25 zero-budget marketing ideas
You might stock the most unique wedding products of the highest quality at unbeatable prices, but without marketing, you have no buyers. Hiring wedding marketing specialists can be a hefty investment for small businesses, so before you go blowing your budget on full-service agency fees, try your hand at some of these super effective and *free marketing ideas that (mostly) won’t cost you a cent:
Often one of the most frightening and yet equally rewarding forms of wedding business marketing is networking. This could be attending wedding expos, women’s business events, small business seminars, Easy Weddings’ free supplier nights, or wedding-themed Meetup groups. If just the thought of talking to strangers makes your heart race, follow this introvert’s guide to powerful networking.
You can also expand your network of fellow suppliers by adding them to your Pro-Network on your Easy Weddings profile. This shows prospective customers how connected you are with other wedding vendors, increasing your credibility and building trust in your brand.
2. Start blogging
Create a spreadsheet and start brainstorming all the wedding blog ideas your business can cover, including: DIY videos, real weddings, wedding planning tips, how-to’s, listicles, before & afters, industry news, company announcements, milestones and product releases.
Once you’ve decided on your topics and created a schedule for publishing across your website and social media, follow these 10 tips to get your business’ blog rocking.
3. Write guest posts
In addition to self-publishing blog posts on your own website, consider writing for other non-competitive wedding businesses and platforms. Publishers are always looking for relevant, entertaining and educational content to share with their audience so look for publications your customers read, understand the types of stories and angles they tend to write about, then submit your story ideas for approval with some high-res pics to sweeten the deal.
Easy Weddings publishes stories on real weddings as well as wedding how to’s, tips and trends. If you have a story you think might be suitable for our readers please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can take a look!
4. Ask for referrals
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals; they can dramatically reduce your cost per lead while significantly increasing your closing rate for sales. When a recommendation has come from a trusted source, customers are more likely to purchase from the referred source than risk buying from an untried competitors, so setup a referral campaign and invite more customers to recommend your business.
Use email marketing to announce your referral campaign and let past customers, associates, friends and family know about they exciting perks they’ll receive for putting in a good word.
5. Speak at industry events
Don’t underestimate how much you really know about your business and how valuable sharing this information can be. Speaking at industry events and expos helps build your profile and positions you as a leader in your field.
Seek out smaller local community events to hone your public speaking skills first if your delivery is a bit rusty, then when you’re confident on the stage and you’ve got your act down pat, move onto the larger, more targeted wedding events.
6. Ride the wave
This type of guerrilla (non-traditional) marketing involves piggy-backing off what’s hot in the media right now and using it to lure or engage customers. Using Pokemon GO for business is one recent example of riding the wave, which allows businesses to take part in a global phenomena on a local level.
7. Social media brandjacking
This is another type of guerrilla social media marketing whereby businesses jump on a trending hashtag and join the conversation. For example, if Richie Strahan from #TheBachelorAU proposes with a ring similar to one you stock, post a picture of your ring across social media using the official hashtag.
Similarly, if the winning lady wears a dress, shoes, earrings or other accessory that you stock, let viewers know they can purchase it from your store by adding in the official hashtag to maximise exposure.
If you’re a makeup artist, you could create a DIY video tutorial to help your followers get the look of the winning contestant for their big day.
Word of warning: this tactic should be used judiciously- brandjacking can backfire brilliantly.
Team up with non-competing suppliers on an event or educational series. A florist, venue, planner/stylist, decorator, photographer, videographer and a transport company, for example, could team up and run a workshop for brides on boho styling tips, planning the ultimate Spring wedding, or organising the perfect vintage-themed ceremony… the options are endless!
9. Form strategic partnerships
This could be a financial partnership (where referral commission is paid) or value exchange, whereby your customer receives a gift card for the partnering business when they spend $X in store or online with you. Check out these tips on how to run a successful cross promotion for inspiration.
10. Volunteer or raise awareness
Align your business with a charitable cause or social enterprise that you personally believe in that helps bring you closer to your target audience and influencers. The Cancer Council’s Girls’ Night In, Pink Ribbon Day and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea are great causes to get behind, as are Pet Rescue, Project Futures and Thank You Group.
Sign up to host a fundraising event in-store or at a local cafe, or enter your staff into a charitable fundraiser like a fun run and encourage your customers and social media followers to join your team.
11. Offer something for free
The old “Sign up to receive our newsletter” list building call to action is starting to show its age, so try offering your website visitors something of greater value, like a free consultation, 14-day trial, a product sample or an ebook. People then hand over their email address (including permission to market to them via email) in exchange for your exciting offer, also referred to as a lead magnet.
If you’re not sure what your customers will be most responsive to, trial three different offers for a month each and continue on with the offer that received the most leads in the month it was live.
12. Email marketing
When done well, email marketing is one of the highest converting, most cost-effective forms of marketing. Once your winning offer is pulling in a steady stream of qualified leads, it’s time to start marketing to them and helping them get better acquainted with your brand.
Here are 5 types of email you can start scheduling immediately to build rapport with audience, provide value to your customers and drive traffic to your website to increase sales.
13. Get reviews – crucial in the wedding industry!
Easy Weddings website data shows that suppliers with 11+ reviews in their Storefront get 201% more results than those without. If you’re low on reviews, don’t be afraid to ask! If you’ve had a positive experience with a customer and played a meaningful part in their wedding day celebrations, chances are they’ll be only too happy to provide you with a couple of lines to express their appreciation.
You can then add these to your Easy Weddings profile using the Reviews Widget and share them across your social media and website blog for the rest of the wedding world to see.
14. Show real weddings
Just as Easy Weddings do with our Real Weddings features, you too can showcase your work through your clients’ weddings by posting pictures across your blog and social media. These real-life examples of your craft or products in action will inspire soon-to-be brides and invite enquiries about how you can replicate or modify the work shown in your images to suit their individual needs.
15. Participate in forum discussions
Forums like Whirlpool.net.au and Quora.com are used by couples to ask for advice and tips from industry professionals and those who’ve gone before. The benefit is two-fold; being active in forums like this helps drive traffic back to your website as well as helping to establish yourself as a wedding authority and credible source of information, which in turn leads to more sales.
Now before you start trolling forums, be sure to brush on your forum etiquette, including the golden rule: any obvious promotion of your own products and services which is of no direct relevance to the reader and their question is a big no-no!
16. Offer advice and be generous with it
Use Easy Weddings’ new Expert Advice feature to respond directly to couples with questions relating to your area of expertise. Questions could include anything from recommendations on the best flowers for an autumn wedding, through to dealing with guests’ dietary requirements. By sharing your advice and opinion freely, you are building trust and rapport with potential customers in a non-salesy, relaxed environment – and it won’t cost you a cent! Check out the latest wedding advice questions here.
17. Get free publicity
The media is always looking for people to interview, so sign up for Sourcebottle; the connecting force between busy journos in need of a quick story and wedding vendors seeking free marketing opportunities.
You’ll be taken through a selection process that ensures you get notified of callouts for wedding experts and other other interview opportunities relevant to your business.
18. Craft a unique selling proposition
In a competitive industry where ‘exceptional customer service’ and ‘superior quality’ are the standard rather than an extra, your business needs a competitive advantage, called a value proposition.
The good news is you don’t have to hire a professional copywriter; nobody knows the heart and soul of your business better than you, so follow these tips on how to write a value proposition that generates more website enquiries and differentiate your business from competitors with a strong guarantee or a killer offer.
19. Work with a social media influencer
Influencer marketing is about aligning your brand with a person who has a following that consists of your target audience. It’s not always about choosing someone with millions of followers; instead, it may be better to connect with up-and-coming influencers who have only a few thousand (but highly-engaged) followers, who are perfectly poised to need your product or services.
There are many ways to work with influencers that don’t include paying them to post about you or your product. It’s about value-exchange – what do you have (connections, influence, audience size, events or new products to review) that they might value, and vice versa. For tips on profiling, finding and negotiating with your ideal influencer, check out Kissmetrics’ Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting.
20. Learn how to take good photos with an iPhone
The only industry more visual than the wedding space is photography itself, and if you’re not a professional photographer, creating high-quality images for marketing can be a challenge. This is where getting thrifty with your smartphone camera can come in handy! With smartphone technology advancing so rapidly there are literally thousands of free online tutorials for taking beautiful pictures with your smartphone, so you don’t need to fork out a cent.
21. Use photo-editing apps
If you can’t afford a graphic designer or professional photo editing software, there are plenty of online amateur editing tools available for free to help you brand and customise your pics. Here’s a list of free Photoshop alternatives from TechRadar to get you started and a plethora of free stock images to play with.
22. Optimise your images for Google image search
Google image search is a vital source of traffic for visual businesses in the wedding industry, as it returns an endless number of pics at lightning speed to curious brides searching for wedding planning inspo. But how can you be sure your images are showing up in searches? Follow these 5 simple strategies to optimise your photos for Google’s image search and increase your chances of Google putting your images in front of potential wedding customers.
23. Know your keywords
As part of your image editing process to optimise your pics for Google image search you need to know the keywords your customers are searching. Using keyword planning tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush or Keyword Tool will help you find relevant keywords and discover search volume data that relates to your wedding business. Once you’ve got your high-volume keywords, you can start DIY SEO’ing your wordpress website… All on your own!
24. Optimise your social media profiles
The number of social media business profiles that don’t have full contact details and well-written value propositions is startling, particularly given that 74% of consumers rely on social media to make a buying decision.
All social media profiles should include your website, full contact details where possible and a compelling (or at least complete) description of what your business offers. And if your social media handles are obscure or not instantly recognisable as belonging to your business, change your Facebook username, edit your Twitter handle and update your Instagram profile to something more appropriate an ideally uniform across all platforms.
As an example, check out the Easy Weddings social media accounts for fully optimised (and customised) accounts:
25. Don’t bury your contact details on your website
When was the last time you reaaally looked at your website with fresh eyes? If your contact details aren’t on every page, you’re making it unnecessarily hard for prospects to contact you with the push of a button – just one of the digital sins listed in this 9-point website audit.
The reality of marketing is that nothing is 100% free; time is money, but if you’re at a stage in your business where you’ve got more time than money to invest in your own learning and skills, there’s a lot to be gained from these 25 DIY-marketing ideas ranging from free to refreshingly low-cost.
Something not listed you’d like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to include it in an upcoming post!