WeddingWire Is A Dead End
October 7, 2020
5 min read
It's a dead end of the worst kind because it makes you believe that everything is okay and that your business is growing. It can be the morphine drip that no business wants to be on.
Pay-to-Play: The Vicious Cycle
WeddingWire, like The Knot, creates its own problem and sells you the solution. Before WeddingWire, you weren't stressed out that you weren't showing up as one of the top three results on WeddingWire. The nature of this type of "jobs board" is that it creates a bidding war and a race to the bottom - the bottom being the bottom of your wallet.
It's pay to play.
The more you pay, the more you can play in the WeddingWire space.
And the more coins you put into the slot machine, the times you get to pull the lever.
The Pay-to-Play environment works like this:
You pay for tiers to be listed in your location or niche. The higher tiers are listed in the top slot, or the top 3 slots. As the tiers go lower, you fall lower on the list.
The vicious cycle happens when you get a client through WeddingWire.
This was the original goal - to get more clients. And you've paid WeddingWire to gain exposure.
So now what? Well, now let's get some more clients. You look back to WeddingWire to get you more clients.
You pull out your wallet and pay to play.
The cycle begins to pick up speed.
Now the only way for you to get clients is to get them through WeddingWire. Now the success of your business, your marketing strategy, your referral network all centers around your membership of WeddingWire.
You start to think, "If I drop my WeddingWire membership, then my clients will dry up. I better pay for a higher tier."
Even if you budgeted WeddingWire into your projects, you are still trapped in the loop.
You don't work for yourself - you work for WeddingWire.
Predatory Sales Tactics
This is a personal anecdote when I was shooting wedding videos and listing my company on WeddingWire. I set up a free profile knowing I wasn't going to be listed high. I kept getting call after call from WeddingWire. In my early business naïveté, these reps sounded like they really wanted to help my business. They asked great questions, they were curious about my business strategy. After the wedding business picked up, I decided to give the higher tiers a shot. I bought a "first page" slot.
The phone calls increased.
I tried to explain to them that I was "good" - that I didn't need any more help. I had just bought the second most expensive option.
The calls kept coming in. Voicemails. Follow-up emails.
Finally, I decided to drop WeddingWire entirely and use Facebook Ads.
The calls kept coming.
They really don't care what you have to say about your business, they need you to just keep paying for higher and higher tiers.
Hypothetically, you aren't very knowledgeable about wine. Your friend takes you to their favorite wine bar, and the waiter hands you the wine list - over 300 wines to choose from.
How do you make your decision?
Maybe you start red vs. white wine. You chose red.
You choose a geographic region because you heard it was a nice place to grow wine. Maybe you choose Argentina.
Then you choose a Red Argentinian wine based on price.
You think more expensive means better, so you choose a wine that's in your price range.
You don't have any affinity to any wine, you don't know the stories behind the wine, and you definitely don't truly know the difference in terroir.
You're a price-shopper.
A long example I know, but now let's apply this to the WeddingWire photographers listing. A couple doesn't really know what makes a good photographer, so they filter photographers based on what they think they know:
- Geographic location
- Ratings, and
If they're rated high and have a high price, then they must be good. The couple hits the big mint-green button and contacts a photographer or two (or twelve).
It's arbitrary, the clients don't know your style, your story.
The entire appeal of WeddingWire from a couple's standpoint is convenience. They either don't have the time or the money to find a great photographer.
If they had the money, but didn't have the time, they'd use their wedding planner to find a photographer.
WeddingWire is made for couples that are on a tighter budget - not your most ideal client.
These points above aren't meant as a review on WeddingWire but rather a referendum on the wedding gigs board as a whole. These types of companies are like personal trainers that allow you to bring pizza to the gym. You eat the pizza, they do all the work, and you get to say you're working out 5 times a week. It's a false sense of security, it's delusional at times, and you never end up learning how to actually do the work of attracting your ideal clients.
- Drop or ween off your WeddingWire/The Knot accounts
- Learn about your ideal client and how to reach them
- Explore other advertising options like Facebook Marketing or content marketing.