As a Wyoming native, the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) was the closest national show to us — making it the “go to.” In fact, the 2016 NWSS marked the 100th year that my family’s ranch, Middleswarth Herefords exhibited in the yards in Denver. To say our Christmas gifts often centered around “needs” for the upcoming show would be pretty accurate!
Spending every January at the NWSS has evolved for me over the years. At first, it was about being old enough to finally go for the whole week to ten days (that’s right), then it was about extending that precious Christmas break by an extra week (because of course I was going to get those final few AR points by reading in Denver!) and eventually it became about what we were going to see that was new, bigger, better than the year before. Denver seems to be this pivotal place where all the new ideas/tips/tricks really have the opportunity to shine both from a breeding standpoint and a marketing outlook.
Denver is a unique blend of spectators, exhibitors and industry leading vendors all coming together to showcase how they are going to make the upcoming year the best one yet for their respective product. Throw in a little yard bar and hill food and you have one incredible experience! But, the question now has become how do you stand out in a sea of new ideas and product roll outs? What differentiates you and your product from the guy in the stall/booth/display next to you?
At Ranch House we have pulled together our top to do list to help you stand out and make the most of your NWSS experience.
1. Generate excitement about your product BEFORE you ever arrive in Denver.
Whether it’s engaging your social media followers, sending out an email blast to your list (or using someone else’s), or putting an ad in your favorite livestock publication that comes out before NWSS, you will have a more successful NWSS experience if you let people know they should look for you while there.
2 Host something.
Whether it’s a chili feed, an educational opportunity, or just a social event—do it! Give people a reason to come to you and then make it worth their while. People love food, learning, socializing—the experience is what potential customers really want. Give it to them…and then ask them to buy something!
3. Provide a special “right here/right now” offer.
Host a semen sale at your stall, give a special NWSS only discount for something, give people a reason not only to come to your stall but to be able to buy something right then while they’re there.
4. Be Creatively Eye-Catching.
Your display must demand attention. I love looking at pictures of my dad and grandpa’s pens. Hereford cattle bedded up to their bellies in straw with a few signs outside the pen. That set up was great in a time of visitors and perspective buyers coming to the yards to spend hours wandering around talking to every person that had a pen. Now, people make a 5-second snap judgment on whether they are going to stop and see what you have to offer. That judgment will be 90% based on the appearance of your set up.
5. Create a consistent brand presence.
Running a print ad, social media, or email campaign leading up to Denver? Great! Make those coordinate with your stall cards, your end panel signs and your banner. Brand recognition is important in all marketing—make it easier on your customers to find and recognize you!
6. Have an end goal in mind and promote it.
Maybe you don’t have something for sale right that second. Maybe you only brought cattle that previously sold in a fall sale. That’s okay—marketing is not the same at every show for every person. Your end goal can range from selling semen shares to customer satisfaction and relations. No matter what your goal is for Denver it’s important to identify it and then maximize your potential to achieve it.
7. A social media plan is a MUST.
Your social media plan is one of the most important tools to bring with you at a show. Gone are the days of waiting to hit the grounds before you see the latest display bull and their respective banners, the sale calf whose picture you loved in the catalog, or the latest livestock show products. Now, before we even get there we already are making a mental list of what are the must stops. If you aren’t on social media drawing attention to your product you are falling behind. If you’re not comfortable making or executing this plan yourself? No problem! Email us today and let RHD hook you up for NWSS — it’s important!
We hope these tips are helpful for you to have the most successful NWSS yet! Don’t forget, if you need help with your social media plan, print advertisements, stall displays or all of the above make sure to reach out to Ranch House. We would love to help you.
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