Are you thinking about showcasing your stationery business at a local wedding expo?
I’ll be honest, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve consistently done wedding shows. I did 1-2 a year for my first few years as I was growing my business and had some great opportunities here in Jacksonville to attend shows and learn the ins and outs of connecting with couples and other vendors. I definitely learned a lot during those years about what worked and didn’t work. And have done a few shows sparingly and selectively over the years since then.
So today I just want to give my top three tips for stationers attending wedding shows.
Depending on your area or surrounding areas you’re thinking of looking into, there are probably several different options when it comes to wedding shows or expos. You’ll get some of your larger, national brand style shows that host hundreds of vendors and thousands of couples, but there will also be some smaller ones that are more exclusive. It could be exclusive to a particular venue, or maybe they limited it to a select number of the same vendors (only xx stationers, xx photographers, etc).
And of course, the price range can vary depending on which one you select. But I would say the most important thing is to look at the history, reviews, and quality of the show. They may bring 1,000s of couples through, but are they good quality couples, or are they just looking for freebies. Sometimes larger shows give away free or cheap tickets, while smaller shows charge a higher price ticket, but I guarantee you the couple that buys those tickets are a little more invested in finding vendors at the show.
I have found, in my experience, that I did have better luck at the smaller, more exclusive shows!
I remember the first wedding show I ever did, I had it ALL. Literally, my booth was jam-packed with allll the stationery I offered, all the styles, all the colors. All.the.things. Looking back, it was so overwhelming and I have also learned that couples don’t want allll the options. Believe it or not, they would rather have very simple choices. The more I did shows, the more I realized that I didn’t need all that stuff. I just needed maybe a dozen of my best suites that showed what I was capable of and they could actually take the time to look through them and ask questions.
In the last few years, I’ve had the benefit of a wedding collection of pre-designed suites alongside my custom stationery work. I found that having a collection can work hand in hand with wedding shows. They allow you to easily talk about what is included, what the options are for them to change (or not change), pricing, etc. Whereas when I was only trying to show custom, there are SO many variables that I really couldn’t give them exact answers or pricing. As I have said, they want something simple and spelled out for them.
As much as you would love everyone that comes into your booth to book your right on the spot, it really isn’t going to happen. No matter how good you are. Couples aren’t generally there to sign contracts and put down deposits. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t end up booking you. It will require a little bit of due diligence from you. You probably have considered what you’re going to show in your booth and maybe a little marketing material you’ll give them (business card, flyer, etc) so they can find you again later. But then what. You are leaving it in their lap to reach back out to you. It needs to be the other way around, you need to be able to reach back out to them and have that follow-up conversation.
So how do you go about that? You need to have a way to collect their information. Generally, these shows will give you a list of all the registered couples with the wedding dates and emails, but it is also super important to have a way to capture those that come to your booth and are interested. It can be as simple as a piece of paper for them to write their name and email or you could even have a QR code or simple lead capture form pulled up on an iPad or laptop.
But most importantly, is to have something in place for the long game once the show is over. Some couples may still be a year or more out and not need your services YET. You could set up a series of emails that go out maybe every month to this list chatting about stationery, what you offer, their timeline, whatever you want! This keeps you in front of them and I guarantee you that when it does come time for them to start thinking about stationery, the odds will be more in your favor than if you left it up to them to remember that “stationAry” person they talked to last year.
I hope this has helped give you some insight if you’re thinking about wedding shows for your stationery business!
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