Doing a bridal show can be one of the most exhilarating things you do. I am literally on a high when I come back from the, and no, I don’t mean a sugar high from all the cake. There is so much energy surrounding shows: talking to brides, meeting new specialists, seeing old friends. If you have never done one, I encourage you to read on. If you always do them, I also encourage you to read on. There are so many things I have learned over the years of doing shows and I ALWAYS see other vendor not making the most of it. So, from start to finish, here are my tips.
There are three things I will be going over.
1. The Research. Find the right show for you.
2. The Show. Be prepared but don’t over do it.
3. The Aftermath. Follow through immediately.
1. Check out the calendar for upcoming shows on Wedding Wire.
2. Try before you buy. Literally go to as many shows as you can. They are all so different.
3. When you are at the show really pay attention to what types of brides are in attendance?
4. Ask yourself, “Who is YOUR bride?” Really figure this one out.
How old is she. Are her parents still married? Is family important? What is her style? What kind of clothing does she where? Where does she shop? What kind of car does she drive? What are her personality traits? Is she a college grad, currently in college, an artists, etc.? Is she paying for your services or are her parents? If her parents are, what type of people are they?
1. Be prepared but don’t over do it.
2. Your work should look clean and should be free of excess (unless of course you are an over the top event designer, then by all means go for it.)
3. Show your personality.
4. Have some sort of draw in. Moving Visuals, Photo booth, cake (yum!).
5. Don’t worry about free giveaways. They are, for the most part, a waste of time. However, if you want to give something away or participate in the swag bag, see photos above and below for ideas.
6. ALWAYS capture their information. Names, wedding date, venue, budget, emails, phone, address, something specific you need to follow up with them about.
7. Don’t give out your price sheet. Tell them an estimate.
8. Give them a reason to contact you again.
- Brides are usually marked, guests are usually marked, and vendors are usually marked.
- Be open to EVERYONE. You never know who you are going to meet. You cannot judge people based on what they look like. Most people who do not have money dress like they do and those who do dress like they don’t.
- When a bride walks up talk about HER, not you. This is the #1 mistake other vendors make ALL THE TIME.
- When you capture their information be thorough. Ask questions. When they leave fill in the blanks.
- Bring a laptop to capture their info.
- Look professional and stylish. Wear something dressier than you normally would to shoot.
- Stand in front of your table to the side. Never sit behind it looking up. You will look weak if you sit all day.
- Bring an assistant that looks the part. Someone who is personable and knows your products and services.
- Hold back some information so you have a reason to contact them.
- Set up early and then walk the show and collect EVERY vendor’s card only. Forget about all their marketing materials. Also, if you can, bring your camera and have each vendor pose in front of their booth then take a few detail shots of their display.
- DO NOT TEAR DOWN EARLY. If the show ends at 4pm you should be tearing down at 4:05. Here is why… I always seem to meet someone who is late to the show and is looking to talk wedding right at the end. If I tear down, I will be unprepared. Also, you paid to be there, take advantage of every second.
1. Follow through immediately.
2. Take your captured list that very evening and send out an email to each of the QUALIFIED brides you spoke with. Write something like this:
Hi Julie, It was such a pleasure meeting you and Brett. Here is a link to the engagement website for my clients and the sample photobooth photos I was telling you about. I know you will love them! Let me know if you would like to set up a time to chat more about your wedding. It already sounds like it will be a wonderful party!
Enjoy this season in your life! These are exciting times.
3. Write and mail them a hand written note and include your promotional materials.
4. Upload any images you took at the show and load them to your blog.
- Email all the brides as well as the vendors a link to your site first.
- Load the same images on Facebook. Each image should be watermarked with your logo as well as fully marked with ALL your contact info. Invite everyone (brides and vendors) to connect on Facebook and then tag them as they accept your connection.
5. Start a data base of your contacts in Excel. Contact them with an email asking for their birthday and mailing address if it was not on their card. At the end of their line, place the show at which you met them and anything that can jog your memory about them.
6. Mail them a “nice to meet you” card and include ONE business card along with one or two 4×6 or 5×7 prints from the show of their booth along with a DVD of the imagery. I include every image. Please be mindful, I do not do this for EVERY vendor. Just the ones I would like to start a relationship with or whom I would like to continue an existing relationship.
7. Contact the show producer and offer your images to them as a trade for entry at no cost the next time. This is for you newbies out there. If you are already an established photographer, you should ALWAYS do a trade at the beginning. If you are a well established shooter, negotiating a trade for the show fee is a good way to go.
8. Track your sales. I tend to go by the 4 to 1 rule. For every 1 dollar I spend advertising, I want to get 4 in return. However this does not translate my actual marketing budget. I spend next to nothing on advertising. BUT, if I do a show and it costs me $5,000 to do it, I need to make $20,000 from that show. Now, how can you track this. The rule of thumb for marketing states that you need to be seen or heard by someone 7 times before they will actual buy what you are selling. This is true and false in the wedding industry because you are selling based on emotion.
All in all, have fun. Be open and enjoy all the energy!
For a download of the live lecture, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2010 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com
Beverly Hills Wedding Photographer, Jen O’Sullivan is a boutique wedding photographer who specializes in portrait journalism.
Jen O’Sullivan Boutique Wedding Photography | 357 South Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California, 90211 | 310-494-6547