Free Marketing

By Adrienne Woolsey

Some people hear the term “networking” and they immediately clam up. Introverts, I’m talking to you here! (Don’t worry, I’m one too!)

“You mean you want me to walk up to all these other pros who I don’t know and start handing out my business cards?”

Well, yes and no. Hate to break it to you, but handing out business cards to people you’ve only met once and may or may not follow up with is definitely not networking properly.

Networking is one of the best ways to grow your wedding business. Networking with other wedding pros will not only help you get more leads, but having referral relationships with other vendors also has the potential to amp up your real wedding features and spark the creation of more user generated content–an invaluable marketing tool.

Building Referral Relationships

Thinking of stepping up your networking game? Networking is a great start to build up positive referral relationships with other wedding pros who you enjoy working with.

Think of these referral relationships as friendships, because essentially, that is exactly what they are.

Marc Prosser, co-founder of Marc Waring Ventures, suggests being on top of your game when it comes to making and maintaining referral relationships…

 “It can’t hurt to start the year by drawing up a list of every possible service involved in a wedding and seeing who you can build referral relationships with. If you have a referral relationship in place, commit to staying on top of it and sending business both ways.”

Networking and creating these relationships with other vendors not only helps to attract more leads, but it also has the potential to help out both parties with their marketing objectives.

Still not convinced?

More Relationships = More Leads

Potential brides and grooms need to be able to trust you as a vendor and know that you are the professional you say you are. What better way to prove it than by letting them see you in action and have your couples do the rest of your marketing for you?

Maybe you’re a great baker who creates the most beautiful wedding cakes, or a florist who can create spectacular bouquets, but there’s a pretty good chance you’re not also be a stellar photographer.

#1 – Build a relationship with a local wedding photographer.

They will most certainly be taking photos of your cake or bouquet at the couple’s big day and now you have a professional quality photo that you can promote on your website or blog. In return, the photographer’s photo will now be shared and viewed by even more potential clients. Win-win situation, right?

#2 – Connect via social media with other wedding vendors.

This is a great way to increase your visibility and to attract more user generated content as well.

Jess Bahr at SocialFlow says, “fans view [user generated content] as organic and genuine versus staged and promotional.” This kind of content promotes more customer engagement through sharing and ‘liking’.

#3 – Provide some “behind the scenes” content.

We all know that a wedding is much more than one day. Give couples a glimpse of the magic behind the curtain.

If you’re a florist, snap a quick photo of arrangements as they’re being made. If you’re a planner, write a quick post about a beautiful new venue you just did a walk-through at (don’t forget to tag other vendors or couples who are involved!). If you’re a musician, record a quick teaser Vine of a song requested for the ceremony.

This amps up excitement for your couples (as well as other vendors you are working with AND potential clients) and could spark a bunch of people to share your content like wildfire on social media!

#4 – Stage the perfect selfie moment during planning with your clients.

“Done correctly, a selfie with the Bride or a photo with the Bride and Groom during your preparation meeting will be something you can share, tag her in, and then she will re-post to all her friends,” says Chad Riddersen of Deviate Labs.

If you’re hesitant, Riddersen suggests making it seem less awkward by putting up decor to prompt your couple to take a selfie, using props like a chalkboard signs that say “X Amount of Days to Wedding.”

These types of things will draw couples to take a selfie on their own. Then all you have to do is then ask to be tagged in it to share!

Have any tips on how to build referral relationships or fun ways to spark more user generated content? Please share below!

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Adrienne Woolsey

Adrienne Woolsey is a freelance blogger and production assistant for a Hudson Valley weddings and event florist. When she’s not working, she's either planning her own upcoming wedding or in the kitchen pretending to be America's Next Master Chef.

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