Welcome to the new age of retail, where it’s about more than just selling “stuff.” In this new age you will meet retail buyers in your booth at ASD Market Week, but that’s just the beginning. It’s what you do afterward and in between shows that cements the relationship. To help, create a “How to Keep Customers Close” post-show checklist that includes the following:

1. Create Top of Mind Awareness

It’s a noisy world out there. The average person is exposed to over 5,000 advertising messages each day, so whatever you send to your customers has to hit a nerve to stick. Your messages, ads, social media posts, and offers must be sent on a consistent basis so that customers come to expect them.

Building top of the mind awareness from your audience is no easy task…but it’s possible. When your brand comes to mind when a buyer thinks about a particular category of goods presents an opportunity to retain customer relationships. It takes work to do this. As many as seven exposures are necessary for you to be noticed, so about the time you think you’ll go crazy trying to engage customers, that’s when you’ll start to connect. Top of the mind awareness uses repetition and recognition to deliver greater value.

2. Build the Relationship

An order and a handshake are not always enough to build a long-term bond with a buyer. They’re busy running stores and may not remember your name once it’s time to restock your product, so keep in touch during and after a trade show like ASD Market Week. See some tips below.

  • Hold a contest during ASD Market Week and make the prize a good one. Add a sign that’s large enough for buyers walking the show floor to see, and place it next to a fish bowl to collect business cards. Let entrants know that the winner will be notified by email. This is a great way to begin the relationship.
  • After you leave a show like ASD, you will have a long list of leads. Not all of them participated in your contest, but you can still send an email to everyone that highlights the contest you held and says something like, "You didn’t take home the prize at ASD Market Week, but here’s a winning offer just for you!” Add photos of product and special show pricing you are extending through the next week. Use FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to your advantage by adding an expiration date.
  • Keep in touch with buyers in between trade shows with email blasts that feature photos from your booth and highlights product. You can include tips for in-store display, items to cross merchandise your product with, talking points for selling your product, and more.
  • Before your next show (we recommend 10 days out), send an email blast incentive that includes a coupon or offer of free swag to customers who stop by your booth. Don't forget to put your booth number!

3. Embrace Social Media Marketing

Social media provides you with an opportunity to interact with retailers on a daily basis. Make sure to put these social media to-do's on your list.

  • Make your booth a selfie station. During the show, try a sign on a stick or a simple cardboard frame that reads "Having fun at ASD with [name of your company]!" and add appropriate hashtags like #ASDShow for a larger reach. 
  • Give people a reason to engage with you. Exclusive offers found only on your Facebook page will keep customers engaged and encourage them to follow you and choose your company to buy from, whether it's in between shows or during a show. Pro tip: Post a weekly special on a specific day and you will train followers to look forward to visiting your page that day.
  • Increase your reach with hashtags. If you're not sure which hashtags to use to promote your product, search "Best hashtags for ___" and test some out. Of course, this is in addition to the hashtags you would normally use such as #NameOfYourBusiness or #ASDShow.

4. Use Video

Facebook has more than 2 billion daily active users, plus Facebook users are two times more likely to buy from you. Facebook Live broadcasts also have six times the interaction than other videos. Video is big right now and it’s only getting bigger. Video is the easiest way to explain a new product or concept and it reaches customers more directly than blogs or podcasts alone. With this knowledge, consider a weekly Facebook Live promoting your products. On the show floor at ASD is the perfect place to start the conversation and test out a Facebook Live video, both promoting your product and directing people to your booth. 

5. Go Old School with Handwritten Notes

People still love a personalized, handwritten note - especially in business. Stand out by sending a personalized note or post card to buyers. You can send one before a trade show about 10 days early. After the show, it's always a good idea to send a thank you note to your top customers. 

It's not a bad idea to send a note to potential customers as well. Remember those business cards you collected in the contest mentioned earlier? They will come in handy here. You can send them a thank you note for participating in the contest, and keep in touch until you can make the sale. Check out Impact 8™ for more on this.

To be successful, you must do more than just sell product. You should look to build relationships with buyers, create positive word-of-mouth, utilize marketing tools, and create unique experiences when you exhibit at trade shows like ASD Market Week. Keeping customers close takes planning and consistency, but it will be well worth your time.

Guest post contributed by Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are speakers, consultants, authors, and store makeover specialists who have helped thousands of businesses in the retail, restaurant, hospitality, travel, funeral profession, and service industries since 1990. 

Select images courtesy of pexels.com