anyway I have discovered that advertise on wedding sites is not enough and soooo expencive most of the times. Prefer to print some nice postcards to give away and to put in stores....with the beginning of summer i have to get rid of some useless ads that is only costing me a lot
Half the money I spend on advertising is a complete waste...the problem is I don't know which half!
The fact is you have to do it all. There is no magic bullet, and there is no substitute for networking and word of mouth.
That being said, we've had great experience with search engine optimization - making sure your website shows up in the search results for the right keyword searches on Google and other search engines. (So much so that I started doing it for other photographers and small businesses)
I'm honestly not trying to self-promote - just trying to make a point about the power of search engine optimization: 62% of internet searchers never look past the first page of the search results.
In my opinion, SEO is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising, because the person is sitting at their computer, actively searching for the service you provide - you just have to make sure your site shows up in their search results!
Conversely, almost every other form of advertising is asynchronous - meaning you have to rely on the person remembering your name, phone number, or URL, at a later point in time (sometimes days or weeks later) when they evenyually decide to search for a your product or service.
Of course, you have to have a professional website with good pictures, reasonable prices, and all the usual stuff or all the web traffic in the world won't do you any good! But if I had a hypothetical $100 to spend on advertising, I would spend $70 on SEO, $10 on some type of pay-per click advertising like Google Adwords, and the rest on business cards, brochures, static displays, etc. etc....
And once your website is optimized, it is relatively easy to maintain your high ranking, and you pay nothing for the web traffic that gets to your site through these organic listings, so there is a long-term benefit for a short-term investment.
The one downside to SEO is the number of shady characters out there who will promise to "put you on the first page of Google" for X number of dollars. This is not always possible (it depends largely on how competitive your market is and how well your competitors' websites are optimized), and real SEO takes time. But once you find a reputable vendor, it really is a great investment.
Finally, if you are the do-it-yourself type (or just want to be knowledgeable about SEO so you can avoid getting scammed), I highly recommend the book SEO for Dummies by Peter Kent. It is worth every penny!
I have found the best advertising is word of mouth - through weddings/events that you have organised successfully previously. Targeted advertising is better too where publications that you advertise in are only specifically for your target audience. I am a boutique event coordinator and I find diversifying into different events and not just weddings is the best way to go in the small region that I came from. My advertising is in wedding planners that are sent directly to engaged couples in the region and also the odd advertising in wedding special features with the newspaper. A website is also a great tool too where everyone can see what you do visually. Hope this helps !
The more you reach out to people the more visibility you create; posting ads online, print media, attending trade shows, conferences, and word of mouth advertising all help to create visibility. Concentrating on one medium is not a good idea. People are very "connected" today, so online is a really good source. However, for me, I think face-to-face conversations, networking, is number one.
I have done all the stuff, networking, advertising in the local paper, on TV, with the Schools and any other source that I could think off. Then I went Radio, we have an Oldies Station that I advertise with for very little money, and I have to say, it paid for itself within the first 2 month. We picked up new customers (they now purchase from us at least once every 2 month) we picked up Brides because their Mothers listen to that Station. If you want to get some extra "free" Advertising, give away your product to the advertiser, in our case its the DJ. We take Flowers for the Ladies, like the ones that are past their prime for us to sell and guarantee, but still have a vase life of about 3 or 4 days, Candy baskets for the guys, we also take our left over products on the weekend to the Nursing Homes for their Tables for Sundays, donate to small Churches for their Sunday Flowers, and those small gestures brought me more business than I ever dreamed off. Instead of throwing the flowers in the trash, we make somebody else smile and feel good and they talk about it to their friends and people do remember your name when they need your product or talk to somebody who needs your product.
I prepare a simple quarterly marketing plan - I choose every marketing activity that is free: Meet-ups, networking meetings (min 20 hrs/wk). Schedule one Press Release a month, one event w/other vendor (or not) ea. Quarter and charge a reasonable amount for the brides. Visit/see up front each day new contacts (those that will get you close to brides).. Anyway have a plan and do it consistently every work day. But never stop. The business will begin to come in and then you will be so busy you’ll have to hire more help. Hope this helps in some way.
Love this topic! I agree that SEO is so important, and Peter Kent's SEO for Dummies is fantastic. I've become an "SEO addict" and teach it to non-techies. Beyond all the sales pitches, scams, the biggest thing SEO has done for me is _SHIFTED MY THINKING_ about what a website is, what it can be, and how you absolutely have to offer everything and more online, in terms of great content.
I also know Brides (I was one of them) ignore emails, don't like static, simple websites that look canned, and they TALK. One of the best things you can do is get clients who are on bridal message boards. That is the best, freest advertising anywhere! I literally launched my friends baking career by posting her name to one bride.... that mushroomed and she was booked every weekend. I didn't MEAN to. I was "one of them", not a vendor, telling another bride how she should contact my friend. That's what this generation expects...peer-reviews and peer-feedback. See how you can plug into that.