The Scottish Wedding Directory’s Chris Phin gives you his expert advice on the best ways to publicise your business.
Develop relationships with magazines, blogs and influencers. The very best way to get publications talking about you is if you have an existing, friendly relationship with them.
Publications get dozens or hundreds of requests for coverage daily, and if an editor knows you and trusts that you do good work, your news is more likely to catch their eye. Cultivate these relationships!
Read More: 10 PR tips for your bridal business
There has to be reader value in news you try to get publications to pick up. Just because something’s important to you, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s important to brides, and since editors always try to create relevant, engaging content for them, don’t be too disheartened – or, worse, combative – if they don’t cover it.
The rules are different for business-to-business industry titles, but for titles read by brides, you’ll need an angle. Just ask: why should brides care?
Where possible, you should create opportunities for coverage. Make time to enter awards such as Bridal Buyer Awards and The Scottish VOWS Awards, for example, as winning one can be a good catalyst for talking about what makes you special.
Or think about other things that would catch the public and the media’s attention, such as world record attempts, competitions, feel-good stories, and celebrity connections.
Be active on social media but don’t treat it purely as a broadcast marketing channel. Make sure that the majority of your social posts aren’t hard sells but are instead just content that your audience would enjoy.
Don’t look down on funny memes and GIFs, they give you personality. This builds a relationship before and during a bride’s journey, which you can then leverage when you do want to push an explicit call to action.
Make friends with photographers and ask them if they’d send you some photos of your brides that you can share on your social channels, just make sure you find out who holds the copyright first.
You’re busy, and it can be easy either to do no formal advertising or stick to traditional forms, but unless the publications you’re advertising with take the time to work out a marketing plan with you across all their media channels that answers the specific challenges you have, they’re not worth dealing with.
Understanding what print, online, social, event and other forms of marketing do is really important. This is vital if you’re not to waste your money, and titles worth their salt will advise.
It’s exhausting, but you do have to keep half an eye on what new media platforms are emerging that brides are migrating to, and how you can use them to get your brand out, or you risk irrelevance.
One easy way is simply to talk to people in the classic brides’ demographic to find out what platforms they use and how. Don’t forget to keep developing and training your staff too.
Turn customers into ambassadors by considering the post-purchase customer journey. You spend a lot of time getting brides over the door and making them happy once they’re there, but once they’re gone it’s easy to forget about them.
Take some time today, if you haven’t before, to think about how you can turn happy customers into ambassadors, perhaps starting with simple things as asking them to review you on sites such as scottishweddingdirectory.co.uk.
Train the team, and make sure this post-purchase customer journey is done for all brides.
Read More: Seven ways to shout about your success
Ensure any social good activities undertake can’t be seen as cynical publicity generating stunts. Customers these days are savvy, and they can sniff out a fake at a hundred paces.
Doing charitable and other social good activities, such as helping out local brides if a competitor closes, is great, but just make sure you’re not primarily doing it for good PR.
There is such a thing as bad publicity, but you can use it as an opportunity. If you do experience negative publicity, from whatever cause, it’s hard not to take it personally. The advice at The Scottish Wedding Directory can help you deal with it productively.
Read More: Dealing with difficult customers
Market yourself to the business community. Whether it’s sitting on committees, supporting businesses around you by participating in events, writing articles or something else entirely, remember to market yourself to the industry as well as to brides.
This will build your authority and will also strengthen relationships which can afford your more opportunities in the future.
Want more advice like this? Take a look at our January/February digital issue of Bridal Buyer here.