Protest The Knot's New Price Quote System!

I recently got a few emails from The Knot asking me if I wanted to participate in beta testing a new quote system. Boo!

I chose not to participate. The Knot described the new program as “providing us with details such as the wedding date and venue” so that we could give the lead a number ASAP. Sigh!

Like many of you, I get the majority of my clients from The Knot (more than half). I’m pretty sure one of the reasons for that is because The Knot advertising is *not* Thumbtack or Gig Masters or any of the other “price is the priority” websites (Gig Salad, Wedding.com).

For vendors with below average and average prices, quote websites are a great fit. (No judgment—I was once there myself. Remember Decidio? Seven years ago that was my bread & butter!)

For those of us priced on the high end of average or above, the website that provides the couples willing to pay the highest documented prices for wedding DJs (among other vendors), is The Knot.*

*In 2014, the average bride/groom on The Knot  spent $1,124 for their wedding DJ. In contrast, those who shop on price quote website Thumbtack who reports an average spend of $611.

Unwelcome Changes at The Knot

Therefore, the introduction of a quote system is very disappointing. As we gain experience, we no longer “lead” with our price as we once did. We now lead with our expertise, knowledge, and hard-earned reputation.

In addition to not wanting to turn The Knot into a price shopper magnet, I was also irritated that The Knot described this new quote system like it was going to give us extra information about the couples.

Just a heads up to the big wigs at The Knot, but you already give us the couple’s date and wedding location—this isn’t new.

Now this is pure conjecture, but it seems that The Knot is not asking its advertisers what kind of changes we’d like to be beta testing…and instead only considering what the people who don’t pay their salaries want.

In the last few months, The Knot has also taken away our leads’ real email addresses and replaced them with Craigslist-style relay addresses.

Send a Letter of Protest

So, Book More Brides community, if you are paying almost $2,500 a year to The Knot (as I am) and feel that these changes do NOT represent you and other wedding pros interests, I highly encourage you take a minute to copy and paste the following email to myaccounthelp@theknot.com (be sure to CC your local sales rep):

Hello,

I am an advertiser on your website, and I am greatly displeased to learn that you are beta testing a quote system for wedding vendors.

One of the reasons I spend $2,500+/- annually on advertising with The Knot is because your focus is on quality, style, and substance rather than simply pricing. Currently, you offer clients who are willing to pay premium prices for wedding services–not “price shoppers” but rather “quality shoppers” or “expertise shoppers.”

A quote system would not represent what is best for your advertisers, as it would simply encourage “price shopping.” Wedding professionals who prefer to work through quote-delivery websites already have a myriad of options (Thumbtack, Gig Masters, Wedding.com, Gig Salad, etc). If that is how we wanted to attract business, we wouldn’t be paying a premium price to The Knot for advertising.

Trust me, if I want to merely generate quotes for people who can’t even bother to email back and forth with me before seeing a price, I’ll do so elsewhere where I can advertise for well under half of what I currently pay to The Knot.  

I urge you to take care of your advertisers as we take care of you. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME HERE]

A long-time, loyal advertiser

What do you think about these changes?

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Posted By

Staci Nichols

San Diego wedding DJ Staci Nichols is a graduate of Book More Brides' "Rapid Growth System" and "Book Your Calendar Solid with Blogging" courses. She writes the wedding column for Mobile Beat magazine. Her writing has also appeared in San Diego Style Weddings, Offbeat Bride, Wedding Planner Magazine, Brides Without Borders, Wed Loft, and the Gig Masters wedding blog. To see her Book More Brides training in action, check out her website: http://www.sandiegodjstaci.com

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16 thoughts on “Stand Up Against The Knot’s Proposed Price Quote System!”

  1. DJ Staci says:

    Wow…great feedback. Thank you for your thoughts everyone! I understand the different perspectives 🙂

  2. Jerry Bazata says:

    In response to the context of the Blog post, I don’t believe that The Knot is trying to dictate how we do business with the introduction of the Proposal Builder Beta test. The Knot and its product development team are actually trying to help us conduct business better. To correct some misunderstanding out there, the proposal builder is not a bidding system — it simply helps us build proposals right into our initial reply to the bride or groom (which most of us are doing already). The way couples communicate is vastly different today than it was 5 years ago, simple, direct and to the point. Brides today are inundated with emails, phone calls and text messages making it difficult for them to manage the communication process. Couples want clear and concise information up front, they don’t want to read a long email to find the information they’re looking for — and, we would all like to spend less time following up with leads who are just price shopping! Pricing isn’t the ONLY thing couples consider, but it’s one of the first things they look for.

    The Knot is trying to adapt to keep up with what our potential clients want by testing new products with small groups of wedding vendors such as DJs and entertainers. I talked to the team at The Knot when they were thinking about this test and their goals is to help couples with this upfront research process so we could book more of the right couples faster.

    I think this is a good thing for our industry and for our potential clients. I am actively participating in the Beta test with good results. Brides are responding faster, and more willing to continue the conversation. More importantly I have found the sales process is taking less of my time and the turn around to booking a new client has been dramatically reduced. I’ve been able to establish great relationships with the team at The Knot, so if you have any questions, I am happy to help.

  3. Aaron Lane says:

    This was the email I got from the higher ups at TK, and my reply to them…

    Thank you for your email — we really appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback!

    Our goal is to help our local wedding pros make quality connections and more bookings with the in-demand couples we have on The Knot.

    We are beta testing the “Quote Builder” tool to test features that would help our DJs and Entertainers in the Southern California and Las Vegas areas get better-qualified leads and book more business (and hopefully more quickly).

    We know that 80% of our couples (of all budget types) said they want pricing info upfront. Earlier this year, we placed pricing info on Wedding Venue Storefronts and quickly saw that couples are 6x more likely to contact the venue! Our venues have told us that couples are coming to them better-informed and more ready to book!

    DJs and Entertainers told us they spend time gathering information (like wedding date and location, service start and end time, and guest count) in order to send a quote and start the conversation. With this beta test, we are replicating that process but making it faster and easier for the couple and the DJ/Entertainer to gather and share information with each other — all on the The Knot messaging system.

    Our beta test is limited to DJs and Entertainers in the San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara/Ventura and Las Vegas areas. As a DJ or Entertainer outside of this area, I would love to get more of your feedback and help answer any further questions you may have, please feel free to email me.
    Thanks,
    Sarah Selph
    Client Experience Manager, The Knot Pro Network

    My reply…
    Thanks for the info. I can understand why venues would like it…they have something of substance to offer each couple, and a concrete way to differentiate themselves from other venues. DJs, and some other service providers, suffer with the “their-all-the-same” mentality with couples, so the previous way of doing things has helped us to sell all along the way, and show couples how we’re different to other providers in the same category. If you gather and send all the info, and the couple is expecting to reply with a quote right off the bat, you’ve taken away a crucial step that we rely on to build rapport and lay the groundwork for a closing. I understand that couples (who DON’T pay for TK’s website) want prices upfront, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to also listen to your vendors (who DO pay for TK’s website) and work something in their favor?

    1. Joel says:

      Tell them your feedback is to cancel your account. The only thing that matters to them is your monthly payment, not your success. Stats are meaningless. You want results, and you want to use your sales system, not theirs. Just the notion that they’re telling thousands of individual businesses the best way to book (the Knot’s way or the highway) absolutely STINKS of totalitarian bull crap. You wouldn’t stand for that in any other arena, would you? So why stand for it in your business, your dream job? The Knot’s whole attitude toward what I mean to them compared to what they think they mean to me, and how they treated me as a paying customer, is something I want to distance myself from.

    2. Jerry Bazata says:

      Aaron,

      The fact is that the bride and groom are the ultimate clients of The Knot, not the vendors. If the bride and groom find the ability to connect and communicate with vendors cumbersome and intrusive then they will simple seek then they will not engage with vendors. The common thread of all the response in this blog post are that vendors are unwilling to change their business practices to the needs and preferences of the client. What I believed and learned to work three years ago in marketing is no longer valid and applicable in todays sales culture. The simple point is we need to change with the times and the market conditions. Its not the Knot responsibility to fill your pipeline, be your lead generations service or your marketing company, rather they are providing you an advertising portal to connect and for “you” to develop your client base.

  4. Andrew says:

    We are a mobile DJ company. About three years ago, we $pent 18 month$ on The Knot (see what I did there? 🙂 lol ). We spent about 16 months with Perfect Wedding Guide during that same time frame. Result – zero booked weddings from either, and few “canned” inquiry emails. I dropped both services.

    The emails were always, “Found you on TK. Are you available on our date?” We always replied within 24 hours, and asked for more info on what they needed, but they never responded back. Since The Knot email didn’t have their real email or phone number, it was a dead end.

    I have gotten more inquiries from The Knot over the past year with a free listing than I did with a paid listing. Still nothing from PWG. On The Knot, I currently have 13 reviews. 10 are five star, 3 are four star (including 2 four star reviews where based on their words, I would have expected a five star. For examle, “Great service and music! My father and bridesmaid wrote a song for me to walk down the aisle too and they made sure it was performed with no problems. The songs I chose for my father daughter dance was a rare acoustic version of the song. I was worried they wouldn’t be able to find it, but they did. I allowed them to choose most of the songs they played and I think they chose wonderfully. I would definitely recommend them.”

    Wit review like dat, Y U No give me 5 stars?! 🙁

    Anyway, the past four years, we averaged 30-35 weddings annually, but this year, we have only had six to date. Part of that is we were the preferred DJ at a venue doing about 20 weddings/year. The venue was sold in January 2015. The new owner has not done well at all. I think she liked the “idea” of having her own venue more than the “reality”. The previous owner is in process of taking it back (it was owner-financed) and selling to someone else, who currently owns other successful venues. I’m hoping to get back in if they do end up selling it.

    We completely rebuilt our website six months ago, and have a company doing weekly SEO. We now have a wedding specific page. We are currently on Gigmasters, and have more than paid for the listing, but that includes all events (corporate, parties, etc). We also participated in two bridal shows in January, and collected our own leads at the show. Haven’t had much success converting them into clients though… most of the brides don’t even open the weekly emails, they ignore texts, and they don’t answer calls. Very frustrating!

    Now, we’re studying here at BMB. We’re on the Facebook group and trying to learn new ideas.

  5. Aaron Lane says:

    I sent the email to my rep and the “my acct” email, and got this response from my rep…
    “Dear Aaron,

    Thank you for your email and I apologize but I do not understand what you are referring to, as we do not have a quoting system for vendors?

    On your Knot page, it says “Request Quote” and it goes to a page where a bride can enter more information. It’s basically the same as “Contact Vendor” and we found brides are more likely to inquire/send an inquiry with the “Request Quote” versus using “Contact Vendor” verbiage.”

    With WeddingMBA right around the corner, we may be able to make a strong showing there to let them know this isn’t a good idea on their part.

  6. Lynn Mehl says:

    Hi Everyone,
    All responses here are so correct. The Knot is not…what it was. I was with them when they started from just a magazine years ago but left them about 10 yrs. now. They are just money gauging and taking more & more control of you and the lead data; not to mention their horrible customer service. Contacting your rep was near impossible even then. Yes, they were one of the first and most well known sites but they have massive competition now and no longer the only player and I think hurting for it. I too have watched the bridal demographic change due to the internet. They are so overwhelmed with information on products & services and armed with so much google data and images that most just blindly inquire for prices without more than a date; which is not a customer I want or can really help properly with a price. I am different, my heart & business is with the environment thus my Brides are thinking beyond price and wanting to work in that mindset. If you want to add budget packages-put them on your website and send them there as that costs you nothing-especially time. 🙂 Personally, I would suggest you take the cheapest listing if you must (yes just for the link) and then take that 2-500/ month and invest it in recreating yourself, your website, and your marketing.
    All the best, Lynn

    1. Michael says:

      Lynn – Thanks for the thoughts…I’m a twenty-year plus officiant. From 1 to 3 weddings a weekend to zero. In one year NO referrals from Knot and lots from GigMasters with one discounted sale . Word of Mouth, referrers are gone and or caught in the same wasteland. Done whining. Have rebuilt website using as many techs as possible to look attractive. Recreating branding and exploring additional marketing opportunities.

      Do you have any thoughts on other, on-line wedding referrers who are looking at experience, creativeness and professionalism, rather then price alone. Oh! I dropping Gig and now it looks like I’ll be dropping the Knot.
      Thanks again.

      1. Yvonne Baughman says:

        I also have years (my first wedding planning gig was 15 years ago) of experience. I am currently starting my wedding planning business. All the bells and whistles.
        My most recent plan is to intake 20% of information and actually doing 80%. . I have major information overload that I have gathered all these years. This is under getting things done not just reading/educating myself because I am responding to your comment. 🙂
        My story- I Have a total of 7 weddings that I worked as the full service wedding planner. I did it along with other social events while I was working full time in Cosmetics as a Executive at Macy’s. My job at Macy’s taught me so much about customer service, selling, working with vendors. Because of my small amount of actual weddings. My previous brides are gold to me. I have been waiting to get my bride and grooms testimonials and pictures on the “perfect” platforms. I want to ask one time. This email, straight from the wonderful teachings of book more brides, offers the links to the websites to make the process of writing a review on a few locations as easy as possible.
        Wedding Wire is an absolute no. When I started my photo booth business I was looking into advertising. My local rep was very rude when I said I could not do the $200 a month her words “After I just spent all this time with you. We talked for 45 minutes. I expected you to sign up”
        So I promised myself never The Wire. I put my $ into The Knot and got one 1 only 1 gig the whole year.
        I have found my new favorite place is Mywedding.com
        Martha Stewert purchased them a few months back. I have had the best customer service and I have gotten real life business from my listing & because they are growing I think the price is great.
        Wish me luck as I am hitting send today on my brides email and hopefully going to get all 7 *5 star reviews!!!

      2. Lynn Mehl says:

        Hi Michael,
        I have found that local sites are good. (real local sites-not affiliates of Knot-WW-etc) and one idea Stephanie & Jeff had in their Book More Brides program was to contact the sites and/or comment/post on their blog or Facebook pages you have worked with. I thought that was brilliant. 🙂 I would also ask them to exchange links with you. Yes, these are all things I am currently working on too! I say to fight these big mega sites on their level-with local search results. Get your free, Google business page filled out to the max because you do not come up. Maybe you could search wedding officiant Austin and see who comes up and what key phrases they are using-then use them.
        I also took a min and visited your site thinking as if I were a client, and I don’t know how many people sign for your free download, but I would have liked to have downloaded some ideas or creative samples used or your own ideas? Or hints on what to include? There are loads of different ceremony niches like 2nd weddings-green weddings-Irish weddings-military weddings-it is limitless as everyone has a theme! They make for great key words for SEO too. It’s all about putting in time-that which in my opinion is at level of importance with money now. It was so much easier for us all before the web-however the options & visibility now are endless.
        That’s some of my thoughts…All the best. :))

  7. Annabel says:

    Good article. I haven’t advertised with the Knot or Wedding Wire but I’ve been wondering if I should. This was helpful.

    The link to Staci’s website didn’t work 🙁

  8. John says:

    Disappointing is right! – especially since my Knot.com inquiries are already almost all price shoppers as it is. And their goofy planner app makes it so easy for brides to just click a button that sends me the canned email “Hi! I found you on The Knot and would love more information on your services and pricing” Meanwhile they likely have ZERO interest really in what I do. Sad.

    Something too that people may or not know is TheKnot reps also have direct access to ALL email communications sent through those relay addresses – A Knot rep (was stupid enough to) read to me my responses to clients, which is how I learned this was the case. Not that I hadn’t thought it possible – but just how easily & quickly they had that kind of access was unnerving.

    Because, besides my correspondence being none of their business, it means Knot reps can also share one’s competitive information with others as well. (like say; “better customers”) I’m not comfortable with that, and as such, I’m now reluctant to even email people through theKnot other than to tell them if they want more info to email me directly through a non-knot address.

    Very close to leaving theKnot. Though I found WeddingWire worse (in terms of price shopping) & Thumbtack/GigMasters/GigSalad/GigMama, etc. – all even worse yet!

    I wish there was a way to get it so knot.com visitors HAD to go to your website to contact you. Sure, I’d lose those 1 out of 100 knottie “tire kickers” who actually buy something – but regaining all the wasted time I spend trying to “separate the wheat from the chaff” may prove to be worth it.

    1. Joel says:

      Yeah, the canned emails alone make the directory worthless. I started getting only canned emails, and many were “we sent you this lead because someone contacted a photographer similar to you,” as if anyone were similar, so essentially zero leads had any qualification for contacting me, yet the Knot undoubtedly counted all of those leads in its stats that it uses to attract new advertisers. That brings to mind the question of how many real qualified leads there are, and my guess would be a lot lower than the numbers they tell you.

  9. Michael says:

    hank you Staci for keeping us in the loop. I’ve had the best clients form TheKnot, but also the worst service. Nothing has got me more fired up than these changes. Thus far, it has come in three deplorable stages.

    1) They decided to add pricing to our “Paid” placements. This was the first step in their attempts to give pricing to brides up front. Now, we’re left to hokey check boxes like “projector” and “disco ball” as options. I have decided not to place prices because I have no two weddings alike. Each has a uniqueness and different needs. Also, most of the services I include are not even listed. What the ???

    2) Email Stripping: Yes, TheKnot decided to strip your media rich responsive emails to plain text. I’ve been told that this is to keep brides inside TheKnots app. TheKnot sends you a fake email to respond to an hides the brides email. What the ??? I’m paying for an email or contact. For me, again lowered me to compete with all the free accounts who don’t pay for marketing and most likely don’t pay for music or insurance. My emails were responsive and media rich like a Best Buy or Macy’s email. This allowed my potential clients to see video, photos and video reviews inside the email on their phone. Now, a non-advertiser is playing equal competition with me, they paying customer.

    3) Move Over for the Price Shopper: Yes, TheKnot is seeing the bidding dollars. They see the opportunity to gain more marketing dollars by allowing bidding. This will attract more smaller less experienced DJ’s to bid small dollars that will eventually add up to big dollars.

    Companies like Thumbtack are great for those small weekday events that you normally would not see in your inquires; not for weddings. Yes, I have an account on Thumbtack and who wouldn’t, at least for the backlink in anything. No surprise, I have perfect reviews. I believe, this is due to inexperienced DJ’s on Thumbtack. Let me say here and now, “I HATE THUMBTACK.” Pay to submit a roughly calculated bid. Then the “we need to add for….” becomes a burn on us for not including it even though we didn’t have the details. SHAME ON TheKnot for following this unprofessional formula! Show me a front page Knot Wedding where the clients had bids from the vendors. Staci is 100% correct in that we always looked to TheKnot for class, elegance and professional quality. Now, they want to chases dollars with quote bidding. For those of you who don’t know, Thumbtack will charge about $1.67 per credit. For a small wedding with a budget of $1,000, it will put you back $16.70 and the client will get 4 other offers! If you simply play the odds, you should get one gig for $1,000 in every 5 gig offers costing you $83.50. That 10% of your budget if the average odds play averaged. I think you can see the big money rolling in.

    I see TheKnot, at least in the past 5 years, become more and more money hungry and less advertiser friendly. I’m sure they are seeing a drop in resources (brides) with the transition to social media and online tools. Look at the recent “Pinterest” look and feel to their site. Five years ago when I met a bride, she’d have a dozen TheKnot Magazines. I rarely see them carried today. I think TheKnot needs to look toward their advertisers and wedding experts like us to help them generate exemplars, educate and provide online resources like videos, instructional and such. Then we get portion and they get a massive pool of resources.

    Sorry TheKnot, I’m going to seriously reconsider my account. I will be experimenting with Google & Facebook again. Thumbtack will get is name tarnished soon enough. Maybe TheKnot needs to be burned by the same flame?

    1. Joel says:

      Just stop using the knot. You’ll see other doors open financially and marketwise. Right now you can’t see them because you’re invested. But drop it and you’ll be forced to find other things, things that you have complete control over.

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