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.
One question I get all the time from wedding professionals around the world is “Where should I advertise my wedding business?”
I get it, you want to book more weddings and you see advertising as the best way to do that. But there are some things you need to consider before making a decision about any advertising opportunity.
In this episode, I’ll take you through what to consider when it comes to evaluating advertising opportunities, how to determine where you should advertise, and a few specific steps you should take before you spend money on advertising so you can get more bang for your buck.
I recently spoke at a summit and had multiple people ask me this question: Where should I advertise my business? And I had one person ask me “Isn’t spending $1000 on advertising my marketing plan?”
No. It’s not. That’s your advertising budget.
That’s not your marketing plan because there’s no strategy to it.
I know that feeling. You’re so excited to get clients into your wedding business and you think to yourself “I know, I’ll advertise! That way people will find out about me and will want to work with me.”
I have to stop you right here.
I know your intentions are good but that’s not going to work and you’re going to waste your money. How do I know that? Because when most wedding professionals advertise, they don’t have a strategy and that’s why it falls flat.
A lot of wedding professionals approach advertising with the idea that if they just get more people to know they exist, they’ll book more clients. Knowing you exist and wanting to buy from you are two very different things.
It’s not enough for you to just get any old eyeballs on your business because they’re not the people your business was made for. You can’t just get in front of more people without defining that group further.
If you’re getting in front of more of your ideal clients then we can absolutely have a conversation about advertising strategy but if your goal is just to get in front of more people, I want to stop you there because that is not going to get you anywhere.
I want to clear up another common misconception. Many people talk about “advertising” their wedding business when what they really mean is marketing. Marketing and advertising are not the same thing.
Advertising is an exchange of value. You pay someone with an audience a certain amount of money to get in front of that audience and promote your products/services.
Marketing is harder to pin down but it’s an umbrella term that encompasses a LOT of different things. Marketing includes not only advertising, but it’s not just advertising. It also many other things like research, product development, pricing strategies, sales strategies, psychology, copywriting, marketing tactics on platforms like social media and email marketing, customer retention efforts, branding, and public relations.
Advertising is one arm of a very unwieldy bajillion-legged marketing octopus.
So marketing and advertising are not the same thing and trying to get in front of people should not be your goal. Your goal should be to get in front of the right people with the right message.
Now that we’ve covered that, if you’ve been listening to my podcast for any length of time there is one thing I hope you’ve picked up:
Marketing (and that includes advertising) without a strategy is a recipe for disaster.
It usually ends up in a lot of frustration and money spent with no results. Oftentimes, it leads to thinking that spending money will fix all your problems. Just like every January people spend money on a gym membership thinking that will be the thing that gets them in shape, but then they never go to the gym.
The point of advertising is often misunderstood. Yes, it’s to generate leads for you but how does it fit into the other parts of the marketing mix?
Think of it this way. Marketing is the engine of your car. Sure you can have a nice-looking car without an engine, but it’s not going anywhere. The same applies to your business.
Advertising, on the other hand, is the flame paint job on the side of the car to really draw attention to it. But here’s the thing, if you have flames painted on a car with no engine, it’s still not going anywhere. It just now has more people looking at it and remember, that’s not the goal.
Your advertising can absolutely supercharge your marketing efforts but it is not a replacement for them. It’s a boost. You can’t be all flames and no engine if you want to get anywhere.
You shouldn’t advertise until you have a clear understanding of your ideal client and how you’re different than your competition. Otherwise, what will you advertise?
I’ll give you a few examples from members of The Wedding Business Collective:
The go-to floral designer for couples who may not be “flower people” but want a wedding that dazzles — one that tells the story of their love while also standing out. They want unique, breathtaking designs that have their guests gushing over them the moment they walk in.
The go-to DJ for multicultural couples with diverse backgrounds. They want the entertainment to be tailored to them with a variety of tunes to rock every dance floor regardless of background, age, or culture.
The go-to officiant for first-generation Hispanic couples who aren’t into all the traditional religious and cultural traditions but want to bring some of them in and make abuela happy while still having the wedding that’s perfect for them as a couple.
All of these are examples of planting your flag and declaring what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for specifically. That is so much sexier than “I can DJ your wedding” or “I can plan your wedding” and these wedding pros draw ideal clients in like a magnet.
Wedding pros that do this stand out because they create a sub-category where they are the go-to and they have no real competition. Their ideal clients are excited to work with them because they are the go-to.
We do this inside The Wedding Business Collective and that’s one of the first things you’ll do when you join. You’ll hone in on who you’re the absolute go-to person for and build your marketing to be a magnet for that person.
Once you know that, advertising becomes so much easier. You know where to advertise and what your message needs to be to attract your ideal clients.
Before recording this episode, I googled “Where should I advertise my wedding business?” and I found blog posts with HUNDREDS of free directories where you can advertise your business. But do your ideal clients USE those directories?
Typically if people are using a directory in our industry it’s something like The Knot, WeddingWire, WeddingPro, or something more niche like Offbeat Bride. If you’re submitting your information to a bunch of random directories that no one uses, what do you expect to get out of it? What is that going to do for you?
This is another way people fall into the trap of getting more eyeballs on their business somehow equaling more people booking them. Those are not the same thing. If your ideal clients are not using those directories, then why are you?
When you consider advertising you need to ask yourself “Is my ideal client using this platform?” If you don’t know, ask them and ask your peers who target the same ideal client.
Asking your ideal clients where they looked for vendors can help make the decisions for you so you know exactly what to focus on. This is one of my favorite things that happens inside The Wedding Business Collective. It takes the decisions off of your shoulders.
You absolutely need to do this kind of research before committing to spending money on ANY advertising opportunity.
We talk about this a lot inside The Wedding Business Collective and we have courses and resources to help you fix your website if it’s not converting visitors into leads and bookings.
Each month in The Wedding Business Collective we have a Member Makeover where I review one member’s website and identify things they can do to improve their website to make it more likely that visitors will inquire and book.
A lot of wedding pros try to fix this problem by throwing money at advertising.
No amount of advertising will fix this problem. You can’t just throw money at this problem. It’s just dumping more water into a bucket that has had the bottom cut out.
The problem isn’t that you don’t have enough people coming to your website, it’s that something is going on with the website that’s not getting people to inquire. We have trainings on how to fix this problem inside The Wedding Business Collective but sending more people to a website that isn’t converting will not fix that problem.
You also need to review what your follow-up process is like and how well it works. If people are inquiring and ghosting you, advertising will not fix that. You need to fix the root of the problem before spending money filling the bucket.
A lot of the directories where you can advertise are organized by market. Would you be one of many featured profiles or the only one?
Would you blend in with tons of competitors or would you stand out?
Do you need to focus on standing out on this platform? What can you do in order to make sure you stand out to your ideal client on this platform?
Do you need to get reviews on the platform? Does the ranking rely on how many positive reviews you have? If so, you definitely need to make a plan for getting as many reviews from past clients as possible on this new platform.
Make sure you read the terms of any advertising contract closely. Many directory websites like WeddingPro, The Knot, and WeddingWire make you commit to 12 months.
What would you have to get out of it for this to be a positive ROI activity? You HAVE to track your ROI to truly know if it’s worth it for you. How will you do that?
If you’re entering into this agreement with the idea that just getting your business in front of more people will solve all of your problems, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s also very unlikely to work for you if you don’t have any sort of strategy behind it.
It definitely won’t work for you if you haven’t fixed the problems that come further down the booking pipeline. You’ll essentially be paying to try to fill a leaky bucket. Fix that first before you spend the money on advertising.
Anytime you start a new marketing activity, it’s an experiment. It may work or it may fail. It may require you to make some changes along the way. You have to be okay with all of those possibilities.
It really depends. Who specifically are you trying to reach and where can you best reach them?
Should you advertise at all? It depends.
Do you see a likely path to ROI? Do people who land on your website convert into clients? If not, FIX THAT FIRST! Otherwise, you’re paying to fill a leaky bucket.
In order to work, advertising has to be strategic and well thought out. There are a lot of factors that go into marketing and advertising because it comes down to psychology. If you don’t understand the person you’re trying to advertise or market to, it’s going to fall flat.
If you don’t understand where they are and where it makes sense to advertise to reach them, it’s going to fall flat.
And if you don’t understand what they need to hear from you in the messaging in order to believe that you are the go-to person to help them, it’s going to fall flat.
You have to have all of these things in place and that’s why the first thing we do in The Wedding Business Collective is create your marketing plan. Most members get this done within a month, some do it much faster.
If this is something that you need, if you feel like you’re grasping at straws with your marketing, come join us in The Wedding Business Collective. We take you through the 6 Figure Wedding Business Roadmap step-by-step which starts with booking more weddings. We get your marketing on point and make sure your website is selling for you.
Then, you’ve got all these bookings so we need to deal with streamlining and systematizing the business so you’re not overwhelming yourself. I’m not into the 60+ hour workweek our industry normalizes and neither are the members of The Wedding Business Collective.
Then we get into helping you step into your role as CEO so you can start delegating, outsourcing, shaping the business to fit your life, and creating new revenue streams to support where you want to take the business while your business works smoothly in the background.
If that sounds like something that would be helpful for you, come on over to The Wedding Business Collective and join us!
It’s a monthly membership where you can join at any time and cancel at any time and we walk you through our step-by-step roadmap so you know exactly what to focus on and when and you’ll get a ton of support from me and the other members.
The Wedding Business Collective
Episode 189: Is It Worth It To Advertise On The Knot & WeddingWire?
Episode 208: Generating Leads For Your Wedding Business From Google & Facebook Ads with Mark Chapman
Episode 46: How To Make Sure You’re Getting A Return On Your Advertising with Christie Osborne
Episode 231: Behind The Wedding Business with Carolyn Kulb of Bloom Poet
Episode 235: Behind The Wedding Business with Neal McFarlane of DJ XTC Entertainment Services
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