Having a mobile-friendly website and a few wedding vendor besties used to be all you needed in order to stand out and get booked as a creative. I remember in the small town where I started my wedding planning business ten years ago, there were only three other wedding planners (and they had been planning weddings for a long time). Now there are probably about ten local wedding planners, plus all the destination wedding planners coming to town. Gone are the days (no matter where you live) that simply being in business is enough to book couples.
At this time in the industry you need to learn to stand out in a saturated wedding market. But how?
Let’s face it, all the wedding markets are flooded now that we have the internet and social media. That means you must stand out locally and on the Internet.
Millennials are getting married and spending a lot of their time online. They account for 80% of today’s marrying couples. They are spending two hours per week and doing 80% of their planning online (source Wedding Wire).
That means you need to cut through not just wedding planning noise, but anything else they are looking at on their phones and computers. You have to stand out to get them to pay attention to your website and make an inquiry.
Here are three ways I’ve found to stand out in a flooded wedding market.
#1 – Discover your ideal client
The first (and sometimes hardest) task you need to do is clearly and specifically identify your ideal client.
Your ideal client isn’t everyone engaged and getting married in the next 12 months. Your ideal client isn’t everyone that will pay your prices (maybe that was the case with your first few clients in your first or second year of business, but you can be more choosy at this point—you are a pro).
At first, it might seem that if you cast your net wide and leave your options open you will get more inquiries. But the opposite is actually true, especially in a flooded market where there are so many wedding planner options to choose from.
Fewer people will feel drawn toward you when your message and niche are too broad and too general.
Think about it, when you order a pizza do you say “Just give me any pizza?” No, you are very specific: you want extra cheese, roasted garlic, and black olives. The result is a hot yummy pizza and exactly what you wanted.
The same is true when it comes to attracting clients. Identify your ideal clients and then attract them through your marketing.
When your marketing appeals to a specific niche and your ideal client, that person is drawn to your style and past weddings. They follow you on Instagram, fall in love with your other ranch weddings, and inquire with you about their dream ranch wedding.
#2 – Avoid these two common mistakes.
MISTAKE #1: Wedding planners (and other vendors) spend too much time behind the computer.
It’s so easy to sit back in your comfy chair with your favorite mug, in your cozy yoga pants and scroll mindlessly on Facebook and Instagram, a few likes here and a few comments in groups there.
But hear me out, hanging out at home mingling in Facebook groups and in your Instagram feed is not going to help you stand out.
You need to get out from behind the computer and go meet other wedding vendors in person.
MISTAKE #2: Another common mistake is a blah website.
Your website is incredibly valuable in helping your wedding planning business stand out. It needs to represent your brand and your personality. Your website helps engaged couples to imagine what it would be like if you planned their wedding. Every word needs to talk directly to your ideal client.
A website that is out of date, hard to follow, or a bit dull says that the wedding planner is out of date, hard to follow and a bit dull. Don’t be that dull website. Don’t be that dull wedding professional.
#3 – Find the right words.
It can be challenging to think of the right words to include in your website, marketing, and social media. Industry jargon such as BEO, timeline and 66” round are confusing to engaged couples.
You need to use the same words that your ideal client uses, on your website and in your marketing.
How do you find the right words? Take a look back at your reviews.
Your past clients hold the answers to what makes you unique, talented and a joy to work with. Use their words in your marketing.
For example, if someone says, “She was so calm even when my mother was nervous about the weather.” Then you should use that strength of being calm as what sets you apart from the competition and include it in your marketing.
If you are a wedding planner and getting excited about standing out and attracting more inquiries, then you must sign up for my FREE mini-course: How to Stand Out in a Flooded Wedding Planner Market. This blog post is just a preview of the steps and action items in the free course, so sign up now to get started.