You have heard all the murmurs of what’s wrong with 2024. I’m usually at 50 bookings, and now I’m only at 20 bookings. And as usual, I want to give it to you straight. There are fewer leads, so the ones that you do have hitting your inbox, you have to hook them.
The wedding boom is over. I have had many conversations with fellow educators and seasoned wedding pros, and from what I’ve gathered is that it’s not so much a downturn. In the market, it’s that we are beginning to level off from pre covid numbers, which means that inquiries aren’t necessarily down, but they’re just returning to normal.
I want to help you book those leads that are coming into your inbox and maybe note some ways you can create a better experience overall.
You may not book the leads if you are failing to engage and nurture potential clients. According to a survey by Wedding Wire, 48% of couples expect a response from wedding professionals within 24 hours, that’s a good amount of time. You should have your auto-response turned on. So whenever somebody does fill out an inquiry form you have an email that automatically goes out to them. After they fill out that form, they should get an autoresponder that has your pricing and your packages. I don’t think that asking for a response to a high-level service within 24 hours is too much to ask for, but only 31% of couples reported receiving a response within that timeframe in the first beginning stages.
You have probably noticed being on the client side of things, not the provider, is that in those first couple of touchpoints, you are kind of scrutinizing everything because, in your mind, you’re trying to think, what company should I go with? And so, the turnaround time of response is definitely one of those markers that can make or break an inquiry booking with you. Research by The Knot found that 71% of couples considered vendor responsiveness as a top factor when choosing wedding professionals, and I could see how that would happen.
I had been following a company on social media since 2020, and I reached out to them a couple of months ago wanting to work with them. I filled out their inquiry form. And never heard back. It left a bad taste in my mouth. It made me feel like I didn’t matter, and so I can totally see where if you’re not getting back to your potential clients in a good amount of time, they’re going to feel like either: A) you’re way too busy, and you can’t take on any more clients or B) you’re not excited about them as a potential client and so they want to move on with somebody who’s excited to service them.
If you are failing to engage and nurture potential clients, then that’s going to end up hurting your business.
The second one that can impact your booking clients is the ghosting of leads. So a study conducted by Wedding Wire revealed that 56% of couples experienced at least one instance of a vendor ghosting them through the wedding planning process.
And I mean ghosting at any part of the process. You can set up automatic reminders in emails to go out inside of CRMs. For example, you can set up an email that automatically goes out 60 days before their wedding date that says “Hey, just wanted to let you know we’re super excited for your wedding on XX/XX/XXXX date. We don’t need anything for you right now, but you’re in our calendar and we’re going to be reaching out soon with the next steps.” You are ahead of the curve before they even have to reach out and wonder where you’re at.
That will help build that trust and create a better experience for them. It can be very stressful whenever you’ve already paid somebody you are excited about working with them, and then they ghost on the communication part. If you can communicate with them, then you’re going to build that rapport. And foster a better relationship with them, which is only going to be a win-win-win.
It’s going to be a win for them. They’re not going to be as stressed. It’s going to be a win for you because it’s going to make their wedding day go smoother, and it’s going to be a win for your potential bookings whenever they start giving reviews after the wedding date. Communicate with your couples and do not ghost them at any part of the process.
The next way that you might not be booking leads, and I hold this one near and dear to my heart, and I’m going to be really frank with you. Your website sucks.
Consumer insights from the knot show that 35% of couples reported difficulty differentiating between wedding professionals based on their websites alone. Amen. I have even seen this by going through and doing like website reviews. The first five tabs pulled up if you search for wedding vendors all the websites look and sound the exact same.
Your website should be your greatest salesperson. You should be able to not talk to somebody, keep your mouth shut, hand them the URL to your website, and be like, ‘yes, I’m going to book that client.’ They’re going to be reaching out based on your website alone. The wedding industry became a vacuum and everybody looked the same.
Neutral color palettes. Everybody sounds the same. If a potential client is searching for vendors, and they Google, ‘Phoenix Wedding Photographer’, they’re going down the list and they’re pulling up tab after tab of all these photographers. They all look the same. There’s nothing that stands out. Welcome to Price Shopping City.
You are going to get price shopped, and they’re going to look for just the cheapest option, or you’re going to get overlooked because there’s nothing that stood out and connected with them. I cannot emphasize the importance of addressing the pain points and painting a picture for your potential clients to help you stand out in a competitive market in marketing.
Sometimes we think the larger the net that I throw out if I can talk to anybody and everybody and make my website bland, then I’m going to get more leads. The fact is, is that it’s the opposite is true. If you narrow in on your ideal client and you, paint a picture, and speak directly to whatever they’re dealing with then you’ll get more leads.
But moving on to the last one, you’re not booking leads because you are not making your service a non-negotiable in communicating your importance.
You’re not communicating the value, benefits, and outcomes couples can expect when choosing your service. You must convey your importance. If you have ever signed up for a course, you go to the sales page and you can scroll for days. I went to a sales page earlier this week and I was scrolling for days because they were showing everything that you get within here. They’re painting a picture of where you’re at now, where you want to be, and how this course will help you get there. This course was around $2,500. But I go to Wedding Pros websites and want people to book at $3,000+, and your services page is like eight bullet points, one testimonial, and then it says like, let’s chat or book a consultation call.
You did not build up the benefits or the value of your service at all. It was a freelancer’s pricing guide. And you want me to respect your business and understand the importance of hiring you. You have to make your service a non-negotiable and communicate what it is that you do and what’s the importance of it to your couples. Because this is their first time, hopefully, their first and their only time planning a wedding. They don’t understand, and it’s your job to communicate with them.
So the decrease in the number of leads or the leveling out of leads, coupled with the presence of this competitive market that is in flux, requires you to stand out and book the leads that are coming in through the door.
It’s important to understand where leads are dropping off so that way you can find ways to improve it. It’s always the best feeling when, our clients come back to us and say their couples have raised their budget by $2,000–$6,000 to work just with them because they showcase the value and the importance and their personality, and those couples only want to work with them.
I encourage you to assess your current lead funnel and make those necessary changes to improve your lead conversion and find out where they’re dropping off at.