Wedding Planner Q&A – “Is it Appropriate to Give a Gift to My Bride?”

 

Gifts to Brides from Wedding Planners

Whether it’s for the holidays or just to show appreciation to bride, as a wedding planner you  might consider giving her a gift as the wedding planner is doing in today’s Q&A.

Question

Is it appropriate to give a gift to a bride whose wedding I’m planning?

Answer

You can absolutely give a bride, or any client, a gift. It shows you are thoughtful and generous.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for doing it:

DO select something memorable that reflects what you know about her and her fiancé’s personalities and tastes from planning their wedding.

DON’T give something branded with your logo, give a thoughtful gift, not a promotional item.

DO consider giving a more expensive gift to a bride who has invested in a full-service wedding package than a bride who hired you for a “Day of” coordination.

DON’T spend all of your profits on your gift. Set a budget and stick to it. It’s more important that your gift be personally chosen than expensive.

DO include a personal, handwritten note with your gift telling your bride how much you appreciate her business and how much you enjoy working with her. This will mean as much to her as your gift.

DON’T give a silly or “joke” gift. Your bride may have a good sense of humor but it’s often difficult to predict what someone may consider inappropriate.

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 Get a Bride to Hire Me at the End of Her Free Consultation?”

 

How do wedding planners get brides to hire them at the end of a free consultation?

Like many wedding planners, you may be offering free consultations to attract new brides. Here are tips on how to get brides to hire you after your time together.

Question

I’m new and I’ve been offering free consultations to brides to get them to hire me, but I haven’t gotten any clients. Isn’t this how other wedding planners get brides?

Answer

It doesn’t happen every time but yes, many wedding planners do get clients after a free consultation. It could be that they’re doing something that you haven’t thought of yet in order to get brides to hire them.

Here are 5 things they do that helps a free consultation turn into a sale:

1) They don’t offer every bride a free consultation

You don’t need to offer a free consultation to every bride who finds you. Have a short discussion and determine if she is someone who might be a good client for you before you invest the time in a consultation.

2) They prepare in advance

Don’t “wing it” on free calls. Have a set of questions you want a bride to answer about herself and her wedding and, of course, have an idea of what you want to say about yourself and your services. You want to help a bride see that you are the wedding planner she should hire.

3) They limit their calls to 20 minutes

A free consultation should not be more than 20 minutes. If you are well prepared, this is the perfect length of time. Understand that you should not be planning a bride’s wedding during this consultation, you should be spending the time finding out if you’re a good match then getting her to hire you.

4) They make a good impression

Always act like a professional. This consultation is a way for brides to get to know you. Help them recognize that you are organized, easy to work with, honest and the wedding planner with the expertise that they need.

5) They know how to end the consultation

Your goal is to get a bride to hire you at the end of the consultation. Five minutes before your time is up, ask the bride if she has any questions and address any concerns she has. Then review what you have covered and ask her if she is ready to have you start planning her wedding. If she is, proceed with an agreement and get a deposit. If she is not, find out if she needs more information from you and schedule a time for a quick follow up. Make sure that follow up doesn’t become another free consultation!

When you offer free consultations, you’ll get some brides who are just looking for free advice so don’t be discouraged if some brides don’t hire you. Consider those consultations as opportunities to learn more about what brides want and need.

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 Rules for Creating an Online Profile That Attracts Brides

 

 Attract Brides with Your Online Profile

Whether a bride meets you online or off, she’ll spend time looking at your social media sites and your website to get to know you before she hires you. Make sure you give her a good impression with an online profile and biography that tells her you’re an experienced professional and not a new wedding planner struggling to get your first clients.

Here are 3 rules to follow to create a good impression with your online profile:

1) Use a professional quality photograph

You should have a professional photograph of yourself on all of your social media profiles and your website and/or blog. Too often, I see stock photos of wedding rings, brides or a wedding cake instead of a headshot of a professional wedding planner. A bride wants to see what you look like so show her professional, friendly smiling face.

And don’t forget to use the same photograph on all of your online sites so brides can be sure they have the right person.

2) Write a profile or bio that highlights your wedding planning expertise

Think about what the bride you want to attract is looking for in a wedding planner then fill your social media profiles and website “About Me” page with information telling her how your background and skills can meet those needs. Avoid writing about achievements that aren’t relevant to your work as a wedding planner, those things won’t entice a bride to hire you. And don’t talk about being new to the business.

3) Make sure all of your social media profiles are complete

Don’t just put in your name and company name and leave the rest blank, actually finish filling out the profile information on each of your sites so brides can get to know you. Think of the profiles as marketing tools and use them to sell your talents and skills to brides.

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 – “What Are Good Giveaways for Bridal Shows?”

 

Bridal Show Giveaways for Wedding Planners to Use

Bridal show season starts next month. Here are tips for selecting the promotional items to give to brides that will help them remember you.

Question

I’m getting ready to exhibit in my first bridal show. What sort of giveaways should I order to give to brides?

Answer

Using giveaways, with your contact information on them, at bridal shows and wedding fairs will help you keep your business name in front of potential clients, but you need to choose the right ones.

Here are 6 things you should consider when selecting giveaways:

1) It should be good quality and give brides a good impression of your business

Don’t give out something that looks cheap or breaks easily, it will make brides think your service are also low quality.

2) It should be something the brides in your niche would value

Don’t select something just because it is trendy or you’ve seen others with it. Really think about the brides in your niche and what they would appreciate.

3) It should be something a bride would keep and use

If your giveaway is a wedding favor that you created and filled with candy, the item, along with your contact information, may be gone before the day is over.

4) It should be affordable

It’s easy to fall in love with an expensive item that you know all the brides would want. But brides won’t hire you just because you give them a high-end item. If something expensive does catch your eye, buy a small quantity to give to brides who become your clients but find something less expensive to give out at events.

5) You should be able to buy a small quantity

Buying a large quantity will lower the individual price of a giveaway, but don’t allow a vendor to talk you into buying so many that it will take you months, or even years, to give them all away. Order enough to get you through just a few shows. After that you will probably be ready to order something new and different to promote your business.

6) You should think outside-the-box when selecting a giveaway

An alternative to ordering a typical giveaway would be creating a wedding planning checklist or a list of unique wedding planning tips and having them printed on a high-quality, heavy-weight paper or even on a magnet. This is something brides would keep and refer to later so don’t forget to print your contact information on it.

When you use giveaways, don’t just scatter them on a table for everyone to pick up. Give them to brides who give you their contact information or make an appointment with you.

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 – Here’s Your “Engagement Season” Marketing Checklist

 

Engagement Season Marekting Checklist for Wedding Planners

This isn’t just the holiday season, it’s also “engagement season,” the time of year when most proposals take place. Newly engaged brides will begin planning their weddings and looking for the vendors. You must make sure they notice you and recognize you as the wedding planner who can help them.

Here’s a list of 7 things to do to market your business to get the most exposure:

1) Be active on social media

Post at least once a day on your Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Show brides your work, give wedding planning tips, talk about 2015 wedding trends and pin photos that look like the style of weddings you plan. Let brides meet you through social media and  link your accounts to your website or blog so they can easily go there to learn more about you.

2) Reconnect with past clients

Reach out to couples you have helped by sending holiday cards with a short note of thanks and a message about your plans for your business in 2015. Encourage them to keep you in mind if any of their friends get engaged.

3) Reconnect with vendors you’ve worked with

Make it a point to talk to vendors you’ve worked with in the past. Share plans for 2015 and create ways you can partner together to bring in more business. (This may be a very busy time for some vendors, such as your caterers and venues, so schedule meeting with them in January.)

4) Refresh your website

Your website should have the most up-to-date information about your services along with photographs and testimonials from your latest weddings. Also, double check that your contact information is complete and your “About me” page has information that tells a bride why you would be the best wedding planner for her.

5) Update your portfolio

While you’re updating your online presence, take the time to also update your portfolio with photographs of your latest weddings.

6) Consider a new marketing method

Research a method of marketing your business that you haven’t tried before such as exhibiting in a bridal show, advertising on a wedding website or sending postcards or e-newsletters. Decide what would appeal to the brides in your target market and what would work for your schedule and your budget before you invest.

7) Socialize

Don’t skip holiday parties! Subtly marketing your business face-to-face is very effective.

Go, mingle, don’t give sales pitches, just be ready to talk about how a bride benefits from using your services and be ready to hand out your business cards when asked.

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 Can I Market My Business Without Spending Any Money?”

 

 5 Ways Wedding Planners Can Market for Free

Before your wedding planning business starts making a profit, you might need to find some ways to market and advertise free.

Question

How do I start attracting brides? I want to advertise my business online but I don’t have money to pay for a website or for anything else.

Answer

There are many ways you can market online free including having a website.

Here are 5 suggestions for getting visible online (I am not affiliated with any websites mentioned below):

1) Try a free website

There are companies on the Internet that offer free websites and give you design tools so you can create one yourself. I’m not a big fan of these because they have limited features, are difficult for your readers to navigate and most feature advertising which is distracting and a clear sign to brides that you are new and not yet a professional. However, if you feel you must have a website, search the Internet for “free websites” and you will find many choices.

2) Start a blog instead of a website

Brides don’t consider it unprofessional when you use a free blog like they do when you use a free website. There are several blogging platforms that are free and have templates you can easily use to personalize your blog in the color and style that you wish and make it look like a website. Blogs are easy to maintain on your own, without the help of a webmaster, and they often get picked up by search engines more quickly than a website would. Examples of free blogging platforms are Blogger.com and WordPress.com.

3) Use social media

Open accounts on social media sites that you will use only for your business, not for personal messages. Start a business page on Facebook and start sharing photos, tips, and trends. Get a business account on Pinterest and pin photos that represent the types of weddings you plan. Have a Twitter account in which you tweet wedding information and engage in conversations with other wedding professionals and brides. Use Instagram to post photos of weddings you have planned.

Be sure you have a link to your website or blog on your social media accounts so brides can easily go to your site and find out more about you.

4) Write and post articles

If you write blog posts and tip sheets, turn them into articles and post them on article sites such as ezinearticles.com or goarticles.com. These sites are popular with search engines, will give you exposure to a wide audience and help establish you as an expert.

5) Make videos

If you have a webcam on your laptop or a tablet with a front facing camera, consider making videos of yourself offering wedding tips and post them on your website or blog and on YouTube. Videos will allow brides to see you and get to know you.

There are also wedding websites that will allow you to list your business free but you may not attract the attention you want unless you purchase advertising that will give you more exposure to brides who use the sites.

I can certainly understand a need to save money and get things free right now, but  you will need to invest some money in your business for marketing, membership in business and wedding planner associations and legal and accounting assistance, in order to have a professional business that is successful for a long period of 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 – How to Attract More Success

 

Express Gratitude to Become a Top Wedding Planner

For those of us in the United States, tomorrow is the day that we set aside to give thanks. (If you aren’t in the US, you may have a similar holiday during another time of the year.)

However expressing thankfulness is really something we need to do all of the time, not just one day a year, if we want to be successful.

But as a wedding planner, you probably spend all your time thinking about what might go wrong and making sure disasters don’t happen. It may become easy to be blind to the things in your weddings, business and life that are working well and forget that you have wonderful things in your life.

It’s time to start recognizing the great things you have. When you do, you’ll realize that what you want for your business and yourself is possible. You’ll think of creative ways to reach your goals. Your positive attitude will attract more brides and business partners. You’ll become the top wedding planner you want to be.

Tonight, record 5 positive things that happened to you during the day. Do this every night and you’ll soon notice many things to be thankful for and you’ll attract more and more great things into your life each day.

Thank you for reading.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “What if a Bride Just Asks About My Rates?”

 

Wedding Planners - What to Say When a Bride Asks for Your Rates

When you first start your new wedding planning business, it can be thrilling to receive that first call or email from a bride looking for a wedding planner. But not every bride who calls you is truly interested in being a client, they may just be “shopping” for a good deal.

Here’s how to handle inquires about your rates.

Question

I’m new to planning weddings. I just launched my business and had a potential bride contact me about pricing!

I don’t want to mess anything up and not get her as a client so what exactly do I need to say?

Answer

Congratulations!

It’s fabulous that you were able to attract a bride so quickly and easily.

You’ll need to have a conversation with this bride before you give pricing information. Ask her basic questions about her vision for her wedding, the role she would want you to play and her budget. Explain that you need this type of information to get an understanding of the types of services she needs. Only then can you give her an idea of how much you might charge her. If you offer free consultations to potential clients, ask her to set up an appointment to talk to you to discuss her wedding.

If she doesn’t want to tell you about her wedding vision or meet for a consultation but presses you for your rates, it’s possible that she’s “comparison shopping” and calling around town to find the cheapest prices. Politely give her some approximate price ranges for your services and explain their value. Offer to follow up with her in a week and point her to your website, blog and social media sites so she can continue to learn more about you and your wedding planning services. If she’s interested in you, she’ll take the time to get to know you and may be more open to having a consultation that will lead to her becoming your client.

However, if she is just price shopping, which is very likely since she asked you about your prices and not your services, you may not hear from her again. If so, don’t get discouraged. You want brides who hire you because of your valuable services, not your rates.

Getting an inquiry this early in your business is a good sign that you know how to market yourself so I’m sure, if this bride doesn’t become a client, there will be many other brides in your future.

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 Planners – 10 Things Your Should Know About the Brides in Your Niche

 

Wedding Planner Niche

As a wedding planner, the more you know about the brides you’re trying to reach, the easier it is for you to not only create the services brides will buy from you but also the marketing messages that will attract the attention you need to get hired.

Here are 10 things you should know about the brides you want and why you need to know them:

1) Their age

20’s, 30’s, or 40’s or beyond, each will have different wedding planning needs.

2) Where they live

Knowing if you’ll be working with local versus destination brides will help you choose the right marketing methods you need to reach them.

3) Their profession

Many wedding planners are very successful targeting brides in a specific industry.

4) Their approximate income

Do they have the budget to afford the wedding they want?

5) Where they shop

This will provide insight into their style and budget.

6) Their leisure activities

Dance, sports, crafts, politics, etc. Knowing this will help you know where to find them.

7) Their favorite social media sites

Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Put your posting time and energy into the site(s) they visit the most.

8) Their favorite foods

Fast food, food truck fare, ethnic, organic, gourmet, etc. Network and find the caterers who can deliver the types of foods they would want at their weddings.

9) The organizations they belong to

Hobby groups, charity organizations, professional trade organizations, etc. You may want to join the same organizations so you can meet them and get to know them better.

10) Their biggest wedding planning problems

You can create and sell them the services that are the solutions to their problems.

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 Choose My Niche?”

 

Tips for Choosing a Niche for Wedding Planners

Successful wedding planners know they need to specialize in helping a specific type of bride in order to be to be successful. Here’s help in choosing the right brides for you.

Question

I’m trying to figure out my niche. I have many ideas but I’m not sure which one would be the best.

How do I choose?

Answer

I’m glad that you decided to have a niche. So many new wedding planners start a business trying to be all things to all brides and they end up not attracting anyone. Brides want wedding planners who speak to their specific needs, not the needs of all brides.

To help you select a niche, here are 5 questions to ask yourself:

1) Whom do I want to work with?

You are going to spend a lot of time with your brides. They need to be people you would love to work with and help. If you are not passionate about your clients, you won’t be your best and you won’t be able to attract all the business you need and want.

2) Of the brides I want to work with, who would be willing to hire a wedding planner?

While many brides you want to work with could use a wedding planner, not all of them may be willing to hire one. Some may think they don’t have the budget, others may think it would be fun to plan a wedding by themselves. Do some research online and offline among new and recent brides, find out who, of the types of brides you want to serve, would hire a wedding planner.

3) Who is my competition and what do they offer?

Find out who else is trying to attract the brides you want. Your competition might not just be wedding planners, they could also be caterers and florists who offer wedding and event planning services and venues who have planners on staff. These vendors might be offering full service packages that include their area of specialization.

4) What services can I offer?

Assess your own skills and make sure you can meet and exceed the demands of the brides you want to help.

You also want to determine the services you can offer your brides that they need but your competition is not giving to them. These services will help you stand out and get hired.

5) Who is in my vendor network?

You are only as good as your vendor network. You need to partner with vendors who have the skills and expertise needed to execute the types of weddings your brides want.

Once you have selected your niche, create a marketing message that speaks to the brides you want and lets them know you are the wedding planner who understands them and can meet their needs.

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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