After spending months of planning for our fairs, it’s so thrilling to receive e mails from exhibitors who have been pleased with the bookings they have received after the fair with many doing business on the day. It makes our job complete and warms our cockles like a hot chocolate on a cold day (in May!)
It’s a fact that the wedding industry has never been so competitive and it can be a lonely place at times so how do suppliers win their business? Well, we’ve observed a few tricks and are pleased to share them with you….
In this era of instant online wedding inspiration, there’s still very much a strong demand for wedding fairs/fayres. People want to touch, feel, see and hear their wedding suppliers. For Brides it’s a big part of organising their big day and adds to the excitement of it all. For wedding suppliers, it’s a chance to meet potential customers and to win business. It’s important therefore to allocate some of your advertising budget to attend wedding fairs rather than just advertise online or paper publications in the hope you get enquiries.
To be successful at a wedding fair, there are a few things you can both before and on the day.
Research Research Research
This is the biggest and most effective thing you can do before you book a wedding fair. The wedding industry like all industries as different tiers to it and not all wedding fairs are the same. Some are organised by venues, some are collaborations of suppliers and some are full time wedding events companies. Take time to look at their websites and blogs to get a feel for what they set out to achieve. We have a few videos of our fair online (with special thanks to Keith from Hardluck Hotel) to let people know what we’re about.
If it’s being held by a venue, consider the the type of venue and what kind of Bride it will attract. Is it easy for people to find? Crucially consider whether it fits into your target market? If you’re a contemporary photographer then will a vintage wedding fair attract the right Bride for you?
If it’s being organised by a wedding events company then try and find out more about the company. How successful have they been in the past? Where do they advertise? How many Brides do they normally attract? Is there a list of exhibitors you can see? Is there a theme and does this compliment your business? (quite clearly ours is vintage!)
Also important is to ensure that the event has an even spread of exhibitors. We limit each category to around 10-15% so with 45 exhibitors the max in each category would be 5. Nothing worse than seeing just cakes, gowns and photographers at a fair.
Timing…..Wedding fair season is normally Spring and Autumn. In Winter everyone’s pre occupied with Christmas and Summer suppliers are busy with bookings. Brides are most likely on holiday or attending – yep weddings!
Finally cost. Both the cheapest or most expensive may not be the best. Bigger and more expensive fairs may offer amazing footfall however are you going to have the time to speak and engage with every single Bride or Groom? Most likely not. Cheaper fairs (some may even be free) may simply not offer the number of Brides you’d hope so you’ll be sat there staring into space all day. Not a productive use of anyones time.
We cringe when we hear about exhibitors who have travelled and given up a whole day to exhibit at a wedding fair for only a handful of people to turn up.
When booking a fair ask the organiser about their marketing strategy (and hope they have one!)
How will they spread the word about their event? We use a mixture of press advertising with well known wedding magazines, wedding blogs and constant social media. As we’re established now, we have great online traffic on both our website and blog which in turn attracts Brides and guests.
Use social networking and your blog to your advantage and let people know where you will be exhibiting – not just the day before though! Allow plenty of time.
Your chance to shine
You’ve booked your stand, the day’s in your diary, so now think about how your stand will be set out. This is your chance to showcase your business to its full potential so think about how you can make it stand out from the crowd. Use this golden opportunity to get your business noticed.
One off unusual props on your stand can create an interesting topic of conversation which could be the beginning of a beautiful customer relationship. We love the pink typewriter that Whimsical Wishes brings along. It catches peoples eyes and entices them to her stand.
Freebies always go down well too so buy some yummy hand made cakes, sweets or biscuits to offer people as they stop by your stand.
Discounts and Incentives
People love a deal and when it comes to weddings, budgets are extremely important. By offering your potential customers a discount or incentive you’re potentially giving yourself an edge over your competitors to win business.
Think also about putting something in the goody bags or on your table to make people remember you.
Move away from your stand
One of the most interesting tricks we’ve seen work is to move away from the back of your table or stand. By standing infront you can engage with people more effectively rather than the stand or table creating a barrier between you and your potential customer. Trust us – this works.
Also, never leave your stand unattended. Consider roping in family or a friend to help you on the day and smile smile smile! If your mouth and feet hurt at the end of the day then you’ve had a successful day.
Keep In Touch
Consider capturing peoples e mail addresses and keep in touch with them after the fair (just check with them that they are happy for you to e mail them). Many Brides attend fairs at the beginning of their wedding preparations and may not be getting married for at least 12 months or longer. We offer exhibitors a copy of Brides e mail addresses.
Work The Room
Savvy exhibitors work then room once things quieten down. Other suppliers (even competitors) can be an important ally in getting business so make some new friends and then link up on Twitter and Facebook (please stop by and like us at Midlands Vintage Chic Wedding Fair 😉
We hope you’ve found this post helpful and interesting – we’d love to know what you think.