self-esteem is bad for business. If you are a start-up, it can make the difference in you raising needed funds. If you are a growing business it can cost you new clients. If you are employed it can stump your advancement. In all cases, low self-esteem enables price, valuation, compensation discounting and costly over-giving of goods and services too.
I attended Alan’s workshop this past week in Warwick, RI to help take my business to a higher level. It was an excellent investment in time and money.
Consistent with Alan’s tough-love style of coaching, the workshop wasn’t hoo-rah-rah at all. There was no flood of compliments or achievement praised. There were a lot of open and candid discussions about where human doubt and questionable self-worth comes from and how to dump the debris that brings down anyone’s esteem level.
Before the workshop, I knew the root of many of my green monster issues, but after spending the day with Alan and a great group of other highly-accomplished consultants, I better understood how to re-frame the past, dump the garage and power forward with a stronger direction and intent. I also learned a lot about how to sustain high self-worth in the most challenging of situations.
The three biggest take-a-ways for me were:
1) The perfect self-esteem cocktail is 1-part listen to others (that you request, unsolicited feedback is useless) and 3-parts listen to yourself.
This means accept feedback from qualified givers, not others who have some axe to grind or bigger issues than yourself.
2) Having an accurate feedback grading system is key.
Many of the most damaging and negative beliefs that imprint adult self-doubt comes from our parents because as children, they were our primary authoritative figures. This dominating influence can apply to professional settings too. This does not make either of them right. Use realistic measures to evaluate criticism.
3) Positive reinforcing environments and relationships are critical, not optional.
Birds of a feather flock together. A scrappy nest is not where you want to be. Hang with other highly-esteemed people and make sure your work space is empowering and inspirational. If it’s not, change it.
Alan Weiss is not for everyone. He’s not inexpensive, his content is not sappy and sugar-coated. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, I’d look at some of his offerings. If nothing else, sign up for his weekly newsletter, it’s free and one of the best things I read and enjoy every week.
In closing, here’s another good article on the subject on of self-worth. It’s written by one of my favorite tweeters @yourpocketguru, follow him and me @brandingdiva on Twitter for some short gems of insight on a all kinds of topics.
Last week I had drinks with a retired colonel from MacDill Air Force Base. This guy had been to 2 wars zones, Iraq and Afghanistan, three times. He had been inches away from grenades exploding and been literally shot at from 10 feet away. Fortunately, the bullets missed him. Many in his platoon were not that lucky.
He knew I was an entrepreneur. He’d been to my websites. This is what he said to me.
“Karen, you are so brave and courageous. I admire that so much. I don’t know that I could do that, be a front line entrepreneur like you. You’ve got to hustle business every day, be such a self-starter and operate with so much uncertainty”.
WOW, here’s a soldier who risked his life for our country, thinking I’m the tough one. At first I thought he was just flirting, but then I thought about it, and I suppose to many being an entrepreneur is pretty darn scary.
I’ve never seen it that way. Because of the way I’m wired and because of the values I formed from my life experiences.
The fact is we are both warriors, the military and the troops of entrepreneurs all across the world.
This was the theme of my program I presented today to Southeastern Entrepreneurship Conference. It was my second year to participate and like last year the energy I got from the young entrepreneurs was amazing and inspirational.
My message to the audience was direct. There is no place like entrepreneur land. Owning your own business and being your own boss. Sure it’s tough, risky and uncertain, but then again so is walking down the street.
My bigger point to the group was, it’s not what hits you, but what you do next that counts.
My life as an entrepreneur has been an exciting and scary as hell roller coaster ride for nearly 30 years. Would I trade those experiences in for a 9-5 gig? No way. Cause at the end of the day, I’m driving the car. To me that’s the best way to go through life.
Bad and challenging stuff happens to the best of us. And if you’ve got your eye on a big prize, I guarantee you, your share will not be small. Most highly successful people actually encounter more bumps than those who achieve average results. There is a correlation between the volume of failure and magnitude of success.
And then comes my favorite saying: “What does not kill you, makes you stronger”.
Now for any of you who think I just write about this stuff and maybe have not had actual bouts with big boy challenges, here are just a few of my most memorable high stress, danger zones I’ve experienced first hand.
A 4 month tax audit, an investment in a venture that crashed and burned, an employee with a drinking problem, loss of a big client, three key employees quitting at once, a big company filed a trademark infringement that cost over $50,000 and me filing a time and money sucking law suit against an international celebrity to collect owed money. This is the short list. My point is any of these situations could have sent me to the 9-5 world, but they did not and I won the battle.
Here are 5 moves that keep me and my entrepreneurial dream alive.
1) Work from a plan. Even if it’s one page long.
I support this move by writing daily goals before I go to sleep at night for the next day.
I also track my time. This puts light on my waste so I can focus on result producing tasks..
I do daily rituals, every single day.
2) Master mental resiliency.
This is a work in progress, but I have gotten thicker skin through all of my life experiences.
Don’t hang on to screw ups, disappointments and failures. I shake things off like my black lab used to do when she got wet.
Learn the art of re-framing yucky situations into the good stepping stones that get you closer to what you want.
Know how to reboot and create your own momentum.
Be fit, mentally and physically.
3) Network up.
Hang out with people that are challenging you, not saying what you want to hear and sucking up to your mediocre bar.
Be a lifetime learner with folks that are smarter-than you.
Cut the dead wood off your growing dream. This means sometimes you’ll grow out of relationships.
5) Brand you and your business
They are both important and can contribute to your success.
Pick a lane. Decide what you are, do it well and in a unique fashion.
Resonate your identity on all of your touch points to your market (how you dress, act and communicate).
And in closing, I reminded the audience of the number one, most important thing an entrepreneur needs to succeed.
Full body confidence.
Stand tall, shoulders back and believe in yourself. You are your number one and most important fan! Breakthrough business stories have leveraged this powerful weapon for centuries. It is such a game changer.
Without a positive self image you may as well be burnt toast. So work on this daily. For me, I go for stuff that seems impossible. Walking on fire was a real booster for me. I also read my affirmations daily (you must write these before you can read them). I keep a victory folder (containing things that make me feel good, from notes, to press clips, to deposit receipts) and I monitor and read about people who inspire me and remind myself how human they are too.
You got the gear and the intelligence. Man up, even if you are a female.
My military friend may have had a valid point when he said that being an entrepreneur was such an admirable feat for the brave and courageous few.
I reminded him and the SEEC attendees that it’s all about the angle that you choose to look at the enemy and the prize.
Risk scares many, but to an entrepreneur it is the needed fuel for the greatest rewards.
Most think danger should be avoided, but to an entrepreneur it is a welcome and exciting adventure.
Being on your own appears to be such hard work and so difficult, not for an entrepreneur who chooses something they love to do.
As free Americans who live in a capitalist society the power to transform uncertainty into clarity is in our reach.
Entrepreneurs make your move.
Part 2 of a 3 part series on visiting Nigeria.
Andrew, part my bodyguard, part my cinematographer and part photographer and I flew Delta Airlines. Fortunately we got to fly business class and it was a great experience. In fact, the Delta service team was one of the best ever on the way to Nigeria. On the way back was another story, which I promise I will write about in the next few weeks. The food was excellent too. It was just a little weird dining at midnight, right before you popped an Ambient sleeping pill.
Our plane arrived 11 hours later about 3 PM Nigerian time. We were greeted by our government assigned, armored, traveling security team with big AK47’s. From there we plowed through at least a million cars and saw miles of poverty en route to our hotel on the island of Victoria. This is a sad sight considering the amount of oil money that comes from this country. It does seem like there should be a better outcome.
The ride was intense and not without fear. The driver had two speeds: super fast and stop. I honestly thought this was one of my last trips on earth.
One hour later, we arrived at the Ecko Hotel. The hotel was comparable to a lower end 3-star US hotel. Contemporary, it had some cool African art in the lobby, and was gated with several towers. Andrew and I were split up. In hindsight, I should have demanded this be corrected. Fortunately, our four days were safe and without incident.
The service was very good. The wine was divine. The food OK and interesting. Lots of plantains, which I like. But everything had an odd fishy flavor to it that I’m still trying to identify. I believe it’s the cooking oil. I’ve noticed this in other countries I’ve visited too.
Our rooms were comfortable, once you got past the constant horn blowing outside, the fact the internet moved like a drunk snail and the power completely turned off about every couple hours without notice. Apparently, this has to do with a power supply issue. We did get used to that, but it totally sucked when Andrew’s only power cable blew up from a surge. $200 later, a scarier cab ride, a tire blow out and some serious sweat, he was back in business.
During our stay, as long as we remained inside our compound, we felt safe, just on alert, as there were always several armed guards outside our windows at all times. There was also a high degree of missing trust and crime related issues that were apparent. Below is the sign that greeted us upon check in? This is a shame because the country is filled with many more honest and trusting people, than the minority of bad folks who have tarnished the country’s image.
The first day there was a press conference at 10AM promoting the event. We were driven over and greeted by a roomful of 25 plus curious journalist, Internet, print and broadcast. Everyone was unbelievably friendly and warm. This calm tone changed dramatically at the event. The media at the event was like no paparazzi I’ve ever imagined, swarming like bees, hungry for up close photos of the Governor and the branding speaker, “moi” from the US. There were a couple times that I had big fears, not for my life or safety, but that my hair piece (curls) were definitely going to fly off.
Both days, everyone wanted to know how branding could help their country, leadership and ultimately the people the government served. I covered the highlights at the press conference and encouraged everyone to attend the event later that night.
I will cover this topic of government branding and post my presentation in my next blog post.
Until then, here are a few more lessons from African trip. Missed my first one?
1) Always pack two power cables for your computer if your work depends on power.
1.5) Pack legal pads, so when you don’t have Internet service, you can still write.
2) Save your earplugs from the flight, so the cab horns don’t keep you up all night.
3) When visiting another country and doing an event with 500 people, pack a box of business cards 500+.
4) Pack at least a dozen energy bars, in case you are not loving the food.
5) Pack super light, international airport travel will not be so stressful.
6) Don’t wear anything scented – hair product, lotion, nothing. Mosquitoes love the stuff. You don’t want them sucking your blood and giving you a serious disease.
Part 1 of a 3 part series.
About one month ago I received a call from a Nigeria speakers bureau, inquiring about me addressing a journalists meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. He also mentioned, he had worked with one of my fellow branding peers Martin Lindstrom. Martin is a global branding expert too and author of Buyology and Brandsence, both excellent books. So I reached out to Martin to inquire about his experience. Martin explained, you will be safe, it will be a memorable experience. He was right on both accounts.
Several weeks went by and the meeting was not booked. Then one week before the event TO, my rep from the speaker bureau, phoned me back up. They want you, please get your Visa and passport in order and they want you to address branding in government.
So the hoop jumping starts. I was actually still in NY city at the time and my lame AT&T phone had no service, so most of my communication was via email. Even though Martin said I’d be safe, traveling to a country with a questionable reputation and that I’d never been to by myself was not an option. Sure, I wanted the opportunity to visit Nigeria, but I also wanted to contain my risk and American Express travel does not offer a travel escort service, but they do offer a companion ticket with the purchase of a business class ticket. So now my goal was who could I get to travel with me and provide some value beyond being my body guard. I called Litewavemedia. They are a local company that produced my speaker video. I contacted Christian, the owner and explained the situation. Christian was booked on a big commercial shoot, but said one of his colleagues would be happy to do it. His name was Andrew, a UT film grad and well rounded, light, sound and video guy. Perfect! The trip planning could begin. Having Andrew with me was one of the smarter investments I’ve made, ever! He not only is a great video dude (taped me speaking and other event highlights), but took lots of still shots and was by my side every minute. His dedication to his craft and my safety was priceless. Thank you Andrew!! In the picture below is Andrew to the right and Paul our guide to the left. Paul works in Imo State government office in investment development. The hospitality he showed us and his friendship were awesome.
Here are a portion of my top lessons from my African adventure. See next couple blogs for more.
1) When you get an opportunity to do business in a country that is new to you, get personal references and get paid upfront.
2) Knowing the time and travel preparation needed for an event of this magnitude, I will not commit to anything with less than 2 weeks advance notice, full payment and contracts signed. Even though I pulled this off, it was a lot crazier than it should have been, unless they are paying me $100,000, which they did not, never again am I doing an event like this with that kind of short notice. Immunization shots only take two weeks to get in your system.
3) Even though I am a seasoned traveler, I would not travel to Lagos by myself. PERIOD.
4) Tightly enforce contracts and terms and stick with them. I got lax on this and paid consequences that I should have prevented. Specifically — Only when all 100% of funds and contracts are received, will program prep start. I spent too much time chasing down money. There is a clause in my contract that states “Client must get all promo materials approved before printing” or the contract is void. The client published items not consistent with my brand, a very old photo of me and inaccurate bio info. Include in contract all extra requests like press conferences, timing and details. PLUS, specify that your traveling companion must be in the same building as you are and internet fees are covered by client.
5) Always carry an extra few copies of your bio for press conferences and at the event. My agent had provided this bio, intro to the organizing group, but 4 minutes before I was to go on stage the MC had nothing and was asking me for my intro through a screaming crowd of 500 people.
6)Don’t count on the same kind of technology when traveling to emerging countries. My phone did not work and my internet was a daily mess.
This shot is of Neta Nwosu who was the chairman of the event for the Brand Journalists of Nigeria.
She also is an editor with the top newspaper (DailySun) in Lagos.
See next blog posts for remainder of trip.
For more global branding adventures, view:
Making history in Saudi and 5 lessons from the experience.
Last week I was in an elegant, Italian restaurant in Jeddah, Saudi with my speaking colleague, Dr. Jim Balasco. Every inch of the place was opulent, sophisticated and refined. The food presentation was a master piece and the flavors were beyond my highest expectations.
Shortly after the food arrived, the waiter returned with a gigantic pepper mill. The largest one I’ve ever seen. It was very over the top, unexpected and fun. A small touch of hugeness, an element of solid magnitude and a story that I’ve shared with at least 20 people since that night.
Years ago, I first discovered a company that specializes in big stuff. And I’m happy to report they are still delivering big stuff and their offering has gotten much bigger.
There’s a lot to be said about big things. Remember Tom Hanks in the movie big, how could you forget it. It was a bit hit.
Big stuff some is more stick-to-your-memory than small items. Sometimes big reflects a persona of confidence, sometimes even a mammoth kind of goofiness, but it’s always a memorable image.
Is there anything you can pump up in size in your brand experience? Consider these applications to increase your big brand memory effect.
1) What about when you mail a prospect and it’s packaged in a very big way?
2) Or something that you display at a trade show booth that really stands out from all the boring exhibits?
3) Why not something big in your retail shop that people want to be photographed next to?
4) What about a PR photo visual that is really super-sized? Tie in a holiday and create something enormous and then break a Guninness world record too. Like Charlie Sheen has done. To date he has earned being the highest paid actor for a sitcom, attracted the most twitter followers in faster time and I suppose biggest pathetic guy.
For more on branding, view: Brand makeovers can add new life to a business.
In less than 9 hours, I will be on a new world stage presenting the concept of branding to over 300 Saudi executives and their team members. I’ll be addressing the changing market place, social media, storytelling and creating lasting customer experiences.
The production will be beyond grand. I suspect no expense has been spared, from an elaborate stage, to all white seating, lights and more. The behind the scenes team include translators, videographers, stage production crew and writers. Plus, a professional master of ceremonies will be on stage with me, while I’m speaking, to ensure nothing goes off course or off message. Today, all the speakers did run throughs, were interviewed and fully prepped on what to convey and what not to say.
All speakers were also asked to submit the three most important points from their presentation. Here are mine.
• Critical for success, competitors are doing it, if you don’t do it, you will be invisible.
• The brand result is a picture you earn in the market’s mind. Deliver the right picture with new mindset.
• Tell your story better, louder & with extreme consistently. Start from the inside out.
Am I nervous? That might not be the best descriptive word to fully state my emotions. I wish I had some Pepto-Bismol® right now.
Am I prepared and ready to do my very best? Absolutely!
More tomorrow after my talk. I have to go to bed early, rest and get fully energized. To follow my entire trip also check out the Oddpodz Grow your Business Blog as I chronicle other issues there.
Here are some of the awesome women from Entourage Marketing and Events who are producing the conference.
This week I was working in the Bahamas, The Atlantis, Cove Resort to be exact. I am so fortunate to do what I love, get compensated and be in place where the word paradise associated with a destination is an extreme understatement.
The experience was one of my best ever. The accommodations were incredible, service divine and even the beach cats were over the top gracious and welcoming. This beach cat parked next to me as I was chilling in the sand, sipping on a nice glass of wine, while writing this blog. Didn’t beg for anything, just hung out with me.
I addressed SITEglobal (Society of international travel executives). This conference was their foundation event where they mix fundraising, (which this even raised over $80,000 for research) education and power networking. SITE enables organizations to achieve optimum performance through inspirational experiences and productivity incentives.
My roll was the keynote speaker, as their event theme was “A Brand New Day”.
The incentive travel industry has been hit hard these past few years not only by the recession but, from the negative perceptions of high-profile industry bailouts and economic woes. And to make matters even rougher, the media reports about the increase in crime from pirates to drug cartels to terrorism have had a grueling impact on corporate incentive travel sector.
As I told them, no business is ever immune to these uncontrollable circumstances. However, when things get tough, the tough Brand-up! And that was my message.
The audience was a balance of independent destination companies, visitor and convention bureaus to multi-national travel and destination service brands. All faced challenges ranging from more demanding price-conscious buyers, learning and leveraging new technologies and social media, to how to best stand out in a competitive environment of many excellent choices.
Highlights from my program included:
- Branding is the art and science of being an offering of choice.
- This is accomplished by accumulating positive impression in the minds of your market.
- Anything (product, person, company, service, team, destination etc.) that competes is an opportunity to brand.
- As soon as you start doing business you have a brand.
- Marketing is the process. The brand is the end result.
- Strategic moves and smart tactical actions can make your brand more desirable.
- No risk. No brand.
- Requirements for successful brand.
-New mindset about selling, loyalty, social media and control
-Metaphors (in story, names and processes) are huge opportunities to differentiate
-Frequency in messaging (all touch points) is as important as the message
For a copy of the SITE BRAND-UP!! download here.
To listen to the song BRAND-UP! or share click below.
Have a question? Post it here or go to Oddpodz Linkedin group and post it there.
I want to personally thank Neal Shiller from International Speakers Bureau for bringing me this opportunity, Carol Girouard of Pinnacle meetings, events and incentives who was the education chair and all of the wonderful sponsors and members of SITE.
Over heard -
At the Sea bar in the Atlantis, Cove Resort
“Traveling with my family, I’ll have two shots of Patron”
At one of the evening dinners
“Bahamas hospitality is so genuine, every one smiles, they connect and look into your eyes and sincerely are grateful that you selected their beautiful island for your business or pleasure”
After my presentation
“My brand is a nightmare and your talk was a wake up call to changing that, thanks!”
And 3 take-ways that are priceless.
Nine years ago I met a fellow speaker, author and business authority on loyalty. I was attending my first National Speakers Association annual conference in Dallas, Texas. I was new to the speakers industry. I did not know a soul and sat next to Jill Griffin at general session luncheon. Who would of ever imagined that nine years later, she would be one of the most important and influential people in my life.
Lucky me? Serendipitous? Or strategic?
I’m sticking with the latter two. I’m not a believer in luck. People put themselves in situations. They make judgments about where to be, who to sit next to and who to talk to. These choices determine one’s outcome. And if you don’t buy this, you should revisit the word strategic. Strategic should be part of 95% of all your actions. Strategic is not a capitalist, greed-driven, manipulative move word, it’s about decisions with intent and focus. And it’s not just for business, it’s a life word.
That day in Dallas I was on a mission. And it was not to try a new kind of rubber chicken at a conference hotel. I was there to learn about the speaking business and meet people who could add to my life and help me reach my goals. If that sounds too hard-core, type A, or driven to you, I bet you have a room mate, a trust fund or bad credit. I didn’t and still don’t have any of those. And I had just plopped down 600 bucks for the conference, plus another $1000 for travel and that was 9 years ago when I was a very green, very cash poor, newbie speaker.
3 take-aways, nine years later.
1) Trade association conferences - Some truly suck and some will change your life.
It’s a numbers game and doing your homework is part of the drill and the cost. Every business owner and entrepreneur should invest in at least one. 2 to 3 day conference per year, that’s out of town and an environment of learning. Don’t go to get away from your stress, or your spouse, go to get some important stuff accomplished and be strategic.
2) Networking - It’s a necessary business skill and if you can’t do it, get someone who can.
Networking is not about being an obnoxious, pushy sales person. It’s about being a nice person, so other people want to learn more about you. It’s about being a good listener and being clear on what value you bring to others, and then its about connecting the dots—filtering, qualifying, following up, giving, helping and reaping some fruit.
3) Cheap jalapeños - Aren’t all jalapeños cheap?
Turns out part of why Jill and I have such a close bond is that we are both speakers, writers, consultants and Texas girls. Jill lives in Austin, one of my favorite places and I consider myself a forever Texan. I lived in Houston for 20 years and when I kick the bucket I hope to be buried in a Channel suit, wearing pearls and my black Ostrich cowboy boots. Cheap jalapeños is my metaphor for the bonus I got nine years ago. I had no idea my petite, new buddy would be so full of spunk, intense knowledge and be such an important ingredient in my life. Everyone should be so fortunate to meet someone like Jill. When I met Jill, she was a more experienced speaker, had already presented to global audiences and had a few best selling books under her belt. Nine years ago, shortly after we met, she took me under her wing, supported me through good and bad times, and guided me to write my first book and find a publisher. Throughout the years, Jill has been my number 1 sounding board, giving me honest advice on all kinds of things. We’ve gone to comedy school together, supported the fashion industry on all levels and both love Mexican food.
Everyone entrepreneur needs confidants and mentors, but when you find a trusted peer and someone who understands your world, works in your industry and you build a close friendship too, that is priceless.
Jill and I are spending the next few days together to mastermind, collaborate and connect more dots as we both take our careers to the next level this year. We’ll keep you posted.
The main goal of any kind of marketing is to attract and retain a growing base of satisfied customers. In order to accomplish this for a tradeshow, you need to create and implement a marketing plan that fits the needs of your company while catering to a trade show clientele. Here are some tips to help you market and promote your next tradeshow event like a pro:
Advanced promotion builds early support.
Remember to include all necessary “who, what, where, why, when” info on all marketing material. Also, be sure to include your booth number.
- Provide tradeshow information on your website and/or blog
- Send a printed or E-newsletter to current clients
- Keep small fliers and business cards on hand to give to people you meet
- Use social media marketing tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to spread the word
- Write your own press release and email to media outlets in the location of the tradeshow
Fun and memorable incentives go a long way.
Promote your tradeshow event with a prize drawing or some sort of contest. The prizes don’t have to be expensive, but they should be “on brand” and align with your company’s offering and brand persona. They can be practical merchandise like a re-usable grocery bags, nap sacks sporting your company logo, with an assortment of goodies (vinyl decals, pens, and mugs) in it.
Readability and functionality draw the crowd.
Making it easy for booth visitors to get information is important. Tradeshow booth displays should be professional and efficient when conveying your messaging. Booth graphics should reflect bold, simple and easy to read messages.
- Your headline is the introduction to your tradeshow booth. Creating a simple and catchy headline is the first step to luring clients. A short headline will allow for a larger size font enabling messaging to reach far into the crowd. Full color headlines can easily be printed on vinyl hanging banners and displayed using banner stands or other display systems.
- Choosing the right typeface is also important. If possible, choose the same typeface as the rest of your marketing material and stick to that one typeface throughout your booth (for overall consistency).
- Provide information at a glance using portable signs. That way potential customers can learn about your products/services, prices, and other information even if you are helping someone else.
Promotional literature is good on the go.
It’s better to have too much promotional material than not enough. People will want to take these materials home to review later and to share with others. Some essential promo materials include brochures, fliers, business cards, price sheets and order forms. In addition, having press kits available can make promoting your business easy for the media.
People like to be remembered and thanked.
Follow up promptly. Make sure to update your mailing list with all your new contacts. Then, follow up on all these contacts and leads as soon as possible. A quick follow up could put your company name ahead of the rest. And, don’t forget to thank any press writers who published information about your company.