Here's a quick story that points out how easy it is to waste your time when you are marketing. I met an interior designer earlier this week who is busting her butt to get ready for a weekend “Decorator Show” at a large convention center. You can just about imagine how much work it would be to entirely recreate a top-notch living room in a small space on the floor of a convention center. Lugging boxes of accessories and large furniture pieces would be no fun to me!
So I'm talking to this designer and I got curious why she decided, after 15 years in business, to do this big show. “I don't know,” she said. “I've never tried one and it seemed like maybe the thing to do.” My ears perked up. “Do you have a goal for this show,” I asked? The designer hadn't thought about any particular goal, and then said “my head explodes when I have to think about marketing.”
Well, my head explodes when I think about a self-employed business owner spending probably $3000 to do a show who doesn't REALLY know why she's doing it. And more to the point, has no plan in place to follow-up or ask those she meets to go to her website or attend any follow-on event. While she did plan to “collect names and email addresses” she had nothing planned to encourage booth visitors to leave her their contact information and no ideas about what to do with the names she did collect.
Bluntly put, you waste your time and money when you market without knowing what you want to gain from a particular effort and without having a plan in place to lead your prospects to the next step in getting to know you. To maximize the time and effort this women is spending to do a 3-day show, she could:
- Give her card to each visitor after adding a special sticker to the back pointing them to a special web page where they could download a gift – the newest color palettes for fall, for instance.
- Give each visitor a ticket to an upcoming event in a week or so where she will give doorprizes, offer useful decorating information, and make a special offer to the attendees.
- Give out a DVD with a gallery of pictures showing rooms she's done, with an offer at the end of the DVD for a discounted consultation.
These are just three ideas – there are literally hundreds. The point is, plan your follow-up when you plan your marketing effort. Especially in the case of vendor shows – research shows that 80% of the names taken in at vendor booths are never once followed up on. Amazing, huh?
Don't waste your precious time marketing without a follow-on plan. Think about where you are leading the person, and what you want them to do next. You'll be a much more confident marketer.