Having a trade stand on a budget

To continue on ‘marketing to our ideal client‘, you should now have your best clients bio created. If you missed the last blog post about creating this, click here.

Now that we know who our ideal client is we need to be able to speak and connect with them.

We have so many avenues to connect to our potential clients, here are my top 5:

  1. Trade stands
  2. Social Media including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
  3. Collaborations with livery yards and tack shops
  4. Client referrals
  5. Newsletters

Trade Stands – I cannot recommend having a stand at equestrian/country events high enough.

When I first set up my equine photography business I remember saying ‘I would love to have a stand at an equine show but I can’t afford to pay for the pitch’ or ‘I just don’t have enough to fill a stand’. Let me tell you, you can ABSOLUTELY do this with a couple of frames, a borrowed tent and your business cards.

My first stand was at a local pony club event. I was the only stand there and I was positioned next to the secretaries tent. I had my 4 studio sample frames, my business cards, a competition box and a show offer. I borrowed a tent and table and the rest was created with nerves and enthusiasm.

I paid nothing for the pitch and I donated 2 photo shoots, including a print, to 2 of the top classes. The reason I sponsored 2 classes:

  • My business name was in the programme under sponsors and contributors
  • My name was announced over the tannoy as the sponsor of the 2 classes
  • Hannah Freeland Photography was printed on the tail of the rosettes for these classes
  • I handed the prize to each winner and spoke to them and their family about the photo shoot

At the show I spoke to EVERYONE I possibly could. I knew who my ideal client was and I was on the look out for them. Just from 1 day and a free pitch I got:

  1. Exposure to over 80 of my perfect clients
  2. The ability to chat to them in a relaxed enviroment, while they are thinking about their pony/horse
  3. Over 50 entries to my competition to win a photo shoot with me, including a framed print
  4. Newsletter database names from the competition
  5. 2 Winners of the classes and my competition winner for photo shoots. These 3 winners all spent money on beautiful products from their shoots and have referred more clients to me.
  6. Experience in running a stand

By the time someone contacts you, after seeing you at a show, they are ready to buy. They are a hot lead and simply need things confirming. A good rule of thumb for converting a lead to a client is talk to them for at least 20 minutes on your stand. Tell them all about what a photo shoot is like with you, how much they will enjoy it and what they will get out of it.

In my experience even the small, intimate shows that don’t even charge to have you there exhibiting, can be great sellers. One, that I still do, has earn’t me over £12,000!

This was one of my first stand set ups (I have my hands over my eyes looking back!) note the sofa and rug! The yard owner had these in the barn and added them to my stand to help! It was also his tent. As I said, this event has brought in over £12,000 worth of sales, so there is no excuses for not getting out there and being seen.

I would love to see your stand set ups or if you have any questions on this topic please contact me through our Contact Page.