Cover Focus / Gen Y
How to Get More Young Bridal Business
Reach out to couples before they get engaged
by Jim Ackerman & Wink Jones
Bridal business is great business if you can get it. But it can be tough with so many competitors clamoring for bridal bucks. Its especially difficult because by the time the bridal couple attends a bridal fair or visits any other wedding vendor, chances are they already have the engagement ring. Still, there are ways to stack the deck in your favor.
Incentive Referral Program
Young couples in love know other young couples in love. Let them market for you. When a couple comes shopping, introduce them to your referral rewards program. Supply them with certificates they can give to friends offering a certain amount off the price of a wedding set or another value-added offer. Explain that for every referral, they can choose a rebate on their own wedding set or another reward, such as discounts on a future jewelry purchase.
Place no limit on the rewards they will receive as long as they continue to refer new clients. And theres no expiration on the credits they will receive from you.
Make them aware of the program even before they buy. Knowing they can earn rewards for referrals will increase the odds they buy from you. Winfields in Boise, ID, gives a $50 referral gift certificate. Clients can spend up to $500 of the certificates like cash on any one item.
Establish relationships with photographers, bridal shops, caterers, limo drivers, reception centers and any vendor who provides services to matrimony-bound couples. Ask each vendor to provide discount certificates to your customers. Your goal is to offer a package of services at discounts that may pay for their entire wedding set, up to a total value of $2,000 or more. This program will cost you nothing but set-up time and can give you a significant edge in the marketplace. If you are perceived as the only one offering such exceptional savings, the romantics will come flocking to you to save the cold, hard cash.
Once the package is in place, all participating businesses promote each other.
Alternatives to expensive radio, TV and newspaper advertising include recruiting college and university students to act as independent representatives in dorms, frat and sorority houses, and campus clubs and organizations. Supply them with information and material and a modicum of education. Their job is not to sell, but to refer or even physically bring students who are getting engaged into your store. Pay them a modest referral fee only when a person buys. You can offer bonuses for volume in the form of gift certificates.
A variation on this theme is to rebate cash to clubs and other organizations when members buy their bridal sets from you.
Make special offers to employees of large corporations or to the employees under the management of payroll companies. Work through the human-resource departments of large corporations. Such a program becomes a no-cost employee benefit. Employee leasing companies also like these kinds of offers because it makes them look good to the employees and to their client companies. You may simply provide information or material to be distributed with em- ployee paycheck envelopes or be placed in newsletters. In the case of large companies, you may be allowed to set up a demo booth at their facilities a couple of times per year.
When you use these innovative approaches to the bridal business, the wedding bells will ring all the way to your cash register.
||Market to young couples while theyre still wooing to ensure you get their wedding business. This picture from a Tiffany & Co. ad campaign captures a young couples romantic but not bridal moment.
|Did You Know?
Brides know theyre going to get engaged an average of five months before the groom actually pops the question, according to research. The poor guy doesnt realize whats going to happen until two months beforehand!
Source: Fairchild Bridal Group
Jim Ackerman runs Ascend Marketing, a full-service marketing company that works with jewelers nationwide. Contact him at (801) 676-0550 or jimack@
ascendmarketing.com. Wink Jones is a retail jeweler in Boise, ID, who has studied marketing. He works with Ascend Marketing to develop marketing strategies for jewelers.