Niche (noun) – a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.
In the ever changing and diverse wedding and events industry, it’s far too easy to neglect the important step of finding your niche. You know, that thing we love doing and know we do well, that ‘comfortable or suitable position’. Our market is ‘weddings’, which naturally casts a really wide net. Often forgetting this, we find ourselves confused and wondering why our phones aren’t ringing. Then, the questioning begins… Why do we struggle with clients outside of our comfort zone? Why we are we bogged down with ‘problem’ clients who prevent us from booking additional business?
Not sure what your niche is? Why not let those who’ve experienced your work firsthand fill you in! Take some time and read your Thank You notes and online reviews. Look at the images in your portfolio that sing to you or have the most faves. Quite often, we find ourselves being told what we do best, that our brand is often what your clients say about you and your work. You know what? That’s a good thing!
Pro Tip: In a referral based industry, it is important to build strong relationships for professional referrals in addition to having an outstanding client experience for client testimonials.
Know Your Market
It’s difficult to be a standout if you don’t know what or who you’re standing out from. Do your research and know who the other players are in your market. What is their brand? What do they specialize in? You can’t be niche if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else but, chances are, there are one or two things you might both be offering. Your work and how you present it, however, is what stands out. Look at your competition’s website, don’t take their word for it. Look at their reviews and see what their clients say about them.
Follow Your Passion
Do you get excited when you see an eco-friendly wedding design with beautiful invitation suites of recycled materials? Does your heart swell when you come across centerpieces with regionally grown, in-season blooms in upcycled containers? Do you give yourself a high-five when your clients opt for local and seasonal organic foods? Or, are you more about the bling? Do you lean towards the shimmer of gold, the sparkle of crystals or a fabulous pair of Badgley Mischka sparkling wedding pumps? Finding your niche empowers you to chase your passions by finding and working with clients whose similar passions help you to create a business where you enjoy going to work every day. Putting a definition to that ‘comfortable, suitable position, helps to ensure you stay excited about what you are doing.
Master of None
With the average wedding budget always changing, wedding pros find themselves trying to be a jack of all trades but a master in none. “Expert” is the target but it’s difficult to hit when you’re aiming at every wedding that crosses your digital doorstep. Pick that one category or passion, the one where your past clients came to you and gushed over how much you knew and how talented you were. This might be just the place to focus your energy.
Showcase Your Expertise
By focusing on your strong points in all of your content, you’ll showcase work that supports your brand. It will convince your audience of not only who you are and what you’re passionate about but how well you can deliver on theirs. Stick to one message and put effort into telling your story really well. Beyond sharing beautiful photos of real Real Weddings or Styled Shoots, blog on subject matter that supports your brand. Provide education to your audience with tips and expert advice that show you as an expert in your niche area. To make sure you’re found online, focus on keywords that will get you seen as the expert in your market.
Stay In Your Lane
Wedding pros have a tendency to want to grow and expand their wedding services. Given the constant change to the modern wedding budget, this is understandable. There are two potential problems to consider, however, when adding on services or spinning up second (and even third) businesses to capture those budget dollars:
- Are you adding more of the same? If you’re considering shifting some of your attention into a new service or product that’s fairly well covered in your market(s), you risk honing your skills and refining the experience your clients have in the area you’re strongest in.
- Are you risking alienating colleagues? Referrals are at the heart of every thriving wedding and special events business. If you’re considering creating an extension to your offering or a supplemental business to what you already have, be conscious of both the impacts and the implications to your business relationships within your professional network.
In the entrepreneurial craze that affects every profession in the wedding and special events industry, it’s easy to forget to take time and step back from the business to look at things from a more strategic perspective. Taking your in-the-trenches pro hat off and putting your CEO/visionary cap on regularly is a requirement for not only managing and growing your business, but making sure you’re giving yourself the time you need to just be you. An important part of this process is identifying your niche, what makes you brand quintessentially and undeniably you. What is your passion, what do you do well and what makes you stand out in your market? If you can confidently answer these questions yourself, it will be that much easier for your clients and your colleagues to answer it as well and confidently give you the business they know you can rise to.