Good marketing involves combining a range of methods to generate booking enquiries. One of these methods I find best is attending weddings fairs – during 2013 and 2014 I averaged 19 wedding fairs per year – and it’s this subject I get asked about most. Therefore, here’s my wedding fair advice for magicians:
What is Wedding Fair?
Wedding fairs are either arranged by a venue themselves, or hired out by a wedding fair organiser. From the venue’s point of veiw they can showcase themselves directly to newly engaged couples looking for somewhere to hold their wedding. Often they will dress a room to illustrate how it would look at a wedding
As well as seeing the venue, it’s also an opportunity for brides and grooms to meet with other suppliers in the wedding industry and discuss their requirements. This can include photographers, cake makers, wedding dress makers and entertainment.
It’s a good idea to be friendly with the other suppliers there, show them a trick and swap contact details. They are also in the wedding business and it’s possible one of their clients may be looking for entertainment and they can recommend you.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better!
When booking a wedding fair an organiser will often tell you how busy previous fairs have been and roughly how many brides to expect. I try to aim for shows that have around 100-150 brides. Only a small percentage of weddings in the UK have a magician so you need enough traffic through to increase the chances of you generating a booking, but if it’s too busy you just aren’t going to be able to speak to everyone and many will walk by. Often these larger shows are more expensive, so why pay extra to speak to the same number of people?
Have a Proper Wedding Fair Stand
Invest in a roller-banner stand that is about 2.5 foot wide and 7 foot high. These have come down in price massively over the last few years and can be bought quite cheaply via such sources as eBay. You may need to pay a little extra for design work, but hopefully you will have a brand and graphics brief so creating the proof should be quite cheap.
Also have some printed marketing material (even if just a postcard, flyer or simple brochure) to give people, and prettying up the table with a magic themed display is a good.
You want to give the impression you are an established professional business, I’ve seen exhibitors (both magicians, and other services) arrive with nothing more than a box of business cards, and this does not promote that image.
And Stay There!
On occasion it has been suggested to me that I mingle around the exhibition in much the same way as I would at a real wedding. Don’t do it! This isn’t a wedding, it’s a wedding fair. You aren’t getting paid to entertain, you are paying to generate business.
If people are walking about they are probably thinking about another stand at the time, and if they are interested in your service then you won’t have any of your marketing materials on hand to give them.
Where to Stand?
You are the product, therefore you need to be the most prominent attraction on the stand. I always move the table back (this means I then have no space to sit behind the table) so I can stand in front of it and interact with people more easily.
It could be argued that others spend the day sat down behind their table, so why not you? Well, those people are selling their products, so they are displaying them prominently. This could be wedding cakes, photographs or suits.
By standing in front of your stand makes it easier to stop people and ask them if they want to see a trick. Not many people will see that you are magician and approach you to request a demonstration, you need to initiate the conversation. This is after all what you would be doing at a wedding, so do it!
Give a Good Demonstration
Once someone has a hint of being interested launch into a trick. This should be a good example of what you would do at a wedding, though you may want to adjust the patter a little to account of the situation.
It goes without say it needs to be a strong trick, and one that is entertaining. Don’t try and go through your whole repertoire, just a sample is enough. And don’t be afraid to repeat the same trick to every couple you speak to. It may be an idea to have a second trick on you should someone asked for another trick, or perhaps you see a couple who you’ve spoken to at a previous wedding fair.
Sell the Problem, Not the Service
Even with a good trick it’s unlikely a bride and groom will know exactly why they should book you. People rarely go to wedding fairs expecting to see a magician, or even know why they’d want to book one.
Once the trick is over explain how you would fit into their wedding (during the afternoon reception, or whilst the disco sets up in the evening. Explain that these periods can be a drag for guests and involve waiting around making small-talk.
Note how I said explain how you’d fit into their wedding, not a wedding. Help people visualise you at their wedding. You are then not an abstract service in their minds.
Give a Special Offer or Discount
Now that people are interested in what you offer then it’s wise to offer a special offer for the wedding fair, though as people weren’t in the market for a magician don’t expect them to book you there and then! Many people won’t have even booked a venue or date for their wedding yet.
Do try an impose a time-limit on the special offer though. If there isn’t a deadline then some people will put off booking right away if there is no incentive, and if the wedding is two years away the chances are they’ll have forgotten about you by then.
Follow Up Afterwards
Make sure you get the contact details of the bride and groom, and the location and date of their wedding (if known). A day or two afterwards send an email summarising your conversation, special offer details and remind them how to book. Some people do require a poke, remember they’ve been speaking to all the other suppliers at the wedding fair and that’s a lot of information to absorb in a short time.
And remember a booking isn’t a booking until it’s confirmed. Someone saying they’d “love to book you” can be true, but it can also be a polite way to gently close a conversation! This is why following up is so important.
I’ve seen Facebook statuses from magicians saying they’ve taken eight bookings at a wedding fair, then a while later they contact me asking for help as they don’t get any bookings for wedding fairs!! Don’t fall into this trap.
I hope this helps you at your next wedding fair. For more information for marketing and business information see the courses we offer for professional magicians.