Bridal shows should be a part of your marketing plan because they are extremely important to the wedding industry. It’s the best way to get couples away from their computer screens and face to face with you. Unfortunately, many wedding professionals, including DJs, are under the impression that solely participating in the bridal show leads to bookings. Hopefully this article will clear up some misconceptions and give you an action plan to get the best return from bridal show participation.
- Bigger isn’t always better.
The prospect of vending at a show with thousands of attendees can be exciting and lead you to think that you’ll have more prospects and bookings. But it’s often the smaller bridal shows that offer you a greater possibility of making quality contacts with potential clients. Always be mindful of the shows ratio. If the show has 75 attendees, there shouldn’t be 40 vendors exhibiting. There’s just not enough opportunity there and everyone will scramble to meet every single attendee. That’s an unhealthy ratio and the ratio you should work with is no less than 4 to 1.
Here are two alternatives to give you higher visibility at a small show and get the best ROI:
- Mock Wedding
This showcase invites a smaller group to experience what it would like to be a guest at their own wedding. It is a collaboration of wedding professionals who simulate the entire experience but narrate as it is being done. At that type of event, there is usually exclusivity among vendors and a well-executed event can create a high percentage of attendees hiring many of the attending vendors.
- Wedding Seminar Event
If you’re part a seminar event that educates couples about wedding planning, you are being perceived as an expert while showcasing your services or products. You may have a small attendance but book a high percentage of the attendees.
These two alternatives can give you an upper hand and a better ROI. And now we can clear up the second misconception of bridal shows.
- Brides will remember me from the show and contact me when they’re ready to book.
No. Just no. Many DJ’s make that mistake and fail to do the necessary follow-up to maximize the amount of business from show participation. It’s important to have a strategy in place.
Simply start with deciding how you’re going to promote your business in your vendor spot. You want to do something that is clever and makes you stand out. But it’s also just as important to do something that can be referenced in follow up emails and marketing efforts to the mailing list you compiled at your booth. It’s especially important that you know who visited your booth and even a little information about them that you can reference in your email. Personalization is key.
Here’s an idea; give away a doors hanger that says “Just Married – Go Away.” It’ll get a laugh from your booth visitors, but it’ll also make you stand out and build instant rapport, giving you a good chance of getting the appointment to investigate your services. Another idea is to give the bride or groom a chance to stand behind the turntables. Getting them in on the action can be exciting and also is memorable.
3. All brides that attend bridal shows are just beginning the wedding planning.
False. There isn’t a pattern as to when or why an engaged person attends a bridal show. Some people are just there for the swag and prizes and have no intention of booking any vendor services. That’s just reality. But others may be there to see you live DJing or see a local band they want to hire.
Some attendees haven’t even set a date while others are already planned their ceremony and reception. As anyone in the wedding industry knows, there is great disparity in the planning time and order of services accomplished by individuals.
To maximize the benefit of show participation, a commitment must be made to do an integrated follow-up campaign, combining email, social media, and even mail marketing. And pay close attention to the quality of your emails and marketing efforts after the show. That can greatly impact your ROI.
So now that you’re aware of these misconceptions, it’s time to take some action. Never book a show that has an attendee/vendor ratio of less than 4 to 1. Get creative with your booth and take the opportunity to connect with your potential clients. Make sure that your follow-up is strong and can even reference individuals to make them feel special. All of these will help you get a better return from vending at bridal shows.
Filed Under: Business, Sales & Marketing, Weddings
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