As I go through my current client communication plan and check out my emails, questionnaires, and other tools – as it’s a continuous improvement process – I think about not only what I’m sending my couples and how I’m sending it to them or asking them to complete something, but also when.
Are there certain points in your process that you have to send your couples something in particular – because it is time-sensitive at that point in time, be it before or after their wedding? In my case, they cannot get their marriage license until 90 days before their wedding date, so it’s useless to send it much earlier. And I’ve learned that sending my “final reminders” email out about 10-14 days before the wedding is more likely to get a response and have fewer things forgotten on the wedding day than if I send it the week of the wedding.
Are there other pieces of communication that could be sent relatively at any time, and therefore you can sprinkle them throughout the quieter periods? Maybe an email with tips and tricks or to spark ideas. Or maybe even your recent or most popular blog posts or FAQs, like how to pick a first dance song, or guest book ideas. These notes can keep you on their mind and allow them to know that you’re still there for them, even if there isn’t anything specific needed for you at that moment. In my case, couples hire me on average 7 months before their wedding, but that really ranges from 15 months out to two months out (or the rare ones that are even shorter). Yet, my ceremony creation process assignments don’t start with them until four months before the wedding. This means that I want to consciously think of ways to keep my longer-planning couples comfortable and not feeling anxious that we aren’t doing anything yet, without changing my timeline for every single couple.
Do you adjust your communications based on how early or late the couple hires you? I definitely do. Since I start with my first “homework” assignment for them four months out, if they book me within that timeframe, we start immediately, and their deadlines are shorter to handle it. This also means that I need less “filler for the sake of the customer experience” type of communications – and not only don’t need them, but don’t want to annoy nor distract my shorter-term couples with anything really unneeded with a short planning timeframe.
Have you played around with the timing on any of those communications to see if you get a better response? I definitely have. In my case, just this year I moved the request for reviews out of my day-after email (which includes my thanks and next steps about their license) and instead send it two weeks later. This has definitely resulted in a higher percentage of my couples leaving reviews for me, as they are more likely getting that email at a time that they can act on it rather than that email sitting amongst many in their inbox from the days right after their wedding or often their honeymoon period. I also send my couples a “Vendors & Details Questionnaire” to gather all sorts of information from them, including about their vendor team, and I have found that I get a better response if I send it out within a week of their booking me, as I’m still relatively on their mind, vs. when I didn’t send it out until later in the process, as they are on to other parts of the planning in their minds, often needing a reminder to be sent.
So, as you evaluate your client communications within your plan, don’t forget to evaluate the when you send things, and not just the what and the how. If I can help with any of this, please let me know!