This article was written by Rick Brewer of Wedding Business Marketing. Rick has 22+ years in marketing and selling to wedding couples and is known for his proprietary approach to the psychology of wedding buying. Rick has worked with over 2100 wedding businesses, spoken to 250 + wedding groups and regularly shares his insight on wedding industry trends and cycles.
If you’ve never used Groupon to find daily deals in your area, you’re in the minority. The deal-of-the-day website features discounted products or services in your area which you can buy for a limited period of time. These types of deals are often successful because they raise awareness about a business and bring in a rush of new customers.
Several years back I actually praised Groupon for their effective use of email marketing – since the deals on Groupon change daily, they send daily emails to alert users to new local offers. These emails are also based on behavior, which means Groupon can send emails with more relevant offers to users. It’s a great email marketing strategy that yields high open and click through rates.
Through the past few years, Groupon has grown to include other offerings like Groupon Getaways to help travelers book cheaper travel deals. However, the giant misstep I see with Groupon is that it has recently started the Groupon Wedding Shop, which offers wedding products and services at dramatic discounts.
There are three main reasons why I think Groupon Weddings are a bad approach for your wedding business to consider:
The wedding industry is a specialty industry. A wedding professional’s experience, training and personality come into play in their business as well as the results for the client. What we offer is typically unique to us as providers. You can offer what you sell for twice the price of a competitor, but your business’ quality could be totally worth the difference. The products and services we provide cannot be lumped into one price or discounted rate – there are too many other factors involved.
The only differentiating factor on Groupon is price. This thought process is a true disservice to couples searching for wedding professionals. Focusing on price will talk many couples out of the professionals who can truly be a perfect match for their wedding. In weddings, there are no “do-overs.” Lower-quality vendors with little experience can easily ruin one of the most important days in a couple’s lives. Your business should be able to justify your higher price to potential clients rather than offer discounted rates to compete with other local Pros.
Weddings have a much higher emotional value almost everything else on Groupon. A person’s wedding is something that they may have dreamt about their entire lives, or at the very least spent a lot of time and money planning. By offering your services through Groupon, you run the risk of cheapening or devaluing your business. Charge what you think you’re worth and stick to it, because a wedding is something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives!
We in the wedding industry should fight against this approach, but not because it decreases our pricing; professionals should avoid Groupon Weddings because it sets the bar very low for your business. If you can offer the same service at such a discount, then why do you charge more for non-Groupon clients? Or, if a couple sees you on Groupon, will you be able to change their perception of your business in the future? And it’s not just the couples – other professionals in the industry may be less likely to refer your business. Think about the wedding professionals you find posting on Craiglist and how that affects your perception of them.
Groupon is a smart business that can provide great deals for a number of products and services across a lot of industries, but the wedding industry is not one of them. Be confident in your business and how much you charge for your services, and the right clients will find you.