If you’ve noticed that everyone and their mother has been getting engaged lately, it’s not a coincidence! Engagement season – which falls between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day – is the time where 40% of all engagements occur.
And after they say, “Yes!” and post about their latest life update on social media, newly engaged couples are going to start planning for the big day, with 60% of them starting within 1 month of being engaged. This means that your inbox is sure to be filled with inquiries sooner rather than later. So, what are you doing to put your business’s best foot forward?
Nowadays, couples are choosing their pros based on a variety of factors, most of which are digital. From checking out your social media presence and perusing your website to viewing your Storefronts on The Knot and WeddingWire and reading through your reviews, we guarantee that prospective couples are doing a lot of research to decide whether your business will fit into their overall vision. So, it’s your job to make sure that your online presence is helping build trust between you and your couples before you even meet them.
This begs the question – is your business ready for engagement season? If you’re not sure, that’s okay! There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to prepping your business for engagement season, and it’s more important than ever to have a handle on them all.
To help get you started, we’ve come up with this guide to help you revamp your digital footprint just in time to interact with your soon-to-be clients. Read more below!
Website and Storefronts
Depending on how they find you, your website or Storefront will be a couple’s very first impression of you. So, it’s important that you go through all of the components of each from time to time to keep them fresh and up to date. Here are some of our tips on how to get started on a website review and Storefront audit.
Keep your branding consistent.
We’re going to dive more into branding later, but it’s important to touch on it now as it relates to your website and Storefronts. Your brand needs to be recognizable across all of your channels so your potential couples can have a good idea of what you’re all about, so keep your branding consistent. Think about it – if a company you trust has completely different logos on their website and social media profiles, you would second-guess that trust, right? Your audience would do the same thing. So, avoid this situation and more by following the tips in our Marketing and Branding section.
Pro tip: Create a boilerplate that can be used across all of your channels. Think of a boilerplate as a shorter bio that describes your business (and how it approaches weddings) in a few short sentences. It’s designed to be used a lot, so try to keep it as general and simple as possible.
Make it easy to connect.
Even though your Storefronts have this covered for you, make sure that your contact information is as easy to locate as possible on your website. Forcing couples to hunt for your email, phone number or social networks will likely encourage them to not contact you at all. So, put all of your information on the very first page of your website, preferably above the fold (aka the very top of the page).
Pro tip: Make it even easier to contact you by adding click-to-call links or click-to-email links to your website. Reducing the amount of time between seeing your information and actually reaching out can be a great incentive to potential couples.
Update your photos.
It’s not a secret that couples zero in on photos when they’re scoping out their potential pros. Give them what they want and update your social media, website and Storefronts with photos from recent weddings. The more up-to-date your photo library is, the better. Additionally, make sure that you include a wide variety of photos to capture the attention of couples with different aesthetics and themes.
Pro tip: Feeling low on content to share? Grab a few of your friends in the industry and put together a styled shoot.
Audit your bio(s).
In the same vein as keeping your photos up-to-date, it’s important that you keep your bios current as well. Couples are looking for you everywhere (aka, stalking you!) to make sure that you’re the type of person they want to have for their wedding day. That means if they find you in one place and feel a connection with you, they’re going to look you up elsewhere to make sure that what they saw there matches up with everything else you’re putting out there.
Take your bio seriously and make sure it sounds just like you. Then do an audit across all of your channels to make sure you’re saying the same thing in each place. It’s also important to stay consistent with your bio so you can avoid causing any negative effects on your website’s SEO.
Pro tip: Identify the words, colors and images that make your brand unique. Then, include them everywhere you write about yourself and your business. Really knowing and understanding your brand will ensure that your messaging is completely consistent. That way you can be confident that everything your potential client sees will feel streamlined and totally you.
Try listing your price ranges.
The best way to ensure that the couples who reach out to you are in your price range is to tell them how much you cost upfront. We’re not necessarily suggesting you put your entire pricing menu on your website, but if you spend a lot of time educating couples on your price only to have them walk away, listing broad ranges on your website might save a lot of time on both ends. This doesn’t have to be permanent, so give it a try and see if you get a more tailored set of prospective couples reaching out.
Pro tip: Take this time to check your prices to make sure that they’re in line with your offerings (and your personal financial goals). Remember – you should be re-evaluating your prices every year. You can learn all about how to price your services and the thought process behind it in this webinar.
Curate your online reviews.
We know that reviews can be a sensitive topic, but hear us out. Reviews are an important part of how couples evaluate their potential pros. In fact, 72% of couples are more likely to consider a vendor with a mix of positive and negative reviews than no reviews at all. So, keep in mind that your reviews don’t have to be perfect in order for you to get business.
You can’t control what someone writes about your business specifically, but you can control which ones are featured prominently. There’s a handy customization trick on your Storefront that you may not be taking advantage of. Members can choose their favorite online review to appear first (and then it goes chronological).
Additionally, don’t be afraid to respond to your reviews, especially when they are less than five stars. Showing that you can take responsibility when things don’t go perfectly goes a long way with prospective couples.
Pro tip: If you haven’t asked your most recent clients to leave you some love, now is the time. Reach out now to beef up your reviews portfolio and build credibility. Also, if you have won Best of Weddings or a Couples Choice Award add your badge(s) to your website so prospects can see you have reviews from real couples.
Social media has allowed wedding pros to extend the advertising power of their Storefronts. With platforms like Facebook and Instagram, couples and pros have a place to connect with each other to build awareness and rapport on a daily scale. This has allowed couples to get to know wedding businesses and the people who run them, which can lead to more bookings once the couples are ready to start wedding planning.
Here’s how to make the most out of your social media strategy.
Audit your social media accounts.
Do you have profiles that you created years ago and then promptly forgot about? Now’s the time to resurrect them (or delete them for good)! Social media is a huge asset to use throughout the year alongside your Storefronts and website, so be sure to use every profile to your advantage.
Pro tip: Not every social media platform is right for every wedding business, so don’t blindly join one just because you feel like you have to. Figure out which platforms have thriving communities of wedding pros in your field and focus your efforts there.
Share your personality.
Like we previously mentioned, couples often use social media to not only see some of your most recent work but also get a feel for your personality. They’re looking for partners on their wedding day, not just someone to come in, provide a service and leave. So, use your platforms to champion yourself and your business so your audience can get a sense of who you are.
Pro tip: When you’re sharing your best photos, also mention what drew you to the couple, what you loved about the day or why that particular photo is one of your favorites. Be sure to get permission from couples to share and tag them (as well as the rest of the vendor team) if they’re also on social media.
Schedule your social media posts.
When your calendar is fully booked with client meetings, the last thing you want to deal with is brainstorming a clever Instagram caption. Cue social media scheduling tools. There are a lot of low-cost apps that can help you schedule your social posts. Here are a few we like that make setting up social media posts ahead of time a breeze.
Pro tip: Schedule time on your calendar each week to plan out and schedule all your posts. Start with 1-2 hours and adjust from there if you need more or less time.
Connect your accounts to your Storefronts.
Another thing to consider is connecting your social media accounts to your Storefronts. Having all of your channels completely connected to each other will help couples seamlessly navigate from one channel to the next so they can get a holistic view of your wedding business. This also helps with maintaining consistent branding!
Pro tip: As you’re posting to social media, be sure to shout out your website and Storefronts every now and then to help boost traffic and awareness.
Marketing and Branding
You don’t only own a business – you also own a brand that needs to be nurtured in order for it to grow. The business aspect depends heavily on the branding and marketing efforts that you invest in. After all, if you don’t spend time getting the word out about your business, you won’t be able to get in front of new couples that would otherwise be interested in your services.
Let’s dive into some of the ways you can enhance your marketing and branding efforts ahead of engagement season.
Create a marketing plan.
You might be running your wedding business without a marketing plan—and if that’s the case, it’s in your best interests to put together at least a basic one before engagement season! Why? Because educating yourself about the marketing do’s and don’ts will lead you to make smarter, more business-savvy ideas in the future. Also, even the more basic marketing plans can help you grow your business.
Pro tip: Advertising with The Knot and WeddingWire is a great tactic to add to your plan if it isn’t already.
Do a brand audit.
Your brand is what identifies you to the outside world, and it helps differentiate your business from others. Before the next class of couples hits your digital media, give your brand a look with fresh eyes to see if it’s telling the story that you want to tell. Additionally, make sure that it’s telling the same story across all of your channels. If it’s not, now’s the time to create brand guidelines so you can start to formally define your brand.
Pro tip: It’s important to know how to edit yourself as you’re working on your branding. Adding every single thing you want to say about your brand can be confusing, so be sure to tailor your images, assets and copy to tell one cohesive and consistent story.
Do a copy check.
Copy, or the written material you use to market your business, is one of the most important things to look at during this time because, aside from looking through photos and reviews, couples are reading your stuff. So, make sure that it’s clear, error-free and conveys the right message. Your copy should be an extension of your personality and voice, so don’t be afraid to get real (but, of course, keep it professional). Include some fun facts to show that you are relatable. Create a good mix between your voice and what you offer to your couples to show that you are credible.
Pro Tip: Read your reviews to see what your couples are saying about your business. Pull out the buzzwords and echo them back in your marketing materials.
Check your analytics.
Even if your gut tells you things are (or maybe aren’t) working, diving into the numbers behind your business is a smart thing to do before every engagement season. Check the number of people visiting your Storefronts, website and social media channels each month. Then, compare that data to both the number of inquiries and the number of bookings you get. From there, you can figure out which area(s) you need to focus on in order to increase bookings and make a plan for your wedding services!
Pro-tip: Learn more about how to evaluate your social media marketing metrics and how to calculate ROI.
Are you ready to level up your marketing efforts and book more couples this engagement season? Don’t wait – reach out to the WeddingPro team today.
Photo: Alison Conklin Photography