Every now and then, I have the opportunity to guest blog with some fab people and today, I’m thrilled to offer the same opportunity to the wonderful Stephanie Padovani of Book More Brides.
Just last week, Stephanie was kind enough to let me share my thoughts on making Wedding PR last and today, I’m excited to return the favor as she sheds light on the power of great reviews. So without further ado, take it away Stephanie-
What’s the first thing a bride does when she wants to hire a wedding vendor?
Come on, put on your thinking cap now…
The first thing she does is ask her family and friends. “Do you know a good [DJ, caterer, photographer, cigar roller]?”
She asks for the opinion of pretty much anyone she meets, chatting non-stop about the wedding as she is prone to do; even the teller at the bank is a welcome opinion. The she hops on the internet and starts looking for REVIEWS.
She wants to know what other brides are saying and who they’re hiring before she makes her Big Decision. If your reviews are out there, she’s going to find them.
It turns out this is pretty normal behavior with some scientific reasons behind it. I’ll spare you the nerdy details, but basically human beings are hard-wired to be copy cats. This something Dr. Robert Chialdini calls “social proof” in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
Social proof is evidence of value based on other people’s experiences. In your case, it’s proof based on what couples hear about you from their friends, family and other brides. Good examples of social proof are reviews, testimonials and survey results.
If a bride finds amazing reviews about your services everywhere she goes, and multiple people tell her to book you, that’s powerful social proof.
So why does social proof communicate value?
It turns out that 95% of people make decisions based on what OTHER people are doing.
Let me give you an example…
Remember the last time you went to a party or an event you’d never been to before. When you show up, you don’t know where to go or what to do. How do you figure it out?
Well, if you’re like that 95%, you look at what everyone else is doing and do that. If they’re hanging out at the bar, you go there. If they’re sitting at their tables, you do that.
The same thing works with brides. When she wants to figure out who to hire, she looks at who everyone else is hiring. She does this by asking around and searching for reviews. If she finds that “social proof” of your value, it does all the work of proving your value automatically.
So Where Are Your Reviews?
You can’t afford to wait for a sweet couple to take the time to post a review, or keep hoping and praying those brides to be will stumble on the reviews you have out there.
Make your reviews easy to find, promote them, and get your couples to post them EVERYWHERE.
1. Google yourself and the name of your business. Where are people taking about you? Bookmark those URLs.
2. Link to those rave reviews in your email signature.
3. Favorite your fan tweets and then publish your Twitter favorites RSS feed on your website.
4. Publish a Wedding Wire widget of your reviews on your website.
5. Reach out to all your couples from the last year and ask them to post a review. Send them a direct link to make it easy.
6. Create a survey at Survey Monkey and ask your couples to complete it after the wedding. Share those awesome survey results with new couples who are thinking about booking you.
7. Get even more couples to respond by giving them an incentive, a $10 gift certificate to Starbucks or a free t-shirt as a thank you. Make it worth their while.
Don’t leave those reviews to chance. Get out there and make it happen!
Stephanie Padovani shares oodles of wedding business marketing
tips like these at BookMoreBrides.com. You can also check out her Hudson Valley weddings
site offering inspiration and reviews for New York brides.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.
Photo credits: Steven Planck of Blue Sky Photography