Ask Terry Anything In The Wedding Marketing Clinic

Do you have a wedding marketing question you'd love answered? I often get asked similar questions in different ways. I'll share the most popular here. Check back for updates periodically:

Hi Terry, I currently average 45 plus weddings per year, though its a lot, I contribute it to my pricing being competitive for the quality I provide. My sales last year was upward of $180k.

The biggest frustration in this business right now specially in my city (Florida) is the weekend warriors. Digital has made it easier for someone to pickup a camera , shoot a ton of photos, edit and filter the heck out of the photos and they are getting paid even more than what I charge. As a full time photographer for over 20 years with a brick and mortar location in a well established wedding area, I see more and more go to the coffee shop photographers, taking a bite of our business here for the true professionals.

Churches here have also put stronger restrictions on shooting as these not so professionals abuse the respect of the church, by getting on top of the altar and disrupting sacred grounds of the churches. 

I wonder if you have the same problems in the UK.


Carlos

 

 

Dear Carlos,

Thanks for your email. I can understand and completely feel your pain. I met a wedding photographer last week at a networking event who had a similar issue with his shop.

The reality is the barriers to entry for the photography industry are practically non existent today, anyone with a digital camera and some software can enter the market. Gone are the days where a shopfront premises are required or dark room skills. Digital has removed the friction, or put another way, the expert skills required from a bygone era. Digital has made becoming a photographer easier and much more convenient to shoot. And this is why your market is flooded. It’s happening world-wide. In short, Digital has let the Genie out of the bottle and it’s never going back in.

So how do you cope in the new world where weekend warriors and coffee shop wannabes enter your market and compete with much lower overheads?

You don’t…A certain bride (or avatar) will be drawn to such a supplier, and these brides will never be your client. Let them go. Instead, target the plethora of discerning brides wanting specific emotionally driven benefits from a photographer with your skill set. Identify who they are, identify what draws them to you, then set your marketing material to appeal only to your perfect avatar. Don’t chase every bride, focus solely on your niche.

To help further, heres the link to download a free chapter from my popular book ’12 Habits Of Successfully Booked Up Wedding Suppliers’. It covers everything you’ll need to do to identify and go after brides more likely to book you.

I trust this will help you hit the deck running, best of luck Carlos.

Bye for now

Terry

 


 

Hi Terry,

I have read your book .. infact I read it in a day (!) and feel super inspired to push my business to the next level. A lot of what you talk about resonates really strongly with me and I now have a new notebook full of fresh ideas and inspiration to get me through the (usually) quieter winter few months.

I have been running a wedding stationery business since 2009 and I am at the point where I'm turning business away and am pretty much at capacity .. but I'm not breaking any records. I have a great lifestyle and my business more than pays for itself and my lifestyle but I always want more and feel that I should be earning more and doing less work by now!

I have considered selling my business because the stress gets too much but my heart is telling me not to and that I'm only a few clever moves away from having an even more successful business.

The most frustrating part of my business is probably myself!! I have serious control issues when it comes to the "labour zone" which I'm trying to overcome by increasing my assisant's days to 2 instead of 1 a week - she just does the assembly for me at the moment but I'm going to train her up over the winter to do the printing for me too. That's I start isn't it?! haha! I would love a full time employee but I can't afford one yet.

I would love to hear your insight and look forward to hearing back from you,

xx Louise

Louise O'Neill

Hi Louise,

Firstly I’m overwhelmed by your feedback on the book, I really am. Thank you.

When I penned the 12 Habits, my goal was to produce a transformative guide to help wedding professionals with their sales and marketing and I am so glad it’s having that impact.

Thank for your question, your symptom is you are charging too little and serving too many clients resulting in you working way too hard for cash and clients and this is the reason you are feeling, or heading towards burnout.

Hang onto your business, but do this:

Stop trying to close every client, just pick the high end ones that your really want to serve; those you feel would be a natural fit
Cut back on the multi-tasking, doing it all alone (apart from the 1 day a week help) is making you work too many hours a day
Without knowing what your prices are, I am guessing your are undercharging for your wedding services. Raise them using the guidance from the 12 Habits. When you get paid what you are worth, this will naturally lead to you improving your lifestyle, working less and being able to afford to increase your assistance hours.

I hope this helps...

Bye for now

Terry



Hi Terry,

Thank you so much for "How to Book Brides At Wedding Fairs".  You provided me with some fodder on which to chew!   Most of what you said I figured out the hard way but the 10 minute funnel that was a new way to look at what I was doing. 


 I am drawing them in, I even get to the meeting where they LOVE ME  and are ready to book!  But when we start talking prices I see back peddling.  I'm not the cheapest nor the most expensive in my area.  But what I do well is service!  I give more than their money's worth, documented by my past clientele.  I'm troubled with too many meetings without booking.  Any suggestions?

Kimberly

Hi Kimberly,

I’m sorry you are struggling right at the final hurdle, I can imagine how frustrating that must be for you.


Without knowing too much about the way you present when in front of your couple, I would definitely start analysing the following:

  1. Given that brides buy for emotional reasons and justify the cost afterwards with logic, find ways to amplify the feeling you create when describing the amazing benefits of your wedding experience 
  2. Learn how to master the art of perfectly aligning your signature wedding experience with the precise wants, desires and aspirations of your bride and groom
  3. If you are able to create a sense of over-delivering on what your couple ask for you'll increase the chances of becoming their favourite choice
  4. Once you've successfully mastered the art getting prospects into a peak state of excitement and anticipation about the amazing benefits they will enjoy with you, you'll notice price being relegated off the top spot of buying criteria and your couple being converted into value buyers

The secret is to get your prospect to perfectly visualise, and almost pre-live the joy they would experience at their wedding because of you.

Get your couple very excited about the benfits of your services and create an aura of confidence that their wedding will be everything they hope, dream and want, and your problem will dissappear.

Kim, if brides are falling out of your funnel after meeting with you, work on the points above. I’m sure what you offer is full of value, but I would hazard a guess that the crux of your matter is you are not conveying your amazing value it in a way that resonates perfectly in tune with your bride.

Kim, you can do this, it will take effort and hard work but believe in yourself and you will crack the code.


For deeper resources study the following chapters in my book '12 Habits of Successfully Booked Up Wedding Suppliers'

  • THE FIFTH HABIT: Articulate value before giving a price
  • THE SIXTH HABIT: Apply the 7 influencers and powers of persuasion to convert prospects into clients
  • THE SEVENTH HABIT: Date your couple
  • THE EIGHTH HABIT: Present in a way that prescribes not sells


Wishing you all the best
Terry


 

Hi Terry,

I really appreciated your PDF and it has certainly given me some food for thought and I will definitely be looking at what I can incorporate into my business.


In answer to your question, my biggest frustration in my wedding business is getting bookings. I am a new wedding photographer and trying to get myself ‘out there’ which is a challenge. I luckily have got a space in a wedding fair later this year and am waiting on some flyers to come back from print to see if I can get some put out in places like bridal shops, hairdressers etc. I am also planning on contacting a venue to try and organise a styled shoot which I’d like to try and get published on wedding blog to get my business name put in front of potential brides. I currently feel like I’ve opened a shop that no one knows about so my current challenge is letting everyone know I’m here and available for bookings.


I hope that gives you a helpful insight as to where I’m at and why I downloaded your PDF!


Best wishes,


Camilla

 

Hi Camilla,

Firstly I am delighted you got some value out of your PDF download, thank you for reading it.

I know how challenging it can be attracting and booking new clients to your wedding photography business, because I remember hitting the exact same challenge when I set ups my wedding company back in 2008 and wished there was a guide or system that could help.

It took me years but I eventually cracked the code and wrote the book about it which comes out late August. There is a chapter on marketing, specifically on how to attract and book brides and I’m giving you the introduction to that chapter as a free gift. The book is still being designed so please ignore the ‘draft’ look and feel but I hope this gets you moving in the right direction until I release it.

I really hope this helps you Camilla


Wishing you all the best
Terry


 

My biggest frustration is dealing with so many people who are uneducated about what my services really should cost. Low budgets because they just don't know any better.

Another frustration is the DIY bride who would settle for cheap plastic flowers.

Thank you! 
Wray

 

Hi Wray,

I can understand how that can be frustrating.

I can definitely help you. Back in 2010/11 I had a similar challenge within my own industry and was being heavily underpaid by venues I worked for and by the clients I attracted.

It took me years to figure out WHY higher spending brides eluded me but I eventually cracked the code and today my average bride spends 7x my 2010/11 rates, and because of the way I market, I have to turn away more than 50 brides each year due to being already booked.

And this is something you to can enjoy if you are prepared to CHANGE and work hard.

I deal with the challenge you are facing in my book 12 Habits of Successfully Booked Up Wedding Suppliers and I am giving you chapter 1 free (see attached) because if applied to your business, it has the power to change your course so discerning brides, not price shoppers enquire.

Its entitled 'THE FIRST HABIT Amplify your message to a very specific avatar instead of trying to sell to everyone’, and I recommend you pay particular attention to the 'Avatar Exercise' and the 'Red Flag'.

I hope you enjoy the complimentary chapter and Wray, I would love your feedback when done.

PS - Please excuse the annotations in the version I am sending you. They are for my designer who still needs to make final amendments before the book becomes available to the general public late August.

 

Bye for now
Terry


Hello,
My biggest frustration is trying to market my value as a person that handles issues before they are issues- no one thinks they need a wedding planner until their plans fail and stuff doesn't go like they expected!

I am not interested in competing with the high-end wedding planners offering full services and trying to squeeze every dime out of the couple, rather I am interested in serving folks with family squabbles, non-traditional life styles, creative folks etc that want to someone to help them plan their own wedding. My frustration is I have not set a firm plan of how to reach them or get them to see my value!

Any help along those lines would be great!

Thanks very much,

Susan

 

Hi Susan,

Thanks for your response. You have a very unusual niche in the wedding industry. The first thing I would do is a market validation exercise to discover how large your potential market is. You could do this by asking brides to put their hands up if they are interested in the type of services you offer in the following ways:

  • Survey them using something like survey monkey
  • Look for comments in groups where brides hangout and give expert answers to their pain points
  • Contribute posts in chat rooms and on Facebook Pages where your audience spends time
  • Blog about your solutions using case studies
  • Email your list about their wedding problems asking if they would like help solving any issues

It’s really important to discover the size of your market before ploughing ahead full steam just to make sure what you offer is actually wanted in numbers high enough to make a thriving business out of it.

If your validation process comes back positive and you have a captive audience for your services your next steps would be to:

  • Clearly identify the profile of your ideal bride, for example it may be a woman aged x-y, living in certain areas, earning a certain income, describe her nationality, type of venue she marries at etc. The deeper you can go into describing your avatar the better. Think of your best client to date as a starting point to fleshing out the profile of your avatar, then you want to find this person again, and again, and again
  • Once you have your avatar all mapped out you want to look at your website IN PARTICULAR and all your other other on and off line marking material and ENSURE it talks specifically and only to your avatar. So when your ideal client finds you, and reads what you offer she will think you are speaking directly to her, because your marketing message will resonate in tune with her thinking. In this state, she will be more likely to get to your next step.

From there on out you will want to Position, Package, Promote, and Partner your wedding experience directly in path of your avatar and wedding professionals who can help widen the reach of your audience.

I really hope this helps Susan. I go much deeper in ‘The 12 habits of Successfully Booked Up Wedding Suppliers' out late August if you want more insights.

Wishing you the very best of luck.


Bye for now,

 
Mentor | Author | Judge for The Wedding Industry Awards

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