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The Main Event: How to Use Exhibitions to Your Advantage

November 20, 2016 4 min read


The Main Event: How to Use Exhibitions to Your Advantage

Whether you’re a fully-fledged company, a team of massage therapists or a lone ranger, you can get in on the exhibition action. At best, exhibiting at events can be fun, sociable and lucrative in terms of future business. At worst, they can be tiring and competitive, but this is par for the course. The point is that you are putting yourself in a position where people will notice you, and that’s what counts.

There are many marketing tactics for massage therapists, but exhibiting your services when you have the chance can yield better results than many others. Because you’re part of the massage and holistic therapies industry, it might seem like the best idea to get your foot in the door with one of the many exhibitions and conferences that this industry offers. Yet one of the bonuses of working in massage is that you don’t always need to be offering a ‘relevant’ product or service to be welcomed on board. Why not see what local exhibitions or conferences are coming up in your area and contact them as far in advance as possible to offer your services at their event? Even if the event is not one specifically tailored towards massage or other holistic therapies, things like ‘relaxation stations’ are always going to be popular.

Big events can mean a very long day, so attendees are often jumping at the chance to experience a taster of something generally considered a luxury at a cheap price, if not free. You can even offer your services to exhibition staff – they’re likely to need it even more and are surely as much a part of your potential client base as the conference attendees! 

Is the event worth your time and effort?

If you’re thinking of getting in on a non-holistic event, check out how popular the event is likely to be by researching its reputation and history online. Find out how many exhibitors are likely to be there – if you can find out how many tickets have been sold, even better. Depending on your powers of persuasion, you may be able to set up without paying to be an official exhibitor, if you pitch your services as an offering for the other exhibitors and staff as well as the attendees. With massage being an added bonus rather than the focus of the event, you will probably be (and have) no competition.

Likewise, if you’re paying to exhibit at a holistic event, try to find out how much competition you will have and whether the fees are justifiable. The obvious choices may not always be the most profitable; if you sign up for an event like the Mind Body Spirit Festival, you know that you may well be able to attract more customers but there is likely to be a lot more competition. On the plus side, if you’re confident that your massage skills are a cut above the rest, you’ll no doubt reel in a few more customers with a quick demo.

Why does this approach bring you new customers?

On-site massage is a much more practical way of promoting your services than dropping leaflets through doors, putting up marketing materials in your salon or on your website. The proof is in the pudding, so with a practical demonstration half the battle is won. You don’t need to convince anyone to part with the full price of a treatment before they know whether you’re good at what you do. At a busy exhibition you may well have people queuing for a taster session, especially if it’s a free massage – and the chances are they will be back shortly with colleagues in tow! This is another great reason to attend exhibitions – with so many businesses or their representatives attending, your word-of-mouth factor is much bigger. You may find that you can secure a regular gig at a local business based on this. If you’re very lucky you might even find that you’re having to turn down work after an event!

Once you have a potential customer there on the chair or table, they will instantly be much more relaxed than if you were giving them a sales pitch, so they’ll be much more receptive to your friendly chat about your products and services.

Choose your equipment (and your presentation) wisely

If you’re already a mobile therapist you may have this covered. Some massage therapists find it easier to attend events with a massage chair rather than a table, dependent on what kind of treatments you plan to offer, and also dependent on how much space you’ve been allocated. Often attendees are dressed in suits or business attire and they may feel awkward laying on a table at an event – it’s less practical than sitting on a chair and removing a jacket. For this reason chair massage is a very popular therapy for events and corporate office bookings. If you don’t already have one, there are lightweight, portable chairs on the market that make for a very comfortable and convenient massage experience and demonstrating your massage therapies in this way makes it easy for you to extend your client base to local businesses in the area.

Don’t forget to update and bring along your promotional materials. If you are a company, you can promote with free items such as t-shirts or other branded items. If you have proper uniform, you will stand out more as a professional. People will remember your image as much as your therapy skills, and if you put them on a substandard, uncomfortable piece of equipment you will be undoing all of your hard work before it starts. Lastly, even if you don’t mean it… smile! 

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