Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Wedding planners only make money when they have weddings to plan. That can be fairly easy during the spring, but sometimes you need to drum up enough business to keep you going during the off-seasons. Here are some marketing tips for your wedding planning business to keep your schedule full:
1—Find a niche. Target marketing can really help you focus your efforts. Sure, everyone with enough money can use a wedding planner when they get married, but if you try to market to everyone, you will find your efforts scattered and ineffective. However, if you are the only wedding planner in your area who specializes in second weddings or family weddings or destination weddings or hobby-themed weddings (NASCAR, wrestling, Civil War costumes, sky-diving, and so on) or outdoor weddings or weddings for Senior citizens or Hispanic or Asian weddings, or –see, the niche markets are endless! If you are the “go-to” wedding planner for these markets, you can easily build your market.
2—Find referral partners. The wedding market is heavily referral based. A florist knows bakers who know caterers who know ministers and so on. Get to know these people. Exchange business cards and sample their work if possible. Refer them when you can. Contact them often and drop off your marketing materials for their clients.
3—Exhibit at local wedding shows. Many brides attend wedding trade shows and make buying decisions on the spot. Some of the fees may be costly, but try sharing a booth with another non-competitive but complementary vendor at first. If that isn’t possible and you can’t afford the price, go as an attendee and network with other vendors. Or, offer a gift certificate for another vendor to give away in a drawing if he will share all the entry forms with you to send brochures to. If you can exhibit, make your booth exciting and have contracts ready to go if possible. Follow up all leads immediately.
4—Build a portfolio. Pictures are priceless. Photos of your work can really show brides what you can do. If you have no experience, give away your services so that you can take pictures and get referrals from your “starter” weddings. A digital camera is essential in your business. Take pictures of everything, print good color copies for your portfolio, and have your webmaster put them online, too.
5—Build a brand identity for your company. Pick a similar look for your business cards, website, stationary, thank you cards . . . everything you have printed or distribute to prospects. Choose a slogan or tagline that specifies your niche. For example, “Atlanta’s premier Asian wedding planner” tells everyone exactly what you do. Make sure your collateral (that’s your cards and stationary and stuff) has the tagline if possible, and that it “looks” the part—use Asian colors and art. If you specialize in budget weddings, say so. Ditto if you do blended family weddings or last-minute weddings.
Once you have a niche market and have done your research and are ready to go, create some educational articles that you can give out to prospects and referral partners or even use at trade shows. “Ten Tips for a Happy Blended Family Wedding”, or “Hispanic Wedding Traditions” or “Favorite Irish Wedding Toasts” printed in your brand’s colors and with your logo and contact information becomes a great marketing tool that can bring you business for a long time.
For more tips and ideas on building your wedding planner business, add these books to your reference library:
How to Plan an Elegant Wedding in 6 Months or Less: Achieving Your Dream Wedding When Time Is of the Essence
Great Wedding Tips From The Experts : What Every Bride Can Learn from the Most Successful Wedding Planners
Bravo! Wedding Planner