I got 2 leads today from Respond.com! I haven't called yet, since I got the notice about 20 min before I had to leave for work. And tomorrow's Sunday, so I don't know if I should call then. (I have to work at 3:30pm)
But I at least have leads!! I'm so excited. I admit I wasn't expecting anything....and they still might not hire me.....but at least I got some interest!!!
It was brought up in another post about this that there is no category for strictly wedding cakes on respond.com. Are you advertising in the catering section? Do you cater as well or just cakes? I would be interested in advertising there too but I don't cater.
I have the same questions. There was no specific area for somebody to click on for strictly cake decorators. Did you specify that you were strictly a cake decorator? I wish you the best and hope that you can as much business as you want. Let us know how it turns out. If it is a positive experience I'm sure the rest of us will be looking into this as well.
I am interested to know if the amount of money you spend for it pays itself off. Please keep us posted...
I sent an email to respond.com to inquire about them adding a wedding cake category to their site. I would think that if they got several inquiries requesting this, maybe they would add it realizing the revenue they could get from all us decorators. So send those emails folks!
I'd be interested to hear from others who've had success with respond.com. I'm interested in advertising (once I'm legal), but would like feedback in the meantime...
Strength in numbers!!! This is the email I received today!!:
Thank you for your email.
We have had quite the push lately from cake baking and decorating services lately.
Enough that I have been able to convince my boss that we need to get this up and running.
Should be available by the end of the week.
Thank you again and I look forward to working with you in the future.
So...Keep your eyes open!!
Oh I'm the big believer in respond.com!! I've made these comments in some other threads but here it is again for you. I put my ad on respond.com on January 1st of this year. By January 19th (it's my birthday, that's how I remember) I had spent about $60 in advertisng and respond fees, but had booked (BOOKED!!) $6700 in weddings. I get 2-4 inquiries every day.
I don't respond to all of them as my calendar is getting pretty booked already.....mostly from Respond! By March, almost every weekend during the peak summer months, May thru Sept, was booked!
I keep a spreadsheet of inquiries and their potential value. I have over $100,000 in quotes for 2007 and over $75,000 of it came from respond. 2/3's of my 2006 bookings are from respond.
I budget between $50 and $100 a month for advertising on respond. Sometimes I go over, depending on the season (like right after Christmas and Valentine's Day, when engagement rings are given!). But I like that I can control how much I spend.
I have a pre-made email that I send to each bride with pdf files of my handouts and information. So I always contact my brides via email rather than by phone. That way they have all the info in front of them and it gives them a chance to look things over before they give me a call.
I've just signed a lease on a real shop and I would NEVER have able to do that since Jan 1 without Respond! I was able to show the bank the solid bookings I already had and the potential bookings I was still working on. I am more than certain that helped me get the business loan.
I am a true believer! No way I could have grown this fast without Respond!
sugarspice, that is GREAT news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I received a phone call from the wedding manager this morning from respond.com. She said that she had been trying to get a wedding cakes section started for some time, and all of our requests were helping her get the idea pushed through. It's good to see that it should be up very soon!!!
I just checked out respond.com, and I am a little confused. It looks like they have a pay-per-lead program. Does that mean that you have to pay for each lead that is sent to you, even if the bride decides not to contract with you?
Yes, but you get to choose. I pay $15 a month for my ad to be on respond. When the inquiries appear, they have basic info that allows me to choose if I want to contact them or not......date (am I already booked?); number of guests (is it too small or too large for me to handle?), types of foods (do I know how to cook Jamaican?); and some add'l info ("outdoor reception"). It costs me $4 to respond....that gives me their name, phone and email info. You can budget the amount of money to spend..... I allocate it to advertising.
If, for example, I am already booked for that date, I can respond to the inquiry at no charge to let them know. Some other no-charge responses include "cannot meet the request for budget indicated", "we are already booked for that date", "cannot comply with one or more points of your request", "unable to fulfill request at this time", need more details regarding service".
If you respond to 10 a month, that's $40, plus your $15 for the ad totals $55 a month. If only one or two book with you, will you make enough off of that one or two weddings to cover this cost? You'll have to make that call, but I think you will. Plus don't forget the referrals you'll get from those weddings, etc. etc.
It's cheaper than an ad in the newspaper which is only in the paper for the one day. And many of us are limited .... not a good idea to advertise in the local paper unless you are legal.
There have been months that I've chosen to spend $200 for responses and I still say it's worth it. NO WAY I'd be signing a lease and buying equipment to set up a full comm'l kitchen without the business this site has brought me.
Another question about respond.com...Are these local orders for your area? Are they orders for shipping? I guess that I just want to know that these are actual orders from MY area... You were also talking about quotes for $100,000 for 2007...are those actual quotes that you've given withOUT booking, or are they for bookings? I am really, really interested in advertising on respond.com after reading your positive posting on them. I just wanted to make for certain that I'm understanding corrently how it works. Thanks in advance for help! Continued success to you, and congrats on the new shop!!!
When the bride goes into respond, she selects the state/area for the vendors. I deal with a lot of out-of-state brides (my longest distance wedding was a bride in Japan who was getting married in Indiana. Between her, her sister in Wisc and her mom in Chicago, we planned the whole thing via email!) and they go to respond requesting info on "caterers from Indpls" (or however it's set up). The initial info also shows where the bride is needing the service....it gives the town and a zip code (so with the zip code, I can also Yahoo-Map it to find out what part of Indy it is). I will decline to respond on towns that are outside of my delivery area. I won't get an inquiry from anyone who's getting married in, say, Oklahoma. So it is really narrowed down for you.
My $100K are quotes. I'm just now starting to get brides who are ready to book for 2007 .... most of them at this point are window shopping for information (which I always encourage them to do!). My experience is that brides will start booking their dates around the end of the year or in the spring (the bridal shows get them motivated). But that can't even consider me unless I've sent them the info! But I'm telling you ..... I saw the memo that went before the loan committee at the bank and the fact that I had these kinds of quotes out there made an impact! I also had a track record of how many (percentage-wise) I had converted to hard orders. All of my 2006 bookings started out as just quotes. Some brides book early .... some are last minute.
I would venture to say there is one down side to putting an ad on Respond ..... be ready for the volume that will be coming your way!
And if Respond does put that wedding cake category on there, you will have an avantage over my ad which is under caterers ....... not every bride needs a caterer but every bride DOES need a cake, so they will be looking at your ad before they look at mine!
one more question about respond.com.....btw thank you so much for your info!!!
what info do you send the bride when she sends you a request???
thanks a million!!
one more thing to think about for free advertising is craigslist.com
i posted there a about a month ago, and i have one wedding cake ordered in sept.!!!!! altough respond.com seems much better, this was totally free....but doesnt have the volume as the respond.com
i think i will talk to hubby about spending the $$$$ per month to advertise on respond.com
thank you again for all your info!!!!
Since I work under the philosophy of "we keep it simple for you", I send lots of info,not only about what I offer, my prices and menus, but some helpful hints that will reduce some of their planning stress.
I've created "vendor info sheets" where she can record contact names, phone, deposit info, etc. I created a wedding budget worksheet that shows average costs per item and a space for her to record her costs, letting her see how well she is doing compared to the average. If they say are having an outdoor wedding or reception, I have a sheet with tips on outdoor weddings (I compiled it on a Word document from info I picked up from various sources on the net). My email that I send is already written in a saved Word document .... I just cut-n-paste it in an email, attach the docs and off it goes!
I used to attach a couple of pics, but I've got a lot of pics on the website so I quit doing that. I always invite them to check my website.... never assume they've already seen it. When they send the email from Respond, I'm not sure they get a chance to preview the vendors first, so they may not even know who the email went to.
If anyone wants to see an actual example of what I send to get some ideas of what might work for you, I will be more than happy to send you one. Just pop on my website to the "contact us" page and request one. Just add a line that you're a fellow CC Addict, so I don't try to add you to my spreadsheet as a potential bride!
Sugarspice, you rock! I can't wait for that category to be up and running.
I spoke with someone at respond.com who said they are definitely setting up a cake category. He'll email me when it's up and running. So when it's up I'll post and let everyone know, so you can sign up for your businesses.
If you didn't think this site was the greatest already, there's no doubt now! way to go everyone on getting a new category! Go CC-er's!!!
what is your website address? i would love to check it out!!!
i am going to get a website soon, cant wait!
wait a minute, i think i've figured it out. never mind about the web address....duh
Well, here we are, almost 3 weeks later, and no wedding cake category. I've emailed them 3 times. No response. I'm considering canceling my subscription. Julie Lusick is the account manager, and she was really nice on the phone, but I get nothing now.
I was just thinking the same thing, karateka. So much for keeping their word. I was ready to go with advertising as soon as I became licensed, but now... I certainly don't want to go with anyone that isn't as good as their word. If it was going to take longer than "the end of the week" to get a cake category up, they should've just said that. Simple. Will keep watching...and waiting...to see if a cake category does actually get added or not.
I emailed too, and asked what the hold up was. Said there were lots of cake decorators waiting to advertise and I have heard zippo!! Seems suspicous to me...I am doubtful
It's now Nov. with no wedding cake page.
Is it time we attack them with emails???
I just got a call from respond.com. They wanted to be sure I was aware the wedding cake category has been added, and it's been on there for sometime. So I wanted to come back on here and let everyone know, in case this info slipped thru the cracks.
Do you have to be a business (already established) to post on respond.com? Is this an area specific site?
You designate the area You service. I get inquiries for the Indpls and surrounding area, plus I just added another area where we are wanting to break into the market.
They do not ask for license numbers or anything. They are selling ads.
It costs nothing to talk to them. GIve them a call.