Well festivals are returning after years off, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back out there that I’m considering them all.
If you’re ever wondering whether to jump in and be a presenter or a get a booth at a yoga festival or conference, the tip below could help you decide.
In the meantime, I’d love to shake your hand (and maybe give a hug) to anyone who comes to visit me at these:
- April 13- 15, 2023: Get Your Free Ticket to the Toronto Yoga Show and Conference, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Canada: I’ll be having a big clearance sale on all the kids yoga books I’ve been storing while the pandemic was on.
- October 22, 2023: Intentional Well Being Conference I hope to be accepted as a vendor for this conference. This one-day conference, spearheaded by Dianne Bondy, is designed with all bodies in mind. Creating a welcoming space for diversity, equity, belonging, and self-expression.
When to Do a Trade Show or Festival Booth and When to Pass
I’ve done trade shows for about a decade, some I’ve been thrilled with, and some I’ve regretted.
After all this time here’s my biggest tip for doing a show.
Can You afford to do it?
You can afford to get a booth if you can literally pay for it without going into debt. A booth at a show can range from free to over a thousand dollars. Some conferences let you volunteer for the publicity and some charge you to be a presenter (yes that’s right, they don’t pay you to get in front of their people, sometimes they want you to pay them).
Start by doing the shows that you can afford because you want to figure out what to do, how to present your material, and what people want. All these questions can be answered at affordable shows, before you commit to a more expensive show. Too many yoga teachers go into debt buying things that they can’t afford.
It is highly likely that you won’t make your money back by doing a booth, one of the main reasons to do it is for the market research, to get in front of your customers and find out what they want. If you can’t afford the booth, there are other ways to connect with your customers.
Can you afford NOT to do it?
The question of if you can afford NOT to do a booth is about getting your priorities straight. If you have a lot on your plate already, you can’t afford the time to do a booth. If you have the time and you need to get yourself out there, you may not be able to afford NOT to do the show.
Your answer will help you keep your priorities on track. If you can afford NOT to do it, it means you’ve examined your priorities. If you decide to pass, you can put that time into social media, creating posters, or finishing the final exam on the training you took.
If you have a lot to do anyway, don’t drop everything else to get a booth. A boot his rarely the answer to your marketing troubles.
Are the Demographics Right?
The booth we pay for most often is at the Toronto Yoga Show. We do it because we know it puts us in front of our target market of people who are already interested in yoga so we can tell them about our Yoga Teacher Training resources.
But this conference is not appropriate for a Kids Yoga Teacher. Why?
Because at this conference you’ll meet people from all over the city and province. However, you won’t want to travel to give them a kids yoga class and they are not going to travel more than a few kilometers to take a kids yoga class with you.
This conference casts too big a net to find people to fill local classes.
Look for a booth at a local farmers market where mostly everyone who attends lives in the area. If the price is right, that might be worth considering.
If you are trying to build clients for your yoga classes, you might not be able to afford to miss that chance to promote.
If you teach kids yoga, look for opportunities at local schools or daycare festivals, places where you know families will attend. Depending on the price, getting a booth could build your email list so you can send out your newsletter and build a relationship with them.
Not All Trade Shows are Alike
There are other trade shows I’ve looked at, The Women’s Show, the Green Show, but I don’t get a booth at those shows because it is missing the yoga element that ensures that the traffic is already into yoga. For the price I would pay for a booth, it would not be worth it.
The Biggest Factor: Will You Follow Up with People You Meet?
The final factor to decide if you should get a booth is whether you can build a relationship with the people you meet after the event is over. From all the years doing trade shows, rarely does someone sign up for a course or event at the booth. All that happens after the show when I send out my newsletter.
If you don’t have an email list and newsletter system set up, there’s not much point in meeting people and getting their emails.
I sell related products (books and kids yoga props) at my booth which brings in some cash flow to cover the costs of the booth, for all the time it takes me (and my husband and the volunteers who help staff the booth), that would not make it worthwhile. The real benefit comes when I follow up with my newsletter and people sign up for the training.
The same is likely true for your booth. If you have a product you want to sell, then that is an added reason to invest in a booth. If you don’t make sales, at least you will get feedback from customers.
But if you are doing it to promote your classes, then that needs to happen long term. People need to get to know you, like you, and trust you before they leave their children in your care for a yoga class series. That can take some time.
Which Way are you Leaning?
I hope my experiences and insights help you make a decision about getting a booth.
Leave a comment with any stories you’ve had from promoting at festivals or conferences. Did you pay, get paid, or volunteer? Was it worth it?