Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 30

March 30 - Participate in trade shows that are RELEVANT for your platform. Book fairs aren't the only game in town for authors, but there are some very important rules to follow. It can be expensive, time consuming, intimidating, and ultimately, disappointing if you don't choose wisely and plan ahead.
  1. The Biggie: Select shows that have a relevant audience -- your reader is not just a book buyer. Think TOPIC and INTERESTS. Just because 20,000 random and diverse people are going to a book fair in Miami doesn't mean they are your buyer. It also doesn't mean you'll be exposed to 20,000 sets of eyes. Sometimes a smaller show is better. WARNING! There's math involved. Two of you are in your booth for a two-day show, and say it takes nine minutes on average to present your spiel to a guest in your booth. You are only actually talking to 213 people if both of you are talking every single minute of the show! That's
          16 hours x 60 minutes x 2 booth staffers
                 Your average presentation time
  2. Participate outside of the exhibit floor in any available and affordable way. Try to be helpful to the organizer (and be nice to them), buy an ad or sponsor something if you can. 
  3. Budget wisely. Be realistic. Read the show information and know what costs money. Don't sabotage yourself with rush fees or other fines by not reading the show rules and missing deadlines.
  4. Set measurable goals and objectives; develop your strategy; be flexible. Trade shows are where trends are discovered, news is revealed and major things happen. Be prepared for that.
  5. At the show, STAND UP in your booth. Engage the people that pass by your booth. Give something away. Talk to the guests in your booth. (No chairs are ever allowed in CMI booths!)
  6. Have a professional-looking booth, without clutter.
  7. Create talking points, practice them, and use them at the show...same spiel guest after guest.
  8. Collect leads. Write down all information because you will not remember it later.
  9. Follow up on leads. Plan your follow up before you even leave for the show. Over 80% of trade show leads are shamefully never followed up.  
  10. Debrief right after the show. Measure your return on your investment at intervals three, six, nine and twelve months. It's tempting to do it right when you get home; but the real measure is four to six months later or more. Look for lifetime value of a customer gained at show.
Summary: Participate in trade shows that are relevant to your topic. Plan. Budget. Participate. Follow up. Measure.

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