» Responding to Leads: Response Time, Method, and Style

WedInsights

Responding to Leads: Response Time, Method, and StyleEngaged couples send out dozens of online inquiries during the planning process trying to find the perfect vendor team for their wedding day. While some couples may know a little (or a lot) about your business prior to submitting a lead, how you respond and the speed of your response will determine the likelihood of booking.

Below we share data from Volume 4 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series to help you understand the impact your response time and communication style have on the likelihood of booking wedding clients:

80% of couples use email to submit inquiries

Couples have become expert multi-taskers and take every opportunity they have to do wedding research and submit leads – often during work or school. Furthermore, many couples like to have a record of the conversation in their email so they can easily reference it at a later date. Since they won’t always have the time to schedule a phone call with you, make sure you’re responding to inquiries in a way that’s convenient for your prospective client. If they reach out via email, respond via email.

Most couples expect to hear back from a vendor within 24 hours

One way to increase your likelihood of booking a client is to respond quickly – within 24 hours to be exact. Our data shows that couples have an all-around more positive perception of a vendor when they respond quickly. The faster you respond, the more likely your prospective client is still thinking about your business and will continue the conversation. Think about the leg up you’d have if you’ve already had two conversations before your competition has even replied!

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» Updates to Your WeddingWire Account: July

Yesterday, we rolled out some exciting new additions and improvements to your WeddingWire account. Updates include enabling new ways to help you get more leads, how to better track your leads, improvements for customizing your event types, and personalizing your client response emails — all designed to help deliver your business more success.

Check out the highlights below!

Lead trackingIntroducing lead tracking

Use the new easy-to-read Leads tab in your account Analytics to see the leads you’re generating from WeddingWire. Plus, find out what traffic sources (desktop vs. mobile) perform best for your account. See my leads »

Custom event types

Need to send an invoice or a questionnaire for non-wedding events? Based on your feedback, we’ve added a new open-ended text field into our Client Management system so that you can customize the event type to keep you organized and personalize contracts for all of your clients. Update my events »

New email template features

Update your Client Response Email Template using the new attachment feature to provide your clients with the information they need. Add up to five attachments, such as pricing information, floor plans or brochures, plus, you can also customize your email signature to keep your branding on point. Get started »

New features for couples

We’ve add new features to give couples the best experience finding their perfect vendor team, including an updated FAQ layout to help users quickly digest your business information, a new Recommendation Module after they submit a lead, a ‘Pin It’ button  on all Storefront photos, as well as the photo and video count to your respective Storefront tabs.

Questions? Review the Support Center for more information about your WeddingWire Analytics and how to read your Leads Analytics, or email support@weddingwire.com any time.

» 4 Ways to Improve Your Response Time

4 Ways to Improve Your Response TimeBecause today’s world revolves around instantaneous communication, response time is very important. An untimely response to an inquiry or request often indicates poor customer service to your potential clients, and a consistently slow response time can result in the loss of multiple customers and the associated revenue.

If you respond to a lead within 5 minutes rather than 30 minutes, you’re 100 times more likely to turn a lead into a client. Responding quickly to any client communication could mean the difference between getting the sale and losing out to a faster Pro.

Use the following tips to help improve your response time and streamline the response process!

Try to respond within 24 hours. Even if you just reply to let them know you’ve received their email but you’re very busy, it helps the couple to know whether or not you check your email on a regular basis. It doesn’t take much to send a quick reply explaining that you are short on time and will get back to them as soon as you have a free moment. This could be accomplished with an auto-reply email or a personalized email response. Don’t forget that many couples reach out to multiple Pros at once, so you don’t want to miss out.

Be careful with auto-responders. Auto-reply emails are a great idea in theory, but the details can sometimes cause Pros to slip up. You don’t need to fully describe your services or go through your business’ mission statement in your auto-reply email! You want to find the sweet spot where you’re providing helpful, valuable information but without repeating everything they’ve already read on your website. You’ll also want to keep it conversational so that your auto-responder doesn’t seem so mechanical. For more auto-reply best practices, use our Pro Tips.

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» The Customer Success Team’s Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

The Customer Success Team’s Top 5 Frequently Asked QuestionsAs a member of the Customer Success team, I work with WeddingWire’s premium members. As a team we consider ourselves WeddingWire experts and hope to pass along our experience and expertise with WeddingWire to our Pros to be sure you see a return on your investment!

While we’re always learning new things about our Pros and their businesses everyday, below are my team’s top five frequently asked questions. If these questions haven’t been answered for you as a WeddingWire Pro yet, hopefully this post will help fill you in.

1. How can I get more leads?

Being concerned with how many leads you’re likely to receive or how many of those leads will convert into bookings is at the top of most Pros minds, especially after becoming a premium member on WeddingWire. In order to generate more leads from your advertisement, you need to be sure you put your best foot forward. This includes making sure you have collected as many reviews as possible, displaying professional photos of your work and spending time explaining your business in your About Us section. Putting time into your advertisement on WeddingWire will result in more leads and more booked weddings and events.

2. I don’t feel comfortable reaching out for reviews. Does that matter?

WeddingWire is a website built on reviews. We take our review system very seriously, as we’ve created a community of prospective newlyweds who rely on our Reviews and trust their legitimacy. Even if reaching out for reviews from your past clients is something foreign to you, we urge you to try.

Keep in mind that many of your competitors are asking for reviews from their clients, and you could be doing your business a disservice by not soliciting reviews from past clients.  If you’re still not sure if reaching out for reviews is for you, try posting a status on your Facebook Business Page that includes your personalized review URL. This is a great way to ease into collecting reviews for your business, and you’ll be surprised at how many of your clients are more than happy to post their amazing experiences on WeddingWire.

3. How long until I get my first lead?

After the excitement of starting a new advertising venture, most Pros immediately want to know, “How long until this starts working?!” The answer to this question is different for each business. While some Pros will receive a lead within hours of signing up with WeddingWire, other businesses may take a few weeks or more to receive their first lead.

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» HOW TO: Use the Contact Us Widget

As noted in this Entrepreneur.com article, a contact form “legitimizes your business by offering a real person to contact, and helps you gather leads.”  If you don’t already have one, WeddingWire makes it easy for your business to add a Contact Us form to your website and/or blog. It is important the form is in a prominent location on your website so that potential clients will actually use it.

To add your custom form:

1. Log in to your WeddingWire account

2.  Click here, or on the My Inbox tab

3. You have the option of collecting Wedding City & State and an additional Message Box, if you would not like to display these fields simply uncheck the corresponding boxes

4. Click and copy the HTML code for the Contact Us widget

5. Paste onto your website and/or blog

Thats it! When someone fills out this form, their information will populate into the Leads section of your WeddingWire account and you will receive an email notification. Keeping all of your leads in one place will help you stay organized and allow you to mark off those you have already responded to.

WeddingWire makes it easy for your business to add a Contact Us form to your website and/or blogWeddingWire makes it easy for your business to add a Contact Us form to your website and/or blog

» Benefits of Social Media

Check out the results of a survey, summarized in eMarketerand Mashable yesterday, that outlines the benefits of embracing social media marketing.  Respondents were from the Marketing Executives Networking Group.

Customer engagement took first place, with 85% of surveyed executives citing it as the main benefit of using social media marketing.  Only 21% of executives, however, think that it is a “great lead generation source”.  That means most of those surveyed do not think social media directly impacts sales.

Regardless, the majority of respondents agreed that there are numerous benefits to engaging in social media marketing, given it is low in cost, it can be used a source of feedback and results, and it allows for direct customer communication.

Although this was a small survey, I think the take away message is that it would be beneficial to utilize social media marketing as one of your marketing mediums for 2009.

What do you think the benefits are for using social media marketing?  Do you plan to incorporate more of it in 2009?

» Increasing Leads With Your Blog

blogging for businesses and leadsIt doesn’t take being in the wedding industry long to realize that blogging is one of the most popular and easy ways for wedding vendor to market their service or product for potential clients, but are you blogging effectively to generate business?

Wedding services require relationships.  These relationships are the foundation of your business and will differentiate you from your competition.  One of the best ways to get a relationship off the ground with your blog is to offer information and advice about your area of expertise.  Admittedly, some people will take your information and run, but not all will and many more will begin to return regularly.  This will help build credibility for you as an industry expert. Your passionate about what you do, so use that energy to drive your content.  People will notice your enthusiasm.

If a bride-to-be can quickly see from your blog that you are an ‘expert’ that can provide some customization or distinction to their wedding, this can often make them more likely to want to work with you.  In this instance of using your blog to generate leads, give site visitors information that is useful, but also make sure to encourage them to contact you also, perhaps to customize XYZ part of their wedding.  Give to get.

Additionally, because so much of your business relies on relationship building, being transparent and with insight about you as a person is also a great method to start connecting with brides-to-be.  Your thoughts on a news story or blog post can be a right way to share your personality with readers.   People appreciate honesty.

Lastly, make sure people can contact you, EASILY.  What good is lead generation if you’re unavailable?

Do you do anything unique or creative to generate leads?  Share them with a comment.