53: Standing Out For Your Specialty in a Saturated Market // Roshel Ryan
Yosemite wedding planner, Roshel Ryan, first reached out in 2019 when she needed website copy written—and fast. She joins me to talk about why she contacted me after she had wrapped a rebrand and how our partnership has helped her leverage her value proposition in her market.
On this episode, Roshel and I talked about:
The role a modern brand plays in staying relevant in the wedding industry;
Helping clients see the time, energy, and stress you save them, before working with you;
How I pulled out her value proposition, even when she couldn’t see it herself;
Why she was able to raise her prices after working together; and
The crazy stories Roshel has from planning events in such an unpredictable environment.
MEET ROSHEL RYAN
Roshel Ryan is the founder and CEO of AddyRose Designs, Yosemite's premier wedding and event planning company. Her couples flock to Yosemite from across the world, trusting her to help their vision come to life.
Starting first as a florist. Roshel has made it a point to become familiar with all aspects of events, building her way up in the industry over the past 12 years. She's known and loved by her clients for creating perfection in the most unpredictable of environments.
An avid lover of the mountains, Roshel is also a mother of four, navigating all that comes with those fun teenage years. When she's not in the woods, she can be found reading or downing a bar of dark chocolate.
THE DECISION TO REBRAND
In 2019, Roshel has been in business 12 years and knew that to be viable moving forward and have her business work more for her, she needed to stay relevant.
Working in a rural area, where Yosemite National Park is located, it’s common for wedding vendors to have websites that are a little dated. But Roshel realized that her customers were comparing her to planners in the Bay Area. Roshel recognized the need to stay competitive and to have a brand that showcased the fact that her company was the local expert in planning Yosemite weddings.
When Roshel and I first met, she had already wrapped her visual rebrand...which was beautiful, by the way. But she needed a partner to help pull her niche out of her and clearly articulate to her audience—spanning the world—why they should work with her when planning a destination wedding.
TEASING OUT HER UNIQUE VALUE
Roshel admitted that while she could plan and design weddings, words were not her strong suit. She was looking for someone to articulate what was in her head and portray it at the level her clients expected.
Beyond that, we had to include a little education in her copy.
Many of her couples have never visited Yosemite before; some may not have the opportunity to do so until their wedding weekend. My job was to make Roshel’s sales easier—to explain what couples may not expect but need to know up front for a successful planning process.
Early in the process of working together, I started to tease out other benefits of working with AddyRose Designs, beyond the fact that they were local to the Park. This included the relationship Roshel and her team has with local vendors.
In Yosemite, some of the best vendors fly under the radar. It takes someone with knowledge of the area and experts to build a team that will support a client’s needs. Someone from out of town can’t do that easily in such a remote environment.
Roshel shared, for example, that couples often have to deal with very long drive times because there are only a few entrances into the park. You have to deal with snow and rain and mudslides. Sometimes in the summer you have to deal with fires and traffic jams. Vendors that are local know how to deal with these unanticipated events.
For instance, in May 2019, one of Roshel’s couples were eloping in the park when she got a call. There was a rockslide and the rangers turned all of the guests around, pushing back the timeline three hours. Then it started pouring rain. Roshel was able to call all of the vendors, arrange for the ceremony to take place at the reception site, push back dinner, and reorient guests—all because she knew this kind of thing could happen.
SHARING HER STRENGTHS THROUGH COPY
Roshel admitted that the biggest value of working together, for her, was seeing her own value from an external perspective. Not only is it naturally difficult to toot her own horn, working in a busy business has meant not taking the time to stop and reflect on it.
Taking a good, hard look at her business and ensuring it will be viable moving forward has been critical at this stage of growth.
We also focused, specifically, on what someone would need to know when they first landed on her website.
This meant teasing out the customer journey and being strategic about what information was shared on the website, at the point of inquiry, on the sales call, and after a couple booked.
Being specific and intentional with information distribution has helped Roshel pre-qualify leads and spend her time with only those most serious about working with her.
ADDRESSING MISCONCEPTIONS AS THE EXPERT
Another thing Roshel was able to do through her copy and services guide was address misconceptions many couples have about getting married in Yosemite.
It simply isn’t the easiest place to plan an event, partly because of the pure lack of information on how to navigate such a large territory.
Even if a couple is searching online for a “Yosemite hotel,” the hotel might be technically outside of the park. That could mean it’s a three hour drive to their ceremony site. If they want a sunrise wedding, that means getting up at 2am. And then you have to factor in hair and makeup. Suddenly their vision has become a lot more difficult to execute.
But for the right couple, Roshel says, getting married in Yosemite is a dream come true.
And while the proliferation of social media sites like Instagram is great for sharing work, it’s also presented challenges.
Roshel has noticed a spike in the number of wedding professionals setting up styled shoots in the park, giving the appearance that they’ve worked there. That alone isn’t the issue. The problem has been wedding professionals coming in who aren’t familiar with the rules and regulations of the Park. Setting up in areas that are off limits sets the wrong expectation for clients and, unfortunately, has resulted in some photographers getting banned from the Park altogether.
COPY THAT MATCHES THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Roshel wanted to make sure that her website—visuals and words—conveyed the true experience of working with her and her team: custom, all-encompassing, and personal.
Once she achieved that, she felt comfortable raising her rates to match the experience.
In the process of working together, I was able to hold space for her to take a step back and take a long hard look at how much time is going into each project. Focusing on the back end has boosted her confidence in addressing price objections and explaining what really goes into planning a Yosemite wedding.
Roshel is quick to remind us that while she’s been at it for 12 years, she never forgets that each person that works with her is experiencing this for the first time.
It’s the attention and care that puts Roshel and her team at the top of this market.
It was such a pleasure working with this incredible business owner and I highly recommend you check out her work at www.addyrosedesigns.com.