As a wedding vendor, it's likely that you often ask your clients who referred them to you or how they heard about you or your business. If you're not asking this question with each encounter or prospective client, you are missing out on valuable information, which could better help you direct your marketing efforts in the future.
We ask each bride that we feature where they heard about WeddingDay. The majority of them mention Facebook or Instagram, allowing us to prioritize using social media as a primary platform. We also ask each bride where she found her wedding vendors and what led her to hire them.
This certainly will not surprise you, but almost every bride admits to being influenced by her friends and family—or attending a wedding, seeing something she liked and inquiring about the vendor. That explains why social media is the next biggest influencer in deciding who to hire. Social media is a digital, peer-to-peer platform where people share opinions and photos with one another. In fact, research and surveys report that 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising. Word of mouth will always be your best marketing tactic.
Next, our brides usually go into detail about the "why" behind their decisions. Almost all of them emphasized loving the vendor's work, but made a strong emphasis on the vibes they got from the vendor. We have even seen that some brides loved a vendor's work, but didn't get a good vibe from them, and decided to keep searching. That tells us that couples are looking to build a relationship of trust with their team of vendors—and while they may trust that you will do beautiful work, they are really looking to trust you as their temporary employee. It almost reminds me of a job interview. Your resume (or work performance and experience) is what gets you the interview, but the whole point of the interview is for the employer to get a feel for who you are a person. I am willing to bet that they almost always choose the candidate who gives them a better feel overall during the face-to-face meeting rather than who has the more impressive resume.
With that said, I would venture to say that your best marketing strategy is your personality and your commitment to professionalism. You can spend all of the marketing dollars in the world to capture your bride's attention (which is absolutely necessary), but then the rest is up to you. Only YOU can guarantee a return on investment. Only YOU can convert a prospect into a client. And that responsibility carries from the initial email correspondence, to a face-to-face meeting, to answering questions, to your social media presence and beyond. Half of your responsibility is to do what you do, and do it well, but the other half is to give off a good vibe to your potential clients. And that starts BEFORE they are your clients. And it really never ends. Because that client is going to be your cheapest, most advantageous form of advertising.
Based on what brides tell me every day, they are looking for vendors—especially planners/coordinators—who will work with them, not for them. They are looking to bring on a partner in the planning process, not hire a vendor. The vendors who come off as collaborative, helpful and suggestive are who are brides want for their wedding.