Although Strength In Words has had an online presence for some time (the podcast, blog, and other educational offerings for parents/caregivers and educators of young children), it's only recently that my family has settled into a new community and I've been ready to start marketing my private practice as a speech-language pathologist again.
To hit the ground running, I looked into local resources for families in the area. I soon realized that there were a few great health, wellness and birth/family fairs that would be coming up. Since I don't have much of a budget, I chose the one that was most local and that was most targeted to my ideal client base.
Since I work primarily with infants and toddlers and their families, I chose to pay for an exhibitor table at a birth and family fair in my immediate area. I'd never done anything like this before, but I'd read lots of posts in my professional Facebook group from others who had some great ideas about how they set up their table and lured people in. After a long day of speaking to people, my voice was shot, I was exhausted, but I felt exhilarated and proud!
Here are my top 10 recommendations I have for others planning to market themselves at a health or wellness fair!
1. Practice your "spiel" - what you offer, what you do, who you are, why you're special, what your philosophy is - pack that into a 30 second, powerful punch to bring people in and hold their attention. Write it down and then practice giving it beforehand (to your partner, your dog, your houseplant, your neighbor...) and then remember that, like anything else, it's likely to change and you'll need to improvise how you approach someone depending on the needs of the moment! If you have a general sense of what you're going to say, and you can practice "sounding natural," then you're good to go.
2. Create brand fluidity - do you have a logo? What colors does it use? Implement those colors and fonts all over your display table, within all your handouts or flyers, on your business cards, and even the clothes that you're wearing that day! This is your business, and your "brand" identity!
3. Use strong visuals - include a short statement about what it is you do, and then let your audience fill in the gaps with images that visually suggest the kind of service provider you are! Do you work with young children? Use pictures of you doing just that (*make sure you have a signed photo release if you include any image of a client or their caregiver*), or of materials you use. The next time I present, I'll use much less text than I did on this poster board.
4. Offer something small that lures them to the table - I chose to provide mints (and thought I might work in the idea that "there shouldn't be anything keeping you from getting up close to your baby!").
5. Don't hide behind your table! Stand out front and bring people to you! You see someone headed your way? Offer them the freebie from number 4! Don't know what to say? Introduce yourself - your name, your title, and your short statement (this can also be your 30 second spiel from #1!)
6. Hand them your business card! Is there something you talked about? Some resource you can provide or some tip you gave? Write it down on the card to help them remember! I had parents asking me about bilingualism, sign language, and using music to build language. I wrote down the urls right on the card.
7. Host a giveaway! Have something you like to give to families you work with, like a collection of useful handouts, an e-book, etc. - collect names and emails so you can give them the opportunity to get special access (and if you want, give it to all of them!) Then, follow up with them a few days later to see if they have any questions about your services.
8. Bring your favorite materials! Do you have a favorite book or play material you use? I love using puppets, instruments, and books - so I had them on hand for people to look at and play with, and see me using with their kids!
9. Bring water and snacks! It's a long day - you're going to get hungry, and you're going to need to practice good vocal hygiene since you'll be doing a lot of talking.
10. Befriend your fellow vendors! Not only is this just good manners, but the other exhibitors around you may be potential referral sources, collaborators, offer complementary services, or know someone who is any of those things! Treat them well - encourage visitors to go see their booths and what they have to offer, make sure you give them any extra freebies you brought, bring them coffee with a free hand, or offer to watch their booth while they go to the bathroom.
What are some of your tips to add?
Tell me in the comments below!
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