The notion of client retention may seem a little silly and unattainable in the wedding industry, seeing that most of our clients are only planning to get married once. This can be frustrating for us event professionals when it leaves us with few or no return customers. What this means is that we have to continuously focus on not one, but two main areas: 1) effectively marketing our services to new customers and 2) working to gain referrals from past clients.
First things first: how well are you selling yourself?
This goes beyond what tangible things you can provide to clients. Your brand, your reputation, the way you communicate with clients—all of these things go into how you’re perceived by those you’re hoping to attract. With that in mind, ask yourself if your digital presence and in-person interactions really capture your work ethic and style of business. Don’t be pushy—it’s really that simple.
Keep your site updated with recent accomplishments and press, and make sure that you’re coming off as genuine and meaningful as you’re advertising yourself to be. It’s okay to brag a little, but make sure you’re doing so with your portfolio and not with your attitude.
Why you should continue the relationship
I don’t have to tell you that referrals are worth their weight in gold. This is why client retention matters in our industry, and it starts with going the extra mile, even after you’ve provided your services. You may not be planning multiple weddings for the same client, but that isn’t to say that there isn’t a reason to stay in touch. Past clients can be one of your best marketing resources. Their experience with you does all of the talking, so make it a positive interaction at every turn—even after the big event.
After all, which is more convincing—trying to sell to new clients, or letting your past clients sell you to their friends and family members who may be planning an event or wedding?
How to keep in touch
Keeping in touch can seem tricky, but truly, this can be as easy as sending an anniversary card to a past client. The gesture comes off as extremely heartfelt, and you aren’t trying to flat-out ask for a referral or more business.
You’ll also likely have a majority of couples that experience life changes post-marriage (i.e. a baby on the way or the purchase of a new home), so there’s ample opportunity for you to send something their way to congratulate them. These interactions will benefit you in the long run, as they’ll put you at the top of their list for recommendations to others.
However, when it comes to seeing the benefits of keeping in touch, patience is key—it may be a while before a former client has an opportunity to send a couple your way. But when you put in the effort to maintain these relationships, the ROI from their referrals can be huge.