Is Advertising on The Knot Better Than SEO?
There comes a time in every wedding vendor’s career when they have to make a choice: The Knot or Wedding Wire. Some don’t even contemplate the question and just pay for both.
It seems like a logical decision—everyone else seems to be doing it, so why not join the fray?
But if you look at any of The Knot’s local listings, it’s kind of like entering a stadium during a concert and trying to find your best friend without the ability to text. It’s going to be overwhelming. There’s going to be a lot of noise and too many people to look at.
Eventually, you’ll just go home and send your apologies to your friend.
That’s kind of what The Knot or WeddingWire can be like. The moment a potential client enters the mega wedding website, it’s ad after ad after ad. Picture after picture after picture. Videos. Flashing graphics. Advice and warnings.
A lot of people just leave.
Yet, so many wedding vendors still sign up to advertise on The Knot, thinking that if they spend the money, t’ll be worth it. I mean, it’s logical to assume the free listings don’t do well because they’re free…right?
Unfortunately, that’s exactly how The Knot makes its money—literally on hopes and dreams. It preys on the entrepreneurial spirit, promising success based on the hundreds of thousands of people that flock to the site to plan their wedding.
And you don’t get any judgment from me if you’ve done this in the past or still currently do this. I spent thousands on The Knot in the past before moving on to SEO for my now-closed wedding photography business.
But let’s explore advertising on The Knot vs. investing in SEO and how you might want to consider taking those high monthly advertising costs and investing in SEO content and backlink work.
As a heads up, I’m using Wedding Wire and The Knot synonymously here in most ways—they’re the same company, XO Group, with a relatively similar business structure. The only difference is that The Knot aims for higher-end brides and grooms (albeit may fall flat on this), while Wedding Wire is definitely more budget.
What is The Knot?
The Knot is a digital publication that caters to hundreds of thousands of engaged couples. It’s an invaluable resource to brides and grooms looking to plan their wedding and gain insight into best practices, costs, and every question they might have about the planning process.
For wedding professionals, The Knot offers a way to situate in front of these eager couples and hopefully gain their attention through listings. Couples can narrow down to their local market and peruse the local vendors offering services.
In theory, for vendors, this will equal more leads and in turn, more money.
Is signing up for The Knot & Wedding Wire free?
The Knot does offer free listings for wedding vendors hoping to at least get a free backlink. It’s a comprehensive vendor directory, so you’ll find almost every competitor possible right next to your name.
Nowadays, the free listing option is limited in what it can offer. You can’t load a logo, pricing, or social media features without paying.
What to Consider Before Paying for a Profile
There are pros and cons to paying for The Knot or Wedding Wire. You’ll have to call a rep to find out the exact information for your own market and segment of the wedding industry—the pricing varies for each.
For example, a photographer in Miami will pay more than a caterer in Miami but won’t pay as much as a photographer in Los Angelos or a caterer in Los Angelos.
And yes, some vendors, like wedding photographers, will always pay more. For almost any kind of advertising anywhere. But that’s a topic for another day.
Pros of Advertising On The Knot
While I might be biased to convince you SEO is the better option, I won’t have anyone saying I can’t be objective because there are some benefits to advertising on The Knot. But maybe not the ones you might think.
- The listing actually equals a free backlink!
- If you’re a paid advertiser, you can be invited to vendor mixers and are more likely to be asked for images for other places on the site.
- Potential customers are already mid-funnel when they reach out to you, so they’re closer to committing to a contract.
- They invest in oodles of SEO for themselves, so they’re almost always on top for Google wedding vendor search results.
Cons of Advertising On The Knot
See, the thing is, a quick search on Google will show you a lot of people think advertising on The Knot is a bad idea unless they’re actually The Knot. Naturally, there will be people pleased with the results, but they’re often in less competitive local markets or industries.
- High monthly costs without any real benefits like social media shoutouts, featured blogs, or anything else that isn’t already pre-negotiated.
- The cost to be on the front page is astronomical in any city. We’re talking about closing in on $1k a month, on average.
- The Knot actually had its BBB accreditation revoked in 2020 due to its inability to adhere to the minimum requirements.
- Extremely long-term commitments without any promises—you’re most likely going to agree to at least one year with zero ability to cancel anytime.
- A lot of inquiries are tire kickers or budget brides and grooms.
- The Knot Magazine is, in my non-objective and yet objective opinion, not worth the money. Few couples actually look at those advertisements.
How Qualified Are the Leads on The Knot?
This is open to speculation. First, a lot of vendors receive spam leads from SEO folx like myself (I would never do that). But outside of that, it’s a toss-up.
Most are reaching out through the site just to gather information, like collecting flyers at an expo. Most go in the trash at the end of the day, though. A majority of vendors will probably admit they were ghosted more often than not.
If you get a featured listing and are willing to pay that money, then you might have an increase in high-quality leads, but it isn’t guaranteed. Especially not in the way your rep might make it sound.
Wedding pros know they’re going to deal with a bunch of bull shizzle when it comes to leads, but The Knot really seems to offer low-quality leads like hotcakes.
But you have to consider the emotional, mental, and time investment required to see a lead, get excited, open it up, realize it’s spam or spend time typing up a thoughtful response, then hearing nothing.
It’s hard enough to run a wedding business—you shouldn’t be paying for layers of irritation, too.
Does It Cost Money to Use The Knot?
As I mentioned above, The Knot will cost you between $2,000 and $12,000 a year. Perhaps more for those prime online advertising spots on the front page, depending on the market. The more competition your local area offers, the more they’re going to charge you, guaranteed.
The amount you’ll pay will be due in monthly increments, broken down from the overall cost.
Is Advertising on Wedding Wire or The Knot Worth It?
Only you can answer this question, friend. I don’t know your market or industry, so it’s hard to say definitively yes or not.
But I can tell you that in the last 12 years as a professional wedding photographer, many vendors told me about what a waste of money it is.
And I can tell you I personally wasted thousands of my own, as well. Most markets are hard to crack in the first place, let alone a saturated vendor directory that every other wedding vendor is signed up for.
But let’s talk about a far more beneficial alternative to The Knot advertising: SEO.
What Is SEO?
Now that we’ve gone over what paying for The Knot and Wedding Wire advertising might look like let’s go over how SEO will be a better option for your business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essentially being found on Google (or Bing or Yahoo, etc.). So when someone types into the search bar, “Wedding venue in Austin,” then your venue will pop up, hopefully.
For wedding pros, Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) can be a gold mine for more leads and even though it isn’t as cheap as a free listing, it’s going to be far more profitable in the long run.
More brides and grooms than ever are utilizing Google to find their vendors, and that means there’s a huge amount of opportunity for you. It’s time to take advantage of this!
Your Marketing Dollars Are Better Spent With SEO
Again, I know I’m biased, but I used SEO to build a very successful wedding photography business, and I’m confident you can find the same amount of success.
When engaged couples search for wedding vendors online, they want to be as informed as possible. The cool part of this is they’re going to dig deeper than the first page or two. Hell, you could be on page three or four and still be found and contacted.
As a wedding pro, I’m sure you want to be seen as many times as possible, so the beauty of SEO is that we can apply it to different pages on your website and not just the home page.
The Knot advertising, however, is only limited to one page (and they generally want it to be your home page).
So while you could rank for hundreds of keywords on Google, The Knot will shuffle you on the pages and it’s a game of roulette if you’re seen. The sales reps might promise the largest audience, but are they?
You’re probably now wondering how to start ranking. First, you’ll want to invest in an SEO audit to see what kind of situation you’re currently in.
Are SEO Audits Worth It?
Yes!!! Knowing where you exist on the map right now is vital to creating an SEO strategy. You could be one of the best vendors in the world, but if people don’t know where you are, potential clients have no way to book you!
With so much competition, it’s vital to see where your wedding business and site stand within the share of the market.
With Avery Atelier, an SEO Audit Includes:
- Surveying the current competition on the first page.
- Look at the current rankings, keywords, and pages of your website.
- Your site structure.
- Discover any 301s, 410s, 404s.
- Dig deeper into the different ways you advertise.
- The strength of your brand and how potential customers might view it.
- Discover what could bring more traffic to your site.
- Assimilate the research and provide recommendations for your business that makes sense.
Before you really commit to different avenues to advertise your company, let’s go over your website and brand to figure out how best to get those searching for you find you.
What Types of SEO Strategies Are There?
SEO is so incredibly varied. It isn’t just creating content or creating a PPC strategy with Google ads. And for the most part, you can’t just focus on one avenue either.
You have to utilize at least three SEO strategies to make it a more well-rounded plan of attack. So let’s go over some of them.
Google ads is definitely something all wedding business owners have heard of. Even if you aren’t quite sure what they’re called, they’re going to be the first 2-4 results on every SERP result. It can definitely increase the kinds of leads received, which is awesome.
But you also might still gain some tire kickers, so make sure to craft great ads with intention.
Yep, social media is an SEO and marketing tactic. If you’re like me, you probably hate it. It requires so much dedication and strategy. And then you might have to deal with assholes eager to offer rejection on a hot plate.
But it brings in more leads and this is undeniable. And it can often be more successful than The Knot, because you don’t always have to pay to advertise, and you can teach potential clients the kind of service you’ll provide.
Plus, engaged couples, Gen-Z especially, are searching for their vendors this way. So if you’re looking for more high-quality leads, you may way to consider adding this to your repertoire.
Content is King. I say it all the time, but the best way to get your website to rank and get more backlinks (more on that next), you need to be pumping out content. More couples than ever want education and creating a blog for your website and writing informative content can be a real untapped resource.
This doesn’t have to be a blog either. You can cultivate a newsletter and collect the emails on your site. This will capture leads and undoubtedly also lead to more weddings.
Wedding businesses can have it easier when it comes to this SEO tactic. You might be wondering what backlinks are though.
Backlinks are when other websites share your site’s link, it boosts the authority of your business on the internet. And this can be easier for wedding vendors because every time a wedding is published, that’s a backlink!
I’m sure you have tons of weddings you can share with the world. If you’re a vendor that doesn’t have access to the wedding gallery, reach out to photographers and offer to publish it for them!
When a client loves your service, they’re going to run out and tell the world. Right?
Most couples don’t leave reviews without a bit of a nudge. Reviews are one of the biggest decision factors for engaged couples and as a result, one of the most influential parts of marketing for businesses.
The irony of this whole thing is that I’m not going to recommend just getting reviews on Google. You’ll want to get reviews on The Knot, Wedding Wire, and any other review site you can get your hands on.
Reviews are free marketing, and you have to treat it like that!
A lot of vendors, if not most, feel so uncomfortable asking for more reviews. What if you get negative reviews? Well, I’d recommend just asking people you’re confident had a great time, then.
Every business has had a pissed-off client, and honestly? Negative reviews can make you look more human.
So shuck off that fear and start sending some emails!
Technical Website Work
One of the most vital aspects for sites and one of the most ignored is the technical aspect of your website. Your website is the first thing brides see when they come to investigate your company.
And while they’re searching, potential clients will leave a site if it doesn’t load fast enough. Or is difficult to navigate. They’ll judge a vendor in just a few seconds.
And Google will do the exact same thing! While no two sites are the same, if it presents a lower quality presentation or runs poorly in the coding, it’s going to harm the way potential clients interact with it severely.
What Are the Top 5 Benefits of SEO Marketing?
While some people might find The Knot worth it, I think the benefits to SEO outweigh any potential with The Knot.
Ranking for weddings can be a journey for any business, but the struggles and monetary investment will be worth it. Let’s go over the benefits!
Yes! More leads! Potential clients looking for vendors on Google won’t just go to a vendor directory. They’re going to go straight to your website, and if you’re on page one, two, or three, you can help get them there faster.
And if your branding is done right, it’s going to deter low-quality leads, and that’s a really, really cool thing.
Long-Term Free Marketing
While SEO is rarely free in the beginning, especially if writing content isn’t your thing, it does drive long-term results. Especially with the right strategy, all of your hard work will last.
You Will Become a Resource
Whether you’re sharing value via social media or offering educational articles, engaged couples will lap up every bit of advice you’re offering.
It’s a genius marketing strategy to become the one person known to not only offer the best service, but offers expertise as well.
Brings Organic Traffic To Your Site
I mean, your business has a wonderful service to offer, right? You know that advertising is one of the main ways to get engaged couples to find you, right?
When you create one of the best vendor sites, Google will reward that by helping it rank higher and higher.
Gets You Ahead of the Competition
You aren’t the only vendor out there trying to get their business out into the world. When you gain reviews, offer education, and make your brand shine, it’ll bring in more leads, guaranteed.
From my experience, most sites are utilizing regurgitated SEO advice for wedding vendors, which means they’re all just like everyone else. So when you hire an SEO agency that knows what they’re doing, that’s when the good stuff happens.
What Are Free SEO Tools You Can Use?
SEO tools can be super expensive, so here’s a quick list of free tools you can utilize today!
- Google Keyword Manager (you need a Google ads account for this)
3 Ways to Improve Your SEO Right Now!
This is a bit of a quick recap for some things, but here are some action items for SEO you can do right now to generate more leads and money ASAP!
Ask For Reviews
Alright, I won’t beat this into your brain too much more, but reviews are so vital for your overall authority and building the trust for leads. Not all sites prioritize this, so go make it happen!
Start a Google Business Profile
As part of getting more reviews, you need to start your company’s GBP. Again, not all sites do this, so you can get an edge on the competition if you do this! Plus, it will make it easier for soon-to-be clients to find you!
Reach Out to Wedding Venues and Photographers
Wedding venues and wedding photographers are both great resources to network with and possibly get on their preferred vendor lists. You can agree to add each other to your prospective sites for backlinks, as well.
Finding new clients and having new clients find you is a part of the painful process of running a successful business. After talking to hundreds of vendors over the years, seeing hundreds of sites, and with my hands-on experience, I’m confident you should avoid The Knot and Wedding Wire.
While you might not choose me to do your wedding SEO or website branding, try to do some research and utilize the above tips to gain more traffic, boost your business, and book more weddings immediately!