If Your Website Sucks, How Can You Expect To Get Great Clients?

If your website sucks, how can you expect to get great clients?

Sometimes, I’m truly amazed at the sheer crappiness that comes off the websites of wedding industry pros. The point of this post is not to make you feel badly about your website, but rather, if you’re the business owner who hasn’t updated your website in a year (to be honest, most of the sucky websites I see haven’t been updated in 3+ years! For shame!), I want to motivate you to get off your keister and get some work done.

Here’s the thing: the wedding industry is HIGHLY visual. For most fields within our industry, your prospective clients are hiring service providers almost exclusively because of the visual work that they do: videos, photos, florals, rental items, stationery design, bridal gowns, makeup and hair artists - all of these businesses (and more) will be hired in large part because a client likes the VISUAL BODY OF WORK that that business puts out. So if you’re not showing off your most beautiful work, how on earth do you think you’re going to attract your dream clients?

The results of this 2018 survey show us that 47% of engaged couples felt that having an up-to-date website was “very important” when hiring their wedding vendors, and another 40% said it mattered to them though it wasn’t their top priority.

If you’re one of those who haven’t updated their online portfolios, their blog, their website design as a whole within the last 12 months, then you might be missing out on over 80% of the prospective clients who might otherwise find themselves attracted to your work. And if you need a little more evidence that your visual portfolio is incredibly important to prospective wedding clients…

I understand that not every person is technologically inclined. You may have a really out of date website platform and you just don’t know how to work it. You may have worked with someone to create your site and then never did anything to it again. But if you want to attract clients who want to PAY YOU MONEY, then you need to invest in your own business - that might mean that you start interviewing web designers tomorrow, or researching platforms that allow you to build your own website on a budget. There are a lot of good options out there. Just please - pick one!

Don’t let your site sit there collecting dust. I remember when I was a bride-to-be, I would google search for a specific category of vendors in my city, open up each website in a different tab, and then make a split second decision based on how their website looked whether or not I was going to spend the time on it to even see their work. I’m not the only one - most website viewers leave a website within 10-20 seconds, with a first impression being made within the first 7 seconds.

What first impression is your website making?

If you’re in the market for a new website, I offer a limited number of Squarespace-based website packages each year. Squarespace is a customizable template-based web design system that is ideal for small businesses. With a wide selection of elegant designs, I am able to create your website quickly and efficiently. Your new website will be easy to update and manage, be mobile-ready, and make you look like an expert right from the start. Even better? It'll be ready in about 2 weeks (depending upon my scheduling availability).

Want more info or to take the plunge?

Why I Think Email Templates are the Best

I’m back! The busy wedding season hit me hard and I was slinging flowers for a solid 6 months straight. Didn’t mean to leave you all hanging here :)

I’m gearing up to speak at the Team Flower Conference in Waco, Texas next March and I’m going to speaking about one of my favourite things: educating your clients - the why, the how, the benefits of it. I talked about that a little bit a few months ago on a cursory level, and today, I want to talk about why I think email templates are the best - and they play a huge role in how I educate my clients so this is definitely something I’m going to be incorporating into my session at the Conference!

So here’s the thing: none of us have as much time as we would like to. Or at least, we rarely do. So anything we can do to streamline, systematize, and organize our businesses, we should do it! Email templates were something I implemented into my business at the very start after having previous experience at companies that both did and did not utilize them. So why do I think email templates are the best?

Why I Think Email Templates Are the Best for Small Businesses - Wedding Industry Consultant

1) Email templates save time - and saved time means saved money.

When I get an inquiry, what do I do? Check that I’m available for the wedding date, read through to see if it’s a client I’m well-suited for, and then respond with a pre-written email template. How long does that take me? Maybe 2 minutes, tops? Probably less, if I’m being honest. Some of my friends, on the other hand, will take 20 minutes crafting an email for each and every inquiry they receive, and since all inquiries have a basic similar ask, most of those emails will have very similar verbiage and info to include. So if you’ve spent 20 minutes on that first email, what do you think the chances are of you spending a similar amount of time when trying to schedule an initial appointment, or providing a proposal, or hunting down a deposit payment? Meanwhile, I’m spending 2 minutes on each of these and have saved myself plenty of time, which we all know means that I’ve saved myself plenty of money and/or freed up my time to allow me to do something that’s either income-generating, or gives me that elusive thing called free time.

One thing I need to be clear on is that ALL of these email templates you have should still be customizable, and should incorporate a lot of your personality. I’ll always add in something personal about their venue or their Pinterest board that gets me excited to talk to them, or maybe make a specific note about something they should look at because I think they’d just love it. Your clients should still feel like they are getting personalized, one-on-one service through everything that you do. Just because you have an email template doesn’t mean that you can’t give them a superior level of service.

2) Email templates allow you to ensure you haven’t missed anything, which ensures that your clients get all the info they need.

One of my favourite things that I implemented to my flower business last year was the addition of a beautifully designed, informative PDF that I send out to clients as soon as I’ve received their contract and retainer. It’s meant to feel like a welcome packet, with value-adds for the client, but in reality it’s a way for me to streamline the rest of their engagement. Any time they have a question, they can refer to that pdf. So I guess this isn’t exactly an email template, but it is sent out in a templated email ;) When your clients have all of the info that they need, guess what they’re not doing? Sending you pointless emails. But, if they do send you those emails, you’ll now have a templated response that you can send off super quickly to them, right?!

What do I have email templates for? You name it, I’ve got it!

-Initial inquiries - both when I’m available and when I’m not available
-Appointment reminders
-Providing their proposal
-I also send out an info pdf as soon as I receive their booking that walks them through the entire process or working with me
-Payment reminders
-Explanations for specific services I offer, answers to frequently asked questions, and explanations on why I require a minimum spend
-Touch points throughout their engagement process, including one in which I confirm everything on their order 1 month prior to their wedding

So now it’s your turn. Homework time!

Start by identifying the areas in your client communication process that can be easily streamlined - the easiest ones are probably the first ones: that initial inquiry (both when you’re available and when you’re booked), scheduling their appointment, providing their proposal, and following up on that proposal.

Draft a few emails - chances are, you probably have a “template” in your head already, but you just don’t have it written out in a way that’s easily accessible for you. Don’t forget to keep your personality in your words.

If you use Gmail, did you know that you can save your templates as “Canned Responses?” It literally makes this process the easiest thing ever. I’m not sure about other mail programs, but even if you have an email document where everything is ready to be copied and pasted, you’ll find yourself saving time before you know it.

Featured On the Team Flower Podcast

Hey florist friends!

I was recently featured on the Team Flower Podcast, speaking with Kelly on the topic of “Leading Your Client",” along with many other things!

Featured on the Team Flower Podcast

A conversation with Kelly is always a sweet one. This was actually my first podcast interview, so I won’t lie - I was a little nervous! She put me at ease and we chatted through my story and how I developed and grew my company from the initial goal of booking 2 weddings and ending up booking 30 weddings within that very same year. I tell the story of how Stone House Creative came to be, and about how my business has evolved over the years (and how it will continue to evolve!) with encouragement for all of you to determine your own growth individually - don’t measure your goals and your needs based on some other company’s goals!

We also talked a little bit about the upcoming Team Flower Conference, next March in Waco, Texas. I’m so thrilled to be sharing the stage as a speaker at the conference, highlighting the importance of educating your client (I know, I know - I talk about this a lot - but it’s something that I’m just so passionate about!).

This conversation with Kelly isn’t just limited to flowers - if you’re in any segment of the wedding industry, you might find some helpful ideas for your own business. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Marketing is a Chain Link. Is Yours Broken?

Ugly websites. Broken contact form, or no contact info listed. Lack of detail. You didn't tell them where you're located. No clear call to action. 

Is Your Marketing Broken? Wedding Industry Marketing

Here's the thing, guys: You have to DO the WORK for your prospective clients. If your prospective client has to do any work to contact you/find out where you are/understand what services you provide aside from clicking a button and reading a little, then you have failed as a business owner. And I really do mean any work at all: if they have to read through your entire About and Contact pages because you don't have your city/area listed on your homepage and in your Instagram bio, then you have failed. If they have to dig and dig to find out what services you actually offer, then you have failed. If they have to do any research at all to find out why they would want to inquire with you, then YOU HAVE FAILED. 

I like to think of marketing as a chain made up of individual links. If one of those links is broken, then the entire chain is made useless. Such as: 
-a broken contact form
-no contact info listed
-outdated links or a broken link (ie. If your instagram bio doesn't have your website url)
-your Instagram feed is beautiful but your website portfolio is out of date, making a client question whether or not you're the same company
-outdated info on your online profiles with wedding listings like The Knot or WeddingWire

So here's your challenge for this week: Walk through every aspect of your marketing chain, from the perspective of a potential client. Are you making it easy for them to fall in love with you?  

Appearances Matter

We work in a luxury industry. After an officiant and their marriage license, a couple really doesn't need anything that we offer to actually get married. So, appearances matter! It's important to leverage your work, your style, and your personality to grow your business and take advantage of that first impression to get clients through your door.

Now, I want to start by saying that you don't need to be wearing designer clothing, or have perfect hair and makeup all the time, or anything at all like that. Rather, I think that we need to be conscious that the way we present ourselves (including our appearances but also the way we speak, the way we hold ourselves in any client interaction, etc) needs to fit with our brands.

I'm not even just talking about our physical appearances. Think about your studio, meeting space, your Instagram feed! If your ideal client is a major dog lover, then in order to connect with them, it would be a wise decision to pop a video of your cute pup into your stories now and again. If your ideal client is a wealthy professional who loves designer clothing, then your office should featured tasteful, streamlined furniture in an elegant colour scheme. Get what I'm saying? Of course you do. 

They don't actually NEED most of us for any part of their life. They just want us. Leverage that "want" into a booking by fitting the brand that you put forward, and attracting the client that you dream of.

Here's your challenge for the week: Spend some time brainstorming your ideal client. How old is he/she? What's his/her profession? What's his/her personality like, and what are his/her values? What are his/her needs (in relation to your services)and how are you uniquely positioned to fill those needs? What will his/her wedding be like? Simply google search "ideal client avatar" and you'll come up with a bunch of results to help you better picture this person. 

Some of you might be saying that anyone who wants to spend money is your ideal client. And for some of your businesses, that might be true. I'd still encourage you to dig a little deeper, though. When you are consistently booking your ideal clients, you'll find that you have very little frustration in your client dealings, and you'll be able to really just love your work more.

Now that you have this person in mind, how can you gear your "appearance" to best attract your ideal client?