Sales & Marketing

Brand awareness lessons from getting a beauty business noticed during wedding season

12 min read

18 May 2016

The average bride will spend £301 on beauty for their wedding, according to Brides magazine, and some will spend even more. That’s because, when it comes to a bride on her wedding day, nothing short of perfection is acceptable – a lesson that can be adapted for customer service across sectors.

Brides will usually need to get their hair and make-up done for the big day, as well having as a trial of the chosen style, their nails will need doing, some brides will opt to be waxed ready for the honeymoon and, of course, there is the pre-wedding glow spray tan.

All of these services can bring in some big money for local beauty salons, it is just a case of making sure brides-to-be know how to find you.

We’ve broken down how businesses can get noticed before and during the wedding season, but these lessons can be embraced to encourage local business growth across industries:

(1) Collaborate locally

It’s not just what you know, it’s who – although in the beauty industry it is definitely about what you know as well. Your local wedding contacts could you help raise brand awareness before and during the wedding season (April-September). Even the smallest of towns will have a bridal shop which, although small, could still be useful for getting your name in front of some potential bridal clients.

You could ask to be featured on their website as a preferred supplier in exchange for offering their customers a discount when they purchase from the bridal shop. Alternatively, you could organise a photo shoot with a local wedding photographer, venue and a bridal shop, as well as any other local businesses that offer wedding related services such as car hire and florists.

This collaborative photo shoot will benefit all involved and provide each supplier with a set of beautiful images to use on their websites and social media.

For example, local Bedfordshire businesses teamed together to work on a photo shoot for wedding venue Moggerhanger Park. The result gave all involved links on the venue’s main Weddings and Functions page, as well as some fantastic images for marketing use. Some of the suppliers went on to blog about the photo shoot adding to the exposure received as part of this combined effort.

If you do choose to collaborate with local businesses, be prepared to reciprocate the gesture and feature the other suppliers in your own blog post about the event/photo shoot and in any social posts.

Read on to see why you should be experimenting with hashtags and social networks that may not seem obvious.

(2) Start being social

Most businesses are already on social media in one form or another, but unless it is being used effectively, the return will be very little.

Start by researching industry hashtags. A popular weekly wedding hashtag is #weddingwednesday, you should reserve bridal client photos to share on this day. This means that when a bride clicks on the hashtag your post will appear in a list of other wedding images.

A key thing to remember is that you shouldn’t share images of brides in their make up until after their ceremony, this could ruin the element of surprise and could leave you with an unhappy client.

Past the comfortable, familiar social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter you will find an image ‘pin board’ platform called Pinterest. Some may be aware of it, but for those who aren’t, Pinterest involves users creating virtual pin boards and pinning images, recipes, infographics (and so on) from the web.

Many brides use Pinterest to help plan their wedding, Mashable found that 70 per cent of brides had wedding Pinterest boards before they were even engaged.

Ideas for wedding related boards include:

• Bridal make up ideas
• Wedding nails
• Bridal hair inspiration

Tip: Remember to add social buttons to your website and emails!

Don’t be afraid to show yourself off or get financial aid – more on this on the next page.

(3) Show yourself

Local wedding shows and exhibitions can be a great place to put your foot in the wedding industry door. There are a couple of ways of getting into these shows, the first being exhibiting, this usually comes with a fee but they don’t usually allow too many people of the same trade to exhibit at smaller shows, meaning that you’ll need to book your place early and that your competition will be limited. 

Another way is to talk to the organiser of the bridal catwalk, if there is one, and offer your hair and/or make up services to the models in exchange for mentions.

This is enough to get you onto their digital platforms including social media.

Some exhibitions may not have a website but if the show is held at a wedding venue you may be able to become a recommended supplier on the venue’s website.

Although you are not guaranteed exposure on the websites of the venues and perhaps the shows don’t even have a website, but the exposure on social media will help brides that attended find you and those that didn’t attend to find out about you through the organisers or venue.

Make sure you find the appropriate hashtag for the event and tag other vendors, not competitors, in your posts. This will encourage them to retweet/share with their followers increasing your reach.

Fees for exhibiting can be pricey, but the exposure is worth the initial investment. So, if you need help with the outlay, or if you need to hire someone to help with the extra marketing, you can apply for some bridging finance in the form of an unsecured business advance loan.

This is a type of loan that is repaid via a pre-agreed percentage of your business’ card transactions, helping you develop your business without breaking the bank.

You may not have given it a consideration, but video is a must in order to engage customers – read on to see how.

(4) Get creative

Video has been tipped as one of the top content marketing strategies this year having been proven to dramatically increase conversion rates and social reach/engagement. Adelie Studios reported that businesses which use video grow their revenue 49 per cent faster year on year than those that don’t use video.

The report also identified that websites using videos have a conversion rate of 4.8 per cent which is nearly double the conversion rate of those which don’t have any videos on their website (2.9 per cent).

Beauty salons have the opportunity to publish one of the most popular forms of videos, the “how-to”, searches for which have increased by 70 per cent year on year.

These can be varied, from hair up videos to make up tutorials to nail art how to videos. Of course you don’t want to give away all your trade secrets, but could dedicate videos to recreating part of the looks, such as the perfect smoky eye, etc.

Brides are likely to search for make-up artists or salons who offer bridal make up so having a video, with a keyword optimised title and description, on your website showing your skill level will help convert a viewing into an enquiry.

Videos also make fantastic social content and receive 1,200 per cent more interaction than text and images combined, meaning a shared video may lead social users to your website.

The written word is still important, however, so make sure blogs are a factor in your strategy.

(5) Blogs are a bride’s best friend

Blogs can be a beauty salon’s best friend. Due to the high price of wedding magazines a lot of brides are now turning to online publications to get their fix of wedding inspiration.

In 2012 Splendid Communications conducted a survey which showed that 50 per cent of couples getting married in UK read wedding blogs every day and 33 per cent dip in weekly. Although these figures are out of date, with no recent surveys being carried out, we can assume that with the rise of digital these figures will have increased.

All wedding blogs frequently post “real weddings” which usually feature images and a list of vendors. If you know that any of your brides are submitting their wedding to these blogs, you could ask for a mention in their vendor list.

This will usually secure a link back to your website as well as having beautiful hi-res images of your work for other brides, and potential clients, to see.

Obviously, not all brides will be submitting their weddings to a blog so waiting for one of your brides to do so may take some time. To boost exposure, you could put together a few guest blog posts and approach the blog owner with the aim of having them published.

Remember to utilise the blog on your salon’s website or start one if you don’t already have one. It is great for SEO as you have the ability to add more keywords naturally throughout blog posts as well as giving you an outlet to constantly publish images of your work, inspiration posts and even tutorial videos.

Rob Straathof is MD at Liberis