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What Brides Really Think Of Bridal Shows and The Knot

by: Kathy DalPra

what brides think of bridal showsIt's no secret that the wedding industry has changed drastically in the last 10 years. Today's Internet savvy millennial bride is bombarded with tools, resources and information about planning her wedding. She's overwhelmed and doesn't have the time or patience to tolerate anything that can't add value to her planning experience. What she wants are quick and easy ways to sift through the endless information so she can find the hidden gems worth consideration and evaluate which are best for her. This applies both to her search for the right vendors as well as locating solid planning advice and inspiration.

And that's why traditional cattle call bridal shows and catch-all resource centers like The Knot are quickly becoming outdated. Here's what one bride recently said about her experience:

Look, its not that brides are against online resources or even bridal shows. It's that they don't want to be any more overwhelmed by options or communications than you and I do. What they really want is to connect exclusively with those people and resources that are the best fit for them.

In other words, they want the power of choice.

She's thinking, "show me the options (in a less overwhelming way) and let me choose which ones to keep on my radar." Unfortunately, many of these generalist bridal resources (i.e. catch-all shows and planning sites), don't give her that. Not only do they stretch the reasonable boundaries of permission marketing by adding the bride to more lists than she wants to be on, they clutter her mind with more options than she possibly has time to compare.

So what does this mean for you? Here are a few ways to ensure you're one of those wedding-related resources she adores, rather than dreads.

Get Her Permission

Never add a bride to your email or direct mail marketing lists unless she specifically signs up for it on your website or at your bridal show space (yes, even if the show director
gives you the list). I know my advice will be controversial, so let me tell you why I'm suggesting this.

  1. Everyone that shows up at the bridal show isn't your ideal client, so why would you waste your time and dollars with follow up marketing to them anyway?
  2. Just because a bride attends a bridal show doesn't mean she wants to hear specifically from you. Let her decide. Ignoring her right to give you permission individually will only frustrate her and have her unsubscribe. The more unsubscribes you get, the more your emails will get bounced to your entire list.
  3. By only following up with those that ask you, via a signup sheet or form, you'll be more effective in your marketing, while spending less time and money doing it.

Utilize Smaller, Niche Wedding Planning Sites

A quick search on Google will show you just how many niche wedding blogs and planning sites there are online. This is strong evidence for the growing desire brides have to expose themselves exclusively to wedding planning resources that fit with their style, budget and vision. Rather than getting lost in a sea of irrelevant options, brides are putting blinders on and only paying attention to blogs and sites that 'speak' to them.

And you should do the same. Align yourself with niche sites that overlap with your specialty. Narrow in on only those niche sites that attract your ideal client and get exposure through them. Skip general, catch-all sites like The Knot, unless you truly believe your ideal couple is hanging out there and you are already having success with it. In that case, by all means, continue.

Track Down Small, Boutique-Style Bridal Shows

I simply love the shift in the bridal show mentality that's been taking place in the past few years. Shows are becoming less like "expos" and more like "mixers." My best success with bridal shows marketing my jewelry were always the tiny ones. The ones that only had 25 vendors or less and treated the event more like a boutique networking and socializing experience than a big sales pitch.

If you can find smaller bridal events that match your niche and cater toward your ideal type of client, I think you'll find the brides to be a lot more receptive and responsive to your message.

Tell Me Your *New* Plan

So, what d'ya think? How can you tweak your marketing and communication strategy to stop annoying brides and start attracting them? Do you currently utilize The Knot or bridal shows? What are you doing to get the most out of these activities, without ticking brides off? Tell me your tips or new plans below...