A question today about enquiries and how to increase our conversion

I have a question about converting enquiries as I am finding that I get a good amount of enquiries but feel my conversion rate could be way better.

Wondering what I could be doing better or is there something I am not doing? Is it the language I am using in my initial contact too passive or boring? Or maybe I am giving them too much information?

I currently do not have my price on my website so I am guessing some of the enquiries I am not converting are due to that and for follow up I send out a very short follow up email to them a about a month after not hearing anything.

How do I better communicate to my leads in the initial enquiry stage to “seel the deal” with me or at least book an initial catch up meeting.

Would love some constructive feedback on my “first email” and “welcome letter” attachment that I send as my first contact.

We live in an amazing time where the access to new technology, new ideas, and new formats or mediums is changing every day. Literally every day. The way we transact and communicate is equally changing, and most popular advice on sales, closing sales, converting enquiries, and conversion rates is not even aimed at us. Most common sales advice is about building globally strong brands, repeat customers, building client loyalty, and all of that means almost nothing to celebrants. On top of that, most sales advice is for attracting individuals or businesses, not couples.

Our ideal client is a couple, who up until now has never paid for a service like ours, and ideally never will again.

So catching that fish requires skill, talent, and the knowledge that the waters are ever changing.

So with that in mind, I’ll address your points then end with what I’ve done and am doing now.

My conversion rate could be better

Measuring your conversion rate could almost definitely keep you awake at night far more than you should be. The secret in micro/macro size businesses like ours is in what you measure. There are so many different numbers you can measure, and I wouldn’t even recommending my method (I measure my accounts receivable, because all my invoices are due in four months so the total accounts receivable divided by four is my expected revenue).

An easy way to increase your conversion rate is to decrease your enquiries. I’ve done that before by listing my price publicly on the website. Enquiries went right down, conversion rate went right up to almost 90% closure, but my total bookings went right down as well. So if you get two enquiries a year and book both of them, you’ve had a 100% conversion rate without much to show for it.

In fact, as much as I continually forever aim to target my marketing so finely, I’m also aware that for many enquiries I won’t be available, I might be out of budget, or just not the right fit, so the only way I’ve figured out how to combat that is to increase enquiries  whilst also trying to make my marketing efforts, website, and social media act as a filter so that if a couple do enquire, they’re already fairly invested in me as a person and a brand.

Is it the language I am using in my initial contact too passive or boring? Or maybe I am giving them too much information?

Your emails and welcome pack are fine, like I mention below you could make your email a little more brief and your welcome pack deeper with more specific info. If you’ve gotten them past the initial email they can choose to read the heavier load of information.

I currently do not have my price on my website

You’ve most likely already read these two articles, but Sarah, and then I, both covered this topic recently.

How do I better communicate to my leads in the initial enquiry stage + follow up emails

Ask anyone in the wedding industry about follow up and everyone has their secret little thing. So many don’t follow up, many swear by it (I swear by it), but I’d like to point out that good follow up is part of a broader strategy.

I take note that most couples are on a wedding planning journey of between three months to three years. What a massive market to aim for. So I aim to maintain a long term relationship with all these couples by engaging with them three ways.

  1. I reply to their initial enquiry with a short and friendly email that identifies that a) I’m available, b) they know what that means in terms of money and packages, and ending with a c) action step. So many sales are missed because they lack a “next step.” Brevity is my goal here as well, as I as assume they’ve got many emails and they don’t want to spend all day reading mine, plus if they want more from me, there’s my website.
  2. I maintain an email list of all couples I meet at expos, fairs, open days, along with all who enquire with me, and send a brief value-adding email to them every Monday. So every week there’s a touch point from me, delivering value into their lives.
  3. If they offer questions, ideas, or ask for help that I think would make for good social media, blog, or video content I use it. I don’t always mention their names, but I’m relying on them following me on these platforms and seeing that I not only answered their question or problem directly, I also shared the advice with the world, so they feel involved in my business now as well.
  4. 6-12 days after a first enquiry, if it goes un-answered I’ll send a friendly email simply “following up after our last conversation” giving them an opportunity to make a time to meet or book me in.

Would love some constructive feedback on my “first email” and “welcome letter” attachment that I send as my first contact

The first email

So to fill everyone else in, enquiries are replied to with an email pretty much like this and a PDF “welcome letter” attached.

Hi couple name,

Thank-you for your enquiry and congratulations on your engagement. At this stage I am still available for date. Please find attached my welcome letter which will give you some information about me and my services as a wedding celebrant and a short video – so you can have an idea of what it is like to pronounced newlywed (love this part) [link to video].

If you have any questions or would like me to send you my booking form (if you think I would be a good match for you both) or arrange a time to catch up to chat about your plans so far please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Happy Wedding Planning!

All in all this is a perfectly fine email reply, in the original email there’s an extra paragraph related to your side business and at least in an initial email I would try and keep things really focused. Humans are easily distracted and I think your side business could be introduced once they’ve paid you some cash.

If I was going to get picky, this initial email is all about you and how you can make their life better. Everyone else in the wedding industry begins with a congratulations, I feel like it’s almost redundant and if you truly are happy for them, say it in person. Open the email with the important details: yes, I am available to be your celebrant. Use as few words as possible so there’s no chance of confusion or misunderstanding.

People always have questions, and the fact they’ve already asked one in “are you available” probably means they don’t need an opportunity to ask more, so I’d quit all the fancy talk and move on to the locking in dates and making a booking stage. I would even drop the “don’t hesitate to get in touch” and simply wrap up the conversation with a solid “To book me in as your marriage celebrant <click here> or if you’d like to meet before doing so, I’m available on x, y, and z times or we can make a time to cal or Skype.”

The welcome letter

If you ignored all of that last advice you’ve still got a fine email to reply to enquiries with, but the welcome letter needs to go to bed.

Modern businesses of 2018 aren’t sending PDFs unless it’s information that absolutely has to be in a PDF, like a NOIM for example.

PDFs have three problems:

  1. They aren’t responsive to screen size, so they are very commonly painful to read on mobile, and I know that more than 60% of my couples are enquiring on mobile.
  2. They aren’t as pretty as your sexily designed website (true for the celebrant asking the question, as well as almost everyone else)
  3. They can’t be updated. So if info in the PDF changes, only new enquiries get the new info.

The solution: non-public pages on your website.

All of the info in your welcome pack that you want to “hide” from public eyes, but share with enquiries, put that on a special page that isn’t linked to from other pages in your website, and make sure it’s not in a menu bar. In WordPress or Squarespace it’s as easy as making a new page but not linking to it. Depending on your SEO plugin, or website builder, choose the option that hides the page from Google and other search engines. On my website this option is called “noindex” so that search engines do not index the page.

For the celebrant asking the question, I feel like a lot of the info in your welcome pack should be publicly available info, squeezed into the rest of your website and into regular social media posts. But embed that video in there, and answer commonly asked questions so you’re not working double time for no pay.

What is Josh doing?

Earlier this year I got sick of replying to enquiries and getting nothing back, so I instituted the four pointer solution I relayed above, and started building out my weekly email so it actually mattered to people.

And then I took enquiries off my website. If you visit marriedbyjosh.com right now, there is no enquiry form. Instead I give you the opportunity to request an info pack which is my way of putting the cart before the horse. Before I ever hear about you or have to reply to your email you’ve been sent a link to my information pack with all my packages and fees, I answer loads of questions, and plus your email address is added to my email list and I start sending you an email every day.

When you’re ready to enquire you get in touch, because I’ve been keeping in touch with you every week, and you already know how much I am and what I offer.

For July 2018, this sounds like a solid idea, but the waters are always changing, so by this time 2019 it might be a completely different game.

I’ll write more on this in the future, but your emails and enquiry workflows should be all a part of a customer journey you’ve planned.