Often, when someone talks about marketing their business, they think of the more visible pieces. Like having the perfect logo, a nice Instagram aesthetic, being listed on The Knot or Wedding Wire, or creating an attractive website.
This thought process often leads to them burning out as they try to try to do “all the things,” investing time and money into tactics that may or may not be working for them.
However, by starting with a high level marketing strategy, you'll be able to easily identify how you should invest your time and money to get optimal results.
Your strategy doesn't need to be fancy. But it should answer these four questions:
Who are you trying to reach?
It’s important to define your ideal customer so you know how you will attract and connect with them.
Consider where your ideal customer likes to shop. How do they decide to make recommendations to their friends? What type of social connections do they have? How do they spend their time? What encourages them to make a purchase? What dissuades them from making a purchase? What type of wedding do they dream about? Or are they even looking for weddings? Maybe your ideal customer is a corporate client.
Outline who your ideal customer is and then make sure that everything you do pushes back to attracting and booking that type of customer.
For example, if your ideal customer loves ballroom style designs, you need to make sure the image and messaging you’re using reflects that customer’s dreams. If you’re only using images with minimalistic designs on your website, you probably won’t attract that type of customer.
Where will you try to reach your target audience?
It’s really easy to answer this question with something like “The Knot” or “Instagram.” But that may not actually be where your target audience is spending time. They may be leaving it up to their planner to connect them with their vendor team and you need to invest into building your vendor network. Or they may be looking to do most of it themselves, in which case, you may be best investing heavily into Pinterest or optimizing for Google searches.
When you start by defining who you’re trying to reach, knowing where to reach them becomes easier and you’re able to focus on investing your energy into what will be effective for you, rather than a spray and pray marketing strategy.
How will you inspire them to book with you?
This is something that will permeate your marketing and sales efforts. You have to find out what is really important to your ideal client.
Will they have flowers at their wedding just because they’ve been told they need flowers but they really care about making sure their guests have a great time or have they always dreamed about a real statement piece on their big day that will have guests remembering it forever?
The end result may be the same for both of these clients. You could sell them both on an incredible entry installation. But how you do that will be different for each.
For the one who is focused on guest experience, you may need to talk up how fun it will be for guests to have their photos in front of that installation. While the one who’s always wanted a statement piece needs to be sold on how it will make their wedding be the most memorable among all their friends’ weddings.
Once you figure out what messaging will resonate with your ideal client, that’s the type of copy you need to include on your website, listings, Instagram captions, wherever you have written text. And you need to go back to that same messaging once you’ve got the client in the consultation and are looking to close the deal.
How will you measure success?
The number one rule of business is that you have to be profitable. So set out to achieve that.
If you’re investing money into advertising your business, make sure that every dollar you spend gives you at least $1 back within a payback period that is acceptable to you.
We could get into a whole spiel on how to price for a profit, but we’ll leave it at this:
When you calculate what your markup should be, don’t forget to include your marketing expenses in the overhead that you’re needing to cover.
As to measuring the success of your marketing efforts, start a spreadsheet and account for every dollar invested in specific marketing channels or on specific campaigns. Then track every new inquiry that comes in and connect it back to what you invested. When they close, make a note of that too.
Check that spreadsheet regularly to see the efficiency of every dollar spent. When you see that an effort isn't profitable, do what you can to optimize it but know that it's okay to stop investing in areas that aren't working for you.
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Once you have a system for tracking revenue back to advertising spend, you can start looking at your more holistic marketing and sales spend, to include things like the software you use for email marketing or the salary and commission of your sales team. This will allow you to get an even better idea of how profitable you really are so you can adjust your pricing accordingly.
Once you’ve answered these four questions, you’ll have a marketing strategy that is strong enough to undergird any marketing effort so you can book more weddings and be more profitable.