1) Use professional photographs or videos to showcase your products
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is the use of amateur photographs and videos to sell your professional skills. You do not even to have a separate photo shoot. Ask a future wedding customer the name and phone number of their photographer or videographer and contact them to a do an extra shots or video sequences of your product or service and agree on a price.
2) Use testimonials to your advantage
Testimonials are written praise from satisfied customers. The best way to generate testimonials is to ask for them. If you have satisfied a customer, many will be willing to write a few thoughts down on either a thank-you card or letter.
This strategy is crucial for a new business because getting these words of praise can be the strongest influence you have on winning new customers. It helps detour the customer from the apprehension that you do not have longevity in business.
3) Educate your way to sales
Many high schools and colleges have adult education programs with courses that are taught in the evening. These courses are usually taught by business owners or qualified professionals able to address the subject matter. Propose a class on wedding planning. Typically the only attendees will be brides and you will have a captive audience of your potential customers.
Normally the individual instructors have submitted and proposed the ideas for individual courses to the program director for approval. Each instructor usually gets paid a stipend of $30 - $50 or a percentage of the money grossed from the class. You also establish yourself as an expert and your name and credentials are promoted to every household in the schools geographic area.
4) Unless you are an industry leader or a profoundly large advertiser, if you want PR, editors and writers will not find you, you need to find them. You do that by preparing a press kit.
Include in the press kit: 1) Product or design photographs or a head shot of yourself, if having personal name recognition is important. 2) Editorial matter that is not self serving but would be educational to the readers. 3) A brochure on your company and a business card. 4) You can also include prestigious client names or anecdotal stories.
Send press kits and editorial contributions intermittently (every several months) or on the cusp of a special section. You can even mark on the envelope that your material is a contribution to that special section and it will probably go into a file on that subject.
Editors are reachable on the phone and sometimes they will direct you to the right feature writer. Call them before you send the kit, tell them how you can be a resource in the future without being pushy.
5) Maximize the benefit from participating at bridal shows
Bridal shows represent an excellent avenue of exposure for your products and services to newly engaged men and women, their mothers and attendants.
Some very tangible reasons to participate in bridal shows: 1) Keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on in the industry. 2) Network with other wedding professionals - A bridal show is also an excellent networking opportunity. Other wedding professionals are present with whom you can establish relationships. The best time to talk with other vendors is during the fashion show. Some very positive results that may evolve. Offer to exchange business cards and literature that can be reciprocally displayed in your places of business. 3) Develop leads. 4) Understand your potential customers perceptions, needs and attitudes.
Most bridal shows include a mailing list of all the brides that preregistered for the show and the brides that walked in that day. Executing a follow-up program through mail and telephone is important. Most brides experience sensory overload at a show and do not retain much of what and whom they saw.
Another strategy is to place more emphasis on the brides that visited your booth. Have the bride fill out a brief registration form. Besides asking for contact information and wedding date, include a few questions that can generate interest in your services or help you eliminate following up on someone who would have no interest. Remember to ask for her e-mail address.
Brian Lawrence is the author of The Wedding Experts Guide To Sales & Marketing. He also serves as Vice President of Marketing for Encore Studios, the trend-setting invitation manufacturer. He has done many seminars and written for a variety of trade publications. His new Web site sellthebride.com is a sustaining resource for the entire wedding industry. To contact him, call 1 800 526 - 0497 x538 or e-mail Purchase His Book