You’ve got that bridal show lead list in your hot little hands, but before you start blasting out emails, take a gander at the CAN-SPAM Act. These guidelines dictate what you can and cannot do with email addresses if you are using them for commercial purposes….which you are.

envelopes in hand

What You Can’t Do and Must Do with the Bridal Show Email List

  • YOU CAN’T Use a deceptive subject for your email. If your purpose is commercial, you have to make it clear.
  • YOU CAN’T Use a fake name or business in your “from” address.
  • YOU MUST Identify your message as an ad and include your mailing address.
  • YOU MUST Make clear how the recipient can opt-out of receiving emails from you and remove them from your email list promptly when requested.

Unless the brides have specifically requested email information from you, it’s very likely that you will be reported as spam. If this happens, you can be fined $16,000 per violation. More likely than that, if your email receives even a few spam complaints, your IP address can be blacklisted, which means your emails will end up in brides’ spam folders permanently.

My recommendation: don’t email brides unless they give you their email address separately at your booth. Don’t subscribe them to a list unless they agree to be signed up.

I know, I know, you pay for those leads! But if it’s unsolicited and it ticks the bride off, is that really going to get you more business?

What to Do With Those Leads Instead

1) Send a direct mail piece.

A postcard can be a powerful marketing tool if you design it correctly. Include an attention-grabbing headline, an image that reminds them of your bridal show booth, and make sure you include a “call to action” giving them a reason to contact you.

An example of that call to action: “Call today for your FREE [insert cool service here]!” or “Visit our website to get your FREE copy of [insert cool free report]!”

Want the bride to actually read your mailer? According to Tom Quiner of Breakthrough Marketing, the most effective direct mail piece is a hand-written envelope containing a letter, a brochure and a reply card.The same principles apply: use an attention-grabbing headline, a compelling benefit-driven offer and a call to action. Don’t just sell yourself; provide valuable free information that makes them want to get more, and tell them exactly what to do to get it.

2) Send your very best leads a “lumpy mailer.”

Christine Boulton of Think Like a Bride recommends that you cherry pick your lead list down to the very best locations and affluent zip codes, and send those premium leads a more expensive direct mail piece in a real “lumpy” envelope they’re guaranteed to open.

Very few of your competitors will be sending a direct mail piece, let alone one that stands out.

3) Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Don’t just rely on one meeting at the show to book the wedding. It typically takes 3-7 exposures before the customer is ready to buy.

In your direct mail pieces, encourage the bride to opt-in to your email list. Get her to happily give you her email address and permission to follow up by offering a compelling “Bride Bribe” in the form of a free report with information she really wants.

Follow up by email (without violating anti-spam laws) and different forms of direct mail.

I’m not a huge fan of “cold calling” because it’s usually unwelcome, ineffective because few brides even answer the phone anymore, and downright unpleasant to do.

The best follow up is personalized with the couple’s name, date and location, but 90% pre-done so that it requires little of your time and energy. Email and direct mail services like Aweber make this personalization easy.

What’s the most effective method you’ve found for bridal show follow up?

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