What you’ve been told about marketing is probably wrong.
You’ve seen those wedding industry surveys that tell you the average wedding budget, the average age, the average household income, and the average education level of the so-called “Average Bride.”
And you noticed that this “Average Bride” finds inspiration on wedding blogs, Pinterest, and the occasional wedding magazine.
And so, you tried advertising and marketing in those places so you could get in front of all of those tens of thousands of “Average brides.”
And you thought they’d see your ad and book you (because you really are talented).
And if more brides booked you, you could pay the mortgage and do what you love for a living, and still spend quality time with your family.
But after all that marketing effort, you still aren’t booking enough brides to make you feel comfortable.
Problem is: The average bride doesn’t exist
The problem with the so-called “Average Bride” is that she doesn’t exist. You’re not looking at a profile of a real person, or even a real type of person. Rather, you’re accessing a collection of demographic traits. Nothing more. It’s a good start, but it’s only a rough sketch.
It’s not your , in all of her complexity and uniqueness.
Worse, when you market to an overly generalized “Average Bride” rather than your ideal client, you end up producing bland and boring content that is not likely to attract anyone in particular.
The result: you miss the opportunity to make a real connection with a client who is right for you and your business.
How to attract Ideal Brides without being salesy or pushy
At the beginning of this article, did I get to the heart of some of your biggest issues and frustrations with marketing your wedding business? Did it seem like I was in your head or I had experienced first hand everything with which you’ve been struggling?
That’s because I have created an Ideal Customer Avatar for the vendors I want to work with and who I think I can help the most. (I also followed up with deep market research, but we’ll do into that later).
My Ideal Customer Avatar helps me to understand who I’m talking to (you), what your biggest needs are, where your biggest frustrations lay, and what you want for your life and your business.
In part, I’m inventing this information based on who I want to work with: a motivated, smart, internet savvy, mountain wedding vendor who loves beauty, the outdoors, and making her wedding community stronger through networking and collaboration.
Sound like you?
Good. That means we’re both in the right place!
So, who do you really want to work with?
The first step in attracting brides you really want to work with is to create an “Ideal Bride Avatar.”
You want to know everything you can about your Ideal Bride Avatar.
- Start with demographic traits: How old is she, what’s her wedding budget, her household income, her education level, and (if applicable) her parent’s household income?
- Get personal: Include her name, where she lives, her hair and eye color, her occupation, and the type of car she drives;
- Now, go on to psychographic traits: These are her values, beliefs, hobbies, lifestyle preferences, favorite books and magazines, blogs she follows (even if they aren’t wedding blogs), what she shares on Facebook, her guilty pleasures, her favorite color, her favorite meal, her favorite clothes, where she’s traveled (and with whom), and what she likes doing in her spare time;
- Now, get into her head: Write a journal entry from your Ideal Bride’s perspective. Look at her life, her emotions and how she feels about your offerings;
- What problem is she trying to solve or need is she trying to address in her wedding planning?
- What is she Googling when she’s looking for information?
- Examine her dreams for her wedding day and beyond;
- What story is she telling herself about her wedding? What words does she use to describe her big day?
- What are her biggest fears?
- What are her biggest frustrations?
- What will it be like for her if everything works out the way she hopes?
- How will she feel if the worst-case scenario comes true?
- What does she secretly wish were true about her wedding and wedding planning?
- How will her friends and family respond if her wedding dreams come true?
- How does she think her friends and family respond if her worst wedding nightmares come true?
Spending some time thinking about this information (or better yet, writing a few journal entries answering these questions and developing these scenarios) will help you to attract the right brides by speaking the same language as they do.
Remember, if you don’t specifically understand who you’re marketing to, then your marketing will sound generic and it won’t generate the engagement you need to convert traffic into leads and leads into clients.
Fully understanding everything about your Ideal Bride Avatar from possible silly guilty pleasures to her worst wedding day nightmares will help you attract her through carefully curated content and messaging.
Elevate your search for your Ideal Bride
Go even deeper by mixing in some quick and dirty market research. Start looking for your Ideal Bride Avatar online.
Check out discussion forums and listen to social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, and take note of:
- What are your Ideal Brides’ biggest questions and frustrations?
- What language does she use to describe her hopes and fears about her wedding? Keep in mind that you’re seeking out who you want to work with. Use language as a filter. Do you want to work with someone super cheerful and positive? Or someone whose snark could put Steven Colbert to shame? Are you interested in working with brides with impeccable manners and refinement, or casual, tomboys who can drop the F-bomb like nobody’s business? Don’t just respond to any bride online, work to find your Ideal Bride!
- Once you get a feel for what your Ideal Bride hopes for and where her biggest frustrations lie, identify those needs or problems with which you can legitimately help her. This will help you position yourself in a crowded market and make your competition irrelevant.
Remember: Don’t just be a Chatty Kathy online. Listen!
- This may seem obvious, but your Ideal Bride must be in a position to buy what you are selling. She needs to be able to afford your services and be ready and willing to pay you what you’re worth;
- Make sure this person LOVES what you do. You want someone who thinks you’re brilliant and amazing and just the vendor she’s dreamed of. Her enthusiasm will make her your biggest fan. She won’t be able to stop talking about how amazing you are! (Mmmm-mmmm. That feels good, doesn’t it?);
- Even if the information about your Ideal Bride Avatar seems irrelevant, remember that this information is helping you to get into the hearts and minds of your ideal clients so you can foster authentic and meaningful relationships with them. I am reminded of Kristen Weaver, with whom I presented at WPPI 2013. Her ideal customer is a highly educated professional who can afford luxury bridal services. In 2013, Kristen attracted her ideal clients on Facebook, but not by talking about weddings and generic wedding planning content like “10 tips for planning your wedding.” Rather, she offered a running commentary (which was often controversial) on Facebook about the Caylee Anthony case. She attracted brides who were professional attorneys, could afford her luxury price tag, and had something real in common with Kristen. Now that’s authentic marketing!
- Find a picture online. Snag something from Flickr or Facebook. Print it out with some basic information, a few quotes and some distilled comments about your Ideal Bride Avatar’s dreams and fears. Post it on the wall above your computer, and look at it every time to write a blog post, craft a call to action, or share on social media.
- Remember that your Ideal Bride is never just someone with a wallet getting married! You want to attract a bride who invigorates you and inspires you to do you best work. The more you create opportunities to do you best work, the more you will continue to attract higher quality brides!
Take Action Now
Carve out some time to answer the above questions thoroughly and really get to know your Ideal Bride Avatar. Write it all down in a journal, or in a MS Word document, or on a clean sheet of paper – however you feel most creative.