Wedding Planners – Stop Being Afraid to Market Your Services!

 

 Market Your Wedding Planning Business Without Fear

If your wedding planning business is the first business you’ve ever started, you may have been surprised to discover how much you need to market your business to attract brides.

And, if you’re like most new planners, the thought of having to constantly promote yourself strikes fear in your heart and and may be making you hesitant to do any marketing at all.

Here are 3 types of marketing fears you might be having and how to overcome them:

1) Fear of embarrassment

If you’re basically shy and not used to talking to people you’ve never met before, you might feel embarrassed by the thought of having to tell brides how great you are.

Make it easier to do this by having a portfolio filled with photographs of examples of your work and testimonials from former brides that you can present when meeting new brides. Your portfolio will make it easier to talk about how great your work is.

Also, practice by talking to your family and friends about your business, it’s possible that your discussions with them will even bring you some referrals.

2) Fear that you don’t have the perfect marketing message

Perfectionism will stop you from being successful. Every wedding planner has a  period of trial and error before they know their niche well enough to present a message that will bring them the brides they want.

Start somewhere, do research on your niche of brides, find a message they may respond to and give it a try. If you try it for a while and it doesn’t work, try something else. The important thing is to get yourself out in front of brides.

3) Fear that effective marketing will cost you a lot of money

You’ll have to invest some money in marketing but social media accounts that you use, like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, are free unless you want to invest in advertising. Websites and blogs are inexpensive and you can advertise on wedding websites for a relatively low cost.

Attending wedding planner association events and business networking events may cost a little money but if you choose the right ones, they can bring you vendors and business partners who can help you get clients.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Make the Right Connections When Attending Networking Events?”

 

Networking Effectively for Wedding Planners

To have a successful wedding planning business, you need to get out and meet wedding vendors and other business people who can become business and referral partners. Here are 5 tips that will help you be successful.

Question

I’ve started my wedding planning business and I need to find more wedding vendors to work with and other business people who can give me referrals. I’m not really comfortable meeting new people. I’ve gone to business events and have ended up meeting people who just wanted to sell me their products or never talking to anyone and leaving early.

Where are the people who have an interest in what I do? How can I get people to talk to me?

Answer

It’s not unusual to feel uncomfortable in a networking situation. Many of the people with you at these events feel the same way but are out there doing it anyway. It gets easier with time so I recommend you continue to get out and meet people because it will help your business.

Here are 5 tips on how you can get more out of your networking and be comfortable while you’re doing it:

1) Find “friendly” places to network

Wedding and event planner association meetings and conventions will put you in touch with people in the industry who really want to connect with wedding planners. Local events for small businesses will introduce you to many other entrepreneurs who are looking to make connections for support and business relationships, whether or not you’re in the same industry.

2) Do some preparations in advance

Before an event, decide what you want to say about yourself and your business when you meet others. Don’t just say, “I’m a wedding planner.” Give them an interesting description or story about how you help brides plan their weddings.

Also, think of some topics of conversation you might be able to make small talk with at the event. For example, at wedding and event industry events you might want to discuss future trends. Always avoid controversial, political or religious topics.

3) Reach out to someone who is alone

Don’t wait for introductions, if you’re by yourself, greet someone who is also alone with a smile, good eye contact and a firm handshake. Ask them what they do, listen carefully and show interest, these things will actually make you more memorable to them.

4) Join in group discussions

If a group seems to be having a discussion that interests you, catch the eye of someone in the group and move closer to them. Listen carefully and when there’s a pause, join in the conversation. Keep your comments positive and supportive.

5) Collect contact information and follow up after events

Most attendees want to meet as many people as they can at an event. So, if you meet someone you would like to do business with, instead of having a long conversation, ask for a business card and follow up with a suggestion that you meet for coffee.

Networking events are for meeting and connecting with people so don’t go around a room just talking about yourself and selling your services. Start building good relationships that will surround you with people who can offer the support you need to have a good, strong business and ultimately bring you the referrals you want.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “Why Don’t Wedding Vendors Refer Part Time Wedding Planners?”

 

Wedding Planner Q&A - "Why Don't Wedding Vendors Refer Part Time Wedding Planners?"

Experienced wedding planners will tell you their best brides have often come from referrals from other wedding vendors. However, many part time wedding planners aren’t always as fortunate to get these referrals as those to have a full time business. Here’s why and what you can do about it.

Question

I plan weddings part time and I’ve received compliments from vendors I’ve worked with but none of them have offered me referrals. How do I get them to help me?

Answer

By giving a referral, a vendor is putting his or her business reputation on the line so they don’t offer them easily (nor should you).

Here are 4 reasons why your vendors may not be giving you the referrals you want and what you can do about it:

1) They don’t trust new or part time wedding planners

Many vendors have been in the business for years and have seen wedding planners come and go. They may have offered assistance, referrals or discounted rates only to have the planners act unprofessionally and not offer high quality service so they’re leery of putting their trust in you.

Spend some time getting to know them and let them see you’re committed to your couples. Show them your portfolio and testimonials from past clients so they know you have a history of doing excellent work.

2) They just don’t offer referrals

Unbelievably, there are vendors who are solely focused on growing their own business and don’t share clients. In fact, they may expect you to be the one who brings brides to them.

You can tell who they are and it would be difficult to change them, decide if this is right for you or if you want to find other vendors.

3) They aren’t looking for more wedding planners

Some vendors are part of networks of other wedding planners and want to focus their attention on exchanging referrals with them. They may not want to jeopardize the relationships they have and the business they are getting from their current wedding planners by referring their competitor.

4) They don’t recognize your value

You need to show them that you have unique skills and expertise to offer their brides and even though you work part time you are a professional and an expert at what you do.

It may take a bit of time but you can find vendors who will work with you to create excellent weddings and give you the referrals you want. Don’t forget to reciprocate and give them referrals too, when appropriate.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Create Workshops for Brides?”

 

How Wedding Planners Can Offer Workshops to Brides

Many brides who plan their own weddings would still appreciate a little guidance from a professional wedding planner. Why not consider offering workshops to help them?

Question

I was thinking of doing workshops. I was wondering if I need to get a teaching license to teach brides and grooms how to look for vendors and venues.

Many brides like to do their own weddings rather than getting a wedding planner so I figured that I could host workshops to help them.

How do you think I can go about doing that?

Answer

Holding workshops is a great idea. Unless you plan to teach in a school and offer credit for your workshops, you shouldn’t need to get a teaching license or credential.

You might want to consider teaching a full day of workshops or a series of workshops for newly engaged brides. Cover topics such as; the first things to do when you’re engaged, how to create a wedding budget, make a timeline, select vendors, handle the guest list and work with a wedding planner. Think about asking other wedding vendors to join you to talk about their areas of expertise so you won‘t have to do all of the talking.

Also consider having webinars instead of in-person workshops. This way  you would be able to teach and earn money working with brides no matter where they live.

Don’t forget to offer private consultations on the topics you cover and, of course, your wedding planning services for those who decide they can’t really do it all themselves.

The possibilities are endless and your workshops will position you as an expert wedding planner and help you attract more brides.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planners – Stop Begging Brides to Hire You

 

Are you begging brides to hire you as their wedding planner?

Have you been begging brides to hire you as their wedding planner?

I was listening to an interview with sales trainer Todd Duncan and he pointed out that whenever we ask someone to hire us before we have shown them why they should and before they have gotten to know and trust us, we are begging.

An example of how wedding planners beg – repeated posts and tweets on social media asking brides to contact them if they want help planning their wedding without any information on why they would want to do it.

Wedding planning is a very personal service and you can’t expect to be hired from casual posts or tweets or one time meetings. Brides need to get to know who you are and what you can do for them before they will hire you.

Here are 5 ways you can help brides learn more about you:

1) Use your social media accounts to show them what you can do

Don’t beg! Pin photos of your work on Facebook and Instagram. Use Pinterest boards to show them examples of your style.

2) Share wedding planning tips that show you’re an expert

Write tips on planning weddings such as ideas for  keeping a wedding budget, choosing a venue or other aspects of wedding planning, and share them on your social media sites. You can also make short videos offering tips and post them on YouTube and upload them to your website or blog.

3) Offer a free downloadable report or checklist

Put together several pages of tips or create a wedding checklist that would be valuable to the brides you want to attract. Add an opt in box to your website or blog and have brides sign in with their email addresses to get it. With their permission, use their email addresses to send out weekly ezines with more information so they get to know you.

4) Ask to speak at bridal events

Offer to speak about wedding planning at local bridal events in stores or bridal shows (you may have to be an exhibitor to take advantage of this opportunity).

5) Offer free consultations

Offer short, 20 minute, free consultations to brides who are in your niche. Use the time to find out more about them and the weddings they want and explain how they can benefit from your services.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “I Want to Plan Weddings Full Time, How Do I Attract More Brides?”

 

 How Wedding Planners Can Attract More Brides

In my Q&A today I answer a question from a part-time wedding planner who uses social media to promote her business and wants to attract more brides so she can be a full time planner. The tips I offer here may work for you too!

Question

I’m working at a job and planning weddings part-time but would love to make it full time. I use Twitter and Facebook to promote my business. I also advertise by word-of-mouth when I attend events.

How do I attract more brides?

Answer

It’s important to be on social media sites and equally important to get out and talk to people about your services so you have a great start. Now you need to step it up a notch and get out in front of more potential clients.

Here are 6 tips for increasing and improving your marketing so you can attract more brides:

 1) Separate your business and personal social media accounts

Your Twitter account only has tweets of a personal nature. Start a new account just for your business and keep it professional. Do the same for any other sites you might use, such as Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest is a fabulous site for you to use to show brides your style and promote both services and products, take advantage of it and get a business account.

 2) Post more often on your Facebook page

You haven’t posted to your page for almost six months so you haven’t appeared on your followers’ timelines in a long time. You need to post frequently, as least once a day, to get yourself in front of people. You might also consider purchasing advertising on Facebook but get use to posting regularly before you do this.

 3) Post relevant information on your Facebook page

Once you start posting regularly, make sure it’s clear to people that you plan weddings. I actually thought you were a baker or caterer because your cover photo is a wedding cake and you post frequently about food. It’s fine to post wedding cake and catering ideas but make comments explaining why, as a wedding planner, you are posting a particular photo.

 4) Create a website or blog for your business

While it’s tempting to just use free social media accounts for online marketing, you need to have your own site. You can fill it with information about the benefits of your services and photographs of your work and have links out to your social media accounts.

5) Put links to your online sites in your email signature

I noticed you listed your social media accounts at the bottom of your email. Instead of just listing their names, make them clickable links to the accounts. You’ll be connecting with a lot of brides and wedding vendors via email and you want to make it easy for them to go to your accounts to find out more about you.

I suggest you change the “Sent from my iPhone” type signature that appears when you send emails from your phone to a marketing message or a link to your website or Facebook page.

 6) Meet new people

Get out, find new, diverse places to network and socialize in person so you can meet new people and introduce them to what you do. Also, make it a point to meet wedding vendors who work with the types of brides you want so you can create your own network for referrals.

You’ve already got some of the basics in place to help you attract brides, just spend a little more time increasing your presence and letting brides know you’re a professional. You’ll soon be attracting many more brides than you are today.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Find Out if There Are Local Brides Who Need Me?”

 

Determine if Brides in Your Area Will Hire a Wedding Planner

In my Q & A today I offer tips to that might help you if you dream about starting a wedding planning business it but aren’t sure if there’s a market for your services.

Question

I’ve dreamed of being a wedding planner for a few years. I’m reluctant to start my own business because I’m not sure if there is a need for it in the area. How do I find out?

Answer

It’s great that you’re taking the time to think about how you can be successful before you start your business. You need to do some research to learn about the brides and the health of the wedding industry in your area. Answering these 3 questions can help you make your decision:

1) Are there other wedding planners in the area?

It may seem to be a good thing when there aren’t any other wedding planners around but it really could be a sign that there isn’t any opportunity for business.

2) If there’s competition, what services are they offering?

This will give you an idea of what the brides who are hiring wedding planners want. It will also help you determine if you have unique services to offer that will help you stand out and get hired.

3) Do you see a lot of marketing and advertising aimed at brides?

You would be able to tell that the wedding industry is healthy in my area because there are well-attended bridal shows and advertising for products and services aimed at brides and engaged couples all through the year. If you don’t notice this in your area, chances are good that couples in your community aren’t investing a lot of money in weddings.

While it’s important to do your research before launching your business, don’t over-analyze. If you have a good feeling about the opportunities in your area, consider doing wedding planning part time. This way, you’ll see first-hand if brides will buy your services and if it’s something you would enjoy doing full time.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planners – 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Discount Your Services

 

Why Discounting Your Wedding Planning Services is a Bad Idea

If you just started your wedding planning business, or if you’re experiencing a slow time, you might be tempted to offer discounts. Here are 4 reasons why it’s not a good idea:

1) Brides will believe you offer low quality services

When you discount your services, brides will think you haven’t been able to sell your services at full price because you aren’t any good. By charging what you’re worth, brides will recognize that your services are valuable.

2) Brides who demand discounts are often difficult to deal with

You might think giving brides discounts would get them to appreciate you more, unfortunately, the opposite is usually true. They’re often the most demanding clients you’ll have because they’ll believe that everything you offer is negotiable.

3) You’re probably already priced way too low

I’ve found that many new planners, and those who are struggling, aren’t confident about their talents or they’re underestimating the amount of time it takes to plan a wedding and don’t charge what they are worth. Does this sound familiar?

4) You’ll start to resent your brides and your wedding planning business

It can be depressing to work for less money than you know you’re worth and that can make you feel angry with your clients. Also, when you constantly offer discounts, your business struggles financially and you’ll feel as if you need to give up your dream of becoming a top wedding planner because you aren’t making a living.

Instead of selling your services by offering discounts, sell brides on the value of your services and the benefits they’ll receive they hire you.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Start a Wedding Design Business When I Don’t Have Any Experience?”

 

Become a Wedding Designer

Here’s some advice if you’re passionate and excited about starting a wedding planning or wedding design business but don’t have any experience.

Question

My passion is wedding decorating. I have no experience and really can’t afford to pay for any classes right now. I would like to specialize in draping but the classes are pricey.

I am very excited and want to start decorating events now. I have spent hours brainstorming and have put together a binder of ideas.

Do you think it would be okay to start without any experience? What should I do to get started?

Answer

It’s great to have a binder full of ideas and I encourage you to keep that up and also to create Pinterest boards full of ideas and inspiration. But you have to know what you’re doing when you take on clients, so you need experience.

You also want to be sure that doing draping and event décor is right for you, and you can only know that if you’ve spent some time doing it. Looking at photos and appreciating designs is one thing, executing them is another.

Draping is an art and a skill. You’ll need to not only know how to design what your bride wants, you’ll need to know the types of fabrics that give the right look, the supplies and props needed to create the design, the part color and lighting play in the design and the professional staff you’ll need to put it all together. Also, you’ll need to know how you and your staff can work safely when installing draping and other items.

If you can’t afford to take classes, look into getting an internship, apprenticeship or job with an event rental company that does draping and tents in addition to renting party supplies. Or, look into an internship or entry-level job working for florists who do high-end weddings. They design tablescapes, archways, gazebos and floral chandeliers for large weddings and may provide opportunities to earn money while learning the business.

As you develop experience, reach out to people you know and start designing events for free to build your portfolio.

I know you want to start right away so this probably isn’t what you wanted to read. But you want to be an expert at what you do and education and experience are keys to building a great reputation and a successful business.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I will answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planners – 3 Reasons Why a Bride May Not Hire You After Your First Meeting

 

Why Wedding Planners Have Trouble Getting Hired at a Frist Meeting

You meet with a bride for the first time about planning her wedding. You’re enthusiastic and share great ideas but you can’t seem to get her to really connect with you. In the end, she doesn’t hire you.

Here are 3 reasons why this could have happen:

1) You started promoting yourself and your services too soon

I know you really want to impress a bride and tell her how you would perfect for her, but find out all about her first. Ask questions that lead her to telling you what she needs and wants and the wedding planning problems that keep her up at night, then offer the services right for her.

2) You already started planning her wedding

You don’t need to plan her wedding at a first meeting. When you do this she could believe she knows all you have to offer and use the ideas herself. What you need to do is establish yourself as an expert, by showing her your portfolio and testimonials, and help her to see that you and your services can solve her problems. Speak in big picture terms, don’t describe in detail everything you would do to plan her wedding.

3) You didn’t plan ahead for the meeting to be successful

You can’t expect a great meeting to just “happen.” Do research in your niche, keep up-to-date on the latest wedding trends so you are knowledgeable and prepare questions in advance that will draw out the information you need to know about a bride and her wedding vision. Also, decide how you will ask a bride to hire you and how you will explain the value your expertise and services if she is hesitant to make a commitment.

And if you want more help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”



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