Today I’m talking with Heidi Thompson about all things marketing! We talk about how to create a marketing plan which helps you avoid overwhelm and get results in your wedding business!
We also talk about Heidi’s upcoming ‘Book more weddings’ summit which you can sign up for here – it starts August 22nd 2022:
Find out more about Heidi here:
Heidi: [00:00:00] Why did they decide to work with you? What did they see in you that they didn’t see in other people in the space? Because they had their options available to them. They chose to work with you. So digging more into that actually makes this whole thing a lot easier because they will tell you how to find.
More people just like them.
Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker, and blogger. And you are listening to the wedding pros who are ready to grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level.
If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business, doing what you love, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get going with today’s. Today, I’m joined from the other side of the world by Heidi Thompson, a self-proclaimed marketing nerd podcaster, and the founder of the book.
More wedding [00:01:00] summit. Heidi is on a mission to help you build a business that gives you the freedom to do what you love, both inside and outside of your business. And I’m thrilled to have her on the podcast today. Heidi. Welcome. It’s great to have you here. Why don’t you just start by telling people who are listening a little bit more about yourself.
Heidi: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. So as Becca said, I’m Heidi. Um, let’s see. I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan. Then I lived in Cambridge, not super crazy far from you for about six years. And now I’m based in San Diego where I am absolutely loving it. I can’t lie. Like we moved here for the weather.
We stay here for the weather and. It’s pretty
Becca: amazing. Awesome. Well, you definitely didn’t come to Cambridge in the UK for the weather. So what brought you to the UK? Like why were you here?
Heidi: My husband is from Cambridgeshire.
Becca: Oh, awesome. So you are married to a Brit?
Heidi: I [00:02:00] am. And we moved to his anybody little village, smallest place I’ve ever lived.
And, uh, it was, I liked it. I liked living there, but it got to a point that we were both like. I wanna live in a city and I want it to not be cloudy.
Becca: So yeah, I get that. We’re ready to go. I would much prefer to live in the sunshine. Well, next time you’re in Cambridge. Let me know and we’ll have to go for a drink.
So why marketing then you talked at the beginning or when I introduced you about being a marketing nerd. So what got you into marketing? Why marketing in the first place? What’s your background?
Heidi: Yeah, I fell into marketing. I didn’t study marketing in college. I studied political science in college. I was gonna work like on the hill in DC.
That was the plan or go to law school, but I absolutely fell out of love with that plan and, um, I was working with, uh, some nonprofit. In my college town and working on their fundraising [00:03:00] events and unbeknownst to me, the way that you have to get people to come to these events and care and donate money.
That’s marketing. So I got a really interesting crash course in marketing that way, and then found my way into the wedding industry, working as an assistant wedding planner, doing planning myself, and then deciding I love this industry. Don’t love having to deal with the people all the time. if I like do this without the people ideal world.
Right. But, um, yeah. And then like when I moved to the UK, I noticed because I, I had always kind of still kept, uh, an eye on the wedding industry. This was. Let’s see, I moved in 2009 and this was around 20 11, 20 12. Like the [00:04:00] height of like the rock and roll bride offbeat bride shift in the industry. But no one in the UK market was.
Doing anything about it? So everything was still like big white, fluffy ethereal. So I put together a wedding fair to bring together, you know, these awesome, you know, wedding professionals that are like still some of the most creative people I’ve ever dealt with in my life and the people who wanted to book them.
And I totally took for granted. That I had just been in this marketing world. Like I had been, I worked at Cambridge university in marketing. I worked for a fecal transplant clinic as their marketing manager. Like I’d just been immersed in this and I enjoy marketing cause it’s so. Tied to psychology, but I found myself having to spend a lot of time coaching these vendors to make sure they got a good return on investment.
And that’s when it [00:05:00] made me realize, yeah, I not everybody’s super into this. And you could help people in the wedding industry. Make a lot more money build, you know, more successful businesses if they knew how to do this better.
Becca: So interesting. So a kind of a roundabout way where you find yourself in the wedding industry, but here you are.
I’d love to know, actually, before we move on to a few more tips and pieces of advice. You talked about coming to the UK and seeing a gap in the market. Obviously now you’re back in the us. I believe that the UK wedding market is quite far behind the us wedding market in terms of what we do and the ideas that we put out there.
So what are you seeing that’s big out in the us right now that you might, that we might see coming over to the UK soon. That’s a really
Heidi: good question. I’m still seeing a. Very strong commitment to small, but not necessarily cheap. So it could be, you know, we have the same budget, but we have 25 guests. So we go [00:06:00] all.
You know, we have a five course meal for everybody. It’s like super Luxe, but it’s small. I think COVID gave people a really good excuse to lean into not inviting everyone they’ve ever met. To their wedding. And I still see people like still going hard into that.
Becca: Yeah, that’s so true. We definitely saw smaller weddings off of the back of COVID, but I feel like we are kind of, everyone’s just flipped back to the big wedding again.
So there’s definitely a market there to go for the super Luxe, small wedding. You heard it here first. Let’s get ahead of the rest of the UK and catch up with the American market. Everyone. Okay. So one of the things you love talking about Heidi is all about marketing and how to create marketing plans in a way that doesn’t create overwhelm.
because we know that all wedding pros are super busy and super overwhelmed. So let’s first of all, talk about the mistakes you see people making in their marketing. What mistakes are you seeing [00:07:00] commonly with wedding business owners? What have you seen previously? And is there a pattern.
Heidi: Ooh, this is such a juicy question.
so, um, I think the biggest mistake I see people make is diving head first into doing stuff before ever really thinking about it, having a strategy, having a plan, knowing who you’re talking to, knowing what they care about. That’s definitely the biggest mistake. I see people make, and that’s probably not even exclusive to the wedding industry because we all, you know, wanna dive in and get moving and bring in clients.
So it makes sense that that’s what people would do. Um, another thing I see people do is copying what other people are doing, but not realizing that marketing that works well is kind of like an iceberg and what you can see above the water. Is like such a small component [00:08:00] to what’s actually going on so you can copy what somebody’s doing and not get the same results because you don’t have that like 80% of the iceberg that’s under the
That is so. True. And you are right. People do do it by accident. They don’t mean to do it. They’re not trying to do it maliciously, but they see something they like, and then they just do another version of it or a poorer version of it. And actually it’s so much better when they just find their own unique voice and do it themselves.
So you talk about the needing more of a marketing plan. We know, I see it all the time. I’m sure you do that. Often. People kind of just have this hit and miss approach where. Try a little bit of everything, nothing works. Then they give up. Then they say they hate marketing, then they try something else. Uh, so you talk a little bit more about having a plan.
So what is a marketing plan? What does your idea of marketing plan look like? And why do you think that wedding professionals need one?
Heidi: So the way I teach creating a marketing plan, it’s five parts. First, you have your goal. What [00:09:00] are you even trying to accomplish here in being specific about it? Because we can say, I wanna book more weddings, but.
We all know that there’s like a specific number that you really want to go for. So we have to have something measurable. The second part is your research, and this is that bottom of the iceberg. This is. getting to know your ideal client, deciding who you wanna be, the go-to person for actually talking to them and finding out, like, why did they decide to work with you?
What did they see in you that they didn’t see in other people in the space because they had their options available to them. They chose to work with you. So digging more into that actually. Makes this whole thing a lot easier because they will tell you how to find more people just like them. Then we have part three, which is your messaging.
So based on what you just found out, what do [00:10:00] you need to be talking about? In your marketing, what actually matters to them? What are they concerned about? What do you need to address then? It’s not even until part four, the how that we get to. Okay. Where am I marketing? What am I doing in each of these places?
Because unless that’s fed by who am I talking to? What do they care about? What’s really important to them. How can I stand out as the go-to person for them? It doesn’t matter how good you are at any of the marketing tactics. It doesn’t work, because it all comes down to the psychology that it’s rooted in. And then part five is your data.
You know, we look at measuring, so we always wanna be making marketing easier. It should get perpetually easier. The longer you’re in business. And if it’s not it’s because you’re not letting your data make decisions for you. So your data should be telling you what to do more of what to do, less of what to change, [00:11:00] what to quit entirely.
So it really is a framework that makes all of these marketing decisions so much simpler because you’re not just, you know, choosing things at random.
Becca: I’m sure you see this as well, where people skip most of those steps because they just either don’t have time or they don’t have the inclination and they just wanna get to the good part.
And so instead of planning ahead, they take a phone call. Someone says, do you wanna advertise in my magazine? They get excited. They say yes. And then it doesn’t work. How do you encourage, how do you motivate people to do those initial steps? And what difference will it make for them?
Heidi: So the way I teach it is very step by step in my membership.
So it’s like, you don’t have an excuse of not knowing what to do next. This is all super step by step. So that’s a big component of it. But another is that I tell people this is work you’re gonna have to do from scratch once. One [00:12:00] time, unless you completely change your business, unless you completely change your ideal client, your market, but you’re never gonna have to start from this zero point again.
And usually for people in the membership, they get it done within 30 days, along with all the other work that they have going on. So it’s not the biggest thing in the world. Yes. It takes some time. Yes, it takes some work, but it. Everything after it so much easier and it ensures. It actually works, which is what we want our marketing
Becca: to do.
So do the work people because it will pay off and it’s better to do the work and then make the right decisions rather than making random decisions and then realizing it doesn’t work. And then still having to do the work at the end. Now, the other thing exactly that I see people doing. All of the time, is there like, right, I’m gonna post on Instagram, I’m gonna post on Facebook and then something new gets released or someone else is using a different platform [00:13:00] and they get that kind of shiny object syndrome.
They get really excited about something else. How do we avoid doing that? How do we stay focused on what we’re doing?
Heidi: so the process that I go through in how is you commit to no more than three marketing channels and you commit to that for the next 90 days, it’s long enough to see results. It’s short enough to allow you to make changes so you can have three marketing channels.
And I’ll talk more about that in a sec. And you can have one experiment. You’re only allowed one experiment per 90 day period, and it has to be an. Experiment like in biology class in eighth grade, you have to have a hypothesis. You have to test it. You have to look at the results or. It wasn’t worth it. So when I say marketing channels, I mean any way in which you are putting effort into getting more clients, so your marketing channels could be [00:14:00] referrals, it could be networking.
It could be SEO. It could be Instagram, it could be wedding fairs. It could be. Pinterest. There’s lots of different ways you can do it, but by committing to just three tops, you don’t have to have three but three tops. It allows you to then go further into, okay, what am I doing in each of these? What does that mean?
I need to be doing three weeks from now. What does that mean? I need to be doing a month from now in order to make sure I have all of this. And I’m for lack of a better word, like whole assing it, instead of half-assing it and not getting, you know, any of the results because. You know, you’re not going full out with your plan.
So we really break the plan down into the nitty gritty. What are you doing in each of these, but you’re limited to no more than three in a 90 day period. So when things come up, you decide. Where you’re gonna have your parking lot. Is it gonna be a Google [00:15:00] doc? Is it gonna be a note on your phone? Just things you wanna try later.
And then when you come into your 90 day planning, which we have sessions for my membership, we look at, okay, what do I wanna do in the next 90 days? Do I wanna pick up one of these things from the parking lot? Do I wanna let go of one of these things that I’ve been doing so that you are making that decision from a place of intention and not.
Randomly doing things.
Becca: Yes. There is so much randomness in the wedding industry. Heidi, you are so right. People are very random and it’s good to get some order going on. So I’m really pleased to hear that’s what you are doing. Now. You talked as well about one of your steps being. Data, I’m sure we could probably do a whole half an hour training session just on the data alone, but just top line, if people are looking at what’s working for them, what kind of data are you looking at?
Are you looking at social media, statistics, enquiries, sales, or all of the above?
Heidi: So all of the above, really what we’re trying to [00:16:00] look for is which of these things that you’re doing are working. and which of them aren’t. So when we look at things that are working, where are you getting most of your inquiries from?
Where are you getting the best quality inquiries from? Becayse that can be different from, you know, the amount. Maybe you’re getting a ton from Instagram, but your best quality comes from. Referrals or something like that. So that tells you, okay. If I want more quality, then I can shift my focus to taking specific actions toward getting more referrals.
So it orients you as opposed to just feeling like you have to do all the things all the time, because I feel like what we all tend to do naturally. You know, tend to the things that aren’t doing as well. You know, the plants that are dying, like we’re trying to give them as much love and care as we can, but in marketing, I mean, a lot of times you just gotta cut them loose.
[00:17:00] You just have to put more of your attention into things that are already working. Because if it’s already working for you, it’s probably going to be pretty easy to. 10%, 20% more out of something that’s already working by being more intentional about
Becca: it. Yeah. So being focused and looking at that data and you’re right.
Sometimes it’s knowing when to let stuff go and that’s hard, is it because our businesses become our babies and we feel like, no, we don’t wanna let go of this. We put so much time into it, but sometimes you’re better off to let it go. Now, Heidi, one of the other reasons that I got you on the podcast this week specifically is because you have something really exciting.
Coming up next week. So if you’re listening to this in real time, next week, um, Heidi has her summit coming up, which I’m actually gonna be speaking at as part of that summit this year, which I’m really excited about. So do you wanna just tell us a little bit more about the summit, where it came from, why you [00:18:00] do it and what’s gonna be happening.
Heidi: So the Book more wedding summit started unintentionally at the beginning of the pandemic. I had intended to do it. I didn’t intend to do it at the beginning of a pandemic, but that’s kinda what happened. So it’s a completely online conference. We have more than 20 amazing people like Becca speaking on different topics, all of which are related to how you can attract and book more of your ideal client.
So that is the entire focus of the event. It is jam packed with so many awesome people talking on so many incredible topics. We’ve got some fun live sessions lined up and. It’s really just a, like, I, I was expecting it to be fun, but it’s so much more fun than I was expecting the first time around. And it’s why I continue to do it.
You know, it, it’s just really, really exciting to come [00:19:00] together with people in the wedding industry, from literally all over the world, like six continents represented in this event and just people sharing, you know what they’re trying, what they’re doing, what’s working for them. And learning and taking action.
That’s my favorite part is seeing people actually like, hang on, I’m gonna go do this thing I just learned. And then two days later being like, oh my God, it’s working. This is amazing.
Becca: yes. I love that. And I love that the pandemic did that. Didn’t it, it kind of shrunk the world. I’ve definitely worked with more people from around different corners of the globe.
Post pandemic than I did pre pandemic because the world, all of a sudden feels so much smaller online, and I’ve seen the lineup of speakers. You’ve got an incredible lineup. So I’m gonna be there speaking all about how to book more at a wedding expo, or if you’re in the wedding, uh, industry in the UK, a wedding fair as we like to call them.
Uh, I know you’ve got the fabulous Kelly. Mortimer, who’s a great friend of mine. She’s gonna be speaking as well. Who else have you got [00:20:00] in the lineup? This. . Ooh.
Heidi: Okay. Let’s see. Here. We have, uh, Amber Anderson talking about the power of working with a wedding planner. So if you’re not a planner, this is like how to work better with a wedding planner.
Uh, one I’m really excited about is Anya from Maru is talking about how gen Z is shaping the future wedding world. I feel like our industry. Loves talking about millennials, but, uh, I’m, I’m 35 and I’m a millennial. And like I’m not our target demo anymore. So we need to be talking about gen Z, which I’m really excited about.
Uh, we have. Laura Cannon from Australia, talking about how to use Instagram stories to make more sales. We have Julie Rothnovak from party slate talking about SEO. Like we are covering. So many [00:21:00] different corners of marketing and sales in this
Becca: event. So exciting, so many great speakers, so many great topics from all corners of the world.
So if people are listening and they wanna get involved, they can get involved upfront for free. Is that right? How’s it all gonna work? .
Heidi: Yeah, absolutely. So you can register for free. It’s a totally free event. Uh, the way it works is with a free ticket. Every day, presentations are released. You have 24 hours to watch them until the next day when the next batch of presentations gets released.
And then you also have the option to purchase one of our upgrades, which either. The recordings, the workbooks, the transcripts, or all of that, plus a ton of incredible bonuses from our speakers, as well as live V I P networking sessions, co-working session and, uh, Q and A with myself. So you get the choice between those if you do want to choose an upgrade [00:22:00] and they are.
Super super low priced.
Becca: They are incredibly low price. I’ve put together. Um, my bundles, my speaker package for the bundle and, uh, that’s worth 249 pounds on its own. So you need to go and check that out. Now I’m gonna put all the links for the summit in the show notes, but basically you can get the sessions for free for 24 hours.
But if you want the replays and all those bundles and things like that, there’s a low cost price on there as well. I’m glad you’re giving people 24 hours rather than just expecting people to watch live because here in the UK, our time difference means that a lot of the things are happening in the nighttime.
So book those days out, if you wanna be part of the summit, Just have a look at the dates that’s coming out. The 22nd of August is when it starts book those days out in the diary so that you can catch up on those replays and catch the sessions that you want to catch as well. And will everyone get a timetable of what’s happening when.
Heidi: you can go to bookmoreweddingssummit.com/schedule. We’ve got everything broken down there for you. [00:23:00] And every day, you’ll see which presentations are being released, which live sessions we’ve got going on. And of course, when you register, you’ll get an email each day letting you know what’s happening.
Becca: don’t miss anything. It’s going to be so good. So if you guys wanna learn, if you wanna hear from those incredible speakers from all around the world, then check out the link in my show notes and you can get into that summit. And of course go and watch my session and let me know what you think as well. Now we’ve talked a little bit about overwhelm Heidi, and I think sometimes when it comes to something like a summit and there’s so many great training sessions, people can feel overwhelmed.
By it. So do you have any kind of pro tips about how people should approach the summit? How they should come to it? Because I think sometimes off the back of a summit is when you get that shiny object syndrome, because they hear so many great talks and they get so inspired by the things they’ve heard that they go and try everything at once.
So how do you think people should approach the summit?
Heidi: I encourage people to think about what they need currently, like what’s going on for [00:24:00] you. Do you need a way to better reach your ideal clients or do you need better ways to sell to your ideal clients? Are you already thinking about, you know, starting a YouTube channel, I would lean into the things that you already know that you need and really focus on that and allow.
These sessions to be a way of addressing that. And then, you know, what a lot of people tell me if they pick up the upgrades is that they treat them like a library. And when they get to a point where it’s like, okay, I’m finally gonna get around to working on my SEO. I can go back to that training. I can go back to this bonus and dig into that because you have lifetime access available, but if you’re just gonna stick with the free ticket, I would say, prioritize, what are you going to be able to take action on?
What are you? It’s. There’s this philosophy called just in time learning. So what do you need to [00:25:00] learn right now based on what’s going on in your world, what’s going on in your business that you can implement, not something you think you wanna do, like three years down the road, but like what you can actually take action on today.
I would say focus on those things.
Becca: Yeah, really helpful advice. And I also would encourage everyone to leave space for a random pick. And the reason I’m gonna say that is because I’ve been to so many conferences where I look through the schedule and I see sessions and I think that’s gonna be terrible. I’m not interested in that.
That’s not one I’m gonna be interested in and every single time it’s the best one. I’m like, yeah, this was so good. I’m so glad I came to that. Do you have that experience? I always find.
Heidi: That I’m really glad you brought that up. Because I really have had that experience too, where it’s like, I don’t need this.
And then you’re like, oh, I didn’t realize how much I needed this this is
Becca: really huge. It’s so true. And the best thing for you as the host of the summit, I guess is you get to watch most, if not all of the sessions, like [00:26:00] when I host my own training, always think that’s the best bit about it. I get all the training myself because I’m there for all of it.
So you are gonna have a great week next week as well. Aren’t you Heidi?
Heidi: Oh, absolutely. I’ve been, you know, we’ve been working on transcripts and going through things and it’s like, Ooh, this stuff’s juicy. I need to
Becca: come back to this. Well, it’s gonna be an awesome week. So do go to the show notes, find that link, sign up, get that free training and take a look at the bundle of.
stuff as well, because there is some incredible things in there now, Heidi, before I let you go, because I know you’re super busy with all the promo for your summit this week. We always end the podcast with the same question, whoever the guest is, which is, is there something you wish you’d known sooner in your business?
Heidi: like it’s something I have to continue to learn for myself and it’s to let things be. It’s really easy to just the way we’re trained, the way we work to look for like the hardest way [00:27:00] possible to do things for whatever reason. And. I swear like nine times out of 10, there’s a much, much easier way of doing things.
So I lean into the lazy, I look for ways of making things easier, but like definitely when I first. Started my business. It was like, this doesn’t feel right. This doesn’t feel like I’m working hard enough. This doesn’t feel like I’m like, I don’t know suffering enough or whatever we’re supposed to do in our own minds.
And just learning to let things be easy, just allows for so much more simplicity because we don’t need to design our businesses to be these difficult things that we have to fight with every.
Becca: Yes. I’m so glad you said that because I often think of myself as a bit of a lazy entrepreneur, because I’m always trying to find the simplest easiest, lowest hard work way of doing everything.
And that is okay. So [00:28:00] thanks Heidi for reminding me that it’s oh, okay. Heidi. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got coming up for the summit next week. I know there’s gonna be some incredible sessions. I’m definitely gonna be tuning into some myself. If people wanna find out more about you, about your membership, about the summit.
All things, Heidi and your podcast, where should people go to find you? Best place to
Heidi: go is my website, evolve your wedding, business.com and I’m Evolve your Wedding business on Instagram. And my DMS are always open to talk about this stuff, because I’m a huge nerd for it. So don’t be shy. Shoot me a DM.
Becca: Fabulous. I’ll make sure all of the links to all of Heidi’s things are in the show notes. So you can find her podcast, find the summit and find her Instagram and drop her a DM as well. Heidi, I hope you’re coming back to the UK soon. I would love to hang out if you are, if you’ve got any.
Heidi: I might be back in
Ooh, exciting. Well, yeah, keep me, keep me posted because I’m only 30 minutes from Cambridge and I’d love to hang out and talk all things, wedding and marketing with you. [00:29:00] Absolutely will take care and I’ll see you soon. I love chatting to Heidi. It’s an incredible how the internet and COVID really has brought people together from all across the world. Heidi’s done such an amazing job curating next week’s summit. She’s got some incredible speakers. So do go to the show notes and check out the links in there. And I’ll be back to talk more things weddings with you next week.