Bridal shows are intimidating, right?! They are such an intense day of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of potential clients bombarding up and down narrow aisles of tables, trying to grab freebies and enter to win contests. How are you supposed to stand out in a sea of craziness?
I’ll be honest-- Nora and I don’t really attend bridal shows anymore. When we first started up we attended a few larger shows, but now we only have a select one or two that we may attend and they aren’t large at all. They are more intimate events, put on by our favorite venues, for the purpose of already-booked brides getting a chance to scout out other vendors.
That being said, whether it be in the beginning stages of NoLo, tables I’ve run for other jobs, or just being an attendee, I’ve seen my fair share of large bridal expos. Some things work and some things don’t. Some booths bring people in and some don’t. If you want to attract people to your booth, and keep them there, there are some things I’ve found to really work well.
Make your booth your office. You need to create a welcoming space. In my experience, especially as an attendee, it’s the unique booths that stand out. The ones with lounge furniture and an inviting atmosphere make you feel like you are stepping into someone’s office. Compare that to a table with black linen, pamphlet stacks and free pens and tell me which one you would rather go to. Even if you can’t afford an over-the-top setup, bring a few pieces of furniture, that you already have at home, to take your booth up a notch. A few nice chairs and an end table can do wonders.
Bring a kick-butt take away. It’s no secret that people love free stuff. I know I do! You should definitely have something at your table, other than a pamphlet, that people can take with them. We always have NoLo chapsticks on hand. We give them to everyone. Friends. Family. Potential Clients. Booked Clients. Strangers. They are always a hit and people appreciate that it’s something different. I mean, you can only use so many pens.. Plus! Chances are, they will use the chapstick for a while and will see our logo every. single. time.
Have genuine conversations. Anyone can hand out pamphlets and go on and on about why their company is better. It’s the genuine conversations that keep couples at a booth. You want to be a good fit for your clients, so get to know them a little! I like to ask about how they met, their engagement and the wedding details that they already have planned. I’ve even chatted with a couple about vacations for 10 minutes. I genuinely enjoy getting to know people and would prefer for a couple to leave my table knowing that we click over knowing my price is in their budget. It’s that connection that will stay in their minds.
Select your spot accordingly. Larger bridal shows give you SO many options when it comes to reserving a booth. If you need power, make sure you are by an outlet. It can also be beneficial to spend the money on a corner booth. Corner booths get traffic on both sides and can be less crowded because you are not jammed into an aisle with people trying to see the other 5 tables around you, plus pass through.
Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. And I’m not talking about a blast email. If you had a genuine connection with someone, send him or her a personal email to follow up! If you’ve been provided with addresses, send a thank you. A handwritten thank you note goes a long way! Make sure to remind them of who you are and what you spoke about. Couples meet a TON of people at bridal shows so a reminder may be useful. But if you clicked, chances are they will remember you too!
What have you found to really work well at bridal shows?