Girl with Brush
I love a good makeover, and I’m not talking about clothes and hair.  My weakness is “business makeover” TV shows – whether it is The Profit, Bar Rescue or All On The Line, I tune in to watch as the host takes a struggling business, identifies the problems and provides solutions to turn it around.

So, what can you learn from these shows? In the hours I’ve spent watching, there are always three things that are core issues: positioning, marketing and value. I believe the same is true for the wedding industry.

Here are three signs that your wedding business needs a makeover, what the problem could be and how to fix it:

Sign #1: You are not getting any leads

Problem: Your POSITIONING is wrong for your market.

In one episode, a fashion designer was trying to sell $6,000 evening gowns in an area full of suburban moms who shopped at the GAP and spent their nights at home. Sounds like a good idea, right? Sometimes your market dictates what you can and should offer.

Are you positioning yourself as a high-end wedding pro with prices to match, yet in your local area most clients are planning budget weddings? While there might be a few of your ideal clients, unless you are willing to expand your service area you will likely end up frustrated at the lack of leads.

If you are committed to your local market you could consider expanding your business offerings to include a lower cost package or service that would appeal to the budget conscious brides. I know some wedding pros who even brand this service differently from their main business, effectively giving them two positions in their market.

Action Steps:
  • Evaluate your position in your market compared to your competitors. Where do you fit on the spectrum?
  • Determine your ideal client. Do enough of them exist in your local market? If not, are you willing to expand your service area?
  • Can you offer a different service or package that could help bring in more leads?
  • If there are enough of your ideal clients in your area, figure out who they are booking instead and evaluate how that vendor is positioning themselves in the market to attract those couples.

Sign #2: You are attracting the wrong clients

Problem: Your MARKETING is sending the wrong message.

What if you are getting clients but they are not who you want to work with?  This is usually a branding and marketing problem.

Let’s say you want to work with fun, edgy brides and grooms but your marketing materials and website look standard and boring. How would these couples recognize that you are their ideal vendor if your marketing wasn’t fun and edgy to match?

Branding is more than just a logo- it is how prospective clients perceive you and your business. If you are trying to attract high-end clients but everything about their contact with your business seems “budget” they won’t be confident that you can provide what they need (even if you can) and won’t want to work with you.

Action Steps:
  • Take a look at the experience you provide to prospective clients. Does it fit in with what your ideal client would expect?
  • Do your marketing materials reflect the ideal client you are trying to attract?
  • Are they consistent in feel, design and message? (When you are inconsistent it sends mixed messages to your prospects, making you appear disorganized and unprofessional.)
  • If not, make changes now!

Sign #3: You are losing clients to your competition

Problem: You are not communicating your VALUE.

Let’s say you are in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. There are two bars next door to each other on Bourbon Street, both selling green-colored drinks in plastic cups for the same price, to a standard crowd.

But then you notice a few doors down there is a bar selling blue drinks in souvenir cups for a higher price but the atmosphere and people inside look cooler and it happens to be owned by a local celebrity. Are you still going to want a green drink? Most likely no, you’d head to the bar down the street. Why? Because it is unique, both in offerings, atmosphere and clientele and that has value.

If you are meeting with prospects who are your ideal client and you are not booking them, the problem might be that you are not communicating your value.

What if you find out they booked your lower-priced competition instead? That usually means that the couple felt your packages, offerings and experience were either the same or not worth paying more for. If you find out they chose the higher priced vendor, it means that vendor did a better job of connecting with the client by proving their value, expertise and uniqueness.

Action Steps:
  • Determine what sets you apart from your competitors. What can you offer to clients that they can’t?
  • How can you showcase your expertise in your field? Can you write articles? Start a blog where you share tips and advice?
  • Make sure you are communicating your unique offerings in your marketing and sales pitch.

Who said you couldn’t learn something from reality television?

Have you ever watched a business makeover show? Leave a comment and let me know your favorite.

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Brenna Catalano Rhoades

Brenna Catalano Rhoades is a wedding invitation designer who specializes in making things both pretty and functional. When she’s not working with clients through her company BC Design Studio, you'll find her chasing after her 4-year old daughter who refuses to sit still.

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One thought on “3 Signs Your Wedding Business Needs a Makeover”

  1. Deirdre says:

    My problem is #1.
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    Let’s meet up over coffee or tea, and tell me what you envision your day to be. I’ll show you my current rates, and you’ll get to see album samples, prints and other goodies. The more comfortable you are with me, the better your photos will turn out.

    My wedding packages begin at $2,850.

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    If you love my work and my base package is not within your budget, contact me anyway, let’s work on something so that you can have gorgeous pictures!

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