If you are an industry professional who is not at a point in your business that you can pick and choose what clients you want to take, because you have so many people calling you to hire you or your company, then Bridal Shows are a definite “must”!
For over 30 years, I have had a love-hate relationship with Bridal Shows. When I strike up a conversation with Industry insiders, most will say they hate having a booth at the shows. Honestly, I can agree with most of their comments. It is hard to put your best foot forward at a show and get quality time to connect with the hundreds or thousands of people that come by your booth in such a short period.
Imagine for a moment, there you are surrounded by your competition, if one person has a few more bells and whistles or is handing out a better type of candy than you, well, they get more attention. So, every show is a battle for bigger and better, which of course translates to more money. Who wants to spend more money to take a chance on the possibility of getting more clients, when there is also the possibility someone will just out “bell and whistle” you again?
So, why do I hate participating in Bridal Show? Imagine (almost) everyone passing your booth with the preconceived idea that your service is a waste of money and just too expensive. They automatically assume, because of your job title you have an uppity, superior, know-it-all attitude. To top it all off they think that they can not only do your job themselves, they also think they can do it better. You have to remember our business is a little different than the norm. It is seen as an unnecessity service and everyone “thinks” they can plan their wedding themselves, which is why they are at the Bridal Show in the first place. So, they are not interested in talking to a wedding planner, who by the way, they think is a total waste of money. To limit their interest in our company, even more, we do not offer the only services they might be interested in, which is the ever so popular “Day of Wedding Coordination”. We offer full-service wedding planning only. So, spending an exorbitant amount of money on an amazing booth adorned with the long list of possible bells and whistles is and has proven for us to be a total waste of money. However, we continue to go and make a lovely display for our booth, because, for us, it is a necessary evil.
So, then why do I love them so much? That answer is simple! I can get as much business from them as I want. We have relied on just 1-2 Bridal Shows per year to get a full year of bookings. For our business, that meant booking an average of 30-35 weddings each year. If I wanted more, I could easily get more. I will share with you, as a business owner, it is a very secure feeling to know that I just need to attend 1 or 2 shows and get all the business I want.
I know you think that I just contradicted myself. I said couples who attend the shows are not interested in my services, but I can get all the business I want when we attend them. That is true. So, now you know my challenge. How do I get them to change from not interested into booking?
I figured out how to do this at the beginning of my career. When I started out, I didn’t know anything about marketing and what seemed even worse is, I didn’t have any money to market my business. It seems strange to say now, but back then, we didn’t even have the internet. I had no choice but to sink or swim with what little I had. So, I had to become very savvy in marketing. I had to figure out how to beat out my competition and get the consumer’s attention enough to get them in front of me to hear what I had to say.
Through the years, I would try to vary the things in my marketing techniques to improve my stats. As a single mom trying to raise three kids I just did not have much extra money to invest in my marketing efforts. I had to rely on sheer creative marketing. Back in the day, they called it Guerilla Marketing. Guerrilla Marketing is defined as unconventional, innovative, and low-cost marketing aiming at achieving the maximum exposure for a service or product.
It honestly took about ten years and 2o-some shows to perfect my system. Instead of dreading the bridal shows, I started to look forward to them. I couldn’t wait to try some of my newly conceived ideas and see if they worked.
I have a very successful multi-award wedding business developed with a ridiculously small marketing budget. How ridiculous, you ask? I rarely spend more than $1,500 at a Bridal Show that commonly results in booking an average of 35 weddings per year. The beauty is I could easily slash that budget to $250.00 per show and get the same results.
For obvious reasons, (okay, not so obvious? It was because I didn’t want to educate our competition.) I have never shared my secrets before. I now am at a point in my career that, I can share the secrets with all our competition, and it will not affect our business.
Bridal Shows are still a great way for vendors to meet with prospective clients and maximize their marketing dollars. I think every business owner who wants to expand their customer base or who simply just want to get more clients, should participate in a Bridal Show. The problem is that most business owners will take part in 1 Bridal Show, not book enough clients, and decide not go back. They most likely will not participate in another show, because they didn’t get the results they wanted. Frankly, I don’t believe there is any place you can get a bigger bang for your buck when you know how to implement the right marketing strategy. The problem with being unsuccessful at a well established Bridal Show isn’t because of the Bridal Show; it is simply because the vendor did not know how to market to the potential client.
Now that I have enjoyed over 30 years of success, I have focused my energy in a different direction. My passion has always been education, and I have the flexibility in my career to focus my attention in that area. I have been blessed to be able to have the time to develop the comprehensive on-line Wedding Resource Site; Wedding State University. I developed this site was for the sole purpose of improving the wedding industry as a whole. My emphasis includes couples planning their wedding and professionals who assist them.
The Business Coaching portion of our program is to help service industry professionals navigate through building their business to achieve greater success. I understand the challenges that business owners will face in marketing. Don’t believe the lies you are reading about social media marketing. I will show you how you can focus your marketing efforts in just one area and get all the business you want. I would love to teach you to learn how to get the most out of your next bridal show as well as any other hurdles you may be facing.
We are offering a 1 day Business Marketing Mastery Seminar to teach you the fundamentals of your success in Bridal Show Marketing. Space is limited so, follow this link to sign up today!
We offer many Free Information Webinars to help you on your journey to success. Visit www.weddingstateuniversity.com and click on the Business Coaching tab to learn more.