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  • June 16, 2017 2:32 PM | Jason Freshly (Administrator)

    Remembering Social Media during Wedding Season

    With wedding season in full swing across the US - there's no shortage of opportunities to capture an image or share an update.  However, remembering to do it can sometimes be the road-block.

    So what are some ways to keep you remembering to generate content for social media while also being sure to capture those in the moment action items people love to see and what helps build your brand!

    Get help with Social Media

    How often are you out at events with a team or someone else?  Are they logged into the business accounts and ready to offer a snapshot while you're busy?  Keeping it as a team effort can reduce the burden you might put on yourself to do everything.  Have fun with the different perspectives and mention it while sharing.  The added touches make the account more real and personal.

    Make a plan

    We plan so many things, let's not forget the marketing of the business!  This is prime time to gather images and content which you can then use for months to come.  While it may seem like an extra task, it'll pay off in the future months when the season slows down and you then stress about what to post...

    Capture content through video and photos, but also take notes of things that pop into your head.  These little snippets of our minds can become great blog post and questions to answer in the future when you have a little more time to write or think about what's next in your business.

    Have fun with Social Media

    Social media posts and content should show your unique personality.  Most of the wedding business is about finding a good fit, and that fit is usually around a personality fit between the couple and the business.

    The things that make you unique will most of the time lead to you having enjoyable experiences with clients and vendors.

    Happy Posting!

    Cheers to a wonderful 2017 wedding season - we can't wait to see all the post you'll share and for members, don't forget to send us some content and we'll help spread the word!

    If you're looking for a 30 minute refresher on Instagram and all the new features happening - Check out this training video to get you ready for a fun 'Insta' wedding season
  • March 02, 2017 12:58 PM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    Bernadette Smith, the author of this book is a leading authority on same-sex weddings and has been a tireless promoter of marriage equality. 

    Her expertise has been sought after by the Today Show, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Travel and Leisure and NPR.

    Her books offer valuable insight to those in the wedding industry as to how to reach the market and do it correctly. 

    In The Business of Gay Weddings: a Guide for Wedding Professionals, you will find an intensive and practical guide designed to help you understand the LGBTQ wedding market. Best practices are shared from hundreds of gay and lesbian weddings.

    The book also covers laws and policies that affect same-sex couples, LGBTQ wedding data, trends, traditions and more. 

    Bernadette is also the Founder and President of 14 Stories and The Gay Wedding Institute.

    This book should be on ever wedding professionals book list!

  • March 01, 2017 10:05 AM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    Today starts the first of 31 days in March where you can earn FREE additional months of membership!

    For each new member you bring in during the month of March, you will receive 2 free months of membership for yourself. These will be tallied at the end of the month, and then your accumulated total months will be added to your current renewal date.

    Bring in 1 new member - earn 2 free months.

    Bring in 6 new members - earn 1 free year!

  • February 20, 2017 2:35 PM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    When my members tell me they’re “stuck”, I really feel for them. I’ve been there myself. Ohhhh so many times! But I also get super excited for them, because being stuck is actually kind of awesome.

    I know it sounds nonsensical, but it’s really true! So why, you might ask, is it awesome? Because feeling “stuck” is just a big fat sign to pay attention. It’s kind of like getting a stuffy nose. Yeah, you could ignore it and keep pushing yourself to go go go, full steam ahead. But what if, instead, you got a little extra rest and figured out what you could be doing to take good care of your body?

    When you’re feeling “stuck’ it means that you want to go further. You want a thriving business and a better life - you just aren’t making it happen yet. And that "stuckness" you’re feeling is telling you to take a step back and figure out what you could be doing to take good care of your goals!

    So the big question is HOW then, right!? How do you figure it out? Why do you feel this way? Here are some things you can do to evaluate where you’re stuck and how to move forward:

    Don’t fight it!

    As if you had a cold, just accept it and cancel all your meetings for an afternoon to take a break from it all. And make it fun! Watch netflix, get a massage, or go for a walk to clear your head. Not only will it give your brain a chance to work in the background on your problem, you’ll be making better decisions because it’s from a place of enjoyment.

    Feed yourself the good stuff

    It’s time for some chicken soup and vitamin C.... So stop telling yourself that you’re not experienced enough, unproductive, or stupid for not figuring this out! I know it’s hard to shut down the inner bully when everyone else seems to be doing so well, and you’re way behind on your revenue goals. But you’re just feeding yourself garbage, and you know it. Right now your head needs some good nutrition, so train that voice to start encouraging you to believe in your genius.

    Listen to your body

    Take this opportunity to pay attention to what your gut is telling you. Your body gives you big clues, and it’s what led to this feeling of stuckness in the first place! Follow that feeling and dig deep to determine which areas of your business are causing this feeling. Then make one easy adjustment to that area of your business!  If you’re constantly feeling rushed, for example, maybe you should add an extra 15 minutes between appointments. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, cut back to focus on only one thing for the week. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the thing that is needing your care. A little love in one small area can lead to big progress in your business as a whole.

    Talk to someone who’s been there

    The problem that I see most “stuck” entrepreneurs face is that you don’t know who to turn to for business advice. That’s because, for the first time, you can’t get this crucial guidance from your closest friends and family anymore. Even if friends are outwardly supportive, most of them just can’t understand why you started a business when they’ve never done it themselves. They inadvertently keep you from getting unstuck because they don’t want you to break away from societal norms. The result is all kinds of conflicting advice, which leads to huge uncertainty in your own decisions. You need support from like-minded entrepreneurs who truly understand what you’re going through, so you’ll get relevant and unbiased input.

    That’s why I am introducing you to my friend Brenda Bryan. She is a Transformational Coach and Mastermind Facilitator Brenda Bryan, and has formed The Business Trust, a Mastermind Group created to give entrepreneurs the wisdom and support from people you can depend on. This group will be made up of other entrepreneurs like you that have been in business for 1-3 years, facing many of the same issues. You will be placed with those who have skills and backgrounds that complement your own, making you much more likely to benefit from each other and succeed in your business.

    I met Brenda through the eWomen Network organization here in Portland I chose to help her promote this Mastermind Group because of her expertise in helping entrepreneurs live in their genius. 

    With a degree in communications design, Brenda spent 16 years facilitating meetings and conflict resolution at a women’s center in Nova Scotia.  Realizing so many women didn’t know how to handle their childhood stories, she left for Heartwood Institute in order to train for her transformational certification, to help others to feel empowered in their voice. She continued her career there teaching community living skills, including conflict resolution, emotional therapy work, and facilitating thousands of meetings for over 10 years.

    Now Brenda brings her deep expertise of communication to the spiritual aspects of personal transformation to help business women thrive at their highest talents through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and stages around the country. She’s determined to help women see how they have the power within themselves to make change and ask for what they want.

    If The Business Trust sounds interesting to you, please visit this page for a more detailed description of our mastermind group with information on how to apply. The most important quality we are looking for are people that are committed to accomplishing their goals and helping their fellow members do the same. There is limited space, so apply as soon as possible if you are interested. 

    If you realize that a group support system is something you lack, I urge you to check out Brenda's Master Mind group and move past where you’re stuck and claim the business and life you see for yourself.






  • February 15, 2017 2:30 PM | Erin Osaki (Administrator)

    This haunting question was the topic of the SW Washington Wedding Network Mastermind for February.

    Client reviews are ‘your best, most authentic megaphone. 90% of millennials are interested in providing a review—and only 7% are asked to write one.’, The Knot noted in a recent webinar. Today’s millennial couples are ‘infosumers’ they thrive on information and the experience you provide. This is a market that has never been without online reviews as part of the buying process. What your previous clients say about you matter. Over 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  How do you get started?

    Set a goal. Understand how many reviews you want to receive each month for your business. Once your goal has been set—talk to your team. Involve them in the process of why reviews are important. Ask for ideas on how to improve the process. Make your goal part of the business culture within your company.  

    Schedule the time. If it’s not on your calendar, you won’t do it. You can create a routine of keeping reviews top of mind if it is part of your weekly schedule. Clients should be contacted within three weeks of their event with you to ensure the most vivid memories come through about your company. Find the space between the bouquet toss at the end of the night and before life has returned to normal to reach out to your clients. Even better—schedule time at the event for a video testimonial. This is when your client is receiving the highest benefit from your business—let them speak for you!

    Make it part of your non-negotiables. Most businesses don’t forget to send the final invoice or collect payment—so why should asking for reviews be any different? When you incorporate this in to the checklist of working with clients, you’ll remember to ask and they will be more likely to respond. Each member of your team contributes to the success of reviews. Hold each other accountable to this being the standard for your company and not the rarity.

    Get the conversation started. People buy from who they know, like, and trust. Reviews are how today’s couple decides who they want to know, if they like them, and if you are trusted. Your past clients will give all of the information your next client needs to know about your business. When asking for a review, get your client started with some key questions such as: “Describe your experience working with my team to plan your day.” Or “What made the difference in your day by choosing my company?” As Alan Berg always says, “When you ask better questions, you get better answers”. Help your client by getting their mind thinking.

    Speaking of Alan Berg, he came up quite a bit today in the meeting. If you haven’t read his latest book, take the time to read it soon. He covers using testimonials as the key ingredients of marketing collateral, your website, your business card—and basically anywhere you can put it. You can read about more about it here and by joining our Wedding Network Book Club.

    The SW Washington WN Mastermind is held the third Wednesday of each month. Learn more about upcoming meetings by visiting our Events page!


  • February 15, 2017 11:25 AM | Jill Celeste

    Every entrepreneur has an ideal client – but so many entrepreneurs have no idea who their ideal client is. And that’s a mistake (a huge mistake, in fact).

    Why?

    Because everything you do in your business is intended for your ideal client. And if you don’t know who your ideal client is, then how do you know if your products are the best for them? Or if your marketing copy is really speaking to them? Or that you’re using the right social media sites to reach them?

    You don’t. You are taking a stab in the dark. And stabs in the dark do not make successful businesses.

    Stabs in the dark, in fact, lead to failures.

    And I don’t want you to fail.

    So, now that you know how important knowing who your ideal client is, let’s look at a few ways you can pinpoint identifying yours:

    #1: Look at your past clients

    If you’ve been in business for a while, you can often isolate who your ideal client is by reviewing your past customers.

    Think about who you have served over the life of your business and answer this question: If I could clone my best, most wonderful customers, who would I clone?

    Sometimes making a list of your A+ customers is a good way to answer this question.

    Once you have a list, your next step is to think about what these yummy customers had in common. You can look at their demographics, such as age, income or location, as well as psychographics, such as common struggles or pain points.

    Evaluating your past most wonderful clients is a fantastic way to pinpoint who you want to work with in the future.

    #2: Look at your own journey

    Many times, especially if you’re a new entrepreneur, your ideal client is a version of you.

    A client has three stages to her journey: The before, the transformation and the after. She is in the “before” state when she meets you, and when she is done working with you (the transformation), she’s in her desired “after” state.

    Many entrepreneurs have undergone this same journey, and their businesses are based on these transformations. While you are now in the desired “after” state, you can examine what your life was like before you made the transformation. Ask yourself questions such as these:

    ·        Why was I stuck in this “before” state?
    ·        What issues or problems was I experiencing?
    ·        What was keeping me up at night?
    ·        What motivated me to look for a transformation?
    ·        How did I feel once I made this transformation?

    #3: Ask your ideal clients

    Sometimes, you know who your ideal client is, but you are not sure about the details, such as the demographic and psychographic information.

    If this is you, take time to ask your ideal clients to fill in the blanks for you. You can do this through a simple email. Tell the recipients you are trying to find more ideal clients – just like them – and ask if they could answer a few questions for you. You can type the questions right in your email, or link to a survey (SurveyMonkey is a great tool for this). Most people are happy to help, especially if you keep it short and sweet.

    One final piece of advice: Your ideal client will change.

    As you work with more people, you will learn more about who you want to work with. This results in a shift in your ideal client. This is normal and usually happens several times. For example, over a  period of 15 months, I changed my ideal client four times. So, if you’re feeling stuck in your marketing, go back to your Ideal Client and revise.

    If marketing was a long line of dominos, knowing who your ideal client is the first domino that needs to fall. So many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not knowing who their ideal client is, which leads to marketing harder, not smarter. You can’t be everyone’s healer and not everyone is destined to work with you.

    Your job is to figure out who you are meant to be the healer to, and focus your marketing on these clients. Not only will your marketing improve, you’ll be much happier in your business, too.

    __________________________________________________________


    About Jill Celeste

    Jill Celeste, MA is a bestselling author, marketing teacher and founder of the Celestial Marketing Academy. Jill teaches purpose-driven entrepreneurs everything they need to know about marketing so they can become the Directors of Marketing for their businesses.

    Jill is the author of the Amazon Top 25 Bestselling Marketing Book, That First Client, as well as the co-author of the bestseller, Cultivating Joy, and international bestseller, Gratitude and Grace.

    Jill graduated with a B.A. in English from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. She obtained her master’s degree in history from the State University of Georgia in Carrollton. Prior to becoming a marketing coach, Jill worked for 14 years in the private sector, and has experience in marketing and public relations in healthcare, IT and small business.

    Jill lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, two sons, three guinea pigs and a basset hound named Emma.

    For more information about Jill’s programs, please visit www.jillceleste.com. To get a free copy of Jill’s Amazon Bestselling book, That First Client, please go to www.ThatFirstClient.com


  • February 10, 2017 9:46 AM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    In 2008 I attended a national industry conference for wedding professionals, weighted heavily toward planners. I was unhappy with the quality of educational topics being offered, and spoke out to the producer. I was told that wedding people would not be interested in websites or any of that other “stuff”, and if I didn’t agree then I should start my own thing!

    So truly, this was the reason to start Wedding Network. I wanted all Wedding Professionals to be given equal opportunities to network together. I wanted to build a community or tribe of wedding professionals who would refer each other and become peers not competitors.

    And most of all, I wanted Wedding Professionals to have an opportunity for great educational content, to help them learn about the other “stuff” the other organization felt was not necessary. Yes, it took a long time to get where we are today, but every step of the way has been educational and delightful for me.

    When I see topics coming up at our Local Chapters on Social Medial for Millennials, Cannabis Weddings, Contracts for Wed Pros, Email Marketing, Behind the Scenes with the Catering Company, or the Florist, What the Officiant really does, etc; I am so energized that our members have these opportunities for learning and presenting their skills.

    We are working toward more content on our website and free classes for members. We started this with Jason Freshly’s Tech Talk Tuesday’s series. I anticipate more to come, and welcome suggestions of topics you would like to see covered.

    Wedding Network USA has given me personally a place in the Wedding Industry that is recognized by hundreds of people across the country. It has afforded me the opportunity to speak and educate at different industry events. But the best thing is that it has allowed me to connect with all of you, to learn about your business and your plans for the future.

    Shine on WNUSA members and continue to grow and be successful in your business. This is the best reward I can receive.

    Warm regards,

    Chérie Ronning, President



  • February 01, 2017 6:53 PM | Erin Osaki (Administrator)

    I’ve been in sales all my life. I sold my mother on my great ideas—and even did some occasional negotiating when she drove a hard deal. I’ve done collective bargaining for Girl’s Night Out. I’ve swayed clients to seeing I offered the best product amidst fierce competition. I found that there are simple rules to swaying the argument to win your favor. I’ve gotten pretty good at it…well most of the time.

    What I’m not good at is shutting up and getting out of my own way. My eagerness to give the best pitch, provide the best service, and wow the client who I have just met; stands in the way of what matters most: what I actually need to know. This has been one of the ‘YES!’ moments in reading “Shut Up and Sell More Weddings & Events: Ask Better Questions, Listen to the Answers, and Grow Your Business" by Alan Berg. The title is a spoiler alert because it’s basically just that easy.

    Berg overviews his range of experience in sales from pushing his rock band’s cds for sale as a teenager (Can I get a copy?), being a total bad-ass 4 year top salesman for Chrysler, to being a leading voice for wedding advertising and marketing. The common denominator is that it’s all sales. The products are different—but that doesn’t matter. The key to sales is you. By giving clients more info than they need or even asked for—you run the risk of losing it all by helping them discover fears they didn’t know they had. “When you ask better questions, you get better answers.”, this is a key message I’ve heard from Berg throughout the years. Berg emphasizes that asking questions is what all your competitors are doing. What sets you apart is asking the questions that matter. What those questions are will depend on your business—but nonetheless, getting down to what is most important to your client is the key to putting your business in a different class.  Once you ask the better question and get the better answer—the real work begins: listening.

    Once you learn to SHUT UP, Berg shows that your client will tell you everything you need to know. Clients walk in the door with some vision of their event. For some it broadcasts in analog and others hi-def. As a sales person (BTW if you sell something – that’s means you), your antenna needs to tune in to their station. Because again, it’s about them—not you.

    Berg further outlines how to make the typical ‘we include X, Y, and Z’ come alive for your couples to show you aren’t just a product they can get anywhere. You are special. You don’t provide votives on your table—you include candlelit touches to enhance the event. Others may offer choice of customized ceremonies—but your business custom crafts individual ceremonies to showcase the unique attributes of your love. Showing the ‘why’ is almost more important than the how.

    Once you change the conversation from a transaction to an experience, the entire game changes. You become confident in your pricing. You are able to create something that is true to your client. You notice the small unspoken parts of conversation you were talking through before—and stop missing the signals.

    The following chapters overview how to market, where you should be, how active networking increases your exposure, and more. “Shut Up and Sell More Weddings & Events…” provides an enlightening perspective on the small changes to make in your business. Berg details how you can place your business where your target client is and how to maximize your exposure.

    Honestly, it’s not rocket science. Some days may feel that way…but most of the time your goal is the same as your clients’: a phenomenal product at a reasonable price that helps create the memory of a lifetime.  One of my favorite Bergisms is “The difference between a hobby and a business is sales.” By reading Alan Berg’s latest book you will walk away with an understanding on how to thrive in your business and be grateful for the hobby that launched you there.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

    -Erin Osaki

    Vice President, Strategic Cultural Development


  • January 19, 2017 1:56 PM | Erin Osaki (Administrator)


     

    The first annual Wedding Network USA Membership Madness drive will begin on March 1st and you are invited! Across the country, Wedding Network chapters will be driving member engagement and recruitment to take top bragging rights as Member Madness Chapter of the Year. Details will be rolling out over the next month and now is the time to strategize on how your chapter can take home the trophy for largest percentage of membership increase!

    The goal of Member Madness is to share the benefits of membership and promote the value Wedding Network USA provides for the modern wedding professional. Our brand hallmarks include an inclusive environment where ideas are exchanged and wedding market leaders sharpen their business and industry knowledge. Chapters and individual members are encouraged to share their value of membership on the Wedding Network USA national Facebook page and within their groups. How can you do this? Easy--share a video short averaging 30 seconds or less answering this simple question: Why Wedding Network? Tag your post with your local chapter hashtag and #WNUSA #weddingtribe

    Your testimonial is the most valuable asset we have as an organization to inspire wedding peers to take the leap and join. We look forward to your unique ideas on how to drive member enrollment to an all-time high!



  • January 17, 2017 1:52 PM | Cherie Ronning (Administrator)

    Engagement Season is here!

    January is a hectic time of year for the Wedding Industry Professional. You are winding down after a long season, only to get swept up in the season of Wedding Shows!

    Before you blindly sign up for every show you hear about, do your homework. Start by reviewing your marketing plan, you do have one - right? Determine how much you have to spend on the booth, the decor, handouts, staffing, parking etc. The cost of the show is far more than the booth space rental.


    Before you say yes

    Then ask yourself these general questions:

    • Is the promoter legit?

    • How many years has the show been produced?

    • Have their past advertising campaigns brought in a good amount of traffic?

    If you have done the show in the past year or two?

    • Has the price for participation in the show increased?

    • What was your ROI last year?

    • Is the booth location available that best suits your business?

    Make a decision based on knowledge not fear. Don’t get caught up in thinking “if I am not there, my competitors will get all the business.” There is more than enough business in every field and in every city for you and your competitors to be successful.

    At the Bridal Show

    At the show be present! Don’t hide behind your table, eat your lunch, play games on your phone and avoid eye contact. Smile, ask if you can offer them information about your service. The LISTEN. They will have questions. Don’t expect to be hired on the spot.

    After the show jot down the things you both liked and didn’t like about the event. Stick this in your wedding show file, so you can look at it when they come calling to sell you a booth next year. If things were not as expected, but you want to try it one more year then negotiate! Tell them what you need to compensate for the poor performance of that past year’s show.

    Follow up with Couples

    Be vigilant in your follow through. You should have your after the show email blast ready to go as soon as you get the list of attendees. Then send it immediately. Set up a series of emails to follow over the next 4-6 months. These are not hard-sell emails. They are educational and information to the potential client. Include pictures of crowded dance floors, a happy couple doing their first dance.

    Everyone can make a list of 5 things a client needs to know about hiring your service. That’s the first informational email blast. Answer their questions before they ask. What does it cost? How do they select their music choices etc.? Tell them about your team of employees, make it friendly.

    Your next blast can be about an iPod reception, why they need a professional DJ and why having a professional Emcee can add to the success of the event. Then a list of the favorite Father-Daughter dance songs. A list of 1st dance songs and so on. You can probably jot down a series of blasts in a short amount of time and the best part is you can use these blasts again next year because it will be all new clients.

    You are not selling your services, you are staying top of mind. When they are finally ready in their timeline to hire the DJ then you are on their wavelength. They have been receiving periodic email blasts from you sharing great information with pictures of happy people at receptions. They want to be those people too. These emails are never salesy, so they feel they know you, they like you and they trust you! Why would they look elsewhere.

    Keep up the great momentum

    At the bottom of each email, add a short teaser, such as “Book one of our fabulous Professional DJ’s by February 14th, and we will give you our Valentine’s Day special - $50 off”  or whatever you want to promote. Make these fun and inventive, again not salesy.

    I know if you follow these guidelines for show participation and great follow you can improve your ROI, and book more clients. You have to do the work, not just show up at the show and then say “well that show didn’t work for me”. I have heard that so many times, but when I question the follow through it is usually non-existent.

    Wishing you much success in 2017!

    Chérie Ronning, President
    Wedding Network USA

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