Archive for June, 2011

Yorkshire Family Show Exhibitor Update

Yorkshire Family ShowWritten by Victoria Simmons of the Yorkshire Family Show

Posted 29th June 2011

Plans for the Yorkshire Family Show, taking place on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, continue to take shape with lots of new and exciting exhibitors planning to attend.

Among the exhibitors will be Emma Benson from Holo Lilo, with her “lilo with a hole”, specifically designed for mums-to-be, Caroline Buncall from Tennis Tykes, and Naturally Cool Kids who will be promoting their range of affordable, natural skincare products for children.

Organiser, Caroline Parker, said “Yorkshire Family Show aims to fill the gap between the huge baby shows and the school sports hall small baby fairs or table-top sales. Our event will have a wide range of businesses, both large and small, demonstrating their products and services direct to their target market.”

Also exhibiting are Tennis Tykes. Run by Caroline Buncall, Tennis Tykes encourages children from as young as 2 years old to start learning how to play tennis through fun sessions. Children will also have the chance to participate at the Yorkshire Family Show where mini nets, sponge balls and adapted rackets will be set up so children can have a go – Who knows, we may also find a future Andy Murray; after all he started playing tennis himself at the age of 3, just like the little tykes!

Caroline said “The great emphasis at Tennis Tykes is on fun, remembering that these are still very young children. We have nursery rhyme music for warm ups, and we discuss colours and numbers to aid their educational development, following the Early Years Foundation Stage learning goals. Modified mini tennis equipment is used and the sessions develop children’s basic co-ordination skills, agility and balance and at the same time also promote social interaction, develop confidence, language and listening.”

There will be something for all the family at the show, with a wide range of exhibitors and an action-packed programme of activities and entertainment to keep the children amused, ranging from face-painting to water zorbing and football shootouts to chocolate making.

Businesses interested in exhibiting at or sponsoring the event can contact Victoria on 01423 206550 or email info@yorkshirefamilyshow.co.uk

Exhibiting At Baby Shows And Getting The Most From Your Day

Suzie Young of Baby Steps MarketingWritten by Suzie Young of Baby Steps Marketing

Posted 29th June 2011

Know Your Aim

Know what you want to get out of going to the show. Are you trying to sell as many products as possible, take treatment/class bookings or increase your mailing list (you do have a mailing list don’t you?!)?

You may or may not be looking to actually take payment for products or your services but you should definitely be there to increase your brand awareness and most importantly, collect data.

Brand Image and Increasing  Your Brand Awareness

Be Consistent – There should be continuity from your banner/table top stand, to the flier you hand out, to your advert in the show brochure, to the uniform/outfit your are wearing, to your website. Lack of consistency will confuse people and you will need to start promoting yourself all over again to remind people who you are.

Have a Strong Brand Image – have clear and eye catching logo and make sure people know what you do.

Make an Effort – if your stall looks like it’s had minimal time, effort or money spent on it, that’s how people will perceive your other services and the way you will treat them as customers

Have a Clear, Direct Message – your banner stand/posters and fliers should not be cluttered with too much information. People need to see at a glance who you are and what you do. Your printed material should have:

  • Lots of white space – don’t try and cram in too much information
  • A clear headline to catch attention. Make sure it’s big enough to read
  • Bullet points
  • Use pictures

Consider Your Show Offer

You may like to do a special ‘on the day’ offer. For many people this will be offering their products or services at a reduced rate. Make sure this is the best thing for you. People want value for money but that could come in the form of offering more (at little or no extra cost to you) rather than having to slash your prices. Discounting can de-value your offering, so instead think about building value in (ie free massage or bottle of oil when you book your baby massage course at the show)

Collecting Data/Growing Your Customer List

Time and time again I see exhibitors in front of hundreds of prospective clients doing nothing to take any of those customers’ details to stay in touch with them. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to take contact details (even just first name and email) from the people you meet.

Taking contact details is so important as no matter how impressed people are at the time they meet you, the vast majority will forget about you or lose your flier before they are ready to buy from you.

Building Relationships

Now-a-days we need to establish a relationship with potential customers before they are ready to buy. As with print adverts, people will rarely see the advert and call up to book with you. They want to go to your website to read more about what you offer, perhaps read a few reviews from past clients before they decide to call up to book in with you.

Some people you meet will be in a ‘buying mentality’. They have come to the show looking for someone who offers pregnancy massage. They talk with you and like you and so book there and then. However if you do nothing to keep in contact with people who have never considered having a massage before, but who in a couple of months decide that they want one (having first been introduced to it through your stand at the show) you are leaving a huge amount of money on the table.

People generally need 7 Hits of Marketing before they buy. You need to keep in touch with them until they are ready to buy from you, otherwise you will be left hoping your customer comes across more of your marketing literature at some point in the future.

Your List is Your Business

Building your list is the most important thing at the event. Say you offer baby yoga classes and you speak with mums at the show who are five months pregnant. It could be nearly a year before they are ready to book a course with you. Do you honestly think they won’t come across another instructor, lose your flier or forget your business name in that time, even if they really liked your brand when you met?

You have to get people’s details so that you can regularly remind them you’re there (that’s remind them, not hard sell your business every email or facebook post!) Don’t use the excuse “people hate being bombarded with pushy marketing/sales emails”. Well of course they do! I’d unsubscribe and go elsewhere if you just sent messages selling to me all the time. That’s why you are going to send your list useful emails with helpful content on a regular basis and then every so often send a more sale-sey email asking them to book onto your courses. If you do this you will be seen as an expert and the go-to person for local baby information and help.

Prize Draw

You might find using an ‘ethical bribe’ helps to get data from prospective clients ie if they fill out their contact details on your form, you will enter them in to a prize draw. Otherwise tell people you’d like to add them to your mailing list to be kept up to date with information (let them know they will be able to unsubscribe easily at any time – and make sure they can).

Selling Your Product or Brand

Top Tips:

  • Stand up, in front of your table (take away as many physical barriers as possible)
  • Have a basic script
  • Qualify prospective customers
  • Play The Numbers Game
  • Ask for the sale

After The Event

Follow up with your new mailing list:

  • Let them know who good it was to meet them
  • Remind them of your services (perhaps extend your show offer for a limited time)
  • Let them know how else they can follow/contact you ie twitter, facebook
  • Keep in contact regularly with helpful useful emails.

Don’t forget to follow up with the other business owners you have met. See how you can work together or even just use each other for support as fellow small business owners.  Make sure you have some help on the day so you can take a bit of time away from your stand to go and network with the other business owners there.

Finally…

Events like these are hard work! Make sure you have a good breakfast before you go and have lots of energy for the day. You will be tired by the end of it so be prepared to stand up all day and speak to lots and lots of people. Last top tip:  remember to wear comfy shoes – it’s hard to smile if your feet hurt!

Cybermummy 2011

See you at CybermummyWritten by Joanne Waltham of UK Baby Shows

Posted 28th June 2011

 

Last Saturday was Cybermummy, attended by over 400 mummy bloggers and various brand PRs. Due to the fantastic sponsorship given to me by The Baby Show I was able to attend this event.

It was lovely to meet some of the people whose blogs I regularly read and to hear about some new ones that I must pop along and have a look at. I also attended a selection of sessions from “Marketing your blog”, which usefully applied to any website, and “Getting to know WordPress” which is the platform I intend to transfer this site to when I get a moment! The session I enjoyed most “Photography on your blog” by Jay Mountford so I really must start carrying my camera around with me more.

The day was finished with a networking drinks reception and followed by a curry with a few people I met on the day.

I’ll finish this post with a plea to those lovely mummy bloggers…. if you would like to write for us about any baby shows you have visited please get in touch. Also if you are TTC, pregnant or have a young baby then The Baby Show is looking for contributions for their lovely blog - it would be great publicity for your own blog to be published there. If you would like to write for The Baby Show please let me know and I will pass your details along.

The Baby Show

Gumigem at Scottish Baby and Toddler Show and the NEC Baby Show

GumigemWritten by Jenny McLaughlan of Gumigem

Posted 20th June 2011

I decided when I launched Gumigem, Baby shows would provide a good opportunity to get the word out and nearly died at the price of them. However I made the decision to try one and see if it was any good and worth the investment.

I signed up to the Scottish Baby and Toddler show back in December 2010. I was quite excited about the whole thing and then my heart sank when I heard the news that the Friday of the show was also to be Kate & Wills wedding. I considered pulling out, but having thought about it, I concluded it could go either way! The Scots (sweeping generalisation!) are not generally into the royals so it could work in my favour. A day off work for free might just mean the Friday would be good.

So preparations began. I have done a fair bit of exhibiting in my other life, but never for my own business. I knew it was important to get it right and take every opportunity, so I was pro-active and contacted the UK Baby Show website and got some fantastic tips! Had I not done this we definitely would not have had such a successful show. We made sure we had a competition to capture peoples email addresses for our newsletter and special show offers on some items. It took a full week of printing and planning before the big day came.

Gumigem at Scottish Baby and Toddler Show

So on Kate and Wills wedding I headed off early, flat shoes in position and set up. It was quite a buzz, seeing the big hall and hearing the count down to the doors opening. Everyone around us was so friendly and we met some fantastic fellow exhibitors! My heart sank though for the first two hours, we seemed to get hardly any traffic. We were positioned well, opposite a baby feeding cafe, but it seemed quiet…. then BOOM, it went mental! We were sometimes two or three people deep around the stand and we could not get to everyone who was interested. We took double my target for the day! It was such a buzz, we got lots of people signed up to our competition too and sold out of a few colours. At the end of the day I was grinning from ear to ear, I had loved every minute of it and was thrilled to have actually met so many lovely customers in person. Gumigem were the talk of the show, people who had bought proudly wearing them and telling others over coffee. What a buzz! Being an online business it was fantastic to get that interaction. We had almost covered the cost of our stand with two days to go.

Gumigem at Scottish Baby and Toddler Show

The Saturday and the Sunday were much the same quiet at the start and tale end of the day, but mobbed over lunchtime, although all in all, a lot quieter than the Friday. We had such a ball we decided it was absolutely worth doing! I then heard that due to the freak Scottish sunshine the weekend of the Scottish baby show and the Friday Monday holiday it was the quietest baby show on record! So the Monday after the show I contacted the Birmingham baby show and secured a last minute stand for their event.

I had heard Birmingham was bigger and better and was confident we would do well. So despite the tight time frame to get everything organised committed to that as well. Being so last minute I did not have a pick of stands, but managed to get one near the front entrance on what looked like a main area for footfall. I also could not secure any help, which meant I might need a bucket for toilet breaks and knew I would be exhausted. At the last minute I did get someone to help on the Saturday and the lovely ladies at Mumpreneur UK also helped out and let me have an occasional break.

Birmingham, despite being much bigger and busier than the Scottish one, did not do us any better. We did well, but we did not get the traffic past our stand. We managed to do about the same as the Scottish baby show and I have to confess to being a little disappointed. The problem was our stand position, we were near the entrance but facing away so people would walk past us and not look back, there was also nothing to draw them across us. So we had to stand in the aisles and try and engage people which was much harder work! We did get Gumigem featured in the on stage fashion, show, that was fantastic!

Gumigem at the Baby Show NEC

So what lessons have I learned? Lots!

  1. Don’t just measure your success on sales, you should also consider the contacts made, interactions and follow on business you get through your site!
  2. Position is everything! Think carefully before booking! What are you next too, where would you walk.
  3. Try and engage customers to attract them to your stand
  4. If your stand is busy, it attracts more attention, if it’s quiet people walk on by, but if people are crowded round, they want to know why and come and have a nosey! So think of ways to make your stand busy!
  5. As hard as it is, don’t set yourself expectations, enjoy the fact you have committed to the show and enjoy interacting with people. It will be what it will be and you can get flat if you do not meet what you expect.

Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat, I loved the thrill of it, the interaction and the contacts and follow on business is worth it all on its own. You can do market research, get new ideas and enjoy the experience. I would definitely recommend!

Zest Payroll Solutions at the Taunton NCT Pregnancy and Baby Fair

Zest Payroll SolutionsWritten by Claire Meredith of Zest Payroll

Posted 13th June 2011

You may be thinking that’s a funny kind of business to be exhibiting at a baby fair and you’d be right!  However, as a payroll agent for lots of small businesses, I deal with maternity and paternity issues all the time.  I thought perhaps it might be good to go out and talk to the people at the receiving end for a change.  Since becoming a mummy, I’ve heard so many people complaining about how employers have got their maternity pay wrong or getting in a pickle with their tax credits and I really wanted to do something to help.  I contacted my local NCT group in Taunton after seeing a friends’ post on Facebook about the fair.  They were really supportive and so the pitch was booked and preparations began…

I spent weeks gathering the information I wanted to get across and getting it all ready in the form of fact sheets.  I had hoped to create a booklet filled with this wonderful advice but hit a rather major stumbling block in the form of printing costs!  However, I am still planning on getting these published once I’ve found some help.  In the mean time, I’ve set up a blog (www.pennies4parents.blogspot.com) where I am uploading them to.

I had to think about the actual stall I was going to have to set up.  I wasn’t selling anything so didn’t have anything pretty and cute to display and attract attention.  Instead, I went for some eye catching posters.  I borrowed a camping table from a friend, ironed our best table cloth and was set to go!

Zest Payroll at the Taunton Baby Fair

The morning of the show, I volunteered to help with the general setting up so was at the venue nice and early.  Having set up my stall (which took all of 5 minutes!) I had chance to have a wander around and meet some of the other exhibitors.  It was all so well organised and there were lots of different companies and information on the local services available for expectant parents and those with young babies and children.  I also had a peak at the raffle table – it was amazing!  All the prizes had been donated and a lot of work must have gone into making that happen.

Doors opened at 10.30am and away we went!  People were streaming through the doors and there was a real buzz about the place.  Through out the day there were different taster sessions and presentations too.
I chatted with so many lovely expectant mums and dads.  One couple’s baby was due the next day!  I hope my information was of some help to them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the NCT Taunton Baby & Pregnancy fair and will definitely be signing up again next year.

Kindred Rose at the Taunton NCT Pregnancy and Baby Fair

Kindred Rose at the Taunton NCT Pregnancy and Baby FairWritten by Helen Bottrill of Kindred Rose

Posted 13th June 2011

Hi! My name is Helen Bottrill and I run a small business ‘Kindred Rose’ from my home in the Blackdown Hills in Devon. I specialise in children’s personalised cushions and accessories, perfect for a new baby or a child’s birthday.

I exhibited at an NCT fair a couple of years ago and it generated a good amount of orders for me, so I decided to give it another go. I was already on the mailing list for the Taunton NCT so when they contacted me informing me of their upcoming fair I was very happy to sign up.

The cost of a 6ft table (or space) if booked before the end of March was £35, which I found very reasonable. I signed up and had confirmation from the NCT.

A few weeks before the fair I received information over email about everything required on the day, and whether I would like to donate a raffle prize, alongside directions and parking requirements. The communication was great, and even when I had a few questions about my display options and the space required it was dealt with straight away and in a friendly helpful manner.

The day of the fair came – I was prepared (just!) and had made plenty of display cushions and stock. I only got slightly lost on the way, so minor hiccup over I arrived at the venue (Taunton Cricket Club) and was straight away told of where my pitch was. The whole thing was very well organised by a bunch of very friendly and helpful volunteers.

Taunton NCT Pregnancy and Baby Fair Setup

Pre-show set up

There was a wide range of stalls selling Art & craft, health & beauty, books, cards and nursery equipment to name a few. The venue was a perfect size and there was a toddler play area, a craft area and a café too.

There were a number of workshops and taster sessions spaced out throughout the day from St Johns Ambulance, Sing & Sign, Gymboree, Firetop photography, Waterbabies and Storytime with Zuma the Dog.

There was a lovely atmosphere, although the number of people through the door did dwindle as the day went on. I was told afterwards that approximately 350 people came through the door on the day!

I had great feedback on my products, a lot of interest from customers and even a few sales. I handed out a lot of flyers and had promises that they would come back and order online from me – so am keeping my fingers crossed that they come to fruition! I also met some lovely stallholders and swapped twitter details, so even did a bit of networking too!

Kindred Rose Stand

Kindred Rose Stand at the Taunton Pregnancy & Baby Fair

All in all, I was really happy with the day and I would recommend it to other sellers of baby products – I will definitely be signing up for next year!