People born between 1981 and 1994, known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are reaching the stage of life when they are getting married. They are your wedding customers. To better understand the minds and buying behaviors of Gen Y brides, turn to SAF’s Generations of Flowers Study. Below are key findings as well as marketing and promotional ideas to help you attract Gen Y brides.
Most Valuable Gen Y Bridal Data
Members of Gen Y can be been described as “single stem exotics,” meaning their desire to express their individuality is highly valued and cherished, as well as actively demonstrated. Tech savvy Gen Y has grown up with customized everything – from iPOD playlists to clothes, cell phones and even computers.
There is no doubt that when wedding bells are ringing, Gen Y brides will seek out the florist who can best meet their individual needs and wants. Communicating to Gen Y brides how your shop and your designs can help them create their own modern twist – from personal colors to signature designs – will give you a leg up over the competition.
Gen Y also loves entertaining, and with weddings come parties of all kinds – from engagements to brunches and dinners. After the wedding, the couple has a lifetime of get-togethers. The SAF Generations of Flowers Study shows that Gen Y likes to impress guests in their home with flowers. Be more than their wedding florist — be their florist for life. They are just beginning their adult lives and facing lots of firsts. They are settling into new homes, making new friends, celebrating parenthood and most importantly, they have new sources of income.
Reach Out to Gen Y Brides
According to SAF’s Generations of Flowers Study, only one-third of Gen Yers feel knowledgeable about where to buy flowers. So you need to be where they are.
The most effective way to reach Gen Y is through word-of-mouth communication, which is the top influencer of what people decide to purchase. Word-of-mouth buzz can be shared face-to-face or digitally. The following ideas provide ways you can tap the power of traditional and social media to grow your wedding business in the months and years to come.
Brag Online: Post Pictures, Videos and Testimonials
Because Gen Y has grown up with social media technologies (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube), to reach this tech-savvy demographic, you must learn and employ social media.
Start with the basics – enhance your website.
The most appealing reasons to enhance your website are:
- to have an exciting web presence when people log on and connect via social media and
- to provide an online environment that allows you to interact with current and potential clients.
So that future brides can find your wedding resources quickly and easily (with as few clicks as possible), create a new website devoted to your wedding business. The URL could be: www.yourshopnameweddingflorist.com. On your current site, add a text link to your new wedding website. Be sure to include a link back your current site from your new wedding website. If you can’t create a new website, at the least create a comprehensive wedding section on your current site that is visible and easy to find from the homepage.
Your wedding website should feature images of weddings you’ve done, to give local and out-of-town brides a chance to see your work and get some ideas.
- Take pictures of your wedding work to post.
- Consider asking photographers servicing your brides’ weddings to take photos of your arrangements for you, and in exchange provide a link on your site to the photographer’s site.
You also might consider bringing your wedding stories to life through both photos and testimonials. Ask bridal clients to share a photo or two from their wedding day for your website with a video or a quote to accompany the photos. Most Gen Y brides will be flattered. You could sweeten the exchange by offering a free arrangement or a floral consultation for their newlywed home.
Other Resources for your Wedding Website:
- FAQs. Feel free to use SAF’s FAQs
- List of what to bring to your first consultation
- Wedding Flower Calculator. Give busy brides-to-be help when it comes to making their wedding plans and budgets.
- Color Scheme Selections. To help brides pick their wedding colors and flowers, on your website, showcase a variety of arrangements and bouquets in different color palettes. This will be particularly helpful for brides who are just starting their planning and looking for florists.
- Floral Checklist. From engagement parties and bridal showers to family brunches and thank-you gifts, provide a floral checklist, to help ensure they consider how to build flowers into their entire wedding experience.
- Flower Library. Gen Y brides may not be familiar with the wide variety of flowers available. Create a flower library or link to the Flower Info section on www.aboutflowers.com.
- Blog. Post design trend information and ideas for decorating engagement parties and first homes. And, get creative! When celebrities get married, track down images of their wedding flowers in magazines or online and describe them in detail for your readers.
Use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr to Grab their Attention
Once you’ve created a wedding website, use social media to drive Gen Y brides to the site and engage them in an ongoing dialog to build your relationship.
- Florists who are on Twitter (if not you should start an account at www.twitter.com), can easily post a link to your Twitter feed directly onto your website homepage or your wedding page. You can Tweet (what a Twitter posting is called) a wedding planning tip of the day, a wedding flower trend or even a picture of what you are designing for a wedding.
- Facebook (www.facebook.com) is another powerful and popular tool to help foster a dialog with potential bridal customers. For example, you can create a weddings group within your Facebook fan base to enhance and expand the conversation and buzz for your shop. You can post discussion questions for brides on which to comment. For example, you can post the question – “Which flowers do you feel make a great gift for guests coming in from out of town?” and let your fans respond.
- Other common social media tools to use are YouTube (www.youtube.com) and Flickr (www.flickr.com), which allow you to share video and photos (respectively) with millions of potential customers. Create short videos featuring your wedding designs and post them to YouTube. Each time you post a new video, photo or other item, post a link to your website, post it on Facebook and send a Tweet that there’s something new to check out on your site.
Now that you have the building blocks for reaching Gen Y, it’s time to develop and offer unique services to deepen your relationship with your Gen Y bridal customers. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Ask for a Link. Many brides create their own wedding websites to share their wedding activities with family and friends. (Many of the friends are future brides so they are great prospective customers.) Ask your customers to include your shop as part of their nuptials news coverage. Email your brides “content” for their website, including snapshots of the bride choosing her wedding flowers and images of wedding arrangements with a listing of the flowers used.
- Ask them to mention you on Facebook. When they post pictures of their wedding, as them to mention your shop or tag your shop as their wedding florist. Then all of their friends (and potential customers) will see your work. Or ask for a picture of them with their flowers and post if on your page with a comment about how much you enjoyed working with the bride. Tag them in the picture so that all of their friends also see your post.
- Design Reviews Live. Create a link on your website that brides can visit to view and share potential wedding flowers and designs for their weddings. She can easily share the link with friends and family – including the groom and his family – to post instant feedback on which flowers and colors they prefer. Best of all, you can see the comments, too, and offer solutions to meet even the pickiest bridesmaid’s needs.
- Skype Consultations. Skype is a free online service for making voice and video calls right from your computer. Offer using Skype to connect with brides anywhere, anytime, and make great use of both your time. Make sure your Skype Consulation area shows the “We’re Married to Perfection” poster in the background.
- Same-Day Pics. Brides may not have the time, budget or forethought to take pre-wedding pictures of their wedding flowers and décor. As part of your wedding package, offer to snap shots of the flowers being set up and installed for their posterity.
- Ask the Wedding Florist. Invite brides to ask a question about wedding flowers on your website. Share your answers on Facebook and your website. Post a Tweet to let your followers know there’s new information on your website with a link to the page.
- iPhone Color App. Paint manufacturer Sherwin Williams has created an iPhone App that helps you find the exact color of paint to match anything you take a photo of. Keep a palette of Sherwin Williams paints in your shop to let brides know you can help create designs to match virtually any color they find.
- Color Her World. Show her you’re keyed into current color trends by logging into the Pantone Wedding Guide. Together, you two can browse different palette combos — and create an inspiration board, where you can upload inspiration photos, see flowers in those hues and check out dresses that coordinate as well.
- Free Home Consultation. As a follow up to the wedding day, offer brides an in-home floral consultation, where you bring flowers to their home and help them create a custom floral signature for their homes.
Here are some fun, promotional ways to create word of mouth buzz about your wedding day services to Gen Y brides.
- Search Engine Marketing. It’s easy and cost effective to place digital link ads on search engines such as Google – and the great news is you only pay for clicks to your website! Consider buying ads for search keywords such as “wedding flowers in (insert your city name)” or other relevant searches in your area.
- Strategic Digital Advertising. Check out rates and availability of buying strategic digital ads on sites such as theknot.com, eWeddings or WeddingWindow.com, where brides can set up their own custom wedding website. You might also consider checking into rates for the websites of other local wedding resources such as party halls, bridal shops and caterers.
- Host a “bridal reception.” This is something you also can do in your shop or digitally if you have the resources! Invite brides past and present to connect for a reception in their honor to showcase the latest floral and bridal trends. Help them recreate their wedding flowers for a bouquet that can adorn their homes. Ask them to bring a friend who could become your future customer.
- Ask for Good Reviews. Online review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List offer online florist and wedding flower reviews from real customers. Ask your brides to post a listing on your shop’s behalf. Consider offering a free arrangement in exchange.
- Go to the Show. Attend wedding expos in your area for meeting and greeting new clients. Personalize the “We’re Married to Perfection” postcard or flier with your shop contact information and hand them out so brides will remember you. And use the expos as a way to enhance your social media activities. Take digital pictures of new trends and ideas and upload them to your website and on Twitter.
- Reach Bloggers. Send images/stories from weddings you’ve designed to national and local wedding blogs such as www.stylemepretty.com and www.swsmag.com. These and other wedding bloggers frequently post photos of real weddings on their blogs, which also can translate into you becoming a preferred vendor.
- Partnerships. Wedding photographers are active in the social media space, as pictures are highly valued online. Ask a local wedding photographer if he or she would like to partner in a joint promotion to reach brides who are searching for service online.
Don’t be scared of social media. If you’re not ready to dive right in, start slow. Fan SAF on Facebook and fan other florists –see how they’re using Facebook. Subscribe to other florists’ Twitter feeds. See how they’re using it. If they can do it, you can, too. Once you do, you’ll start meeting Gen Y brides who will become your lifetime customers.
Target Gen Y’s Parents: Baby Boomers
Gen Y is the bride, but her parents are Baby Boomers and they’re most likely footing the bill. While you want to hook the bride, you also have to keep her parents happy, too, and turn them into lifetime customers. While you can likely reach some Baby Boomers on Facebook as well, here are some ideas for reaching them in the traditional way:
- Target Moms: Build visibility for your shop by tacking the “We’re Married to Perfection” flier on bulletin boards in grocery stores, malls, gyms and craft fairs.
- Thank You Gift: After the first consultation, send mom a small mixed bouquet as a congratulations and thank-you gift. Send it with the “We’re Married to Perfection” postcard with the bouquet.
- MOB Corsages: Post pictures of Mother-of-the-Bride corsages on your wedding website.
- Advertise. Buy ad space and use the “Married to Perfection” ads. Publish the ad in the weddings section of local newspapers, homeowners association newsletters, garden club newsletters, etc.
- Mailing List. Add mom to your mailing list. Be sure to send her an “Impress Beyond Words” postcard and include her on your e-newsletter distribution list.
- Put your website on everything you do.