Attire Bridal - Apr/Mar 2020 (Issue 76)

100 SHREWD PR W: “Invest in a selfie frame and encourage people to tag themselves in photos taken on your stand, as this all helps to gain exposure for your business” You’ve taken the plunge and booked a stand at a trade show or wedding fair – now what exactly do you do next? In my experience planning ahead pays dividends. When you’re spending your hard-earned cash on a stand you need to make sure you get value for money. BEFORE YOU GO Sort lighting and stock Take time to decide on the products you’re going to be exhibiting and how you wish to display them. It’s no use getting to the day of set-up and realising you can’t arrange your collection in the way you want. It’s also important to think about lighting. If you’re going to a large fair it’s likely there will be a lighting package as part of your stand cost. If, however, you’re at a bridal fair at a country house hotel, then you may have to bring your own lights to help show off your gowns and accessories to perfection. Send out invites Remember to invite your key buyers or customers you’d like to connect with. Be sure to include your stand number on the invite or the full details of the wedding fair. Address marketing Is your marketing material up-to-date, or do you need to put together a flyer or brochure? The sooner you start planning the better the end result. Remember to include key messages and ensure your contact details are on it. You could even add a show offer that can be spent in your boutique. Get on the web Does the exhibition have a website? If so make sure you make use of this (usually) free marketing tool. In addition to completing your company profile, make sure that you upload a selection of images and include a link back to your website. You’ll be amazed at the number of links back to your website you’ll end up getting, and you can also track the effectiveness of this through your website’s analytics. Stay social Use social media to promote your attendance and tease your trade customers and followers with some of the products you’ll be launching at the event. Follow the show’s social media channels, sharing or reposting their content with a comment to say how much you’re looking forward to being part of the show. WHILE YOU’RE THERE Keep connected Include mentions in your social media posts of the show and use hashtags to drive awareness of your presence. You could even invest in a selfie frame and encourage people to tag themselves in photos taken on your stand, helping gain exposure for your business. Listen to the experts Most shows have presentations by leading industry figures and trend forecasters, so see what’s on and attend seminars that are appropriate. As a small business these are invaluable, providing an opportunity to pick the brains of an expert or network with likeminded individuals. Being the boss can be lonely, so take advantage of any help and support that may be available to you. Say hello Get to know your fellow exhibitors, as there might be opportunities to collaborate with like-minded businesses. If you’re exhibiting at a local wedding fair think about what opportunities might spring from it – is the venue planning on updating its wedding brochure, and if so could you provide them with dresses for the shoot? Is there a make-up artist or hairdresser who’s looking to work with a bridal boutique? Collect business cards and arrange meetings – it will often pay dividends! Think of the press Have a press pack in the show’s press office – you never know where this will lead! Your local paper might be interested in a story about you stocking the dresses of a local designer, or perhaps your USP is that you have a pre-loved dress collection that’s proving extremely popular with brides trying to reduce the environmental impact of their wedding. Considering booking a trade show stand? Read on for essential advice from Eleanor Lester, who has over 20 years’ PR and marketing experience in fashion and online retail All the fun of the fair Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week