Marketing in 2023 looks a lot different then it did in 2013. After being in the wedding industry since 2009, I have learned a lot of things about marketing! But more importantly, I have learned how to change up marketing as the years pass. If you are still marketing your wedding business the same way you did in 2009, or even in 2020, you need to do a refresh.
Gone are the days of picture-perfect Instagram feeds, keyword-stuffed blogs and websites, and non-inclusive content. Remember: for 99% of your couples, you are one of MANY that they are reaching out to for your services. And from the time that they inquire, to the time they pick a vendor will be in 30 days or less. That is why your marketing needs to connect – so that you build that know, like + trust factor before you ever talk to them one on one. People buy from people. Your couples have more choices than ever before for every vendor. And young millennials + Get Z (26-34) are craving a connection. They want a unique experience. They don’t want cookie-cutter events – so cookie-cutter marketing isn’t going to work to bring them in.
To kick off your 2023 booking clients, I wanted to share six tips for how to market your wedding business in 2023!
The goal of social media + marketing is brand awareness. It’s not just converting to sales – it’s about a continuous message that increases brand awareness. Your social media + marketing warm up your audience so that they are hot leads. It’s up to YOU to book the sale. YOU have to engage with your audience. This means that even if you have a social media manager, you need to be on Instagram too.
There are two big shifts we are seeing in the wedding industry: more competition and shorter booking times. As you might have already noticed, there are more wedding vendors than ever before, especially photographers and planners. During the pandemic, a lot of people entered the wedding industry, which is great to see! But it also means that for every couple looking for a vendor, they have 3x as many choices as they did in 2019. So you need to stand out from the rest!
Curious why some vendors are more booked up, like venues, DJ, florists, hair, and makeup? There is less competition. The barrier and cost of entry to become a photographer or planner is 10x less than opening a venue or any business with increased overhead!
Just think about the bare minimum you need to be a planner: a few online tools and software, a website, and social media. A venue? $500,000+. A DJ? $100,000 just in equipment to start out small. This means that if you are a low-cost-to-entry service, you will have more competition!
The second big shift is planning timelines. Especially for 2023, we are seeing couples book with shorter planning timelines. This could be for a few reasons. One reason is that there are limited venue dates left in 2023, so they have to take whatever day they can get. The second is that they are taking longer to save before booking vendors. They might get engaged in 2023, are planning a 2024 wedding, but are not going to pay for vendors until they have the money saved up.
The truth: Couples are planning differently. It doesn’t mean they aren’t having weddings or have stopped spending money. It just means you have to adjust your marketing to fit the changing industry.
Marketing is about building upon itself. So if your website doesn’t work, your marketing won’t work. Your website is the core of your marketing – every single piece of your marketing is to lead them to your website so that they can learn more and contact you. That’s why at Ava And The Bee, we do a website audit before we ever start on strategy. So if your website isn’t working or doesn’t have the correct SEO, or is confusing and overwhelming, your marketing efforts at the end of the day will not work.
This is something that I know we need to work on better in 2023 with marketing our own business since I’ve seen how important it is in the marketing we do for clients. Consistency doesn’t mean IG posts daily or two blogs a week. It means setting a schedule that works for YOU and your audience and sticking to it. Two blogs a month and showing up on social media 3x a week is enough to engage your audience.
This is a big one, friends (and something you will be hearing me talk about A LOT in 2023.) Remember: for 99% of your couples, you are one of MANY that they are reaching out to for your services. And from the time they inquire to the time they pick a vendor, it will be just a few weeks. How do they make a decision so quickly? It’s simple: they creep on you for months before reaching out. For example: The maid of honor at your most recent client’s wedding isn’t engaged yet, but will be soon. So they start looking at your Instagram. Then your website. Then they start having some questions on where to start when it comes to planning. Do you have any resources for them? THIS is the time to capture them, not just when they decide to reach out.
If you are not sure who you are marketing to, strategy and outsourcing will not help! Your ideal couple is about how they shop, how they make decisions, and how to meet them at their buying journey. your experience starts when they first land on your website or social media. What was the experience like for them when they came across a post on your Instagram? Did they feel a connection when browsing through your website? All of this (and more) is a part of your client experience.
A few things to ask yourself as you outline your ideal couple:
One of the biggest marketing mistakes I see newer planners make, or even established ones, is that they market on ALL the platforms, and wonder why nothing sticks. Well, it’s because your audience isn’t on all the platforms. Instead, you need to be focused on the platforms your clients are on! So how do we know what works? First up is Data!
Google Analytics should be your business’s best friend. You can easily see where your couples are finding you, and what the top platforms and referral networks are. Google Analytics help track your online audience, so you can see who is visiting your website. You can track the web pages individually and find how your visitors are interacting with your website. Most importantly, you will see how your website visitors find out about you, so you can focus on that marketing channel.
If you are looking for inclusive, results-driven marketing exclusively for wedding professionals, you are in the right place. As wedding pros turned marketers ourselves, we know the wedding industry inside out. We’re here to support you and be your partner in all things wedding marketing. Reach out today, and let’s uplevel your marketing in 2023!