» 5 Ways to Market Your Business in the Busy Season

Now that summer is upon us, wedding professionals across the country face an extremely busy time of year: wedding season! While we know that the most popular months to get married are June, September, and October, it’s critical to remember those couples who are only just getting started planning a winter wedding. Here are a marketing strategies your business can use to keep new clients coming in despite all the rushing around you’ll be doing in the busy season.

1. Keep gathering reviews

With all your weddings and events happening in the spring, summer, and early fall, it’s important to gather as many client reviews as possible. Each review is another chance for your clients to spread the word about your business, and each review is valuable for potential clients who are researching your business and other professionals in their area. Plus, recency is still a big factor when couples are evaluating your wedding business, so it’s essential to continue collecting them even if your calendar for the next few months is full!

2. Tailor your content

Blogging is a great marketing tool no matter the time of the year! Continue creating great content about your business with an off-season twist – think about where your potential clients are in the planning process and try to appeal to them with the right content for that stage. Are there things couples should know about your business when they first start planning? Is there a particular time period couples should focus on your business category versus others in the planning process? Gain more readers by targeting them with the right message at the right time.

3. Offer off-season deals

Take advantage of those couples who are engaged but not getting married during the busier months by offering discounts or deals for the slower times on your calendar. Remember there are still a significant number of engaged couples who choose not to get married in the warmer months, and they’re still doing their wedding planning while others are taking their trips down the aisle. Think about popular off-season dates like Christmas, New Year’s or Valentine’s Day and provide special offers, discounts or free add-ons now that help make your business stand out as the perfect choice for their winter wedding needs.

4. Boost your social

One of the best ways to stay top-of-mind even when your workload is full is to continue being active on your social networks. Use social media to offer special discounts, collect reviews and testimonials, share your own content, and run contests or promotions. Your posts will appear within your followers’ social streams, and if you’re creating and posting engaging content, they’ll be more inclined to share your posts with their own networks. Plus, with all the weddings on your calendar, you’ll likely have a ton of real wedding photos and details to post! When their wedding date moves closer, you’ll be the business they remember.

5. Focus on other events

If your business works on more than just weddings – corporate events, sweet sixteen parties, baby showers – ramp up your marketing efforts for those events when the wedding season slows down. By decreasing your marketing budget for promoting weddings and compensating by increasing your budget for promoting your events services, you’ll be able to focus on events that tend to happen all year round. Balancing your efforts in this way will be easier on your budget and help you boost your conversions in your secondary lines of business.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for freshness and accuracy.

» 6 Easy Tips for Self-Care During Wedding Season

self-care during busy season

Wedding season is a constant flurry of activity with early mornings and long nights for most wedding professionals. With so much focus on work, this can leave your energy, health, enthusiasm and creativity drained. That’s where “self-care” comes in. According to GoodTherapy.org, a directory of therapists operated by an association of mental health professionals, self-care includes “actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health.”

These actions can take many forms and will vary depending on what peak health means to you. We’ve listed some common activities you can do on a busy day to practice self-care during peak season.

Make a cup of tea (or Joe, or cocoa): Hear us out! Hot drinks aren’t very popular in the summer months, but a warm mug of decaf tea or coffee is a great way to unwind and relax for a few minutes at the end of a busy day. Beyond the soothing experience of sipping on a steaming beverage, the ritual of preparing tea (or the drink of your choice) will help you to decompress during the busy season.  

Find time for a walk: As a creative professional, you’re probably up and about for most of the day, so this isn’t necessarily a walk for exercise. Rather, use this walk as an opportunity to take a few deep breaths, enjoy the warm weather and not think about work. Even if you have a full day of appointments or weddings, try to carve out at least five or 10 minutes to stroll and be alone.

Stretch it out: The benefits of practicing yoga are well-documented, but who has the time for a 60-minute class when you’re a fully booked pro? Thankfully, you can still reap the benefits of yoga — relaxation, mental clarity and stress relief  — without executing dozens of perfect vinyasas. Start or end your day with a few simple stretches or yoga poses, if you know some. It’s not so much about what you do, but taking the time to do it, that will help you to claim some of the benefits.

Grab a kid, a partner or a best friend: Essentially, anyone who’ll give you a hug and put a smile on your face. One of the first things that busy people tend to do is cancel dinner plans, skip family gatherings and begin to send calls to voicemail. It may seem counterintuitive, but when you’re really busy, especially for a prolonged period of time, you need your social network even more to keep you happy and healthy. As this wedding season approaches, consider scheduling a regular date night with your love or putting time on the calendar to call your friends in other cities. Trust us, you’ll want all the belly laughs you can manage to get you through the season!

Tap into your creativity: You got into this business because you wanted to do creative things, so be sure you don’t lose sight of your creativity this wedding season. As often as your schedule allows, spark your creative juices by reading your favorite photography books, flipping through fashion magazines, checking out the latest makeup trends or any other activity that relates to your craft. You can also use this time to peak into how other industries are translating new trends in technology, color, texture or materials. Though it may seem indulgent during your busy wedding season, soaking up inspiration and being creative will help you weather this wedding season.

Enjoy the weather! How ironic that wedding professionals spend nearly every summer weekend working long, long days? Don’t let the warm weather pass you by, no matter how busy you are. Take the time now to schedule some time to drive to the beach, attend an outdoor concert or movie or fire up the grill with friends and family. Whatever your favorite summer activity, be sure you have time to indulge in it before Labor Day.

These suggestions are just a start. Take the time to brainstorm a few of your favorite activities that help you recharge and how you can be sure to make time for them this wedding season.

» 5 Ways to Take Time for You

5 Ways to Take Time for YouAll month long we’ve been shining a light on wedding planning stress – for both couples and our pros. As we head into the summer months, more and more of your weekends are going to be busy with weddings and all the preparation that comes along with the busy season, so we’re here to help keep you cool, calm, and collected.

We just celebrated WeddingWire’s Official Day Without Planning for our couples, but since we know you can’t always take a full day off from your busy schedule, here are five ways to take time for you!

Hit the gym

Even if exercise is already part of your normal routine, it’s important to balance your mental exertion with physical exertion. Break a sweat running on the treadmill, meditating in hot yoga, or taking a long walk before or after work. If you spend a lot of your day on your feet already, try another activity like swimming or cycling to work different muscles and break the monotony.

Head to the spa

What better way to blow off some steam than some R&R? Whether you go in for a quick manicure/pedicure (men can enjoy those, too!) or schedule yourself a massage to loosen up the knots in your back, spend some time focusing on yourself. Even a quick visit to the hot tub or steam room can help you relax and reflect on your personal life so you can hit the ‘reset’ button for a while!

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» Top Tips to Reduce Stress – From the Experts!

Top Tips to Reduce Stress – From the Experts!Our #WeDoSomethingBlue campaign aims to help couples reduce wedding planning stress during the busy season, but what about our pros? Don’t you need a break? After all, you’re not just planning one wedding – you’re planning them all for your clients!

Whether you’re putting together personalized song lists, carefully-selected bouquets, or managing all the day-of details for your clients, the busy season is a stressful time for wedding and event pros. We asked some of our WeddingWire Education Experts to weigh in with their tried-and-true tips to reduce stress during this crazy time.

Plan ahead and take a break

“We all look forward to busy season and then, when it’s upon us, we can’t seem to catch our breath. The key to reducing your stress is to get organized before the craziness starts, and then stay ahead. When you get behind in your day to day tasks, you’re like a hamster on the wheel, and you can’t seem to get off. Proper advance planning, and leaving room in your timelines for the unexpected things that pop up helps break the cycle.

Remember to take a break every so often. Working non-stop is a sure path to burnout. Give your creative mind a break, take a walk, walk the dog, or whatever works for you, but get away from it. You’ll recharge your creativity by removing yourself from what you’re doing. Thomas Edison is famous for taking power naps on his desk. His wife brought a bed into his office, but he still napped on his desk. My secret… I have a recliner in my office, and if there’s a gap in my schedule, I enjoy a power nap. Whether it’s a 15-minute power nap, or as long as an hour (time-permitting), afterwards, I feel recharged and ready to keep going.”

Alan Berg, Certified Speaking Professional®

Write it all out and get away

“When you’re going crazy during wedding season, commit to yourself that you’ll do two things: complete a nightly and a weekly brain dump, and schedule some occasional breaks. For the brain dump, just spend a few minutes each evening writing out every random to-do item you can think of – you can then sort them and add the important stuff to your calendar. Repeating this exercise in more detail once a week, and taking time to map out your goals and priorities for the days ahead, will keep you from stressing about forgotten tasks and missed opportunities. Be sure, also, to schedule yourself at least a couple of days every month to do absolutely nothing but to rest and recharge. Even if you aren’t going anywhere, just having that time blocked off as sacred can make all the difference in the world in your mood and energy levels. Combining a little organization and a little relaxation can keep you going all season long.” Continue reading

» #WeDoSomethingBlue to Reduce Wedding Planning Stress

#WeDoSomethingBlue to Reduce Wedding Planning Stress

Wedding planning is supposed to be fun for your clients, but sometimes it becomes a super stressful process. Our research shows that 3 out of 5 WeddingWire couples report feeling significant pressure and stress to plan the perfect wedding, which takes away from what should be a happy time for engaged couples.

This wedding season, WeddingWire is helping your clients kick wedding stress to the curb and bring the focus back to love and commitment with our Something Blue campaign. Your clients can pledge to not let wedding stress take over their lives, and they’ll be signing up to receive exclusive deals from our partner brands and a special “something blue” band to wear as a reminder!

Each week through July 9, 2016 we’ll send weekly emails featuring select de-stressing tips offered by our pros, plus we’ve added a specially-curated article on WeddingWire with some of the best tips we received, including the following:

Prioritize. Making a list of your top five ‘must-haves’ on your wedding day will help you stay on budget and get the wedding you have always envisioned.”

Melissa Kramer of Kramer Events in San Luis Obispo, California.

Stop trying to make everyone happy. Don’t be surprised if you are bombarded with ideas, suggestions and requests from every side from the moment you announce your engagement. Although you should be considerate, it is unwise to try and please everyone. Be true to your vision, and remember that this is your day. This will help you establish boundaries and have the wedding you always dreamed of.”

Olga Pomeransky of Best for Bride in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.

Don’t lose sight about what the big day is really about! If you remember that celebrating your love and commitment with everyone you care about is the most important part of the day, you won’t stress over the napkins matching the bridesmaids dresses perfectly.”

– Lindsay Quinn of NST Pictures in New York, New York.

Join the movement to reduce wedding planning stress! Share with your clients on social media using #wedosomethingblue to help spread the word that couples are not alone when it comes to wedding planning – they have family, friends, and friendly pros willing to help lessen the burden.

Learn more about wedding planning stress from our latest WedInsights fact sheet.

» 5 Keys to Sail Through Wedding Season

Are you ready to sail through wedding season?

Late spring means that busy season is here for the majority of wedding professionals! While this is an exciting time to see your clients getting married and their perfect day coming to life, it can also be a stressful time to try to balance workload and client expectations  all while maintaining your business’ day to day operations!

April’s webinar for premium members hosted by Jennifer Reitmeyer, WeddingWire Education Expert and founder of WeddingIQ and Firebrand Messaging, focused on helping you stay sane and productive during the busy months ahead.

Check out the five keys to keeping your sanity during wedding season:

Sail-Through-Wedding-Season

» Sailing Through Wedding Season Without Losing Your Sanity

Sailing Through Wedding Season without Losing Your SanityWebinar recap!

Busy wedding season is here (or very close!) for many wedding professionals. Along with this exciting time of the year often comes long days, needy clients, and plenty of unexpected surprises along the way.

It’s important to not lose your sales and operations momentum while you are hard at work executing your events so you can keep your business thriving year-round! In this month’s one hour webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Jennifer Reitmeyer shared tips to manage your business, your clients, and even your stress-levels like a pro!

Here’s the five keys to stay sane during wedding season:

  • Take stock of your business as it is right now. Get real about your business, and take stock of where you are in the important areas of sales, marketing and operations before things get too busy.
  • Create a plan. Determine how you will get all business-related items done while you are also executing lots of events. By setting a basic weekly routine, deadlines, and creating helpful resources such as an event prep list, you will stay organized and efficient.
  • Embrace (and communicate) your boundaries. Most client and vendor-facing issues can be avoided by simply setting expectations. Make your boundaries clear on items such as working days and your service process, and communicate them clearly to each new client.
  • Assess and re-asses. Remember that every good plan is flexible. Set aside time each month to check in with yourself and your business. Ask questions like “Am I continuing to make time to sell new clients?” or “How are my weddings going? Am I upholding to my standards and promises made, or do I need additional resources?”
  • Treat yourself with the same respect and consideration with which you’d treat others. Make time for yourself or you will burn out! Schedule time off, set aside time to do the things you enjoy on a weekly basis, prioritize your sleep, and maintain your physical health. You will stay happy, and so will your business!

For more great advice, watch the full webinar, and be sure to check out Jennifer’s blog all about the business of weddings, WeddingIQ.com!

Don’t forget that your clients also get stressed during the wedding planning process up to the big day! Do you have any expert tips you would like to share with WeddingWire couples? Submit your tips here, and they could be included in an upcoming consumer campaign!

» Five Business Tweaks to Make Before Busy Season Hits

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Her newest venture, Authentic Boss, is an online learning resource for business owners seeking to work and live more authentically. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

Five Business Tweaks to Make Before Busy Season HitsSpring is here, and with it starts the craziness of wedding season. Because executing our events and delivering our service or product becomes our number one priority, it’s easy to let slide some important parts of marketing and operating our business.

In the interest of saving your sanity when you’re in event overdrive, here are five things to do now, before busy season truly hits:

  1. Make sure your marketing is up-to-date. While most of us do a pretty good job of maintaining the essential information on our website and social media, it’s easy to forget little things like adding new awards and keeping your team members’ bios current. Updating our listings on other sites, including WeddingWire, is also often overlooked. Before you get swamped with weddings, take a few moments to ensure your information is consistent across the web – your professional image will only benefit.
  1. Take care of the housekeeping. I use “housekeeping” to describe all the un-glamorous, yet truly important, parts of maintaining your business – things like renewing any professional licenses or certifications in your field, keeping up with your insurance coverage, and making sure you’ve maintained the equipment or supplies you need to do your job. Double-checking these things now will keep you from scrambling later.
  1. Rally the troops. It’s a great idea to evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses now, so you can provide any necessary training before you’re super busy. (Bonus: this will help them help you when wedding season strikes.) You can also use this time to boost morale and get everyone fully on board with your brand, so they’ll reflect well on you when they’re working at events.

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» Share Your De-Stressing Tips for Couples!

Share Your De-Stressing Tips for Couples!Wedding planning can be stressful and engaged couples often get overwhelmed with the pressure of planning and executing their day.

Our Editorial team is always looking out for ways to help brides and grooms combat the stress of wedding planning. We try to address the biggest questions and pain points with content like:

While much of our team has experienced the wedding planning struggle, we know that expert advice from wedding pros like you can really help make the process run smoothly for your clients.

This April, we’re collecting your best advice for engaged couples to help them stay organized, relaxed, and focused on what really matters as they plan their wedding. Do you have any tried-and-true tips for avoiding stress? Advice on staying focused on the importance of the occasion? Take a moment to share your best de-stressing tips to help prevent couples from becoming overwhelmed as we head into the busy summer months!

Selected tips will be included as part of an upcoming campaign for couples online and on social media, with a Storefront link or social media tag from WeddingWire. Be sure to fill out our form completely so we can give you credit for your ideas!

Submit your tips here >>

» WedInsights: How Couples Choose a Wedding Date

WedInsights

WedInsights: How Couples Choose a Wedding DateWhile 37% of engagements occur between November and February, 76% of weddings occur during the summer and fall months. In fact, 25 dates make up 50% of all weddings in 2015 (and you guessed right, they’re all on Saturdays!). Despite the fact that there’s a ton of competition between clients for those coveted dates, there are a number of reasons why a couple selects their wedding date.

Our research shows that the top ten most popular factors that influence when couples choose a wedding date are:

  1. Season/weather
  2. Convenient for the couples and families
  3. Sentimental date (i.e., anniversary date)
  4. Venue availability
  5. No clear reason
  6. Liked the date
  7. Convenient based on engagement length (i.e., enough time to plan)
  8. For financial reason
  9. On a holiday
  10. Astrology

Beyond those considerations, 74% of couples know vendor pricing may differ based on day of the week or season – which could also come into play when selecting a date if the couple is on a tight budget. And for those considering a destination wedding, choosing a date has a whole different set of considerations than those couples getting married locally. Our data indicates that 14% of U.S. couples have a destination wedding, and of those, 11% have a wedding at a destination within the U.S. and 3% travel internationally (mostly to the Caribbean).

What does it all mean for you?

Once the ceremony and/or reception venue is booked and the date is set, there is a general expectation that all other vendors need to work within that schedule. Since most couples hire 10-13 wedding pros, availability is a key criterion for choosing which pros to contact. However, don’t forget that other factors affect who a couple contacts – most importantly price, reviews, and location.

As we head into the busy wedding season, be sure to add pricing to your Storefront, update your About Us section to make all your contact information easily available, and collect those last few reviews you’ve been putting off! Ensuring you cover the top three factors couples consider when reaching out to a pro means that they’ll be well-informed about your business before they even ask you about your availability.

For more insights on how couples choose a wedding date, read our latest WedInsights fact sheet.

» Infographic: How to Stay Profitable During the Off-Season

Many pros consider this time of the year that is more quiet a bit of an ‘off-season’ before busy wedding season picks up in in few months. Even if you may be less busy during this time, it is important to focus on your business, and set yourself up for a successful and profitable year ahead!

Check out these four ways to stay profitable and focused even during the ‘off-season’ from WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Want more information? Watch the full webinar here!

Stay Profitable During the Off-Season

» 7 Ways to Stay Creative and Inspired

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.

In the throes of the busy wedding season, it may seem like all you’re able to do is keep up with status quo; you prepare for one wedding, work the event, and then move on to the next. There’s often little time left to devote to creativity, which means you can start to feel like a weddings robot.

Idea! light bulbFew people can maintain creativity, but certain habits can rejuvenate you when you’ve fallen into a rut. Here are some solid ideas to keep you creative and inspired, even during the busiest of times:

Change your morning routine

If you are a creature of habit, change things up! Take a different route to your favorite coffee shop. Maybe pick a different copy shop. You’ll see and meet different people. Change your coffee order; pick a bagel instead of croissant. You know it’s time to do this, when your barista asks, “The usual?”

Pace yourself

Don’t just work til you drop from exhaustion; take breaks. Set a timer for 60-90 minutes, then take a breather. Work in sprints. Take 20 minute breaks to refresh. Get out of the building, take a walk, read fiction, call an old friend, turn on some high-energy moving and dance for a few minutes. In short, shake yourself up, so you’ll look forward to the next task at hand.

Carry a notebook and a pen

Smart ideas, blog topics, and other creative thoughts hit you at random times. Don’t get caught short without a way to record those ideas. I like the process of letting the ink flow, but you might prefer dictation on your smartphone. Cool! How you save the ideas is not the key – just make sure to save them for future action.

Change your soundtrack

Listen to different radio station or music channel. Dig through old CDs and rediscover some of your music. Unclick your favorite, predictable playlist and randomize from your entire collection. Pick up some nature tracks like rain or ocean waves, and let them be this afternoon’s background.

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