Exhibitor’s Guide to the Great Bridal Expo

Attending a wedding expo like Great Bridal Expo is one of the best things a wedding professional can do for their business!

A bridal show will bring in hundreds of brides, grooms, as well as their families and friends. The best thing about these guests is that they are often ready to plan their entire wedding. This includes booking the services they need from wedding professionals just like you. At most wedding shows, you will have your very own booth to show your services and products. Once the doors to the show open, you will be interacting with brides, back to back for as long as the show. This is a great opportunity to get new leads and business!

Attending a bridal show can be hectic and a little crazy, especially for a first-time exhibitor. We are here to help!

In order to make the expo experience even more valuable for our exhibitors, we have decided to put together a quick guide for success at the show.

 

How to prepare for a Wedding Show:

There are three main phases for each bridal expo. Before the show, during the show and after the show.

We have prepared a mini guide for each phase to help you best prepare for and have the most success while at a show. Let’s jump right into the Great Bridal Expo guide for success!

 

Phase 1 – Before the Bridal Expo:

 

Step 1. Set Goals

In order to have a successful expo, you need to make sure you and your team have goals that need to be completed. It is critically important to remember the end game of attending our expo. Do you want new bride leads? Are you testing a new product? Whatever the reason, make sure you know why you are there and what you need to do to ensure success at the show. You and your team will need to keep these goals in mind so that you can stay on track through the event. Things can get busy fast!

 

Step 2. Train your Team

Now that you have figured out your goals, the next step is to make sure that your team is trained and prepared to accomplish your mission. Your team will encounter hundreds of people in face-to-face situations. You want to make sure that your sales/marketing team is ready to meet the challenge. It is very important that your team knows all of your product offerings, inside and out. It is also a good idea to have everyone on your team memorize a short elevator pitch explaining your offerings. Along with this pitch, your team should have responses to get around any initial objections a bride might have.

 

Step 3. Plan the Design of Your Booth

Once your team is prepped and you have signed up as an exhibitor at the bridal expo, you need to begin planning the design of your booth. It’s always a good idea to come up with a theme and color combination for your booth. If you have a logo or branding, you will want all the colors to mesh well with each other. If you can, tailor the theme to the service or product you are offering. The number one thing to keep in mind is that we are all visual people. Use lights, pictures, anything that will attract our eyes and get our attention.

You want a booth that will stand out from the crowd and also show everyone who you are and what you are offering. A good idea, is to use any vertical space available to you. People will be able to see a booth with taller decorations from further away. Attracting the eye of all the guests is your booth’s number one priority. Try to have one focal item that brings all brides to your booth. Keep your booth free from clutter and trash. You want to create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere for the brides.

Please keep in mind that the best place for your team to stand is actually in front of the booth. It will be easier for your team to engage brides and vice versa if everyone is out in front.

 

Step 4. Plan Your Handouts + Giveaways!

At most bridal expos, a bride will be given some sort of bag to carry anything she finds during the show. Most of the items she will keep are from the exhibitors with services/products she is interested in. What this means for you and your team, is that you need to come up with some clever handout or giveaway item that has your contact information and explains your service.

Some good examples of handouts, would be coupons or a brochure or a small promo item.

Some popular promo items to give away include:

Samples of your service/product
Business cards
Magnets
Pens, Pencils, or Stationary
Lip Balm, Hand Sanitizer
Candy or Snacks

No matter what you decide to give away, make sure that your company name, contact information and services offered are easy to find and understand.

 

Step 5. Advertise!

Now that you have your booth planned, handouts ready and your team trained, it’s time to do a bit of self-promotion. If you have an email list, or any potential leads, now is a good time to email them and let them know that you will be at the show. Use your social media channels and invite your followers out to meet you and offer a special gift to those that do. If you can get your customer base motivated before you arrive, they can help promote your time at the expo on their own social media channels. If you have a store, place any advertisements you can that will help spread the word about your attendance at the expo!

 

Phase 2 – The Day of the Bridal Show

The day of the bridal show has finally arrived! If you have followed our preparation steps for phase 1, you and your team should be ready to go! The most important thing to do on the day of the expo is to arrive extra early. There is no telling what kind of surprises will come up (traffic, delays, booth issues), and you want to have the most amount of time to deal with them. This will be the time you need to assemble your booth as you have planned. Once the booth is ready, be sure to take a few steps away and really take a look at your booth. Is there anything the bride could trip over? Are there any hazards? After you are completely ready for the guests to arrive, it is a good idea to introduce yourself to the other exhibitors near you, especially if they offer complementary services to your own. This could help build relationships that lead to referrals.

 

Step 1. What to Bring to the Bridal Expo

Here is our quick and handy checklist of things to remember to bring to the show:

Bottled Water
Snacks
Extra pens, paper, tape, scissors
Your handouts + giveaways
A first aid kit (just in case)
A cart to help move items to and from your booth
All of the decoration items for your booth
Any specific items you have prepared for your team or guests

 

Step 2. Collect Contact Info from Brides

One of the main reasons any exhibitor signs up for an expo is to collect bridal leads. This will most likely be your number one priority as well. If your booth is doing its job, the brides should come and see what you have to offer.

Have your team be personable and welcoming to the brides and ease them into the pitch they have previously rehearsed. This is also the time to give the brides and guests any handouts or promo items. If you have decided to have some sort of contest, now is the time to get the brides to fill out their information for the drawing. The most important information to get from a bride is their name, wedding date, email and phone.

One of the most important things to tell your team is to not get too hung up on any one bride. You want to qualify each guest as soon as you can and move on to the next one. A member of your team could spend 10-20 minutes trying to get the bride to make a decision while 30 potential leads walk by your booth. Get those leads!

 

Step 3. Bring Your Game Face!

You and your team should smile at guests. You want to look approachable and friendly. Remember to have your team in front of your booth, not behind it. Keep in mind non-verbal communication like crossed arms, frowns, slouched backs. You are there to make sure the brides have a good time and love every moment they spend at your booth. A happy bride is your best customer!

Have two members of your team at your booth at all times. You don’t want to miss any big rush of guests. You never want to have an empty booth. This will make your booth and your business look unprofessional.

Plan to be at the expo until the very end. You do not want to be the only booth packing up early. There is always a surge of couples that show up towards the end of every show. Don’t miss out on those potential leads!

 

Phase 3 – After the Bridal Show:

 

Step 1. Follow-Up With Your Leads!

If there is only one step you really focus on during the entire expo, follow up should be number 1. This is the most important part of the expo. Your success will be determined mostly by the amount of follow up you and your team accomplish. You will want to organize all of your leads from how likely they were to book. You should have captured their contact information as well as contact preferences. Contact them! Your goal here is to contact all the brides and grooms who wanted to meet. Set up appointments with them and confirm the booking!

If you networked with any other exhibitors at the show, now is the time to send them a quick card or email. They could help get you your next booking!

Go through your entire list of leads, and contact every single one of them. You never know what will happen. It is best to follow-up as soon as possible after a show, within the next 1-5 days.

 

Step 2. Revisit Your Goals

Now that the show is over and you have done all the follow-up required, it is time to look over your goals again.

Were you successful in reaching these goals?

Did you learn anything new?

Would you do something differently to improve your success next time?

Questions like these will help you analyze the good and bad of your experience and improve your results for next time.

 


That’s our guide! Have any comments or suggestions? Found this guide helpful? Let us know!

Remember, follow these steps and you will be in the best position to have an awesome success at the Expo. Good luck!

~Sarah A.

Building Your Wedding Business with Partners – in 4 Simple Steps

Partnerships are a great way to grow a business. Big businesses have known this for a while – for example, laptop computers that are bundled with software packages. Or gym memberships that provide discounts for sports stores. But this same approach can be applied to small businesses – like yours – as well.

 

When people are planning a big event, like a wedding, they often look to a vendor they trust for additional referrals. This creates happy, loyal customers for both businesses, which drives word-of-mouth and additional referrals in the future!

 

Wondering how to create a partnership that will help grow your wedding business? Just follow these 4 simple steps:

 

1.    Pick a partner who is already in the wedding industry. This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how ‘creative’ people can get when they want to break into a new market! Look for another business who understands your shared audience, as well as how your two offerings or services – combined – will provide a better experience for brides and grooms. For example, if you’re a florist, it might make more sense for you to partner with a videographer who specializes in weddings, than with a video production company that has never filmed a wedding before.

2.    Make contact with that potential partner. This is often the scariest part of the process. However, you aren’t going to get another business to partner with you if they don’t even know who you are. There are several ways to do this – either in person (for example, at an upcoming Great Bridal Expo event!), or you can do some online research. Check out their website and their social media pages. Look up their reviews on Google or Yelp. If it looks like their approach is similar to yours, then they might be a perfect partner!

3.    Propose a joint promotion. Once you’ve reached out, you’ll need to suggest some ideas on how you can work together in a way creates a win-win situation for your two businesses, as well as helping future brides and grooms. Get creative – for example, you can write blog posts for each other’s websites, promote each other on social media, or even offer a special ‘package’ that combines both your offerings for a discount. Or you can keep it simple and agree to simply introduce each other’s products or services when speaking with interested clients.

4.    Test it out! The only way you’ll know if the partnership is working is by introducing it to your clients and then getting their feedback. What do they think when you introduce the concept? Are they excited about the combined offering? And most importantly, does it drive business to your partner – and does your partner drive business to you? Not every cross-promotion is a big success, so you’ll want to monitor in case it doesn’t work the way you’d hoped. The key is having a good enough relationship with your partner, so you can review and revise the offering in a way that works for both of you.

 

Once you’ve created your first successful partnership, you’ll want to look at additional partners you can work with from other areas in your industry. So, if you’re a photographer who has successfully partnered with a florist, you might want to consider extending this to include a bakery as well. Who knows – you could have a win-win-win partnership on your hands!

 

If you’d like to do more networking for partnerships that will help grow your wedding business, send an email to info@greatbridalexpo.com and we’ll have one of our Marketing Specialists talk you through what’s possible!