Marketing your wedding business is the way to reach potential customers. There’s no two ways about it – without suitable marketing, businesses are not businesses, they are hobbies that require a lot of money and don’t bring in much at all.
Small start-up wedding businesses are often strapped for cash to spend on marketing and advertising and I totally get that. I’ve grown all of my wedding businesses with small budgets and took advantage of some smart ways to promote my businesses for free or for very little cost and I’ve put together a little list of ideas for you below. Not all of these methods may work for your business depending on where you are located and which category you are in within the wedding industry. There will however be a good chunk of them at the very least that will be perfect for your awesome new business!
Improve your websites SEO
It’s no secret that many couples when looking for wedding professionals will scour Google and if your business is not showing up on the first couple of pages (ideally on page one) of their keyword search then they won’t find your website. Aside from investing money in Google ads (which is a very worthwhile endeavour but this post is about free or very cheap marketing ideas) the only other way to work your way up the ranks is to work on improving your websites SEO.
Thankfully this is a very popular topic and there are numerous videos online to take you through the basics to ensure your website is optimised for Google’s bots to find your page.
In addition to simply optimising your pages, another great way to increase your presence on Google is to start blogging – creative fresh, new and relevant content will not only allow your website visitors to have plenty to check out, but it will increase your authority in your industry and it will also improve your Google rankings as those bots love regular new and relevant content.
Create a Google My Business page for your business
This easy little step (which is not done automatically by Google when you set up your business) is crucial for businesses which have a bricks and mortar presence. So if you are for example a new wedding venue or you have a cute little cake store, jewellery store or bridal boutique it’s essential you set up a Google My Business page.
When customers are searching for your business name it shows up just like below on the right hand side. It features thumbnails of the images you have uploaded when setting up the my business page as well as any Google reviews (which Google loves!) and details about opening hours and location. This is all information you set up yourself when you head over to the Google My Business page.
The other location your Google My Business page will show up is when someone plugs in a search into Google which is location specific. In the example below I’ve typed in Wedding Venue Brisbane and as you can see below you will get a list of locations and can click for more. If you don’t have a My Business page set up you don’t show up on here and it’s a great way to be found!
Of course the My Business page isn’t suitable if you are an ecommerce or mobile business where you base yourself from home and travel to clients or ship to clients as you won’t want to plug in your residential address. This won’t look professional and you don’t want customers rocking up on your door step at any time. In these instances it’s best to not worry about the My Business page.
Network within your local wedding industry professionals
Word of mouth is key in this industry. Not only from bride to bride in the form of customer referrals but also business referrals. When you have a relationship with a couple you are working with on their wedding it’s incredibly common for them to ask for recommendations of who to contact for other particular elements of their wedding. For example when I was a bridal designer I had brides asking me for suggestions for shoe businesses, suit businesses, hair and makeup vendors I trusted, even photographers and venues if they were meeting with me about their gown before booking those other key vendors. When wedding professionals provide recommendations this is not a light hearted thing – there would be nothing worse than referring a couple to someone who turned out to be unreliable or produce poor quality products or services. So we only refer those we know well, trust personally and can highly recommend.
They way to build that credibility within the industry is to start introducing yourself (it can even be a one on one reach out via their contact details on their website) and start getting to know your local industry professionals. Most areas will have industry groups and they tend to have facebook groups to join so that you can find out about networking events. But the more you get out there and start meeting others in the industry, the more great referrals you can potentially gain from them.
Build up your social media presence
Although this is becoming an increasingly bigger challenge to do for free, it’s still possible and absolutely worth doing. Your ideal couples are almost guaranteed to be hanging out on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest (they are the top 3 in my opinion when it comes to wedding ideas and inspiration).
Just like Google, the social media platforms love businesses who post regular and relevant content. It certainly doesn’t need to be every day as that can get a bit overwhelming to keep up with, particularly in those early start-up days, but at least schedule something once or twice a week on each platform.
Also get involved with your followers. If they comment or message be sure to respond promptly. If a comment doesn’t require a reply you may simply like their comment to acknowledge that it was seen by you. Also create content that is shareable – this is one of the easiest ways to spread the word of your business. Outright plugging of your products or services can put couples off – but if you add value by creating lots of gorgeous inspiration, really helpful advice or even funny posts that are relevant to your business they will be much more likely to like or share these posts.
Getting great couples who really get you, and you in turn are a perfect fit for them is all about building rapport and social media is a fabulous way to start things off. With long engagements it’s common for brides in particular to “stalk” businesses on social media for many months before actually contacting them with an enquiry and in that meantime they have been slowly getting to know you, your business and your work and I tell you what, from experience they will be your best customers!!
Get involved in collaborative wedding inspiration shoots
This is a super fun one! Particularly as for most of us it was the creative call that lured us into the wedding industry just as much as the love of weddings and gorgeous humans in love! Once you have reached out and started to get to know some of the other complementary wedding vendors in your area the next step is to start arranging inspiration / styled wedding shoots.
I love this concept so much and have been involved in them for many years either from a vendor point of view providing gowns and accessories or as the organiser of the shoot for magazine and blog articles. For any of us who aren’t photographers it provides an opportunity to have some of our work photographed professionally by an amazing industry photographer, and alongside other incredible styling elements that fellow wedding professionals create and sell. Teams can really think outside the box here and create their very own shoot and styling to offer a unique point of view for couples to consider.
Then when you have the incredible shoot all complete those images can be submitted to online blogs or magazines and if they are picked up this can really skyrocket your business! When done properly if it’s picked up by a major publisher your business name will be credited among the rest of the team and when couples come across it and fall in love with your suit, your veil or perhaps your cake topper they will look you up to find out more.
In addition to this there is generally an arrangement among the team of collaborators that they all receive digital images which they can use on their own website to promote their business. It’s a fantastic way to get some professional images without having to pay for it. I’ve never had to pay a photographer to capture these shoots as there are always up and coming photographers or even established photographers interested in increasing their wedding portfolio as well as potential magazine / blog exposure, so if you approach someone and they start talking about fees, keep looking around (also be up front with all involved from the start that this would be a collaborative shoot with no money exchanged so no one feels mislead or gets caught out with invoices at the end).
Have your business listed on any relevant free online directories
There are a bunch of wedding directories online where couples search for potential wedding vendors. Many will have placement fees to have your business listed on their directory (often it’s a smart investment as long as they are also tailored to your niche within the industry) however there are some which include free listings.
Now often you get what you pay for, so with some of the free directories you may not see much traffic, however when it costs nothing it’s always worth being present on there for those occasional leads.
To find out which directories are currently offering free listings (it can change) simply google terms such as free wedding directory listing Australia.
Offer to guest post on other wedding vendors pages
This is a great way to reach new audiences. It’s an opportunity to start building relationships with couples so that they get to know a bit about you and your business before even clicking over to your site. In guest blog posts you can write an article which shows your expertise in your area and also provides valuable advice for couples who are visiting another vendors site.
In choosing businesses to contact you wouldn’t be contacting competitors who are in the same category as yourself but rather complementary vendors. So a florist could post about floral arrangements for cakes on a cake decorating site, or a suit business could share advice about choosing suit colours to complement wedding dresses on a bridal gown site.
When reaching out to offer to guest post it’s always a good idea to have thought about a great, relevant topic first and mention that in your introductory call / email. If they agree always request that your business name be included and hyperlinked so that you can gain some valuable backlinks and also easily lead your potential customers to your page.
In return it’s lovely to offer a reciprocal deal where they write for your blog as well. It’s a nice warm, fuzzy thing to cross promote each other and it’s one less blog post you need to come up with yourself – winning!
Start up your own podcast or be a guest on a relevant existing podcast
Podcasts as a form of marketing and relationship building is an area which is absolutely booming right now. With very little equipment required you can set up your own podcast where you can chat about your industry regularly and provide a new avenue for a flood of leads. Formats can vary where it could be very short ‘episodes’ through to longer in depth conversations. It may be just you chatting or it could be more of an interview set up with other wedding professionals (or even a mix of both).
This will take up quite a bit of time and podcast followers will expect regular content – so unless you are willing to put in the time to come up with a new podcast weekly the other option is to seek out those in the industry who already have a podcast. Reach out to podcasters that are relevant to the wedding industry and put a proposal together to be one of their guests they interview. This will place your business within the ears of their listeners who could be all new leads for you!
Have exceptional customer service
It goes without saying that a positive customer experience is absolutely everything these days! Gone are the days where couples will book that a**hole photographer that isn’t nice to anyone but captures great images. Couples are looking for both – an amazing experience & great quality.
Providing exceptional customer service will create raving fans of your business, and those past customers who are then raving fans of yours are the absolute best billboard to have. They will tell absolutely anyone and everyone about how fantastic their experience was with you and if anyone near them is getting married they will insist that they contact you so that they too can have a wonderful experience.
Do an old fashioned letter box drop
The old school brochure or postcard in the mailbox has kind of fallen by the wayside lately. And it’s for that very reason that I feel that for suitable businesses it’s a great marketing tool. The only expense is creating your print material and then you can either do the drop offs yourself or hire a company who specialises in it to deliver to your required neighbourhood. These companies are quite affordable which makes it a lower cost option.
Because we often don’t see wedding vendor material in mailboxes it really stands out. Sure there’s no way to qualify which houses are home to those planning a wedding but it’s still a great way to build your brand, particularly if you cater to those who aren’t planning a wedding as well and you are a local business.
This option is a fantastic one for businesses such as florists, cake decorators, hair & makeup artists, travel agents, gift registries etc. It’s always best to target areas around your store if you have one. Alternatively if you are a business who caters for the luxury wedding industry you may select streets in neighbourhoods where it’s evident by the homes in the area that they would be your potential ideal clients.
Having a great special on these letterbox drops is always a great way to entice them to drop you a line and it will also be a way to track whether it was a successful venture or not.
Get on a venues preferred vendor list
All venues have preferred wedding professionals they like to work with. For some venues it’s almost impossible to get on this list as they have their handful they just love and for good reason they won’t change. It’s always an avenue worth exploring though – what’s the harm? At the very least they have got to know you and your business.
If you hear of new venues opening up this presents a fantastic opportunity, but sometimes existing venues may need a new supplier for perhaps flowers or a celebrant if their usual person moves or stops their business.
Being on these preferred vendor lists of venues is absolute gold though. Almost every couple will simply go with the venues usual suppliers to keep things easy so it’s a constant referral source and within a venue you become to know well, so the workload becomes slightly more simplified.
Join relevant wedding facebook groups
Couples, in particular brides, will often frequent wedding chat groups on facebook etc. This can be a great way to reach brides and share details about your business. Most groups will require you to request to be added first and it’s important you check out the rules of the group before adding any content. There are a number of wedding groups which allow wedding vendors to promote their business to the brides but they may have a rule like no more than one post a day etc. There are a few however who don’t let businesses post in those groups to keep it as commercial free as possible – so always check first as you don’t want to gain a reputation for being a social media pest in the industry.
Also a quick note on social media promoting etiquette while I think of it – never share promotional posts of your business on other businesses pages unless this is something you have both discussed and approved. Otherwise it’s seen as really poor form to take over a businesses lovely little community with your unsolicited promotion. All it will do is get you banned on those sites and have them pretty cranky at the very least with you.
Run free information sessions
I love finding ways to boost businesses by sharing great value! Couples love this too. Consider holding a short event of say an hour or two where couples can come along in a non-salesy environment to sit and get some valuable advice and information from you regarding your specialty. I’ve run plenty of these over the years and have spoken to bride’s who may even at the time think they are going to do something themselves. I’ll provide them with plenty of great advice that can get them started and often they realise it’s just not working out as they thought. So in their moment of dismay who do they call to help out? They call you of course because you were so helpful from the start. I’ve gained several customers by simply being that supportive, helpful person without a pushy agenda.
If you have a few friends in the industry you could even join forces and create an evening where you all take turns talking about your specialty so that couples can gain a bunch of information. This is fabulous for newly engaged couples who are feeling lost!
There are so many other great ways to market your business but I hope these provide a cracking start for you to chip away on. If after reading them you are starting to feel overwhelmed, the best thing to do is jot down those which really resonated with you the most. And from that list choose one which you feel you can confidently get started on and execute – work away on that first and when it’s done move to the next on the list and so on.
Everything is more achievable when we break it down into manageable pieces!