To say 2020 was challenging for wedding pros is an understatement. As we look forward to 2021 and 2022, smart wedding pros will use the experience of 2020 to ask and answer some important questions, such as, how we do business in a post-Pandemic world and what sustainability looks like in our industry.
When events shut down in 2020, many of us found we had extra time on our hands. Perhaps you found yourself working on your business for the first time in a while. Maybe you realized it was time to freshen up your SOPs, or you’ve learned new strategies for closing a sale. The pandemic has provided space for us to turn our focuses inward and optimize our businesses for peak performance.
But the most successful wedding pros never stopped marketing their businesses, even when events got shut down. Now, those wedding pros find themselves busier than ever because they stayed top-of-mind during the pause in events.
If that doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry. It’s not too late to audit your marketing mix and polish it up for 2021 and beyond.
In fact, a marketing audit is more important this year than ever before because, as the market has evolved, so too should your marketing. It’s not a matter of setting then forgetting it. The messaging you’ve crafted in the past is likely ineffective and outdated, so it’s time to take a good, hard look at how you engage with your ideal clients in a post-pandemic environment.
Here are four tips for making your marketing audit an easy-yet-effective process that will have you set for the year ahead.
Block out your schedule.
Your marketing plan is a vital element of your business’ success, so it’s not a quick task to fit into a 30-minute break between calls or on your lunch break. Set aside four hours at least, but even up to a day to work through the intricacies of your existing strategy, adjust your tactics, refine your messaging, research new tools, and create a roadmap to follow.
Before you dig in, be sure to gather all of the data that will help to inform your strategy: Google Analytics reports, social media metrics, SEO results, and financial reports. Remember: Marketing isn’t about doing what you think works, but instead following the numbers and making smart data-based decisions.
Revisit your Ideal Client Avatar.
If you’ve entered a new market, there’s a good chance you’ve already adjusted your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) to align with your audience. Yet, even if your ICA remains the same in theory, it’s important to reevaluate their needs and expectations — particularly as they may have shifted in light of the pandemic. There may be greater insecurities about paying deposits or preferences for smaller, intimate celebrations, which would naturally impact your messaging.
Consider how your clients’ fears, hopes, desires, and concerns have changed due to the pandemic. If possible, go straight to the source and speak to your current clients to learn more about their motivations and how you can become a better resource for them and, ultimately, prospective clients as well.
Dig into your analytics.
Your data will tell you more about your marketing performance than anything else, so take some time to glean through your metrics and gather valuable insights about the content that resonates with your audience. Look at your best-performing (and worst-performing) blog posts, social media posts, emails, and ads to understand what interests your ideal client.
Be prepared that you might discover a shift since the pandemic started. Perhaps your audience is now more interested in emergency planning and risk management than color palettes and design ideas. Once you know what is earning the most traffic, clicks, and conversions, you can adapt your marketing strategy to hone in on those areas and truly serve your target market what they want most.
Perform market research.
The past year has been tumultuous for many businesses as they struggled to stay afloat, and many industries saw companies closing their doors for good. On the other hand, some entrepreneurs used the downtime in quarantine to build new businesses with the forethought of meeting post-pandemic needs. With that said, your competitive landscape may look different from where it was at this time last year. You may have lost some key competitors, and now, you might also have some newcomers challenging the status quo.
Take some time to research the state of your market. See what your existing competitors are doing to navigate this uncertain period and learn about any emerging threats that have been born out of the pandemic. If a new brand is impacting your target audience, you need to know what they have to offer and how you can continue differentiating yourself in the market.
Auditing your marketing plan will put you in a prime position to effectively target the clients you want to book with data-backed precision. Going forward, commit to revisiting your marketing strategy at least once a year, if not quarterly. Staying on top of market demands, changes in competition and client expectations will ensure that you’re presenting valuable content and putting your best foot forward.
Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA, and the ABC Conference.