15: Popular lead generation strategies that didn’t work for me and what to do instead
Today’s episode is going to be a little different… we’re going to speak off the cuff about popular lead generation strategies that just frankly, didn’t work for me!
Excuse my negativity, I’m usually pretty positive… but I wanted to put this episode out there because I’m seeing these come up over and over again with my students, and I want to talk about them.
Now, you may listen and think, “Linds, that lead generation strategy works great for me!” And if that’s you… then keep going. I’m not saying that these don’t work at all, I’m saying that they didn’t work for me. I’ve had my fair share of trying things that didn’t work in business and If I can help you avoid some of these mistakes… then you better believe, we’re gonna talk about it.
So, ready to hear more about what I’ve tried and failed at? I can’t say I’m really ready to dive into my failures, but hey, let’s give it a go…
#1 My experience with Vendor Referrals
Okay, this one is going to make some waves. But, I tend to do that because I talk about things that no one wants to talk about. I firmly believe that it’s YOUR JOB to sell your business. No one else’s. Sure, vendor referrals are nice, I appreciate them and I take every chance I get to pass another vendor’s name along but at the end of the day, it’s not their job to sell your business. They’re busy selling theirs and serving their couples!
That’s your job. So, I want you to connect and network with other couples for the sake of creating a community…. Not for the hopes of getting referrals.
I’ll tell you a little story. A couple years into my business I had this thought that I would try to connect with local venues and planners to see if I could drum up some leads that way. I scheduled appointments with 20 or so vendors and created these because sample binders and little gift card boxes with hand crafted bows that they could give out to their couples. I met with these vendors and showed them my work and offered to deliver these beautifully little boxes that they could give to their couples as a gift. Inside was a giftcard to use on their wedding stationery.
It sounded like a great idea and these little boxes were so cute. Seriously, my mom and I spent hours and hours creating these special handmade gifts.
And guys, guess how many referrals I got from this… zero. No really, zero. I must have handed out hundreds of them. And had dozens of meetings with other vendors who were SO excited about them. And spent hours and boat loads of money printing sample binders that they could share with their couples.
But at the end of the day, it wasn’t their job to market my business to their couples. They have their own stuff to do! They have their own business to sell!
I can’t tell you how many coaching calls I sit on and my students say that they’re putting together sample packs to send to other vendors. I immediately tell this story and caution against it.
Instead, form relationships with those vendors and the referrals will naturally come. And if they don’t, well to be honest, I’m going to help you with lead generation strategies in that free masterclass… that you won’t need to rely on other people selling your business. You can just enjoy the relationship that you have with other vendors.
Some of my best friends are wedding vendors in my area, and I don’t expect anything from them. Expect for maybe an ear when we’re having a rough day and need to talk to someone who gets it.
So again, it’s your job to sell your business. YOU are your own publicist.
#2 The time I tried to do a contest to get referrals
Okay, so I had this idea to design these BEAUTIFUL note cards and I put together a contest basically saying that if you referred me, I would send you a pack of these notecards for free.
I spent all this time designing them, taking gorgeous pictures, putting together posts and emails. Guess how many referrals I got from the notecards… ZERO.
In fact, I’d get referrals but no one ever even asked about the fricken note cards. I can’t help but laugh now but at the time this was so frustrating because I spent so much time and energy doing things like this. I have tried everything in the book to bribe my couples to pass my name along. I’m just gonna get totally transparent here and pull back the curtain. I’ve done contests and thought about kickbacks, I’ve considered it all. But at the end of the day… The only way to get quality referrals is to serve your couples well. Do that, and they’ll tell their friends. If you give them a good story to tell about their experience, they can’t help but share it.
Really, ditch the contests and the referral fees… just serve them well. Love up on your couples and they will sing your praises.
#3 My experience with paid vendor sites
I’m not going to name names but you know what I’m talking about…
This is probably a question I get weekly, should I sign up for xyz. My answer to that question is no, I don’t think you need them.
Yes, I have students who have had luck here, but if I’m being honest, for me, it was a waste of money. I would get the occasional lead but the leads were not couples I’ve connected with and therefore the lead was cold. So, the only thing they had to compare me…. was price.
And when I did actually book couples from these sites, they actually have heard of me through other sources (social, friends, bridal shows, etc). SO, they would have booked me anyway! I didn’t need to spend $100 a month on the site.
Also, a work of caution, these sites will give you awards that I’m telling you will stroke your ego. The Couple’s Favorite award, the Top Vendor in Your City award. They’ll be so tempting to post about and to put on your sites. But, here me girlfriend this is a BIG BUT… are those awards generating leads? Or are they just making you feel good?
Head to my instagram (MsLindsayJWilliams) and tell me what you thought of this episode. Anything else you would add? I want to keep the conversation going of what worked and what didn’t work to generate leads. Let’s build these businesses together, girlfriends!
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