Paying clients and customers are the lifeline for any business. Without customers you have no business!
So it comes as no surprise that the ‘how-do-I-find-clients-for-my-wedding-planning-business' question is one that comes up all the time.
Vendor relationships and providing local info (as the local wedding expert) are my top suggestions for finding customers for your wedding planning business. But first, the bad news…
The Downside of Finding Customers for Wedding Planners
One of the downsides of being a professional wedding planner is that a wedding is (hopefully) a one-time event. Once the big day is over, the relationship that you’ve spent so many months and weeks nurturing ends.
So, because your wedding planning business customers come and then promptly go, the key to a steady stream of clients is to seek out the elements of our wedding planning industry that do reoccur.
The good news is that local professional wedding vendors fit the bill.
Strong Wedding Vendor Relationships = Clients
In most communities, the wedding professional ‘circle’ is rather close-knit; after all, wedding vendors see one other at the various weddings they’re hired for. If you’re a wedding photographer, there’s a good chance you’ll work alongside the same DJ and caterer several times this year. And of course, as the wedding photographer, you get to see firsthand how well (or not) the DJ livens up the wedding reception and how good the food is.
This means that when your new wedding photography clients mention that they’re not having much luck finding a good DJ for their wedding, you have a recommendation for them.
This is why developing relationships with area wedding professionals is so important for you as a professional wedding planner. When other vendors know what it is that you do and especially when they see how much easier the wedding flows when you’re the point-of-contact, they’ll begin to send you business. Just. Like. That.
Being a ‘Local Wedding Expert' = Clients
Positioning yourself as the local go-to wedding expert is other favorite answer I give for attracting customers for your wedding planning business.
The truth is that the majority of couples planning a wedding won’t consider hiring a full-service wedding planner. They won’t. But, what’s almost guaranteed is that couples planning a wedding will search online for wedding planning help; whether it’s to find a wedding reception site or special wedding day transportation.
So, imagine if your local wedding website or blog displays in a bride’s search results? And, then, imagine if she spends the next 30 minutes or so on your website reading a series of your local wedding ‘how-tos’…? And, then, what if she clicks on the ‘About’ link to find out who, exactly, knows so much about the local wedding scene…?
And then, on a whim, she keys in your telephone number…
Just like that, you have a potential customer — who wasn’t even looking for a professional wedding planner!!– speaking to you, 1-on-1, about her local wedding plans. All because you were smart enough to share need-to-know information on your local wedding blog.
No advertising. No cold calling. (Yesss!)
Most of us do business with people we like and trust (how often have you heard THAT?!). But it’s so true. So, as you build your wedding business it’s important to position yourself as a THE local wedding expert who provides tons of information about planning a local wedding so that you can remove the barriers and concerns that most people have when they contact a business or professional they've never heard of.
The more time that someone who is planning a wedding spends absorbing the content that you’re providing, the more likely it is that they’ll want to get in touch with you when they need the service or product that you offer.
What Can you Do to Help Potential Clients?
The next time you come across a potential client for your wedding planning business, forget the sales pitch and what you're trying to ‘get' and ask yourself, “What can I do to help this person?” Go into ‘give' mode.
Here are a few examples of Give-to-Get Marketing for Wedding Planners:
- Create a local wedding blog with tons of local wedding information
- Host a local wedding (niche?) workshop for area couples
- Host a local wedding podcast for a special niche of clients – same-sex, last-minute weddings
- Show off local wedding venues via a limo wedding planning party – catch couples early in the wedding planning process
- Offer to work with an area wedding vendor at one wedding next month; no fee!
- Start a local wedding-themed charity or chapter – for example, bridesmaid gowns for proms
Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
By the way, as you look for and find clients for your wedding planning business, make sure you're not making any of these wedding planner marketing mistakes:
- Marketing Mistake #1: Not following-up or following-up only once with prospects who express an interest in what you do
- Marketing Mistake #2: Expecting engaged couples to hire you to plan their wedding in one quick and easy step without them getting to know, like and trust you and your wedding business – (Would you buy anything substantial from a company you didn't know, like or trust?)
- Marketing Mistake #3: Believing that anyone getting married, within a certain radius, is your customer – you’ll spend entirely too much time chasing customers you really don’t want to work with and who may not want to work with you. Why do that to yourself? Decide which area or type of weddings you’d like to focus on and forget everyone else!