At long last, gay marriage is legal in the state of New York — which means that thousands of ecstatic couples all over the state (Neil Patrick Harris and his partner included) are already planning ceremonies. The new law is likely to create an economic boom for the state: The state senate projects that the new marriage equality act will generate more than $311 million in revenue over the next few years.
But not all wedding-related service providers will stand to benefit. Due to fears of discrimination, many gay couples are very cautious in choosing service providers such as caterers, DJs, photographers, and officiants. If you’re in a state that has legalized gay marriage, and you want your business to be on the go-to lists of same-sex couples, here’s how to get in with the rainbow wedding crowd.
Promote your business as gay-friendly. Even if you’re not catering exclusively to gay customers, you can still demonstrate your support by hanging a rainbow flag outside your business, putting a rainbow sticker in the window, or just including a “same-sex couples welcome” tagline on your sign, website, and marketing materials.
Advertise in LGBT media sources. As gay marriage gains strength, a growing number of print and online publications are arriving to meet the demands of same-sex couples planning their nuptials. Consider placing ads on sites like Equally Wed, GayWeddings.com, and Rainbow Wedding Network. Your state likely has relevant print publications as well: Find out if there are any LGBT publications in your area, and ask the editorial department whether they’re planning any wedding-themed coverage that might be a good advertising fit for your business.
Sponsor a gay-themed event. Sponsoring a float in your local Gay Pride Parade or hosting a booth at a gay-themed public event such as a concert can be a great way to spread the word about your business to your intended audience. Check out your region’s LGBT events calendar to find what’s going on, and call the event organizers to find out about sponsorship opportunities.
Focus on word-of-mouth marketing. As with any demographic group, gay couples are more likely to use you as a service provider if they’ve received glowing recommendations from their friends. If you’re hoping to break into the gay wedding market, actively solicit gay couples by offering them substantial discounts for a limited period of time. Although you’ll reduce your profit margins, you’ll have better success getting those initial clients, who will then spread the word about your services to their own friends.