Weddings are amazing. You love them so much that you’re the kind of person who knows every wedding dress designer and the best venues in town. You woke up early to watch the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. And recently, you’ve been thinking of being a wedding planner yourself. After all, you’ve got an entrepreneurial flair, and maybe you’ve even helped out friends already with their weddings.
Whatever your reason, it’s a great industry. It can be a challenge, especially in the beginning, but as you slowly build up your business, you can make your dreams of being a wedding planner come true. So if you’re ready to run your wedding planning business as successfully as you can, here’s how.
1. Get some experience
The first thing anyone needs when starting a business is relevant experience. But there’s always the conundrum: how do you get any experience, when you don’t have it in the first place? How is a client going to trust you to get the wedding planning done well if you don’t have a way to vouch for yourself? Well, that’s where working for free comes in. It’s not something you’ll have to do for a long time, but just to get started–and there are two great ways to get that experience.
The first is to help your friends and family–and maybe some local neighbors who’ve seen you flipping through bridal magazines at the nearby coffee shop–plan their wedding. Just because you’re doing it for free, doesn’t mean you can’t list it as experience. Ask them, too, if they can leave a testimonial on your website. According to a study by Nielsen, more than 80 percent of Americans search for recommendations when making a purchase of any kind. So when it comes to services and trending products related to their wedding, they’ll do their research.
The other option is to get an internship in the wedding industry. If for some reason you live in a smaller city and can’t find somewhere to place an internship, working in events management or even catering can give you a leg up, too. It’s all about honing the skills you’d use.
2. Create a beautiful website
Once you’ve gotten some experience, the next step easy: you need to market yourself. And in 2018, the best way to do this is by creating a website. Of course, you should still put up advertisements in churches and your local supermarket. But in a world where there are, on average, 40,000 search queries a second on Google, you also need a website where your clients can find out about your services.
And especially because you’re working in the wedding industry, your aesthetic touches have to be amazing. Check out what other wedding planners’ websites look like, and study up on wedding sites in general, too. What color schemes are they using? What fonts? Where does their portfolio appear, and how large are the images when they appear on a desktop and a phone? Then, by using a site builder like Wix or Weebly, you’ll be on your way to creating a beautiful website.
3. Use Local SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is defined, according to Moz, “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” It means that by using the right SEO strategies, you’ll get more people learning about what you have to offer as a wedding planner. And considering that, in 2017, Google searches made up 79 percent of global searches, you can see how important using SEO is to get your results on that first page of results.
Because wedding planners are usually locally-based, they can use Local SEO to show up first on searches. You know the last time you needed a new phone charger, and Googled a phone store near you? The ones to pop up at the top showing how far away they are from you come up first because of Local SEO. So if you do the same for your wedding planning business, you’ll pop up first–even before more experienced wedding planners who aren’t using this strategy.
4. Be active on social media
Finally, you’ll want to get on social media. Brides are often using sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram to get inspired–so if you’re on there, they’ll run into you as soon as they start looking for related products and services. The overwhelming majority of engaged Pinterest users searched for wedding ideas on this site before getting engaged in 2017. So you can see what a difference it makes for you to be present on these platforms.
These are some of the best strategies wedding planners can use to run their business successfully. What other strategies do you think would work for you?