Congratulations! You’ve gotten clear on your business offerings, set some serious goals for yourself, and have determined that you. are. ready.
Ready to book that expo space, baby!
Now that you have committed is when the fun stuff happens: Designing your booth! Pimping your promo materials! Perfecting your pitch! The laundry list of to-do’s goes on and on…..and on….and on. Before going into panic mode check out the following ‘can’t mess it up checklist’ for your first bridal expo. It’s chock full of helpful hints, tried and true techniques, and some hard won lessons along my journey of booking brides.
Your bridal expo must haves….
A pre show promotion strategy.
- Set goals for your booths outcome.
- # of email signups, # of tentative bookings, # of social media channel follows
- Spread the word via social media, website, word of mouth, printed invitations, newsletter high-lights, etc. Seek to build targeted awareness for even better turn out at your booth.
- Inquire about advertising opportunities with the expo directors for additional visibility.
- Promote on the expo’s social media channels, website, promo booklets, door prizes, swag bags
- Pay attention to what other vendors will be present at the show and make a plan of action to connect with any complimentary businesses prior to the show, or if time permits, during setup or breakdown of the show.
- Set goals for your booths outcome.
A creative and brand-on-point booth display.
- Beautiful signage must be apparent, easily visible, and attract attention. Prospects should not have to hunt for your business name on your booth.
- Design a warm, welcoming, and professional booth.
- Look, dress, and act professionally
- Smile! Say hello! Be polite and conversational, thank people for stopping at your booth
- Complimentary decor – stand out in a way that makes sense to your brand
- If using electricity, make sure to confirm this with show directors in advance and provide for safe and aesthetically pleasing stashing of cords. No one should be tripping coming into your booth!
- Nor should they be second guessing your organizational abilities with messy cords, tape all over the place, or piled up boxes they need to step over. Key: create a visually appealing booth.
- Interactive Product/Service displays that draw in prospects
- Create levels within your display, catching visitors eyes and increasing visual interest
- Interactive display (cake tasting, mirrors for jewelry try-ons, live models modeling your gowns)
- Create an engaging, memorable experience. No clutter, no trash, no half-eaten sandwiches instead offer beautiful albums to peruse, confetti poppers to fill, a beautiful flower for their hair, use your imagination! What would make you say, “oh wow, that was awesome! I have to book them!”, then do that:)
- Don’t include items that take away from or confuse prospective clients. For example, don’t offer prospects multiple types of cupcake favors if your there to showcase your jewelry. Make it relevant!
Perfect a clear and concise non-pitchy pitch.
- Seek to be more than a robot. Interact with your prospective clients, ask them questions, draw them in
- Sell who you are not just what you do. Project your passion for why you do what you do and how you can help your prospects to achieve stellar results.
- Be aware of your body language, no one wants to talk to you with a grumpy look on your face while slumped in your chair checking your phone. If this is you, you have no business being there anyway! Your phone can wait until after the expo.
- Perfect some opening lines that facilitate easy interaction with prospects, asking what can I help you with? might deter a conversation, whereas asking when is your wedding date? might be more likely to open a dialogue you can steer toward gaining information about them and their wedding, giving you a prime opportunity to pitch. You savvy marketer, you!
- Get clear on your business messaging and be able to deliver it confidently and concisely to those engaging with your booth. No ummmmm’s allowed!
- Don’t get discouraged if people don’t book right away. The whole point of the show is to expose your biz and make a stellar first impression, that way when they are ready to book you are the first one that comes to mind
Develop branded and easily digestible promo materials and takeaways.
- Make sure prospects leave your booth with an engaging and beautiful piece of marketing material. How else are they going to find your website/book your services/call you up if you don’t give them that information?
- Really think about what the best piece of promotional takeaway material might be. If you are printing your logo and info on a wrapper for a yummy cookie, what happens if they throw that wrapper away? Make sure your marketing dollars and efforts aren’t going down the drain.
Implement a lead capture system.
- Offer an email signup/social media follow/information gathering incentive to prospects. You can offer a discount, free product, a consult, a trip, whatever you think would be of great value to your clients. Whatever it is make it desirable so prospects WANT to sign up/follow/leave their information with you.
- Make it easy! Don’t ask them for every piece of information you can think of, ask for the basics in an easy format. You can follow up for any additional clarification at a later time. Oh, and have lots of working pens at the ready!
- Make your intentions with their information clear to your prospects. Plan to email them once a week with updates, tips and tricks, and possible booking incentives? Tell them! Let them know that you are going to act responsibly with the information they are giving you, give them no reason to mistrust your use of it.
Have a strong post-show follow up strategy.
- Re-evaluate your goals pre-show to see how everything panned out. Was your opt in offer desirable and you had lots of sign-ups? Or, do you need to evaluate and course correct for next time?
- Follow up with your prospects and thank them for stopping by your booth. Remind them (in case they threw that cookie wrapper away) where to go for more information about you, your products/services/ and how to work with you.
- Follow up with any vendors you met at the show. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them and look forward to networking with them in the future. You never know where a good referral can come from or how a referral you make can come back to reward you.
- Continue to follow up. Now that you are in front of your prospects continue to create value and position yourself as a valuable contact by keeping them informed of what’s going on with your business, tips and tricks, incentives, and ultimately just reminding them that you care and look forward to helping them.
Well, there you have it. Your ‘can’t mess it up checklist’ for your first bridal expo. Let me know in the comments what item(s) you might be struggling with and how I can help.
Once you’ve completed your first show, come back and let me know what worked for you and what needed improvement. You never know how much your insights might help out someone else struggling with the exact same thing.
Wishing you much success! Now go out there and rock that expo!