Even with the recession budgets, the wedding industry still generates over $432 BILLION in US alone, according to stats compiled by The Wedding Report.

Bride hall

Unfortunately, there is a downside to all this potential cash to be made.

Bridal advertising is EXPENSIVE!

The amount you should spend on your advertising costs should be no more than 10% of your desired income.  However, it’s easy to blow this budget with bridal magazine ads costing over $2,500 per page, bridal shows costing $450 – $1,000 each…plus brochures, displays, wedding websites and lead services all clamoring for your hard earned money.

If you are smart you can spend much less than 10%. In fact, using free and low cost marketing let us cut our marketing budget by 75%!

As small wedding business owners, we have to be super smart.  We need to save time and money wherever we can.

Here are 3 Bridal Advertisements That Waste Your Money

1.  Advertising that Gets You ZERO leads.

You know the ones I’m talking about.  We sign up for an ad in a magazine or in the Yellow Pages thinking, Let’s give it a shot.

Months go by and you keep making payments.  No phone calls.  No emails.  No leads.  But we still keep paying because of that old “out of sight, out of mind” thing.

Well, don’t count on the guy who sold you the ad to call you up and let you know that this ad isn’t working for you.  Dump it!

2.  Advertising that Gets Leads You Don’t Want.

I’m not going to name any names…but there are certain lead generation services out there that are complete trash.

Sure, you get an occasional email inquiry.  But as soon as you name your price, you never hear from them again.

If you get leads from a source…but they NEVER turn into booked weddings, don’t waste your money.

There may also be some bridal advertising that brings you leads that book…but they are NOT the clients you want to work with.  They end up being brides who nit pick over every detail or fight you on the price of every item.

Do you really WANT these leads?  If not, ditch this advertising.

3.  Advertising that Doesn’t Give You Good Return On Investment.

This is the bridal advertising that makes you money, but considering how much time, money and energy you have to invest, it just isn’t worth it.

Let me give you an example…

Last year we tried advertising on a very prestigious wedding website.  The high-end brides we want to attract hang out there.  It gets tons of visits each month.  Being associated with this site was a really good thing for our image.

We paid $500 for the year and averaged about 23 visits to our website each month and got only 6 actual inquiries.  We only booked one of them…but they had heard about us from multiple sources and probably would have found us anyway.

Was it worth $500 to book one wedding?  What else could we have spent that $500 on?

Needless to say, we ditched it.

WATCH OUT:  Sometimes the Bridal Advertising Site or Method IS Working…but YOUR AD Isn’t.

I’ve heard a lot of wedding professionals complain about sites like The Knot not generating “good leads.”  This might be true…but the truth is that The Knot gets traffic of thousands of brides.  If your ad isn’t effective or doesn’t set you apart from the competition, brides won’t even see it.  And if she doesn’t even see it, the ad definitely won’t work.

Before you ditch the advertising, consider the situation carefully.  Are you getting good quality leads from the advertising, but they just aren’t booking you?  It could be your advertising message, image or banner that needs work.  Or maybe brides do come to your website and then leave immediately.  In this case, it’s your ad or website that needs a change and not the advertising medium.

Tracking Is Critical

What if you don’t know which bridal advertising is working for you and which isn’t?

I highly recommend putting Google Analytics on your website so that you know exactly how brides are finding you.   Many website services such as BigFolio or Live Books have analytics built right in or allow you to easily add your Google Analytics code.

What about all those non-website leads?

Create a tracking system that works for you.  Record EVERY phone call and email you get, how they heard about you and whether or not they book.  This is the only way to know which advertising investments are worth the money.

Some of our clients create Google Docs spreadsheets to track leads.  I used ACT! For contact management for years.  A lot of DJs use the DJWebMin system.  Some wedding professionals even use old-fashioned pencil and paper.

It doesn’t really matter how you track your leads.  Just make sure you DO IT.  Otherwise, I guarantee you are wasting money.

What To Do Next

If you’re already tracking your lead sources, take a good hard look at the numbers.  If it falls into one of the 3 types of advertising we discussed…DITCH IT.

On the other hand, if you have no idea which advertising is working, start tracking your advertising today.

What’s your biggest question about bridal advertising?  Leave me a comment because I’d love to hear from you!

Photo credit Seth Mazow

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Posted By

Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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18 thoughts on “3 Types of Bridal Advertising You Should Ditch TODAY”

  1. What a great article! I am a small business just starting to figure out where to advertise online and I am feeling overwhelmed with the ton of pages and options available.

    What is your advice? Where should one start?

    1. There are so many variables depending on your business, your market, your ideal clients, etc. that I can’t recommend something effective without knowing the details of your situation. However, check out the articles for new businesses at this link: http://www.bookmorebrides.com/top-wedding-vendor-questions/

  2. Bryan says:


    Great and I do agree that tracking leads to see which convert is very important.

    My brother and I just created a wedding website to try and help solve some of these problems. ( I hope you don’t mind me putting in the url ) – http://www.makesomeplans.com

    We created this site to help vendors connect with the right audience and also help couples find the right vendor quicker.

    I would love if you could take a look at the site and let me know your thoughts. ie. things we can improve to provide the best experience for couples as well as for vendors.

    BTW – we allow all vendors to advertise on the site at no charge – so their ROI should be pretty good. :)

    Thanks again!

  3. Susan says:

    Thank you for the information. I was contemplating marketing my new site on The Knot. I think I will I’ve it a shot and see how it goes.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great article. Right to the point just the way I like it.

    Facebook & Twitter is another free source for vendors to find clients.

    In my humble opinion, the [b]BEST way to drum up some new business[/b] is to promote another business to your clients especially via Facebook and Twitter.

    Imagine, introducing 10 wedding vendors to your current clients. Let your clients decide for themselves whether or not they’d be interested in any of the vendors you introduce. And if these 10 vendors do the same for your business, now you get exposed to clients who may never have found you otherwise.

    It helps but it’s not enough to LIKE a facebook page or #ff or #ww on Twitter.

    I personally like to give specific information about a vendor on Twitter. And on the facebook page, I encourage other vendors to introduce their wedding-related business on my fb page, as long as I can do the same on theirs.

    Just imagine the exposure a business could get by using this system.

    Hmmm something to think about.

    Contact me – I’d love to work with you all.

    1. Marika, I love your ideas! We’ve done something similar with our blog and it works great.

      Since our brides are all on Facebook and Twitter, it makes sense to do this sort of networking there. Building relationships with other wedding professionals is a very powerful way to get power referrals.

      I’d love to hear about your results!

      1. Anonymous says:

        [quote name=”Stephanie Padovani”]I’d love to hear about your results![/quote]

        Stephanie, Personally I’m still learning a lot about Facebook and how and what to market to facebook page fans. I use coupon codes to track if fans convert to sales. Unfortunately, there is no other way to analyize conversions via facebook or twitter followers.

        Connecting with other wedding vendors is easier. Everywhere there is a “you fan me and I’ll fan you” from vendors. Sometimes too many to keep up with especially in Linkedin Groups.

        In theory, I’m hoping that with vendors Liking vendors, and vendors continuing to encourage customers to Like their fbpage, that the love will spread throughout the network of connected vendors.

        I’d love to hear more from other wedding vendors on what has been working for them. We can only learn from each other.

        1. [quote]Unfortunately, there is no other way to analyze conversions via facebook or twitter followers.[/quote]

          Actually, you [i]can[/i] track your conversions via FB and Twitter…

          Check out these blog posts about how to track clicks on Twitter – [url]http://www.twitip.com/how-to-track-twitter-clicks-and-get-conversion-data/[/url]

          and use Google Analytics on FB pages – [url]http://www.webdigi.co.uk/blog/2010/google-analytics-for-facebook-fan-pages/[/url]

          Some of these methods can get a little technical, but is sounds like you’ve got a good grasp of these things already.

          Coupon codes are an easy way to start tracking. Thanks for sharing that!

          The only downside is that you train your visitors to look for discounts; that works great for some business models, not so great for others.

          To get your “likers” to pay attention to your Page and pass it around, you’ve got to make your posts and comments valuable, ask questions and make it a community. The same thing applies to your Twitter feed.

          We’re still working on this stuff, too. Only so many hours in a day, right? :-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the post. I so much agree that you can’t let your advertising dollars become “out of sight out of mind.”

  6. Erica, it’s true that most of us learn this the hard way. Hopefully, if we help each other out we can short cut the (expensive sometimes painful) process! 😉

    A lot of brilliant marketers in the wedding business miss this critical step. Jeff and I are pretty good…if I do say so myself…and we’ve still neglected our testing on occasion.

    It’s easy to get excited about a new advertising opportunity and forget that marketing is a SCIENCE, not an art or a random event. Good marketing can be tested and proven by its RESULTS.

    Care to share the specifics of your experience?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic article. I learned this a while back through trial and error (and sweat, and money, and perhaps even a gray hair…). Thank you for putting it out there!

  8. Linda, thanks for leaving a comment. :-)

    It seems like a lot of us wedding professionals are having trouble sifting through the bridal advertising options out there. I think I’m going to focus more on how you can test your ads in future articles.

    Plus, the types of FREE marketing you can do. Always important for small businesses like ours!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Some great Information here, I’ve only started advertising with wedding directories, Sites and magazines in the last 2 years and its hard to know what to go for and what is working for you!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Where is or how is the best way to test an ad?

    1. Anonymous says:


      It’s more about creating a system that works for testing and there are many different ways to do it.

      Think about it like this: you have 2 different versions that are exactly the same except for one variable. That’s the one you’ll be testing.

      Call them A and B. You can do Facebook or PPC ads for both A and B and see which gets the better response.

      Or you can make a change to B on your website for a month and compare it with the results (clicks and leads) you got from option B.

      Here’s a quick video to learn how to do this with Facebook:

      Hmmm. Maybe I should do a blog post on this one?

  11. All too true, Forrest. We all need a reminder sometimes!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great article with some basic facts that I sometimes we simply overlook.

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