Sandy Betgur: Tips for Using Trade Shows in Your Marketing Plan

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of Sandy Betgur, author of God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter

Being an exhibitor at a trade show, convention, seminar, or similar large gathering of your target audience can be an important component of your marketing plan. Here are some things I’ve discovered:

Value of Trade Show

Sandy Betgur is the author of “God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter.” Learn more at Gods-Song.com.

Unless you are a keynote speaker, you will probably not sell enough books to recover costs of exhibiting at an event. However, there are other inherent values:

* Publicity – You can publicize on your social media sites that you are exhibiting. Additionally, the trade show may promote your attendance on their website, in daily show newsletters, etc. After the event you can write a follow-up blog.

* Exposure – You reap the benefit of other exhibitors’ efforts to drive traffic to the event. Your limited circle of influence is expanded to include these exhibitors’ customers.

* Networking – You may meet industry professionals you had only known by name or reputation. Don’t underestimate the value of face-time. People know people who know people. This is your opportunity to make a memorable impression.

* Contacts – Although you may not sell books at the show, remember your goal is to gather contact information that could lead to future sales.

Strategy

Betgur cover* Get your business card or brochure into attendees’ hands. Don’t tie up your time by engaging in long conversations. They have a lot to see, and you have a lot of people to meet. Have them sign up for something like an online newsletter or facebook so you can follow-up after the show. Consider having them enter a daily drawing by filling out a contact form.

* Offer a simple give-away so that as attendees walk down the aisle you can invite them to your table. If people aren’t specifically looking for you, they will likely just walk on by without stopping to inquire about your product.

* Make your table inviting. Many exhibitors display a candy bowl. Offer more. If there is space, provide an extra chair for weary legs to sit. Leave space on the aisle side of your table for weary arms to place their bags while chatting. Provide a handy hand sanitizer, box of tissues, cup with pens or other necessities.

* Make your space beautiful. Fresh flowers, uncluttered signage, artistically arranged display, and something unique. Give attendees a reason to comment on your booth.

* Get noticed. Provide a Wow-Factor that compels them to stop for a moment. You are responsible for getting their attention. Some exhibitors bring in a personality (celebrity, magician, costumed character) or play soft music or project a fast-moving video. Some dress themselves in historical costumes, outrageous fashion, or stunning jewelry. Be willing to “put yourself out there” to catch people’s eye so you can then engage them in conversation.

* Call people by name. Get in the habit of noticing name tags. When you add the personal touch of repeating their name, they are more likely to look at your name tag and possibly remember you. So make sure your badge hasn’t flipped to a blank side. I wear a designer-jeweled name badge in addition to the convention supplied one (plus it is one more “something” they can comment on to begin conversation.)

As an attendee, what would draw your attention to an unknown exhibitor? As an exhibitor, what strategies do you use? 

Sandy Betgur’s “God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter,” was originally published as Psalm Poems by Thomas M. Seller, but that edition is now out of print.  After acquiring the late Mr. Seller’s copyright, Begur added devotional responses to these psalms and brought it back to the marketplace. Learn more at www.gods-song.com


Rebecca Halton: One Thing Better Than Success

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Rebecca Halton, author “Words from the Other Woman.”

As I wrote Words from the Other Woman in 2010, my mind filled with excited ideas of celebrity authordom.  I was convinced God was “in it,” so I thought success was imminent.  I believed it would be as effortless as success seemed for other authors.

How little did I know—and how much I had to learn!  Since my book’s release in 2011, I’ve realized my metrics for Haltonsuccess were rooted in worldly measurements.  And I’ve since learned that being an “overnight success” would have ruined me.

Imagine for a second that you haven’t gone running in … well, maybe ever.  Now imagine waking up tomorrow—less than twenty-four hours from now—and having to run a marathon (26.2 miles).

First of all, your body wouldn’t be conditioned for that kind of race.  You’d likely (and painfully) injure yourself.  And you’d probably resent your coach.  I thought I could handle the success that I wanted for my book; thankfully, God, my coach knew better.

Three years later, I’m more capable of handling longer distances.  But that didn’t happen overnight.  I also hadn’t yet proven worthy of certain opportunities.  We are entrusted with chances to impact people’s lives—we are not entitled to them!

Woman CoverThere’s one other reason I wouldn’t trade the past three years for fifteen minutes of fame: people like Rachel.  A couple years ago, I hosted a meet-and-greet at a local bookstore.  I was excited and exact in my planning—and expecting a great turnout.

Hardly anyone showed: not including my mom, and curious bookstore patrons.  But Rachel showed up—with a plate of homemade cookies and a big batch of belief in me.  And she wasn’t any less proud of me because there wasn’t a line out the door.

There was no way either of us could have guessed that a couple of years later, it would be my turn to come to her side.  Even as she lay in the hospital, she couldn’t have been prouder or more encouraging of my writing, of my calling—of me.

And I couldn’t be more grateful, for what she will continue to mean to me.  My dear friend did pass away, but my memory of that day in the bookstore endures.  Because it reminds me of the one thing that will always be better than success:

 

Love.

 

 

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space


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