The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.
One of the key marketing channels for wedding professionals is networking with their peers through industry trade associations and other membership organizations. Building and maintaining business relationships through such organizations are key to referrals and introductions to engaged couples for potential bookings.
Part of the appeal of participating in organizations is the excitement of attending events and simply mingling with fellow wedding professionals. Over time, many of these business relationships become close collaborative partnerships and creative teams. That’s why it is essential to choose the organizations wisely, develop a plan for participation and do not over commit.
Finding Where You Fit In
In most geographic areas there are more opportunities for networking than there is time in your week! Your experience as a wedding professional will help direct your involvement. Whether it is a chapter-based national or regional organization, the strength of its board of directors is the major indicator of success or failure.
Key questions to consider when evaluating trade associations:
- Do I know and like some of the board members?
- Are the general membership meetings well organized and run smoothly?
- Are meetings facilitated by several people or is it a one-person show?
- Is there an educational component, as well as a networking component to the meeting?
- Would you be proud to bring your best client to meeting of interest to them?
Learning the Ropes
When you’ve joined an organization, one of the wisest moves you can make is to have coffee or a meal with one of the board members to understand the association culture, find out where you can contribute, what you can learn, and how you can benefit professionally. A great way to create personal or company awareness is donate services for a meeting. However, the donation should be a good fit for what you have to offer. Below are a few ways to donate your time and effort: