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.

We Need to Educate Our Clients. Here's Why.

I may or may not recently have gone a bit of a rant on the whole "reasonable pricing" thing. If you want to know why that's a curse word to my ears, you can read that here. But out of all the requests we get from prospective clients to be "affordable" or "fair" in our prices, there's one clear path, as far as I'm concerned: 


Educate your clients on your pricing.

Your clients are fixated on the end product or service, and rightfully so. Unless they've worked in your industry, they can't possibly understand what goes into making that product or service a reality. So it's up to us to make sure they understand the VALUE which they will be receiving.

For example, the cost of greenery garlands running down the centre of tables. In the last few years, garlands have become one of those huge Pinterest trends and somehow couples got the impression that because they were "just greenery," that they were cheap. So whenever I'm asked about garlands and I know it won't fit into a client's budget, I explain it to them: Garlands require both a lot of product (and although greenery is not typically as expensive as flowers, it still has a cost!) and take a lot of time to produce. Once I let them know that there's a ton of work involved, they typically start to understand. 

Another example is when clients come to you with an overall budget but haven't stopped to think about how many times that number needs to be divided by. Maybe they're renting chairs from you and come to you with a budget of $400. $400 might seem like a lot to that client, but when you divide it by 200 people, that only comes out to $2/chair, and of course, the chair the client is looking at is pretty much guaranteed to be at least $8 each. Or maybe they have a catering budget of $3000. Again, it might sound like a lot of money but divided by 200 people, that only comes out to $15/person. Take a few bucks off for place setting rentals and staffing, and that client is trying to get a fully plated, 3 course dinner for about $7/person. 

These things seem pretty obvious to us, but a lot of the time, we just need to kindly educate our clients, breaking these things down so they can process. Rather than turning a prospective client away, do them (and your colleagues!) a favour by gently explaining what a more realistic budget is and a few of the whys behind it.

Educate your clients on your processes.

Over the last 4 years of owning my own wedding industry business, I've occasionally had a client who didn't seem to understand that I actually know what I'm doing. These are the people who attempt to run the consultation, or tell me how much my products and services should cost, or decide to send me an invoice for their own wedding flowers to which they've thoughtfully applied the incorrect taxes :)  Now, I don't give off a vibe of incompetence at pretty much anything other than golf or house painting and I've basically made myself the boss of every room I've ever been in, so I'm not sure why any of these people felt the need to take charge (maybe it's simply because they also like being the boss). 

I'm not saying that you need to teach your clients the ins and outs of every single one of your internal processes (and I'd really rather you NOT do that, because they don't need to know everything). What I'm suggesting here is that we need to lay out the steps for them - such as what they need to know, what they need to do and at what times, what I'll be doing in the meantime, and even better, what they DON'T need to do.

This is a benefit for a few reasons: it calms the clients, while streamlining your work and communication with them.

Earlier this year, I worked with a fantastic local graphic designer, Kyla of Keeks Paper Co to create a "wedding guide" - basically, it's a pretty pdf that outlines how things work with me. I send it to my clients as soon as they've booked with me, and it outlines some practical info like when payments are due, when I need updates and confirmations from them, when my office hours are, how to hold a bridal bouquet, along with some fun, lighthearted things like a studio tour and my favourite date-nights.  It's an awesome way for me to communicate with them at the same time as adding value.

Here's a couple of screenshots to give you an idea:

How to Educate Wedding Clients - Stone House Consulting
How to Build a Better Wedding Business - Educate Your Wedding Clients

What should you be doing differently?

Every business has an area or two that they can tweak in order to streamline processes! For me, that education process starts from the first inquiry email (FYI email templates are your friend!). I outline what will happen in the first meeting, how they need to prepare, and in cases where I can tell that the client doesn't have a realistic budget set up, I'll send them links where they read more about what their wedding will really cost. During our appointment, I set very clear expectations as to when they can expect to receive their proposal, and how it will be laid out. They leave knowing that I've got them really well taken care of, and they can leave it in my hands. Their contract clearly outlines how payments are to be received, how changes to their order are handled, and how best to take care of their wedding flowers on the day of their wedding. Sometimes people still ask me questions, but everything else has been so streamlined!

So here's your challenge for the week: identify if there are any pain points in your client processes where it seems like you might be losing control or when you're constantly hearing, "that's out of my budget." Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil (I always get the best ideas when I write by hand) and brainstorm some ways that you can educate your clients in a positive, value-add sort of way. Plan it out so that next time you get asked those questions, you've got an answer locked and loaded. 

If you need help, I'm always available for a Power Session! I'd love to help you dig into your business and make it as strong as possible.