It’s bridal show season! If you’re looking to book more weddings at bridal shows this season I’ve got 5 tips to help you make bridal shows more successful for you and help you avoid the common mistakes that wedding professionals often make at bridal shows.
Consider who the show is targeting
When bridal shows target a niche (like vintage weddings or quirky weddings) or a specific type of couple, they attract the right people for you, that is if you fit into that specific niche or want to work with that type of couple. Ask the show organizer who the ideal client is for this show. If they just say “brides”, try to dig deeper to find out what sort of brides they mean. It’s fine to be an exhibitor at a more general bridal show, but if you know that you serve a more specific client that isn’t being catered to, you may want to choose another bridal show.
Not sure who your ideal client is? Read this before you spend money marketing to couples who may not be the right fit for your and your business.
Don’t rely on the email list the show producer provides
This one is a doozie. I meet soooooo many wedding professionals who think that this email list is some sort of secret ninja route to booking tons of clients. I hate to break it to you, but it’s not.
You can’t market to a random list of attendees via email because of CAN SPAM laws. You can only legally email couples that have agreed to be contacted. If you market to couples who have not opted in to receive your emails, they could report you as a spammer and your email address could be blacklisted which is a huge headache because then no one will receive emails that you send.
Even if you could do that, it wouldn’t be effective. These people met a lot of wedding professionals that day and they’re getting hit left and right with promos. Do you really think they’re going to book some random that emails them just because you were at the same place on a given day? They don’t have any knowledge of you or your work and they don’t even know if they like you.
So what are you supposed to do? You create your own list. When a couple visits your stand and you talk to them, offer them the opportunity to enter a relevant giveaway or get your free opt in offer which can be something like a checklist that will help them, a guide, a timeline, etc. Not sure how this works? Click here.
This process works SO much better because you’re following up with people who are already interested in you and what you do. They’re warm leads as opposed to cold leads (strangers you haven’t even spoken to) and warm leads convert better and easier into sales than cold leads do.
Set your goals before the bridal show
Know what you want to get out of this bridal show so that you can focus on accomplishing your gals and know how to gauge how well you did. If you provide a service that needs a more in depth discussion, aim to schedule 5 or 10 consultations after the show. Do you want a certain number of leads to follow up on? Setting these goals will help keep you on track during the show. For more on setting better goals, check out my podcast on turning goals into action plans.
Have a follow up system set up before the show
Booking clients is like dating. Would you go up to some random person and ask them to marry you? That is what you’re doing when you ask for the sale right away. Weird right? Instead of doing that, you can build a follow up system that demonstrates your expertise and educates your potential customers so that they’re ready to work with you (because they may not be ready at the show). You need a system because statistically, if you aren’t following up at least 5 times, you’re missing out on 80% of potential sales.
But I’m not talking about sending 5 emails that pretty much boil down to “Are you ready to book me yet?” because that’s annoying and it doesn’t work.
Using an email marketing service like Convertkit and import the emails that you’ve personally collected. Then, you can set up a series of autoresponders with informative, fun and useful content for them. I have a full 7 email autoresponder waiting for you inside The Wedding Business Collective that you can take, tweak and use so you don’t have to spend all that time writing your own from scratch. Woo!
The idea here is to establish yourself at the expert in your field by showing the potential client how much you know and how you can help them. And of course a couple is not going to remember everyone they talk to at a bridal show so when you write your follow up emails, always say where you met and mention something about your stand or a conversation you had with them so they know who you are.
Track your ROI (Return On Investment)
Be sure to always ask how people heard of you so that you can track your return on investment (ROI). This way you will find which bridal shows and which marketing tactics work best for you. If something doesn’t work for you, get rid of it and try something new at the next bridal show. I often hear from suppliers that bridal shows “don’t work” and while they’re better for some people than others, it’s important to track your results and decide what you can tweak and test next time. Marketing and business is one big experiment.
Create a specific landing page on your website for the attendees of this bridal show or use a custom bit.ly link on your marketing materials so you can track how many of your website visitors are from the show specifically. Example: http://bit.ly/londonbridalshow
If you don’t already use Google Analytics, get it set up on your site before the bridal show!
Keep track of all of the sales you make that came from the bridal show in Excel. Make note of how many people you signed up on your own list that you can follow up with. Did this meet the goal you set?
Tis the season for bridal shows so I’ve been working with members of The Wedding Business Collective on their strategies to get the most of the shows they’re exhibiting at this season. Would you like some help with your bridal show strategy? Click here to join us inside The Wedding Business Collective!