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It’s no secret that the wedding industry is saturated with professionals, desperate to stand out amongst the crowd. The question is, how can you get your business noticed when there are thousands beside you selling a similar product or service and trying just as hard to get that booking as you are?
Well I know from my own personal experience and from speaking to other brides that the suppliers we actually book don’t do these things!
Talk down other professionals
I’m involved in a lot of wedding pages across multiple social media platforms and there’s nothing worse than someone putting down someone else’s work. Huge no no! Not only is this unprofessional, it’s also morally very wrong to criticise someone else’s business to try to steal the booking for yourself! Support each other, you may find you could offer some advise that could help them and someone may do the same for you.
Eugh is there anything more annoying for you than when you offer a quote and someone comes along and says ‘well I’ll do it for £50 less’. Don’t do it! Going back to the point above, have respect for your peers. Even worse, when a bride is having a conversation with a supplier on social media and another professional jumps in and offers their price! No no no! The wedding industry is a dog eat dog world but undercutting prices is the quickest way to find yourself with no friends in the wedding business!
Use slang or poor spelling
Now I can appreciate that a photographer will have trained in photography and not English, however, if you are replying to a potential client and want to come across as a professional that takes your business seriously, the least you could do, is throw your text through a spell checker first! Especially if you’re aware that spelling or grammar is not your strong point. A spell checker is by no means a fail safe but it might prevent any major errors and embarrassing mistakes! This aint gunna get u any bookings bro (see what I did there)…
Charge too little
Yes a bride and groom like to think they’re getting a bargain but charging £400 for all day photography including 500 beautiful edited photos and a full photo book isn’t a bargain, they’d be wondering if you actually owned a camera. If you think of the man hours that will go in to that (on the day + editing and well, you know the rest) that’s barely minimum wage! Can you really grow a sustainable business this way? It may grab you a few quick bookings but firstly is it worth your time? Secondly, it will not build the kind of reputation that you’re looking for as a highly skilled and talented photographer (rather than someone with a ‘good camera’). Read more on this here ‘Why You Absolutely, Definitely Need To Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer‘. The exception here is those new to the industry and looking to build a portfolio, but clearly state this is why you’re offering give away prices.
Charge too much
This is an obvious one right? If you’ve just started making wedding cakes and want to turn it in to a business, build your portfolio first before you start charging £700 for a simple 2 tier cake. Pricing your wedding business is no easy task, you have to take in to consideration your experience, qualifications, skills, equipment and many other aspects. Price can also vary depending on where in the country you are and the financial status of that area. A photographer in London will get away with charging a lot more than other areas. Living expenses are higher, jobs generally pay better and people generally have more disposable income than areas that aren’t as affluent.
Charge more because it’s for a wedding
I imagine 99% of the people reading this heading will be screaming at the laptop now, but unfortunately it does happen. Most of the time it’s justified and necessary. I understand that bridal make up will take a lot more time than party make up and wedding invitations will have a lot more detail and probably several inserts that you wouldn’t find in a birthday party invitation. But, there are a few who will simply add some £££’s because the ‘w’ word is used. Not many, but some. A bride recently told me the story of having to hire some port-a-loos for an outdoor, festival style wedding. They were quoted a price over the phone and then re quoted an extra 30% when they happened to mention it was for a wedding. I cannot possibly see what difference this would have made, if there are any port-a-loo companies reading, please educate me. I fear this was one of the few cases where the price was inflated for a wedding, one of the few cases that unfairly gives a bad name to so many honest and professional wedding suppliers.
Obvious isn’t it? Don’t cancel because you get a better offer or because you change your mind. Brides and grooms will accept that you’re human and things happen but they also talk to one another. If you’ve cancelled 5 times because your Nan died, you’re going to get sussed! Try to have a back up in place too, another good reason to network with those in the same profession, someone may be able to jump in and help out last-minute rather than leave the happy couple without on their big day. You’ll also be respected for having a plan B and putting the bride and groom first regardless of lining someone else’s pocket. Word of mouth is the best way to take bookings, make sure you’re being spoken about for the right reasons.
Question a bride or groom’s opinion
Offering advice is great, what’s not is judging their opinion. I see it all the time on social media, a bride will say they have decided to make their own cake in order to save room in the budget – cue 20 cake makers laying in to the bride saying they’re wrong and they will regret not having a professional cake and no one cares about chair covers blah blah blah. This will prompt some mass stand-off and will end in brides boycotting any ‘professional’ that judged their decision or questioned their choices. Don’t let your name be remembered for this reason, offer advice, offer your service and move on! If you don’t like what someone is saying, don’t comment! It’s unlikely you’ll get a booking from that particular person if they do not see the true value in your skills/service so put your time in to someone who does and let your name be remembered for helping people, not for jumping in on (or starting) an argument.
It can take a little time for a bride to make a decision on which supplier to go with. I know myself that I contacted people, received a quote back and then had to think about it for a few days, talk it over with my fiance and review their work before I could start handing out deposits. I’d actually chosen a particular pianist who I decided not to book after the 5 days that he spent emailing and phoning me daily to see if I still wanted him. It just looks desperate and tacky. I would say 1 follow-up email is fine, any more quickly becomes an annoyance.
Fail to keep up
Are you on Pinterest or Instagram? Do you show your face in wedding chat groups on Facebook?
This is where brides and grooms are! Pinterest is the most popular social media platform used by brides, is your work on there for them to find? Are you engaging in conversations on Facebook and using Instagram to showcase your beautiful products? If not, you should be. Gone are the days where a bride will look through the yellow pages and phone the number in the book. They want to talk to you, see what you do, see how helpful and friendly you are, see what other people have to say about you. Give them this information and put it in the places that your audience gather! Don’t be afraid of trying something new, it could end up being a breakthrough for your business.
Hide previous work
Or make it difficult to find. Your previous work is your CV, a bride and groom will asses it before deciding to make further contact. If they can’t find it or it is being kept from them, they will either disregard you and move on to the supplier next to you with a beautiful archive of previous work, or worse, will assume you’re hiding it because you’re just not very good! If you’re a photographer your job is already done, just make sure it’s out there for brides and grooms to find, or make it readily available for those that you are speaking with.
Use poor photographs
If you sell handmade products, take the time to display them nicely and take photos in good lighting, have a play about with some very basic editing software and see what a difference it will make to your photos. If you look at ETSY, the most popular shops on there are the ones with beautifully presented items on clear surfaces. Having your other half hold your very delicate hand crafted crystal hair piece just isn’t going to cut it. People buy when they can picture using an item for themselves, if it is a hair accessory that you made, grab a friend who’s good with their hair and use a photo of them modelling it. This makes it much easier for a bride to picture themselves wearing it than a photo of it on your dining room table.
Some resources for you
If you’re serious about taking your wedding business to the next level, I highly recommend taking some time to do some social media research. I personally have and love this book. You can dip in and out of it, you don’t have to read it in one go and can implement the ideas and strategies step by step. It’s also an easy read for the vast amount of information it covers and it breaks everything down without the jargon that has made me stop reading so many others before it!
These ones also score 5 stars on Amazon (at time of publishing) so are worth a look:
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