Are you wondering if it's worth it to exhibit at a bridal show? I would love to tell you "YES! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT!" But the truth of the matter is, each bridal show is different and so is each market. For example, here in Los Angeles, there are more bridal shows than I can count on one hand! If I am overwhelmed, imagine how brides must feel. I have exhibited in the past with very little luck and I have had times where I did well. The main difference for me was the actual show and who their target market was. There are shows who do a great job marketing the bride that is perfect for you and there are shows who don't. AND I will also say that there are brides that simply don't go to shows. I have had vendors tell me that the brides they work with generally don't go to bridal shows.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
I wish I could answer this question for you with certainty, but honestly I can't. My best advice to you is to talk to other wedding planners that target the type of bride you want to target. You will need to talk to someone who has more than one real experience exhibiting at the particular show you are considering and who can tell you their true experience and whether they met the types of brides they wanted to meet. Also, visit a show before exhibiting. I ALWAYS head out to shows to tour the floor, check out the flow of the event, determine the energy and layout, get a feel for the types of vendors that exhibit and people watch the brides. YES I DO THIS! I'm spending my hard earned money. Therefore, I want to be sure the experience will be beneficial to me and my business. There is no point in exhibiting at a show that offers very little ROI and which targets brides that are not a match for my services.
BUDGET FOR YOUR BOOTH
Paying for your booth is only half of the battle. If you want to get a bride's attention, you have to do something to glam up your booth a bit. When I exhibit at a show, I tend to spend just as much on designing my booth as I do for the booth itself. You also need marketing collateral and signage. I generally take the time to plan my design just as I would for a photo shoot or any other event I design. You want to show brides what your brand represents.
Today's bride is very savvy. She has a Smartphone in hand; gathers her information from blogs, tweets, Facebook and podcasts; and of course she consults with her friends who were recently married. To top it off, she is navigating through uncertain economic times, which sometimes makes concrete wedding planning a bit problematic. It is imperative to meet brides face to face so they have a chance to get to know you and connect with you.
Bridal shows are an opportunity to do just that. If you go into a bridal show expecting to book brides on the spot, you will leave completely deflated. That's not to say it's impossible. On the contrary, but please be aware that it is more likely that she will not book on the spot and will instead continue to explore the bridal show and meet other vendors. Because this is usually how she goes about things, it is important to make a positive impression and then follow up with her afterwards. She may completely forget your name when her day is done. It is YOUR job to get back to her and remind her how you met and listen to her needs.
Regardless, bridal shows are an excellent way to network with other amazing vendors! As we speak, I am working on an amazing book, "Be the Wedding Planner You've Always Wanted To Be: Bridal Shows". This book will help wedding planners exhibit at bridal shows with success! You will:
- Learn how to find the right show for your business
- Obtain ways to reach brides BEFORE the show
- Set goals that will help you get the clients you want
- How to properly set up a marketing plan beforehand
- Look like an experienced and confident wedding planner
- Design an attractive booth that will grab the bride's attention
- Learn how to keep the lines of communication open after the show
So what are you waiting for? Registering for Backstage Bridal Pro Academy guarantees that you will receive "Be the Wedding Planner You've Always Wanted To Be: Bridal Shows" as well as many other tools we will provide you so that your business is positioned for the greatest level success! SEE YOU THERE!