The Spirit of Christmas fair by House & Garden is a great place for start-ups from all over the UK to reach a wider market, from creating jewellery in their garden in Devon to the bright lights of Olympia.
It’s a lot of work, but is it all worth it? I spoke to a number of exhibitors who were showcasing their wares for the first time and some businesses were only a year old but had some fantastic products. What seemed to be a recurrent theme was that the fair was great at meeting and getting up close to a huge market of potential customers but they struggled to truly capitalise on the opportunities presented because they were so focused on getting the products ready and prepping the stand. It just proves how hard it is to be a product designer, ecommerce manager, social media guru and marketing specialist at the same time as setting up your business. It’s so important to plan your marketing and communications around campaigns, such as a trade fair or show.
These shows usually have brochures and links on their site which you can ensure you can stand out in, if you have a blurb about the business usually you can use this in a number of spaces. So if you haven’t, get writing one that is short, succinct and truly tells someone about your business and captivates them to read more. Maximise social media opps at the event by tweeting and uploading images to Instagram (or if you need to focus on selling, get someone to do this for you), make sure you are following the bigger companies/sponsor and use their hashtag or handle to reach a wider audience. Also try to get a chance to grab a coffee and look round the other stalls, chat to other sellers it’s a great way to network and get some ideas and tips.
Everyone that comes to your stand get their email address or contact details so that after the show you can follow-up with a little thank you message or discount off their first order and link to your site. These little tips are just a start, there is lots you can do but even if you can only do a little it will go a long way, just put the effort into a plan that way you just have to tick off your to do list at the busy time. We'll see you at the Ideal Home Show!