How Owners, CEOs, Marketing Managers, PR Directors, and Sales Teams use Strategy to Succeed at Trade Shows
We are getting many inquiries about the trade shows – the Aquatic Experience, NY VET, VMX 2018, WVC, GPE 2018, SuperZoo. For those of you working on booth events, product demonstrations, presentations and meetings, we’d like to ask you to take a moment and read this blog, because we want to talk to you about strategy. The word strategy is loaded, right? It implies days of planning, long meetings in windowless conference rooms, a Plan that goes through a dozen rounds of edits, and ultimately you feel you’ve put in a whole lot of time for … well, for what?
At FWV Fetching, we have heard about strategy sessions that still haunt people, but our approach to how to know your strategy and how to make it work for you, is different. It’s direct, efficient, and most of all…useful.
Read on and see if this approach to strategy matches your particular needs. Because manning a booth at a trade show is not the same thing as strategically doing a trade show. And with the investment you’re making in a booth, along with the competition you’ll see in the exhibit hall, it pays to have a strategy.
Expert Guidance: Consider the benefit of having an objective industry expert listen to your business goals, and appreciate your bottom line. Throughout the year we help businesses launch products and services at the pet and veterinary tradeshows. We have the ability to hear you and translate your needs into an actionable and strategic trade show plan so that you will reach your target audiences with today’s marketing tools and technologies.
Stand out from the Crowd: The words you use to position your business, product or service can be the first and only impression a prospect sees. With years of experience managing communications programs for pet product businesses and veterinary services, we will help structure your messages so that you can stand out from the crowd. It’s a cliche saying, but nevertheless, a true requirement for success. You must differentiate your “widget” from everyone else’s. The differentiators must be crystal clear to anyone looking at your website, brochure, booth, or social media content. Our strategic direction will remove any fog around your messaging.
Know Your Audience: We want to know everything about your target market. It can’t really be “the world of pet owners” can it? You can lean on us to help identify who you are talking to, and what they want to hear. Further, our experience with all of today’s publicity tools opens up a number of ways for you to communicate to your audiences. Think of it – posts, digital marketing, web content, video, media placements, bylined articles, and on it goes. Not to mention the technologies that are easy to use to support email outreach, or graphic design needs.
Results, results, results: Why go to a trade show, why bother to exhibit, if you can’t specify your goals? Our work with pet and veterinary businesses around the globe is unique in that, as an agency, we are always asked for metrics and results. Let us help you define those outcomes and then determine how to successfully achieve them.
FWV Fetching works with pet and veterinary businesses as they prepare for trade show exhibits. If you would like a free consultation about your trade show publicity, social media, digital, design and/or marketing needs, or if you just need a press kit written for the trade show’s press room, contact Liz Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, complete our brief Marketing Needs Analysis and Liz will contact you right away.
In a previous blog post, we mentioned that tradeshow exhibitors should “be prepared for media.” Let’s take a closer look into this subject, because doing it right can be a great advantage, whereas doing it wrong can cause problems down the road.
Tradeshows give you a wonderful opportunity to meet people who may become future customers, and of course you want to focus on the potential for sales and connections. However, another set of attendees is equally important, and that’s the media. They attend shows to see new products, check in on existing companies, and see what the trends look like for the months ahead.
Journalists come to the shows with packed agendas: meetings they have made in advance with companies and their publicists, lectures they want to attend, events they don’t want to miss.
You may have appointments pre-scheduled with particular reporters, and if so, we recommend that you set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you that the journalist will be at your booth in twenty minutes. That will give you time to wrap up any conversations and prepare for a focused meeting with the journalist. Your plan should be to spend 20-30 minutes with the reporter. Hand the reporter a press kit. Don’t allow for any interruptions, and strike a balance between talking and listening. Give the reporter your direct email and phone number so they can follow up with you after the show with any questions.
Let’s talk for a moment about your press kit. This is a folder or flash drive that typically contains a press release about your exhibit/new products, a frequently asked questions document, and a product information sheet with images. We advise that press kits are developed several weeks prior to the show, that way you have enough time to print copies, and place in folders and on drives. Your publicist will use the press kits in pre-show communications and pitches with media outlets. When you arrive at the show, place the folders and press kits in the press room at the tradeshow for easy access.
And, finally a word on unscheduled media visits to your booth. The worst thing you can do is ask the reporter to come back at another time. Remember, meeting with the media is not only a way for you to position your messaging and products but it is also an important aspect of reputation management. We have assembled a list of tips that will help you when someone with a press badge arrives at your booth. Click here to download the “Be Prepared for Media at a Tradeshow” checklist.
What are your questions about talking to the media at your next tradeshow? Contact Liz Lindley at Liz.Lindley@fetchingcommunications.com for a free tradeshow publicity consultation.
A few weeks ago, we talked about how partnering with bloggers can benefit your veterinary practice. Now that you know how beneficial blogger relationships can be for your veterinary practice, we’re going to take a few steps back to talk about exactly how your veterinary hospital can attract a blogger’s attention.
Usually when we talk about bloggers, you assume that we’re only talking about the relationship between pet bloggers and consumer brands. Many consumer pet brands do often partner with bloggers by offering the opportunity for product reviews, contests and giveaways, but the way veterinarians and other veterinary service providers attract the attention of top, industry bloggers is very different.
Here are a few, easy and realistic ways you can attract a pet blogger’s attention to your veterinary practice:
Offer to Guest Blog
Bloggers often welcome the opportunity to offer their readers new, interesting and useful information from a trusted source. Before reaching out, take time to learn about them, their blog and their niche. Then craft a pitch with some topics you think would be interesting and helpful to their audience. Keep your email short and make it personal by including their name, what you like about their blog and what value your content would have for their readers.
Send Press Releases
Have you implemented a new procedure in your practice? Contributed to clinical research? Had a remarkable success story with a patient? Turn that into a press release and circulate it through a distribution service. Specialized services like PetPR.com can get your release into the mailboxes of local, national and trade media contacts, as well as pet industry bloggers, and even help you determine the best ways to leverage your news.
Pitch Media-Owned Blogs
There are a number of larger, media-owned blogs that allow for unsolicited pitches and proposals. For example, Catster.com and Dogster.com encourage submissions from writers, veterinarians, trainers and other animal-focused professionals. These sites cover a variety of topics including health, spay/neuter, nutrition and behavior. Before pitching an idea, however, read some articles to get a better idea of the types of articles they’re looking for.
Keep Your Own Blog Current
While you’re reaching out to other bloggers, don’t neglect your own blog (and if you don’t have one, it’s time to get one! See our post about blogging, and how Fetching can help). Consistently providing content on your site will help increase trust, credibility and SEO. Your content also gives potential blogging partners a better idea of your interests, expertise and writing style.
For more information about why your veterinary practice should partner with bloggers, check out our first blog post in the series.
What makes a good veterinary case study? Well, the answer depends on what you are looking to accomplish with it. Do you need content for your website? Newsletter? A veterinary trade journal? Consumer media outreach? Since all require diverse elements and different case studies will appeal to different audiences, we’re going to examine what makes a good veterinary case study for general or consumer media.
First, what is general or consumer media? National or local in scope, general/consumer media is simply the media that consumers or the general public reads or watches. It can be something as small as your community newspaper or something as large as Good Morning America. But for the most part, when Fetching Communications pitches case studies to general/consumer media, we pitch local newspapers (community and larger city-based papers) and news broadcasts at local stations. Why? Because the regional outlets are going to be most interested in a story with a local angle, i.e., the pet parent and/or veterinarian reside in the area, so it resonates with the community.
Now that we’ve defined the type of media we are targeting, let’s examine the elements that comprise a good case study for a veterinary practice.
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Like the public, the media prefers one. They want to know that the pet made it out of the woods all right. Stories where the dog or cat may have had a near-death experience – but miraculously survived – are usually of interest to the media because they are hopeful and have a positive outcome. With all the current bad news, no one wants to tell or hear a sad pet story.
Unique visuals are typically appealing to consumer media – particularly television. Is there a compelling X-ray? A 3D model? Or is the dog or cat themselves the visual? Any collateral images that you can provide – including images and video – will help tell a more complete story and the TV station will appreciate the extra footage.
In order to have a powerful case study, you need a pet parent that is happy with the pet’s outcome, comfortable in front of the camera, and on-board with sharing their story. Not everyone will be open to this, so it’s important that the pet parent knows what will be asked of them. At the same time, the veterinarian or specialist also must feel comfortable discussing their treatment of the pet and being on-camera.
Uncommon Diagnosis or Very Common Ailment
Did the pet have a condition you have never seen before? Is it something that is happening only in your area due to environment or weather? If so, that may pique the media’s interest. Conversely, is it a common ailment or condition that affects many dogs or cats? That could also be of note because it will resonate with more pet parents in the audience.
Groundbreaking Use of Technology or Unorthodox Treatment
Was any new technology used in the pet’s treatment? Or, did you use traditional technology in an unconventional or unorthodox manner to care for the pet? Both would potentially help bolster the case study’s credibility when it comes to media coverage.
Are all five elements necessary for a compelling case study? Absolutely not. But several, like the happy ending and the people are make or break when looking to generate media awareness in papers or on your local nightly news.
Additionally, if you are more interested in television than print outlets, then it is a necessity to have some visual elements on-hand to help audiences better understand what the pet and its family endured and what you as the veterinarian had to contend with.
We specialize in developing case studies and media pitches for practices like yours. Contact Liz Lindley at email@example.com or click here to learn more about our media relations services. We can discuss your practice’s specific challenges and the solutions available.
Similar to how an article in a local newspaper or magazine can lead to increased brand recognition and new customer appointments for veterinarians, an article on a high traffic pet blog (even if it’s outside of your immediate practice area) has the ability to produce new customer leads and establish trusted relationships with your clients.
- External blog posts boost your practice’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
When a respected blogger links back to your site from theirs, it helps your own site’s SEO. And that means more people in your area will find you when searching a
site like Google for a veterinarian close to where they live. How many times have you searched Google when looking for a nearby restaurant or even a dentist’s office? Pet parents do the same thing; in fact, consumers are relying on search engines to find veterinarians more than ever before.
- Positions you as an expert in the veterinary field.
When you’re mentioned on a blog, or in the media, it helps build your credibility and elevates your status as an expert in the field. Think about this: if a potential client searches Google to find more information about you and your practice (which we know they do), and they stumble across a blog post where you are positioned as an industry expert, are they going to feel more comfortable trusting you and your team with their pet’s health? The answer is “yes.”Trust is a key factor when it comes to attracting and retaining clients in the veterinary field. Seeing a quote on a reputable blog post gives pet owners the confidence and trust they need to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment at your practice.
- Builds your content library.
Sharing content with your clients and your community builds loyalty and gets people talking about you. Blog posts are an easy way to increase your content library and can be repurposed in a variety of ways and shared through social media, e-newsletters, your website, etc. Who couldn’t use a little extra content to share on social media? We know how hard it is for veterinarians to keep up with Facebook pages. Want to know how your practice is doing on Facebook? Sign up for our free Facebook page analysis and we’ll let you know!
In a few weeks we’ll dive into exactly how you can build relationships with bloggers, and why veterinarians need to take a slightly different approach to getting the attention of this audience.
Fetching Communications can help you build your veterinary practice by connecting you with pet industry bloggers and influencers. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to learn more about our blogger outreach campaigns.