We’ve all seen the statistics…engagement season is approximately November to February.
We know it’s coming every year. But how can we be ready for the rush?
I’ve been reading and listening to everything I can find on this topic, and I’ve pulled the top advice together here for you.
Here’s what I’ll be trying this year…want to join me?!
1. Update Marketing Plan
Before we start posting, ordering flyers, or booking tables at wedding shows, we need a plan. Otherwise all that time and money can be wasted on things that aren’t important.
First, review your brand. What is the personality of your business? Are you happy with it the way it is, or could it use a makeover?
Next, review your budget. Fill in all your expenses from this year, and decide how much you have to spend for next year. Look at which marketing avenues have been most successful for you and allocate your dollars in a way that takes advantage of it. If you’ve been in a rut, make a plan to try something new!
Finally, review your physical materials. Do you have lots left from last season that you can reuse? Do they need a facelift before reprinting? Will you even do any physical advertising?
2. Update onboarding process
Now that you have a plan for bringing in lots of new leads, you need to have a plan for what to do with them! How will you turn leads into clients?
The first step is knowing what you’ll do when someone first reaches out to you. How does it usually happen? For me it’s usually a text. I almost always reply in the same way, with the same information. This year, I’m going to thoughtfully write it out and save it as a note in my phone so it’s easy to respond quickly to new inquiries.
After you’ve responded to their initial questions, where do you direct them? For most of us, this is some sort of consult meeting or quote process. Why not use an online scheduling platform (most of them have a free starter level)? Or make a form with all of the questions you need to ask them so it’s ready to send off?
Finally, make a plan for welcoming new clients. Send them something to make them excited about their decision to work with you! This should include important things like a copy of the agreement you’ve made with them, information about what working with you will look like, and any next steps they need to take. It can also include some fun gifts to spice it up!
3. Update Follow-Up process
What about all those inquiries or consults that didn’t go anywhere? Let’s make a plan for following up so when they are ready to book, we’re still fresh in their mind.
Review what happens after initial contact but before scheduling a consult. Create a series of standard follow up text or emails to keep the conversation going, and continue pointing them toward scheduling that meeting or asking for a quote.
Also review what happens after the consult but before booking. Not every couple is ready to book on the spot after seeing your presentation. Create another series of standard messages to keep you top of mind while they make their decision. I’m going to start sending out periodic hellos with links to helpful blog posts I’ve written.
4. Update your website
As you probably already know, you only have a few seconds for visitors to scan your website and decide if they’re going to stay or leave. Here’s what you need to help them choose stay!
What you do. Someone on your site should immediately be able to see what product or service you provide. This is where I apparently need help…a lot of people contact me asking about decorating, but I’m a wedding planner, not a decorator! It’s not their fault for not reading…it’s my fault for not being immediately clear.
How you can help them. While this is sort of what you do, it’s more personal than that. You can be clear that you’re a photographer, but will you help them capture candid moments, or will you help them create artwork? Each of us has a unique angle that we bring, and couples need to be able to see or read in only a few seconds what you’ll bring to their wedding.
The next step. Remember when we made the onboarding plan for new leads? Whatever way we want them to reach out to us needs to be clearly conveyed at the top of the web page, without them having to scroll down or click ‘Contact Me’ on the menu.
5. Update Social Media
I will be the first person to admit that I hate social media. I feel like it sucks all my time if I want to do it ‘right’. But it is an important tool for our businesses, and deserves a look before engagement season. Here’s what we should be working on in the next few months.
First, review your profiles. If you have too many, consider abandoning platforms that aren’t bringing you value. Update them with the same information you just put on your website, so that it’s consistent and easy for people to find what they need to know.
Make a plan for regular posts. For me that means updating my list of post ideas so it’s easy to come up with content. It could mean creating a dedicated time every day or week to work on it. Or maybe, it means outsourcing…I think I really need to consider outsourcing (if only I had finished the budget step already)!
Plan to try one new feature. I’m not that old, but the constant new features on social platforms make me feel that way! It’s overwhelming. Just choose one new thing to try, whether that’s a new platform, or a new feature. This year, I’m going to re-try using Pinterest…I’ve fallen off the wagon a couple of times, so here’s to a new start!
That’s the sum of the research I’ve been doing! Hopefully having it laid out helps you as much as it has me.
If you’d like to spend less time doing your marketing and more time in your business, check out my three secrets to local wedding marketing success!