So you’re onboard and have brainstormed some items you can sell to brides. Now what?
Selling to Brides
If you are already selling on Etsy, you should be optimizing your descriptions and tags for relevancy search. If you sell on your own site, you should similarly be optimizing your descriptions and categories for SEO.
Your tags, descriptions, and categories should feature words and phrases such as:
- wedding, bride, groom
- wedding favor, bridal party favor, groomsmen favor
- guest book, wedding guestbook
- save the date
Etsy has a wonderful guide to running an online wedding business, which highlights some important ways selling to brides is different from selling to others. An important aspect of this is customer service. Brides are busy, stressed out, and probably planning the biggest, most expensive event of their lives. Most items are custom, which requires additional communication and flexibility as well. It’s worth it to have a plan for handling customers, such as brides, who need a lot of hand holding.
Market Research and The Wedding Business
Before you go whole-hog into turning your business into wedding central, do some market research. Think Splendid is an excellent wedding business blog. Think Splendid also runs Splendid Research, which sells some great guides on wedding statistics and trends.
Ariel from Offbeat Bride (more about the site below) talks candidly about her business on Offbeat Empire. She discusses her complex SEO strategy, marketing mistakes, and did a series on Offbeat wedding marketing lessons:
- 43% of nontraditional couples pay for their own weddings
- You better email back, AND FAST
- Offbeat Brides just wanna have fun
- Offbeat Brides love Facebook & Pinterest (and barely care about Twitter)
- Your personality matters (a lot)
The killer stat, though, is that a third of couples found wedding vendors through a wedding blog or site, so check out …
Wedding Blogs and Advertising
Because weddings are a huge life event and a lucrative business, there are a variety of blogs and sites that cater to brides. As a handmade artisan, you want less-traditional sites as a way of targeting brides who already believe in buying handmade.
I highly recommend browsing through these sites for a couple of weeks to get a feel for the types of weddings and items they feature. Give yourself time to get to know the sites and their readers before jumping in. Pay attention to the themes they are highlighting as well as the tags and categories they are using. Use this information in your own posts and item descriptions.
Make sure you understand the commenting policy and submission guidelines of the wedding blog or site. Making an obnoxious first impression, because you are unfamiliar with the site can do a lot of damage — many of these blogs are run by just a few people and they have final say over who they feature and allow to advertise with them.
Once you have a sense of a site, consider advertising with them. Advertising on wedding blogs tends to be more expensive than elsewhere. However, because many of the readers are actively looking to spend a fair amount of money on the items featured, they often have a great return. If you are serious about selling to brides, this is a great way to beef up your business.
Wedding sites to check out:
- Offbeat Bride is the largest alternative wedding site out there. They tend to feature fun, unconventional weddings and items. The site began as an offshoot of the book Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides. Offbeat Bride is part of a larger network of sites including Offbeat Families and Offbeat Home and Life. The other sites have lower ad rates, so they may be a great jumping off point for you if the wedding rates are too high.
- A Practical Wedding is a thoughtful site that talks about everything from engagements to being a wife. They take their relationship with vendors very seriously and require a few month-long commitment. Their readers are very engaged and Meg, the founder, recently published a book on wedding planning.
- 100 Layer Cake features blog ads, pop up shops, a marketplace, and vendor guides.
- Rock ‘n Roll Bride is the largest alternative wedding site in the UK. Kat, who runs the site, also sells a paper magazine, runs a blogging academy, and has a business section of the site, called The Green Room.
- Polka Dot Bride features Australian weddings.
- Green Wedding Shoes
- Brooklyn Bride
- Style Me Pretty
- Broke Ass Bride