If you’ve got a new wedding business and don’t know where to start getting leads, here’s what to do:
1. Do your homework first.
Use The Wedding Report to find out the real stats about your local wedding market: how many weddings, the average price for your services, average wedding budget. This is vital information you’ll need to figure out what to charge and if there is enough demand in the market to support your new business in the first place.
Spend some time online in the bride local chat rooms of the Knot and visit the Top 100 Wedding Blogs. What are brides looking for in your service that they can’t find? Look for an unmet need you can meet.
Scope out your competitors online. You’ll need to be different to get business. If you can find a need in your market that isn’t being met, you’ll have an instant edge over your competitors.
2. Find a mentor.
The fastest way to get referrals, jump start your business and starting making money is to get a mentor behind you.
Use the Power Lunch strategy to pull this off: Identify 5 respected wedding professionals in your local area. Ask friends for recommendations of super nice people because a personalized introduction is a great way to start the relationship. Someone who isn’t a direct competitor will be easiest, but don’t rule out someone who already does what you want to do, especially if you have a connection with them.
Call them up. Tell them that you admire their work (be sincere!) and that you’re just starting out. Ask if you can take them to lunch to get their advice and help for your business.
Not everyone will respond, but you’re just looking for one person to teach you their secrets, give you advice and eventually send you referrals.
(Of course, you can always contact Anshuman and I for a consultation; we love helping new wedding pros figure out how to get wedding leads!)
3. Make friends in the wedding business. Lots of them!
Look for Facebook groups for local wedding pros, start following local pros on Instagram or identify the local wedding associations in your area and join them.
Make it your goal to meet three new people at each networking meeting, or to reach out to three new people through direct message on Facebook or Instagram each week. Find a way you can help them and you’ll be come fast friends. It’s a quick way to get your first referrals.
4. Follow up with everyone you meet.
When you meet someone, especially if they work in the wedding industry, start following them online or take their card. Jot down a note about your conversation or reference it in your first direct message to them.
After that first message, consider sending them a video or voice message and ask about their most recent wedding – what they loved about the couple they worked with, what they didn’t and if that couple was one of their more typical clients. And make sure to respond when they do! Don’t leave them hanging – reply with your thoughts on their response to keep the conversation goin.
If you stay consistent, people will remember you and the referrals will start coming. It’s the best cheap marketing you can do!
5. Use your inexperience as an asset.
One of the trickiest questions to answer when you’re just starting out is, “How many weddings have you done?”
Eeek. You don’t want to lie, but who wants to be your very first wedding?
First, don’t tell them you haven’t done any weddings unless they ask. If they do ask, use your inexperience as an asset.
Explain any related experience and work references you have and then say, “We can offer you an extreme discount because we’re still building our portfolio. We’re just starting out, so we work even harder to make sure you’re happy!”
Practice your answer to this question until it’s smooth and natural. That way you can relax during your meetings.
6. Consider online ads – but cautiously.
Many a new wedding pro has thrown money at Facebook or Instagram ads – or even Wedding Wire or The Knot – without doing some research first on who exactly they want to serve, and how they can stand out a bit.
Just advertising that you’re a wedding photographer/DJ/planner/fill-in-the-blank on these platforms won’t get you a good return on your money; instead, you need to make sure you’re sending them to a high-quality lead magnet or download piece – something they’re actually interested in for their wedding, AND relates to your service. This will also help you better narrow down your audience profile for your ads so that you’re attracting the right couples.
Do your homework on your ideal client before running your ads, and you’re much more likely to see a return on your investment instead of regretting an expensive, no-return ad spend.
7. Start a blog and write at least once a week.
Having a blog on your website is absolutely essential to capturing FREE “organic” search traffic, those are the people out there searching for someone like you who haven’t heard of you yet…which is pretty much everyone when you’re brand new.
Make sure you use the names of local cities, towns, regions and venues in your posts. This will help more people find you and you’ll see your traffic increase over time.
As a new wedding business, you bring passion and enthusiasm that the old timers just don’t have, and your clients will respond to it. Make friends meet the brides, and your business will be off to a great start!