An Article by Kristen Bayliss
How to know if they’re worth it and what you NEED to consider when choosing an Expo.
For anyone who’s been in the Wedding Industry for more than 5 minutes, you’ll (hopefully) have figured out that successfully marketing your business comes down to 2 big things: 1. Selling Experiences; and 2. Creating Connections. And, it goes without saying, that both of these elements are best executed in person where possible. Enter: The Wedding Expo.
In my experience in the Wedding Industry, I have the benefit of not only running Wedding Businesses, but also running Wedding Expos – so I can, from first hand experience, tell you that participating in the right expo, with a well thought out plan, is one of the best things you can do for your Wedding Business.
Over the years, I have heard every excuse under the sun as to why Wedding Expos don’t work for some businesses. I call B.S.!! Why? Because how can getting valuable face-to-face access to your target client NOT be beneficial to your business?
Yes, it’s true that some businesses will likely waste their time and money participating in an Expo. But if you look at why they failed to get anything out of their experience, it will always come down to whether they attended the right expo, and what they did (or did not do) to effectively promote and sell their services.
So, in the first part of this series I want to share with you my big tips on how to choose the right expo for you and then I will be teaching you what you need to do to become an ‘Expo Ninja’ so you get the most of your expo experience.
How to choose the Expo that’s right for your Wedding Business
Wedding Expos play a very important role in a balanced Marketing Strategy and can be an incredible springboard to grow your business. Like any marketing activity, your participation in an Expo needs to be an informed decision and executed with an objective in mind. So, when choosing a Wedding Expo, consider these TOP 4 BIG THINGS:
#1. What kind of Expo would best suit my business?
There are many opportunities to get face-to-face with engaged couples from Venue Open Days, to Boutique style Expos and Massive Bridal Shows. But, think about what’s going to work best for your business.
My Tip: Choose an event that allows you to showcase your business alongside like-quality businesses and supplier categories are capped to a reasonable amount. You want to be able to stand out being one of a few great businesses, rather than lost in a sea of many competitors.
#2. Who else is attending?
It’s important to align your business with other like-minded businesses. Why? Because it takes a team to bring together a wedding and your customer is without a doubt going to be looking to book a group of suppliers from the same event that can bring together an amazing experience for them. This is where your referral networks will grow.
My Tip: Participate in an Expo that showcases a standard of supplier to which you would like to be aligned. Generally these expos are somewhat curated, so if you would like to participate, make sure your business branding, marketing, service offering and reputation are on pointe with the level of quality that is being showcased at that event.
#3. How many visitors are expected and are they required to pay to attend?
A well run Expo should be able to give you an idea of how many visitors to expect. But don’t get caught in the trap of thinking “the more visitors, the better”! Think Quality over Quantity. We’ve all heard of the dreaded ‘Tyre-Kicker’! You want to be spending your time investing in creating connections with visitors who are committed to making bookings, not wasting precious time on visitors who are just there for ‘freebies’ or not really interested in committing to anything.
My Tip: It’s all about making connections with interested couples who want to buy from quality suppliers. You’re only going to be able to talk with a finite amount of people on the day, so going to an expo that has 1000 unpaid visitors vs an event that has say 200 – 600 paying visitors will not necessarily get you more bookings. It comes down to the quality of the customer coming through the door, whether they are committed to buying and whether they have a chance to connect with you.
#4. What’s my likely ROI?
Bottom Line: You’re only going to get out of it what you put into it! Some events will require a minimal participation fee right up to $1500+ depending on the event, size of your stand and venue. So, look at how many bookings or items you’ll need to sell on the day and in the weeks and months to come. Obviously you’ll want to make sure you make enough bookings to more than cover your investment to participate. But don’t limit your ROI to $ alone.
My Tip: Participating in a quality-run expo will give you so much more than just bookings on the day (and in the months to come). If you use your expo experience to build strong referral networks with fellow suppliers, get experience connecting with couples and get comfortable selling your services I guarantee you the bookings will come…and keep coming!
Now, Expos are not a magic bullet. You don’t just sign up, turn up and “ Voila!” magic happens. The Expo Organisers are responsible for providing you with a great creative space to work with and attracting quality visitors to the event, however, what happens next is up to you!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article series to find out my Biggest Tips on What You NEED to do to Get The Most out of Your Expo Experience.