You can already tell I'm about to get into it, right? While I don't want you to go into your scheduling app and delete all of the incredible content you've been creating, I do feel like I need to be honest with you. In the first few years of business, there is an INCREDIBLE pressure to not only be great wedding planners (with zero experience) but also somehow become brilliant marketers. It's a tall order, even for my fellow enneagram 3's out there! And I hate to tell you, friend, but it's a lie. While spreading the word and marketing your business IS important, it's not the only thing that will help you make more money booking magazine-worthy weddings. Today, I want to make a case for focusing on why you should improve your client experience instead.
There is a lot of stuff that drives me crazy about the coaching industry, but one of the biggest things is the exceptional emphasis on marketing.
“You'll figure it out as you go.”
“Book 100 styled shoots and attract luxury clients.”
“Charge your worth.”
And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, a lot of it is a bunch of BS. The good news? You won't find that here.
But now that I've got that off my chest – you DO need to make money, right? You are not trying to run your wedding business like a non-profit… at least, I hope not! But here's the thing: becoming a better marketer is NOT the only way to do that. So today, I'm going to share 3 ways to make more money as you improve your client experience instead!
1. A Great Client Experience Has the Opportunity to Upsell More Frequently (and Consistently) Built In
I am not talking about nickel and diming your customers – oh hell no. But upsell does not have to be a dirty word. In fact, I believe the best wedding planners are excellent salespeople. And I believe the best salespeople are pros at getting their customers what they want.
For example, it could be that you pitched the idea of an outdoor tented wedding over that ballroom your couple had their eye on, so now you make more money on your services (and they get a wedding day that's truly one-of-a-kind). It could be that you've included rental management into your wedding planning packages, and now you make more money designing prettier weddings (also a win-win). Or, it could be that your couple was going to pull their hair out trying to coordinate a rehearsal dinner or Sunday brunch themselves without even realizing you can handle that for them.
Did you just feel that sigh of relief? That was your customers thrilled to have the extra help and not worrying for a second if it cost them a little extra money.
I believe the best way to make more profit is by spending less, but the second best way is to find opportunities with the clients you already have.
Listen – I'm a huge fan of Profit First. But another one of the (many) problems with focusing on marketing your wedding business like it's your full-time job (spoiler alert – it's not!) is that the “ideal” outcome is that you just book a ton more weddings. And guess what? After you book them, you have a TON of work to do. It's why the wedding industry is full of “flash in the pan” hobbyists. It's a lot of work. The last thing I want you to do is to focus on marketing your business and then end up working 80+ hours a week for the next two years, trying to hit your revenue goal.
Let's talk about percentage pricing for a second…
Wedding budgets change. You know that, and I know that. And guess what? They usually don't decrease. I am a HUGE advocate of percentage pricing because I think it's the easiest way to prevent scope creep and ensure you are paid fairly as the scope of work inevitably increases. As you work to improve your client experience, make sure to give your pricing a look over too!If you know your pricing needs a major revamp, I've got you. Head to the shop and grab my “pricing your wedding planning services for profit” guide. It won't let you down!
2. When You Are Marketing Your Business, Share Behind the Scenes
The eye buys. When you set out to improve your client experience, share behind the scenes! Most of your clients will love seeing you working on their weddings in real time, and potential customers will love the window into what it's like to work with you. By putting a great client experience at the forefront of your focus, your marketing will effortlessly help you attract the right clients. No more trying to shout from the rooftops to everyone and anyone who will listen!
Examples of behind the scenes you can share:
- Sending out a welcome box to new couples booked
- Ordering supplies for welcome boxes
- Working on a design board for current clients
- Unboxing stationery samples from a local invitation designer
- Touring new wedding venues that your current (or potential) clients are interested in
When you improve your client experience, they share about it!
I will share more about this in my last point, but while we are talking about marketing, I wanted to make a quick aside. If you have been on Instagram or TikTok lately, you know that UGC (user-generated content) is all the rage. As you set out to improve your client experience, think of ways you can create special touchpoints that they might want to share! Some will, most won't, but don't think our industry doesn't have the opportunity here.
One example that comes to mind is when one of the wedding planners in my high touch mastermind said that she brought her client's menu tasting to them when they were quarantined. It was totally unexpected, and they LOVED it. They shared about it on social media, and she gained at least one potential lead from it. Going above and beyond for your couples will ALWAYS be the best way to get more of them.
3. Ideal Clients Refer More Ideal Clients (When They've Been Blown Away By Great Service!)
One of the best pieces of advice I got when I started my wedding planning business was from my accountant. I proudly showed him my business plan (fully expecting praise for how incredible I am) and told him all about how I was going to start by planning some weddings for cheap so that I could gain experience and build my portfolio – I was READY to go.
He stopped me in my tracks when he said, “Candice, I don't know much about the wedding planning industry, but I can tell you that does not work for home builders”.
He then explained that so often, when home builders start a business, they get caught up doing little jobs and taking on anything they can get… only to discover they will never get the kind of work they want that way! Worse, they burn out trying to be everything to everyone (for less than minimum wage some days!). Have you been there before?
While focusing on marketing in your wedding business might get you “more,” switching the focus to improve your client experience will likely get you BETTER. If you are not trying to run a volume business, focusing on the “few” will make you more money because, guess what? They've got friends and sisters and cousins who all want what they had with you too. And those clients? Yeah, they are happy to pay top dollar too!
Have I Convinced You to Improve Your Client Experience Yet?
I want to remind you that with weddings, there are no do-overs. Unlike vendors like their wedding photographer or caterer, you are offering a service that doesn't lead to something tangible in the end. They can't “see it” on their wedding day. Your customers will likely never know or appreciate all the hard work behind the scenes, but they will remember what an incredible experience they had with you – not only on their wedding day but during all of the moments leading up to it. Focus on that, and trust me – you'll make more money as a wedding planner in 2023.
Ready to Elevate Your Client Experience (and Your Whole Wedding Planning Business)?
Talking about how to market your business is a lot sexier than what I talked about today, so if you read until the end, I would love to invite you to join me inside The Planner's Playbook – my monthly wedding planner membership. This is my new coaching experience for wedding planners who are ready to plan, design, and coordinate high-end weddings like a pro! Ready to become a Playbooker?
Explore More Wedding Industry Resources
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- How To Get Wedding Clients When You’re Just Starting Out
- What Are The Best Resources For Wedding Planners?
- 4 Strategies That Will Help You Book MORE Of Your Ideal Clients
- Why You’re Not Attracting The Right Clients and How to Fix It