Brides

We all start off brand new. No experience, no reputation, no referrals.

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, just like we did. 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.

  3.     Make friends in the wedding business. Lots of them!

Identify the local wedding associations in your area and join them. Industry groups like ABC, NACE or the ADJA  often have local chapters.

Make it your goal to meet three new people at each networking meeting. 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, take their card. Jot down a note about your conversation on the back.

Send them an “Unforgettable Postcard” with a personal note mentioning your conversation. The Unforgettable Postcard has a friendly, smiling photo of you on the front and your business information and a blank space for a note on the back.

Send this postcard to everyone after each meeting. 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.    Advertise at a bridal show.

A bridal show is the best place to meet brides and network with other vendors. You’ll be available for popular dates your competitors have already booked, so your investment will be paid for in no time.

Ask the wedding vendor friends you’ve made to recommend the best bridal show in the area. Do your research about how many brides attend, the information that’s provided afterward, and attend as a guest first so that you’ll know what to expect.

Arrive early for the show and bring munchies to share so that you can make friends with all the vendors. (This tip comes from Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting.) You’ll make tons of vendor friends if you bring along Dunkin Donuts munchkins or other goodies!

   7.    Spend your advertising bucks on Facebook.

Don’t spend your precious advertising dollars on expensive magazine or print advertising right away. You need flexible, easy to change advertising that will maximize your limited budget.

Facebook lets you target your audience down to their location, relationship status (you’ll want “engaged” or “in a relationship”) and even their likes and the Facebook groups they’re a member of.

You won’t pay unless they click on your ad and you can set a limit for your daily ad budget that’s comfortable for you. Ease of changing your ad and testing out different headlines and pictures makes Facebook the best beginner advertising investment.

   8.    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!

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Posted By

Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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19 thoughts on “How Can I Get Leads When I’m New to the Wedding Business?”

  1. Great advice, thanks for sharing!

  2. Kelly says:

    What am I doing wrong? I’ve been to 2 wedding shows. So far I’ve only booked one bride. This last show seemed promising. I ran a giveaway that required brides set up an appointment with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get anyone to pinpoint a date, so I just had them write their info down and told them to expect a call or email from me within the week. I was super excited because I had 50+ brides who seemed genuinely interested and want to make an appointment. It’s been 2 weeks now. I can’t get a single bride to respond to my emails or phone calls. I have attempted to contact all of them twice now.

    Have I become a lepor? Obviously it’s something I’m doing. I’ve tried several tips from your website in my email headlines and subjects.

    1. I’m quite sure you’re not a leper. Not if they let you into the bridal show. (Sorry–bad joke.)

      It’s hard to know exactly what happened, but my best guess is:

      - Your giveaway wasn’t compelling enough. Was it a discount offer? Or a no strings attached giveaway?

      - Your follow up wasn’t compelling enough to get a response. (I guess that’s obvious.)

      - If you couldn’t get anyone out of those 50 brides to set an appointment, it means either you’re horrible at setting appointments or they really didn’t want to set one.

      Here’s an alternative approach to try: offer each couple a “bribe” just for setting an appointment with you. A $20 gift card to pay for their gas should help. If you can get them to the meeting, your chances of booking them are MUCH higher.

      Also, make sure you practice guiding someone through an appointment. It should be easy and natural with you asking questions until you set the date.

      We’ve got lots of tips on our website (just search for “bridal show”) but here are some follow up strategies you can use with that list: http://www.bookmorebrides.com/what-should-i-do-with-that-bridal-show-lead-list/

  3. Sylvia says:

    I am new to the business. I am in Florida in the Broward County area. How can I find client in the area. How to go about to get my clients. What idea do you have. I already have my business cards and my flyers and car magnets sign on my car. But I am not getting any calls. What am I doing wrong.

    1. Brenna Catalano Rhoades says:

      Hi, Sylvia. I would focus on items #3 and #6 above. Have you joined any of the groups mentioned to network with other local wedding vendors? Have you exhibited at a local bridal show? It may help get your name out there. You mentioned business cards and flyers – where are you handing these out? Make sure you are distributing them places where brides will see them and that your marketing materials have a clear call to action.
      - Brenna (Project Manager at Book More Brides)

  4. Jasmine Gonzales says:

    This is very helpful! Thank you!

  5. vinodh says:

    Hi,
    I cant agree more on point 8.
    just by blogging about problems faced by potential customers and their solutions
    I got many leads. with a conversion rates of more than 10 % .
    This writeup is not just for bridal business professionals.
    facebook conversion was less for me. may be because i dont have option over seo .
    your tip on mentioning city ,locality names in blogpost is great. it never occurred to me .
    will do hereafter when i do blog post.
    regards
    vinodh

  6. Auburn Rush says:

    Can you tell me some of the websites available to purchase bridal leads please?

    1. Hi, Auburn. We don’t generally recommend bridal lead lists because they aren’t very effective. Read this article for more info: http://www.bookmorebrides.com/do-bridal-lead-lists-actually-work/

  7. Dorothy says:

    Nice article. Thanks for the tips.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to get leads and I’m brand new in this business I’m trying to get on whatever sites I can but most of them you have to pay for leads…Is there an easier way I can get to my potential clients?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jjanusz Custom Jewlery Design is not new, but I sure could have used this advice when we started up 6 years ago! Linked In and people like you, who are willing to share, is exactly the kind of help a newbie needs! When we designed and created all of the engagement rings worn by the models at the Chicago Drake Hotel’s “Magnificent Bride”, the only customers we got were other vendors! Becasue we didn’t have our bricks and mortar studio. Now, we get customers from all over the United States who are willing to work with us over skype. My advice- keep trying new things, but most importantly keep networking- it works!

  10. Great tips, Rob!

    It’s important for all of us to be where the brides are. I see wedding vendors on FB blasting out their marketing channel on our Book More Brides page…where there are no brides!

    In the beginning, it’s as important to network with other key vendors as it is to be where the brides are because the right relationship with a few vendors will bring a huge stream of bride referrals.

    The “right vendors” are typically the ones working a similar market who brides book just before you.

    I love these tips about using your online proofing site as marketing! You can combine that with sharing wedding photos with your watermark on Facebook and tagging them so that your couples can easily share them there, too.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If you are looking for work go where your clients are, not where your competition is. That means that you should get involved in groups on Linked-In/Facebook that cater to brides and not photographers. You could also get involved in groups that cater to planners as they will be a great source of referrals.
    If we assume you have some work, make sure that you are using an online proofing site so that your bride can easily share those images with their friends and see how great you are. Get a link to that site on your own website and have the bride send everyone to your website to see their pictures. Make sure that proofing site collects email addresses and sends out reminder emails. The reason you want this is that you then have multiple points of contact with potential clients and that solidifies you in their memory. If they just go to your site once to see the pictures they will forget who you are a month from now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    As always a great advice for the bridal specialists. I do like facebook marketing. Thanks

  13. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate the Information in this session and looking forward to hearing from you again.
    I am new to the Wedding Planning Business but any Information I know now I am happy to share with others as this helps all of us.
    Thanks Jacalyn.

    1. [quote name="Jacalyn Price"]
      I am new to the Wedding Planning Business but any Information I know now I am happy to share with others as this helps all of us.
      [/quote]

      I love this attitude, Jacalyn!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m a wedding planner in the Syracuse, NY area and I’m always looking for the new thing that’s going on in the wedding industry.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I’m new and in Watertown not that far away…..we should talk!

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