I know you may have read the title to this, and you’re like, “Heller, Brandee, I started a business, of course, I’m in the business of acquiring new customers.”
One of the things I noticed recently during my one-on-one strategy sessions is that we concentrate so much on the back end work. But we don’t actually have clients, or we don’t have enough clients to sustain our business.
That comes because we think we have to have the perfect website, the perfect funnel, the perfect processes, and templates.
Let’s take planners, for instance. If you have all the perfect templates but you don’t have a client yet, then what good is all that to you? I just want that to sit there for a second.
And especially as planners approach engagement season, this is when we book an incredible amount of business in our industry.
No matter where you’re located in the U.S. from Thanksgiving till about the end of February people are eager to plan their wedding. So during this time, we need to be striking while the iron is hot!
Instead of focusing on the perfect website or packages, we need to focus on getting clients in the door! So what does that look like?
Stop With the Backend Work
Okay, so I say this with much caution. I don’t want you guys to think you don’t need processes — because I preach about this all the time. I’m just saying don’t put the cart before the horse. You need clients to need automation before you actually need the automation. Especially if you’re in a busy season, you don’t need to tweak your website, fix your processes, or apply for insurance before you book your first client. What you need to do 1,000% focus on front-facing work.
Now a lot of people say if you have a client that goes to your website and your website isn’t easy to navigate, they’re going to bounce — and there’s truth to that. But you can build a Wix website with three simple pages. Your Home Page, About Page, and Services Page. It can be easy to navigate and they can book a consultation right from your website. You can do that without having this big fancy-schmancy website you’re spending tons of money and time on.
All you need is a way for them to find what you provide and how to get to a consult. That’s all you need on your website to start.
Again, yes, a beautiful website that takes them through the client journey will be important down the road. But right now, that is not what you want to focus your energy on. It has to be front-facing work. Because during engagement season we’re about acquiring new customers. We’re not doing anything else.
Make Yourself Known
Social media is not easy. I know. If you just found my corner of the internet, you might see my socials or my Clubhouse and think, “Oh, my gosh, this girl knows social media.”
Well, all you have to do is scroll back to the beginning. And you’ll see it wasn’t that long ago before I had no clue what I was doing on social media, but eventually I found my way.
In the wedding industry, we’re 100% positive our clients are on Instagram and Pinterest. They may also use publications and things like that, of course, or find us through referrals. But most people know if they’re referred to you, by a vendor, or friend, or publication, they go straight to your IInstagram first. And that’s where you can make a deeper connection.
That’s where you can show off your personality and your most current work. Because guess what? People don’t buy from brands. They don’t buy from a static ad. They don’t buy from graphics. That’s why it’s so important to make yourself known.
So how are you doing that? You can also make yourself known through networking. Oh my gosh, if you’re in a state that’s closed, networking through Clubhouse, which is a voice-only app, is where you need to be.
It’s amazing. You can literally be in your jammies, sip coffee in your bed, and network with some of the most incredible entrepreneurs. But first, you need to be on Instagram and Pinterest.
There will be family members that say, “I don’t even understand what you’re doing now, are you? You know, are you an influencer? You’re always on Instagram stories. What are you even talking about?”
That’s okay because you’re building a dream and you’re building a business. It’s your job to show up and be top of mind so people know where to find you.
And you can do that through Instagram, Pinterest, and hello reels! At this point, you guys should know I love reels. Oh, and showing up on Clubhouse too. That’s what we need to do during this season. That’s how you need to make yourself known.
And then as people find out who you are and what you do, then they will start to feed into that website and book a consultation. Now you can start putting processes in place.
Find Your Clients First Then Fill Their Need
Start With Why by Simon Sinek is one of my very favorite books. I had my entire staff read it. It talks about finding your client first, then filling the need of that client.
So when you’re thinking about marketing as a wedding professional, ask yourself first “Who is my client?”
Is your client a luxury bride? Is it a DIY couple? For Blush, we want to attract very timeless, romantic, and classic couples. But maybe your perfect couple is adventurous and wants to elope on a mountain. There are a million different ways that clients want to get married, right?
So then you want to focus on asking “What do I provide for them?” Because if you just say “We provide a detailed planning service?” I would sure hope that you do because most planners provide the same thing.
But what makes you unique? With Blush, we focus on providing space on the wedding day for a bride to make memories. And I know that sounds cheesy, but our bride is someone who wants to bring lots of their family together. Their weddings are an average size of 100 to 120 guests, and the experience of their guests is most important to them.
They want their guests to know they were hand-selected because they were a part of their love story. So that’s the kind of bride we want to attract. So in all our marketing, you’re gonna see emotions. You’re gonna see brides crying. Grooms crying. You’re gonna see people laughing until their bellies hurt. You’re gonna see big smiles! And that’s because we create a space for our couple and their guests to have those emotions and to make lasting memories.
Now for you, it could be that you want to be the bride’s best friend, right? Maybe you want to tell them, “Hey, we’re gonna hold your hand. We’re gonna walk through this with you girl. We’re gonna go to the bathroom with you, we are going to hold your hair back when you’re eating” or stuff like that. If that’s what you want then that’s who you should be marketing to.
But first, you have to know why. Why does my company exist? And, what does my customer need for me? And how can I sell that? How can I get that across so people understand that? It’s not about the features of your service.
Tell them why you’re different. Tell them why you’re unique. And if you don’t know, I would say, start with why. If you don’t know this about your business — if you can’t say, this is who I work with— you’re going to have clients that don’t fit your mold. And that’s okay. You don’t want to turn away clients that aren’t your ideal client to a tee. But you do want to make sure you’re marketing to the people who are going to understand what you do.
Think About the Season of Business You’re In
So in the wedding industry, everyone has the same engagement season. Like I said earlier, it’s from Thanksgiving through a little beyond Valentine’s Day. But we all have different wedding seasons. So here in Central Florida where I am, summer is completely dead for us. And we have a hurricane season. So that’s not an ideal time to get married either. Most of our venues are outside, so summer through hurricane season is slow for us. So from spring to be we are slammed busy.
So when I plan for the business, I think about what quarters I can do what. In the first quarter, which is engagement season, I make sure my sales manager has very few weddings because I need her to be available for consults. And myself as well. I try to protect that time so that we can be front-facing with our clients on social media to book clients.
Then in the second quarter, we focus on serving those clients because spring is the busy season for us. All hands on deck to serve clients to make sure they have all they need.
Summertime is when we work on projects. We might be revamping our website, our packages, drafting a budget for the following year based on my projections. We’ll also roll out new things like bringing on new hires. And anything that has to be updated, we are working on over the summer.
So I want to encourage you to find that slow season for you. That’s when you should be working on things like your website, your processes, and your templates. It’s okay to muscle through a season without having all your automation done. What’s cool is if you can work through a season where you’re busy and don’t have all your processes in place, you can take note along the way.
Once you’re in a slow season you can say, “Okay, this didn’t work, I need it to work better.” But now you know what your client needs and what you need to keep sustaining and growing your business.
In quarter four, it’s our busiest season here in Central Florida. So all we’re doing is weddings. Then the last week of the year, I redo my budget, based on how we ended the year, and I kind of redo my budget for the following year. Most companies do their budget in quarter four. And I understand that. But for us, since that’s our busiest quarter of the year, I can’t focus on back end work when I’ve got to be client-facing. So I do budget planning in the summer when it’s slow, and then revise it based on what our final numbers were from this year.
Have a Plan for Client Acquisition & Back End That Works for Your Business
So you guys, I hope this helps. And I hope it helps you rethink how you’re using your time and where it should be used best to move your business forward. Make sure you comment down below and let me know your biggest takeaway. Talk to you guys soon!