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.
I hear it all the time from wedding professionals – “All brides care about is price”. Really? Well, how do you explain this?
When couples were asked if price was the determining factor when hiring a wedding vendor, 80% said NO. (The Wedding Report)
Saying that all people care about is price isn’t just wrong, it’s an excuse that is preventing you from improving your business. If you can blame those silly people who only care about price, it’s not your fault.
Price is a factor, but it’s not the determining factor. What people REALLY care about is value, and it’s your job to communicate the value of what you have to offer. You have to connect the dots between what you offer and what they care about. When you blame your inability to communicate value to your customer, it’s going to prevent you from getting any better at it and it’s going to make you defensive and bitter.
We have a training session in The Wedding Business Collective with Maria Bayer about her value formula that is proven to increase sales. This is only for members of The Wedding Business Collective so be sure to sign up for your free trial!
If you’re just another wedding planner or photographer or floral designer or stationer in your city then couples are going to compare you to everyone else. Now, if you’re the go-to photographer for tattoo-loving couples who read Offbeat Bride and give the middle finger to tradition or the go-to planner for couples who are Americans, often the children of immigrants, and they really value their Hispanic heritage and they want to incorporate that part of their identity into their wedding, you put yourself in your own category.
Suddenly you’re not just a photographer or just a planner. You’re the clear best choice for your ideal client. There’s the vanilla that is everyone else, and then there’s you.
The goal here is to avoid making yourself a commodity.
What brand of sugar do you buy? Do you fill up your car at the closest gas station or do you seek out a particular brand? When you moved into your home, did you choose your utility providers based on price comparison?
All of these are commodities. It’s easy to compare them based on price because there is no real differentiating factor. If you are not emphasizing why someone should hire you over someone else and if you don’t understand the value you deliver to your customers and what they actually care about, you’re allowing yourself to become a commodity. They don’t know what else to ask you because you haven’t built any connection or demonstrated your value to them.
Humans compare things – it’s in our nature. When all people have to compare is the price, the person who is undercutting you will win.
You have to give them something more than that to make their decision on. You have to demonstrate that you understand them by discussing their values with them and showing them how you can help them get what they want. (Hint: What they want is not you, you are simply a vehicle to help them get what they want)
So who do you want to be the go-to person for?
Talk to that person and only that person in your marketing and everything that you do and you will attract those perfect clients.
All of the marketing in the world can’t fix the lack of understanding of your ideal client. Who they are and what they value drive EVERYTHING from the words and images you use on your site, to what you post on social media to how you work with them.
Don’t build your business without a foundation. Don’t skip this part.
If you do nothing else, reach out to a few of those perfect clients you’ve had and ask them some questions. Not sure what to ask? Click here to join The Wedding Business Collective and dive head-first into the Create An Overwhelm-Squashing Marketing Plan course!
If you are listing your prices on your website without any context to the benefits that your customers get, you’re the one focusing on price my friend. It only makes sense that people will focus on price because you’ve made your packages page about the price and not the value of what you offer or the results you’re delivering!
This is something that comes up time and time again inside The Wedding Business Collective and it’s exactly why I offer Member Makeovers. Almost every website I review has this issue so you’re not alone! It can be hard to see the way forward without some help so come join us in The Wedding Business Collective!
Your services/packages page should not be just a list of bullets (the features of what you offer) and a price. You have to build context around why those features matter! As a bride, I don’t know if 10 hours of coverage from a photographer is a lot, a little, too much, or just right.
If instead, you said “We’ll be there to capture you and your partner having fun getting ready and we’ll still be there when your dad has had a few drinks and starts busting out his dance moves! We’ll capture it all.” I’d be like…
If you don’t put any prices on your website, of course, the first questions people are going to ask are going to relate to price. They want to make sure you fall within their budget before going any further, that makes sense. No one wants to go through the effort of having a conversation with you only to find that you’re way outside of their budget. That can be embarrassing and frustrating. It’s fun for NO ONE. A lot of people won’t even bother to get in touch so you’re actually losing a lot of potential clients by omitting your prices.
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to display prices all over the place like you’re Amazon. You can choose to provide your pricing on your website (WITH CONTEXT!!!!) or you could opt to give a guideline instead. Providing a guideline price is great for weeding out leads that are not qualified and would never pay what you’re charging and it also helps them set their expectations.
Expectations are EVERYTHING.
If I’m going to a Lamborghini dealership I have a general idea of what I expect to spend so I’m not going to be gobsmacked by the price. That’s obviously a very different situation if I’m walking into a Toyota dealership to get a Prius. Numbers mean nothing without context. Is $1 million a lot? I don’t know it depends. For dinner? Yes. For my own private island and jet to get there? No, not at all that’s a deal!
Instead of straight-up stating your prices, you could opt for something like “Our prices start at X” or “Our typical couple spends X”. Then at least your potential lead can determine if you’re in the right ballpark without them drawing too many conclusions about your prices without you having the opportunity to build value with them in your inquiry & sales process. This is excellent for wedding businesses that have a very custom approach to pricing and have always wondered what to put when it comes to pricing but it’s not exclusive to them!
Ultimately, you have to test this and see what works best for your business and your market. Don’t be afraid to test it out and see what happens! You can always change it.
It’s possible you’re attracting the wrong people to your business who just plain don’t value what you’re offering. Again, that is not their fault, it’s yours because you are the one who has to decide how you market your business & who your ideal client is.
You may feel like you should market to everyone and anyone with a pulse and a credit card, and that makes sense if you’re trying to reach the maximum amount of human beings. The problem is, you don’t have the money to market to everyone and even if you did, you’re not for everyone. Even Apple has haters.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but your marketing should focus only on the people who are most likely to make a purchase from you. You can’t be a perfect fit for everyone, and by trying to do so you’re flushing your marketing budget and your time down the toilet. When you how to narrow your focus you actually save money and attract better clients.
If you had a heart attack, would you rather see a cardiologist or a general practitioner? And would you rather see a random local cardiologist or one who has a lot of experience with patients who have had heart attacks? Cardiologists aren’t for everyone, but they are in demand by patients who fit their target market and tend to be paid significantly more than general practitioners are.
You can’t be everything to everyone, you have to focus.
I promise you this will make your life a LOT easier.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I know who my ideal client is Heidi, it’s a fun bride between 20-35 who doesn’t have time to plan her own wedding and is happy to pay my prices.”
Great. Let me ask you this…
Is your 30-year old a Walmart shopper or would she never be caught dead there?
Is your 30-year old covered in tattoos and loves artistic creative things or is she straight-laced and thinks tattoos are gross?
Does she value tradition or is she obsessed with everything on Offbeat Bride because she loves going against tradition?
You see, people aren’t demographics. There are a LOT of different types of 20-35-year-old women who don’t have time to plan their wedding and you can’t market to all of them. You need a target to aim at.
Why do the answers to these questions matter?
Because your ideal client is a whole person, not just a bride or a groom, and their values directly influence their consumer behavior.
The key to marketing effectively is understanding those values that your ideal client holds and using them in your marketing.
Take your own consumer behavior for example. I’m sure there are certain places you love to shop and I’m sure there are other places you never shop at because you can’t stand them. If, for example, if you really value being green and ethical in your purchasing decisions, you probably take your own shopping bags with you on your trip to Whole Foods.
Why Whole Foods?
Because that brand makes you feel good and secure knowing that what you buy is safe for you and your family, was made fair trade and came via their green distribution centers. Whole Foods gets you and your values and they market to you using those values.
Our values impact our consumer behavior and of course they do because where you decide to spend your money is incredibly emotional and personal. No one wants to support a brand they hate. These values matter whether we’re talking about grocery shopping hiring a wedding professional.
These values are intensely personal and powerful and it’s something you just don’t get when you only look at the basic demographics of who you think your ideal client is.
Most wedding professionals are far too vague in defining who their ideal client is. Get to a point where you can describe them like you would describe a friend of yours to someone who you think would be a great boyfriend or girlfriend for them. You wouldn’t describe them as being 20-35 and busy. That’s not what matters in that case and it’s not what matters in your business either. I challenge you to go deeper.
Because when your marketing doesn’t line up with who your ideal client is and the problem they want you to solve, they won’t buy from you.
On the other hand, when you do understand your ideal client as an actual person, you know what they love, hate, truly care about, can’t stand, wouldn’t ever go for and the words they use. all of a sudden you don’t have to wonder what to say in your marketing to attract them because you actually GET them.
So what are you supposed to do?
You do what almost no one does. You listen.
You can’t just assume you know what your ideal client wants, needs, cares about, etc. You have to test those assumptions and the best way to test them is to actually talk to your ideal client (a past client you just LOVE or someone who you think fits that profile) and listen. I wrote a whole bestselling book about this and you can get your copy right here!
Here’s the hard truth: if someone is saying you are “too expensive” you’re either the wrong type of client OR you’re not communicating the value of what you’re providing. It is 100% your responsibility as the business owner to communicate this clearly and in a way that resonates. It’s not their responsibility to just see how great you are and why what you’re offering is worth what you’re charging.
You can choose to blame couples but let’s be real, this is on you. Plus, how is blaming them helping you? The only thing it’s helping you do is to avoid the work it takes to build and communicate value.
When you take responsibility for this, it allows you to actually DO something about it. Sounds worthwhile, doesn’t it?
Are you up for doing the work so you can book more weddings? We have the How To Write Copy That Actually Converts With Ashlyn Carter Masterclass inside The Wedding Business Collective waiting for you so you can start working on crafting communication that makes couples want to book you regardless of your price! If you’re not already a Wedding Business Collective member, click here to find out more!