With a list a mile long, you may be cringing as you read this and think, “Seriously Carolyn?! You want me to add ANOTHER thing to my to do list?!”
The answer is yes, I do. #SorryNotSorry
With all the time and money invested in your trade show you not only want to get the word out that you’ll be exhibiting but you also want to get people excited to come visit your booth! While leaving it up to chance and hoping qualified buyers will wander past and possibly pop in, why not take the extra step and invite buyers to visit you at your booth and check out all of the awesomeness you are offering?!
Pre-show mailers help to spread the word about your products, your biz and where to find you at the show. Most buyers will arrive at the show with a list of booths that are an absolute must visit. Wouldn't it be nice to be a part of that list?
In a nutshell, Trade show mailers:
Help you develop connections with buyers, retailers, and members of the media. Whether you’re targeting a new buyer or staying connected with your current accounts mailers make your buyers + retailers aware that you’re attending a specific show. Interested in gaining more exposure in the press? Feel free to add members of the media and magazine editors to your list.
Make it easy for your buyers to find you. These shows can be quite big so you want to make it as easy for your buyers as possibly by pointing them in the right direction.
Highlight your brand and get your peeps excited to see what you’re bringing with you. The key to a great mailer is creating something unique and on-brand.
Your mailer should ALWAYS include:
Your company name
A note inviting them to the booth
Your Social profiles
Your Booth number
Some added extras you may consider including:
Details about your show special (read more about trade show specials here)
A handwritten note (a great personal touch!)
A tangible takeaway (I’ve seen everything from tea towels to koozies)
How to build your mailer list:
As a creative, the fun part of creating a trade show mailer is going to be the design process. The not so fun part? Figuring out who exactly will be on the receiving end. While it’s important to invite current customers to the show a big reason behind doing the show is to add new customers to your list. So, how do you invite new stores to your booth that you’ve never met before? You’ve got to curate a brand new list.
Start with your Trade Show:
Chances are, your show offers a list for purchase that includes the names of attendees. By purchasing this list you’ve just saved yourself a ton of time because you’ve got names and addresses of qualified leads at your fingertips!
If there is no list available:
Start googling my friend. Set up a spreadsheet with the store name, buyer’s names, addresses + all other important info. As you find stores and names of buyers you want to invite add them to the list. You’ll be surprised how quickly this list grows.
It can be overwhelming typing “gift shop” + “city/state” because there are so many options out there! I recommend starting small by visiting a store that’s within driving distance you feel would be a great home for your products. When you visit the store, make note of the other brands they are carrying on their sales floor. Do these other brands compliment your product assortment or are they direct competition? Make a list of the different companies you see. Chances are, if this smaller gift shop is carrying said brand, that brand will likely also be carried by similar stores throughout the country because they share a similar customer.
When you get home, start searching the brands from your list. In many instances, these brands will have a “where to buy” or “find in store” tab on their website. You’ll instantly see all the other stores this brand is carried by. Now you’ve got yourself a starting point with a list of stores that may cater to a similar clientele.
Use this new list as a starting point and do your research. Start researching the other stores to see if they’d be a good option for you too. If they make the cut add them to your master spreadsheet. Keep in mind that not every store that carries the competition is going to be a great fit for you so it’s important to dedicate the time to doing some extra digging. While this process is very time intensive it’s worth it to get on the radar of the best buyers for your products!
While sending a mailer is not a necessity for success, it sure helps boost the odds that you’ll have a strong presence. Need some inspiration for your next mailer? Simply Google “trade show mailers” and you’ll see everything from a simple postcard to an elaborate invitation complete with calligraphy.