Recently we spoke with Jayne Leigh Hallock of WedLock Magazine and WedLock.com, an incredible resource for all types of wedding professionals. Everyone from wedding planners to caterers to bands can benefit from Jayne's wedding marketing knowledge, some of which she shared with us below:
What is Wedlock, why are you doing it and why now?
JAYNE: The short answer? Because no one else was! Which we thought was just nuts. Wedding pros, more than any other kind of small business owner, need as much marketing help as they can get.
This industry caters to such a particular type of client (aka brides). Yet wedding pros have no trade journal, no unified business community. Sure there are marketing and business experts here and there, most quite good, but they can be hard to find. So we created WedLock for anyone who wants to improve their wedding business, on their own time, from dozens of smart experts.
And as we love to say at WedLock - if knowledge is power, then action is profit. We wanted the entire WedLock program to be interactive, not just theory. Our journal is part magazine, part workbook. Because you can sit in a marketing seminar and take notes all day, but if you don't put those notes into practice on your business, it's all for naught.
Education is only worthwhile when you act upon it. So we help our members do just that. Even our "Bridal Traffic" bonus DVD - which teaches SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques for wedding pros - is easy to understand and act upon.
By delivering WedLock to our members' doorsteps - we make sure that wedding pros are able to keep building their businesses, even if their time is tight. (And whose isn't?)
What do today’s couples care about when it comes to making decisions for their weddings?
JAYNE: Of course, cost. First and foremost.
This economy has made every couple a 'price-shopping' couple. Every single one. I was interviewing Colin Cowie (celebrity wedding and party planner) last week and he said even the uber-luxury wedding market has been hit by the recession. So you can bet if movie stars are watching their budgets, so are your average couples. This doesn't mean you have to cut your prices, necessarily. But you should be very prepared to talk about cost right off the bat.
Something else we're hearing is that customer service is exceptionally important. A wedding pro who makes treats the bride as a friend they care about - and not just a paycheck - will win the job, every time. Being there for that couple in a very real, personal, invested way can often get that signature for you.
Many of our GigMasters members serve the wedding market by providing live entertainment. What do you think couples look for when they’re researching wedding entertainment options?
JAYNE: We have something in our program called the "WedLock Bridal Panel." It’s our panel of real brides who give feedback on our member's websites, logos, etc. Many of our WedLock members are wedding bands and DJs and our bridal panel tells us three things about our entertainers' web presence, over and over:
1.) Always make sure you have demos of your work online. Not just photos of you rocking out, either. You need to provide videos or at least .mp3 files of your work.
2.) Make sure you provide a robust and detailed description of your experience as an entertainer. There are so many fly-by-night entertainers that couples want assurance that you have some history, some permanence. You don't want them to wonder if you'll even be in business by the time their wedding rolls around.
3.) Finally, keep it simple. Live Entertainers are, by trade, great showmen. But you need to resist the urge to over-pizzazz your profile. Having too much going on will turn off your researching couple, it might confuse them. And there's a very famous quote that says "A Confused Mind Always Says No." So you want to be very careful not to confuse your potential couple. You want your web presence to reflect your energy and your personality, but always keep it chic and simple as well.
What is the single most important piece of advice that you could give our members that will help them turn leads into bookings?
JAYNE: When it comes to converting leads to bookings, I'll refer to my favorite business philosophy: The "212th degree." That is - it only takes one extra degree to bring water from just "hot" to boiling. Just one degree.
And that's true of you and your competition. To win the booking and differentiate yourself from others in your market, you need not to stand on your head and do everything in a completely different way. You only need to do it a bit better, with more passion and authenticity. Let me give you an example.
Recently, luxury-wedding expert Janice Celeste presented during one of our Wedlock Wednesday webinars. Janice was teaching our members how the details of what you hand your potential client can often help you book the job. For instance, she spends a little extra on her business cards to make them feel textured, like suede. And she doesn't just hand them a business card or one brochure during a face-to-face meeting. She hands them a glossy folder branded with her logo, filled with business cards, photos of past events, etc. She says it works so well that many brides who hired her later said it was that folder and that textured business card that made them want to hire her. All for less than $10 per bride!!
What does the future look like for Wedlock?
JAYNE: The WedLock future - I'm thrilled to say - looks fantastic. Wedding pros are really loving our program and asking "where have you been all my life?" Though we are fairly new - we already have hundreds of these rabid, happy, loyal members. We spoke to a crowd of over 1000 at the recent WeddingMBA conference and we have many more seminars/tradeshow/presentations in the coming year.
Obviously, we'd love to help Gigmaster members build their businesses as well. We know WedLock can help teach you better ways to maximize bridal shows, hone excellent face-to-face sales skills, work SEO and Social Media to your advantage and much, much more.
To make that decision even easier, we've created a promotional code just for you. At WedlockMag.com, type GigMe15 at checkout and you'll get 15% off your first month of WedLock (or more, if you choose our very popular three-month subscription.)