By Megan Miranda
It may be called the “holiday season,” but as an experienced wedding professional, you know this is really the engagement season.
Although more weddings actually take place during the summer months, 19% of engagements occur in December. This means that the winter “off season” can be the most wonderful time of the year — you just need to get a head start, get creative and plan appropriately!
#1 – Start Early
Follow the example of retailers who begin preparing for the holidays as early as July.
Even if you’re still in the middle of wedding season, it’s not too soon to start thinking of generating holiday engagement leads. Make sure couples are wowed by your work and make it easy for them to recommend you to friends who might be getting engaged later in the year by creating a referral program.
#2 – Update Your Website For the Holidays
Couples who get engaged on New Year’s Eve can be thrown when they see your summer wedding-focused website.
Winterize it with a holiday, snow or neutral theme after Halloween, when people really start gearing up for the holiday season. Update your photos to include winter weddings and events to get brides excited about their recent holiday engagements.
#3 – Share Gift Ideas
Whether they are engaged, married or hopeful, both men and women struggle to find the perfect gifts for their partners.
Create a holiday gift guide, ideally including your own products or services, and share it on your blog and via social media. Incorporate gift ideas from vendors you trust and get creative — inventiveness is always appreciated when it comes to gift-giving!
#4 – Hold a Contest
If you are struggling to come up with ideas to share with your potential clients, consider holding a contest for the best romantic holiday gift ideas. Use your website and social media accounts to call for suggestions — contests can also revolve around cookie recipes, wreath designs or photo gifts.
Get people excited to be involved by offering a prize to the winner (or top three!)
Whatever prize you offer should be designed to bring the person back to take advantage of your services. Give a discount, offer a free add-on to any booking or present the winner with a “one for you, one for a friend” coupon that will bring in even more potential clients.
#5 – Offer Holiday Booking Deals
Retailers make most of their money during the holidays, in part because people are willing to make big purchases in an emotional state. Take advantage of these loosened purse strings by offering Black Friday, Cyber Monday or early January booking deals. Don’t forget to share your holiday booking specials on social media, tracking which incentives generate the most interest.
For those newly-engaged couples who want to book with you, but may not be able to afford your services, provide incentives to book for the following holiday season. Offer promotions for off-season weddings, partnering with a venue and other wedding professionals to boost your marketing power.
Blogging about affordable weddings during this time is another good way to catch the attention of newly-engaged, budget-conscious brides.
#6 – Get Creative With Your Services
‘Tis the season for photographers and makeup artists to create connections with future brides by offering a deal for boudoir photo shoots. Dance instructors can also gain potential clients by offering discounted lessons as gifts — perfect for clumsy grooms-to-be! Entice your current clients to give the gift of your services to family members by promoting your special offers on your website and via subscription emails.
Megan Miranda is a Portland, Oregon-based blogger, writer and business owner. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her baking bread and planning her own wedding.