A few months after we started our marketing business, we joined the Philly Tuesday’s Together group for the Rising Tide Society. We were immediately surrounded by a passionate, incredible group of creative entrepreneurs – and a ton of wedding professionals.
At first, we felt like it may not be the place for us. As marketers, we couldn’t relate to the workflow processes of photographers or some of the common questions they were all sharing.
And then we realized that as marketers, we had this incredible opportunity to learn. Not just about the ins and outs of another creative industry, but we had a unique opportunity to provide value and serve that industry.
As we started planning our own wedding, many of those in our RTS group became friends, then our vendors, and then our clients.
A year later and we now work almost exclusively with wedding professionals!
We’ve totally found our people and the clients that we LOVE to serve.
We also recognized a HUGE gap in the education that’s out there for wedding professionals. Especially when it comes to smart marketing strategies.
Today, we’re sharing 5 of our favorite, most recommended tips for how to grow your wedding business. Whether you’re a wedding photographer, florist, planner, venue, calligrapher, or even a DJ – this post is for you!
1. Niche – Know Your Dream Bride
Niche? “But I’m a wedding photographer – that is my niche!”
Sorry, but we’re not letting you get away with it that easily!
The idea of niching can be overwhelming, especially when you think about it in terms of missing out on potential clients.
A bride is a bride, right? They all need wedding photographers (or florists, venues, you name it!)
Let’s take a wedding photographer as an example…
Maybe you’re a wedding photographer who LOVES to shoot destination weddings.
Perhaps you only shoot incredibly intimate elopements on the tops of mountains, or you specialize in a certain age group or demographic.
Determining these qualities about your dream bride or the type of wedding they’re planning will not only help you stand out locally but will give you an even stronger brand.
And don’t fret about niching too small – over 2 million marriages take place in the United States alone – so there is plenty to go around!
When someone first finds you – whether it be social media, your website or some place else – you want them to immediately think “THAT is my wedding photographer!”
The better you get at nicheing and serving your dream brides, the less you’ll have to compete and worry about price shopping. Your dream brides will flock to you, and book you at the price you’re worth.
2. Blogging for Your Wedding Business
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is NOT dead.
In fact, blogging is one of the easiest things you can do to have a powerful impact on your wedding business.
First things first, you should have a game plan for your blog.
As a wedding professional, one of your main priorities is to book brides.
For many brides, her wedding is the most important day in her life. So while having stunning photographs on your blog and website is important, the experience and story is just as special.
Through your blog, you can walk potential clients through your bride’s day, sharing her story, and relating to their own vision for their dream wedding in the process.
(I’m totally biased here, but I think Ashley Gerrity did a phenomenal job at this when she blogged our wedding story here!)
Sharing a bride’s wedding day story is an extremely effective sales technique without being salesy! It will attract your dream brides, and show that you can serve that dream bride at the same time – it’s a win/win!
Sharing real wedding stories doesn’t need to be exclusive to wedding photographers either. If you are another wedding vendor, such as a florist, venue, or DJ, we recommend reaching out to your bride’s photographer and asking for permission to share some images (always make sure to credit back to them!). You can still share the story and journey on your blog – and by consistently publishing new content, you’ll help your SEO in the process!
If you do blog real wedding stories, it’s best practice to link out to and share the websites of any vendors that you mention or feature in your blog post. This is a great way to build rapport with your wedding friendors and send traffic back and forth to each other 🙂
Bonus tip: Link building is SUPER helpful for your search engine ranking! This means, the more people link back to your website from theirs, the better your SEO will be. So start by sharing the love yourself!
In addition to blogging about your brides and weddings, you should also think about what your potential bride is searching for online. What questions do they have about planning a wedding, especially when it comes to your services?
Start with any FAQ’s you receive from brides, and turn each of those into their own blog posts. Intertwine these educational-type posts with the inspirational-story posts for a blog that is sure to drive traffic!
Want to step your blogging game up a notch? Download our free business blogging checklist to make sure you never miss a step!
3. Use Smart Hashtags on Instagram
Roughly 60% of internet users between 18 and 29 use Instagram – and we’re going to take a wild guess and say that some of your ideal brides and grooms fall into that age bracket. This makes Instagram a great tool to leverage in the wedding industry.
And before you start getting all nervous and sweaty – listen, we know it’s hard to stand out on Instagram. And we know it can feel even harder to stand out in an industry that’s filled with perfectly curated feeds of dreamy brides and weddings.
That’s why today we’re just going to be sharing ONE simple tip that is going to make a BIG difference for your Instagram efforts: using smart hashtags.
Hashtags are a MUST when posting on Instagram. You can use up to 30 in a post, and we’d recommend you use as many related ones as you can.
Many people (ourselves included) choose to include the hashtags in the first comment of their Instagram post. Whether you include the hashtags in the comment or the caption, we recommend using some punctuation to create some “negative” space. You can do this by creating a note on your phone and having a list like this:
#awesomehashtag1here #awesomehashtag2here #awesomehashtag3here
The key with hashtags is using the right ones.
We recommend avoiding spammy and overused hashtags like #love #dream #beach. There are far too many photos tagged with the same hashtag. This means it will be nearly impossible to gain any real traction for those hashtags and they will most likely not attract your dream bride.
Remember how you determined your niche early? That’s going to come in handy now!
We recommended searching for and using hashtags that are relevant to your niche and dream bride. The ideal number of posts for a hashtag is between 100,000 – 500,000. Although this is still quite a bit of posts, there is a lot less competition than say, #bride, which has 31,828,237 posts!
Needless to say, it’ll be pretty darn hard to show up for #bride if you don’t already have an enormous and engaged audience.
Instead, you may want to use a hashtag like #elopementphotographer, which has 357,029 posts. Not only is the number of posts immensely smaller, but if you take a look at the feed of posts using that hashtag, they all represent the same kind of niche.
Once you have nailed down your niche, start using that search function in your Instagram to find a list of relevant hashtags with a good post number.
Bonus tip: Never substitute #words for #hashtags in your caption like we just did. The best practice in terms of placement is to add them to your comments section like we mentioned above. Add them as soon as you post your photo, or they will lose their effectiveness.
4. Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to Your Blog and Instagram
Pinterest is an incredibly powerful – and incredibly underutilized – tool for driving traffic to your website and social channels.
So many of us think of Pinterest as another social media feed, and we’re totally wrong.
Pinterest is a beautifully-designed, visual Search Engine.
Think about it: when you were planning your own wedding, where were you searching for inspiration? Your perfect venue? Your florals?
For many of us, Pinterest tops that list!
The truth is, most of us aren’t aimlessly scrolling through Pinterest. Instead, we’re using it for targeted, specific searches.
This is especially true in the wedding industry. Brides are using Pinterest to search for wedding inspiration for their dress, their bridesmaids gowns, their invites, their venues – you name it. If it relates to wedding planning, we’d be willing to bet a bride is searching for it on Pinterest.
If you’re not using Pinterest for your business, you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity to drive traffic!
We personally use and recommend Tailwind for scheduling your pins on Pinterest. We’ll share more details all about this in an upcoming post (stay tuned – loooooots to share here!). If you want to try it out (and make your life a million times easier), our referral link will give you a free $15 credit!
Not on Pinterest? Check out our blog post, “7 Benefits of Pinterest Marketing for Wedding Pros” see why you need to be ASAP!
5. Run Targeted Facebook and Instagram Ads
In today’s world, you can’t afford to NOT be on Facebook.
We could write a whole book on Facebook Advertising (it’s our jam + what we LOVE to teach our clients), but we’re going to keep it short and sweet for this post.
First things first, you’ll want to set up a Facebook Business page.
You’re going to treat this like a mini website – high quality profile and background pictures, strong call-to-actions, and links on the side menu that can help people get more information on your services. Be sure to fill in all of the essentials like About Me, Website, Contact Info etc!
Once your page is set up as a Business on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll be able to start running ads.
If you’re TOTALLY new to running ads, we recommend checking out Facebook’s Blueprint Training! It’s free and will help you figure out how to navigate and use Facebook’s Ads Manager.
(We also recommend signing up for our free 5-Day Challenge all about targeting your dream clients on FB + Insta!)
We know Facebook ads can get a little scary and completely overwhelming super quickly. So today, we want to share a few quick and easy tips to help you get started driving traffic with ads – the right way.
Our BIGGEST tip for all of our clients is this: NEVER BOOST A POST. EVER.
Please please pinky swear that you will never click that “Boost” button in Facebook or the “Promote” button in Instagram!
Boosting is Facebook’s tricky way to get you to spend money and let it do it’s thing on it’s own. Yes, you’ll see some results, but they won’t be the kind of results you’re looking for. The truth is you’ll be missing out on a TON of the power that comes with Facebook’s Ads Manager.
When you “boost” a post, the targeting and geographic options are extremely limited, and you won’t be able to engage with your ideal audience. While it may seem easy and like a quick fix for running ads, it’s also a super easy way to spend your marketing dollars in the wrong way (and we TOTALLY don’t want you to do that!)
We’re super passionate about this because we’ve seen so many of our clients wasting their money on ads – and then believing that ads won’t work for their business.
Ads CAN and WILL work for your business – you just need to know how to run them the right way.
To keep things simple, let’s just talk about promoting blog posts. Using Facebook to drive traffic to your website is a great way to get more eyeballs on your brand and content. One of the best ways to do this is to promote a blog post.
If you write two blog posts per month, set aside a budget you’re comfortable advertising with, and promote them both on Facebook. So, if you just want more readers then use Facebook’s traffic objective. If you have $20 to spend per blog post, set a daily budget of $5 or a lifetime budget of $20 and run for 3-4 days. Take a look at which ad is getting the lowest CPC (cost-per-click) and highest CTR (click-through-rate) and make some notes on what you did differently with that ad. Repeat the same process with your next blog post.
Once you get good at doing this, you could start retargeting your viewers with an offer. Maybe you run a conversion campaign and offer something like $150 off engagement shoots. Think about what your potential client wants and speak to that.
Obviously there is a lot more that goes into all of this. You need to determine what your audience looks like, where they live, what age range, etc. Choosing an objective is important because Facebook will optimize for whatever it is you decide upon.
Want leads? Go with Conversions or Lead Ads.
Want social proof? Run an Engagement objective.
One thing we want to point out here that a lot of beginners can overlook is this: As important as your audience is (and it IS important), your copy is everything.
What you write on your ad has the ability to make or break you. If you want to book more brides, make sure you speak in their language. It’s not all about you and your expertise – it’s about being able to fulfill their deepest wedding dreams and desires. Sometimes it’s helpful to just write all of these things out on paper before putting words on an ad. Remember, it’s your money, don’t waste it!
We know we just threw a ton of information at you – but if you can’t tell, we get just a little bit excited when talking about marketing strategies!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. We’d love to answer any questions you have and help you grow your business the right way 🙂