My job at Coast to Country Weddings sometimes makes me feel like I am sitting on a hill, overlooking the wedding industry with a birds eye view of what's going on in the market. Maybe this is because I am not actually competing for a piece of the "bookings" pie. This means that I have a unique perspective: I am looking from the outside, into various wedding businesses, with fresh eyes. I have a different perspective on what couples want because I'm not trying to get that sale from them.
So I'm in a unique position to share this with you today: five of the biggest mistakes a wedding business will make. When I talk with couples planning their weddings, whether I speak to them through email, or social media, or at the many bridal fairs I attend, these mistakes are what they complain about. If you are guilty of these mistakes, they're so easy to fix! I hope that you do, and that by doing so you will help to do your part to improve the quality of our industry and continue to help to make it a world class line of work.
1. Not standing on your own two feet - Although you have made some business friends in the industry and have set up a relationship where they will recommend you and you them, do not become complacent. Their circumstances may change or they might align with someone else. All of a sudden that business relationship is gone, or has diminished, and you are quickly having to find ways to replenish those bookings fom the word of mouth or referral that is now gone. This is where doing your own advertising and promotion is imperative. You can't rely on someone else to do that hard work for you, no matter how much you like them personally, at the end of the day this is business!
2. Relying on 10 second messages and voice-to-text - If I was a bride/groom, and I wanted to leave a message with "Hi my name is Sharon and I want to know if you do......" - this cannot be done in 10 seconds. Voice-to-text is even worse as it leaves the queerest messages, I know because when someone has rang me back after a voice-to-text the message is nothing like what I said. Get a professional message. Something like "Hi, this is Nicole from Coast to Country Weddings. I am not available to take your call at this moment. Please leave your name and phone number and I will get back to you today". Pretty simple.
3. Not responding to enquiries as quickly as possible - the "rule" for responding to enquiries made by email is a maximum 24 hours or social media enquiries is 15 minutes. That is it. 24 hours on email is even too long in my opinion! With mobile technology available, people expect an immediate response on their smartphone to the enquiry that's been so easy for them to make. I know in the middle of wedding season that sometimes it's just not possible to write a lengthy email back straight away, because you are putting together the weddings you have already booked. But at least put up an automated email telling the person you have their email and you will get back to them within a given time, and make sure you do. This shows you can be trusted.
4. Doing a Social Media post once every three weeks and then going hard for one day with six posts. This is not smart. Spread it out over a few days. Or even once a week is better than nothing. Remember the old saying "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" - well yes it does. Nobody likes it when their newsfeed is spammed by your 23 posts all on one day!
5. Relying on the time you have been in business, or on your good name, to get you through - I have seen this over and over again and in the long term it doesn't work. Businesses that have been around for years and years say to me "I don't need to advertise or promote my business, I'm local, I have been offering a service in the area for 15 years, people will just come to me" or "my name is Margaret River Jam company, they will come to me because of my name". Well I won't name any names, but those business are now out of the industry, or their bookings have diminished severely. The worst part is they blame everyone else but themselves. Do not rest on your laurels or as I say become complacent!
And then there's crossing your I's and dotting your T's - having the right public liability insurance and registering your business name are so important if you are serious about the wedding industry. If you don't have insurance, you can't go to expos, and then there's the obvious problem of what happens if your client has an accident with any of your equipment. Registering your business name is a smart move to protect your brand and your hard work.