If you are exhibiting at any wedding fairs (or bridal shows) this autumn, you will want to make it worthwhile. Wedding Fairs will probably be your largest source of new leads. Not only do you need to wow them on the day, but you need to follow up the leads afterwards, otherwise you will have wasted your time and money.
A little bit of planning before the event will make sure you collect the right information, store it in a useful way and then manage those leads to turn them into clients.
It is vital that you collect information about potential clients at the fair. You can ask brides to add their name to a list, fill out a card or enter a competition. The fair organisers may provide you with a spreadsheet of all the people who attended afterwards, but it is still useful to have a list of brides who were actively interested in what you offer.
But, don’t ask for too much information – think about the brides who will be visiting many stands (or even fairs) during the day. The type of information you collect will be determined by how you will use the information. As a minimum you will need brides name, email address and date of wedding. You may also want to get the location of the venue as you might not want the business if it is too far away.
Storing the Information
There is no point in collecting information from brides if you are not going to use it. Many wedding fairs have multiple suppliers from any one industry, so you cannot just sit back and wait for the brides to contact you. Some might, but others will need a reminder. Plenty of people attending wedding fairs won’t have set a date yet, so you need to ensure they remember you.
The most usual way for small businesses to store their customer and leads information is in a spreadsheet. There is nothing wrong with this; it is a quick and easy method of making an initial list of your contacts. However a spreadsheet does not allow you to manage the contacts and your potential sales. For that you need to use a CRM system.
A CRM or Contact Relationship Management system helps you manage the contact information. There are plenty of these on the market: I personally use Capsule CRM and I have a client who will shortly be moving to iComplete. Other CRMs include Salesforce, Zohocrm and Sage.
They are all “cloud based” systems, meaning you can access them from anywhere via the internet. They all have a free trial period and many of them have a free or cheaper option for smaller businesses (Capsule is free up to 250 contacts.) You can upload all your data from your spreadsheet to these systems and you can send emails and marketing campaigns from them all.
They all have their plus points and their downsides, so it is worth checking several out and see how they work for you.
Pro-active Contact Management
By using a CRM system you can manage your contacts in an organised way, based on how much you might earn and/or when the wedding is. To help you do this all the systems have various functions including:
- Categories or tags – this allows you to prioritise and personalise your contacts.
- Record all your communications – you can email from the system, upload files, note all ‘phone calls and add file notes, meaning you have a full record of every contact you have with a client
- Set up tasks and tracks – this reminds you of everything you need to do
- Set up opportunities and a pipeline – this gives you a quick overview of the potential income for any new leads.
To make the most from your CRM system it is worth thinking beforehand how you will use any information you get about your initial leads. Setting up your spreadsheet correctly in the first place, including any categories/tags or notes will make uploading to the CRM system much easier. It will help you manage your time and focus your energies, gaining you more business.
This is a guest post by Samantha Lyth – a freelance administrator offering support to many clients in areas such as database management, email marketing and social media campaigns. She is part of York Wedding Network and was the project manager behind their Wedding Boutique and is a member of the Steering Committee for Fashion City York. She is also a partner in www.skeleton-leaf.com.
Samantha is offering a free 30 minute consultation about Capsule CRM for the first 10 Wedding Business Success followers to contact her via twitter quoting CapsuleCRM. She will talk you through the type of information you need for your business, how to set up your initial spreadsheet, including categories and tags and answer any other queries you may have about using the system. To sign up for your free 30 day trial on Capsule CRM click here (affiliate link).