I promise you. I will get better at this blogging thing! We’re pretty regular in the AO offices with keeping the AtlantaOccasions.com blog up-to-date, but allotting the time to spend on my marketing rants and raves has been somewhat of a challenge! Heather 2.0 is coming along.. but it needs some upgrades for sure.
Anyways, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for advice from my advertisers and industry contacts recently regarding my take on new bridal shows or other advertising opportunities springing up out of no where for wedding vendors. So I’ll just answer everyone as a group here. I hope that whether you’re in Atlanta or in Arkansas, this advice will be helpful for anyone.
I’m in sales and I make A LOT of calls. I can guarantee you that I’m not the only magazines calling wedding vendors about advertising. I bet as a wedding vendor it can seem pretty overwhelming to weed out the good vs. the bad and finally settle on the best marketing avenue for you. After all there is no secret recipe or magic trick to finding more business, but if you’re marketing budget is limited, as is most everyone’s, that decision is going to be crucial.
My advice :: Go with who you know. People do business with people they know and when you do business with someone you don’t know… well you just don’t know. I’m not saying to not give people a chance, because I was once new and there are lot of people that gave me a chance. But … they just didn’t know. I worked my little tush off (and still do) to build the reputation of myself and my company and I’m quite dedicated to keeping it up.
When you are shopping options to advertise your business, go with who you know. Whether that’s the local magazine who offers monthly networking luncheons (hint, hint… I’m sorry shameless self-promotion there.. it slipped), local bridal show producers, or even other wedding vendors or bloggers. Reaching out and partnering with the medias who are invested in your local wedding community is the first step to building your wedding business and connecting with your client. The Bride.
Buy Local :: Buy Atlanta. My advice is simple. In my opinion, there is no need to participate in a bridal event run by out-of-town companies when right here in your own town are THREE amazing bridal show companies (Elite Events, Bridal Extravaganza of Atlanta and Perfect Wedding Guide) that….
- Know the market like the back of their hands
- Have outstanding reputations of bringing all the brides you could ever want to their shows
- Spend thousands of dollars in local advertising dollars to bring you those brides
- And, are local Atlanta residents themselves.
Go green people! Support your local companies. There’s no reason I can think of not to. I’ve participated in all of their shows (minus PWG, but I know they have an excellent reputation of bringing brides in) and they are swamped with brides. What else could you ask for?
Pay attention to who you know in your local wedding community and seek them out. They are the only people that hold the knowledge you need for your business. Local wedding-specific medias offer something FAR MORE VALUABLE than just an ad or booth that not many others can do. Things like a personal introduction to a venue where you’ve been trying to get on the preferred vendors list for months, or an opportunity for a speaking engagement in front of your peers, or insider knowledge about a new venue opening, or added opportunities to contribute promotional materials in swag bags at bride targeted events. I could go on!
Buy local, buy Atlanta… but buy from who you know. Sometimes I refer to myself of the Erin Brockovich of my company, because this business is just that personal to me.. just as her clients were that personal to her. Business is personal. I am Atlanta Occasions and Atlanta Occasions is Heather Vreeland. Whether you know me from our luncheons, a meeting, you’re a client or we’re just facebook friends…. I am without-a-doubt 100% percent invested in the Atlanta Wedding Community and my friends like Linda Surles of Atlanta Bride and Groom Planner, Tommy Vaugh of Elite Events, Donna Jakulski of Bridal Extravaganza of Atlanta, and Lei Lydle of AtlantaBridal.com (to name a few) are as well.
We’re not here for a piece of the pie… we are an integral ingredient that make the pie possible. And we’re here, doing what we do, for you. Period.