As anyone in business will tell you — it’s cheaper to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one. How do you do that if you’re in the wedding industry? Typically, these clients are one and done, right? As a wedding vendor, repeat clients may not look like what you’d expect.
Whether you’re a venue, photographer, florist, event planner, baker, etc. — your clients will still need similar services in the future. From life celebrations and vow renewals to any number of life events, there’s no need to lose out on future business trying to serve engaged couples only. We’re sharing five ways to get repeat customers for your wedding business.
CUSTOMER RETENTION BY THE NUMBERS
The wedding industry is unique in that we hope not to offer the same service to the same client a bunch of times, but there’s no getting around the fact that customer retention is a big part of adding to your bottom line.
Let’s look at some helpful statistics —
- It costs 6-7 times more to attract a new customer compared to keeping a current customer, according to Bain and Company.
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is almost 70% on average whereas the probability of selling to a new prospect is between 5-20%.
- Lowering your customer turnover (or churn rate) by just five percent can increase your profitability by 25-125%, according to Small Biz Trends.
- 44% of companies primarily focus on customer acquisition vs. the 18% that focus on customer retention, according to Invesp.
- Some statistics list that if you don’t sell to that customer again within 2-5 years, you will have officially lost them.
(Now, with all this talk of customer cost, if you’re wondering how much your customer acquisition number even is — here’s a resource from Neil Patel that will help you find that number.)
With this in mind, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions —
- What am I doing to keep my current customers?
- What do I have (products or services) that could benefit them in their new phase of life? (What else do I have that I can sell them – now or later?)
- Am I actively promoting this to them?
- Do I have a system in place to gain as much pertinent information from them as possible while they are an active customer?
- What are my couples also buying in addition to my services during the wedding planning process? Can I offer them any of those resources?
5 WAYS TO GET REPEAT CUSTOMERS FOR YOUR WEDDING BUSINESS
1. Have a system in place to stay in contact with them.
Make sure that while you’re working with your couple on their wedding that you’re also thinking of the future — your future together.
- Get them signed up for your email or text list.
- Be sure they are following you on social media. (And that you’re following them.)
- Invite them to your Facebook group or any other private group for clients.
Get them used to looking for emails or posts from you by creating helpful content and resources. Don’t just be content to message them directly because eventually they won’t be texting or emailing you. You’ll be the one who wants to reach out to them.
2. Gather helpful details during the planning process.
When you are working with your couples, what system do you have in place to gather valuable information and helpful details that will enable you to get repeat sales?
Think about it. For up to 13 months on average, you will have your couple’s attention. Do you do any surveys asking for feedback on what else they are needing help with — or where their pain points are? You’re working more closely with your clients than many companies get to work with theirs. Don’t miss your opportunity for repeat sales in the immediate — as well as the future.
You may be able to add a product or service based on their feedback to increase their spend with you — and reduce their stress which is a win/win situation.
Other helpful details might include —
- Finding out if anyone else in their family or friend group is needing your service. (Big life events coming up?)
- Learning more about the couple’s post-wedding plans. Are they moving, getting a new house, etc. By learning more about these details, you will be able to see patterns and find new sales opportunities.
3. Keep the personal touch you gave them in wedding planning.
A handwritten card after the wedding is a wonderful way to keep that connection, but a handwritten card on an anniversary — or life event that they shared with you during the planning process is even better. That shows that you care — and at the same time, you can include a special VIP service offer related to that event.
You’ve developed a great relationship with your couple. It’s important to keep that personal touch even after the big day.
4. Acknowledge their life change — and be helpful there too.
Pass on helpful information or tips as you are able to. That’s what you likely did when they were your client, so try to do that once in a while.
Build a library of helpful resources and a general timeline of when these are needed and you could, if needed, even automate this in your email marketing. You don’t have to always write your notes from scratch. It’s still thoughtful if you’ve planned a resource that will help them.
This is where a wedding alumni group could be fun on social media too!
Many times couples like to reminisce over such fun or sweet times. Creating digital or in-person meet-ups where the wedding class of 2020 (as it were) can get together for a fun connection is great because this gives them an opportunity to connect — and you an opportunity to remind them of your services as well.
5. Turn happy customers into brand advocates.
Don’t let a delighted couple slip through your fingers! Create ways to turn happy customers into brand advocates. This is just a good rule of thumb — and there are lots of great resources on this topic (like this one). However, in this case, we’re specifically talking about using this for a double benefit of referrals and repeat sales.
What system do you have in place for getting delighted couples to refer you to their friends — and to get repeat sales? If you don’t have one, you need one.
For example: Create a mutually beneficial program where referring couples can get a special discount (or service) when a friend books with you. This can be done in a non-sleazy way and means that your current customers are developing your new customers while buying more from you.
CUSTOMER RETENTION PLANS MOVING FORWARD
We’ve covered five ways to get repeat customers for your wedding business. Now let’s get the creative juices flowing about how to make these happen.
Pro-Tips for Getting Repeat Customers
- Email Marketing — Using automation to help serve your clients even after they’ve moved on into a new phase of life is one of the most effective ways to get repeat customers.
- Referral Program — Special offer for the current customer (or both) when a new one books.
- VIP Perks — Give early access to new products/services to current customers. Let them know this and how they get access (email marketing). Give them special introductory pricing on new services.Telling customers about the VIP experience is as important as giving them the VIP service.
- Loyalty Program — Offer loyalty programs and rewards at certain levels of spending. It works for everyone from Starbucks to Birdies.
- Handwritten Notes or Small Gifts — Keep that person touch on big holidays or big life events.
- Keep Using the Couple in Your Content — Interview former couples (now newlyweds) and keep giving them a reason to stay connected to your content.
- Blogging — You create helpful blog topics to get new customers, but don’t forget to blog topics that help your current customers in new life phases. Use this to help them solve problems or achieve goals.
- Create an “Alumni” Facebook Group — Consider private Facebook groups or similar to keep former customers connected. They may not need wedding details, but encourage them to stay around to provide helpful insights.
- Keep Sharing Their Wedding on Social (And Tag Them) — Keep the special times you had together in front of them on social media.
- Stay in Touch for Follow-Up Services — This falls under email marketing, but don’t forget to offer follow-up services in a specific and tailored email to your couples. Are you a beauty specialist? Offer a date-night deal. Are you a photographer? Automate an email to reach out a few months before their anniversary for a special offer.
Do you have other ways you get repeat services from your current customers? Share your best tips in the comments below.
When it comes to customer retention, social media plays an important role. Check out this helpful resource on Why Social Media Belongs in Your Customer Service Strategy.
Written by Corrie McGee