I have received several phone calls in the past few weeks from industry colleagues wanting to know what I think they should do for marketing moving forward during Covid as well as what I am currently doing. Here are my thoughts.
First and foremost you need to be on top of your website. Are your pages complete? Are the images captivating? Is it easy to navigate? How does it compare to your competitors?
Second, how does your social media look? If you haven’t posted to your social media on a timely basis you will be judged by potential clients for this. You need to make social media as big of a priority as checking your email and voicemail.
Third, how are your online reviews? Do you have a few clunkers? Have you asked for reviews recently? You need to make sure your online reviews are the best they can be. I personally hate online reviews as most reviewing websites don’t give the same consideration to businesses as they do consumers. Like them or hate them, those websites are here to stay.
Let’s start with what’s free. Reach out to past clients with an email, a card, a phone call etc. and check in. Remind them that you are in business and that if they have watched the news lately, their referrals and reviews are more crucial now than ever to your business. If they loved their experience with you, they will want to help support you more now than ever.
Have you checked in with your favorite venues and wedding vendors? You will be surprised at how many of your competitors haven’t stopped by, called, or emailed just to see how these people are doing during this crisis as well.
If your state is open enough to conduct bridal shows, expect a very different vibe and feel. I am friends with a lot of very hard working honest bridal show producers, that being said expect attendance to be down. Ask the producers trying to sell you a booth to answer very specific questions about how they are promoting their shows. You can’t allow them to simply say, social and digital marketing and be ok with it as you have been in the past. You need to know very specifically where they are marketing and should be able to get a general idea of how much they are spending to promote the show. What is their expected attendance? What they did last year is now irrelevant because of Covid.
While your state government may allow these gatherings, some wedding couples may still be a bit hesitant to attend. More than likely there will be no fashion show because they won’t want large numbers of wedding couples to sit and congregate in one area for Covid reasons. Based on the spacing requirements by the CDC, you should expect to see fewer vendors as well. Due to the financial strain on wedding vendors this year, you should expect to see fewer vendors. You should also expect your interaction to be much different. If you want to collect information from attendees for example, they may be hesitant to take a pen and clip board from you that has been touched by several people. Offer to take their information from them. Vendors may be less excited to take things from you like they did in the past and food sampling may not even be allowed.
The Knot and Wedding Wire are still the two largest wedding planning websites currently however you should also expect leads and traffic from them to be down. This has nothing to do with their efforts, it is simply that research shows that a lot of wedding couples are choosing to wait out the Covid storm. When you speak with a salesperson from these companies you should ask for very specific ideas of what you can expect in the way of leads and clicks to your website based on what your competitors are seeing. Remember these companies are in business to drive traffic to your website, not sales. The conversion is your job. When you choose to advertise with The Knot / Wedding Wire, you are also tying yourself to an annual contract typically, so you need to be ready for that level of financial commitment.
Social Media is such a generic word these days and there are thousands of companies telling you how they can drive thousands of people to your social media or website and you should buy their course. Some of them are legit and some aren’t. The bottom line with free social media is that you need to understand how the platform you choose to work with operates and then you need to work it every single day. You will not become an overnight sensation so please don’t think that you will.
My niece is 15 years old and has created her own YouTube channel. She puts out fresh content every week. The content is pop culture related things that other teenagers will find interesting. She has been posting new content to her YouTube channel now for 2 years. She now has over 7,000 subscribers and is now able to monetize her channel to where she is getting paid by advertisers and gets a ton of gift cards sent to her from companies hoping she will use them and then feature their fashion/products in her videos. My point is that it took her 2 solid years to get to this point so don’t expect to be an overnight social media star.
The nice part about advertising on social media is that you have so much flexibility. You can choose how much you want to spend, and your ad manager will estimate how many people will see your advertising and even how many people may click through to your landing page or website. You can target people who have shared that their relationship status is engaged. You can also target your local service area very carefully whether that is a large or small area. You can choose to refine even more with specific interests like David’s Bridal, The Knot, David Tutera, as examples.
The nice part of this advertising is that you can also pause it at any time to tweak it if it isn’t working the way that you want it to be.
There are my thoughts.