Seeing A Beauty Industry Event Through The Eyes Of A Beauty PR Pro
Beauty PR professionals attend industry events ‘differently’.
It’s how we maximize the ‘show’ experience for our clients. With a few suggestions, you too can make every industry event work toward your PR success.
The beauty show season is underway early this season, kicked off by the International Haircolor Exchange (IHE) in Anaheim this coming weekend (Nov 9-10). How can you turn an event such as this (or any other industry show) into a PR ‘event’ just for you and your salon or spa?
As I walk the heavy ‘bass-beat’ aisles of our huge hair shows, the soothing, calmer ‘environments’ of spa events, the colorful, fashion-paced nail extravaganzas, and the intensely-focused ‘education-destination’ events, I come to ‘take in the people’ a whole lot more than the products – those wonderful beauty and business leaders that are everywhere at these kinds of events. I look past the glitz and glamour (the next flat iron flattening, scissors flying, foils developing, nail devices pulsating or spa treatments exfoliating) – and find the most important PR products at the event . . . the people!
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE!
It’s the people you seek out and meet that make the difference to your business and PR future.
When the show is over and you’re back at your salon or spa, it is the people you stopped to talk to, took a photo with, shared news with, asked advice of, commiserated about business with, and thanked for something that impacted you or your business that you will remember – and that they will remember. Shampoos, salon software and skin care treatments come and go, but the people relationships in this industry last forever – and are one of our great joys and personal rewards of our industry.
Meeting the right people at a beauty event provides you with a fantastic opportunity to paint a positive picture of your business and briefly share the PR news excitement you want them to know – and to spread the words to others.
So, here are a few ‘strategic event-attending ideas.
- Pre-plan ‘who’ you want to see at the show and where they are. Study the show’s on-line exhibitor list or show program well in advance and make a list of those exhibitors you want to stop by and ‘say hello’ to. Give special consideration to those that your salon/spa does business with. Plan it area by area to maximize travel time. Put the list in geographic/priority order.
- Make advance phone calls among those people you know. Learn who might be there that you want to see. Try to pre-set appointments before everyone gets to the show so you have specific get-togethers written down in your plan. Most people you want to meet and have a moment with are ‘calendared’ a week or so before the show.
- Before you even leave the salon for the show, decide what kind of local or industry PR you would like to send out and use afterward (local press release, your website news page, to show your staff, and to post in the salon for your clients). You’ll want to ‘merchandise’ having attended that major industry event. Line it all up before you leave – then come back with the right ingredients ready to utilize your press material(s) the day after you get back! Current news isn’t ‘current’ for long.
Tip: Download a sample local press release here. Don’t forget, you’ll need that ‘key photo’ that illustrates you (and your salon team) attending the event with a credible, newsworthy person or two there (top educator, show producer, a celebrity salon or spa pro, a bigwig from a manufacturer you do business with, you winning an award, etc).
- Carry a small note pad with you (steno pad size at the biggest). Big, multi-function folios are a clunky, ungraceful handful for note taking. A small reporter’s type notepad is great for jotting your important show notes and you can keep it in the same pocket you keep your business cards.
- Bring your trusty digital camera (see Digital Photos for Salon PR and have it handy in your pocket (along with your biz cards)
- I have to say it . . . Get you (and your staff) in the picture!! Ask someone else to take it for you. Photos without you in them are far less useful. Don’t be intimidated and hurry your photos. Ask for what you want! Make sure you get two or three shots of the same scenario. You’ll be so glad you did when you see them full-screen back home and the first one you took has your eyes closed. 🙁
- Write down names and titles (Photo Ids) for each photo.
- Who is in the photo?
- Their affiliation (name, salon/company, city, etc)
- Get their card and email addresses. (See # 8 for the email reason)
- Ask for what you want. If you are attending a class given by a top industry educator, icon or guest artist you admire and would kill to get them to notice you, walk right up after class and ask them if there is any chance you could assist them at some future show or event on their schedule. Quality assistance is hard to come by for everyone. They just might say ‘let’s talk more’. You never know. Ask!
- Turn the photos you took into a friendly follow-up with the others in the shot. E-mail them their own copies – it’s a great excuse to get back in touch once the show is over! Write them a nice note . . . maybe encourage staying in touch or remind them about something you talked about at the show. If you didn’t get their card, as for the other data you need to stay in touch in the future. (salon name, address, phone etc.)
- Bring plenty of your business cards to the show and don’t forget to give them to those you connect with. I don’t mean to insult you PR sophisticates, but I can’t tell you how often we see people ‘fumbling’ in their bags and pockets for buried biz cards mumbling something about “I seem to have forgotten my cards in my other bag. – the dog ate my homework :- (
- Set up a couple of press interviews for yourself at the show. Need I say you want a photo with you and the editor? Think about starting to set this up around 3 weeks ahead of the show dates. Many of our industry’s magazine editors cover the events and shows we attend. It makes perfect sense for you to e-mail a couple of your favorite magazine editors or website goddesses and ask if they might have a few minutes for you to meet up just to say hello and that you’d like to fill them in briefly about your salon and something unique you are doing. Ask them what they might like to receive from you in the future re: salon or spa news – and in what form they prefer to receive it (most do prefer email) The editor(s) you call may be already booked solid at the show but you never know . . . .they may have a little time to spare and they’re all very nice people looking for good ideas.
When you email them, understand they are extremely busy during industry events, so be prepared to be flexible and offer several options of times and days to meet. Put a time limit on the meeting (Suggestion – ‘do you have five or ten minutes?. Also, ask them if they have a place they would like to meet. Some will (especially those magazines that have an exhibit booth) but many are just roving like you. In case they ask if you have a suggestion, have one ready from your homework of the show floor. Maybe grab a quick coffee near the snack bar area, etc).
YOUR PR HOMEWORK BEFORE THE SHOW
Of course, you’ve listed what classes you plan to be at and what ‘stuff’ you want to see. Now it’s time for your PR homework. But . . .
- What entity is producing the show?
- What are the names and titles of show management and where is their booth?
- What industry publications are exhibiting. Where are they located on the event floor?
- What might be interesting for people to know about you and your salon or spa business?
- What manufacturers (whose products you use and sell) are there?
PR HOMEWORK AT THE SHOW
- What manufacturer ‘biggies’ are attending? (They can often be found somewhere around the booth at their major events. (Wouldn’t it be good to get a photo with them?)
- Pre-find the convenient (quietest?) and easy-to-find places to meet someone for your quick chat in case you are asked?
- Decide what top educator(s) you would love to get to notice you and plan to meet them.
ENJOY THE SHOW
Now you’re really ready to enjoy the show with your ‘PR hat’ on. Hopefully, you’ll never look at any industry show quite the same way again. Make the value of attending that show last much longer than you ever have before!
DON’T FORGET THE DOWNLOAD!
Here’s that sample news release you might consider using as the ‘bones’ for you and your salon about your having attended the International Haircolor Exchange. We’ve changed the names to protect the innocent 🙂 but it will give you an idea of how a simple news release makes a statement about you, your salon, and the other staff color specialists that attended with you as well as the passion and philosophy of your salon.
Perhaps it gets picked up in the local paper, perhaps not, but it’s a release that makes ‘an impression’ on your local beauty writer(s). It certainly tells them who you and your salon or spa business are in your area and where your passion and professionalism lies as a beauty leader.
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