Bridal fashion is big business and it’s not just about the dress. Veils, shoes, jewellery, hair accessories, lingerie, wraps, capes, belts, bags, clutches, purses and gloves, to name but a few, are all on the list for brides looking to complete the outfit for their special day, and beyond.
According to Harpers Bazaar the average cost of a UK wedding has risen again, with the trend for three-day celebrations also on the rise. The average national wedding spend is now £17, 913! Never before has the bridal accessory bag been so full.
It’s really no wonder the bridal accessories business is a force to be reckoned with. So how do you get your beautiful products to the bride? Here’s how in 9 easy steps.
Invest in your website
B2B (business to business) websites are just important as B2C ones (business to consumers). Investing in website design and SEO will get you noticed. Fresh content on your site is a must and is easily do-able with a blog. It’s also worth writing some articles to go in wedding trade magazines and for publishing on wedding trade related websites (if writing is not your thing, get a professional to do it for you).
Recommended reading: How To Be Successful With Your Small Business Web Design
Research your market and build buyer personas
It’s not enough to build a list of wedding dress stockists from the web and hope that when you contact them they will love you and your products. Before you reach out to potential customers, it’s a useful exercise to build profiles of potential businesses using buyer personas.
Buyer personas are essentially profiles of your best fitting business customers. Start your research on the other products wedding stores and wedding dress boutiques already stock. If your accessory is a perfect match for a particular wedding dress designer, seek out the stockists.
Recommended reading: How To Build Personas To Meet User Needs
Start an email marketing campaign
Email marketing is an inexpensive way to get your business noticed. It’s worth investing in an accurate bridal business specific mailing list. Be sure to use a reputable data supplier offering accurate and fully compliant data. If the list is out of date or inaccurate it will be money and time wasted.
Send relevant messages to the right audience. You may need to tailor emails to different audiences. A small bridal boutique may not be interested in your whole range of products, but if they stock a specific designer dress your bridal accessory looks stunning with, use that information to engage with your potential buyer.
Keep your email messages short and sweet with nice visuals and always ensure you make the subject line punchy in order to grab attention. And be sure your email design formats correctly on mobile. Recent email statistics show that 47 per cent of emails are opened on mobile.
Recommended reading: Email Marketing Benchmarks By Industry
Do an e-newsletter
Establish yourself as an expert. Create a relationship with potential customers on your email marketing list by offering an e-newsletter with the latest news on wedding trends and other wedding-related tips for businesses in the same market. Once you’ve gained their trust that you are knowledgeable about wedding fashion, your contacts may approach you for your products.
Network like there’s no tomorrow
Finding new leads can be difficult. But, building relationships will get you business. Networking groups can introduce you to whole new groups of businesses, and even if they aren’t quite the end game, they may have contacts who are. Attend as many industry-related events as possible. Talk to everyone and speak with event organisers to see if you could speak at their next event.
And remember, businesses make purchasing decisions in a very different way to consumers. Unlike consumers, businesses won’t make a snap decision. Focus on developing relationships with businesses who could potentially be interested in your products. As soon as they are let down by a current supplier, you’ll be first on their list to call.
Most important of all, get out and speak with your customers and prospects. Ask for feedback about your products. Meet your prospects in more ways than one. Don’t rely on focus groups as the setting can be somewhat artificial. Never lament your lack of business, pick up the phone and jar someone’s memory about your wonderful products.
Evolve – always embrace the next thing
Don’t be afraid to evolve new lines and embrace new trends. Bridalwear is a fast-forward industry when it comes to fashion. If your accessories are ahead of the curve, your business is more likely to get noticed. Be sure to visit the big bridal events, such as London Bridal Week, White Gallery, The National Wedding Show and The Harrogate Bridal Show (the largest bridal trade show in the UK). After the events, be absolutely sure you follow-up any leads.
Include social media in your content marketing plan
Social media often gets ignored in B2B marketing plans, but these are the platforms that will help to build deeper relationships. Social media enables you to socialise (rather than sell) and will help to build brand awareness. Use social media to connect with existing and potential customers. Offer insights and an authoritative, (but carefully measured), brand voice.
Team up with another business
Team up with another supplier who is trying to get their products in to bridal shops and explore how you can promote one another (obviously not a competitor). A wedding dress designer or a wedding dress shoe supplier may be a good match for your wedding accessories business.
See if there is already a collective of wedding businesses set up in your area. It’s quite common for wedding-related businesses to work together through referrals. Venues, caterers, dressmakers, photographers and so on may all be able to help promote your business.
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid to make changes and explore new avenues, both in terms of your product lines and your marketing strategies. And perhaps most importantly of all, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Avoid the biggest B2B marketing pitfalls, but use any mistakes you make as a learning curve.