As the countdown to the end of 2020 begins, many photographers are looking towards 2021 as a year to recoup and revitalize their businesses. It’s important to realize that simply changing the calendar year doesn’t mean we’re flipping a switch and things will go back to normal. We are not out of the woods yet.
The first few months of 2021 will feel very much like today. Social distancing requirements and limits on large gatherings will have a big impact on the Wedding Expo Season. These events are typically a big marketing piece for professional wedding photographers. Expos will still happen, but they’ll be online. Navigating virtual wedding expos will be a new experience for most. Start planning your strategies now for a successful Wedding Expo Season.
2020’s Silver Lining
Can we say something nice about 2020? On a positive note, 2020 has made people more appreciative of what they have and more grateful for the loved ones in their lives. Love is not canceled. Many couples who have endured this year together are deciding to tie the knot. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, the number of proposals will soar. This is Engagement Season and it’s traditionally followed by the Wedding Expo Season. The 2021 Bridal Show season will be different. How do you go about marketing your business and selling professional wedding albums in the virtual world? Here are some tips for navigating virtual wedding expos.
Find Your Space
Search for your preferred traditional expo online and you’re sure to find its virtual counterpart. In fact, you’ll probably find several options in your area. Research the number of potential attendees, geography, demographics, and the benefits you’ll get as a vendor to make the right decision for your brand. While “Your City’s Largest Virtual Bridal Show” may seem appealing, be open to smaller, more targeted events. These can be found through local business chamber’s Facebook Events and other sites like Event Brite.
Don’t limit yourself to just one event. Fees to participate online will typically be lower than an in-person trade show. Take advantage of the ease of attending virtual shows. There’s no travel, no setup, and you don’t have to spend 12 hours on your feet. Once you get all your marketing together, it’s easy to repurpose your materials in multiple “spaces” from the comfort of home or office.
Know Your Platform
Virtual Trade shows aren’t new and there are MANY online conferencing and trades show platforms out there. These applications allow for a virtual space for attendees to “visit”. Some “spaces” even give the visitor a 3D experience of walking the trade show floor. Attendees won’t be able to physically hold your flush-mount leather albums so you’ll need to use imagery and videos. Find out early what marketing pieces you’ll need to create your virtual booth.
Some of the features of a virtual trade show are:
- Live Chatting
- Clickable Imagery
- Brand/Logo Placement
- Downloadable Brochures
- Pre-Recorded Videos
- Live Streaming Presentations
- Shopping Carts
- Exhibitor Portals for Lead Capture
Think Outside the Box
If you’ve got the connections and the bandwidth, get creative, and host your own “show”. Network with local vendors and create a virtual event via Facebook or host a Zoom party. Have fun with giveaways and games. Give each business a 3-5 minute presentation spot with a little time for Q&A.
End the event by inviting attendees to join a VIP Facebook Group where you can continue to connect. Keep the event momentum going in the VIP Group by posting live videos, polls, quizzes, prizes, or raffling off a complimentary parent album. Be sure there are plenty of opportunities for your VIP members to share their info so that you can follow up directly.
Preparing for a Virtual Expo
In our next blog, we will dig deeper into preparing marketing materials. One thing is certain, you will need updated images of the professional wedding albums you offer. Take the time now to order sample wedding albums so that you’ll have time to photograph them for the virtual shows. Zookbinders offers a generous 50% off sample albums so you can show off your work and your products.
Online events pose different challenges and opportunities. Navigating virtual wedding expos requires new tools and strategies. Adapting and pivoting is what it’s all about in 2021. Look for our next blog that expands on getting all your marketing collateral ready and setting a goal for success!