by Alex Cheng, Boutique Websites
BOOM! Ring! Zoom! … Let’s face it, we’re right in the middle of wedding season and if you’re like many wedding planners, you have your hands in everything 🙂
I’m glad you got the chance to take a moment and read this. But let’s get one thing straight, I’m not going to offer you a magic pill, nor am I going to lead you on with some extravagant promise at the end. Instead, I am going to give you the tools and knowledge to grow your wedding business in the most efficient and effective way by telling you what I have learned in my 5 years of working in the Wedding Industry and over 12 years of helping businesses grow through online marketing.
Turn your phone silent, close the door and let’s get started!
What is a touch point?
Every time someone interacts with your brand is considered a touchpoint. These touchpoints can either create a good or a bad impression of your business. The collective of all the touchpoints on an individual makes up their overall experience of your brand (sometimes known as “customer experience”).
Why is this important?
Touchpoints are important to your wedding planning business because when a brand makes a better experience for their customer than their competitive will book the bride and get referral business! According to SalesForce; it takes on average 6-8 touchpoints to convert your target audience into a paying customer. It is literally where the new competitive frontier where businesses (especially the service industry) compete.
Anatomy of Touch Points and Marketing:
There are essentially 4 areas when it comes to touchpoints and each of these areas are further broken off into smaller sub areas.
- Marketing Foundation
- Brand foundations (Part 1)
- Brand Exposure / Amplification (Part 2)
- Enquiry / Booking Process (Part 3)
- Service Delivery (your planning services) (Part 4)
- Post Service Delivery (after the wedding) (Part 5)
Today we are focused on the Marketing Foundation section of touchpoints. This area is responsible for increasing wedding leads for your wedding planning business.
Our brand’s foundation items consist of
- Your Logo
- Your Website
You need these three items to build up a strong foundation for your Wedding business’s brand. Why do you need a strong foundation? From my years in the wedding industry and designing brands for wedding industry, we noticed that there are 3 things the brand can accomplish for your business.
- A foundation for growing your business
- A brand always tells a story. Are you a luxury brand? Do you focus on green weddings? Do you provide floral services as well?
- Attracting the right customer
- Depending on your brand story and the look and feel of your logo and website, you will attract the right bride.
- The brand determines the look and feel of all your marketing materials. It provides a consistent and captivating client experience.
You and your Logo:
To determine if your current brand is right for your business, we normally walk out clients through a 4 page questionnaire that would allow us to see who they are, where their business is heading and how we can design a brand that would communicate their brand message. It all starts with You…
You need to ask yourself questions like:
- What is your core competency?
- Where do your brides find the most value while using your services?
- Where do you see your business 5 years down the road? 10 years down the road?
- What is your brand’s story?
When you are working with a designer for your logo, make sure that you are working with someone who understands your industry and cares about your business enough to go through a discovery questionnaire with you.
In the service business, your website IS your storefront. Just like how you would look at the outside of a storefront before deciding to go in, your website needs to be visually captivating and relevant enough for your visitors to take the next step. Your website give them hints of what to expect next from you and your brand. Your website is also a hub for your brand. It is the central resource for your brand so when your visitors find you online either from a social media platform, a wedding directory or industry media outlet, they will land on your website to learn more about your business.
Today, there are a lot of website templates and builders out there. However, if you are looking for an effective website that will grow with your business 8-10+ years down the road, you need to look out for these 3 website “Must-Haves”:
- Custom coded: When a website is hand-coded from scratch, there are a lot more features / customizations available to be utilized. It also allows your website to be fully SEO (Search Engine Optimization) optimized by optimizing every element on your website. When you can have custom animation and interactions on your website, the user experience is also elevated.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): I’m sure most of you have heard of SEO, but if your haven’t, SEO is basically how people find websites on Google Search. There are over 200 factors that Google looks at when they index and rank your websites in their search engine. If you want to learn more about SEO please follow this link to our SEO video (SEO in Three Cups)
- Website Design / User Experience: As a website designer who designs websites exclusively for the Wedding Industry, I know that a good design with a logical website navigation structure makes a difference in a visitor who contacts you and books your services and a visitor who exits your website. A powerful and captivating website design is very rare in our industry and definitely deserves it’s own blog post.
If you are building your own website, please talk to a website specialist first and if you are hiring a website designer, make sure you find a website designer who understands your industry, a SEO specialist, a developer and a website designer (not a template designer).
A lot of times, wedding planners come to us to redo their website because they are missing one or more of the above items (SEO, development and/or design). That is why websites only last about 2-3 years on average. However, if you have all three expertise built into your website, your website is designed to grow with your business and last 8+ years.
Brand’s Exposure / Amplification Activities (Stay tuned for Part 2):
When people talk about marketing, they usually refer to your brand’s exposure / amplification activities. This includes referrals, social media, online exposure (blogs, industry directories, ads, etc.) and other marketing activities. Each marketing effort deserves it’s own post, but it is important to remember that you get your brand’s foundation right before investing in any of these activities. You need a unifying voice so that at every touch point of your brand, people know that it’s your brand. It’s just like when people see the iconic red of Coca Cola or the typeface of Starbucks. People instantly recognizes the brand and people need to recognize your brand as well.
On average it takes about 6-8 touch points before a prospect turns into a customer. Make sure you are fulfilling these touchpoints in your marketing efforts.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
This quote is important (especially today and especially in the wedding industry) because it’s all about the customer experience and every one of your brand’s touchpoints.
Quick tips for starting out:
I wanted to leave you a few tips especially if you are starting out:
- Collaborate with wedding vendors for photoshoots and client referrals
- Networking at industry events, open houses and mastermind groups
- Supercharge your instagram account! I know that Instagram can pass on many high quality leads when done right.
- Referrals from friends, family and past clients
- You are your brand, let everyone you come in contact with know that you are a wedding planner and pass out your business cards.
If you haven’t started on your brand’s foundation, be sure to get started on that before working on your marketing activities. You don’t want to spend loads of money only to have your clients bounce as soon as they land on your website!
It’s a great time to be in the Wedding Industry as it has been as healthy as ever! Make sure you continue learning and never stop! Not even when your business is successful and thriving. The key to success is to keep learning!
Alex Cheng Owner of Boutique Websites
Alex Cheng has been a marketing and sales expert in the Special Events Industry. He is the founder of the Toronto Events Network, and the Event Gurus’ Mastermind group. His content has been featured as an expert in IGNITE Magazine, Wedding Planner Institute of Canada (WPIC) and other industry outlets.
Alex is also a regular speaker in the special events industry and speaks about marketing, industry trends, business growth and sales. Some of the organizations Alex has spoken at include Seneca College, WPIC and Special Events Boot Camp.
Alex is currently on the founding board of directors for the non-profit organization, The Violet Heart Project and is the recipient of the Reader’s Choice Awards 2017, presented by Canadian Special Events for “Favourite Specialty Service Provider”.