How to grow your business with trade shows

How to grow your business with trade shows

If there's one thing that I used to despise, it was trade shows. I'd stand there awkwardly behind my sparse display (perhaps calling it minimalist makes it better?), waiting for people to come over and talk to me. Instead, they'd cast their eyes to the floor as they snuck by my booth, feeling guilty for not stopping at the 8 foot long table with the white tablecloth, no signs, a few pieces of paper, and 500 business cards. Really, could I blame them? Thankfully, over the past 8 years, I've figured out that you really can grow your business with trade shows.

What was getting in my way when I first started was how do you set up a booth when you have no inventory to sell and all that you offer are health coaching programs? *I* was the inventory! Even if you have an essential oils business, you probably don't carry a lot of inventory to sell retail, but have a whole business based on people purchasing their own product or having a class, and having it shipped to their house.

It doesn't matter if you don't have much (or any) physical inventory, you still have to make your booth or table visually interesting.

I can't count how many times I've went into a store I didn't even like because there was something interesting set up in the front window. There's power in visual displays.

It's the same thing as having a visually beautiful website. The pretty pictures will draw people in, but your amazing written content and valuable expertise will keep them there.

My second problem with trade shows was once the people were there, how to do you turn them into actual paying clients? It's one thing to have someone take your business card, but it's entirely another thing to have someone pay you for your program after they found you at a trade show, especially if your programs are 3 or 6 months long and close to $2,000 like mine were.

After a few years of horrible waste of time and money trade shows (my fault, not theirs!), I came down with a system that worked to bring in hundreds of new email subscribers and new paying clients. Here are 9 things to keep in mind to grow your business with trade shows:

What email software to use in your biz

What email software to use in your biz

I get the question of "what email platform should I use in my business" at least once a week. When I first started, there was only a handful of email marketing software companies, but now the possibilities seem endless: Mailchimp, AWeber, MadMimi, Constant Contact GetResponse, ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, Ontraport ... and that doesn't even include the multi-tool platforms (that include extra robust shops and even online course hosting) like the New Kajabi and Shopify. How do you even know where to start?

You make an educated decision and move on. Seriously.

Whatever success you want to create, whatever feats you want to achieve, whatever dreams you want to make real, you can, and you don't have to do impossible, extraordinary things to make that happen. But you have to do SOMETHING. ~ Jeff Olson

You could debate until you're blue in the face which one to choose, but as in life and anything biz related, there won't be just one platform that will have everything you need all in one place and is the best at all of them. It doesn't exist.

One company might be better at getting through spam filters while another will give you the ability to create multiple lists and track clicks.

You've got to pick the one that ticks most of your boxes, then make it work for all it's worth.

However, if there's only one thing that you learn from this blog post, it's that you need to be growing an email list for the success of your business.

Whether you choose one of the companies I list below, or go with another completely different one, promise me that you at least HAVE an email list.

This is one of the top 3 mistakes I made in my first year as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and I don't want you to make the same one that I did.

9 things you can do when business is slow

9 things you can do when business is slow

It's summer right now, which means that everyone is out on their boat, at the beach, the cottage, out of town, visiting friends and families, having BBQ's, drinking bevvies on a patio, and taking the kids on day trips. All these people are your clients, and they're not interested in working on much right now. There are always seasons in life and in business, and summer is the season of slowing down. Try telling that to your bank account or your credit card company.

It's not just summer either. For us holistic health practitioners, depending on your niche, there's probably at least one other time of year when business is slow.

If you're a massage therapist, chiropractor, or naturopath, the two months before everyone needs to use up their benefits is insanely busy, but the two months after that are probably slower.

If you're an essential oil advocate, the busy times are September to December and March to June. The other months of the year aren't quite as hectic.

If you're a nutritionist, it depends on your niche. If your focus on weight loss, mid-November to the end of December is probably pretty dead, and then picks up in January and February when people realize they have a food hangover. If your focus is something else, you might find that you're busy up until mid-December, and then hit a lull until March when people come out of their winter hibernation.

The point is that there are at least 2 times during the year when you have the space and time to work on your business, not just in it.

You might not be selling a whack load of programs right now, but there are still tons of things you could be doing to build your business.

I have a mainly online based business, so I have a running list of things that I could be working on at any time of the year. Website updates and changes, pics for social media, completing the online course that I just purchased, recording a new webinar, truly the list could go on forever.

You might be just starting a website and realizing that you can use it as your master marketing machine year-round. You might have several social media platforms going that you know you aren't using to their fullest.

You can totally use this down-time to make shit happen in your business and bring in new clients  for the next 6 months, but you can't just try things willy nilly.

How to prepare for a professional photo shoot (+ a free guidebook)

How to prepare for a professional photo shoot (+ a free guidebook)

When you look on someone's Facebook timeline, Instagram feed, Pinterest boards, or website that draws you in and makes you want to click around, what's the thing that stands out the most? Amazing photos. When you're searching high and low for a website template to use, what usually attracts you to one over the other? The amazing, colourful photos they use in the preview template (nevermind the fact that the photos aren't yours ... they're just so pretty!). You might be building your first website, re-branding an old one, or changing businesses completely, but there's one thing you're going to need: a professional photo shoot.

My first photo shoot was done by a local photographer friend in late 2011. I picked out 3 different outfits, did my hair and makeup myself (it's kind of painful to see that I was growing out a pixie cut, worse time for a photoshoot ever!), and baked some cupcakes that I was going to ice during the shoot.

Wait, what? Why would a holistic nutritionist be icing cupcakes in photos for her website?

Well, they were gluten free, soy free, vegan cupcakes with a homemade buttercream icing, and my new website was called I was going to focus on people with food allergies (like me!), and teach them that no matter what they could eat, they should be able to love what they eat.

The idea was a good one (or so I thought), but anyone seeing those pictures would have thought I was a home baker or something. See?

7 reasons why your holistic website sucks (+ free video training)

7 reasons why your holistic website sucks (+ free video training)

Yes, this is going to piss off a few of you, but it needs to be said: most holistic health practitioner websites suck. It's not for lack of trying! We've all got big hearts and big missions, but we're not treating your website like the marketing machine that it could be.

Because here's what a website should do: bring you paying clients. Without that, it's just a fancy (and usually expensive!) virtual business card.

Let's change that, shall we?

It's really not that hard to shift a not-so-great website to a stellar one with a few tweaks and regular blogging, but it's all about being intentional. You need to know who you're trying to attract (i.e. who do you want to work with?), and then work backwards from there to figure out what that ideal client wants to see.

It's not about you, it's all about them.

So let's examine the 7 main reasons why your website isn't doing it's job in bringing you paying clients: