Many of my clients share with me they dislike social media, in fact they resent the time they spend on social media for their business. Some find hanging out online is affecting their mental health with imposter syndrome in full swing. If this is you, I recommend you read “How to stop caring what others think about me“.
Firstly I want to say, social media isn’t evil and I would recommend you still use social media in some capacity, you don’t have to be on every platform and nor do you have to post yourself. Perhaps it’s time to hire a social media manager? Ask yourself where is it your clients hang out ?
Remember, social media is not owned by you. You could get banned, cloned or find yourself kicked out of your platforms for no reason, and getting your accounts back can be near impossible. So imagine this happened to you, all your followers are gone, what do you do? Relying on just one marketing stream is dangerous, no matter what that marketing stream is, protect your business and think of ways to drive traffic directly to your website (i.e the house you own vs the one you rent which in this case is social media). There are also threats of TikTok being banned by the US government , just think of all those influencers that make their money through TikTok. What will they do?
Here are 12 ways you can market your business WITHOUT using social media, in order that you can move forwards and upwards. Or if you prefer you can click below to watch my YouTube video. ⬇️
Yes I have to start with my favourite, I can almost hear my clients groaning. Blogging is massively under used by businesses. Lets face it, writing a blog post isn’t as fun as posting a pretty image on instagram, especially for creative business owners. Tailor your blog posts around solving a problem for a client. And don’t forget to repurpose everywhere! Blogging is fabulous for improving your SEO year after year, but this is the slow game. It takes time for your blog to build momentum so ensure you are marketing in other ways as well.
You should be focussing on driving traffic to your website. So spend time ensuring your SEO is strong. Work on your keywords. Ensure your copy is clear, concise and targeted. SEO is a slow burn, results are not seen overnight but once it is working you will naturally receive organic clients who find you from a simple google search
3. Join a community
Join a community for your industry and/or location. Go in with the aim of how can you support others in the community, share your knowledge, build relationships and members will remember and refer you to clients in the future. When I set up the UKAWP, community over competition was key, I have members who have been with us for over a decade due to the community aspect.
4. Referral Scheme
Speak with past clients and ask them to leave reviews on google which again helps with your ranking. And set up a referral scheme whereby if they recommend you to friends and family and they book, you’ll send a gift to them
⬇️ PIN IT FOR LATER ⬇️
Think about launching your own podcast and give advice to clients. Or contact others with podcasts and offer yourself as a guest expert. This promotes you to an audience outside of your own. I’ve been a guest on a few podcasts and I love it, I do have plans to launch my own in Quarter 4.
I hear you screaming “that’s social media”, but you’re wrong, youtube is actually a search engine so helps your SEO. Think about what questions your clients have and how to answer this in a video, although you have written a blog some people prefer video. You have 2 ways to do this, whichever way feels more easy.
- Write a blog post then use that as your script to record the video
- Record the video, transcribe using something like rev.com then upload this to your blog
There are wedding specific meet ups and localised networking to consider. Be strategic and go with a plan, what do you want to get out of the group? Instant referrals or building relationships for the future? Be cautious of joining any national networking groups without understanding who is in it and when do they meet. Some are very “old boys network”, with business types outside of the creative industry with meetings at times that are inconvenient for many working parents who have school runs to handle before they can work.
Go armed with an introduction as to what you do (aka an elevator pitch). Take some icebreaker questions with you so you can truly get to know the attendees. Ask just 2-3 of the below before you move onto the next person. Keep questions open ended so the conversation flows more easily. And don’t forget to listen to their answers.
Bonus: take a photo or selfie, add to your contacts then add answers to questions and thoughts on them. Any little antidotes you can mention next time you meet. I think the last time we spoke you were headed off on holiday to xx, how was it?
- If you had a magic wand what is the 1 thing you would change about your business / the industry?
- Can you tell me a little about your business?
- What motivated you to get into x,y,z?
- What made you decide to attend this event today
- Who do you think I should talk to today?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
Remember to be you, yes be professional but also be natural, friendly and approachable. Remember the like, know and trust factor. You are trying to see if they are a good fit as a client or to collaborate with, and they are trying to see if you are a person they could work with or refer clients to you.
Focus more on THEM and less on their BUSINESS. The focus here is building your network so it works for you. And don’t forget to mingle, I see you introverts hugging the outside of the room, trust me I’ve been there. But put your brave face on, set yourself a target of meeting x number of people before you exit and leave!
8. Wedding / creative fairs
Exhibiting at a trade show where you can showcase your work and speak with potential clients at the same time. Do consider whether your ideal client attends shows and if so is this where they hire / buy? For example generally speaking the type of client that hires a wedding planner does not attend a wedding fair, so exhibiting could be a costly exercise. Could that money be spent elsewhere instead?
All that energy schmoozing clients online? Why not work on the journalists instead? But in all seriousness, when the press features you it lifts your brand up and shows potential clients that you can be trusted. Journalists are invariably very busy so if you have the expertise for an article they are writing they will be thankful PLUS add you to their database for the future. Discover what publications suit your brand and which journalists to approach. Throughout my 21 years in business I have been featured in the press hundreds of times from TV appearances to live radio, magazine features and expert quotes in newspapers. My biggest tip is be available, I’ve given radio interviews when at train stations or sitting in the car before!
10. Speaking Engagements
Raise your profile as an expert and increase your public speaking engagements. This could be on radio or on stage. Get brilliant at educating others on your topic of expertise. Even as an introvert I have managed to master this over the last 21 years, it didn’t come easy but when you realise “you are the expert” and “you do know what you’re talking about” it becomes so much easier. So who can you reach out to that organises events that are suitable for your industry?
11. Email Marketing
Consider growing an email list. Ideally you want to grow an audience outside of social media because you run the risk of losing all your audience if your account is closed/suspended. I use mailerlite and you can find a link for that below , whats more you can actually get started with Mailerlite for FREE. You can then nurture your potential clients through a lead magnet and series of emails that showcase your knowledge and answer the questions they have.
12. Industry Bodies / Directories
Is there a trade body for your sector? Consider joining so potential clients have that reassurance you can be trusted. Or advertise in directories that will promote you for an additional fee taking the pressure off. Just do your research first and work out if they are the right organisation to be aligned with. And if there isn’t one for your sector, set up your own! When I launched the UKAWP there were no other industry bodies for the wedding planning industry.
Which one will you use in your business?
6 tips for creating your 2023 strategy
A version of this article was originally written in 2020, you can read it here
Mailerlite – This is free to sign up and the system that I use
PR Agent: Nicola specialises in PR for the wedding industry https://www.proposepr.com/
PR Coach: Louise specialise in working with select creatives 1:1 or through her courses like Product PR. She empowers you to learn how to promote yourself https://www.louisecoxpr.co.uk/courses
PR Strategist – Laura Perkes has a number of ways to help you with your PR including a DIY course https://prwithperkes.com/services/
Emma Shard Social media manager (she handles all the UKAWP socials)