Wedding Business Solutions Podcast with Alan Berg CSP - Should you pay for advertising?Podcast Transcript – Should you pay for advertising?

Some wedding and event pros look at advertising as a necessary evil. Others see it as an integral part of their marketing plan. While others either never pay for advertising and look for every free option out there. Which one sounds like you? I have a unique perspective on this as I’ve published wedding magazines, I was VP of Sales at The Knot and I’ve helped many thousands of wedding and event pros directly through consulting, sales training, webinars and more. Listen to this 12-minute episode and gain some new insight on how to approach any advertising opportunity.

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Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

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– With my background of having published wedding magazines and been Vice President of sales at The Knot, very often, I get asked, “Should I be paying for advertising?” Wedding pros around the world ask me that question and I’m going to help answer that for you on this episode.

– Hi, it’s Alan Berg with the Wedding Business Solutions podcast, welcome back. And today I want to talk about a topic that I get asked about quite often because of my background and that’s, “Should you pay for advertising?” So for those of you that don’t know I started out selling wedding advertising, I then published two wedding magazines, I was Vice President of Sales at The Knot. And at the time we had 17 regional magazines as well as the most popular website for weddings in the world and a national magazine. And for the last 10 years, I’ve been traveling around consulting with businesses like yours. But I also consult to The Knot and WeddingWire and weddingsonline in Ireland and India and Dubai and EasyWeddings in Australia and Guides for Brides in the UK. So I know a lot about both sides of this.

Advertising is really about one thing. They need to get an audience that’s valuable to you for you to want to pay them. That’s what it comes down to. It’s the same if you were a radio station, TV station, newspaper, a billboard, right? Think about billboards on the highway. That billboard is only valuable to people who want the people that drive by it to see it. So if it’s in Interstate one and you got a lot of people driving through from other parts of the country and other parts know, just passing through, well, if you’re the gas station up ahead, or the hotel up ahead or the restaurant up ahead, that’s a good place for it. But if you’re looking for local customers, people that are around all the time for your haircutting business or whatever, that might not be the right place for you. You might want to be on a local road instead of an Interstate.

So it’s about the audience. As a matter of fact when you’re deciding whether or not to buy advertising, and when I say advertising, that could even be a booth in a wedding expo. You want to ask them three things. You want to think about three things which will let you identify your ideal customer, the avatar if you will of your ideal customer. And the avatar of your customer is firstly, of the three things, is the ‘geographics’ of that. Where are they? So the people that go to this website or the people that come to this wedding expo or the people that drive by this billboard or whatever it is that you’re being offered the opportunity, where do they come from? Because you know where your target audience is. That’s the easy one.

The second is, the ‘demographics’. So what do you know about your target customer? Well, if you’re doing weddings, it’s people who are engaged. So if you’re doing Facebook ads, Facebook knows who’s engaged because people tell them that “we’re engaged”. We’re giving up our privacy there. They’ve marked their status as “engaged to be married”. Okay, so you can do that. But what else do you know? Do you do well with people who are 21, 31, 41, 51? Demographically, what’s the age? What’s their income? What’s their education? You know, some people do better with blue collar than they do with white collar. Well, what do you know about your ideal customer that’ll help you find more of them? Kind of like with fishing, right? If you were going to go fishing, you wouldn’t just go fishing for fish. You’re fishing for a certain kind of fish. Which means you need to go to a certain place, a certain lake, a certain river, a certain ocean to find that type of fish. You don’t find brook trout in the ocean. And you don’t find tuna in this local river. So you have to know what you’re looking for to be able to find more of that.

The third thing is the ‘psychographics’. You attract a certain type of customer because of the results that you provide. So what is it about those results that you can show in the pictures, talk about in the words, show in your videos, and that’s talked about in your reviews, that will attract more people like them. So psychographically, if you are going to do, let’s say social advertising. If you go onto Facebook, and you’re looking for people, like I was just talking to somebody who besides weddings he also does cheerleading competitions, I said, “Well, you can look for people who like certain pages about cheerleading, and that way you know there’s that interest there and at least you’re getting in front of some people there.” With weddings, you can look for people who’ve liked The Knot or have liked WeddingWire or some other sites like that on Facebook as long as they’re big enough. I think they have to have 10,000 followers or more for you to be able to target people who like that. But people are identifying themselves with that.

So when you’re buying advertising, and by the way, let me just get this out of the way, you want people to pay you good money to get the results you provide. You should be willing to invest to get that, right? You shouldn’t be looking for free all over the place and then expect them to pay you top dollar. There’s a little incongruity there. You want people to pay you a lot of money, you should be willing to invest the way you want people to invest with you. So here’s what you do. Should you buy advertising? I had somebody come to me recently and they weren’t looking to add many more sales onto what they already have. I said, “You know what? You can do some advertising, but you don’t need to advertise like a company that needs to fill more.” Which is somebody else who came to me and they wanted to get another about 20 weddings in for the year. I said, “Well, you know, you’re not just going to get that by accident, you’re going to have to be intentional with that.” So he ended up going onto WeddingWire and The Knot, so he could be where the brides and grooms are. And that’s the key, is your audience on that site?

I know that some of the people you’re looking for are on TikTok. But are they looking for their wedding professionals on TikTok? Mm, probably not. Are they looking on Instagram? Maybe. Are they looking on Facebook? Maybe. Are they looking on YouTube? Maybe. But there’s also a lot of other things to do on these sites, and Pinterest, than just that. Sites like WeddingWire and The Knot and weddingsonline and EasyWeddings and Guides for Brides, their job is to get an audience of engaged couples. So at least when you go there, you know you’re already getting that audience and you don’t have to worry about, gee, are these the people I’m looking for? And then you could ask them the questions about the geographics or which target market is right? Demographics, are these people in the age range I’m looking for? What do you know about their income, etc., so you can kind of target them. But you’re already know they want wedding stuff because they’re on a wedding site. So what you’re buying is access to an audience.

And I had somebody the other day, he’s a photographer and his family’s had a jewelry business for 30 years. And I said, “You know, have you gone on any of those types of sites?” He said, “Well, there’s so many photographers there.” I said, “Yeah and there’s a good reason for it.” In New York city, there’s a place called the Jewelry District, 47th street is the street. And there’s just hundreds of jewelers around there. Some of them are little stalls within a group, some of them have their own store. And there’s a good reason that they’re all clustered together. So when people are looking for jewelry, that’s where they go. And don’t you want to be there when the traffic is there? He said, “Yeah, absolutely.” I said, “It’s the same thing for your photography business. Go where the couples know that there are a lot of photographers for them to choose from.”

Because the reality is, he was up in Toronto, the reality is, he was only looking to do 20 or 25 weddings a year out of the thousands and thousands of weddings that happen up there. I said, “There’s enough to go around for everybody.” As a matter of fact, most sites, no matter how many photographers, DJs, bands, florists whatever that they have, probably don’t have enough suppliers to supply all of the weddings that happen. And that’s why some of you are getting business from other sources on top of that. But he’s going to end up advertising as well, because he needs to get his 20 or 25 weddings and he wants to be where the couples are. That’s it, you just want to be where they are.

Paying for advertising is paying for access to an audience. Paying for a bridal show booth, is paying for access for the couples that come through the wedding show. That’s what it is. Paying for a billboard is paying for people that drive by that particular billboard. When I used to travel a lot until the recently, but I would drive up to Newark Airport, I’d be there almost every week, and I passed at least three billboards for this one DJ company. Now on the New Jersey Turnpike, billboards are expensive because it’s a very busy road and there were three of them and they were there all the time, which means they’re getting a return on their investment.

It’s not what you spend, it’s what you get. It’s: Does the return, justify the investment? If you spend small and get nothing, that was expensive. If you spend bigger, and you get a positive return on that, it wasn’t expensive. Expensive just means you didn’t get the value back on it. So it’s not how much you spend, it’s how much you’re getting back. And when I’m consulting with people, we’re talking about the results they’re looking for, and I want them to invest commensurate with that. I had a DJ I was working with, it was just him, and then he added on another DJ. So instead of trying to add a few more weddings per year, he was all of a sudden trying to fill another whole calendar. So he upped his ads. He went to Spotlight and featured on WeddingWire and The Knot, so that he would be seen even more to get more inquiries than he’s currently getting, so that he can fill the calendar that was now empty. And then you want to keep that going, you want to be consistent with that and constantly be getting more inquiries, so that you’re forward filling all of those dates and you’re never slowing down.

That’s the thing with the wedding business. You don’t ever want to have a point where you don’t have things on your calendar because you can’t go back and start marketing in the past. What’s the old saying? When’s the best time to plant the tree? 20 years ago. When’s the next best time? Today! So if you’re not currently marketing or advertising, look at the demographics, geographics and psychographics, ask about that audience, and if that’s the audience you want, take the biggest baddest placement you can get to try to get the results that you’re looking for. I hope that helps.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site:

©2021 Wedding Business Solutions LLC & AlanBerg.com

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