Photos by Bespoke Bride
I felt a little uncomfortable writing today’s post as I wasn’t sure if I would class myself as having enough experience or knowledge to give advice on how to ‘break into the wedding industry’. I am by no means an expert and although our blog is now 3 years old I would say we are still very much in the learning phase, in fact I don’t think we will ever stop learning? I am sure many owners of businesses, big or small, will agree that a lot of owning a successful company is to keep acquiring knowledge on your industry. Things change all the time and so it is vital that you are open to new ideas and not afraid to try something new in order to keep up with this ever changing, crazy world!
So what spurred me to write today’s post? Well, to our surprise over the past few months we have received a lot of enquiries from businesses, from fledgling to much more accomplished, looking to break into a new industry. Questions have ranged from who they should network with? What events they should go to and How should they market their product?
As I said before I am not an expert and the only advice I can offer is based on personal experience, so if you are reading this and think you can offer even more help, then hop on down to the comments section and feel free to share your pearls of wisdom. After all that is what this blog is here for. Now lets get started!
1. Get Some Experience
This is more for the newbies but I suppose this could also apply to those more established businesses looking to break into a completely different sector? For example if you are a fledgling photographer looking to go pro, why not enquire with a couple of photographers about second shooting, not only will this help build up your portfolio but you will pick up some great hints and tips from the pro’s that you might not have learnt anywhere else, not forgetting to mention making some super valuable connections. If on the other hand you already own a well established company but are thinking of adding wedding packages to your repertoire, then make sure you do your research first. Is there a real need for you in this market? Will you have the extra time, staff, money needed to take on extra work? You might even want to offer your services to a friend for a trial run (the wedding industry isn’t for everyone!) or maybe offer a discounted rate whilst you build up a bigger portfolio in that particular niche.
2. Define Your Brand
This is something we are particularly passionate about. Your brand is so important for attracting the type of potential customer that you would like to work with. For example when considering our branding, we chose bright colours,geometric shapes and bold fonts. Why? Well, first we wanted our brand to reflect our personalities and second we wanted to attract the more modern couple, those that weren’t afraid to stand out and be different, those looking to make a statement.
Not to blow our own trumpets or anything, but I think we did pretty darn good job too, as we have achieved exactly what we wanted!
3. Get to Grips with Social Media
Personally I think every business should have at least a Facebook page? I know there may be tonnes of business out there without one and they might be doing perfectly fine with the clientele they have and that is ace, but in order to get new clients and spread the word I really feel that your business needs to be on Facebook. Personally I don’t think it is difficult to set up and it requires minimal input, so even the busiest person can keep it up to date. Ideally I would look at posting at least 2-3 times a week if you can manage it, if not, just try to be consistent and use it to network when you have time, then you won’t go far wrong. If you are already a well established business consider setting up a wedding specific page that promotes the services you offer for this particular niche.
Again if you have time, I would suggest Twitter being the next platform you log into. I can honestly say that we have made some of the best business connections through this platform and I would highly recommend it for building relationships with others in your industry. It is especially good for being helpful so Twitter gets a big thumbs up from us!
Another note I would like to make on social media, which I have mentioned before, is to make sure you are keeping it professional at all times. I not only speak for myself when I say I can’t stand to see business pages slagging off other businesses, it gives me a bad impression immediately and I am scared to build a relationship with them, in fear I will one day be the subject of their latest rant. It is a huge no no!
If you really are ready to go full steam ahead with social media other platforms you might want to get involved with are Pinterest, Instagram and Google +, however I would make sure I was at least a master of one before I started on another. There is nothing worse than seeing a bunch of social media platforms, with some half arsed attempts.
4. Build a Portfolio
I don’t know about you but I will never book or order anything without seeing it first. So why would booking for a wedding be any different? Couples want to know they are getting value for money, so they will want to see examples of your previous work before they consider hiring you. This is where a portfolio comes in, some businesses display this on their website whilst others will have good old fashioned hard copy. If you are a fledgling business this might prove to be a little problematic but this is where experience comes in handy. Try to get involved with as many projects as you possibly can? Talk to other newbie suppliers about setting up a styled shoot, this will be a great way of you all showcasing your skills without any added pressure and who knows, if it turns out to be successful you could also get it featured on a blog and then you will have a shiny ‘featured on’ badge to display on your website.Details