One of the most effective and affordable methods of marketing our small business owner clients use to spread awareness of their new companies is setting up a vendor table at a local event. While it doesn’t necessarily fit into the category of “digital marketing” we do love helping clients in any way possible, so ideas of events to attend and designs for tables often come up in consultations as a recommended activity for our clients. Over the years, we’ve taken note of the following elements that are key to any successful event vendor table.
Who doesn’t love free stuff?! Nobody. If you’re in the food/beverage industry and you better be slinging delicious samples of your tasty treats. If you run a professional service business, give away a service to one lucky winner who stops by your booth. In the consulting business? Set aside some time to provide mini-consultations that are reserved ahead of time or give away a certificate to be used later towards a consult. Are you in retail or have a product to share? Share it! Give, give and give some more.
If you aren’t using your vendor table as an opportunity to connect long-term with folks, you are missing the point! Setting up a vendor table shouldn’t be a one and done kind of experience. You’re there to build relationships and if you don’t stay in touch and nurture said relationship, you’re going to regret your time spent at these events. Make a pretty little sign and be sure to tell everyone who stops by your table that you’ve got a blog, email list, etc., for them to keep apprised of all the rad stuff you’re doing.
Your branding better be on point if you’re going to spend your valuable time at an event. Messaging, tone, colors, typography, overall style. It all matters! Do you have plenty of business cards and brochures that all match? Branded table covers, canopies and pop up banners are highly recommended! Invest in the tools that will make your business shine in the most professional, interesting way. Need a brand audit or another set of eyes on your marketing materials prior to attending an event to make sure they are ready to go? Request the help you need here.
All these lovely humans who are going to stop by your table deserve a treat. So how will you woo them? A special coupon code to use on your e-commerce site? Discounted tickets to your upcoming event or workshop? A chance to win one of your amazing products or even a stunning gift basket full of products? Give ’em something to show your genuine appreciation of their time and energy to show up wherever you’re posted up that day.
This one gets me fired up, my friends. There’s absolutely nothing more damaging to your business’ reputation than a negative first impression in a one-on-one customer interaction. Now, that being said, there’s a fine line between standoff-ish and laying it on too thick, so toe the line for sure. Whatever you do, make sure that you or whoever is representing your business can speak confidently, listen actively and share the love for your product/service/nonprofit with a heart-centered conversation.
Need a stellar example to follow?
Troopster Military Care Packages rules when it comes to vendor tables (and many other ways, quite honestly)! Founder of Troopster, Chelsea Mandello, understands the value in projecting her brand in the strongest, most professional approach and it pays off. Literally! Her usage of a branded table cover, brochures, iPad display of her website, an example of a donation care package and delightful personality (of her and her volunteers) showcase the Troopster brand in a manner that sets them apart from the competition by about 100 miles.
Get out there, connect with your audience in real-life and see what happens!
Let us know if you have any other helpful tips or tricks for running a successful vendor table. If you want help making sure your vendor table is looking sharp (or have any other marketing Q’s to throw at us), reach out below!