Successful Wedding Fair tips for Stationers - Part 11
Image via The National Wedding Show
Wedding Fairs are a great opportunity to get your ranges of handmade wedding stationery noticed, to get new commissions and of course to build up all important wedding industry contacts. (never underestimate the power of a list of targeted emails!)
If you are new to the industry it can be somewhat daunting working out which fair to attend and how to go about making a big impression on the day. We've put together our top tips for wedding stationers as part of our series on Selling Handmade Wedding Stationery. This week we're focusing on what you can do before the event, next week we'll look at tactics you can use on the day itself to make sure you get the most out of any wedding fairs you attend.
How to Choose the Right Wedding Fair!
The organiser may be desperate to fill spaces and offer you a temptingly reduced rate for a stall, but don't jump in before you have done your homework - wedding fair stalls can be a costly chunk of your marketing budget, it's vital you fill your calendar with the right shows for your designs. Bigger isn't always better when it comes to wedding fairs.
What kind of couple does the fair attract?
You need to be sure that your wedding stationery suits the typical budget and style of the couples attending the event, your niche market. Look at past exhibitors and ask the wedding fair organiser to give you an idea of their intended market, the income and style of their typical visitors. Are they interested in beautiful handmade wedding stationery or are they more likely to be after a bargain.
How many visitors do they usually have?
The cost of the stand needs to be justified by the footfall at the event. Especially important if it's a new event, you need to find out where and how they intend to advertise the event, will there be local press covering it, are they social media savvy?
Image via Dragonfly Couture Stationery
Find out about all of the opportunities they have for getting your business name seen by the visitors, the event brochure, the goodie bag, any opportunities to be interviewed by local press or the organisers for their blog in advance of the show? These 'added promotional extras' may be way out of your budget but it's worth asking about every opportunity they have. For example, you may be able to offer a competition to win your services, or a discount in exchange for an advert / editorial in the brochure. Again, it all depends on the size of the fair - with the big fairs these kind of promotions will probably cost! This could be an indicator that a smaller more local fair would offer better value for money whilst you are building up your stationery business. Experiencing a small fair first will be worth it for the experience of setting up and interacting with couples in this 'salesy' environment.
Most fairs will have a Facebook page - if they don't alarm bells not wedding bells should ring and you should enquire about their promotional activity!
Do your own promotion and get social networking!
It's tricky when you are starting out and don't have many contacts, but it's well worth inviting any prospective customers to the event and using social media to spread the word. Ensure you tag the event organisers Facebook and Twitter pages to encourage them to retweet and share your posts - don't be spammy, be enthusiastic - there is a difference! This will give you extra exposure to visitors planning to attend. Mention and tag fellow exhibitors (not direct competitors) as it's great to get to a fair and already feel like people know you and have familiar faces to say hello to. If you link to anyone in a blog post be sure to let them know to encourage them to share. An example of a great pre-fair networking strategy would be a series of posts looking at your selection of the best exhibitors, a great way of building up a buzz about the event and your goal would be getting your blog or Facebook page shared by complimentary businesses in your industry - they may already have big networks and you definitely want to tap into them! Ask the organiser if they have a twitter hashtag associated with the event and regularly use it and follow any twitter accounts that are using it. Also keep an eye on Twitter users following the organisers account, these may well be potential visitors and you can start networking with them before the event. Just send them a tweet to say hello and start up an informal conversation - do not try to sell, leave that to the day. Let people know where you will be! Some fairs are huge - make sure all the networking before the show pays off, they need to find you on the day so share your stand number when and where you have the opportunity. We have a great resource of wedding industry Twitter accounts which you can use to build up useful contacts.
Network on and offline on the day of the event
Tweeting and adding Facebook updates using all the relevant tags and mentioning any fellow exhibitors will help get people over to see you on the day. People wonder around fairs with their smart phones it's a great opportunity to catch peoples eyes and remind them you are 'right here' as they check their Facebook and Twitter. Next week we'll be looking at ideas for your wedding fair stall / stand and ways in which you can attract passing visitors on the day and importantly convert them into new clients! Please add your comments below - we'd love to hear about your experiences or any questions you have, we have a huge network of stationers and I'm sure many of them will dive in with an answer to your queries.