Secrets to a Successful Home Show
Gather around, because we don’t want to say this so loud your competitors can hear the scoop. There’s a secret to any marketing venture, and it goes like this: plan ahead. And that’s how you begin your home show participation.
Establish your goals. This is a lot more than time and place, clearly, but gets to the very reason you are signing up. Why are you participating in the home show? What do you want to accomplish? In other words, set clear goals that can be measured. What do you want to have in your possession when the day is over? Appointments for free estimates? A list of names for your mailing list? New contacts in your network of contractors with whom you can share business? Next…
Decide your budget. Home shows come with direct expenses, as well as unexpected expenses. Be prepared for both. Set aside enough to do what you want to do and to represent your company well. You don’t have to have all the bells and whistles of the latest technology in your display, but this is your brand out in the public eye. Make sure you’re offering a presence consistent with your professionalism and integrity. Especially for contractors, since your customers may never see your actual shop, this is your chance to display more than a truck in the driveway.
Plan your participation. Once you know what you’re after, make your plan. Besides the physical structure and design of your booth, the materials you have available and the message you want to share, you also have to know who will be at your booth and how you train them to interact with prospects. This isn’t a social situation; don’t count on your charm, but plan your conversations with potential customers. Remember, too, in your booth design and in your interaction, focus on the customer – what are their problems that you can solve.
Promote. Let your customers and prospects know you’ll be at the show – through a postcard in advance of the show, for example, and certainly on Social Media. Make Social Media updates (with images) throughout the day.
Keep your focus. The best bet is to pursue quality over quantity. Ten solid appointments are better than 1,000 names of uninterested parties who just wanted your freebie. And the math goes from there. Also, be aware that home shows can be a time of competitive intelligence for both you and your competitors. They’ll take a look at you as you take a look at them. Look, listen and learn.
Get attention. How will you entice people to stop at your booth? Consider the specials you will offer – and create a sense of urgency so they’ll sign up then and there. For example, offer a service appointment at a $20 discount if they’ll schedule on the spot. You may also wish to create a contest. Offering a free inspection is a good way to get names for your mailing list.
Be an expert. Offer something of value that demonstrates your expertise – such as a report on energy efficiency or home safety tips. Perhaps provide a flyer on the ten home improvements that are most likely to get a return on investment.
Follow-up – Don’t dare waste the effort and expense of your home show by letting your leads lapse into the busy-ness of your return to the office. Follow-up with anyone who had questions. Send thank you notes. Confirm appointments that you scheduled. Also, do a post-show promotion by sharing content in your blog and Social Media about the show.