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How to attract more clients to your wedding business

Amie Parnaby
24/03/2021
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wedding business

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If you’re in the wedding business, this past year has been a problem. Cancellations, postponements, and couples plain waiting until they can have the wedding they want have plagued the matrimony business in 2020 and even 2021. No one is sure when they will be allowed a large gathering of their nearest and dearest. Even if it’s only a small gathering, it’s the social mingling of families that isn’t allowed at present. I know this; two couples whose weddings I was due to attend have cancelled or postponed their big day until things improve.

Now, we can all see the end of the tunnel ahead. There is light at the end of this dark and dreary year. People can see the future, and they want to claim their particular date before anyone else. Couples who’ve had their weddings cancelled, their venue has gone under, people that have been waiting for better times to set a date; they will all be vying for a date when they can have their dream wedding. Your job is to make sure they choose you for their Big Event.

Wedding businesses come in so many different forms; they could be specialist wedding planners or just a tiny section of the event specialising in weddings, such as a florist, photographer or dress boutique. The niches are varied and intertwined, but there is a lot of overlap between wedding professionals.

The Crucial Focus of Your Wedding Business

You have one target of your wedding business, The Happy Couple. Traditionally, the bride more so than anyone else, but the happy couple are the two people who will make or break your wedding business if you don’t provide the perfect service for the day. Your marketing has to be ALL about the couple, but you might want to appeal to their parents too…

Everyone knows how things work with some larger weddings.

Your business answers only to the couple getting married. Even if the people paying for your service are parents or someone else, your primary client is the couple. If those different views conflict, it’s your job to make the person paying for it fall in line with the people getting married; their opinions will matter long after the confetti has settled.

How Can You Attract More Clients To Your Wedding Business?

If you provide services or products to people getting married, you could be one of a dozen different aspects of making the day go smoothly. You could do flowers, catering, photography, video, invitations, fitness, dance lessons, be a minister (denominational or not), provide transport, sell dresses, the list goes on (and on). A large wedding is several dozen cogs working in sync to provide everything the happy couple wants. Whichever aspect you provide, or whether you are the grandmaster coordinating it all, there are some key ways you can draw clients in and “keep” them.

Define yourself in your niche

The wedding industry is vast yet still highly competitive. Check out your competition and even those farther afield. What do they do that gets the clients rolling in? Look at their pricing, if you can. Some wedding specialists can be very closed-mouthed about their pricing policies without first meeting with the prospective couple, so you might have to be sneaky.

Now think about what you do. What do you bring to the table? Are you an innovative and artistic photographer or an original and inspiring florist? No one says that you have to stay entirely in your niche, but when you market your unique talents to your potential spouses, your ideal clients will find you. 

Make allies and collaborators for increased reach

Every wedding business you have ever known does not exist in a vacuum. Even if such an all-inclusive wedding planning business had every aspect of a wedding covered in-house, you could bet there will be some parts that the couple doesn’t like. There are no dresses the bride likes, the chef isn’t paleo-savvy, or they don’t like the floral designs by your internal florist, etc.

All-inclusive wedding event planners don’t work because there are so many different aspects of a wedding. It is impossible to put together a permanent staff that works for every couple. However, cultivating a network of preferred or compatible collaborators enhances your reach in the wedding community and engenders reciprocity when some people aren’t available. 

Whether you are a venue, dress store, photographer, transportation hire, entertainment, makeup, you can all work together. Ever considered doing a styled shoot at a popular venue? Highlight different wedding tropes and themes and how you can adapt to suit the requirements of the researching marrying pair. One single styled shoot can be a major publicity push for every business that takes part, with a bit of contextual tweaking highlighting their specific part of the shoot.

With a loose web of collaboration, you have no specific allegiances, but you have the benefits of giving and receiving referrals from your allies in the wedding business. Alternatively, exclusivity contracts can also work. Wedding planners and coordinators also benefit from these alliances because they can create the perfect wedding from a pick and mix of different niche services.

Use your online presence effectively

You have a website, but what else do you have on the internet? Virtually every bride who gets a proposal or couple who decide to legalise their union will start looking online for the next step, planning the wedding – or the engagement party. If you aren’t easily searchable, then you have missed out on your prospective couple.

A couple of things that will make your business more easily searchable are:

  • New content
  • Distributed links to your business
  • Active social media accounts
  • Curated content

A case study from the wedding industry shows improving your SEO can significantly increase your website’s traffic and conversions, but it’s not just about being searchable; it’s also about being accessible. Make it easy for your happy couples to get in touch, make an appointment, even make it easy for long-distance or socially distanced consultations with video calling.

Blog All About It!

You know that blogging is a great way to keep your content updated. What do you blog about to stay relevant to brides and grooms everywhere? You write about everything they ask about – especially the stuff that relates to your particular business. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stay in your niche. You have some insight into the business of getting married. You’ve witnessed dozens if not hundreds of couples tying the knot, and you can bring all of that to your blog posts. 

You have colleagues and peers you can reference for information. Alternatively, remember that loose network of collaborators, you can always swap blogs posts for each other. It’s a win/win situation, and everyone gets to talk about their area of expertise.

Have you considered content repurposing? You can recreate your content across multiple platforms, using slide shows and narrated video to pass along the same information.

Tip from Google: It’s not duplicate content.

Another idea is to case study your former (happy) clients. You can ask how they found you, what they wanted for their day, how you helped make it happen. Request feedback sometime around the end of the honeymoon, and if you get great feedback, ask to do an in-depth feature: a review and a showcase of your skills in one package.

Social Engagement and Interaction

Social media is still and will continue to be a goldmine for potential couples for your wedding business. You get to engage in a public forum with your potential clients, answer questions, and make yourself available. However, you also get to see when former and current clients pass your business along. There are groups and #hashtags for weddings, and budding brides talk to each other, much like on the forums.

Social proof, such as links to your business, reviews, and personal recommendations, are the lifeblood of your future business. 

Let’s leave you out of this for a moment. What about Facebook groups for 2022 couples who can talk about their plans and how to get a specific service—worried about getting into shape or finding the perfect dance teacher who can help with a partner in possession of two left feet. It’s not just engagement with you but with their fellow brides and grooms, and as an admin of this group, you can always jump in when you have some advice or a suggestion.

And we can’t ignore the visuals of a wedding. Let’s be fair, for most large weddings; the day is about being the centre of attention and letting the eyes of both families see you get hitched. So it’s a very visual and experiential affair. Show those prospective couples what you have going on with the picture-based platforms of Pinterest and Instagram. You can tag and hashtag collections and images with appropriate keywords. If your business is location-specific (or geographically constrained), be specific in your tags. Wedding tags are so numerous you will get lost in the crowd if you don’t differentiate.

Share Your Knowledge

Ever visited Quora or the Q&A pages of wedding forums? They can be a goldmine of valuable information and potential sales. You don’t even have to plug your business. When you get to the point of having made numerous posts and answering questions, you usually have the option to add links to your posts and signatures. Reddit is another option; they don’t call it the “front page of the internet” for nothing. Questions range from asking opinions to rants about a MiL (Mother-in-Law). If you can link to your business somehow, whether via screen name or a link to your business page, it’s another way of gaining internet real estate.

Lead Generators – Every bride or groom needs a little help 

Lead generators are an easy call for wedding planners and other businesses. Anyone who has been married since the age of Google knows what they put in the search bar. Even if you’re not married, it’s easy to imagine what people might search for in those first heady days of giddily searching for wedding planning. 

Put together a printable (or editable) checklist for planning a wedding for download – on receipt of an email address. Another good one is a short but detailed ebook. Whatever your wedding business, you can claim hundreds of engaged couples’ email addresses by providing a concise guide to:

  • Choosing a photographer
  • Deciding on a venue
  • Local vs Destination weddings
  • Selecting a menu
  • Travelling in style
  • Selecting the right dress
  • Video vs Photo

I could go on, but you get the gist. You can probably look up a few of these examples to see where you could do it better or differently.

Provide Excellence

This one is a no-brainer and probably already part of how you do business, but it’s worth reiterating. Nothing will put off future clients than a poor review from a bride or groom. Remember that this is a very emotional and expensive event for the two people involved, and heightened emotions lead to harsh judgement. On the other hand, an experience that surpasses expectations and brings things together will generate effusively positive reviews.

When your wedding business provides an excellent service for the marrying couple, they will want to tell others about it.

Audience Retention

Retention of your audience has a dual purpose. On the one hand, most marrying couples have friends and relations in a similar situation. You want them to recommend you to these people. On the other hand, weddings aren’t the only major life event that your couples will celebrate.

Yes, I know this post is about wedding businesses, but diversification and adaptation are crucial to maintaining and building a business, as the past year has taught everyone. What might follow or even precede a wedding?

Can you offer your services for an engagement or christening (or non-denominational naming ceremony)? What about milestone anniversaries and vow renewals? Have you heard about divorce celebrations? Okay, it’s perhaps not a great thing to advertise on your wedding website, but if you have a good relationship with your brides and grooms, maybe they’ll want to come back to you.

Print Marketing – Although be careful and balance the cost

Print media is often overlooked because it is expensive, and fewer people buy print copies of publications. However, wedding and bridal print publications haven’t lost so much. Perhaps it’s the high-resolution glossy photos and the excitement that goes with buying a bridal magazine that does it—so purchasing ad space in glossies in not such a silly thing to do.

Remember that collaborative style shoot I mentioned earlier? If you can get a wedding magazine to take the spread and an associated article, you can share the cost between you for a significant reduction in costs per business.

Get the Clients and Make Their Happy Events

Once you have attracted your clients, you want them to book you for their special life event. It’s both a huge responsibility and a privilege to be part of making a wedding day the best day of your couple’s lives.

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