I’m just gonna come out and say it…as a general rule, I’m not a huge fan of the wedding fair. A little controversial I know. My reason for this is not because I find them boring or a waste of time but because the people exhibiting aren’t making me want to love it. Often they simply sit at their stands with a ‘take it or leave it attitude’ or they’ll just thrust leaflets and samples at me like they’re going out of fashion. This is both annoying as hell and a little bit terriflying.
I don’t think the wedding fair is dead just yet. There are hundreds of thousands of brides (and poor poor grooms)-to-be that attend these shows during their engagement. So, this week, I thought a little discussion and a few tips on how you can make wedding fairs work for you would be in order.
Thank you to Heidi from The Alternative Wedding Fair, which is taking place in London this Sunday, for putting together this article. I’ll be wandering around the fair with Roo – please don’t throw things at us.
♥ ♥ ♥
Ever wonder why some suppliers have unbelievable success as a wedding fair exhibitor and others never see a return? Well, there is definitely a formula to making wedding fairs work for your wedding business and I’d like to share it with you. In this article I’ll reveal my top strategies that will affect your overall success attending wedding fairs so that you can get the most out of your exhibit.
Consider the types of couples the show is targeting
In the past I have found that when wedding fairs target a niche they attract brides who want what you do. That is if you fit into that niche. Be sure to ask the show organiser who their target market is. If they say ‘brides’ then I’d personally run a mile. Do you want to just attract all brides or do you have a specific kind of bride and wedding you’d really love to work with? You need to know your specific target market and gear everything towards making your business attractive to that kind of bride.
Find out how and where the event is being advertised
Couples are now using social media as a tool to help with their wedding planning, more now than ever. Brides turn to Facebook to ask for friends recommendations and to Twitter to see what the suppliers they like are up to. Does the fair have a strong social media presence? Are they advertising on relevant blogs and publications?
You want to make sure the fair you choose is being promoted so that you will get a healthy amount on traffic on the day. Ask the show organiser how the show is being advertised and marketed online and offline. Does this line up with where your target market is?
Research what is included in the cost of the exhibit space to ensure value
Your exhibit space can be anything from empty space to a shell scheme so be sure to ask so that you can plan your costs accordingly. Ask if electricity, wi-fi, tablecloths and basic furniture (trestle table & chairs) are included or how much extra they will cost you. Be sure to figure your marketing materials and giveaways into your budgeting as well!
Make sure to get a list of couples who have agreed to be contacted afterwards
A list of couples who attended is nice but you can’t market to them via email because of CAN-SPAM laws. You can only legally email couples who have agreed to be contacted. If you market to couples who have not opted-in to receive your emails they could report you. Ask the show organiser if their list complies with CAN-SPAM laws. If they say ‘CAN-what?’ run away! Remember, it is better to have a smaller list of people who want your specific service than a large list of people who don’t want anything to do with you.
Review the contract
Contracts for wedding fairs can contain a list of items that are prohibited and list anything that is required by you such as a copy of your insurance policy. As with all contracts, be sure to review it before you sign on the dotted line.
Invite prospective and current clients
You will appear to be on top of what is going on in the local wedding industry if you personally invite these people along. Even if you have already booked a client they will appreciate knowing there is somewhere to go to find their other suppliers. It’s all about making yourself look good!
Promote the fair on social media and blogs
You’re on Twitter and Facebook right? Use this space to discuss what you are doing in the run up to the fair and connect with other exhibitors. The networking opportunities a fair offers are often just as valuable as the potential clients you might book.