With the year we've had, it might seem like an odd time to be thinking about entering new markets. After all, events have been postponed, and a significant change in your business feels tentative at best. However, as we approach the end of the year, it's a good time to start planning for 2021 and, inevitably, a post-pandemic landscape.
Ultimately, serving clients in several markets is a smart way to diversify income and build a more crisis-proof foundation for your business. If you have growth in your sights for the years ahead, here’s what you need to keep in mind as you plan your approach.
Is it the right time?
Growth comes in many forms, it’s always an exciting—but challenging—endeavor. Before embarking on a journey into new markets, you need to be sure that your business is prepared to take on the extra workload. Ideally, you should already be consistently booked in your existing market—otherwise, you need to focus your energy on bringing in more business where you already are.
Researching your new market
Whether you're looking to enter a new geographical area or start marketing towards a sect of the market (i.e., micro weddings, LGBTQ+ weddings, corporate events, etc.), you need to grasp what to expect when you expand. Is the market already saturated? If not, is it due to a lack of demand? Take the time to do some in-depth market research to identify the best way to make a profit with these new clients—it's better to spend time researching beforehand than to learn the hard way when it's too late.
Preparing your team
Entering a new market will require everyone on your team to be versatile and adaptable, ready to learn all it takes to succeed with a new set of clients. If you're expanding to a new geographical area, this can sometimes mean relocating certain employees who already have company experience (or hiring someone new).
However, if you're making a shift in the industry, prepare to educate your team and bring them up to speed. For example, if you want to serve the LGBTQ+ community as part of your brand, consider sensitivity training to help your employees build empathy and teach them how to work best with same-sex couples.
Adapting your brand
Your brand is a representation of all that you have to offer to clients, so you'll need to determine whether you need to make adjustments before entering any new market. You may not need to change anything; in other cases, you might get away with a dedicated page on your website. You could even need a full brand overhaul to appeal to all of your potential clients for major expansions.
Whether you need to adjust your brand will depend on your expansion's magnitude, but the key is to keep it consistent across the board. This includes everything from your website design and your logo to your social media feed and your testimonials. Your brand is your reputation, so consider how you want prospects in your new market to think about you.
Expanding into a new market can be a risky move, but with risk comes reward. When done right, it can take your brand to new heights and boost your bottom line. As you navigate the process, keep an eye on your marketing to ensure your messaging is effectively hitting the mark within the new market; once it does, you’ll start to see interest—and your business—grow.