Determining Your Advertising CampaignsThursday, November 13, 2008
With the end of the year quickly approaching, many wedding consultants are reviewing their advertising budgets and choosing where they are going to spend those marketing dollars in 2009.
It is important to determine what works for you in your market and with your target demographic. This is different for everyone, and what works for my company may not necessarily work for another company.
Online advertising has become a popular medium for getting the word out about your business, and with almost every blog and website offering some form of advertising packages, knowing where you want to focus is key.
Learning how to read website traffic statistics properly is important in determining whether or not the ROI (return on investment) of certain online advertising outlets is worth the price of the ad. Earlier this year, I discussed the difference between page views and unique visitors and other factors in reading your website stats and it may be a good refesher as you review your marketing plan.
Being on a venue's paid preferred list is another form of non-traditional advertising and one that can ride the grey line between advertising and kickbacks, depending on how it is set up. If you are considering this route, ask the venue for statistics from the previous year or two. These should be able to show how many weddings they referred to the wedding planners previously on the list and how many of their brides booked those coordinators. This isn't fool-proof, as there are other factors that could have contributed to a couple not hiring the preferred planners, but it is a good indication of whether or not your hard-earned marketing dollars are going to yield a return.
Another factor to remember is that sometimes the long-term effect of an ad can be worth the short-term cost, even if no direct sales are made. Establishing credibility in an oversaturated market sometimes costs money, and there are certain avenues that can help expedite that. I have several friends who purchased a listing on Grace Ormonde's Platinum List and/or Style Me Pretty's Little Black Book, and while some did not receive any direct leads from their campaign, being able to host the logo on their website did help establish trust with potential clients who were referred from other sources.
While the above example cites vendors who did not receive direct leads, it is important to note that there are also vendors who have received brides directly from both of those ad sources. That is part of the risk of advertising and marketing - there is never any 100% proof positive guarantee of return. While you can and should do your research to eliminate the most risk, advertising will always be somewhat of a gamble.
Advertising is not dead, despite what some may claim. If paid print and online media are part of your marketing plan, do your homework to make sure that you are spending that money wisely.