I'm a dyed in the wool internet marketer, but every once in a while I find it valuable to get out from behind the screen and have some face to face conversations. A really fun and efficient way to do this is via fairs, festivals, trade shows, conferences etc.
Every time we contemplate one of these, I wince at the booth fees, the getting there, the hotels and think "Man that money would go a long way on Facebook ads. And I could stay home and ship stuff..." But here are some reasons it's a good idea to sprinkle a few of these in every now and then.
You'll hone your sales pitch.
You have an endless stream of people to practice on, and when the words come out of your mouth, you can actually see how people are reacting to it. When you get home, rewrite your homepage copy.
You can test different audiences without being a data nerd.
If you are a little unsure of who you need to be targeting, you can try different types of events that attract different people. You'll probably need to change up your language and main points from one group to the next. You'll also have an easy time seeing who wanders into your booth. Are they middle aged women? 20 something men? Professionals? Who seems to respond the most positively? All of this will help you back in internet-land.
Connections you wouldn't otherwise have.
So much of Internet sales depend on search. What if you have a business like mine where people don't know your product exists? At a fair, you have the opportunity to catch the curious ones, draw them into a conversation, and have a meaningful interaction. You also might network with other vendors.
You'll find that some of your products aren't as unpopular as you thought.
You'll see the chasm between what sells in person and what sells online, and learn to change your product presentations accordingly.
You get to dress up!
Sure, there is nothing quite as alluring as jammies and unbrushed hair for your work day, but if you pick your fairs right, you'll have to dress renaissance, or as a fairy or your fav comic book character. How's that for a work uniform?
Me at the Fairy Fest with rained on hair.
People are Super Entertaining
There are the blurter-outers. They are the ones who walk up and use a short phrase like "I got hemorrhoids" as a conversation starter. Nice.
There are the introverts. Make no sudden moves in their direction. Let them "feel" their way around a bit before you intiate a conversation.
There are the manifestors. Either the ones with critters or the ones who are having trouble standing up in your atmosphere. In either case, you're babysitting them for awhile.
There are the really knowledgeable ones who can track with you everywhere you want to go and then teach you a thing or two. Did you know that playing the didgeridoo cures sleep apnea? Me neither!
Always looking for a good fair that I'll fit into. Drop me a line if you know one. :)