Marketing communications for wedding businesses
When you have been in the wedding industry for 8 years it’s nice to see and hear some “old faces” and by that I don’t mean literally their age! I remember Claire from a wedding chat room I used to visit, funny how twitter has made it feel like full circle again! Claire is a wedding calligrapher and in 2009 she launched the wonderful blog that is ‘English Wedding’ , the blog is a fantastic mix of real weddings, design details and informative, educational pieces for wedding suppliers. The UKAWP love Claire and her advice so we have decided to regularly feature some of her articles we feel are relevant to you, The Wedding Planner.
So grab a cup of tea, get your notepad and start learning! At times we have added our views to her article because we just couldn’t help ourselves.
Think of how you communicate with your wedding business market. There are two kinds of marketing communications to be aware of:
Primary marketing communications
These include your advertisements, your wedding business website, your blog, wedding fairs and exhibitions you attend (the UKAWP advise you don’t exhibit at a wedding fair TRUST US it doesn’t work for planners unless you are doing as PR exercise.)
Secondary marketing communications
You’re also communicating when you send letters to customers and suppliers, when you answer telephone enquiries, use social media, package a product to send by mail order or write a quick listing for an online wedding directory
Everything you do, say, post, tweet, print, email and more comes under the banner of marketing communications for your wedding business.
When you chat on twitter or facebook or write on your blog, remember potential customers will be reading and forming an opinion of your brand. Every little thing you type could be a customer’s first window onto your brand. We couldn’t agree more, remember a bride is buying you and your personality, the brand has to make sense for them. A quiet introverted bride isn’t going to hire a bolshie loud planner – and vice versa.
Be friendly and professional with your colleagues and customers alike, on your website and blog.
Communicate through the right channels for your potential customers. For example, I know wedding photographers and planners who’ve made radio appearances: very canny, as their businesses rely on their personality. Ahh see, just like we said above
If you’re selling a niche product don’t use mass media for marketing. Target more effectively than that if you can.
Think carefully about advertising in the national press if your business is local. Is it really worth paying for a bride in London to see your ad for wedding cakes in Carlisle?
Say the right thing: the thing your potential customers want to hear, not necessarily the thing you’re itching to say first. Promote a discount if your customers are driven by value. Use the right words to win over and persuade the reader to love what they see.
Say it in the right place: no point standing on a mountaintop yelling unless your potential customers are there. If your customers are heavy internet users, say it on a website, on your Google places listing, in a magazine advertorial – depending what your research has told you. Optimise your website for mobile if your potential customers use mobile browsers.
Every brand has a personality. If your product is quirky make sure that comes across in every status update, tweet, appointment and flyer. In most cases your brand’s personality is your own (perhaps with a few bells on). But do keep every communication ‘right’ for your business.
Effectiveness of marketing communications
It can be very difficult to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing communications. Even the marketing experts can’t prove that advertising works – although it’s generally assumed that it does!
Personally I think a good marketing communications strategy will pay off. It takes a lot of time, careful planning and it can cost a lot of money. But if you can balance the money you spend on promotion to ensure you get a good return, your efforts will be worthwhile.
The right promotion for your wedding business
Every wedding business will have its own best ‘fit’ in terms of marketing communications. If you’re a wedding photographer or toastmaster with a natural charm and brilliant personality, wedding fairs are for you. Meeting brides and grooms face to face will pay off. But you can still tailor your communication strategy by choosing small, medium or big wedding fairs to suit your prices.
If you’re a quiet, shy wedding stationer with a knack for copywriting and stunning visual designs, then work hard at your website. You’ll create a gorgeous online world where your invitations can sell themselves.
And if you’re a wedding planner make sure your websites is inspiring, informative and honest. Your website is your brochure.
Testing and reviewing marketing communications
Whatever marketing communication strategy you choose for your wedding business, try and understand how it works. This can be easier for some methods than others.
For example, advertising on an online wedding directory will send visitors to your website who you can track with Google Analytics. After a month calculate how many visitors have come to your website from that link. Divide the amount you paid by the number of visitors you got, and the number of conversions you tracked from that link – if possible, the order values generated. (For the record – this is something I know I should do, but I’ve never got around to it!)
With other marketing communication methods this isn’t so easy. Social media, for example, is very hard to track. You can find you’re spending most of your time networking with other wedding businesses and bloggers. This is great, but keep an eye on the time you’re spending and the money you’re getting back… and if it’s not much, think about how you can get more out of social media or cut back on the hours you’re spending on twitter!
Cost effectiveness of marketing communications
Always try and be aware of the cost effectiveness of your marketing communications. Keep records of what you’re spending on press advertising, exhibitions, internet banner ads, blog sponsorship etc – and how many orders you get from each one.
In my first couple of years in the wedding industry I ‘tested’ wedding fair advertising: I exhibited at four fairs, one tiny, two medium sized (because for one there was a blizzard and it was off the beaten track so it didn’t count!) and one big exhibition. Afterwards I sat and worked out the value of the orders I’d taken compared to the costs I’d incurred exhibiting – and realised it wasn’t worth my time. I’ve since invested in my website and it works for me. We agree this is the right approach to take
Trial and error is key – and I’d love to hear your experiences of marketing communications that have worked for your wedding business.