Do You Use Respond.com And...

Business By korkyo Updated 25 Oct 2007 , 12:12am by indydebi

korkyo Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 3:17am
post #1 of 17

is it worth it to advertise?

16 replies
indydebi Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 4:32am
post #2 of 17

AB-SO-FREAKING-LUTELY!!!

I put my first ad on this site on January 1, 20xx (cant' remember if it was 2005 or 2006...). By January 19th (which I remember beacause it's my birthday!),I had spent $60 in advertising and respond fees and had BOOKED $6700 in caterings! That's 100 TIMES THE RETURN on what I had spent.

Oh yeah baby, this site has paid for itself many MANY times over.

They have just recently added a wedding cake category (I started out in catering and am in both now), and I believe this category was added due to the many inquiries to them from CC'ers.

I will NEVER pull my ad from this site.

Erdica Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 1:10pm
post #3 of 17

Sounds interesting. I've never heard of this site.

Thanks for sharing your experiences Indydebi. icon_smile.gif

I will be checking this out. I'm starting some new advertising after the first of the year.

korkyo Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 1:31pm
post #4 of 17

anyone else have great results??

diamondjacks Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 11:52pm
post #5 of 17

who cares about anyone else 100 x's the intial investment... I am so there!! WOW

Erdica Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 12:06am
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

AB-SO-FREAKING-LUTELY!!!

I put my first ad on this site on January 1, 20xx (cant' remember if it was 2005 or 2006...). By January 19th (which I remember beacause it's my birthday!),I had spent $60 in advertising and respond fees and had BOOKED $6700 in caterings! That's 100 TIMES THE RETURN on what I had spent.

Oh yeah baby, this site has paid for itself many MANY times over.

They have just recently added a wedding cake category (I started out in catering and am in both now), and I believe this category was added due to the many inquiries to them from CC'ers.

I will NEVER pull my ad from this site.




I just have a question. Do you work these leads every day? Or do they come to you? I read the "How it works" but was wondering if you take it one step further or just let them come to you.

Thanks.

indydebi Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 12:45am
post #7 of 17

Every day (EVERY! day), I get an email that tell me a lead (or 2, or 3 or 4, or..... )has come thru. I get basic info. Below is a cut-n-paste of one I rec'd the other day. I've had to manipulate the formatting to get it to fit in here, but you can see the basic info.

Request Information: Category: Wedding Caterers

Where do you need this product or service?.....Indianapolis, IN 46201
What is the date of your wedding? .....11/09/2007
How many guests will be attending? .....101 - 200
What is your budget per person for catering?..... $76 or more (Buffet/Special Menu/Evening)
What is the location of your event? ..... Indoor Location (Banquet Hall/Mansion/Place Of Worship)
Please select your primary cuisine type ..... Southern Food
Start Time: .....7:00 pm

This free-so-far-info tells me the date. I immediately know whether I want to follow up based on my bookings for this date or this weekend (already booked for this one).

The zip code helps show me the approx area the reception MIGHT be held in, so I can get an idea of how much travel time may be needed.

It tells me the approx number of people and a rough idea of what they want to spend. I know I can provide a full reception package for WAY less that $76 per person, so I compute $25/person x 150 (mid-range of their expected headcount) to tell me this quote has a potential value to me of $3750. I always use a VERY conservative number when figuring potential sales.

If the Place of Worship indicates an outdoor event, I can decide if I want to follow up or not (if I dont' want to work outside) or I know to send them some info re: outdoor weddings and my Add'l Labor Fee price list.

The cuisine types helps me decide if I want to follow up. I get some leads that want Caribbean foods and I dont' do those, so I don't spend the $4 lead fee for it.

Should I choose to follow-up on this lead, I click "Get Buyer's Information". This will cost me $4 (I think it's cheaper for the wedding cake pkg but don't hold me to that). I receive the Buyer's name, phone and email.

I have a pre-formatted email and about 10 attachments that I send to the person, including an invitation to contact me to schedule their free sampling. With everything pre-formatted like I've got it, it takes me less than 4 minutes to respond to this inquiry.

I keep track of all inquiries on a spreadsheet. With being able to estimate a potential value, that's how I know I sent out quotes totalling a potential value in excess of $300,000 for 2007, and I've sent out quotes valued at $293,000 for 2008. At the end of the year, I can compare my actual business to the quotes sent out to get an estimated booking rate (which I've actually got in a formula on the spreadsheet so I can see instantly how it's racking up.....Debi Does Data!)

The basic info is very helpful when you are deciding if you want to spend the $4 to get the client's contact info or not.

Let me know how else I can help. I am this site's #1 fan.

korkyo Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 11:57am
post #8 of 17

So, if you get a request for a quote that you can't/don't want to do it it does not cost you anything? Do you send back a note telling you are not available?
Thanks,

indydebi Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 12:08pm
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by korkyo

So, if you get a request for a quote that you can't/don't want to do it it does not cost you anything? Do you send back a note telling you are not available?
Thanks,




Correct. I can choose to respond or not. That's one way you can control your budget .... I can either set a fixed amount for the month (and when the money's gone, then the budget for the month is spect), or control it by being selective in which one you respond to.

They USED to have a way for you to respond "Not available for that date" or "Cannot provide services for budget indicated" at no charge, but removed that about a year ago. I was sorry to see that go because it makes the bride think vendors are ignoring her, if she gets no responses, when in fact she may have unrealistic expectations. I do miss that feature. I sent my negative feedback on the loss of this feature, but I must have been a minority.

One suggestion for those who do respond ... be sure to include your website address in your email to the bride. These brides fill out an on-screen form requesting "catering" or "wedding cakes". They have no idea what vendors may or may not be on the website, so do not assume they have visited your site, or that they even know it exists. Be sure to direct them to your site for a full preview of your work.

Roberta1 Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 3:46pm
post #10 of 17

Wow Debi,

You are a GREAT business woman! No wonder you have been so successful.

It's rare to find a true business woman and a talented cake decorator/caterer in the same body icon_smile.gif

I bet there are a lot of people here who benefit from your wisdom.....especially if they apply what they learn from you. You are an ispiration.

Hitting the right avenue of advertising on the web is so key in todays business world. People are really turning to the web for everything and they expect you to be there.

Roberta

adonisthegreek1 Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 4:04pm
post #11 of 17

I have used respond.com to find caterers on occasion when I was hosting a large family gathering and wanted to enjoy myself, rather than do all of the cooking. The caterers were very professional and I was pleased.

I tried using respond.com to find a photographer, but everyone who responded was not even close to being a match for what I wanted.

I would still use them again.

korkyo Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 8:04pm
post #12 of 17

I would be interested in just how many others USE the respond.com service. I had never heard about them.
Anyone?

Rooh Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 8:09pm
post #13 of 17

BE VERY CAREFUL with respond.com

They must have changed the format of what cost and what doesn't from when Debi originally signed up.

This is what my experience with them has been:
You are able to set up your parameters of what leads you would accept. If you get an inquiry that fits your parameter YOU WILL BE CHARGED. You DO NOT get to pick and choose which ones you would like to buy. I spent a bunch of money and got WORTHLESS leads. Some were even bogus. I would call the number provided on the lead and they didn't have any idea why I would be calling them. They never requested service.

If I booked every lead that I got, it would be in the MILLIONS - would be nice if they were all legit. You can set a spending limit of how much you want to spend per month... Lowest REQUIRED amount is $100 a month.

I only booked 4 deals in 6months from respond. Not a very good return on my investment. I do live in a rather large metro area and have LOTS of completition, so that probably played a part in it too.

I'm not trying to tell anyone NOT to try them. It is always worth a shot to try something. At least with them you can cancel at ANYTIME you like. Unlike advertising on THE KNOT, you are required to sign a 6 MOS contract for $100 a month. Got squat from that advertising.

Just wanted to show that it is not all rosey for everyone. You just have to use good jugement and try it to see if it works for you. It didn't for me, lesson learned the hard way and moving on.

MichelleM77 Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 11:06pm
post #14 of 17

I just went to the site to see how it works. I did a search for my area and nothing comes up for cakes or cookies. Am I doing something wrong? (I put in Cleveland and Akron). Could there be no cake people listed, is that possible?

indydebi Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 11:19pm
post #15 of 17

When you put in your zip code or city and hit quick-match, you will see some vendors listed over to the right. I am listed on the Indpls search. When I put in CLeveland,I noticed at the very top of the page that it indicates there are 51 caterers found. If you scroll to the bottom, there is a "sample"list.

However, to actually get information, a bride has to fill out the info form and submit her info to go out to the vendors, so the vendors can (buy the contact info and) contact her.

I'm not sure that you can see a list of who all is on the site, but it's one thing to ask them when you call.....how many other vendors are listed in your area under wedding cakes? If there are none or just one or two, then the odds are really good for you!

MichelleM77 Posted 24 Oct 2007 , 11:31pm
post #16 of 17

Gotcha. I was confused with the whole quick match thing. This is not a website I would use to find a vendor (I didn't even know it existed until it was posted about on CC) and I wonder how popular it is when Google and Yahoo are so heavily advertised as the perfect search engines. I understand this is more refined, but the website to me isn't easy to use and doesn't look user-friendly. Does that make sense?

indydebi Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 12:12am
post #17 of 17

I'm sure it advertises itself in some way. Just like "somehow" all brides find out about The Knot. "Somehow" brides are finding respond.com.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%