Kelly Kirksey Fisk is the equivalent of a mullet in regards to her business. She’s business in the front and party in the back. If you aren’t having fun, you’re doing something wrong. She and her amazing husband and 3 children live in Montana where there is literally no pretty scenery. Oh yeah, her love language is sarcasm.
If you’ve been a business owner for longer than five minutes you’ve asked yourself some of the same questions that every business owner has. How do I get my name out there more? How do I get more business? Should I buy that full page ad in that popular magazine? What about Facebook ads? I’m not here to say that those things don’t have a place, they do. But there’s another option that you may not have thought about. And personally, it’s been way more fun for me to implement this into my business!
I feel like Oprah! Gifts for you! And you! Everyone gets gifts! For one business year I did a little experiment. I spent around 90% of my yearly advertising budget on my wedding couples or around $50-$100 per couple. Every bride and groom were reinvested in with custom gifts. After a year the results were amazing.
The response from my couples was incredible. They felt more valued, more invested in, more cared for and definitely had them talking to their friends. I was being tagged on Facebook and Instagram almost weekly by my brides. I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall one instance where someone posted when they saw my ad or my custom Google adword listing.
Naturally people don’t care until they see you care. I love the thought of my brides opening their mail after a rough day of wedding planning with a beautiful surprise in it. They win by getting a fun gift, and we win not only from the advertising potential things brings, but also by making someone’s day!
When I did the math, 10 couples was one full page ad in a local magazine. After the last year I compared previous years where I did other types of advertising. I love to quantify results. It helped me to see what a difference these gifts made. The following wedding season, 85% of my weddings were from word of mouth. The year before only 40% were word of mouth. My couples were talking more than before. I stood out from other vendors.
Doing a good job on pictures will only get you so far. And if you’re like me in a heavily saturated area of photographers then you need to stand out. A pretty picture isn’t going to be enough. A lot of people take amazing pictures, but there is only one of you who can make your clients feel amazing!
Now that you’re convinced that you should at least try this, you need ideas right? Every year I choose one general gift that most couples get. One that I can order in bulk before my booking season and have ready to go when I meet with them. This year it was a cute fuchsia mug with “I’m engaged duh” on one side and my hashtag on the other. Since my love language is sarcasm, it totally fit my brand.
I try very hard to use local small business vendors. Not only do you garner more word of mouth from them, but us small business owners need to stick together! This year I had custom soaps made with our state etched into it along with their wedding date. The year before I did their wedding date and initials on Montana recycled barn wood with our state outline painted on it. I’ve gotten custom visa cards with my logo on them with $5 on them and a note that tells them to get a coffee when wedding planning gets tough.
Whatever you get will be appreciated, but the more personal you can make it the better. This isn’t just about following some formula to get more business, but about really investing in your couples. There’s no better way to get to know them too! Have them fill out a questionnaire about some of their favorites and let that be your guide. When you have a bride tell you there is nothing better than sitting home with her future husband and rent a movie and eat pizza, send her a date in the box with a pizza gift card, popcorn and don’t forget their favorite candy.
All this sounds so simple doesn’t it? Advertising doesn’t have to be complicated. Just think about your couples and let that be your guide. You will reap the benefits and make some amazing connections with your couples while you’re at it!