Some people call me an OG of wedding business marketing, but deep down I'm just another person wearing PJ bottoms on Zoom. I swear a lot, I share my struggles, and I don't pretend to be better than anyone else.
A lot of wedding professionals I talk to think they can’t use email marketing because they don’t get repeat clients. While you can use email marketing after you work with someone, the way I teach members of The Wedding Business Collective to use it is before your potential client even decides to work with you when they’re still on research mode.
Email marketing works best when it sits in that period between someone thinking about hiring someone who does what you do and them actually booking someone.
You can swoop in there, provide valuable and helpful content and stay relevant and top of mind with your potential client. And who do you think they are going to decide to work with, the person who spent time helping them or the one who was only interested in the sale?
Email marketing allows you to be that person who markets in a really helpful, non-icky way over time AND when you use an autoresponder, you only have to write it once and it works on autopilot.
In my What’s The Point Of Your Website post, I asked you this.
Unless you’re really itching to marry a stranger, you’d probably be kind of freaked out, uncomfortable and would look for a way to escape the situation, right? You probably don’t realize it, but this is exactly what you’re doing to your potential customers when you expect them to land on your website and get in touch with you to have a sales conversation.
There is a process that we all know and understand when it comes to meeting someone, getting to know them, dating them and then getting more serious with them and it doesn’t just happen overnight.
Sales is no different. That is why you need a game plan for taking these potential clients from total strangers to totally in love with you and that plan is called a sales funnel. Your potential clients move through the sales funnel step by step, getting to know and love you and closer to being ready to work with you.
Email marketing fills in the gap between “I’m just researching and I’m not ready to have a sales conversation yet” and “I’m ready to work with you, let’s talk”. That gap is HUGE (it can be many months long) and it’s where decisions are made so it’s important that you insert yourself here.
Let’s say someone finds you today but they’re not ready to book you for another 3, 6 or 12 months (and that’s very possible considering that most couples spend hundreds of hours researching and planning their weddings). What are the chances of them remembering your site when they are ready to work with someone? Do you remember every website you went to today much less 6 months ago? They might LOVE you but simply just forget to come back to you and that’s a silly reason to miss out on a booking.
With email marketing you allow them to sign up for your email list so that you can keep in touch with them. Couples don’t make these decisions quickly, they spend hundreds of hours researching, so the chances of them booking you off of their first website visit is pretty slim. You could see this as an annoyance or you could use it to your advantage.
How do you use it to your advantage? You set up a sales funnel to nurture them as a lead over time and market to them so that when they are ready to work with someone, you are top of mind.
Your sales funnel starts with your website (that’s why I covered your website first in this post). It’s where you convert people from casual visitor to email subscriber so it’s a really important part of your sales funnel.
Your website can either be a brochure with information that people can find when they need it, or it can be a lead generating machine.
I teach the members of The Wedding Business Collective to think about the first step they want people to take and I suggest making that something small like asking them to provide their email in exchange for something like a helpful ebook, checklist or video. This way, you can start to build a relationship with them via email and you’re not just pouncing on them trying to get them to commit right now. Let’s be honest, that’s a big turnoff (Both in dating and in sales, see? They’re pretty much the same thing.)
Take some time today to examine your own site and figure out what you are asking people to do.
Are you trying to marry them or are you offering to take them on a first date?
The “know, like, trust” factor is incredibly important in marketing. People don’t do business with people until they feel like they know, like and trust them.
What can you offer your potential clients to help them get to know, like and trust you BEFORE you ask them to work with you?
Here’s a tip to get your gears turning: answer their biggest questions.
If you’re a wedding planner and the most common question you get is, “When do I need to book each of my vendors?” offer a timeline or a checklist in exchange for their email! You’ll answer their question, build that crucial know, like, trust factor and be able to market to them via email. It’s a win-win-win.
Offering something like this in exchange for the person joining your email list is super effective and this thing that you’re offering is called an opt in offer.
One member of The Wedding Business Collective created an invitation wording guide because as a stationer, she found that her potential clients were really unsure about how their invitations were supposed to or could be worded. She solves that problem for them with her guide.
Another Wedding Business Collective member created an ebook called 7 Smart Ways To Keep Your Sanity While Planning Your Wedding. As a planner, she helps people stay on track with their planning without losing their mind.
One of my former clients created a little black book of recommended vendors in the area because as a photographer, he was getting hired early on in the planning process and his couples were asking him for recommendations. That’s perfect for a couple in the research phase!
In The Wedding Business Collective we have a course called Selling With Email Marketing and the very first lesson digs into figuring out what to offer for free, because it can be difficult to decide and difficult to guess at what people want. Screw guessing, you can figure out what people want and just give that to them.
There are 2 types of emails that you’ll send – your autoresponder emails and your regular emails.
Your autoresponder is a series of emails that get sent to subscribers automatically (woohoo!) in the order you designate. You set it up once and it works for you forever. It’s freaking incredible! Every new subscriber goes through this series of emails upon signing up so I’m sure you can imagine that it’s a pretty powerful selling tool.
Your autoresponder warms people up to you, positions you as the expert and presents your product or service as the clear solution to their problem. Instead of them going to your website and never coming back, they go to your website, sign up to your email list and get this autoresponder email series that takes them step by step through smashing their objections, teaching them about the value you provide and positioning you as the best choice for them.
Oh and it does it on autopilot. I can’t emphasize that enough. Your email marketing efforts are doing a large part of the selling for you – automatically.
In The Wedding Business Collective there is a a full 7 email series that I’ve written for you to take and tweak to fit you and use as your autoresponder. No more excuses, it’s done for you. Easy peasy 🙂
The other emails you’ll send are your regular emails or broadcasts line up with your content schedule. If you’re blogging each week, you send an email to your list each week to deliver that new post to them along with any promotional information or calls to action to get them to take the next step and book you.
It’s true that a certain % of your website visitors turn into clients. You could just send more people to your site to have the vast majority of them leave and never take action or you can increase the % of people who turn into clients by allowing them to take a small first step (opting into your email list). Once you have your sales funnel in place, a larger % of people who visit your site will join your email list and through the wonders of email marketing, more of them will become clients.
So yes, more traffic can help, but sending more traffic to a website that isn’t set up to generate leads is like trying to fill a leaky bucket. Plug the hole in the bucket first by setting up your email marketing, then fill it.
Having a website is par for the course, but are you using email marketing to turn your website into a lead generator? It is your website’s job after all. Are you using an autoresponder to nurture those leads without having to do that work over and over again?
What’s the point of email marketing? It makes generating leads and making sales easier.
You don’t have to rely on someone remembering to come back to your website when they’re ready to buy. You can develop a relationship with them while they’re in research mode and that has a HUGE impact on sales.
You’re going to need an email marketing service in order to set up anything. The good news is there is a huge variety of them available. The bad news is that having a huge variety can be very overwhelming. That’s why I’ve created the Email Marketing Services Comparison Guide for you and it’s totally free!
In addition to content you need to have an automated emaiiling system. Eventtemple allows you to create templates and a timeline to automatically schedule email, keepting in contact resulting in relationship and sales. http://www.Eventtemple.com or contact Bob Graham at email@example.com for a trial of their program.
Event Temple is great for following up after the inquiry but the email marketing I’m talking about in this post comes before the inquiry.
Email is also a great place to start managing expectations and allow subscribers to vet themselves. One of the biggest complaints I get from my clients is the number of price shoppers they attract. Rather than burning up your time emailing or meeting with price shoppers, you can include this info in your auto-responder and have them self-select out if they aren’t a fit. You can even nurture the lead for a while before hitting them with prices so they experience the value of your services.
YES! You make such a great point here Christie.