Offbeat Bride’s business model is mostly built around promoting independent wedding vendors who are looking to reach our nontraditional wedding market. We’re clear that we’re a little bit picky about who we bring on as sponsors, and there are some types of businesses we decline without a second thought — sketchy-looking Chinese dress replica sites, scammy-looking diamond ring sellers, etc.
That said, we never turn businesses away for being “not offbeat enough.”
The way we see it, our readers are all along the offbeat spectrum, and we’d expect our vendors to range from “more traditional” to “totally out-there” as well. We know that sometimes vendors who’ve catered to more traditional weddings really super want to start working with less traditional clients, and advertising with us is a way they put that desire into action.
So, while we almost never decline an advertiser for having marketing materials that are “too traditional,” I do want to make sure wedding vendors looking to appeal to nontraditional clients know that if your website is too traditional, you may not see a solid return on investment when you reach out to nontraditional couples.
Let’s be clear here: we’re all working our market niches, and it’s totally up to every business owner to know which markets they do and don’t want to target. For instance, some vendors only cater to luxury weddings — they don’t want clients with budgets under $100k, and that’s a fine choice to make! Other vendors may have religious reasons for excluding LGBT couples, and while I certainly don’t agree with them (nor would I accept their advertising money!), it’s their business and if they want to focus on the “straight market,” that’s their prerogative! (Ew! …but I mean, I guess I wouldn’t want people telling me how to run MY business, soooooo….)
BUT! If you’re coming to Offbeat Bride wanting to reach nontraditional readers, then you should do your best to make sure your marketing materials are inclusive, so that you match our market as well as you possibly can. This means stuff like…
- Use LGBT-inclusive language and imagery
Don’t refer to “brides and grooms,” just refer to “couples.”
- Avoid gender assumptions
Don’t use language or imagery that reinforces the bride as the decision maker — or that there’s even a bride involved at all!
- Show couples with a wide range of ethnicity, shape, size, age, ability, etc
I get that not every vendor has worked with a diverse clientele, but even vendors in white, conservative areas can show off their plus-size couples, over-40 couples, etc.
- If you have gaps in your portfolio, offer incentives to clients to fill them!
If you wish you had more nontraditional diversity in your marketing materials, you can explicitly invite potential offbeat clients to get in touch with you. We’ve seen lots of vendors have great luck with special promotions in Offbeat Bride sponsored posts, where they offer discounts or deals to couples who are outside the vendors typical clientele.
If you don’t make an effort to have inclusive marketing materials that invite nontraditional readers in, then you can’t expect to get a great return on investment from your marketing dollars… and fuck, I really want my advertisers to get a great ROI from working with us. We send you traffic, but how you welcome and work with that traffic is what’s going to make the difference for conversions.
I’d love to hear from wedding vendors who’ve worked to make their marketing materials more inclusive — what angles have you worked with?