How you communicate with couples is something to think about at every step of your working relationship. Because the moment they hit inquire on your Storefront is the moment your job really starts. From needing to communicate in a way that connects with them to actually communicating important details about how planning their wedding might go, how you share, receive, and exchange ideas is an essential part of your sales process and client experience alike. But here’s the thing—even though talking to couples is a part of your job through and through, there are different approaches that make you effective pre and post-booking. Today, then, we wanted to dive into the most important things for you to know about replying to inquiries that will help you turn them into booked weddings. Read on for our best practices and learn how to respond expertly to the wedding leads you get when advertising with The Knot and WeddingWire.
First things first—what is a lead anyways?
Before we dive into sharing our advice to help you reply to leads, we think it’s important to touch base about this crucial piece of the puzzle. Because there are a lot of articles, presentations, and conversations happening around leads and ideal clients, but the two are not one and the same. Sure, ideal clients are what you should always strive for, but qualified leads are what you want.
A qualified lead is someone who meets the criteria for booking your services—that means they are engaged, want to get married in your service area, and are interested in your service.
An ideal client is the couple that you most want to book—that means they are a qualified lead as well as have things like certain personality traits and design ideas you love working with and/or are also looking at hiring the other pros you collaborate best with.
Best practices to help you respond to wedding leads
It’s always exciting to get a notification that a new inquiry just landed in your inbox from your Storefront, but what you do after is the difference between a lead that becomes a booking and one that doesn’t. Because your timing, reply, and approach all work in tandem to move a couple further down your sales funnel—and here are some best practices to help you do just that:
- This may seem silly, but we’ve seen it not happen—make sure you are responding to all the leads you are getting. Every lead you get is an opportunity to book new business, so be sure to hit “reply” to every couple who hits “inquire”
- Know that the average conversion rate is approximately 10% (closer to 5% for venues). That means for every 100 wedding leads you get from advertising with The Knot and WeddingWire, approximately 10 couples will book you. And, because you never know which couples are going to book, it’s important to reply to everyone
- Be the early bird and respond within 24 hours of receiving an initial inquiry from a couple. Up to 50% of all bookings go to the vendor that responds first, and if you follow up with a couple within 5 minutes, you are 9 times more likely to convert!
- Don’t be afraid to test. We always encourage A/B testing your initial responses to continually hone in on the most effective messaging because the goal is to find what works best for you. Be sure to also test your lead responses; you don’t want those going to spam or promotional folders and you can send a test lead to yourself to double-check
- Keep your responses brief (read: short, conversational, and friendly). 76% of couples told us they prefer quick messages over other forms of communication–so reply as you would to a friend. Stay under 200 words if possible and don’t overload your couples with too many attachments
- Be personal. When you use the information you’ve received to tailor messages, couples are more likely to reply
- Be mobile-minded. A response may look short when written or viewed on a laptop, but it can be overwhelming on a mobile device. Be succinct and double-check how long your response is before hitting “send”
- Reach out again if you don’t hear from them within a few days because it shows you care while giving them space at the same time. When you do follow up, be sure to end with an action item, like asking them a question
Pro-tip: Feel like delayed responses from wedding leads is a regular occurrence? Here are a few reasons you might still be waiting to hear back from couples.
How to respond to leads—literally
If you’re new to advertising with The Knot and WeddingWire (welcome!), you might be wondering where and how to reply to your inquiries. The “where” is easy. You want to send your reply from your Storefront and there are a few reasons why. The first is it is best practice to reply to a lead via the same channel they reached out to you on since it is where they started the conversation (and are expecting a response). Second, since couples are often reaching out to a few pros at once, keeping your conversation on The Knot or WeddingWire makes it easier for them to revisit your Storefront for a reminder of who you are and what you do. And lastly, replying to your leads on The Knot and WeddingWire from your Storefront eliminates the possibility of your reply going to a SPAM box.
That covers the “where,” so here is “how” to reply to a wedding lead on The Knot and WeddingWire.
- Head to the Messages tab. You’ll see your leads there and can click into each message to reply. We collect couples’ information (including their wedding date and guest count) to make it easier for you to see if you’re available
- Want to update the email you get replies to? Head over to the Settings section under the Messages tab
- You can mark any lead as pending, replied, booked or discarded within the Messages tab to organize and keep track of the status of your leads
On The Knot
- Head to the Leads tab. You’ll see your leads there and can click into each message to reply. We collect couples’ information (including their wedding date and guest count) to make it easier for you to see if you’re available
- You can sort leads by recent activity, wedding date, inquiry date, first name or last name
- Set up Quick Replies to create and edit message templates that allow you to quickly reply to couples. We encourage you to use this as a customizable template since you’re more likely to get a response when you tailor it to each couple. Resist the urge to send the exact same reply every time—this will help you convert more couples in the long run
On the WeddingPro app
The new (and unified!) WeddingPro app helps you quickly respond to and manage your wedding leads on both The Knot and WeddingWire, whether you are in the office or on a site visit.
Note: The “Messages” tab you’re used to seeing on WeddingWire is called the “Leads” tab in the app.
With the app, you can search through your inbox using keywords and sort your inbox in a variety of helpful ways. On The Knot, you can mark any lead as booked, flagged or archived under the Leads tab to keep yourself organized. On WeddingWire, you can organize your messages by status–pending, replied, booked or discarded–and mark a message as unread, read or archived.
And when you want to make sure you’re using the WeddingPro app to the fullest (read: boost your conversion rate), here are a few pro-tips to help:
- Turn on notifications so you are alerted as soon as a couple inquires with you. This will help you be one of the first to reply and get closer to closing the sale
- Set up Quick Replies if you haven’t already—they become even more helpful when you are responding to a lead while on the go
- Your analytics will be with you all the time when you download the app. So if you see something that suggests you should make an adjustment, no need to wait—you can make them on the fly
When to move the conversation to email
As you move a lead through your sales process, there comes a time when it makes sense to move the conversation off of The Knot or WeddingWire and over to email. And while you make the ultimate decision about the timing, there are 3 common scenarios it makes sense to do so:
- After you’ve had an initial consultation call with the couple and the next steps are ready to be communicated
- When a couple requests a custom proposal or more detailed/specific information about your services
- When a couple books your services for their wedding
Pro-tip: Let your lead know that your next communication will be coming to them via email and share the address it will be sent from so they know to look for it.
Get more advice to help you reply to online leads and start advertising with The Knot and WeddingWire if you’re not already! Thousands of wedding pros have booked their first clients and built their businesses with our help—simply fill out this form and someone will be in touch to talk about how we can help you!
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