We all have to start somewhere. But I've created this little blog to give you a bit of direction, and streamline your first few steps into being a wedding supplier...
Here's what you should do:
1. Find a mentor
Even though you'll probably feel as if money is haemorraging out of your bank during your first few months, finding a mentor is a worthwhile investment.
Try to pinpoint what you're struggling with so you can find a mentor that's a guru in that/those areas. For example, if your website isn't getting enough traffic, get a web/SEO expert onboard. If you need help with sales and marketing, I'd highly recommend Dan Kennedy (aka The Millionaire Maker). If you need help with Facebook, there are lots of great guru's out there. etc etc.
Finding a mentor who will help you breakdown your steps to success will be worth it in the long run. If you have some friends/colleagues around, ask them who they'd recommend.
Going to local or national Business Breakfast meetings are also a great place to start.
2. Grow your network and make friends
THE most powerful source type of lead is a referral i.e. A prospect that comes to you, directly as a result of a recommendation from someone you know.
Think of it this way... If you see an advert in a magazine for a new local restaurant, you might be interested and think you'd like to go. But if your closest friend came to you and said 'Hey, I've just been to X restaurant and it was amazing. You really need to go', the latter example is a much more compelling option.
Growing your network will help immensely with this. But this is a two way street. Don't just expect them to help you, with no return. Make sure you're recommending great suppliers to your connections too.
3. Follow up with everyone you meet
Following on from the above slightly, whenever you meet a new business connection or prospective customer, always ALWAYS follow up.
As long as you start your business with 'permission based marketing' then you'll be set. Whilst it's tempting to buy in shed loads of data, listing prospects you've never met, you're highly unlikely to get any results from this cold data...
Instead, place yourself in places where you'll meet prospects and fellow suppliers. Wedding Fairs are a great place to start.
Wedding Fairs. There are tonnes around. Some good, some bad, and some downright ugly. Don't be tempted by free or very cheap events - as the less money the organiser has to promote the event, the less attention it'll get and the fewer people/prospects will attend. You'll wind up wasting your time and money.
Look for a fair that has a long and established reputation, and a money back guarantee.
My Midland Wedding Show has been going for over 13 years and is the UK's only money back guarantee wedding fair.
By following up with people that have given you specific permission to contact them, you'll see great results. Research shows that by following up with your prospects between 5-12 times after you initially meet, you'll be tapping into an increase in response rate of up to 80%.
4. Spend your money on advertising
With this, quality is better than quantity. There's little point spending hundreds/thousands of pounds on a newspaper advert if you recognise that your ideal customer doesn't read newspapers...
Most brides and grooms are between 21-40 years of age. Think of the people you know in this age group... How many religiously read their local newspaper? Exactly.
You need a media that speaks directly to your target market and keeps you at the forefront of those prospects' minds on multiple platforms.
Here at White Wedding Pages we target brides through our magazine distribution at wedding fairs, we also collect their data and email 15,000 Midlands brides every week with offers from local suppliers, we place listings on our website for suppliers and we also recommend them via our social networks. This ensures a full market coverage for our wedding supplier clients.
5. Start blogging at least once a week
If you're new to blogging, think of it as a journal/diary of your day as a wedding supplier. Fill your weekly blog with things you've been up to, clients you've met, best practice tips etc.
In terms of SEO and getting recognised by Google too, blogging (using a peppering of your target keywords/search terms) is a really great way to let Google know that you're relevant to the people you're trying to connect with.
Lastly, as a newbie, remember what you may lack in experience you make up for in enthusiasm and eagerness. You're in a really exciting place right now. Enjoy your journey!