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Q&A: How I make expos successful for my boudoir business

I have written about expos in the past but I’ve received many more questions (your questions were awesome!!) about subjects I haven’t yet touched on so I’d like to talk about it more in depth. If you haven’t read the first article I wrote about expos you can read it here.

For this post I’m going to take a more Q&A approach. So if you have a question that is not covered below please reach out to me and I will answer your question asap, thanks!

Q) What are some tips on finding expos in your area?

A) I always have my eyes peeled for any type of expo women will be at. I’ve heard about them via the radio, facebook, google, etc. Even if I hear of it and the expo is in two days if I think it will be worth it then I sign up and get my sh*t together fast haha!  If I haven’t heard of anything and I’m trying to plan out my schedule then I will google for “expos,” “women’s events,” “ladies night out,” “bridal fairs,” etc.  If you can join any type of wedding association or small business association as well those would be great places to network and learn about events as well.

Q) How much is too much to spend on an expo?

A) Personally I try to look for expos/events that will cost me free-200 dollars.  If it’s more then $200 then I really research it and chat with vendors (I trust) who have attended it in the past.  Keep in mind this will take up a lot of your time and time is money.  So keeping the event cost down is good. That way if it’s your first year doing the event and it’s a flop then  you’re not losing out on much 😉 That being said there are expos in larger cities that are $2000+ and if they’re really great and you can book multiple people on the spot then I’d say they would be worth it.

Q) How are you presenting at these events?

Most the events I’v attended provide you with an 8×10′ table.  I use a backdrop of choice to lay down on the table first. Then I put boxes or albums that I’m not going to use underneath the backdrop to raise parts of it up in places. This will create more visual interest instead of having on giant flat surface. Next I use a couple sheer fabrics to drape on the table to break it up and ad more visual interest again. Finally I put out all of my photo albums, folio box samples, and printed materials out on the table. There really is no rhyme or reason to how I do this, I just make it look good 😉  Lastly I had an ipad in the middle of the table on a small stand. I use this application  to create a gallery of before & after photos they can flip through. You could make yours before & afters, just a gallery of your work or playing a promo video if you have one.

Q) How do you get people engaging with your booth?

Not many people are going to just walk up to your booth and peruse your photos. You HAVE to engage in a conversation with them. If I’m at an expo with little people (so plenty of time before the next visitor) I will ask them how their night is going and try to get them talking about themselves a bit. I then work what I do into the conversation and ask them if they’d like to see my before&afters.  If I’m at a busy expo I’ll ask them a quick question to get them engaged such as “have you heard of NEW _____ photography?” You can fill in the blank with boudoir, glamour etc. I do this because if I say I shoot boudoir or glamour people gasp and run away. Once they say “no I’ve never heard of new ____ photography.” I say well, we ditched the boas and the bad hair and we do MODERN makeover and photo shoots in my studio. I then tell them where I’m located and how the shoot process works. While I’m talking I’m having them ooh and ahh over my before/after gallery. If they seem interested keep them engaged. If they’re slowly moving away from you or seem bored ask them if they’d like a card that way they can view it on their own time as they’re not the person that will book on the spot.

Q) How do you get people to book that day?

I recently watched a creative live with Sue Bryce where she talks about gift with purchase. If you’re a boudoir or glamour photographers I’m SURE you’ve heard of Sue Bryce. That is of course, unless, you live under a rock 😉 😉  If you haven’t watched the video I would recommend watching it here. She had this brilliant idea of gifting anyone who books a shoot with her on the day of the expo a Brittany Spears perfume.  A gift with purchase is something many companies already do as well. I took this into mind as I was brainstorming ways to get people to book on the spot. My brand is all about glitter, etc.

So I found Nine West purses for sale for $50. It was a tote with a clutch attached as well. My special was that the first 6 people to book their shoots (creating urgency) the day of the expo would receive a photo shoot, hair/makeup, $100 towards their print purchase (key so that they know they will be spending with you) & a Nine West tote+clutch all for only $79!! I put tissue in each bag along with all the gift cards AND a price list (essential for them to know the prices). I have booked 6+ shoots at each expo I’v been to since implementing this deal!

**When they buy the deal I whip out my smart phone and we pick a date/time for their shoot right then and there I also have them pay the $79 right then and there via cash or using my card swiper. I also tell them that I will be sending them a welcome email and questionnaire the very next day.

How I booked even more people that day… for every person that bought a bag I asked them if they’d like to bring a friend, sister, mom etc. with them to their shoot for NO additional cost. Each person that booked is bringing 1-2 people with them. That means MORE people in my studio and MORE sales.

    • Some events did silent auctions so I offered up a shoot+makeover+$100 print credit in the silent auction as well – so I booked one person there
    • All of the events had “door prizes.” I offered up THREE photo shoot+ makeover+$100 print credit gift cards and EVERY woman SCREAMED when she heard her name called to win!

Marketing a boudoir photography business and making it sustainable is my specialty! If you want special coaching and applicable strategies to grow your business, check out my Boudoir Certified program! We can start working together tomorrow to double your bookings and triple your earnings in as little as 8 weeks!

What to know how to be successful with your boudoir business at an expo? Molly Keyser of Boudie Shorts gives you her tips!

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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.