Some people call me an OG of wedding business marketing, but deep down I'm just another person wearing PJ bottoms on Zoom. I swear a lot, I share my struggles, and I don't pretend to be better than anyone else.
Do you run promotions in your wedding business? Most wedding professionals don’t and it’s costing them thousands of dollars in revenue each year.
Most wedding pros think that “running a promotion” means giving a discount and nothing could be further from the truth. In this podcast episode alone, I talk about 15 different types of promotions you can run to make more money and none of them involve discounting. Discounting is simply 1 type of promotion and it’s not required in order to run profitable promotions.
It doesn’t matter what kind of wedding business you run, you could benefit from learning how to run promotions because they allow you to bring in more sales when you want/need them. Who wouldn’t want to have more control over their cash flow?!
A promotion is a special focus on a particular product, piece of content, or activity. A promotion has constraints to it so it’s either limited in time or availability.
It’s usually something different or noteworthy and it shakes up your marketing.
Most wedding professionals don’t run promotions. Most wedding professionals don’t know how to run promotions. But they are really, REALLY powerful.
Promotions have scarcity & urgency which gets people to act. Urgency is time-related pressure to do something. The impending deadline of your partner’s birthday or Christmas service is a psychological trigger that compels you to act and finally buy those gifts you’ve been meaning to buy for weeks. Urgency is a psychological trigger that is deeply rooted inside our brain and it directly relates to loss aversion or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). When faced with urgency, you have to evaluate how comfortable you are letting an opportunity to get something you want, save money, or look like a good partner/loved one in the case of buying gifts last minute, slip away.
Loss aversion is a powerful psychological phenomenon. There have been countless studies that show that we feel losses more than gains. It is thought that the pain of losing is psychologically about twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining and people are more willing to take risks to avoid a loss than to experience a gain. You’ve seen this in action in game shows where the contestant has to decide if they want to walk away with what they have or risk it to potentially win more.
Scarcity is related to the availability of something. If for instance, there are only 100 of an item or there are only 3 of an item left in stock, we’re much more likely to act. We put a higher value on things that are scarce or rare and are willing to pay more for them. I’m sure you’ve had the feeling of having to rush to buy something whether it’s a new phone or concert tickets or a plane ticket because you’re afraid the supply will run out and you’ll miss out. We are hard-wired to not want to miss out. That’s why FOMO is so powerful!
Promotions also allow you to create an event that you can build buzz and excitement around. It gives your marketing so much focus and helps you hone in on what you want to sell more of in your marketing. Promotions mix up your usual marketing and give your something new to talk about. If you ever feel like you’ve got nothing new to say or if what you’re doing isn’t working as well as it used to, a promotion can help with that.
When you run a promotion you shine a light on a specific offer. It allows you to get really specific with your marketing and specific marketing works better. For example, marketing a full planning package vs a day-of-coordination package are two very different things. The ideal clients are likely different (although related) and the problems, concerns, objections, and worries are different. Think about how many more day-of-coordination packages you could see if you really went hard on marketing and selling that for a short period of time.
Promotions also give people a reason to buy NOW. We’re all fence sitters and we love to sit around and wait for a reason to finally hop off the fence and take action. It’s human nature and our marketing needs to account for it.
I’ve been having a lot of conversations with wedding pros about Black Friday promotions lately. I’ve asked all sorts of different wedding pros from different parts of the world what they’ve done for Black Friday and what they will do this year. I keep hearing the same thing.
“I don’t want to discount so I can’t do a Black Friday promotion.”
Here’s the thing with that. Not all promotions require discounting. In fact, discounting is just 1 type of promotion.
Here’s a great example of a promotion that does not require discounting:
The Sports Illustrated Football Phone.
An awkwardly shaped, plastic, landline phone that looks like a football. But how many of us got one of these in the 90s from Sports Illustrated?
1.6 million people. 😲
Sports Illustrated wasn’t even selling the football phone, it was a bonus you got when you signed up for a subscription to Sports Illustrated magazine.
They needed to boost subscription sales and instead of discounting their price, they included a novelty football phone when you subscribed. They positioned it as the perfect holiday gift for any man in your life. (This was 1990 after all.)
People loved the football phone. It was funny, novel, and a fun gift to give someone.
But this wasn’t the only novelty phone available in 1990. There were tons of them available at Radio Shack for less than the price of a Sports Illustrated magazine subscription. My aunt had a Mickey Mouse one and a Garfield one AND a Tweety Bird one.
But this one was “free”.
Only it wasn’t, you had to purchase something to get it. That doesn’t change the psychological perception that you’re getting something for free though. People didn’t want to go buy their own novelty phone for less than the cost of Sports Illustrated. They wanted the “free” football phone. It’s always more exciting to get something you want for free than to have to pay for it and it made this football phone more desirable, even though it came with a catch.
Clinique also does Value Add promotions. They used to offer a “free” makeup back full of sample-size products when you spend $75 or more. Now they have tiers where if you spend $100 or $150 or $200 you get even better bonuses. I’m sure you’ve seen promotions like this. I was just at Target and saw a promotion that gave you a $10 gift card if you spent $50 or more in the home goods section.
People love Value Add Promotions and it’s just one of the many types of promotions that don’t require discounting. If you’ve ever bought something due to one of these promotions you know how compelling and exciting it is.
Humans aren’t logical and there are all sorts of psychological triggers that come into play when we make buying decisions. That’s what makes promotions so powerful! They’re all based around a different psychological hook that gets people to pay attention and buy from you.
One type of promotion that I’ve covered on the podcast (that’s not even included in those 14 types) is the Price Increase Promotion from Episode 219. In the wedding industry, most people raise their prices quietly because they don’t want anyone to know but that misses a huge opportunity for you to get people off the fence. Running a price increase promotion is a great way to get potential clients to book and incentivize them to book by a certain date.
Running a price increase promotion is simple but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s not powerful. Running a price increase promotion is a great way to give your business a cash injection and raise your prices so you can make more money after the promotion.
Running promotions is actually quite simple because it’s formulaic. Once you learn how to do it right, you’ll be able to run promotions for any reason at any time. That gives you SO much control of your business and your cash flow. It’s one of the most powerful tools you can have in your business toolbox.
That’s why I’m covering 14 types of promotions you can run for Black Friday in the upcoming Run A Profitable Black Friday Promotion (Without Discounting) workshop. I’m hosting this workshop with my friend, Shannon Vondy, who has made bank running super simple promotions in her photography business. She ran a super simple promotion to sell prints to her photography clients and she made an additional $13,000 in one year. How many more weddings would you have to book to get that kind of a boost in revenue?
Black Friday can make you serious money…if you do it right. (And you don’t have to discount!)
Most wedding professionals miss out on thousands of dollars in sales because they don’t think Black Friday is for them. It feels like it’s just for Amazon and big box retailers who offer steep discounts. I get it, you may not want to discount your products or services.
Good news: you don’t have to!
You’ll walk away with tons of ideas for promotions that will work for your business and the important strategy behind creating a promotion that sells like hotcakes!
You’ll have people excited to buy from you AND you can use the promotions at any other point of the year when you want to make more money.
Most wedding pros don’t run promotions – that gives you a competitive advantage!
Remember, promotions aren’t just for Black Friday. You can run one of these promotions when you need a cash injection in your business or when you want to spotlight a specific product or service. Promotions give you so much freedom and more control of your cash flow.
So do you want to run a profitable Black Friday promotion without discounting?
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