Advertising your wedding business – an introduction
Advertising your wedding business is all about getting noticed. In the wedding industry, credibility and reputation are essential objectives for your advertising strategy.
Present your business with credibility:
Establish and promote yourself as an expert in your field. Draw upon your education and training, your experience in previous jobs no matter what they may have been, your hobbies and personal life. You believe in yourself or you wouldn’t be here. Now analyse your skill set and get it down on paper. What makes you perfect to run this wedding business? Why should engaged couples choose your wedding business over others?
Establish a sound reputation:
A great reputation in the wedding industry comes from being approachable, professional and accommodating. There are two old chestnuts you should really bear in mind in the wedding industry:
1. The customer is always right
Planning a wedding is a huge responsibility for any couple, and understandably stressful at times. So if your customer is overcautious, forgetful, or disorganised… can you blame them? It might not be in your business plan, but it’s part of your job as a wedding professional to reassure your customer, in words and by actions, that you can make their planning journey and wedding day run smoothly. Even if you’re only supplying the balloons.
2. Always aim to exceed expectations
The wedding industry is incredibly competitive, and it’s pink and fluffy. Two reasons you should always do that little bit extra for your couples. So if you’re making invitations you could throw in a couple of spares for free just in case they need them for last minute guests. Your wedding car should have tissues and mints in the back, and smell amazing. Anything you’re sending mail order should have a personalised note, a voucher or a little packet of sweets inside just to make it special. Whatever your wedding business, it’s those little touches that will make you stand out from the competition and earn you a great reputation.
Advertise your wedding businesss online
The wedding industry has an extensive online presence. If you’re not a part of it, you’ll be losing customers to your competitors.
The first step is to get your own web space. This doesn’t have to be an all-singing, all-dancing website. But have a think about what you need.
There are various options for promoting your wedding business on the internet:
1. Hire a web designer to create a website for you
This is the most expensive option, and worth the expense only if you’re confident that this is essential for your business. The advantages are that you will have a fantastic looking website which requires a low level of input from you – and you won’t need to learn webmastering if you don’t want to.
The disadvantages of hiring someone to design your wedding website are worth some consideration. First of all, it’s expensive – expect to pay anything from £500 to £1,000 to get your wedding website up and running. Then you’ll potentially have to pay a fee whenever your website needs to be updated: new products, new contact details, new data protection legislation – even minor changes will cost you money.
2. Create your own wedding website with a hosting package
This is the easy option. You can create a website quickly with various packages. Shopify, Wix, Squarespace and WordPress are all worth a gander.
Hosting packages include templates for you to design your website’s colours, fonts and layouts. You can add your own images, video and of course text. Some have page limits: if and when you’re ready to upgrade, there’s always a Pro option.
4. Find free web space
You don’t have to pay to have a web presence – various companies will host small business web pages for free. They are limited in what you can do with design and content, but if you just want to be seen on the web and have your contact telephone number / shop address listed online, this is the best option for you.
Consider the following:
If you make craft products, sell on etsy. Etsy is a warm and fluffy, thriving online craft community. Selling on etsy will also get more exposure for your products through search engines.
eBay is the obvious online sales outlet, but be careful and check out the competition first. eBay is ideal for selling old designs or products quickly at rock bottom prices. It can also be a great tool for starting your business, if you’re prepared to offer your products or services for almost nothing.
But don’t rely on eBay in the long term. Prices are so low that an eBay shop could have a negative impact on your sales in the long term (if you’re seen as a cheap option and don’t want to be).
This doesn’t mean rule it out completely. If you can position your business as a low-cost alternative, the market for cheap weddings is growing very quickly. If you’re able to make a profit by selling things at very low prices, then eBay could make you a fortune in the recession.
Blogging is pretty good – update a blog regularly and the search engines will find you on the strength of your keywords. Again you can add a business description, and this time unlimited product photos. You can even incorporate Google Ad units for a bit of extra cash.
If you have a website, link to it from as many different places as you can. Pinterest is a great platform – upload hundreds of photos and create a profile which links back to your wedding business website (or has your phone number).
Make the most of social media in any way you can. It’s overwhelming – there are so many sites to master. At first, my top tip is to stick with what you know. If you’re addicted to Instagram, pour your heart into promoting your brand there. If Facebook’s your second home, set up a Facebook Page for your brand. If Pinterest is addictive for you, choose it as the main platform to promote your wedding business.
You can always expand to other social platforms – TikTok has sent some brands soaring in popularity; Twitter is still a thing – it depends where your customers are, and how comfortable (and willing) you are using each platform.
Exhibiting at wedding fairs
Wedding fairs are a great opportunity to meet other wedding suppliers in your area, as well as to chat to couples face to face. If you work from home it can be a great day out, as working in the wedding industry can be isolating at times!
But first, consider:
1. Will wedding fairs work for your wedding business?
2. Which wedding fair should you choose?
Will Wedding Fairs Work for your Wedding Business?
Couples visit wedding fairs for inspiration, information and to make a few key bookings. In that order.
The busiest stands at smaller wedding fairs tend to be photographers, florists and cakes.
If you’re a photographer, don’t miss the opportunity to exhibit. You may take three or four bookings on the day, and as many again in the weeks that follow the fair.
Florists should consider the cost of exhibiting. If you’re using fresh flowers, how much will your stand cost (in flowers)? How much preparation will go into making the bouquets on the morning of the fair, and what will that cost in staff wages? Think of more than the cost of your stand.
Wedding businesses like stationers, wedding DJs, jewellers and all relatively new suppliers should prepare to work very hard on the day to get contact details for potential customers.
The best way to do this is to run a competition on the day, but be careful your competition is legal and fairly drawn. Ask couples to write their wedding date, phone number /email address and name on a postcard for a prize draw, with the winner getting a bottle of champagne or something quite generic and appealing to everyone.
Your personality will go a long way to securing business at a wedding fair. Are you bubbly and outgoing? Do you find it easy to start a conversation with a stranger? Are you confident enough to really sell your business, without being pushy? (Or do you have a friend who would come with you and help out with that side of things?!)
For a lot of wedding businesses, personality is a key selling point. If couples like you, you’ll get their business. It’s simple when you look at it that way!
Which Wedding Fair Should you Choose?
There’s a massive difference between a local wedding fair in a hotel and a national wedding exhibition.
The first key difference is the cost of exhibiting. Expect to pay between £50 and £100 for a local wedding fair, and between £1k and £5k for a major exhibition. Major exhibitions have booths of different sizes, and will charge per square foot for your stand space.
Always offset the cost of exhibiting against the potential for confirming orders. If a major exhibition gets 5,000 visitors of which 2,000 are brides and 1,000 come to your stand, you might have long conversations with 40 and 20 will book… as a wedding stationer, for example, that could add up to 1,000 wedding invitations at £2 profit each – effectively covering your costs. If you can then secure follow up orders for orders of service, menus, table plans and thank you cards, then you’ll have more than paid for the stand at the exhibition!
Major wedding exhibitions can be hard work though. The competition is fierce, and the major players in the wedding industry will exhibit. If you have a great reputation to take with you, it’s a good start. As a smaller wedding business the whole event can be daunting, overwhelming and exhausting! Try and go to a major exhibition as a visitor first, before you book your own stand.