A post a little out of the ordinary since it’s not directed at Brides to be.
If you own a wedding or event industry business, chances are that you’ve either considered exhibiting at a wedding fair/expo or you have and maybe it wasn’t successful for you.
As far as marketing and promotion of your business is concerned, whilst my opinion may be biased, I don’t think anything can beat an opportunity to meet with your target market in person and there’s no better way to do that than at a fair or expo.
As an organiser of wedding fairs, my job is to ensure that Brides to be (and an increasing amount of Grooms too!) are presented with a balanced amount of modern inspiration so they come away full of ideas and contacts to make their plans become a reality. From an exhibitors point of view they are naturally looking for good quality footfall and by that I mean people who are serious about planning their wedding and not just a free sample of cake.
What’s interesting is that some people may be more successful on the day of the fair than others and so I’m happy to share with you a few tips and some good old fashioned advice when it comes to being an exhibitor as ultimately what you get out of the day is all about what you put in.
By planning your marketing budget well in advance, you’ve got time on your side so that you can think about how you are going to present your stand so try not to book in a fair or expo last minute. This means you won’t be stressing over ordering business cards and brochures etc!!
Make sure you tell your social media followers and customers know that you’re attending the event as this may trigger a buying response from some who had considered engaging you since this is their chance to meet you.
Have a strategy in mind too. Are you looking to get more business? Test or launch a new product or service?
How you present yourself on the day is the first impression a potential customer is going to have of your brand and by brand I mean you and your business.
By making your stand as creative as possible through some modern visual merchandising techniques you’ll naturally gain interest from people walking by. These days fairs have progressed rather alot from popping your products on a trestle table with a white table cloth and a few business cards. If you must use a table or trestle then maybe think about using a covering other than a plain white table cloth. What ever you do use though MAKE SURE IT IS IRONED!!
If you’re stuck for ideas then do some research, there’s plenty available online and maybe also consider hiring some props from local event rental companies to give your stand some va va voom.
Consider also bringing along some thing for potential buyers to sit on when they approach you. That way you’ll be able to have a more meaningful conversation.
Branding is vitally important too so that your potential clients can continue to recognise your business in the future. With this in mind ensure your logo is visible although preferrably not with a pull up banner (they’re best suited to corporate and commercial expos and not the wedding scene)
Backdrops can also be important to give your space some creative depth plus they provide a further opportunity to present your products.
So you’ve got a creative display which is a big tick but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll still need to put yourself out there!!
I always encourage exhibitors to bring along with them someone to help them out on the day. There will be times when you need to have a rest break to have a bite to eat so you want to ensure you don’t lose out on any enquiries while you’re away from your stand. Having someone with you means that one of you can field initial enquiries while the other can spend time having quality conversations with potential clients so you’re getting the maximum possible out of each and every person who stops by.
It may seem elementary however your body language is absolutely vital at all times. You need to look approachable so in no particular order do not:
- use your phone
- fold your arms
If you do any of these things as clients are walking past your stand, I guarantee you that 99% of them will not stop and so you may as well pack up and go home. ALWAYS greet potential clients with your best smile and the warmest greeting possible.
Furthermore, don’t stand behind your stand or table as it will create a barrier between you and your potential client. By standing to the side you can be more proactive in engaging people.
Always ask if your event organiser is capturing email addresses and whether they are passing on this information to you after the fair. If they are not then ensure you have a way of capturing the details of people who have visited your stand and are interested. Running a giveaway or competition is also a good way of getting interested parties to give your their details.
After the event, send them an e mail to thank them for visiting your stand. I use mailchimp to e mail my marketing database. It’s free and very easy to use.
Make it memorable too by offering people a little something like a free sample.
One of the biggest advantages of exhibiting at a fair aside from meeting your target market is meeting your peers within the industry. You may know of them already but by taking the time to say hello, you’re leaving them with a lasting positive impression. Even if they are effectively competition, by establishing a relationship you may be able to refer business to each other when you’re fully booked and vice versa. This may open up some new doors for you?
Make sure you also like and follow their social media when you get home and good karma will follow.
Manage Your Leads
It’s best not to attend a fair with the expectation that you’ll get zillions of bookings on the day. Organising a wedding is an emotional transaction and it may take time for people to respond back to you however it is the beginnings of a possible relationship with a new client. By getting some information like a name, you can begin to communicate with potential clients with their first name which turns your lead from cold to warm.
Not least, you’ll be building on your brand.
I hope you’ve found this useful? Later on this year LCA will be presenting some Love Cherish Adore YOUR BUSINESS workshops featuring social media and visual merchandising experts to help you build your brand.
For expressions of interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org.