Is there a magic bullet for advertising and marketing as a wedding specialist? Sorry to report, there is probably not one! However, through the years I have found, the best and most cost efficient way to reach potential brides and grooms and their families, is at bridal shows! Think about what profit or benefit booking just one new bride means to your business. Is it $1000, $2000, $3000 or more? What will it cost to get a booth in the next bridal fair or expo? $450 to $1000 is the likely range of costs for a single booth. This gives you the opportunity to get directly in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of brides, grooms and family members. How many appointments can you set from this many suspects? What is your closing ratio on appointments? If you sign only one contract you will recoup your investment and the opportunity to market to these other leads will undoubtedly create many more sales opportunities if you follow up correctly.
Seek out Wedding Shows in your region and even expand beyond your “normal” area of service. I have seen brides travel 150 miles or more to attend a bridal show. Check out the promoter; see how long they have been producing their shows as new shows tend to have low attendance (and a lower cost). Find out if you will receive a full list of the brides and grooms attending the show, if not; plan accordingly to capture that information in your booth. Concentrate on appointments, not sales, and follow up, follow up, follow up. Not just with Email, but by phone, text, social media and by postal mail. You need to “touch” each lead at least 7 times before abandoning it. Local bridal publications can be effective, but make sure your advertising reflects what you do; do not promote any part of your business but weddings in a bridal magazine. Brides don’t care what else you do! If you advertise like a generalist, you will not be perceived as a specialist!
Branding is very important so that you are consistently recognizable. You should have a distinctive logo for your company that is instantly recognized as a wedding entertainer. If you have to explain what it means, brides won’t get it. Avoid cliché images like microphones and turntables, those only mean something to other DJs.
Direct promotion of your business to local venues is important. Visit every venue that you want to work at once every other month. Keep your face and company fresh in their minds. In the evolution of wedding planning, it goes something like, fall in love, buy a ring, propose, get a dress, and find a venue! The venue is usually the first opportunity you will have to be referred to a newly engaged couple. A good working relationship with venue managers and their staff can be priceless. You need to be able to “sell” yourself to the venue if you want them to refer you to couples. I don’t advocate paying bribes or kickbacks to venues, your outstanding service to satisfy a mutual client should be enough.
Another way to keep that “top of mind awareness” of you and your company is to do charity events. Usually these are scheduled early in the day on Saturdays or on weekday evenings so they don’t generally interfere with your reception schedules. You will receive publicity from the charity on their websites, on radio, television and print media and you will have an opportunity to network with people that you may not otherwise reach. Also remember that contributors to charities will typically be influential and upscale members of your community. Every one of these people knows someone that is getting married, celebrating an anniversary, birthday or a retirement. If they have a good time at an event you entertained at they will remember and refer you. But be sure you take plenty of marketing materials to every event and don’t hesitate to promote. The “Magic Bullet” is YOU, and how you market and promote yourself and your business. You can choose to be a winner; the power is in your hands.
Until next time, Alan
Alan Dodson conducts industry workshops covering sales, marketing, social media and Master of Ceremonies and does one on one consulting with his company Top Gun Systems. His goal is helping event professionals excel in their local markets. He has been a sales specialist, mobile DJ, entertainer and event professional for over 30 years. He owns a 29 year running bridal show and Mr. Picture Booth Manufacturing in Bristol, Tennessee.
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