I have done over a dozen bridal shows over the past seven years. I have done varied ways to follow up with the brides after these shows. I have emailed the brides who have stopped by my booth. I have sent hand written postcards to brides who met at my booth. I have called brides who stopped by and we had a great connection at the show. I will share those later on, but today I am going to share one specific way that I’ve followed up.
One thing I tried last year that was a new follow-up for me was emailing all of the brides from the shows, including the ones I didn’t meet at the show. Most shows will give you a lead list the week or two after the show. With the shows I do, this often means I get a list of brides with up to 700 or even 800 brides to get in touch with. Before, I was missing out on all of these potential brides. I was only following up with the girls who came by my booth, which was only 1/5, maybe 1/4 of the girls from the show. What a waste of potential leads I wasn’t reaching!
So last year, I signed up for MailChimp and their free account. You can a free account up to 1,000 people on your subscription lists. Once I go through and take out brides who already have a photographer and brides who have my dates already booked, I normally end up with around 200-400 or so depending on the show. Each time I send out a newsletter, I get on average at least 1/3 of them to open them and 2-3 to unsubscribe from the newsletter. I love MailChimp, because you can see all of the stats on who opened up the email, when they opened it, how many times they opened it, who clicked on your links within the email, and much more. It’s pretty awesome!
So last year with all four of my bridal shows, I began sending out newsletters to the brides from the shows. I never participated in one as a bride, but I know from talking to my girls that they get inundated with tons of these emails after a show and find them very annoying. I try very hard to make my emails stand out among the throng of photographers, wedding venues, florists, honeymoon giveaways, etc.
Here are a few tips I have found have worked for me in booking brides from the show through these newsletters:
1) Make It About Them: Always make it about them! With the exception of my very first introduction email, I never make it about me. I never talk about me or my successes as a photographer. I never talk about how awesome I am and how great I can make their wedding day. They are hearing that from everyone.
2) Email Early and Often: In the first month after the show, they will get an email from me once a week. I have a rotation that goes out after each show. If I have a show in January, I send out the same 4 emails that first month that I do to my brides at the show in March. MailChimp lets you save templates, so all I have to do is go back in once I have created the initial email and send it to the next group of ladies. After that,
3) Have a Good Email Title: People will overlook an email if the title doesn’t pull them in. So when I send out my email about including complimentary engagement pictures with all of my packages, I title the email “FREE Engagement Pictures!” or when I do my email that explains why I have two photographers, I title the email “TWO Photographers for You!”
4) Provide Tips and Tricks: In my newsletters, rather focus on myself, I provide tips and tricks in each of my emails or give them advice on wedding planning. Here are some sample emails I send to the brides. I provide pictures of mine throughout the newsletter. Many tips and tricks are photography related and others are just wedding related. Give them free advice and help them out!
-Tips and tricks on choosing a wedding dress
-a Q&A with a wedding coordinator on why they want a wedding coordinator
-why engagement pictures are important in the photographer-client relationship
-why I bring an emergency day kit with me to all weddings
5) Don’t Give Up: After the first two months, I start to trickle the emails out to one or two a month. So far this year, I have yet to book a wedding from these emails; but we are just sitting at the beginning of March. My wedding next weekend is a bride who did not meet me at the show, but “found my emails helpful and not overbearing” so she decided to set up a consult with Ben and me. I didn’t book her until last December- almost a whole year after the show! I have another bride getting married this September who booked me last fall for her wedding. These are the only two I booked from last years shows; BUT the little extra time it took to send out these follow-up emails were totally worth the three weddings I booked for this year from it. Plus, this year is even easier! All I have to do is pull up the templates from last years emails, make sure dates are updated, and send them to this years brides!
Best of luck on your bridal shows and following up with those leads! I have one more show in March and then I’m done for the year!