Networking is a very important aspect of success in the wedding industry. For most businesses, networking stops at the exchange of business cards. The mutual intention of both parties is to recommend brides regularly. For some business relationships that’s enough, but for others offering a financial reward each time they get referrals from vendors is a great way to gain new business.
The next generation of commitment is when you have access to a vendor’s leads. The most frequent category that distributes leads is venues and caterers. As an early rung on the planning ladder, these two categories of vendors are in the best position to recommend brides to their vendors. This is due to venues and caterers having a strong sphere of influence in the planning process because their services require the biggest financial commitment. Sometimes venues will also share names of customers who did not book. Naturally these leads are not as strong for you, the vendor, as mentioning your affiliation with the referring venue when calling, mailing or emailing will not be as meaningful as it would be if the customer had booked with the referring venue.
The practice least used, but extremely effective when done right, is “cross marketing”, which for our purposes is defined as “a company that ties in an offer from another vendor for the purpose of using it is an incentive to sell the service they are promoting.” This practice actually benefits all parties:
The vendor who works with the bride offers something of additional value (but no extra cost to the vendor) to make their offering stronger to the bride. The marketed vendor has a chance to gain the business of brides they do not have to advertise for. The bride receives additional value.
Here are some examples of “value added”, tie-in offers:
- Discount certificates
- Gift Certificates
- A free product or service
The mindset that vendors should use in determining what to give away should be something that is not devastating to the profit of the booking, but substantial enough for it to be a meaningful incentive for the bride to purchase.
- Invitation Business – Discount or 25 free invitations
- Florist – Free throwaway bouquet
- Limousine – Free transportation at the end of the reception to their wedding night destination
- DJ – Free handouts
- Photographer – Free engagement photo
- Videographer – Free extra edited copies for parents.
Most importantly, having tie–in offers fortifies the relationship with the vendors you recommend, while generating additional sales.
What are some successful ways you have cross-promoted your product(s)? Please leave your success stories below as we would love to share your ideas with other vendors!