What makes for a good bridal show?
First and foremost, it’s all about traffic. That is the most important part for Sal because the more traffic that’s there, the better it is for business, because it really is a numbers game.
Sal tries to avoid boutique shows. He thinks boutique shows, most of the time, can be a waste. Remember, everything is the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, the boutique shows are going to be a waste of time. They’re too small. They’re going to put 50 people in a room. Unless they are really, really pre-qualified, it’s not going to do well for a mid to higher priced photographer. If you’re just starting out and you’re like, you have wedding packages at $1,500 or $1,000, a boutique show might be the way to go. But typically for Sal in his stage, they’re just not. They’re too small.
How many bridal shows should you attend?
What time of year should you go?
What about time of year? What if you do a very large show that’s the weekend of the new year, and 95% of the couples don’t have their dates yet. Should you continue doing that show? The answer is yes, continue to do it. Now the reason that show it’s so busy is because there are over 2 million weddings a year in the United States. 60% or more of the engagements happen during the month of December. That’s why there’s so many bridal shows in the first quarter of the year. What you’re seeing are a bunch of eager brides who just got engaged and probably don’t have a date yet. Sal recommends you still do it because you need to be there in front of them. Now what you should do is alter your sales strategy. You might not be able to close at the show, but maybe you can collect names and start marketing to them that way.
Attendees & demographics
Something else Sal looks for in shows are 400 or more brides. If they have less than 400 brides, historically speaking, Sal has not had a lot of success. There’s just not enough meat on the bone to be worth all the costs. Remember, the cost is not just setting up the booth. The cost is in preparation. Getting your prints, getting your albums, this stuff costs money. Yeah, whether a booth is $1,000, or $800, or $2,000, in the big scheme of things isn’t the expense part. It’s everything else.
If a show cannot tell you their demographics, that’s a red flag. Keep that in mind. When you’re working with a bridal show and they don’t have any demographics whatsoever, it would be nice to know that their average bride is 24 to 32, their average wedding is $40,000. Now that’s a tougher demographic to come by, but at a minimum they should be able to tell you how many brides on average that they have at the show verse brides, maid of honor, moms, because if they have 400 people, how many of those are brides? Sal has been at shows where a bride will walk in with her entourage of nine people and only one of them is a bride for Sal.
Look for bridal shows tied to magazines
Another thing to look out for that will make a good show are shows tied to magazines. Now the reason Sal says that they make good shows is because they have distribution and marketing built in. A show that pops up in St. Louis that doesn’t have a magazine, doesn’t have a built-in distribution channel, how are they going to get people in the show? That’s why Sal stays away from those boutique shows, because he knows they don’t know how to market or advertise, and they’re not going to be able to put people in a room, and so why bother? Why waste money or energy? If you find a local magazine, most of them, not all, have shows tied to their magazine. That might be who you want to look for.