According to The Wedding Report, 2017 wedding sales in the US totaled $55,857,830,544.

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