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Marketing at a Bridal Expo

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I am writing about this because we have had a wonderful experience marketing our bridal boot camp at a local Bridal Expo. This is not something that we do often, but this particular Expo was located very close to our club and was marketing to local brides, all of whom were prospects to use our services to enhance their wedding day experience.

Our decision to do this was based on several factors. First and foremost, the Expo was co-hosted by a local winery/bridal venue and a very strong local radio station. We knew that it would have great radio exposure on a station that had a terrific following. We also knew that since radio personnel are essentially entertainers, the bridal fashion show itself would be well produced and entertaining.

As a health club, we knew we could offer a “Bridal Boot Camp” product, so we used this event as our motivator to design it and package it for promotion (see inserts). In addition, we have a salon and spa as well as a medical aesthetics business within our club, both of which have wonderful services and products for brides.

I want to focus on what we did to promote the fitness aspect of our presentation. We had t-shirts made up for all the brides that were white with our local printed in soft bridal colors of blue and silver. They were presented to the brides by a couple of fitness trainers that dressed in tuxedo vests with bowties on collars and cuffs (see picture). This may seem a little “campy,” but it was great fun and attracted more attention than almost anything else in the entire show. The trainers were very good sports about reaching out to the ladies and I think had more pictures taken with the potential brides than anyone else.

Another clever aspect of promotion was our prize spinning wheel. We take this to most of our off-site promotional events and customize the wheel for the type of event. Guests love to spin for prizes. It is an easy way to strike up conversations without being too aggressive. We also had a drawing for a free Bridal Boot Camp, so lots of leads were collected for further follow up.

As for the behavior of the staff, they were placed in front of the display tables, never behind, and stood the entire time. They were given tools (prizes, products, giveaways) to use to engage guests so that there was never an awkward moment. We enlisted a lot of staff members so that people could take breaks often. The level of energy required to interact in this context is very high and staffers need to  vary their activity often in order to stay at peak performance level.

At the end of the day, we had over 200 new leads, lots of pictures for promotion and created great buzz about our products and services.

Linda Mitchell is the director of marketing, public relations and charitable giving for Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Penn. She can be reached via e-mail at linda@newtownathletic.com.

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Rachel Zabonick

Rachel Zabonick is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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