When people in the wedding industry ask me “Chris, we have a website but we don’t get many inquiries, any ideas why?”

My first answer is always to check “FOSTER.”

F is for First Impression

It goes without saying that leaving the right first impression is the first thing your BRAND and your WEBSITE needs to do.

You’ll book more weddings if you look like one of the best, like David Rothstein does at http://drsmusic.com

O is for Opening Text

You have less than 20 seconds to get a bride or groom visiting your website to decide to stay.

Your opening message, the initial text at the top of your website, must connect with THE REASON they were looking for you.

Ask yourself, “What do people REALLY want who are visiting my website?”

If you are a DJ, people don’t care about your new equipment. They want their friends and family to have a great time dancing and partying to great music. They want you to create an incredible event that people will remember and rave about for years to come.

If you are a Wedding Officiant a couple wants a wedding ceremony that is personal, tells their story (it’s all about them!), and one that their friends and family will remember forever.

S is for Social Proof

Use testimonials, reviews (WeddingWire, The Knot), ratings (Yelp!), membership in professional associations (IAWIP), and “applause” from other couples liberally throughout your website.

I’m shocked when I see how poorly people in the wedding industry use social proof. It’s arguably the #1 way to get more inquiries and close more sales.

T is for Trust (& Confidence)

Brides and grooms need to be given, and then fully comprehend, a solid sense of trust and confidence in your company from your website.

They need to know that there isn’t a chance that you’re going to screw up their big day.

They might not say it to you directly, but I guarantee it’s in the back of their minds. Connect psychologically to brides and grooms and make them “feel” that it is safe to hire your company.

E is for Emotional Engagement

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I’d add “Pictures will create a either positive emotion, or negative emotion.”

The photos you use at your website create the emotion needed to move a bride and groom to the point where they say to themselves, “Let’s make an inquiry and find out more.” It’s hard to communicate emotion with only words, but with the right photos, it changes everything.

R is for Respond (Promptly)

You have everything lined up, your F, O, S, T, and E.

All you need now is the R.

R is for respond quickly, and I mean VERY quickly, when you get an inquiry from your website.

Call people back within an hour of their inquiry.

If you can do it in under 15 minutes – EVEN BETTER.

Prompt follow-ups create a GREAT first impression and they will also dramatically increase the chances of you getting the sale.

ACTION: Review your website using the FOSTER model. Where are there areas for improvement? Where are there currently weaknesses? If your website is more than 3 years old, is it time for a fresh look and feel?