5 Tips to a Sucessful Bridal Show
I wanted to share with you my 5 tips for having a successful bridal show. From booth set up to consultations each key of your presentation is important in booking brides at and after the show.
- Pre Plan/Pack: The day you book your bridal show which is typically 6 months out sometimes more depending on your area you should start planning for booth layout. If you have a garage or backyard the best thing to do is mark off an area the size of your booth (typically 8×8 or 10×8, ask your show coordinator if you are unsure) and start to set it up and piece items together. This is especially important if you are bringing in large pieces of furniture. You do not want to get to the show and realize that table you were going to use for all your album won’t fit in your space or that you forgot a key piece of your set up. Pack the night before, most bridal shows have you set up the morning of if that is the case do not worry about rocking some yoga pants and then changing later. I know I had several vendors at my last show say I was a genius for doing that hehe. You want to have a checklist as well and include things from batteries, tape, scissors and extra pens etc. You do not want to have to run out the morning of to grab something. Bring your change of clothes with you and change right before the show starts and before you walk around to check out everyones booths.
- Add Value not a discount: You want to give your brides something that adds value to your business and not a discount. Most vendors at shows will be giving 10% off or $500 off a booked package and that is great but it is encouraging price shopping and as a community we can change how brides view bridal shows. You can give away an engagement session or an album upgrade if they book from the show. You can also do this to capture lead information at your booth as a way for them to sign up to win. I have seen vendors do a grab hat sort of thing where they have multiple or just one item in a hat and when someone fills out their information they can draw from the hat and see what they won. This will add more value to your business and not take away from your pocket either!
- Encourage Show Appointments: With giving something of value away what you can do is encourage people to set up appointments with you to receive that added value. At my last show I told my brides if they set up a consultation with me at the show they would receive a complimentary (not free) 10×10 legacy album valued at $2000! I had 15 people sign up for meetings within 3 weeks and 3 of those leads have already booked! (My show was at the beginning of the month) This way you are enticing them to meet with you in person where you can give them more information! You could do this same thing with an engagement session, set of parent albums or a canvas/prints. Remember something of value not a discount!
- Be polite not pushy: My biggest pet peeve and others I have talked to as well is when you are at an expo and the vendors jump at you as you are walking in the aisle and say “Do you have your photographer?” or “Wanna win a dream vacation?” In my mind if a client walks past my booth either they aren’t drawn to my style of photography or they already have a photographer so why would I waste my time. If I see a client walk by slow or start to linger/look, I walk up to them and say “Hi my name is Jaime!” and reach out my hand for a handshake. From there I ask them when their big day is and if they have a photographer. Reading body language is HUGE if the person isn’t talking much, starts to shift their attention elsewhere or slowly move away, they are not interested any longer. Hand them some marketing material see if they want to sign up to receive more info and be done.
- Night of the show
- One week later
- 3 weeks after the show
- 5 weeks
- 2 months (8 weeks)
- 3 months
- 3.5 months
- Then once a month until they book or respond saying they have someone. Also use judgement on when their date is if its in 2 months more likely they have someone so emailing them may not be in your best interest.FOLLOW UP FOLLOW UP FOLLOW UP!: THIS IS THE BIGGEST TIP OF ALL! If you do not follow up with the clients they will not book you! Statistics say you need to follow up with someone at least 7 times and after the 7th time they are more likely to engage with you. I know you are thinking 7 times isn’t that annoying and too much. No not at all, because your thinking that and so if every other photographer so they give up after 3 follow ups/2 months.Also depending on what show you do during what time of year your couples may not have a venue for a few months. If the client does not have a venue yet or tells you they will contact you in a few weeks then you should skip some of the follow up listed because they have engaged with you setting up their own schedule. This schedule it best for clients that may not be responding to your emails or giving you info on what is going on. I have listed a typically follow up schedule below:
I hope this is helpful for all of you as you go into booking and bridal show season! I wish you all loads of luck and remember have fun! This is your passion and it will show! XOXO