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With engagement season in full force around us, the pressure is greater than ever for wedding vendors to stand out among the competition and close sales as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, it’s also becoming more and more difficult to cut through the cluttered wedding industry marketplace. And now with the merger of WeddingWire and The Knot, most wedding vendors (and clients) will soon flock to one central location.

With this merger, many vendors can’t help but wonder: Has a monopoly been created here? How will vendors with smaller budgets fare against larger, well-funded companies if advertising costs are increasing? For small business owners, it might seem like an insurmountable task.

But we’re here to tell you there’s hope. In fact, there’s a tool that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars in advertising each month and allows you to harness the power of the channels you’ve already invested in: your website, your phone number and your social media.

So, what’s this tool? It’s simple, actually: texting!

Collect Phone Numbers, Not Just Email Addresses

Start prioritizing building your texting opt-in list, rather than your email list. That’s right, we said it. Once a lead has agreed to text with you, you unlock a world of potential. Unlike texts, emails are buried beneath layers of spam. As a result, emails have become a low-priority communication channel with open rates sitting at roughly 20 percent. In contrast, text messages are seen as high priority and have an open rate of 98 percent. If your goal is for people to read your message, texting it is your best bet.

Close Deals Faster with Real Conversations

We all know that it’s easier to seal the deal with a potential client when you can have an actual conversation with them, rather than play phone tag or send them long emails.

Two-way conversations flourish on text messaging whereas they flounder on email. That’s simply because email isn’t made to facilitate conversations – its purpose is simply to send and receive information. Texting on the other hand, is about building relationships and creating engaging dialogue. You can quickly exchange photos, video, links, emojis and more. This fast, back and forth format of communication opens the door for more ways to infuse your personality into the interaction, like humor.

Having the opportunity to know your lead and really share your story with them person-to-person allows for a much stronger connection and increases your chances of landing them as a client. With something as personal and meaningful as a wedding, the vendors that acknowledge this and operate on a more human level will be more successful in landing clients.

Give Prospects Options

“The more channels of communication you give them – filling out a form, texting, live chat, Facebook message, email, phone – the more easily they’ll connect with you,” Alan Berg, well-established wedding marketing guru

People are busy and on the go. Many brides are planning their weddings at their desk at work, while they’re in line at the grocery store or in between vendor appointments. Providing options to communicate with you gives them the freedom and flexibility they crave. For instance, asking a prospect to just text you a picture of their dream bouquet is so much less intrusive than asking them to call you and give a detailed description or email you a bunch of links.

Optimize Your Instagram and Website CTAs

Take advantage of the channels you’ve already invested time and money into: your website and your social media. Add a Click-to-Text button on your website and Instagram to encourage that first outreach. It’s so much less of a commitment to shoot a wedding vendor a text than it is to call or email. Make it easy for customers to do this in literally one click by adding this strong CTA to your existing channels.

It’s tough to get qualified leads nowadays when the wedding market is so saturated. But ultimately, the best weapon you can have in your arsenal is texting. Forget expensive advertisements or pricey sponsorships – getting a cell phone number is the easiest and fastest way to close leads. You’ll start developing more personal connections, driving better response rates and landing more clients for your wedding business.

Learn more about Zipwhip texting for SMBs here.

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