This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is a member of the National Speakers Association, an author, and founder of The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, an organization dedicated to the educating and consulting of highly motivated individuals and businesses. Learn more at http://alanberg.com/.
Wedding or bridal shows are still relevant for today’s couples because they still like to see, hear, touch, smell and taste, before they buy. They’re relevant for you because you crave the face-time and want to show the passion for what you do. Is there a magic formula for wedding show success? As with any other marketing vehicle you have to be an active participant. You can’t just buy your booth and expect the sales to come rolling in.
How can you make the most of your investment in wedding shows? First, think of it as more than just the day(s) of the show. Next, follow these 6 steps to maximize your return.
1. Before the show
- Prepare your booth in advance and have a goal (sales, appointments, interested prospects, etc.).
- Have them come to the show, specifically looking for you. Give your booth number and include visual elements that will tie your advance promotion to your actual booth.
- Use Social Media, your website, direct mail, email, your voice mail and email auto-responder to alert your prospects that you’ll be at the show.
- Phone prospects who have shown interest and let them know you’ll be at the show.
2. Prepare your follow up
- Don’t wait until you get the list to decide what to do via phone, email and/or direct mail.
- Create the scripts, email templates and direct mail pieces before the show so you can get them out when the list arrives. Find out what data will be on it and when you’ll get it.
- Prepare a different follow up for those who scheduled appointments, those who showed interest and then the rest of the master list. The language should be different based upon what you do, or don’t know about them and their level of interest.
3. At the show
- Make your booth stand out and reflect what you do. Don’t distract or confuse them with elements that don’t reflect what you do.
- Use professional signage, something they can read from a distance with easy to read language and font styles.
- Put your signage up high so they can see it.
- Don’t sit down in your booth.
- Don’t eat in your booth.
- Have a clear purpose for the show. If you want to make appointments, have your appointment schedule with you.
4. Staff your booth for the attendance
- Who you put in the booth makes a big difference. It isn’t about just having enough bodies there. They have to be the right people, with the right skills.
- Teach them how to qualify quickly so you don’t waste their or your time.
- Your business will be judged by the appearance of your booth and the attitude and professionalism of the staff.
- Using relatives and friends is fine… if they represent your brand well, have a good knowledge of your products, services and brand identity… and they can qualify and get the appointments.
5. Follow up with your lists after the show
- Be the first to follow up.
- If you did number 2 correctly and prepared your follow up emails, phone scripts and/or direct mail, you’ll be ready for this.
- Use similar branding, colors, fonts and offers as you do in your booth and your other marketing.
- Include photos and similar visuals from your booth in your follow-up to tie them to your look and feel at the show.
- Leave compelling voice messages that refer to the email and/or direct mail you send them.
6. Follow up again based upon the wedding date
- The residual effects of the show don’t end the day of the show. Pay attention to their wedding dates and market to them accordingly.
- What’s the right timing? There is none, but you should have a pretty good idea when most people book you compared to their wedding dates.
- When should you stop following up? When you want to start profiting from the show. Each couple books their wedding services on their own schedule.