» How to Create an Automatic Email Welcome Sequence to Book Couples Faster

wedding pros email marketing welcome sequence

Imagine this: A couple planning their wedding heads to your website after finding you on WeddingWire. They want to learn more about you, but aren’t quite ready to contact you for a quote yet, so they sign up for your email list. Minutes later, they get an email welcoming them to your list and introducing your business. They then receive various emails from you over the next 10 days that eventually persuade them to reach out for a quote.

The best part? You can make all of this happen on autopilot. With an email marketing system like ActiveCampaign or MailerLite, you can set up emails that will automatically be sent to new subscribers. Here’s a brief tutorial on how to set it up in most email tools:

1. Create a form that requires a first name and email, and embed the form on your website.
2. Click on Automations and start creating your automated sequence.
3. Start with a trigger. Set the trigger to be activated when someone fills out your form that you just created.
4. Add a step to send your next email, and create your email.
5. Add a step with the setting to wait 1-2 days.
6. Repeat step 4 and 5 until you reach the end of your sequence.

Now, let’s talk about what should go into your welcome email sequence. This automation should have five emails set to send out every other day. Here’s what each email should include:

Email 1: Intro & What to Expect

In this email, start off by thanking the new subscriber for signing up for your emails. Tell them a little bit about you; what your business is all about, why you love what you do, and who you love working with. Then, let them know to expect lots of valuable advice in their inbox in the coming days.

Email 2: Value, Value, Value!

Give the subscriber an incredible piece of advice pertaining to your niche in this email. They will be excited to receive some advice instead of a sales pitch, especially if your tips are truly helpful. In order to make sure this email wows the subscriber, offer a tip about something most couples wouldn’t even think of.

Email 3: Fight Objections

What are some of the most common objections you hear from couples? It could be that your service is too expensive, they don’t see why it’s important, you don’t have enough reviews, etc. Pick one of those big objections and tell the subscriber why they shouldn’t let it worry them. This is your chance to fight objections before they are even brought up. However, don’t pitch your services just yet.

Email 4: Bust Some Myths

In this email, talk about common myths surrounding your niche. Some examples could be that videography is always expensive, you don’t need a wedding planner when you can DIY, no one has ever had great food at a wedding, etc. Talk about why those myths are false and give examples of your work or reviews to prove it.

Email 5: Sell Yourself

Now that you have introduced yourself, shared advice, fought objections, and dispelled common myths, it’s time to pitch your services. Remind them what you specialize in and how much you love what you do. Tell them that you would love to hear about their dream wedding, and ask them to reply and share their ideas so you can help bring them to life.

After going through this email sequence, your subscribers will love and trust you, which will make them more likely to reach out for a quote!

» Niche PR: How to Become the “Go-To” Expert in your Arena

Webinar recap!Niche, Webinar, PR, Marketing, Weddings, Expert, Education

In the often-saturated wedding market, a niche will help you stand out and cut back on competition. Defining a niche allows you to specialize in an area that suits your talents and personality, gives focus to your marketing, and helps you attract your ideal clients.

During this webinar for Premium members, Education Expert Meghan Ely shared the steps to identifying your niche, promoting your expertise to your target audience, and implementing PR strategies to grow your business.

Here are some of the webinar highlights:

  • Showcase your niche in your content. Your website content, social media strategy, and any other owned channels should clearly reflect your niche. In addition to your bio, portfolio, and client testimonials, add a press page and blog to your website to highlight your expertise and demonstrate your capabilities.
  • Introduce yourself as an expert to the media. Consider what media your ideal client is consuming and target those outlets. Start by sending a friendly email to introduce yourself as an expert and a resource in your niche field — and be sure to include a few brief story ideas, too.
  • Pitch yourself for guest writing and speaking opportunities. Review your topics and research opportunities; focus on those that will reach your target audience. Hone your messaging and send a concise, friendly pitch with a few examples of your work. When it comes to speaking engagements, start small, evolve your topics overtime, and never stop practicing.
  • Pursue real wedding submissions. Research opportunities, guidelines, and editorial calendars to determine the best fit and strategy for your business. Be sure to follow the rules of exclusivity and prioritize the opportunities that will reach your ideal audience.

For more tips and additional details about these recommendations, watch the full webinar! Don’t forget that past webinars are available within Premium member accounts to view anytime.

» WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at Vizcaya for WeddingWire Networking Night Sacramento!

At the Networking Night, wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning venue space, network with other local vendors across all service categories, and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned about local-industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media from WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Megan Hayes.

Thank you to all the wonderful professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack give away – congrats to Meagan from Meagan Lucy Photographers!

» 3 Reasons Why You Need a Facebook Group (Even If You Have a Facebook Page)

facebook group wedding pro

Let’s talk about Facebook. Specifically, moving beyond your trusty Facebook page. Facebook groups have the power to attract engaged couples nationwide or in your area while they are wedding planning. You can use the group to give daily tips, ask questions to learn about your target market, pitch your services, and connect couples with other vendors. You may be wondering why you can’t just post all of this content on your business page, and why you should post it in a group instead. Here are 3 reasons why:

Facebook groups will help you reach more people and get higher engagement for free.

Have you ever posted something on your Facebook page that you were super proud of, only to get zero interactions from your followers on it? Don’t be too discouraged. There is a reason for this, and it’s not your fault. Facebook pages get almost no organic visibility anymore, thanks to Facebook’s news feed algorithm.

Facebook’s algorithm favors posts written by friends or in groups over posts from businesses, which is why starting a Facebook group for your business is quickly becoming one of the best ways to reach potential customers and make sales. The benefit to posting in groups rather than pages is that the posts get ranked higher in the news feed than business page posts, so you get more organic visibility and don’t have to spend money on ads to get seen.

Managing a Facebook group will establish credibility and trust for your business.

When you create a Facebook group, you become the expert. Couples who join the group will see you running the show, ask you questions, and refer their friends to your group when they need help wedding planning. They will see how amazing you are, get to know you as a person, and trust what you have to say. Then, when the same people need your product or service, you will be the first person they think of to buy from.

However, in order to be successful in establishing trust and credibility, you have to give more valuable content than sales pitches. Make your group 80% value and 20% sales. Here are some ideas on what you can post in order to provide value:

  •      Tips about wedding planning, especially if they relate to your product or service
  •      Facebook Live videos with Q&A or advice
  •      Discussion questions about what couples are struggling with, dreams for their weddings, and how you can help them

Every person who joins your group has the potential of becoming a customer.

Make your group a resource for couples in your area so that way you will attract users who have real potential of becoming customers. When they join, the credibility, trust, and relationships you build with group members will help you be able to close sales and book couples. Here are a few tips to ensure you attract the right users to your group:

  •      Include the name of your city, state, or region in the name of your group.
  •      Include the year in the group name to attract couples who are actively wedding planning. You can change the group name each year as you go.
  •      Include the word “wedding” to help couples find the group.

Building a new Facebook group will take more work in the beginning and become less time consuming as they grow, but will generally only take a couple hours of your time per week. If you decide to start your own Facebook group, remember that they do take time to grow, but the work you put into it will be worth it in the end.

» WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Marker for WeddingWire Networking Night San Francisco!

At the Networking Night, wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a unique venue space, network with other local vendors across all service categories, and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned about local-industry statistics and how engaged couples make their purchasing decisions from WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack give away – congrats to Thea from Kavamore Press!

» Hot Off the Presses: Two New Guides from WeddingWire

We’re delighted to announce the release of two brand-new guides from the editors at WeddingWire. These guides aim to educate and inspire couples as they plan their weddings.

Our 2017 WeddingWire Budget Guide features brand-new statistics and data, money-saving advice from experts, and a helpful tipping section. We frequently hear that couples can’t get enough budget advice, so this guide is sure to be a must-read for anyone planning a wedding.

We all know that having plentiful and delicious food is a major part of any wedding (no one wants hangry wedding guests!), so the WeddingWire Catering Guide is essential reading material. You’ll find catering trends, budget tips, real wedding menus, and much more. One warning: Don’t attempt to read this guide on an empty stomach!

Check out all of our planning guides on WeddingWire and feel free to share them with your clients. Stay tuned for many more guides to come in 2017!

Catering Guide cover photo by Megan Clouse Photography 

» A Match Made in Heaven: Video and Social Media

february-premium-webinar-tileWebinar recap!

Videos are a great way to capture the attention of your audience. In fact, videos account for almost 70% of consumer Internet traffic! But how do you create and distribute videos to best showcase your work if you don’t have video expertise? 

During this month’s webinar for Premium members WeddingWire Education Experts Alan Berg and Andy Ebon offered their their tips to easily use video combined with social media to attract and impress your audience even if you’re a video newbie.

Here are some of the webinar highlights:

  • Try out new Instagram features. Instagram Stories and Instagram Live videos are great tools for showing ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos of your work. Posted Stories are available to your followers for 24 hours, which can drive a sense of urgency for your audience. Live videos are only available while you’re broadcasting so it can be helpful to notify your audience in advance if you plan to go live.
  • YouTube is critical to video efforts.. As the second largest search engine after Google, YouTube is a vital component of any video strategy. In fact, 80% of 18-49 year olds watch YouTube each month. Product demos make great videos — just remember to keep videos under three minutes to hold your audience’s attention.
  • Optimize your YouTube videos. In addition to posting compelling video content, make sure to use best practices when creating your YouTube video posts. The right taglines, titles, descriptions, and calls-to-action can help your videos get discovered and viewed.
  • Use Facebook Live to engage followers. Facebook Live videos are an easy way to engage your audience in real-time. Check your phone’s connection before you go live to ensure your stream isn’t interrupted, allow enough broadcast time so that followers can join your live feed, and get creative with your ‘set’ to make your video more visually engaging.

For more tips and additional details about how to leverage these recommendations, watch the full webinar! Don’t forget that past webinars are available within Premium member’s accounts to view anytime.

» Why You Shouldn’t Say You’re ‘The Best’

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.

It’s all too common to read marketing declarations from wedding professionals stating they are “the best.” I suggest this is subjective truth at the maximum and lazy copywriting at the minimum. More importantly, it isn’t helping you win couples. Here’s why. 

Best? By Whose Standard?

Ok, so you might be the top wedding venue in South Dakota. Or, the most-recognized floral designer in Hollywood. Birmingham Weekly might recognize you as the best wedding DJ.

It never surprises me when a wedding couple’s testimonial expresses that XYZ Company is the “best” in the city, and you shouldn’t hire anyone else. That endorsement—however flattering—is usually overstated. The wedding couple may be thrilled with the job XYZ performed for their wedding. However, the couple likely interviewed only a handful of companies in the same class and perhaps saw another company or two provide service at a friend’s wedding.

In other words, praise is great for your business—even necessary to score new clients—but praising yourself isn’t part of an effective marketing strategy.

Focus on What Makes You Different and Exceptional

The real reason “best” is a throwaway word is because savvy consumers have trained themselves to tune it out. It’s the language equivalent of a brightly colored “sale” sign—you just feel like you’re about to be tricked, and you ignore it.

A better way to communicate why a couple should choose your services is to put yourself in their shoes. What are they actually looking for when searching for a photographer? A caterer? An event planner? What type of service are you providing? What is key to your ideal customer? How do you do what you do? What is your passion? (Beyond love. We all love love, so that’s not helping consumers, either.)

Essentially think of what you want to tell potential customers, not just about selling them.

 

Who’s Your Ideal Customer? Now Market to That Person.

As a wedding pro, you’re not trying to grab the widest audience. Your business and your services are actually pretty niche—you want couples that appreciate your style of service and are intending to pay what you charge. So, with that in mind, rededicate your marketing power to identify ideal customers, not just by demographics, but by psychographics—personality, lifestyle, budget, wedding planning style, etc.

Find specific qualities in your company that speak of your rare and identifiable characteristics; and don’t repeat indefinable clichés such as “best,” “unique” or “perfect.”

When reaching out for reviews, encourage clients to explain, specifically, what was different or special about your product or service.

I am confident, without hesitation, if you follow such a marketing path, targeted prospects will come flocking to you. And it will feel very good.  

» Say Cheese! The WeddingWire Photography Guide is Here!

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The photographer is typically the second vendor a couple books (after their venue), and with so many talented professionals out there, it can be a difficult decision. The brand-new WeddingWire Photography Guide aims to assist and inspire couples as they search for the photographer who best suits their aesthetic, personality, and budget. In this online guide, we cover the logistics of selecting a pro, the details of photography packages and styles and much, much more. This is the WeddingWire Editorial Team’s first guide of 2017 and there are many more planned for the coming year—stay tuned!

Cover photo by Sam Stroud Photography

» How to Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice

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andy-ebon-squareThe 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.

Continuity and consistency are first cousins in the execution of your marketing. Continuity is using marketing tools—like your WeddingWire storefront, website, social media content, logo, etc.— in a cohesive and recognizable manner. Basically, you want to be “you” across every potential client touch point. Consistency, on the other hand, is taking action with regularity. In other words: Being consistent with the use of those tools. This can mean posting to Facebook twice a day, blogging twice weekly, being in touch with your contacts at routine intervals and being sure that your advertising is in tune with most couples’ wedding planning journey.

The combination of updating with continuity and consistency, your brand and the company message forge ahead, leaving the impression of a progressive company both with engaged couples and your peers.

Remember, marketing is everything that touches the prospect or client—not just advertising or social media. Here are a few ways to maintain a consistent brand voice:

Keep it Short and Professional Over the Phone

For some couples, your phone manners is one of the first impressions of your business. Whether you are a one-person micro business or a company with many employees, the way anyone answers the phone should sound the same.

XYZ Company, this is Andy. How can I help you?

Simple, clear, to the point. If you are not the right person to assist, do your utmost to connect the caller with the correct person.

The best example I can offer for a smaller business is a catering professional in Atlanta. She updated her voicemail every day. Her script would go something like this:

Good day and thanks for calling. This is Shelley. Today is Tuesday, March 14th. I’ll be out of the office on client appointments this morning, but you can expect a callback after lunch. If your call requires immediate attention, don’t hesitate to text me at 777-777-7777 and I will do my best to your reach you even sooner. Thanks for calling, and make it a great day!

And, of course, when she was back in the office, the message would be updated. This kind of continuity is spectacular.

Keep Your Delivery and Set-Up Crew Sharp

When your staff members or delivery crew arrive at a venue, how are they dressed? Be sure that even this aspect reflects your company’s personality. A no-fuss option is a company t-shirt or polo-style shirt, accompanied by jeans or slacks.

The moment a venue representative sees you “in uniform,” you’ve broken the ice and are part of the team. Make sure you supply your crew with two or three shirts, so the uniform is always clean and ready to go.

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Don’t Slack with Print Media

The most frequent mistake I see in print ads or flyers is poor headlines. Your company name is not a headline. Your company slogan or favorite hashtag is not a headline. A headline is a phrase, usually accompanied by a visual, crafted to encourage the prospect to read the rest of the ad.

Avoid cliche words such as perfect, dream, unique, awesome and the like. It’s not just about your ad, but the other ads in a publication. Do your utmost to avoid verbiage you recognize in other ads. Make sure the ad is specific to your business and is told in your brand voice.

Are You Wasting Time with Social Media?

It’s always a good idea to periodically evaluate your approach to social media. The first thing to ask yourself is, “Am I using this to its fullest? Should I just drop it or revive it?” You also want to be honest about whether or not your social media content is helping potential clients and peers learn more about your brand personality.

If you are not using a social media platform frequently enough, then make it go away. If you are not measuring social media success across-the-board, then start. If you are not using analytics tools, such as those provided by WeddingWire, get going. Failure to ask these questions could mean you’re spending precious time on platforms that aren’t performing for you or just aren’t enjoyable to you. Your audience can tell when you’re just going through the motions, so be sure you’re invested in whichever platforms you choose.

Speaking of choosing social media platforms, it is easy to find the shiny, new object. Over time, you can wind up with 10 or more social media accounts. It’s far wiser to review what you are really using and the delete those that you don’t update or haven’t managed to engage meaningfully. You’ll usually find that about five platforms are serving you well. If a couple are underused, get them going. Settle in with platforms that really serve you and be solid on the frequency that works for your business.

Get Visual

We live in a highly visual society, so be sure your brand visuals are consistent with your brand voice. This means featuring a diverse variety of couples on your website, storefront, social media and advertising. It also means reviewing images a couple of times a year. Delete some and replace them with newer ones. Keeping your photos current is a reflection of staying up to date with style. Aging wedding dresses and decor do not reflect well on your company.

Typeface About-Face

Don’t forget fonts in your marketing brand evaluation. If you haven’t already, select a few that complement your logo design. Your choices of typeface should be limited about two on a single page. The eye has a difficult time adjusting to more than that. Have a sense about font sizes and make sure they work on all kinds of hardware: Smart phones, tablets and computers.

What Else To Consider

Each company has other factors to consider in continuity and consistency. Add to this list and revisit your thinking. When you review and refresh, it will move your business forward. This should be a regular activity to surpass the competition.

» Focus on Your Earnings, Not Savings

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

focus-on-earnings-not-savingsAs we approach the end of another year, it’s often time to reconcile our finances. We need to get our books in order, so we can do our taxes (I know, yuk). Then comes the scramble to find the deductions you qualified for over the year. While doing so, it becomes easy to focus on our expenses. For some of us, it’s time to re-evaluate those expenses as we prepare for the coming year.

These insights will help you get a handle on your financial planning needs and help you take control as you plan for the future!

Expenses vs. Investments

The danger in focusing only on expenses is that you can lose focus on the bigger picture. The only money you can save is the money you spend. It’s a finite amount. You can’t make all of your expenses disappear. You have to buy gas for your car, and pay for telephone service, internet connection, electricity, and more. But those are expenses, not investments. Expenses are things that you pay for, where you don’t expect any return other than what you bought (gas, electricity, phone service, food, etc.).

Investments, on the other hand, are things that may, and the operative word is ‘may’, provide a return that’s greater than the value paid. When you invest in a new employee, you would hope to get more value than what you pay them. When you invest in a new website, you would hope to get more value than the cost of the website. When you invest in advertising and marketing, you would hope to get back more than the value that you pay. When you invest in a new location, you would hope to get back more than you invest.

Opportunity Cost

What you need to focus on is getting the best return. The opportunity cost of not investing is the money you could make if you did. Sometimes, that means doing more than just paying the bill. For instance, if you buy a booth at a wedding show, and don’t take the time to design your booth correctly, and invest in great email/direct mail follow up, and actually do the follow up, you’ll never get the most return from that investment. Similarly, if you take a new office/warehouse space, build it out and decorate it properly, but don’t invest in marketing to let people know about it, you’ll never see the full return.

Go Big, or Go Home

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night San Diego

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at the Handlery Hotel San Diego for WeddingWire Networking Night San Diego!

At the Networking Night, San Diego pros had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned more about building relationships in an industry with little-to-no repeat customers during a brief presentation by WeddingWire Contributor, Bethel Nathan.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the enjoyable evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack give away – congrats to Jennifer of The Crossings at Carlsbad!

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