Many couples have had to cancel, postpone, or significantly downsize their weddings, thanks to the ongoing pandemic. A study by The Knot shows that 96% of all the couples who planned to wed in 2020 altered their original wedding plans in response to pandemic restrictions.
But safety regulations also inspired new wedding trends and rekindled old ones, including micro, backyard, and unexpected venue weddings. While micro weddings of up to 50 guests are not a new trend, they became the norm as couples opted for more intimate ceremonies in line with restrictions on public gatherings. Some couples also chose to have backyard weddings with a handful of family and friends. Then there were mini-monies — commitment weddings of up to ten guests that precede larger sequel weddings.
While these trends may have been inspired by the pandemic, they are likely to continue well into the future. According to a survey by Brides.com, 81% of couples say the pandemic has changed their expectations for their wedding, with most couples saying they’d have smaller and more intimate weddings.
The opportunity for your small business
The emerging trends in the wedding industry present new opportunities for small businesses. While your business may not have the bandwidth to take on large weddings, you can now get into the industry as couples opt for smaller but “more special” ceremonies. Plus, a wedding boom is already underway.
According to The Knot, 2021 will be one of the busiest years for weddings in decades, because many of the weddings postponed in 2020 will take place this year. Nearly half of all couples (43%) have set their new wedding date in the second half of 2021. The Knot also predicts that there’ll be a 20% to 25% increase in weddings into 2022. Among couples who already had a commitment ceremony in 2020, more than one-third plan to hold a sequel celebration in the future
Whether you’re already in the wedding business or looking to get a piece of the cake, this is a great time to key into these trends and attract more customers for your business.
Best ways to attract wedding clientele to your business
Nail your niche and branding.
Weddings come in all shapes and sizes, so carving out a niche is super important if you want to attract the right clientele. Couples want to hire vendors who deeply understand their needs and can deliver on the job, so a catch-all marketing approach won’t help you stand out.
Once you have chosen a wedding niche, craft tailored messages that sell your process and why you are the right fit for that genre. If you’re a caterer, for example, you can highlight your experience at managing small events and your ability to serve up delicious meals while catering to different dietary needs. If you’re a photographer, you may want to offer “intimate and small wedding photography” instead of the more generic “wedding photography.”
Connect with other wedding vendors and professionals.
Weddings are important life events, so it’s no surprise that the industry relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals.
Many couples rely on recommendations from family and friends when choosing vendors for their big day, but they also trust recommendations from other wedding professionals.
How do you build relationships with other wedding vendors as a strategy for getting more wedding clients?
Start by researching established wedding planners and vendors in your location. Find those whose specialties align with yours and reach out to them via email or their preferred social media channels. Be sure to personalize your messages and clearly state your reasons for contacting them. This is also why it’s important to be crystal clear about the services you offer.
Amplify your online local search presence.
While word-of-mouth marketing and referrals are the more traditional ways to get wedding clients, your prospective customers are likely to take their search for wedding vendors online. According to Think with Google, 53% of all customers will research a business online before making a purchase, so it’s crucial to have a solid online presence.
Here’s how to increase your search engine visibility for location-related searches.
Optimize your website for search engines.
Your website should be the foundation of all your online marketing efforts. If you don’t have one already, you can get one for free with Square Online.
To increase your visibility in search engines, research keywords that potential customers are likely to use when searching for the services you offer, and use those keywords in your website copy. For example, wedding florist in [your location]” or “[your location] wedding videographer” are usually good places to start.
Create a dedicated page that describes your wedding services in detail, especially if you offer services in other industries. This page should include high-quality photos, testimonials from previous clients, FAQs, and any other information that will help prospective clients with their decision-making.
Turn any business into an online business with a free eCommerce website.
Get listed in major directories.
Online directories like Google My Business and Yelp are crucial for local search visibility. According to FreshChalk, Yelp appears in the top five search results for 92% of Google web queries that include a city and business category. Listing with Google My Business means your business can show up for “near me” Google searches. That’s great because a typical business receives 59 actions from their Google My Business listing each month, including website visits and phone calls.
Start by filling out your business profile completely. Ensure that your business details, such as contact information and business hours, are accurate. If your core business is not focused on weddings, select a category that best describes the core business, then highlight your wedding services in the business description. For example, if you’re a photographer, your primary category would be “photographer” but you can emphasize your wedding photography services in the description.
Include photos that capture your product or service. Encourage customers to leave reviews, and respond to any negative reviews.
Advertise your business in wedding directories.
To increase your online touchpoints, list your business in vendor directories, such as the Wedding Wire and The Knot. These platforms are popular among intending couples and receive a lot of website traffic. They also allow you to link back to your website and include your contact information. This helps you get your business in front of more potential customers.
Make social media work for you.
Social media remains an essential marketing tool, especially in the wedding industry. Intending couples are usually eager to share their engagement and wedding activities on their timelines. And most are happy to tag their vendors and suppliers. By staying active and visible on social media, you can find potential customers.
Here are some ways you can do this:
- Fill out your social media profiles completely and highlight your wedding offerings in your bio and page descriptions.
- Stay visual. Share high-quality photos of your products and services so they can stand out in feeds.
- Use hashtags to increase visibility and make it easier for prospects to discover your business.
- If you’re working at a wedding as a stylist, for example, make a small sign with your social media handles and QR code. This will direct interested guests to your website so they can find you online.
Spread the word in your newsletter.
An email newsletter is a great way to share any updates about your business, and you can let customers know that you’re now serving weddings. There are bound to be some customers planning nuptials, and you may even have wedding planners or other professionals among those customers in your email database. Play around with a snappy subject line that teases your wedding offerings, and consider offering a discount to help build up your wedding clientele — you can easily send an email campaign about your wedding services using Square Marketing.
Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, the wedding industry remains resilient as couples find ways to celebrate love. For your small business, the drift toward smaller-sized weddings could open up new opportunities. While your business may not have the resources to take on big weddings, you can start offering your products or services tailored to more intimate ceremonies.