» How Advertising and Marketing Work Together

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

How Advertising and Marketing Work TogetherWhile many wedding professionals think that marketing and advertising are one and the same, there are important distinctions between the two. Advertising is a strategy for getting your business in front of as many potential clients as possible, while marketing is a strategy for making sure your business stands out from the competition. Both are necessary to reach and book wedding clients.

For your advertisement on WeddingWire or other online listings, your business should focus on:

  • Clearly communicating your products/services
  • Images and/or videos of your work
  • Consistent and recent client reviews
  • Pricing and/or any deals or discounts you offer

But for your marketing strategy, consider the following as ways to distinguish your business from the other listings the couple passed before you:

  • A well-written About section that describes who you are and why you’re a good choice
  • A website that provides more detail about your business and why you’re unique
  • Text on your website or blog that speaks their language to connect with potential clients
  • Strong calls-to-action that guide potential clients through the inquiry process

Both advertising and marketing are about pulling clients towards you, not pushing them to book you. The aforementioned tactics will help you drive potential clients to take action – whether the action is as small as clicking your ad or as big as signing a contract. When a bride sees a photo that she can imagine herself in, or a couple sees a review from an authentic client, they’re compelled to take action.

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» How to Turn Your Customers into Brand Advocates

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

Brand ambassador referring friendsHow can you leave such a powerfully positive impression on your customers that they’ll later recommend you to someone else?

If you have an answer, then you have the strongest sales force possible: the satisfied customer who wants everyone to know just how satisfied he or she is. So, how do you develop the kind of relationship that will turn your customers into brand advocates? Below I share some of the best ways to develop a stronger relationship with your clients.

Keep your customers on your radar – even when they are no longer your customers. Send them anniversary cards, holiday cards, birthday cards, and most importantly, keep in touch. Keep them on your radar and they will keep you on theirs.

Show your customers you genuinely care by getting to know them. For example, how can you send a former client a birthday card if you don’t actually know her birth date? Getting to know your clients on a personal level makes them feel like they know something about you (you’re friendly, genuine and personable), and that gives them something to share with others about you.

Go beyond the wedding and see them for other aspects of their lives. Engage with your customers about the ups and downs of life. If a customer mentioned that a family member was ill, keep in touch with them and check in. Investing into the personally-important matters of your customers connects you to them holistically, which means it feels natural for them to share your business with others.

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» 4 Ways to Approach Your Pricing Strategy

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

Deciding how to price your servicesPricing strategy: A source of frustration for many wedding professionals. Some see it as an art, others see it as a science; but it’s a vital part of the wedding industry for all of us.

Deciding how much to charge for your products or services is no easy feat, and there are a lot of factors involved: your offerings, local competition, regional wedding costs, and more. It’s a lot to worry about, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Below are four approaches that will help your wedding business hone your pricing strategy!

1.  Check out the competition

Identify your local competitors and see what’s working well for them. What packages do they offer? What range of prices are they working with? Do they list their pricing on their website or online listings? While you shouldn’t copy your competitors, find out what makes your business stand apart from theirs and capitalize on that differentiation. If your competitor only offers two pricing packages, trying offering a third tier. If they don’t list their pricing on their website, try listing yours to give potential clients a better idea of what to expect.

2.  Consider your business goals

When evaluating what makes your wedding business stand out from the competition, think about where you can strengthen your source of revenue. The best pricing strategy makes the most of your innate business strengths.  What makes your business special and drives customers to you? Are you following the pricing strategy that emphasizes your business as the better or more high-quality choice, or are you merely attempting to undercut your competitors? Many wedding professionals only consider externally-influenced pricing strategies that do not actually reflect the quality of their business, which is not as successful in the long term.

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» Cross-Marketing in the Wedding Industry

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

Pros working togetherFor most businesses, networking stops at the exchange of business cards – but not in the wedding industry. Building relationships is imperative for most wedding and events professionals to thrive in their market. The mutual intention for both parties is to refer customers on a regular basis. Sometimes wedding professionals even offer a financial reward or incentive each time a referral is made to increase the exchange of recommendations.

The next generation of commitment and collaboration is when Pros share access to a client. Shared access through a preferred vendor list is most common for venues and caterers. As an early rung on the planning ladder, venues and caterers are in the best position to recommend couples to other Pros. They have a strong sphere of influence in the process because they often represent the biggest financial commitment. Sometimes venues will also share the names of prospects who did not book; naturally those referrals are not as strong for the receiving vendor.

If referrals alone aren’t enough to support your wedding business, a best practice to try is cross-marketing with other vendors. Cross-marketing means that one Pro ties in an offer from another Pro for the purpose of using it as an incentive to sell their own service. Cross-marketing is mutually beneficial, since both professionals are rewarded if the couple ends up booking.

The Pro originally contacted by the couple presents something of value to make their offering seem stronger, when it’s at no cost to them. The recommended Pro has a chance to gain the business of the original Pro’s client while the actual couple receives the additional value.

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» Bridal Show ROI: Avoid These Common Misconceptions

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

Bridal shows are an extremely important part of today’s wedding industry. They are the major platform that gets couples off of their computer screens and face to face with wedding professionals. However, many wedding businesses are disillusioned that their mere participation in a bridal show automatically leads to booking weddings. This article will help clear up some misconceptions and include an action plan to getting the best return from bridal show participation.

Bridal Show ROI: Avoid These Common MisconceptionsMisconception #1: “Bigger is not always better”

While the prospect of participating at shows with thousands of attendees is exciting, smaller bridal shows often offer Pros a greater possibility of quality contact with potential clients. It is good practice to be mindful of the show’s ratio; a show that has 75 attendees should not have 40 vendors exhibiting. There just are not enough opportunities for vendors if the attendee to vendor ratio is less than 4 to 1.

Here are several alternative formats that give vendors high visibility at a small show for the best bridal show ROI:

  • Mock Wedding: Usually organized by an entertainment company, this showcase invites a smaller group to experience what it would like to be a guest at their own wedding. It is a collaboration of wedding professionals who simulate the entire experience but narrate as it is being done. At that type of event there is usually exclusivity among vendors and a well – executed event can create a high percentage of attendees hiring many of the attending vendors.
  • Wedding Seminar Event: If you are part a seminar event that educates couples about wedding planning, you are being perceived as an expert while showcasing your services or products. You may have a small attendance but book a high percentage of the attendees.

Misconception #2: “Brides will remember seeing me at the show and contact me when they are ready to book”

Many vendors make that mistake and fail to do the necessary follow-up to maximize the amount of business from show participation. It is important to have a strategy in place.

It starts with deciding how you are going to promote your business in your exhibition space. Do something that stands out and can be referenced in follow-up mailers, phone calls, and emails to the mailing list that you may receive at the show or compiled from registrations at your booth. It is especially important that you know who visited your booth.

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» How DIY and SEO Can Live Happily Ever After

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

Creating your SEO strategy can feel utterly overwhelming. Sure, hiring an expert could make things a lot easier, but then you would want someone who knows the industry, understands exactly what will work for your website, and whose services fit within your budget. How DIY and SEO Can Live Happily Ever AfterWhy can’t SEO be DIY? Does it really need to be so difficult? As it turns out, SEO could be DIY once you understand a few key elements. Here are the oh-so-easy-to-do secrets of a happy DIY SEO relationship which, if you implement, will leave you feeling empowered and knowledgeable!

Beauty sleep, aka NAPtime Make sure your business contact information is consistent anywhere it’s visible. At a minimum, your contact information should include your business name, address, and phone number – or NAP, abbreviated. That means that the NAP information on your website, Storefront and Facebook business page should all be exactly alike.

Be yourself, but don’t be full of yourself Be unique when it comes to your SEO DIY blending. On your website’s homepage, include information that explains exactly what your business does, in three hundred words or more. Do share where you are, what specifically you do, and some relevant keywords. However, do not overload your website with so many keywords that you sound like a wedding industry dictionary. Known as keyword stuffing, this method is a huge turnoff to search engines that are savvy to this kind of jargon. Continue reading

» How an Additional Domain Name May Give You the Competitive Edge

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

When first developing a website and choosing a domain name, the vast majority of wedding professionals pick one that matches the name of their business. And, that’s pretty much the last thought on the matter.

Except, that domain should not be everything when it comes to building a fully functional, impressive, and effective online presence. You want to secure additional domains to give your business a distinct competitive advantage. 

It can be as simple as pointing the domain name to your current site like you would using a toll free number. The secondary domain will simply link to your main domain, but be available via search so you can reach a larger audience searching for those terms.

How an Additional Domain Name May Give You the Competitive EdgeHow it Works

Domains are a solid long-term investment. Their value increases over time, especially if you generate traffic with them. With the right additional domain name in place, you can strategically enhance your business success.

Moreover, it is virtually guaranteed that using these types of domains in marketing will benefit your business. Not only will your site get more frequent clicks, you’ll experience an increased response both online and/or in print.

Additional Domains = SEO Success

It’s become common knowledge that a wedding business cannot maximize the online visibility of their website without some real focus on SEO, aka Search Engine Optimization.

Additional domains, however, allow you to make the most of SEO, and incorporate into the actual name of your website. If done right, a secondary domain name will correspond with commonly searched terms. That means more people will find your business, even if they only did a keyword and/or location based search.

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» How to Climb to New Profits

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

The wedding industry is unique in that you do not have to create the need for products and services. At a formal wedding, you can approximately forecast what and when they will buy. Most wedding professionals specialize in a particular category. While most wedding businesses may network on some level (through the exchange of business cards, for example), the majority of businesses do not focus on making the most of networking relationships or think about add-on sales.

It is natural for businesses to focus on increasing the amount of clients. Profitability, however, can be more easily gained by a continued exploration on how to make more money on each client. The most passive attempt to accomplish that would be to raise prices. However, your bottom line, what the market can bear and the bridal niche you are trying to target should motivate pricing, or raising your prices can result in you losing business.

How to Climb to New ProfitsFinding new products and services are a more creative and effective process to increasing profits. One of the most valuable outcomes that many brides and grooms are motivated by is the saving of time. If your company is an earlier rung on the planning ladder as a venue, caterer, bridal shop, photographer, video or entertainment company, often couples will have yet to order invitations, favors, bridal gifts, flowers, limousines and tuxedos, for example, and you may be able to be of assistance.

If you were to endeavor into offering these services to existing customers, you have an advantage; you already have their trust. Secondly, if a bride and groom are convinced that they can enjoy equivalent or better quality and comparable pricing that trust advantage along with the benefit of saving time and keeping track of fewer bills, can help you win business. In addition you have the advantage of exposing the couple to services at earlier stage than they may have normally began their research and can more time to pay the services on a more gradual basis (a strong benefit you can establish).

Some wedding businesses may be overwhelmed at the thought of taking on new services without understanding the craft and how to fulfill the service or merchandise the products. It’s easier than you think. Continue reading