Whether you’re a caterer, florist, photographer or planner, you know that booking new clients is a year-round endeavour. So if you’re a wedding vendor, there’s a good chance you’re already thinking about how to get your next booking – even when it’s peak wedding season and your hands are full.
But where to start? If you’re an experienced wedding vendor, you probably have a playbook of tried-and-true tactics. But it never hurts to revisit your current strategies, examine their success and build for next year. If you’re new to the game, now’s the perfect time to commit a plan to paper.
To get you started, we’ve put together five thought-starters for developing a plan that attracts new clients to your wedding business.
Establish your niche.
When you’re trying to grow your wedding business, your first instinct may be to attract as many new clients as possible. But, before you start hunting down new business, take a step back and make sure you have a clear niche.
Engaged couples have an overwhelming number of vendors to choose from, so you need to set yourself apart by having a specialty. To do this, figure out what type of weddings you’re interested in and who your ideal clients are. If you’re a wedding planner, for example, do you prefer to plan nontraditional weddings or destination weddings? Or if you’re a photographer, do you like to shoot big, traditional weddings or more intimate celebrations?
While you have your area of expertise, it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Referrals are key in the wedding game – and not only from your happy clients, but also from other wedding professionals. So if you’re a caterer, for instance, you want to network with florists, planners, etc. Attend local industry meetups, wedding shows and expos, and reach out directly to wedding professionals you’ve admired online.
And, of course, weddings are an ideal opportunity to find new business. If you deliver your best, wedding-goers and fellow vendors will take note. While you’re at it, think about how you can go the extra mile. If you’re a photographer, for example, think about the extra things you might need for a shoot and put together a toolkit to have on hand. Having an extra bobby pin on hand for the bride might be the thing that snags you that next referral.
Curate your online presence.
In the multibillion dollar wedding industry there’s ample opportunity for entrepreneurs, but the competition is stiff. To keep up – or better yet, get ahead – carefully curate and maintain your online presence.
Regularly update your website and social accounts to showcase your work. And while you’re at it, make sure it’s easy for potential clients to find you. You can do that by:
- Creating images specifically for Pinterest that are tagged with wedding keywords
- Using niche-specific hashtags on Instagram
- Making your website easy to find through organic search by using SEO best practices
- Ensuring your website is easy to navigate and has a clear “contact me” or “book appointment” button (more on that below), so brides and grooms can easily schedule a consultation
You’ll also want to join sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot. You will likely have to pay for your listing, but it will put you in front of a wider audience of engaged couples actively looking for vendors in their area.
Provide service that’s second to none.
Once leads have found you, you need to make a good impression. The key to this is appearing professional – everything from your business card to your website to your email should communicate that you’re someone that couples can trust to do the job.
You also want to make the process convenient for your clients. Planning a wedding is stressful, but you can help your clients rest easy by showing them that they’re in good hands.
For example, by implementing Square Appointments on your website or integrating it with your Instagram account, prospective clients can quickly book a meeting with you anywhere, anytime, without having to wait for business hours. To make sure your customer service is on point, Appointments has a customer directory so you can record every detail in one place. That way, when you follow up with potential clients, you can give them personalized attention and the premier service they’re looking for.
(Square Appointments also automatically reminds your clients about their appointments, so they’ll be sure to show up.)
Make your costs clear.
Let’s face it: Budget is a major factor in wedding decisions. Weddings are expensive, and most of your prospective clients will be budget-conscious. Be up front with your costs early on so clients know what to expect.
With Square Invoices you can even send estimates so potential clients know the value of what you’re offering. You can also attach photos and contracts to your estimates for better, more organized record keeping. (An added bonus: Once the wedding is done, Invoices makes it much easier for you to collect a deposit and subsequent payments.)
If you’re clear with your costs, you’ll attract the clients you want and they’ll appreciate your transparency.
Find leads who’ll say “I do” to working with you.
By taking these steps, you’ll be more likely to land new wedding clients. And if you deliver a best-in-class experience, your work will speak for itself, helping you to generate more new business.