Small businesses owners often dedicate the majority of their time to managing their business and making their clients happy. In many cases, they get wrapped up in their day-to-day work and forget about themselves. After all, didn’t you go into business for you?
We explored time management and productivity techniques with Vanessa Joy of Vanessa Joy Photography in our recent Premium webinar. Vanessa shared tips for helping you run your business rather than letting it run you.
The workflow exercise below is all about finding what really matters to you and taking action to work towards your definition of success. Whether you want to create more free time to spend with your family, build a bigger client base, allow more flexibility for travel, or whatever else it may be, this organizational plan will help move you towards your goal.
“Parts of a Whole” Exercise
- Before anything else, you must define what success means to you in your small business. It’s probably something you thought about a lot at the beginning of your journey, so it’s a great place to start. Ask yourself why you went into this business and write a few of those things down. Are these still the things that equate to success in your mind? If not, do a bit of editing and come up with a full list of how you determine the success of your business today.
- Now that you’re refreshed on your why and what success means to you, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Draw a line down the middle to make two columns. On the left side write down the following things: anything you dislike doing for your business, the things you aren’t good at, the tasks that slow you down, any menial ($10 an hour) tasks, the processes you know are broken, and anything you do that you know your clients don’t notice.
- On the right side write down all of the things you love doing for your business, everything that defines your brand, and the things your clients do notice (for this, look to your reviews, emails from couples, etc).
Putting Your Plan in Action
And just like that you’ve outlined the priorities for your business! Everything written in the left column should be thoroughly assessed and prioritized. Set aside some time and create a potential plan of action to remove these tasks from your workflow completely. When assessing these tasks, it’s hard to visualize putting them in someone else’s hands. So, ask yourself if keeping them under your control moves you toward your definition of success. If not, it’s time to find an alternative whether that’s outsourcing, automating or hiring an intern.
For everything in the right column, these are the tasks that should continue to be in your realm and under your control. This is where you can make the most impact in your business and where you should be focusing your time. These are the tasks you went into business for.
We’ll admit, making an organizational plan for your business isn’t always easy, but we promise it will help you in the long run. Figuring out where to spend your time is the most important step – from there you can find tools for streamlining and begin to outsource some of the left column work.
Once you have made your plan, do your best to have patience and delegate. There’s no way to see results unless you wait!
Receiving a question about pricing can be daunting and tricky to navigate. On the bright side, receiving a price inquiry is a definite sign of interest and should be exciting! When a couple makes an inquiry regarding price, you should see it as a buying signal rather than a red flag. If they are reaching out, it means that they’ve vetted you and you’ve made it to the final round, so making an inquiry is simply the next step for them.
Education Expert Alan Berg shared some of his do’s and don’ts of pricing in our July Premium Webinar last week (Premium Members can watch the full recording in their account Education Center). We’ve pulled together a list of his best tips to help equip you for those often-dreaded pricing questions when they hit your inbox.
- Do reply as quickly as possible to an inquiry. If you respond to a potential client within 5 minutes, rather than 30, you are 100x more likely to connect with that lead. Why 5 minutes? That’s fast! By responding in 5 minutes, you can almost ensure that the person is still mentally and physically in the same place rather than having moved on to other things.
- Do reply on the same platform that they used for their inquiry. The best practice here is to give couples all the possible ways to contact you, let them choose what works best for them, and then promptly reply on that channel.
- Do acknowledge a question about price, don’t dodge it. If you need more information to give an accurate price, that’s completely fine! Just be upfront and transparent about it. Let them know that you are going to get them an answer, you just need to gather a bit more information about their big day first! Then, make sure to ask questions to start gathering that information to show that you are taking the necessary steps towards getting them that answer.
- Do provide some pricing information on your website or WeddingWire Storefront. Couples are likely to distort their budget or may have a skewed sense of it (couples tend to underestimate their wedding costs by 40%!). Ideally, your pricing information would be available to them on your website or WeddingWire Storefront before they even reach out. 88% of couples want to see pricing of some sort before getting in contact with a vendor. That means you could be cut from the short list before you even have the chance to talk to them, so don’t hold out.
Client communication in the modern market can be very confusing. Technology has transformed everything about the way we communicate, so it’s important to be familiar with the best communication practices. Check out this infographic featuring 6 simple tips to connect more effectively and get more replies from engaged couples from WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg.
For more tips on client communication, check out this webinar for Premium members with WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg.
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.
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.
The start of a new year is the ideal time to evaluate your business success! Take a moment to read these insider’s tips on how businesses like yours have achieved their goals over the past twelve months.
These 10 highlights from WeddingWire’s Senior Director of Customer Success Ashley Conway include advice about how to impress more newly engaged couples and improve your marketing techniques to generate more leads and clients. Read on and set your business up for success in the coming year.
As 2016 comes to a close, it can be helpful to look back on your business success over the past year and consider what learnings you can apply in 2017.
During this month’s webinar hosted by WeddingWire Senior Director of Customer Experience Ashley Conway, we reviewed her seasonally-themed top 10 business tips based on conversations with numerous wedding professionals this year.
Here are some of the webinar highlights:
- ‘Tis the Season. Update your Storefront and website with seasonal imagery to keep your photos fresh and capture newly engaged couples’ imaginations.
- No re-gifting. Avoid showcasing duplicate content on your website, WeddingWire Storefront and other sites, as having identical content in multiple locations hurts your SEO. Make sure to differentiate your copy, images and reviews across your online presence.
- Pack on the #s: Use hashtags strategically in your social media posts to increase your visibility. Consider adding hashtags as comments on your Instagram posts to reduce clutter in your original posts.
- Better to give than receive: Always reply to reviews, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Remember that your reply will be seen by potential clients — it’s another chance to impress them.
- Make a list, check it twice: Put together a price list, then compare it to your competitors’. Don’t inadvertently confuse potential customers by offering similarly named packages as other wedding pros that contain different features.
For 5 more tips and additional details about how to leverage these recommendations for success in 2017, watch the full webinar! Don’t forget that past webinars are available within Premium member’s accounts to view anytime.
It’s challenging to stay on top of the latest social media sites and trends — especially while you are busy running a successful business. However, social media doesn’t need to require lots of time to make a big impact on your client reach.
During this month’s webinar hosted by WeddingWire Chief Marketing Officer Sonny Ganguly, we discussed the ‘big four’ social media sites your clients are loving — and where you need to be active this engagement season. Plus, Sonny shared expert tips to effectively leverage each top social media site to your business advantage.
Here are some of the webinar highlights:
- Visual sharing on social sites is key. This is part of the reason that Instagram and Snapchat have risen to popularity so quickly! Overall, 3.3 billion photos are shared on top social sites daily. Don’t miss an opportunity to show off your work on a regular basis!
- Your clients love social media. The majority of today’s engaged couples are Millennials in their twenties and early thirties. 89% consider themselves active on social media and 56% report that they would only consider booking pros they can find on social media.
- How do they use social while planning their wedding? First, they turn to virtual pinboard site Pinterest to get inspired. Next, they move to Facebook to learn more about vendors they are interested in, and also turn to Instagram to see your aesthetic.
- They follow the wedding pros they’re interested in. 61% of couples ‘follow’ or ‘like’ the professionals they want to learn more about. Why? Most commonly to get inspiration for their wedding, to see the quality of your work and to get more info about your business.
- Where should you invest the most of your time? The top four sites to invest your time and connect with your clients today are: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. You can cut back on time on Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr due to a lack of interaction with your clients or general sharing traffic on those sites this year.
For more great social media tips, stats and information about connecting with couples on top social sites, watch the full webinar! Don’t forget that past webinars are available within Premium member’s accounts to view anytime.
A key way to expand your business and stand out from the competition is through winning industry awards. Whether you’re a new business or a seasoned pro, earning both recent and frequent accolades, collecting stand-out client reviews, and sharing your best work is a pivotal part of your business success.
In our latest infographic, get insights from Education Expert Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting with these six helpful tips to earn more industry awards!
For more information, watch the full webinar! All past webinars are available within your WeddingWire account under the Education tab for Premium members to view on-demand at any time.
An easy way to expand your business and stand out from the competition is through winning industry awards. Whether you’re a new business or a seasoned pro, earning accolades, collecting client reviews, and showcasing your hard work is a pivotal part of your success.
In this month’s webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert and Owner of OFD Consulting, Meghan Ely, shared her tips for how to submit for and win more prestigious awards that build your credibility in the wedding industry.
Here are a few steps to earning more industry awards:
- When deciding which awards to apply for, first take a close look at your business goals. Ask yourself how earning the award would help you meet these goals and then pick your top choices to actively pursue.
- Once you decide to submit, always read and then reread the guidelines. It’s easy to overlook an element that could make or break your entry, or notice it too late in the process, simply by not paying enough attention to detail.
- Create a plan for your submission before jumping in. Once you carefully review the guidelines and submission details, draft an outline of what you need to do and strategically plan your approach before you start writing.
- Use facts and figures to stand out and impress the judges. By bringing your work to life with stats and examples, you can showcase the difference your business has made, and why you deserve to earn the award through a compelling story.
- Share images that help support your story where applicable. However, it’s important to get approvals you may need from photographers to use their images. Also, make sure you do not rely on the images alone to tell your story.
- Ask a friend to review and proofread your entry. A second set of eyes is key to making sure your story makes sense to an outside point of view, and that you are not overlooking and grammatical mistakes that could be easily avoided.
- If you win — spread the news! Share your win on social media, and showcase your expertise by adding your award to all your marketing materials on and offline. This will impress clients and industry colleagues alike, and help you stand out in a competitive industry.
To learn more great tips from Meghan, watch the full webinar now!
Did you know that you can view all past webinars any time in your WeddingWire account? Watch recorded webinars at your convenience on a variety of topics to support your business growth from SEO to social media to sales and beyond.
The vast majority of today’s engaged couples are Millennials, and have specific ways they like to communicate, interact and work with wedding pros. Knowing how to connect with these Millennial couples is important to your business!
To help you stay up-to-date with this tech savvy and social generation, this month’s webinar for Premium members gave an inside look into their demographic, and shared ways they like to connect and how you can better reach them.
Review this helpful infographic to learn about Millennials, and gain insights that can help you succeed in booking more clients and better understanding your current couples.
Many of today’s engaged couples are considered Millennials, in fact 80% of WeddingWire couples are in that age range! For your wedding business to succeed in connecting with this tech-savvy and social group, it’s important to keep a close eye on the top trends, preferred communication methods, and best ways to stand out on and offline to ultimately win them over.
In this month’s webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker, and Editor, Kim Forrest, provided an inside look into the mindset of today’s couples from how they prefer to connect with pros to the wedding content they are loving.
Here are some of the top take aways from the webinar:
- Millennials now make up the largest group of the US population! There are 80 million individuals who are between the ages of 16-34, and are your average customer.
- On average, they are engaged for 13 months, have 130 guests attend their big day, and hire 11 vendors to make their wedding come to life.
- Millennial couples share the same top challenges when it comes to wedding planning as their more senior Gen Xers. These include budgeting, making decisions, tracking expenses, knowing they are on the right track and finding their vendors.
- They look for their wedding pros on social media, so it’s important to have a presence and share your work and personality on top sites including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and beyond. Mostly they are looking for inspiration, to see the quality of your work, and to find your business info.
- Aim to connect with your clients through visual content as much as you can. They love videos, listicles, infographics and visual-first social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Create your own images or share some you love, and add images of your work.
- Don’t be afraid to try new social sites! Millennials are loving Snapchat and Facebook Live to name a few – so if these appeal to you, give them a whirl! You can also enlist Millennial employees to teach you about the sites or run accounts for your business if you lack time to coordinate the efforts yourself.
To learn more, watch the full webinar now! Plus, all past webinars are available within Premium member’s accounts to view anytime and learn about the topics that matter most to your business.