By Sophie Barrington
Founder, Archer Creative
Are you attending a horse show or considering how event marketing will work for your horse business?
In this blog post, I share 10 unmissable ways to increase your sales at horse shows.
To listen to the original podcast version, featured on Horse Chats Show, click here.
3 Things to Do Before the Show
1. Pick the right event for your equine business.
It should come as no surprise I start here. In today’s economy, advertising dollars are precious and no equine business should waste money at an event that isn’t the right fit.
Choosing the right event depends on several factors, including your type of business and its location, your budget and your target market.
For example, a local retailer who sells direct to the public in their area may find a local horse show most beneficial, whereas a larger company with a national customer base may choose to attend an event that draws an audience from around the country. Selecting an event based on a specific discipline is another common example.
2. Determine your goals for the event.
The cornerstone of marketing: begin with your end goal in mind. After all, you can’t measure your success if you have no idea what you’re aiming to achieve.
Ideally, focus on one or two core goals. Local horse shows may only run for a day and our largest trade show in Australia is only four days. That’s not much time to reach your goals. Not only does the time go faster than you think it will, but your customers may be side-tracked by the events at the show, visiting other retailers and, of course, shopping!
One of the most important goals is to create a positive experience at your booth that your customers want to share with their friends. Think about how you can make your booth stand out and encourage easy social sharing. Think about how you can interest potential customers and reward existing customers. Dare to be different.
3. Build the buzz before the event takes place.
Without forward planning, events that are months away, can suddenly surprise you. Before you know it, you only have days left to plan your approach. Not good!
Promoting your attendance or sponsorship of an event should begin at least one month out, if not three to six months. Ultimately, it will depend on your goals for the event and your level of financial investment. No one wants to spend thousands of dollars and find themselves with not much to show for it when the event is over.
Use all the channels available to you to create excitement. A quick recap – owned, earned, paid, search and social. Your website and social media pages are tools you can use to share your fun updates. But don’t forget about more traditional forms of advertising too if you want to reach a wide audience.
3 Things to Do At the Show
1. Make sure you get what you paid for.
Event organisers have a duty to take care of the equine businesses that support them. If you’ve paid for a sponsorship package with promotional opportunities included, stay in contact with the marketing team and make sure they deliver on what they’ve promised.
2. Ensure your staff and volunteers feel confident and cared for.
Horse shows are long days, and both staff and volunteers at your booth shouldn’t be taken for granted. Only with their help can you achieve success. Before and at the event, give them adequate training, so they can keep your customers happy.
3. Stick to your goals.
Remember all the planning you did before the event? Well, now it’s time to kick it into gear. Be approachable by standing at your booth instead of sitting, smile and acknowledge passers by, and invite people in to take part in your planned activities. Do not sit passively behind your table and spend time on your phone. You’ve got time to do that after the show is over. Use the time you have wisely. Every impression counts!
3 Things to Do After the Show
1. Follow up with your new connections.
The best marketing is designed to connect, not coerce. Events give you a wonderful opportunity to meet your customers, talk to them about their lives and collect their contact details. Make it a priority to follow up and keep those connections strong.
2. Showcase the experience at your booth.
Did you hand out free samples? Did you have a guest speaker? Did you run a competition or giveaway? Events hold massive opportunities to create fun and interactive content, like videos. Share this content with your audience to amplify the success you achieved at the show itself.
3. Say thank you.
These two little words mean so much. Thank your staff, your volunteers, your customers, those who participated in your activities and those whose tireless efforts made the event possible. The horse world would be much better for it if we all said thank you.
The #1 Thing You Must Do
But, above all, as much as you want it to be, your attendance or sponsorship at any horse show isn’t about you, it’s about your customer.
While short-terms sales are good, long-term customer loyalty is better. How can you place your customers at the centre of the show?
Those equine businesses who gain the most from events, don’t just focus on those one or two crucial days, but in creating a reason for customers to keep coming back.
Looking for some outside support? Don’t wait for success, create it — with the experts in equine marketing, Archer Creative. To learn more about how we can help you exceed your growth goals in 2018, call us on 1300 077 126 or visit www.archercreative.net.au.