ExpoWest is the most overwhelming natural food show on the PLANET and it’s also the most fun! As an exhibitor, it’s your opportunity to shine, interact and make deals! It’s also a time for you to get exposure about your products to the general public. If Natural Food Inclined Mom in San Diego sees your product on a blog post or social media and wants it, she’s going to look for it at her local grocery story OR ask her local grocery stores to carry it. ExpoWest is a HUGE opportunity to meet influencers that have reach across the country, so this is your chance to create your own demand. But how do you talk to bloggers and buyers at the same time? Here’s a quick hit list on how to maximize your marketing efforts without going bonkers at the show.
If you aren’t reaching out to bloggers and influencers right now to create a buzz about your products, you’re already tardy to the party. People will be setting their appointments up soon, and you want to be on their list. Get yourself TAGGED with the appropriate hashtags, and GET EXPOSURE NOW. Find influencers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook by doing a search on #ExpoWest or #ExpoWest2018 – Who was out there beating the pots and pans for brands in the past? Is there new excitement? Also, ASK if influencers have a WEBSITE. Many Influencers do NOT, and only run their show on Instagram and other social media platforms. It’s won’t necessarily be evident from their badge, so it’s OK to ask!
Instagram is GREAT for short term bursts of exposure, especially leading up to an event. However, blog posts are often ranked on Google, are searchable and have staying power. Choose a combination of exposure if possible. Some bloggers will charge a fee based on their reach and social following. Email the influencer and ask for their Media Sheet, or pitch an idea. What do you have to lose? NADA. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive!
So your space is set up, you’re loaded with order sheets, samples, pencils and swag. You start to look at show badges as people approach you – ahhh, an INFLUENCER! DEER IN HEADLIGHTS.
Do you A.) take 30 minutes to discuss your product at the possible expense of missing out on a buyer or B.) have a succinct verbal summary of your awesome product & info as to where someone may find the product? EXPO Influencers are passionate about Natural Foods and they want to HELP YOU. We are not there to get in your way.
SUGGESTION: Have separately packaged Blogger samples ready to go with your contact information. Ask for a business card and scan their EXPO badge and say you’ll have your Media Person follow up. Most influencers will want to take pictures of you, your set-up and your products. LET THEM! Unless you have a top-secret product you want to be kept quiet (ha ha, good luck with that) then let the CAMERAS GO CRAZY!
About That Swag
Bloggers and Social Media Influencers LOVE SWAG. Tidy swag is even more appealing. I love it when I get a little variety bag of samples with a product info sheet. It has everything I need to review later. If you don’t have product samples, you can make arrangements to send out after the show – OR DO IT EARLY (Ahem, see above).
HEAVY Swag – Someone handed me a six-pack of cans once. I love you, man, but I need to walk this whole show floor still and I am just one woman. Again, business card & scan the tag, and you can make arrangements to get your product to selected influencers (of your choosing) after the show. Or, if you are looking to unload heavy product near the end of the show, make an arrangement that works for you on the last day. The event DOES limit how much Attendees can carry out, so really its only so much anyway! The excess is donated to a local food bank, which is AWESOME.
The After Party
Follow up, don’t ghost me. You’re going to have a GREAT show and then you’re going to collapse into a puddle of exhaustion for about three months. We get that. However, don’t LOSE YOUR MOMENTUM. Follow up with Bloggers and Influencers and make a gameplan to get your brand and products out there!
NOW THE TEA FOR INFLUENCERS
Hey, girl, hey…….. (or boy….I see you) I’m guessing you read the above and are probably shaking your head, YASSS!! If you have other ideas as to best work with busy show exhibitors, please post them below. I know you’re also shopping for shoes that are comfy as possible. Or, trying to see if you can bring your own personal pack pony to carry samples.
Now, it’s time for my litle rant as this is something that has chapped my hide for the past few years. Bloggers – If you have an allergy or food preference and a vendor pitches you something that you are not interested in, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be polite! I’ve seen some nasty comments on Twitter and outright rudeness at the show. NO, I don’t EAT SUGAR! Or, OMG – NO! It has SOY. Take a deep breath, even if you’re being presented with what you consider the devil’s spawn, graciously say, “No, thanks – it’s not a fit for my brand, but I’m sure it will be a hit with the many other influencers.” This goes for SOCIAL MEDIA TOO. Please don’t flame a Brand or Product! Many of these companies are small and we need to build up the natural foods industry, not tear it down. If you don’t like it, move on – it’s a big show. Ok, Miss Manners Rant Over.
Now for the basics: Drink water, wear comfortable shoes, and do back exercises before the event because your back will feel like absolute SHIT after day one. However, the adrenaline rush and all those little caffeinated or vitamin B sample drinks will keep you going. Also, sampling a ton of food may make you feel a tad ill. Consider bringing an antacid or just do what the wine snobs do. Taste and spit into a napkin (discretely). And, yes have a glass of wine at the end of the day if you’re so inclined. You will deserve it!
Me after WAY TOO MANY energy drink samples. See you on the flippity flop! – BoredMom / Meg