6 Creative Ways to Draw Customers to Your Booth at Fairs, Shows & Festivals



Hi Gail,

I am a marketing manager for a new home improvement company.  I typically generate leads for our sales team by participating in various fairs, festivals, home shows, and other local events.  I need a way to draw potential customers to my 10 x 10 booth.  How can I stick out from my competitors?  We do simple giveaways that they can visually see, but I want to be different. Any ideas??  Please help!!

Loren K.


Hi Loren,

I love this question! Here are some of my suggestions:

  1. People tend to bring their kids to these things (don’t want to pay for a babysitter) so you need to keep the kids busy in your booth so the parents can stick around longer. I would make one wall of your booth a chalkboard and let the kids go crazy.
  2. Nothing pulls people into a booth more than free food and beverages. Offer something less ordinary, like espresso, cappuccino or one of those large glass drink dispensers and they can help themselves. Plus, if you give them a drink they feel slightly obligated to look around your booth while they finish it.
  3. You want to collect leads, and the best way is always through some sort of ballot box (you can capture names electronically through an iPad as well). The draw has to be attractive, such as a daily draw for a $200 Home Depot gift card (since these are home renovators attending the show).
  4. Instead of useless swag give a useful handout, like a checklist of all the things you need to do to your home to prepare it for winter. This is something people are more likely to keep, even post on the fridge. Make sure it is well branded with your company’s info.
  5. Have a fun mascot that kids can pose with (with your company’s name somewhere on the mascot that won’t get hidden behind a posing child). Then encourage their parents to post the photo to Instagram (maybe doing this gives them a second ballot in the draw). Posting the photo to Instagram gets your company seen by their followers.
  6. Get the word out in advance on social media by tweeting out to people attending the show to bring a digital photo of their home for a free, on the spot transformation (you bring the photo into an editing program and quickly swap out windows, doors, siding, etc. so they can see the possibilities). Show the before and after transformations up on a big screen for all to see.

I could go on and on, but this is a good start. Best of luck! Gail

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© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

Bright Marketing Ideas of the Week

by Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing

I am always on the lookout for bright ideas in the world of marketing that I hope will inspire you. Here are some I found this week.

Remodo Sells Coordinated Room Decor Packages

Are you decorating-challenged? Maybe you just don’t have time to shop for all the elements that go into creating a room’s decor.  Well, a new trend might be to sell boxed “rooms” as this is what online shop Remodo is offering. With their Boxed Room Packages, Remodo is giving customers an all-in-one solution to create a designer room. In one boxed room package you get coordinating sheets, throw pillows, blanket, storage bins, photo frame, a tray and coasters, all for $498. You can purchase the products individually, but this is definitely a great way to up sell more of your products at one time.

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BHLDN Now Offering A La Carte Wedding Gowns 

Customized products are currently a hot trend, and now bridal retailer, BHLDN is letting brides “build” their own wedding gown with their à la carte dress offerings. While they will still offer individual gown designs, brides can now also create their own dress by mixing and matching from one of their corsets, one of their “toppers”, one of their skirts and one of their capelets. I am sure BHLDN is responding to brides who liked the sleeves of one dress but the skirt of another, so found that the best option to satisfy these customers was to break the dress out into separates. Since there are all types of brides out there, this seems like a great solution.

Screen shot 2015-05-12 at 10.06.26 AMTOMS Giving Away More Shoes to Those in Need

TOMS shoes has long been known for its policy of giving away a pair of shoes to someone in need with each purchase. Now, from May 5th to May 23rd, for every photo someone posts to Instagram of their bare feet, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a person in need. Since Instagram doesn’t allow banner images, I love the way TOMS is promoting the cause using their Twitter banner and even creating their own trending hash tag, #withoutshoes. Your banner images on Facebook and Twitter can act as ads for you, for any special promotions, sales, new products or services or special events and causes like the one below, so make sure you are using them to their full potential.

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GET MY FREE TIP FOR YOUR BUSINESS! I perform my Small Business Critique for hundreds of small businesses each year. If you are curious about whether it will help your business, simply send me your business website and I will give you one FREE piece of advice, no obligation. Email me at attentiongetting@gmail.com and put in the email subject line, “Looking for one FREE piece of advice” and don’t forget to include your url. Thanks! Gail

You can learn more about my Small Business Critique here.

© 2015 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

10 April Marketing ideas for Your Small Business

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

If you are on social media a lot, especially sites like Twitter, you have definitely seen trending hash tags such as #NationalPuppyDay (that was Monday) or #NationalCheeseSteakDay (that was yesterday). Now these “national’ days and observances may seem silly but they actually have a lot of marketing potential.

I first wrote about them in my blog post, Is There a National Day of Observance Right for Your Business? A lot of these national days also make up part of my monthly marketing calendar, because they are an opportunity for you to join in the conversation and get your business seen in the process.


National Days for April

So what are some big national days coming up for April? Well, there is pretty much one (sometimes two or three) for every day of the month, but the ones that I think have the most marketing potential are:

  • #NationalChildrensBookDay (April 2nd)
  • #NationalBeerDay (April 7th)
  • #NationalPetDay (April 11th)
  • #NationalScrabbleDay (April 13th)
  • #NationalJellyBeanDay (April 22nd)
  • #NationalAdoptaShelterPetDay (April 30th)

How to Use National Days to Promote Your Business

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated to take advantage of all the trending these holidays do on social media and in the press. For example, you could simply send out a tweet with the cover of your favorite children’s book from childhood (with the hash tag #NationalChildrensBookDay) and ask people if they love it too, and if so to retweet. Be sure to retweet other people’s choices as well.

Cute animals always do well on social media, so for National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day why not do some good at the same time and go down to your local animal shelter, take a photo of a pet that needs a home, and post it to Instagram asking all of your followers to “like” it.

Other PR & Promotional Opportunities

There is a lot going on in April, with other events and occasions that present opportunities to get press for your business and capitalize on promotional opportunities. Just a few:

  • Opening day for Major League Baseball League (April 6th)
  • Coachella Music Festival (April 10th)
  • Game of Thrones season premiere (April 12th)
  • Earth Day (April 22nd)

This is why you will love my Monthly Marketing Calendar for Online Shops. Besides including everyday marketing ideas and tips to get your business noticed, it also reminds you of these events (and well in advance for some future events) so you can really capitalize on the attention and editorial opportunities they bring.

APRIL ADMy April Marketing Calendar for Online Shops is available here.


An Easy Way for Your Small Business To Make More Money

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

Back in the fall when I was on vacation in Vermont, we went to a local restaurant for breakfast that all the tourists go to. Since I am always on the hunt for clever marketing ideas, I was impressed to see that the coffee mugs the restaurant was using all had ads on them for other local businesses that would be of interest to tourists. Pretty smart. The restaurant sells ad space on their mugs as an additional source of revenue and other local businesses get directly in front of their target market.

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When I was at a popular indoor water park resort this past weekend (I really don’t travel that often) I was looking around and saw so many opportunities for the resort to sell some untapped ad space – on the white towels they hand out, on the giant refillable beverage mugs they were selling, to even putting peel off ads onto the rental locker doors (they really should hire me). So many great advertising opportunities for local businesses that want to get in front of tourists, not to mention more money for the resort.

So, have you thought about how your small business can earn additional revenue by offering advertising and promotional opportunities for other businesses?

Advertising Opportunities Your Business Can Offer

Are you a bricks and mortar business of some kind that gets lots of traffic? Look around to see what potential ad space you have. Bars are a great example, as beer companies put their logos on everything from lit wall signs to coasters to bottle openers. This is space you can sell (or at least get another business to supply for you, saving you money).

Some other ideas:

  • Maybe you are a restaurant that caters to students. You could put out table cards that advertise a local teen clothing shop.
  • Maybe you are a popular coffee shop frequented by small business owners. Ask a local graphic design firm if they want to advertise on the face of a giant wall clock that hangs in the shop.
  • Maybe you are a dentist with a large kid clientele. Ask a local store that sells kids products if they wish to advertise on the bag that holds the new toothbrush and floss handed out to each patient.

Only have an online business? Create a free download that has advertisers, such as a calendar. Offer to include business cards in packages you ship out to customers. The point is, get creative and you can make more money!

Screen shot 2015-02-17 at 1.56.43 PMMe in the Press!

I am quoted in the March issue of Success Magazine, an article entitled “All-You-Can-Eat-Marketing“, on newsstands now. Check it out! 


My Marketing Insider Tips for October

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I have been swamped with clients so I have been absent from my blog for a week and I also will not be getting out my October Insider Report as a result. Bad for me, but good for you as I will give you just a snippet of what I was planning to cover here.

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New Selling Opportunities 

  • Major retailers continue to look to indie designers to enhance their product lines. Retailer Club Monaco recently launched a new accessories line called The Pieces with jewelry and hand bags from indie designers. Think about retailers whose brand suits your offerings and approach them with an idea similar to this one. What have you got to lose?
  • Lucky magazine will no longer be publishing as a print magazine, however, they will be re-launching in the spring as an e-commerce site in a merger with Beachmint, and are currently sourcing merchandise including from smaller indie brands. If you are in fashion, you may want to try to make contact with the buyers for this new site.
  • The wedding social site, Lover.ly, has now evolved into an e-commerce site. Lover.ly will showcase your products to potential brides but send customers directly to your online shop. This new redesign of the site has caused their traffic to increase by 450% in the last three months. It is becoming the one stop shop for all things wedding, so if you sell wedding products or even have a wedding blog (as they will promote that as well), you will want to look into a partnership with Lover.ly.

Social Media News

  • Twitter has begun testing a “Buy” button that allows people to make purchases directly from a tweet.  Twitter says that purchases will only take a few taps on the screen, and your credit card information can be stored for future purchases to facilitate purchases even further. I have always felt that Twitter is better for business to business marketing, but if this proves successful with the stores that are currently testing it, you may want to ramp up your Twitter account.
  • Are you following those new interest sections on Pinterest? Basically it takes the main category boards and narrows them down so you can get topic-specific pins in your home feed. What this means for small business owners is, for example, if your target market is pregnant women, you can go over to the “Kids” category and follow the “Pregnancy” board, which has over 154,000 followers. The pins that appear here are going right into the feed of these followers, so it is a great place to add a comment to the pins and have your business potentially get seen by your target market. 
  • Top Google searches for Pinterest this month: Pinterest Fall Outfits, Pinterest Food and Drink, Pinterest Humor Cats, Pinterest Quotes About Love, Pinterest HairStyles, Pinterest DIY Crafts – do you have boards named as such?

Hot Trends for Spring 2015

  • September was all about fashion, with the Spring 2015 shows starting in New York, then London, then Milan and finally Paris. Here are the top fashion trends for spring 2015, that will also carry over into the home, wedding and kids’ markets: gingham, floral prints, fabric made of art prints, pleats, ruffles. plaid, denim and the color blue in every vibrant shade.

More insider advice later this week, so remember to follow my blog (hit the follow button on the right) and follow me on Facebook for more tips.

GB Oliver

Need help marketing your small business? Be sure to check out my Marketing Services page to find a service that is right for your business, or if you have a specific need, just let me know at attentiongetting@gmail.com.

© 2012-2014 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved. 



3 Marketing Ideas to Try on Pinterest

by G.B. Oliver

Pinterest is great for driving traffic to your online shop, and traffic has never been higher, especially this time of year with people searching for holiday recipes, gift ideas and decorating ideas.

So take advantage and brush up on your Photoshop skills to create pins that can essentially act as free ads for your business. Here are three ideas:

1. Create a Pin Describing Who Needs Your Product


One Kings Lane is great at creating “pinnable” images. This one is promoting why you should consider buying a bow tie for the men on your list (you will have to make this pin horizontal and put the text on the bottom in order to work on Pinterest). You can use other text with the image, like a quote or a customer review. Continue reading “3 Marketing Ideas to Try on Pinterest”

Marketing I Love! Piperlime.com

by G.B. Oliver

If you have ever visited the online store, Piperlime, they do something I think is really smart. They know times are tough right now, so they have a category on their site called “Girl on a Budget”. All the items listed here are under $100.

Marketing small business lessons

This is smart marketing because 1. they have made it easy for the buyer by already putting aside these items in one area 2. they get it that not everyone can afford to spend a ton of money on clothes right now. They also send out an email campaign to their customers with the same “Girl on a Budget” heading. If you’re a female, that heading is attention getting.

“Girl on a Budget” Promotion from Piperlime

This campaign goes with my philosophy that when the economy is down, there may not be a lot of people with a lot of money to spend, but there will always be a lot of people with a little money to spend. That is who this is targeting. For some customers, this may be the only area of their website that they look at.

So How Can You Apply This To Your Small Business? 

Think about doing this with your own online business. Are there certain items you can pull out and say “Gifts under $25” or the “Everything under $30 section”. People will usually take a chance on a low cost item, and if they are satisfied they will return and buy more.

Want to love your marketing? Get innovative ideas that work! in my E-books, available HERE.