We often talk about using Social Media as a means to get more event bookings, but what about in-house events? If you are a venue who is hosting a Bridal Showcase, or a vendor who is appearing at one, the turn-out of these events can play a big role towards your booking calendar.
So how can we use Social Media to make the most of our Bridal Showcase attendance rates?
Here are the steps I take when promoting a Bridal Showcase.
1. Create a flyer to be used both digitally and in print. I create these images on behalf of the host of the event, which is often the venues. (If you'd like to hire me to create your event flyers, contact me!) I would focus on making the following different promotional images:
Printer Friendly (compatible being printed on letter size paper--I would also use this image on the website, and on Facebook posts.)
Instagram Friendly (Square/4x5)
Cover Photo Friendly (to be used as the Facebook Page cover photo until the event)
Each image MUST include the location of the event, the date and time of the event and how couples can register. You'd be surprised how often in the heat of designing you can forget the important details! :)
2. Post the image and event information on your website. I like to setup registration on the host's website, so we can gather as many leads for the vendors as possible. I prefer to arrange a separate tab on the website just for Bridal Showcase registrations--this way the venue can be promoting and gathering leads for their next event all year long.
3. Share that stuff on every event listing possible! Yep, I said it. Every event listing possible! Or at least every free one! The biggest free event tool is Facebook and you should utilize it for your Bridal Showcases, as well as every in-house event or special you are promoting! It consistently amazes me how much traction a Facebook event can get, and how likely people are to invite others to them! After you create the event, post about it again on your page tagging all of the vendors scheduled to attend. Now the vendors will know the event page is up and running and will begin sharing to their audience as well!
Now is where you can get clever. I like to keep a spreadsheet of online event pages in the region of the client I am representing. Try the local news, local news paper, local digital news sites and more for starters. Or simple, google "events in ::YOUR REGION::". Usually at the top or bottom of the event pages there will be a prompt as to where you can post your event. Many have both free and paid for options, depending on your budget.
4. E-Mail Blast and Social Media posting. I like to share about the Bridal Showcase as often as possible--once a week is my typical rule of thumb provided that I have at least a 3-month build up. Once a week may seem like a lot to post again and again about a Bridal Showcase, but you have to remember:
Just because someone is following your page or signed up to your e-mail, doesn't mean they see or read everything you post
People's situations change. 2 months ago, e-mail subscriber Betty may have worried she'd never see her daughter wed, where today, her daughter is engaged and ready to tie the Knot! So posting consistently is also about being there for when your audience needs you.
5. Invite your prospective couples. Though we hate to admit it, we all have those couples we were certain were going to book and then...radio silence. Just because they did not book you (yet), doesn't mean they have already made a decision. Reach out to those pending couples and invite them to come to the showcase. If you are a DJ doing a spotlight performance, a band playing, or a florist with arrangements being featured this can be helpful to the couple, as they will get to see your work in action! And of course, for the venue, the main attraction for potentially booked couples is the tasting and tour of the grounds!
6. We already discussed event listings like Facebook and Local News Listings, however, if your bookings are not where you'd like, we can take this a step further. Consider promoting your Facebook Event with a paid advertisement. Also, sites like The Knot have an event calendar you can pay to be featured on.
7. Invite your Local Wedding Magazine/Sites. Local wedding magazines and websites want to come to your event. Why? So they can build up their e-mail list. The risk of this is that they may provide the leads they get to vendors signed up for their services. However, I was always confident enough in my venue's bookings that this marketing tactic did not feel threatening. I liked having the local wedding magazine and websites come because they often provided free gifts for the brides--a copy of the wedding magazine, a tote bag, etc. Also, in exchange for getting to come, they should be willing to promote your event on their website, giving it more exposure.
8. Local radio advertising is also a route to consider. While it initially sounds expensive and scary (or is this just me?!) I have learned that local radio stations have some flexibility in their advertising packages. As a matter of fact, one even did advertising in exchange for gift card barters, which was a win for everybody! Other radio stations had different tiered packages, where you could stay within a reasonable budget for a limited promotion for something like a Bridal Showcase. The takeaway here is don't be afraid to inquire and ask!
9. Add it to your e-mail signature! Oooh it's the simple things, right? Leading up to a Bridal Showcase, I recommend team members add the Bridal Showcase sign-up link and date to the bottom of their e-mail signature. Something simple, like "Sign Up For Our July 22nd Bridal Showcase!" with a hyperlink to the event.
Similarly, when corresponding with prospective couple who you just can't get through the door, suggest "I am hosting/will be appearing at a Bridal Showcase on July 22nd. May I sign you and your fiance up to attend?" Boom!
10. Leave it in the lobby! Frame a flyer, or leave several print-outs available for those who come by to take. You would not believe how many people at corporate events will grab a Bridal Showcase flyer when leaving an event to bring home to an engaged love one. It's optional, it's passive, but it's still promoting!
Phew, I think now even I am craving attending a Bridal Showcase after that! Bridal Showcases can be a blast, but at the end of the day, you want to be talking with Brides and Grooms, not with the other vendors. I can't wait to hear how utilizing any of these tips to get more Bridal Showcase attendees works for you! And if you need help, contact me and we can create a package together!
xO -I Do Wedding Marketing