» 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.

» What to Do If You (Accidentally) Double Book Clients

wedding professional double book clients

It happens to the best of us. You’re so excited to work with a new client that you say an enthusiastic “yes!” before realizing that you already have a client commitment that day. An accidental double book is easy to stumble into, particularly when you have a sudden surge in interest from potential clients. So, don’t worry, here’s how to fix it, if you do find yourself double-booked.

 

1. Find someone who is available.
The most important thing to do is to take care of the client you inadvertently said “yes” to. As soon as you figure out you can’t service their wedding, let them know. But, it’s not enough to just say, “sorry,” you also should go the extra step and find someone who is available on that day. This is where you reach into your trusty bag of fellow wedding professionals who are fantastic, message around for someone who is available and arrange a replacement. Of course, it’s up to your client if they decide to book the replacement, but you want to do the legwork for them.

 

2. Make it right.
Depending on your service category, it’s a great gesture of goodwill to offer something to the person who you’ve bumped from your calendar. This could be sending a nice floral arrangement, if you’re a florist; offering to snap rehearsal dinner photos at a discounted rate if you’re a photographer or some other service of value to the couple as they’re wedding planning. Besides showing that you’re apologetic, it can help to mitigate any damage to your reputation with the couple (and their network of friends, family and co-workers who might hear the story of the wedding pro who cancelled).

 

3. Prevent snafus in the future.
Business challenges are the best learning experiences for the future. Once you’ve double-booked once, you will probably never do it again, because you’ll have the distinct memory of this experience as your teacher. To make sure you’re keeping up with your calendar, try to get into the habit of writing down and scheduling all of the tasks needed to service a client—not just the hours you’ll be on-site for the event. This can include site visits, walk-throughs, meeting with other vendors who will be working on the event, creating mood boards or inspiration palettes, editing after the fact or a myriad of other events, depending on your service category. Think about the total time commitment of each client, and be realistic with how long it will take you to dedicate yourself to that wedding. This will help you have a good idea of when you are actually available for a wedding and when you’re really not.

 

4. Consider forming a partnership or collective.
Creative professionals thrive on collaboration, so why not consider sharing the load by creating a partnership or team of professionals in your service category? Beyond being a sounding board for ideas and expanding your network, these professionals might be helpful when you have a great client who you just don’t have the time to take on. Having a group of professionals with the same standards, a similar aesthetic and creative approach is the best-case scenario for a couple that needs to replace a wedding pro who has accidentally double-booked.

» WeddingWire Networking Night Atlanta

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Peachtree Club for WeddingWire Networking Night Atlanta!

At the Networking Night, wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful venue space, network with other local vendors across all service categories, and meet members of the WeddingWire team.

Thank you to all the wonderful professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event, 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 Coskun from Jdiliyok Productions!

» 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.

» How Are Weddings Changing? WeddingWire 2017 Newlywed Survey

WeddingWire 2017 Newlywed Report It’s that time again—the WeddingWire 2017 Newlywed Survey is here! This year, we surveyed more than 13,000 couples that wed in 2016 to learn about their weddings and what was most important to them.

Read the full survey here >>

Here are some of the big changes:

1. Technology matters: Couples now spend 50% of their time planning from a smartphone (up from 30% last year).

2. Uniformity is out: Bridesmaids are more likely to wear non-matching than in previous years, a trend we’ve seen continue to grow.

3. While the average wedding price tag hasn’t grown, millennials spend a bit more: $31,000 on average.

 

But, some things are staying put:

1. The average price of a wedding is still about $28,000. Spend on honeymoons ($4,000) and engagement rings ($5,000) is also about the same as last year.

2. The first dance continues to be the most popular tradition for all couples, but same-sex couples are less likely to perform one.

3. The average number of wedding guests for straight couples is 124, just four more than last year. For same-sex couples, it’s 100.

There’s lots more information for wedding pros, so check out the full survey!

» 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!

» World DC Speaker Announcement: Georgetown Cupcake Co-founders

You’ve seen them on TV, and now you can see the Georgetown Cupcake co-founders at WeddingWire World 2017 in DC!

Sisters Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne are the co-founders of Georgetown Cupcake, stars of the hit series DC Cupcakes on TLC, and best-selling authors. Since they launched their Georgetown bakery in 2008, Katherine and Sophie have expanded to six locations in multiple cities, ship nationwide, and currently employ over 400 employees.

As featured speakers at WeddingWire World DC, Katherine and Sophie will share the Georgetown Cupcake story, as well as learnings from building a thriving business and becoming a household name.

Hungry for more? Don’t miss out on WeddingWire World 2017 DC on August 14-15. For details, the speaker list, and tickets, visit WeddingWire World DC.

» Announcing Mindy Weiss at WeddingWire World 2017 LA!

We are delighted to announce that celebrity event planner, lifestyle expert, and author Mindy Weiss is joining us as a featured speaker at WeddingWire World LA 2017!

Based out of Beverly Hills, Mindy Weiss is a full-service event planner who has successfully grown her brand as a leading innovator and trendsetter. Mindy has planned celebrations all over the world, including the celebrity weddings of Ellen Degeneres and Portia Rossi, Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, ABC’s “The Bachelor” stars J.P. and Ashley, and many more. Mindy and her amazing team are best known for their creative ideas, unexpected décor accents and exquisite attention to every last detail.

In addition to event planning, Mindy has written three best-selling books, designed a highly successful line of wedding stationery with Wedding Paper Divas, and will be launching a bridal jewelry line later this year. At WeddingWire World, Mindy will share her insights on current wedding trends, as well as a look ahead to 2017 and beyond.

This is an event that you don’t want to miss! On May 1-2, WeddingWire World 2017, will offer two full days of education and networking to help you grow your business. Click here to learn more about WeddingWire World, view the full agenda, and get your tickets before we sell out!

» WeddingWire Networking Night Houston

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Magnolia Hotel for WeddingWire Networking Night Houston!

At the Networking Night Houston, 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 Kristin from Bourbon and Lace Events!

» Hiring an Intern: What You Need to Know

If you’re in a place where you are in need of a little extra help, but don’t quite have the resources or budget to hire a publicity firm, it might be the right time to bring in a PR intern. Eager college students and recent graduates can bring new perspective and fresh ideas that can really benefit your business and make your daily life a lot more manageable.

With that, let’s take a look at what tips you need to know:   

First and foremost, before sending anything out, educate yourself and make sure you are up-to-date on the laws and regulations associated with hiring a paid or unpaid intern.

 

How to Find One

When you are ready to promote your search for an intern, there are several ways you can go about it. Make sure you are diversifying your methods, and not relying on just one avenue. Word-of-mouth is an underestimated but very effective way to find new people. In fact, some of my best interns have come from friends in the industry referring people they knew. Post the job details on all of your social media accounts, as well as your blog if you have one – be sure that you’re including a link to the full job description and details.

Getting in touch with the local colleges and universities that have PR, marketing, communications, or hospitality programs is another great way to connect with potential applicants. Ask how they promote internships and see if you can get posted on their job boards, social media, etc. You could even take it one step further by connecting with professors in those programs and getting them to spread the word.

Communicating the Job

The description of the internship should be very clear about what the internship will entail—you want the responsibilities to be well-defined. The last thing you want is to have a disappointed intern who, for example, didn’t realize they would be doing admin work at an event planning company. Every company has different needs, but a basic description could look something like this:

Specific duties of the intern vary each year depending on new issues and marketing objectives, but could include: writing marketing pieces; social media management (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Blogging); assisting with activities during events; appointment confirmations; involvement in promotions and research and providing staff support.

Make sure the description matches your brand and gets everyone excited. If you want the best, you’ll be competing with all sorts of other job opportunities.

 

The Interview Process

Once you’ve got a solid pool of applicants, you’ll want to bring them in for a formal interview. Personally, I like the meeting to be in person, but if the position is remote or current schedules won’t permit, Skype is a good alternative. Begin by explaining what the company is, how the need for an intern came to be, and a little bit more depth into the responsibilities of the position. During the ‘questions’ portion of the interview, stay away from yes or no questions. This is your chance to get to know them, their experience, how prepared they came for the interview, and really get a feel for how well they would fit. Some questions to consider might be:

  • Tell us about your interest in the position. What drew you to our company?
  • Tell us about what kind of experience you have in relation to the position
  • Where do you see yourself after graduating/or in the next five years?

Once you’ve selected your candidate (hooray!), be sure to do an orientation (i.e. an everything-you-need-to-know meeting). At our company, we break the orientation day into different training sessions that start with the basics and works its way into the more complicated aspects of the position. Be sure you remain open minded while they are learning; for some, this may be their first ‘on-the-job’ experience and you are a resource for them while they learn.
With these tips in your pocket, hiring a stellar intern should be just around the corner!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA