By Amanda Warren
Not everyone wants the same thing when it comes to weddings: one person may crave the traditional with all of the trappings, another might be drawn by the newest wedding trends, and some people are just marching to the beat of their own drummer.
Whatever direction a couple chooses for their wedding in terms of theme and style, wedding professionals are ready to do their best to bring that vision to life through their hard work, skill, and experience. But, let’s be honest here, everyone has their ideal client. But how do you find them, and more importantly, how they find you ?
Wedding professionals of all types (from caterers to photo booth venders) have more than a few big decisions to make when considering audience, but the big two center on the decision to focus on a general audience, or narrow their focus to a more specific audience.
General Audiences aren’t Exactly General
If you’ve been in the wedding services industry for long, you know that there is no “average” bride. Everyone wants something to make their wedding unique to them and their personal vision. So, general audiences are never really general.
If you choose to go the “General Audience” route, then you choose to address a range of clients and wedding styles from the super formal to the very casual. You will need to make your potential clients aware of the range of styles you accommodate. This means showing them that you can do it all.
Fairytale funky? You got it!
Vintage lace and mason jars? Sure!
Modern and sleek? Absolutely!
Set up your website to show your clients your range by highlighting different “genres” of weddings.
Genre is a word used in film and books to denote common themes, and maybe you can provide “genre” options for your audience. You can name these genres whatever you want, then use images and descriptions to entice your clients in.
You have what they are looking for, so show them. Use social media to help target your audiences by sharing posts on a #countrywedding one day, and #modernelegance the next. Make your clients aware of your range and style.
Pinpointing an Audience Necessarily isn’t Limiting
If you choose to stick to more specific audiences, then that’s fine too. I have two close friends who have decided to limit their wedding clientele in specific ways.
One friend is a fine arts photographer who photographs non-traditional weddings with a focus on LBGTQ couples.
Another friend officiates only one might say “new-agey,” weddings with handfastings and non-western elements.
Some cake designers tend towards the traditional, while others like unique ideas (wasabi/mint?). Some weddings are catered with bar-b-que food trucks, and some weddings have five-course meals on fine china. Decide on your area of expertise and interest.
Specializing doesn’t have to limit your business; you may find yourself super busy with clients because you are good at a particular thing. So feature that thing, whatever it is.
Maybe you are an ideal photographer for unconventional wedding portraiture…show it.
Maybe you do dress alterations that add unique personal elements? (Where you when I was getting married?)
Maybe you play heavy-metal harpsichord so brides can walk up the aisle to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” while keeping the mother-of-the-bride from flipping out?
Whatever you do, do it well. Share it often, and focus on your ideal clients. Keep that ideal couple in mind as you share and publicize your work.
Helping Your Ideal Client Find You
Even if you decide to “do it all” you don’t really have to “do it all.” You do have ideal clients in mind, so make a list of their qualities and their needs to help guide you to those clients. Narrowing your range to focus on those clients and their qualities in your advertising and marketing will help them find you, and you find them.
Keep in mind locations online and IRL (as the kids say) where your clients may encounter your work. Target them rather than doing a blanket-sweep marketing push.
If your sci-fi loving target clients probably wouldn’t be caught dead at a bridal expo, then don’t waste your money and time going to one. If your traditional clients are unlikely to read the alternative newspaper in your area, then don’t take out an ad there.
There are plenty of ways to stand out in a crowded wedding market that take a little time and minimal know-how.
Audience is everything, and knowing/defining your audience can help you make better, more informed choices about the direction you want your business to grow, and where to find those clients.
Do you need to rethink your audience?
Amanda Warren is a freelance word-nerd interested in a variety of topics from medical discoveries and digital trends to fine art and critical theory. She is a former college instructor with a doctorate in English, and a slew of creative and professional publications. You can check her out on Google Plus.