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Stop Glancing Over the Fence if You Want to Fly

Get Real Series

HOW TO STOP COMPARING YOUR BUSINESS TO YOUR COMPETITION

by Kasey Kyprianou

 

Kasey Kyprianou, a trailblazing stationer and lead badass designer of revelry + heart, joins us on the blog today to talk about all embracing your individuality and kicking feelings of imposter syndrome and FOMO to the curb!

 
Stop comparing your business to your competition by kasey kyprianou
 

“A rising tide lifts all boats.”

If you’re in the wedding industry, you know that this is the motto of the Rising Tide Society, and while super idealistic in nature, it’s not always easy to do. I am guilty of following other designers and getting imposter syndrome just as badly as anyone else.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, burnt out, and feel hopeless as a solopreneur. It can seem like your industry is oversaturated and that you don’t provide anything unique enough besides just being you. Is that enough?

Well, it’s a great start. But who are you? What makes you different? Why do you people want to work with you? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, do some soul-searching. You can’t sell yourself if you don’t know what you’re selling. I have this running joke that I know myself down to being a shoe string fry--when I desperately want to be a curly fry.

how to stop worrying about what other businesses are doing

The best thing I learned when launching my non-traditional design studio, revelry + heart, was to find out what my competition was doing, what the industry was doing, and swim like a salmon upstream in the opposite direction.

Trends? Fuck 'em.
Pantone color of the year? No thanks.
Fashion collection runway releases? I’m good.

Blame my rebel streak, (it’s cause I was born during Mercury retrograde), blame the fact that I never fit in with the cool crowd, blame my creative side, I just hate everything haute.

So how did I change up how I approached wedding stationery? I made it black. I made it on wood. I made it on tile. I make kickass wedding invitations that are keepsakes before your guests even get to your wedding. They make people talk.

Because people talk anyway right? Might as well get them talking for the right reasons.

How did I take it farther? I made my motto “following hearts, not trends.” I don’t design frilly invitations with lace anymore, I source that shit out to the people who do it and love it. I design only when my heart is in the job, when I can push my clients without pushing them away.

I design for people who revel in their authenticity and crave statement pieces that evoke conversation.

And if you think I make piecemeal, think again. I design wedding aesthetics, taking couple’s personalities and pushing them into every available space. From hashtags, to unique ceremony suggestions, to signature drink names--I believe everything can be personalized way beyond just slapping on a monogram.

Yesterday I suggested making an ice cream sandwich and eating it as a unity ceremony.  Because why the hell not.

My couples are not afraid to be themselves and push boundaries with me. It makes them stand out and have weddings that are unlike anything else their family and friends have ever seen. They are totally unique celebrations of their love with something the mass market can never capitalize on--a relationship with a creative like me who actually listens to them and doesn't try to cram them into a box or a design that I made 6 months ago.

Stop looking over the fence if you want to fly

How am I disrupting the industry? I do facebook live shows on topics like “stop slut shaming your wedding” and “don’t have shitty wedding favors.” I drink wine with my followers and host a kickass wedding planning group--where industry professionals are not only welcomed, but encouraged.

I approach topics like anxiety during engagement openly.

On the business side, well, I don’t follow rules there either. I charge for proposals. Couples get the retainer back when they book a package with me, but otherwise, it pays for my time, my ideas and my sketches.

I create mood boards with little to no influence based on pinterest weddings, but rather photos of the couples’ venue, pets, homes, and passions. Pulling elements from them to create something unique like canine bohemian chic or retro molar elegance. Yes. Molars, like the teeth. I guess you could say I pull teeth for my DDS couples. Dedication to my craft, amirite?

I have DIY options for couples that want the insight and some skill of a professional designer, but can’t afford full service design for their whole wedding.

I don’t follow … okay, I try not to follow stationery designers. If they do social media better than me, it gets to me, even though I know first-hand that an epic performance on social media does not equal profit, bookings or success.

I openly bash styled shoots. I create controversy because it gets people thinking, and talking about how to do it differently.

So how can you disrupt your industry? What is something that’s common in your craft that you can flip on its head? What rules are you willing to shatter? What assumptions do you want to break free of?

Because your gut is right. There ARE a ton of people who do what you do, at the core of it all. But if you find how you solve your client’s pain points, there will be no competition.

Go out there and kick ass.


 

Kasey Kyprianou is the owner and founder of revelry + heart, a custom design studio for couples that revel in their authenticity and crave design that evokes conversation. In a past life, Kasey was a graphic design student who interned at a stationery store in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was there that she worked on projects with the likes of Brenden Fraser and Flo Rida. Now, a seasoned business owner, she owns her own studio and designs for her own celebrity clients around the world. She's an envelope-pusher, a family treaty peacemaker, timeline expert and non-traditional stationery queen.

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!

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📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!


The Video Marketing Mindset: Systemize, Strategize, and Celebritize!

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Get Over Your Fear of Being on Camera

 
 

Grab your dark roast + join guest host and video master mind, Brandy Sales, as we chat about how to feel more confident on camera AND learn how to shoot fantastic videos straight from your phone!


Episode 24 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 24 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Links

Brandy: Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Website | Instagram | YouTube

Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Transcript

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning guys! Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. Today we are chatting with the one, the only Brandy Sales. He is a rockstar when it comes to anything and everything video, especially with your phone. So you don’t have to have a million dollar video camera and all the equipment, if you want to do rockin’ videos. Without further ado, Brandy welcome and thank you for joining us!

Brandy Sales: Thank you! Happy to be here.

The Beginning

Lauren: Tell us… first things first... how the heck did you get started in this realm!? Did you just one day come out of the womb and know you were going to do this? How did you get here?

Brandy: I always say videoing kind of saved my life. I was kind of getting into trouble when I was little. I was getting into the wrong crowd and I was 10 living in Boston. My sister came home from college. She was a ballet major and communication major, so she brought home a video camera. She was like “hey do you want to shoot a video for my senior project?” And I fell in love! I started making funny videos, when I was 11 years old and right around the time that I should’ve started to move away from that crowd of people, I found out my local TV station was offering a course. When I took that course it came naturally to me. Within a week I was editing. The director of the station came to be and said “hey you might want to look into this as a career”. So at 12 years old, I was locked!

Lauren: Wow! Okay that is not even remotely close to what I was thinking. I didn’t even know how you got your start, so that is insane! 

Brandy: I just saw an ad and went for it! It was all natural once I got into it. It made sense to me once I was in the studio very quickly.

Lauren: That is rad. That is amazing. You have evolved them obviously from the 12 year old to the expert you are today. So what are some of the major growth points that you had along the way to having framed what you are and what you do?

Brandy: I think in the earlier years, I set a goal when I was 14. My mom and I started to do a TV show together for the town I lived in. So my goal was to do 100 episodes before I graduated high school. So setting that goal and just achieving it, was huge for me. That has become part of who I am today. At the beginning of my senior year, I still had 48 shows to go. I came up with this construct of senior profiles. That exploded and I made an appearance on the 99th showed and the 100th show, because up until them no one had seen me on camera. That for me was really exciting and the fact I was able to build this community through giving my town a voice, I thought that was really important. As I evolved I realized wow videos can really build up a community, and that’s when everything started evolving through social media and this and that. All of it made sense for me. 

The next major point was when I had my first business. It was the “Bucket Band”. Anyone that knows me hears me talk about the “Bucket Band”. In 1999 I posted my first video online. And back then, it was cutting edge to even have a website, let alone a video on a website. I had learned it in college and I just decided to put the video out there. It got us a tone of business every week. We traveled the country capturing kids playing on recycled buckets. And that is how I put myself through college.

Lauren: What?! Dude! 

Brandy: I’m not a drum player, I’m a tuba player. But I played buckets all the way through college.

Lauren: That is rad! Okay I knew none of this about you. Who are you!? This is amazing and makes me so happy. This is awesome. Okay so, clearly you had your hands in a couple of things then. So what do you do now? Where are you at today?

Brandy: So now I speak and I teach. That is the easiest way to say it. I speak about video marketing and I speak about smart phone video production. I teach folks how to do smart phone video productions and I consult with businesses on how to build a video production studio and how to incorporate business strategies into their video marketing. I teach student sin Boston and Brooklyn. Full time. 

Lauren: So what are you teaching them?

Brandy: It is different at every site. I go to community centers in affordable housing. We will go into these community centers or youth centers and work with them. At one point we partnered with this boxing company next door that was funded by Harvard University, but in order to get more funding they needed a video. The kids in my course made the video for the boxing program, sent it to Harvard University and they got refunded. So at another center, the just wanted to get their hands on the equipment and have fun. So we did what I call an iPad experience. I bring in iPads and there is a new challenge each week and I do a team of people that vote on the winners at the end of the week. Then I give away awards at the end of the program. And in Brooklyn, it is actually at a school and we go down once a month and we create videos for their school. We created a year long project this year, which is an end of the year video for their graduating class. 

So again, it is a community. 

Lauren: That is so awesome though because I feel like so many people I cross paths with they forget that this is what it is all about. Yes you want to be successful, you want prosperity and abundance and all that. But really you can’t have any of that unless you are learning at some level and giving back. That is just how things tend to go. 

Brandy: That is what my whole business is built on, giving back. 

Lauren: That is incredible. You really truly blow my mind. I just wish more people embodied that same mentality. You are a unicorn dude! You are a freakin’ unicorn! 

You obviously know a thing or two then, if you’ve been doing this for more than half a day. So if someone is in the wedding creative industry, why should they incorporate videos? Why should they implementing that into their business strategy? 

Brandy: I’ll let you in on a little secret. I actually had a wedding video business. That’s how I paid for my own wedding. I was working at a college at the time, I was the assistant director of college housing. And if you know anything about college housing you are always on call. I was working like 80 hours a week and running a video business that was growing really fast. 

One thing I learned was you need a video to work for you when you can’t do the marketing, follow up, and phone calls. Now that is a lot to do with social media. And back then all I had was a website. I had a video that would answer all the typical questions I would get about wedding videos and then I had a video where I introduced myself. All of that has evolved! The concept hasn’t changed though. If you are busy, you have to make a decision as an entrepreneur are you going to work on your business or in your business? In the wedding industry it is really easy to work IN your business, and not ON it. You want to be able to work on your business and not in it all the time.

Lauren: I love that. If you resonate with what Brandy just said… leave some love! The beautiful with that is you can redirect people back on to your website in a video, instead of having them read something. Most people are visual. I am the 1%. I would much rather read something than watch something… I don’t know what my problem is. But most people would just rather listen or watch it.  By having a video you are keeping them on there longer. I see what you’ve got going on there.

Let’s Get Started

That is awesome! If you are considering trying to incorporate videos… where does someone get started?

Brandy: Where you can start is an intro vide. Tell people who you are, what you do, and how they can contact you. That is a simple video you can do. Maybe 20 seconds long. Maybe 30 if you get a little wordy? What I find is the part where you tell people where you are, that works out okay. But the part where you tell them what you do, is where it gets a little cloudy. That is something that you can figure out how to do, explain what you do in a sound bite. That is the version you want on the video. This isn’t the time to say 

“Hey I’ve a wedding videographer that creates magical memories for your moment. I offer full service videos that will leave  your family wanting more. To contact me go to BrandySalesWeddingvideos.com”.

That’s it!

Lauren: Its like you’ve done this before or something!

Brandy: In a lot of my improv sessions I’ll get behind a video camera and ask people what they do and just create a quick snippet for them. But it is because of all the years I’ve been doing it. That is all you need. I met with a psychic-medium from Chicago and she did an intro video that was literally 25 seconds long and she gest 4,000 views on it! She booked 9 clients! Within one week! Just putting out that 25 second video.

Lauren: I need to watch this video and take notes. 

Brandy: I’m not going to lie… its nothing crazy. It is very basic. Shot on her phone and edited on her phone. Very basic.

Shooting on Your Phone

Lauren: Okay so that I’m sure will bring up some questions from people. If you pop on Pinterest and search blogging equipment, you get it all! So how is it you can record video and edit it on your phone and it looks the way you make it look. You are a professional, but how can I do that?

Brandy: The truth is practice. The other part of it is knowing what you want to do. Having that plan in place. That is usually where people get cloudy. You aren’t totally sold on what type of video you want to make. If you are an event planner. You want to shot an event that looks like “flowy”. You are just gliding through everything. Very smooth and your point of view. You won’t buy a tri-pod for that, you would buy a gimble. Those are different things. But lets say you want to do a video where you are just talking to the camera and not moving, you need a tripod. Those are things you need to know ahead of time and those are things I really go over in my group. 

If you don’t have that plan ahead of time, you will end up buying a ton of equipment for no reason. I walk into it all the time. I walk into people’s offices all the time and they just have a closet full of equipment. You can pay less than $200 for anything you need! For any video!

Lauren: I’m guilty of that! I thought I needed it all. Teach us your ways Brandy! I’m just going to let you talk.

Brandy: I teach two systems. I teach video marketing systems and then I teach video production systems. Which one do you want to know? I think marketing will take us full circle.

Video Marketing System

Let’s start with video marketing system. The production system will actually cross into this at one point in time.

There are six steps.

  1. Have a purpose. You always want to have a purpose. Don’t just put a video just for the heck of it. Don’t go LIVE because you feel it is the right thing to do.
  2. Have a plan. I have a very specific plan called YES Marketing.
  3. Focus on the product or person. If it is a product, you want to know how to make that product work for you. If it is a person you want to be able to make that person sound and look great. Within this step, you want to think about three things:
      1. Confidence: Just practice.
      2. Character: Who are you going to be on camera. I’m not always the same person on camera. Think about how you want your audience to feel as they watch.
      3. Content: What is the content you are putting out there and how it is fitting your purpose.
  4. Production. A lot of people will think of ideas as they go. You need to definitely have a plan for your production. That is when you decide are you going to do it on your own? Are you going to hire a professional? Or are you going to do both? Maybe you will shoot it, but someone else will edit it.
  5. Review the results.
  6. Do it again!

Lauren: It can’t be one and done.

Brandy: I added step six a couple of months ago because people would come to me and say “I did it!” And I would say, “you have to keep going and do it again!” The more content you have out there, the better traction you will get.

Production System

What I found in that marketing system is a lot of people were still having questions about production. So I gave them my production system that I used when I had one. It is pretty simple.

  1. Pre-Production. You go through the planning stage. This will include scripts, the feeling, the purpose. It will all come together and you write either an outline or script.
  2. Production. If you are doing it on your own you need to know what equipment you will be using. And if you are hiring a professional, you need to know what questions to ask.
  3. Post-Production. This is editing. If you are editing on your own on you phone, I always say “WE Video” or “Filmora Go”. I like both of these. They both have some limitations, but I use both of them.
  4. Delivery. This is where you step into marketing. You might already have a plan in place, but as you’re creating a video you always have to have marketing in mind. My delivery system I call Yes Marketing. The “Y” stands for “Youtube”. The “E” stands for “email”. The “S” stands for “social”. Now social means online and offline. If you are networking you tell people to go to your website. But when you are shooting a video you have to know all that ahead of time. You should be shooting two versions, or two endings. One ending should say go to my website and the other ending should say call me. Because why are you going to put your website ending on your website? That doesn’t make any sense. You only want to use one way to send people. If you want people to go to your Instagram, do that. If you want people to join your Facebook group, put that. Have a plan when creating these videos!

I worked with someone who had five endings. She originally had one where she listed you could find her at this number, visit this website, you can find me in my secret group, my Facebook group, or on Instagram. I call this the grocery store effect. I do the grocery shopping. When my wife does the grocery shopping she will not know what to get. There are too many choices! If you give them too much, they don’t know what to do! I always tell people, give them one way for them to find you. Grab it and go!

Tell People What You Do

Lauren: What is your recommendation? Today, June 12, 2018 what are you seeing people are getting the best results for?

Brandy: That is a really hard question because it depends on your business plan. When I work with my private clients I have them create a 90 day plan. And if they don’t have any goals, the business coach comes out in me and we create one! We create video plans around it. If they have an event coming up for the next 90 days, everything I do will point to that event page. Or it will be funneling to a Facebook group that will be promoting my event.

What I will say is you want to keep it short. 30 seconds or less. In some of these private groups, longer videos are awesome. You are delivering really great content to those people. But for getting people into those places and getting clients, you want to keep it really short.

Lauren: Good stuff! I already feel like one of the questions is “okay this is really great, but I need that list of equipment you were talking about and as a wedding professional what type of videos can I do that are going to be unique enough to stand out?” What would your recommend people for that?

Brandy: If you see a video around that has been done a million times, I would say it can be done again. You just need to put your spin on it. Everyone in this group should have an intro video. I don’t care how many people you think already know what you do… they don’t! I still get called to shoot Bart mitzvahs and I haven’t done that since I was 13 years old. You need to make an intro video that tells people what you do.

Lauren: Where do they put this?

Brandy: Good question. On your personal Facebook page. That is where you will have the most influence, that is where it will grow from. You can also put it on your business page. Throw it up on Youtube. Put it in a link in an email. It should be a minute or less and you can put it on Instagram as well. It doesn’t need to be all fancy. It needs to be raw! People might have a general idea, but they don’t know really what you do. Tell them!

Get some video testimonials from your clients. That is way more powerful and believable. Anyone could write a testimonial. I’ll be totally honest… when I first started in the business I wrote a testimonial for myself. I didn’t have any business. Ut that video testimonial is way more legit. I know a lot of you get referrals from family and friends from your clients. If they post a video raving about you, their friends and family will want to work with you.

So intro videos, testimonial videos, and finally I would say some in the moment videos. Short stories where you are at an event and just showing the moment. This will build brand awareness and people will learn what you do. That is the biggest thing. My wife doesn’t even know what I do!

Getting Testimonial Videos

Lauren: My husband doesn’t either! He doesn’t know what to tell people! 

I remember people talking about in building your testimonials, how to go about it. People may not understand but is important to have someone singing your praises on video, because it is short and sweet and more digestible. But how do you get people to do it?

I find if you do a client appreciation event at the end of the year, it’s a thank you. Invite vendors, past clients, client’s friends… have them all come to a central location and then have something set up so you don’t have to go above and beyond. Have a backdrop and have your phone set up with some good lighting and just as people come in invite them to record a snippet of their experience with you. What would you tell your best friend if they were looking for a photographer or event coordinator? Half the time people won’t have a problem doing something like that for you. But by giving them some sort of outline, it can help you with your content. 

Brandy: I’m going to give you a virtual high-five. Funny enough I’m flying out to Buffalo at the end of the month to do exactly this for a real-estate team I work with. They are having about 150 people come out to this lake house to record testimonials. I am literally just there to make sure people say the right things. 

What I think about testimonials, your client will say whatever they want to say anyhow, But if you give them a structure, they will nail it for you. I might say 

“Would you mind saying a couple words on camera about your experience with me? I’ll walk you through it so it will be super easy and you can be done in 30 seconds or less”.

Then when they get over there you say “all you are going to say is your name, why you chose to work with me, and the result”. That is it! They are going to say whatever they want anyhow. They have something in their head. But at least you’ve given them a structure and direction to go in. Those three points will win you all the time.

Lauren: What are some other strategies? What if someone isn’t putting together an event?

Brandy: Take that same structure and put it in an email. You could go in and say you can record it for them, using a virtual app like Zoom. Send them a link and the questions ahead of time. Tell them you will be done in 5 minutes or less. You can do it through Skype, VCam… If someone wants to do it on their own... awesome. Send them the questions! That is it! That is all it is!

It can be challenging at time. You know it may take 8 tries to get a sale, it is the same thing with getting people on camera. It is hard. I’ve been at events where there are 100 people and 1,000 people and it can be hard to get people to do testimonials, but if you simplify it, it can be really easy. 

Lauren: Would you ever recommend, at the end of a wedding you are still there, would you say it is more practice for that person to snag their phone and get something on video with them in their dress or tux?

Brandy: I haven’t seen that. But if you feel a really strong connection with a bride or groom… you can usually feel that at weddings. Then you can totally do that! When I was doing weddings, there were times when there is footage of me dancing with the bride and groom. But I didn’t do this with every single couple. 

Lauren: I’m just trying to think outside the box. The video testimonial itself is the goal. But if you can get the couple in the element, especially after they’ve had a cocktail or seven!

Brandy: If you have a connection, go for it! That testimonial will probably look a little different, you won’t have why you chose me and the results, because you don’t have any results yet. But “how fun was your wedding day? How much fun are you having right now?” If they are having fun with you they are going to sing your praises!

Lauren: If you were to do something like that, what equipment should you have?

Brandy: Just your phone. Make it look raw. In the moment. Bad audio everything! There is a place for bad audio and video, that would be the place. Make it raw. Take your phone out, you saw an opportunity, and go for it! Don’t overthink! No, you don’t a tripod. You’ve got one built in, its called your arms, body, and legs. Seriously. There are times and places for tripods, but there is always a time for shaky raw footage. It sells.

But I’m Scared…

Lauren: That is awesome. I love it. One of the last questions I think I have for you is… we understand the value of video now. If you are terrified, like probably need to go buy some depends because you may have an accident. What are some tips and tricks? What should they do?

Brandy: One tip is to practice with a friend you trust. Shoot your intro video 30 times. That’s probably how long it will take anyhow, to be honest. Don’t watch any of them, just delete them. Then shoot it again, and watch that one. You are your worst critic.

Another tip, practice without a friend and do it without a camera. 30 times. Do it a lot until you get sick of it. You have to get sick of it.

I would also say to get in front of somebody that understands how to be in front of the camera. Whether that is me or somebody that has been in front of the camera a lot. Talk to them. They will have tips that they will tell you as well. I almost always choose standing up, the energy flows a lot more naturally. You want that person to look at your eyes. Right now, I’m not talking to Lauren, I am talking to my camera up here so I am talking directly to you. Those are small things you will learn as you do it over and over again.

So those are just a few tips. Practice with someone and record it again and again. Practice alone and don’t record it. Or hire someone to help you! 

Just a quick story… we are so judgmental about ourselves son camera. I don’t like myself on camera. I bought a filter in my editing program back in the day, and I have never used it. It is a $500 program to get rid of blemishes on my face. But it isn’t worth it!

My very first brand video I put on my page, I had it up for 6 months, it generated a lot of business… and I had a button undone. My wife was walking by and she was like “oh hey, what are you watching…” and I showed her the video and she heard nothing. All she noticed was my button undone. I made thousands off of that video and I don’t care that I had a button undone. 

That’s the most important thing, what is that feeling and that message you are delivering to your audience? You’ll hear me talk about that a lot. It is the first question I ask all of my clients. How do you want your clients to feel after they watch your video? Ask that for any video you make.

How to Systemize, Strategize, and Celebritize Your Video Marketing Efforts

Lauren: It is so true and I think it is something that people overlook really quickly. We are so highly critical of everything. But is doesn’t matter!

Brandy: I worked at Channel 5 News in Boston for a year. I made promos for them. We worked based on the “graham-dual approach”. This approach is all about marketing and basically what we wrote, we wrote from people not watching. That is the bottom line. They don’t watch, but they are listening. 

In my podcasts, I actually bring in the Emmy Award Winning Producer I worked with and had them talk about that approach: how to write for people who are not watching.

Lauren: That blows my mind. I feel like it takes so much of the fear out.

Contact Brandy!

For those of you who are here…  how can people get in contact with you and work with you?

Brandy: The easiest way to connect with me is to go to BrandySales.com. You can connect with me on all kinds of ways there. I do have a group called Smartphone Video with Brandy Sales. In that group I’ll answer questions that might pop up for you. I might do 5 day challenges. I have a one shot video challenge coming up. It’s a fun challenge! 

That group is a lot of fun! I will give you as much feedback as I would give someone who is not working with my privately. The group is a really a place for you to start smartphone video production and roll with it.

Lauren: Do you have any workshops coming up? Any courses?

Brandy: I do. August 7, 2018 I am doing a workshop specifically for real estate agents. In October I am doing a one day workshop for women business owners. In November I’ll be doing a two day even for everyone! That is the one to be at! You leave with a lot of information and knowledge. We do one activity that is very transformative and emotional for a lot of people.

All of those things, I will be releasing more details later on.

Lauren: We will be sure to stay connected with you. You guys can go to my website under Podcasts and you can see all of this good stuff.

Thank you so much for your insight and your humor, Brandy! You are just like me, there is no filter. You tell it like it is.

Next week we will be chatting about my goal setting strategy that I implement for my own business. If you are looking to create some short term or long term goals, you’ll want to tune into that.

Thank you again Brandy! I had an absolute blast!

Q + A 

Q: What kind of phone do you have?

A: I have a Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge. People always ask me which phone should they get. I always answer with, one that has a camera app. What is more important, the machine or the message? It is absolutely the message. Any phone you have, you can create a video with. Anything about an S4 or an iPhone 4 is great. A lot of my testing was done on iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy 5. The Pixels are really cool, but they require some extra equipment for microphones. The LG’s are really fun too. Any phone that has a camera will work for you.

LDC of WBL
 

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.


Are You Running a Hobby or a Business?

Get Real Series

PSA for All Entrepreneurs: Hobbyist vs. Business Owner 

by Kristen Vinci-Taylor

 

Kristen Vinci-Taylor, a passionate family photographer, sheds light on a topic within the creative industry that separates the hobbyists from the business owners. Which category do YOU fall into?

 
Are you running a business or a hobby?
 

Are you hustling as a part-time entrepreneur while working a 9-5? That's awesome, it makes me so excited when I meet other people who are driven and motivated to work for themselves. In the photography business, I work with a wide variety of vendors from brick and mortar businesses like bakeries and wedding venues to small businesses like T-shirt designers and centerpiece creators. 

Are you a legal business

In today's digital age, more and more home-based businesses are popping up and people are turning their hobbies and passions into side income business ventures. Recently as I've tried to diversify my vendor base I've run into more and more of these, "hobby turned start up" business ventures and it has created a legal and ethical conundrum for my own business. Let me explain why: many of these new startup businesses haven't gone through the process of establishing themselves as a legal business.  

Now you may ask, "What’s the big deal if they haven't established themselves as a business, it’s just a hobby and why not try to make a little money while you are at it?" 

There are several tax and legal implications for my registered and licensed business if I work with an unlicensed business. The hiring business assumes all liability when working with unlicensed vendors. In most cases, that is an unnecessary level or risk assumed by me and my company when I work with people who haven't gone through the process of getting themselves established. Each year when tax time rolls around, business taxes become more complicated as the work performed by unlicensed and unregistered businesses are itemized and subject to greater scrutiny.

Praise

I applaud you, side hustler, for chasing your dreams and turning your passions into something sustainable. However, you are hurting the rest of us that DON'T have a 9-5 job to fall back on for income. One theme we all share is that have invested thousands of hours, sleepless nights, tears, frustration, and pure joy into our passion. The main difference is that only SOME of us have taken the time and money to turn our startups into legal businesses so that we don't negatively effect the creative industry as a whole (and run into legal complications down the road).

It’s pretty simple and very advantageous to turn your hobby into a licensed and registered small business if you want to start working for yourself and chasing your dream. I can only speak from experience in New Jersey, but the process was fairly simple and the turnaround time is rather quick. 

Steps in Becoming a "REAL" Business

  1. Protect yourself and your business. File for an LLC or other liability protection entity.

  2. Speak with your state about obtaining a tax ID number. (For NJ)

  3. Speak with your local town or county clerk for licensing information.

  4. Determine your requirement for insurance for your business.

Making your business legal

The whole process was completed in under a week and the peace of mind that I had in completing these necessary steps was huge. It's unfortunate that as business owners we need to even consider lawsuits and things possibly going wrong, but accidents do happen. By going through the process to register and license my business I'm now protected in case of an accident.

I wanted to shed light on a few misconceptions surrounding business legalities for both hobby enthusiasts and new business startups and expose the real reason why you should become "legal": The peace of mind once the process is completed is worth its weight in gold. The last thing anyone wants is to have an accident occur with their shiny new business and lose their livelihood because of lack registration and licensure.

There are certain unnecassary risks that I've seen people take with their businesses and I just wanted to share my own experiences in hopes that people will finally understand just how easy making a business legal can be.

 

*The content in this posted is not intended as legal advice. The content should be taken under advisement by the reader as a source of information, but not legal advice.  Seek the counsel of a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction as well as a CPA before making any significant business decision such as determining licensing requirements.


 

Kristen Vinci-Taylor is the owner and operator of Smile Photography LLC located in Manahawkin, NJ. Being a business owner has become her passion after walking into an elective Photography class in college and has never turned back. She opened her business in February 2012 with no real direction of where she wanted to take it. After 5 years in the  industry she now is focused on newborn, chilld, and family photography.

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!

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📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!


How to Market Your Wedding Business by Using Contests

Using Contests to Boost Your Audience and Become Booked Solid

 
How to market your wedding business through contests
 

The Why

It should come as no surprise that people love to win free products and services or receive something at a heavily discounted rate. Tie that into the fact that many people enjoy a good ol' competition, and you have a winning combination for marketing success. 

Or as my 4 year old likes to OVERsay... Winna Winna, Chicken Dinna!

I've personally used contests in the past at least once a season and let me tell you -- every single contest would add upwards of 1,000-1,500 people to the Facebook page and catapult bookings. The one that got the most traction was always the children’s portrait month. 

Let me tell you a little story...

There once was a photography studio that went from having clients sporadically to completely filling their calendar within two weeks time. What would YOU be able to do with the income you generated from an entire month’s worth of clients, shoots, weddings, events, projects, etc.? That is the power of a contest, my friends.

Not knowing whether or not it would catch on and desperate to fill their calendar, the photographer threw her hands in the air and said, “Hell, why not give it a shot?”

The Marketing Secret to Scale Your Business Like Crazy

After the contest was over and the results have been tallied, the photographer's audience had nearly tripled in size within just a month's time. The number of clients that continued to pour in became so large that the photographer had to start turning away business. Wouldn't that be an incredible feeling - to be so booked up and consistent that you were actually turning clients away or booking them out months and months in advance?

The Logistics of Contests

It was called Children’s Portrait Month and it happened during the entire month of July (a typically slow month for many). The weather is still nice, kids are out of school, it was a no-brainer.The photographer went through the calendar and selected dates that she would be willing to hold shoots. I would highly encourage you to add at least 2 or 3 Rainy Day Reschedule Days since it IS July we are talking about here... Each shoot would be 30 minutes long PER CHILD. If the parent(s) wanted to join in on the photos, it is an additional $50 to be paid at the time of session. The next step was to figure out the locations of those shoot days.

Tip: Create a PDF document of your dates and locations and timeframes to easily send to people or, better yet, post on your website and redirect people to the URL!

Now it was time for pricing and the fine print. The cost of the session should be MUCH lower than what your normal rates are. We are talking mini-session prices here, people.


As an example:

The Who

$50 sitting fee (per child)

50% off all print orders

(1) FREE 5x7 of each entrant

Ages 6 months to 10 years only please.

The What

Grand Prize is valued at over $____ and includes:

$_____ gift certificate

20x24 gallery block

The How

Winner is chosen based on the highest amount of likes/votes each entry photo receives on the Facebook page (This is where having a giveaway type website platform comes in handy like Rafflecopter, Gleam, or Woobox to name a few. Pay for it for a month then cancel it, but once you are using that platform you are able to have these people share the photo with their friends).

The When

Discount pricing available August 1-31st, Voting begins August 11, The winner will be announced on August 18.

 
Example Contest Spreadsheet Tracker

Example Contest Spreadsheet Tracker

 

ContestsPinterest@2x copy.jpg

PIN THIS POST

TO EASILY REFERENCE WHEN YOU ARE READY TO CREATE YOUR OWN CONTEST!

Once that was all figured out, it was time to create the flyer, social media graphic, and finalize the wording.

To Recap:

  1. Select dates
  2. Select locations
  3. Select time frame for each day
  4. Determine what the winner will receive
  5. Figure out pricing
  6. Create graphics and promo materials

Tip: Count up how many shooting locations you like to use in surrounding areas (expand your reach by expanding your radius) and then that will give you a good idea of how many days of shooting you should be including within the contest information.

Now that we've established why you should be running contests and promos within your wedding business, it's time to discuss the part that so many creatives get hung up on...

contest suggestions

Well, luckily for you, my friend, I've not only broken holding a contest down into bite-size steps, but I've also provided suggestions of the kind of contests you could be holding! 


Wedding Planners

  • Favorite Engagement Session
  • Favorite Wedding / Design
  • Favorite Couple
  • Favorite Unique Detail
  • Favorite Theme
  • Favorite Love Story

Florists

  • Favorite Bouquet
  • Favorite Overall Design
  • Favorite Centerpieces
  • Favorite Ceremony Decor

Wedding Photographers

  • Favorite Engagement Session
  • Favorite Wedding of the Season
  • Favorite Blooper Shot
  • "First 25 that mention this post get a free engagement session"

I would say at least 1/2 of these people will hire you to shoot their wedding if they are looking for a photographer. AND if you need to build up your portfolio this is a perfect way to do it.

Portrait Photographer

  • Children’s Portrait Month
  • Favorite Family Month
  • Favorite Newborn Month
  • Pet Portrait Month

You can always note that you will make a donation to the humane society from all the sitting fees during the pet portrait month. 

Contests and giveaways aren't things people take advantage of very often. You shouldn’t just be giving a discount all the time to try to drum up busy. Highlight the giveaway on social media and send an email to your list of subscribers! You want to make sure to really showcase it. Holding a contest is a great way to beef up the calendar if you are looking for clients!


Lauren - founder of Wedding Boss Life
 

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success. Let’s set up a time to chat!


4 Lies That Are Holding You Back

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

4 Lies That Are Holding You Back in Life and Business

 
 

Grab your dark roast + join us as we shed light on some of the most common reoccurring doubts business owners tell themselves and how to finally dropkick that negative self-talk right in the face once and for all.

How many times have you thought to yourself, "Nobody would pay that much…” or “There are already a million other planners/photographers/florists/caterers/fill in the blank out there.”

The list of common doubts that we allow to permeate our stories are endless. Tomorrow, I'm going to chat about 4 of the most common lies we tell ourselves as business owners. These lies are ones that even my own clients before working with me have lead themselves to believe.

I will be talking you through the many shifts I've made over the past 2 years that have made the biggest impacts in my life and business. 


Episode 23 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 23 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Links

Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Transcript

The Most Common Lies We Tell Ourselves in Business

Lauren Dragon-Cook:

LDC of WBL

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.


The Shady Side to Styled Shoots

Get Real Series

Falling for the Fallacy: The Styled Shoot Tree can be Shady AF

by Kasey Kyprianou

 

Kasey Kyprianou, a trailblazing stationer and lead badass designer of revelry + heart, joins us on the blog today to shed light on the controversial topic of styled shoots within the wedding industry. 

 
Shedding Some Light on the Shady Side of Styled Shoots
 

We need to talk about styled shoots.

What is a styled shoot? For credibility, I decided not to dictate what my version of a styled shoot is, although you know I found a definition I agreed with--because well, that’s kind of the point of this post.

Our creative leaders are traveling around the country creating and designing styled wedding shoots (with models, hair & makeup, gowns, flowers, cake, stationery*, reception tables, a beautiful venue, etc... the whole nine!) for photographers to capture beautiful details and portfolio worthy images. Of course, photographers at the shoots are welcome (& encouraged) to submit their photos for publication and use them to help build up their brand and/or the clientele they are after. -Styled Shoots Across America

To sum it up, it’s a mock wedding that creative event professionals collaborate on in order to mutually benefit everyone participating by getting portfolio images and creative liberties to explore new creative outlets.

It’s a photoshoot. Fantasy.

Dog Wedding Invitation

Dog Wedding Invitation

 

Photo by Marina Rey Photography

I was able to be on site for this shoot to style my lay flat, I really appreciate that I was able to show all the pieces without crowding, and add in little details like the dog treats.

Perks:

  1. Event planners get to show off their design and communication skills
  2. Photographers get to shoot the exact event they want to shoot
  3. Event professionals get professional images of their work
  4. Models/Couples get images of themselves
  5. Everyone gets to flex their creative muscles

And if all goes according to plan: you get published and get to put a .png badge on your website to convince people you know what you’re doing.

Obviously, there are industries that benefit more than others for styled shoots. You don’t often see musicians participate, because well, you can’t hear music no matter how many words a picture may be worth. Videographers add a great social media nugget to the mix, and allow musicians or djs to join the party--but it’s rare to have video coverage, at least that I’ve seen. There is rarely ever a caterer involved because well, it’s all fake. No one is going to eat anything (besides maybe some cold pizza out of frame) and food photography is a whole other ball game. Couples want to try your food no matter how beautifully it photographs, so it’s not really worth the effort it would take for them.

My industry--design of all pretty people things. I design stationery and decor for styled shoots and I’ve had both fantastic and horrible experiences. Stationers have an advantage in that they can send their pieces across the globe to be part of a shoot without actually being physically present. But that means they lose the opportunity to style their work, which, much like a florist would want, makes neck hairs stand up over presentation fails.

Classic stationery designers are known to design beautiful thin scripts in pastel inks on white papers. You can imagine that would require a very refined photographer to shoot and edit to make sure the work is showcased properly. Overexposure is real--am I looking at a hand calligraphy invitation or a blank piece of paper?

Mexican Vibrant Invitation Suite

Mexican Punk Invite

 

Photo Credit Ana Teresa Photography

This suite was a perfect mash up of creative minds with just enough creative freedom. I pitched a couple of ideas and they chose one that I ran with. I got to be on site to style the shoot and surprised them with a few extra elements like custom menus that weren’t part of the original deal because I felt so appreciated and embraced.

Styling the suite is just as important as the final design. Random accessories (why are there shoes with the invitation?), invitations hidden under their suitemates, haphazard layouts and 2 photos as a result of  work that took hours are reasons the artist prefers to be onsite and styling their work. Sidenote: I’m the one asking for all the inserts to get captured from different angles (I need the ig content more than anything…) more than a few shots of the whole suite, and some sort of human being holding my work.

Even a shoot with the best intentions has a fairly good chance of being disappointment for the artist involved. But what about the shadiness of the whole idea of styled shoots? Can we talk about that? I didn’t come here to post on how to plan or participate in a styled shoot, I came here to call them out.

I. e x p o s u r e

I am a graphic designer. And if there is anything artists and designers know is that designing for exposure is the bane of our existence--no, really, we can’t feed ourselves or buy a home with exposure, if we could, I’d have invested in that ish way before bitcoin was a currency.

“But Kasey, how do you expect [paying] clients to find you if you don’t get your name out there?”

That’s literally my job as a small business owner. Make people know what I do and do it.

It happens through relationship building, referrals, paid marketing efforts, and maybe some wholesale priced work (still pro-bono if you ask me considering I’m not charging you for your time). I don’t do styled shoots for the exposure alone, because 99% of the time, it’s not worth it.

I have booked ONE wedding because of a published shoot.

ONE.

As a naïve baby artist, I designed for free. They promised me that once the company took off they’d pay me. Spoiler alert: none of the 3 companies went anywhere.

Styled shoots are just a shady way of asking a professional to deliver premium work without paying for it. And the intention is great, in theory, a rising tide lifts all boats and all.

The truth is, people are out there for themselves. If there is nothing in it for them, they’re ghosts. Now you know why people bail on a shoot after initially agreeing, or if they’re smart, ask the planner of the shoot 99 questions before agreeing to join in.

 
  Photo Credit -  Something Blue Photography    Once a stationery suite arrives at a shoot, sometimes it sits on a table, maybe styled, maybe not, and it either shot first or last with little attention to how to creatively display it. I am adamant about having a human element in at least one photo to stir an emotional response in my viewer and bring the suite to scale in a real world setting. 

Photo Credit - Something Blue Photography

Once a stationery suite arrives at a shoot, sometimes it sits on a table, maybe styled, maybe not, and it either shot first or last with little attention to how to creatively display it. I am adamant about having a human element in at least one photo to stir an emotional response in my viewer and bring the suite to scale in a real world setting. 

  Tile Invitation Suite    Photo Credit -  Something Blue Photography    This sorcery just blows my mind. This suite was on a glass table. GLASS. The wizardry of my photographer made it on a marble background and really made it pop. I got to style this lay flat which meant that there was no crowding and plenty of breathing room for all of the components. 

Tile Invitation Suite

Photo Credit - Something Blue Photography

This sorcery just blows my mind. This suite was on a glass table. GLASS. The wizardry of my photographer made it on a marble background and really made it pop. I got to style this lay flat which meant that there was no crowding and plenty of breathing room for all of the components. 

 

II. You are not a client.

There are VERY fine lines that need to be emboldened if styled shoots are going to work the way they were intended.

If I’m working for free it’s because it’s a passion project. Full stop.

I am not, by any way shape or form, designing something according to your parameters or personal opinions. If you ask me to be part of, or agree to my request to design for a shoot, you have me on board because you think my work aligns with your vision. Trust in that.

Maybe that makes me sound like an asshole, actually, I’m fairly sure it does, but you like something about this asshole’s work, so you get the whole asshole package.

It’s funny, we tell our couples all the time that despite their family’s contributions to their wedding, it doesn’t give them a right to dictate how it will play out. When they aren’t paying the couple should do whatever they want.

The Style Shoot Tree Can Be Shady AF

What a concept.

Event professionals get final say on their work for every styled shoot. Unless they are misrepresenting a fellow pro in some way, that’s just how it is.

Because of my work in non-traditional invitation mediums, I often get styled shoot coordinators asking me for a certain medium, which, yes, if it’s not paper, I’m probably your girl, but, if at my discretion, something works better, I get to do what I think is best. We don’t hire a natural light photographer to capture posed shots and we don’t ask for subjective design decisions from a designer.

So no, you don’t get to tell me you don’t like the font or the color of the envelopes. You are not a client. Because if you were, we’d have a much different process. Timelines, contracts, even communication boundaries are much different with clients, because they earn certain rights when they put their money where their mouth is.

III. A real party is not a styled shoot.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back.

A   r e a l   e v e n t   i s   n o t   a   s t y l e d  s h o o t .

This happens when I get asked to design for “shoots” that aren’t weddings. Or maybe they throw a pair of people in there as models to take photos of before the real event gets started--yeah no, not a styled shoot.

This is the shadiest shit I have ever seen.

Images by Amber Robinson | Raleigh Wedding Photographer | Kasey

Wood Invitation

Photo Credit - Amber Robinson

My work is heavily specialized in non-traditional mediums. This means that it can be especially tricky to photograph the details of woodgrain, the texture of fabric, and the visibility of clear acrylic. I partnered with one of my local professionals to get dedicated lay flat shots of my work for web and brand use that weren’t part of a styled shoot. The best part was that I had control over how my work was displayed, and we worked together to get the shots I needed.

You are asking a fellow creative to work a real event for nothing.

I have been told shoots are shoots only to get deeper in the process and find out that wasn’t the case. My red flag is when I get asked for a digital design or more than a couple copies of a suite.

Sorry, but 85 invitations are not for a styled shoot.

It doesn’t matter if you’re submitting it for publishing, it would be under the real weddings category if it were a wedding.

This is some grade-a bullshit right here where people ask their professional network to be part of a personal event for them with no intention of paying for their work. It honestly blows my mind, especially when we all would come to bat when a couple asks, “Is it more expensive because it’s a wedding?”

OF COURSE IT IS.

I spend 4 hours of design time on average for each real wedding. My couples get 3 rounds of proofs with unlimited changed and at minimum, 12 weeks of me as a professional resource.

Non-wedding designs are the bastard love child of an idea and a designer--not 2 consultation calls and a details questionnaire that takes approximately 20 minutes before I even open up adobe creative suite.

If it’s for an event with real guests, pay for the work you’re asking for.

IV. Stop saying yes.

I didn’t do styled shoots for a bit. They cost big money to create the batshit crazy ideas I come up with--seriously, I have a sample of one invitation that cost me $150 wholesale. Even now, I’m exceptionally wary of the ones I say yes to. I honestly do them for fun, when clients are sparse, or both and I need a hit of that sweet sweet gratification that comes from a gorgeous professional image of my work. I ask if there’s an interested publication and who--everything must line up with my scope.

I’ve also said no.

It’s lead me to be asked more often about better opportunities. It’s earned me respect because I don’t bail unless circumstances change.

Styled shoots are shady business. Don’t get burned out there. Be your own asshole.


*Special thanks for the spelling edit of stationery from Styled Shoots Across America. It's important to use right titles of your fellow industry professionals. For more on stationery vs. stationary, see my blog on common stationery terms here.


 

Kasey Kyprianou is the owner and founder of revelry + heart, a custom design studio for couples that revel in their authenticity and crave design that evokes conversation. In a past life, Kasey was a graphic design student who interned at a stationery store in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was there that she worked on projects with the likes of Brenden Fraser and Flo Rida. Now, a seasoned business owner, she owns her own studio and designs for her own celebrity clients around the world. She's an envelope-pusher, a family treaty peacemaker, timeline expert and non-traditional stationery queen.

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!

1477442009346.png

📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!


3 Stellar (And Easy to Implement) Marketing Ideas

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

3 Free Marketing Ideas for Wedding Pros

 
 

Grab your dark roast + join us as we talk about 3 unique ways to market your business + stand out from your competition on a McDonald’s Value Menu budget.


Episode 22 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 22 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Links

Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Transcript

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning everyone! Thank you for joining me on this lovely Tuesday. Today we are going to be chit chatting a little bit about three stellar, amaze balls, rocking ways to market your business that seem to get overlooked. They are something that has helped to grow the three businesses that I have started. It has helped to project me into the next level of things. I will be going over those now!

How many of you struggle with marketing? How many of you feel like marketing is just not in your wheelhouse? Is it something foreign to you? How many of you feel like marketing is just not for you?

It is not as difficult as we tend to make it. Marketing is only as hard as you make it. Truly.

Let’s dive in.

Opt-Ins

3 Stellar and Easy to Implement Marketing Ideas for Your Wedding Business

The very first stellar and free marketing tip I have for you all is not brand new. It is not going down in history. But it is something I feel so many wedding creatives don’t take advantage of and the rewards and return on investment is MASSIVE. 

  1. Its free. 
  2. It requires very little effort but it continues to build upon itself.

You set it and forget it. It is a one and done. It is something once you establish it, it will keep working for you over and over and over again. You don’t have to keep up with it all the time. It doesn’t require maintenance. 

The first idea is truly… opt-ins. The reason why opt ins are immensely powerful is…

  1. If you are exchanging an email address for a fabulous download, you are collecting that email address and you can store it in your list.
  2. But secondly, if you do decide to ever run Facebook ads then you have to have email addresses in order to really hone in on those ads. If you don’t do this ahead of time, you will have to get email addresses before you launch an ad. It is not conducive.
  3. You stay in front of these people’s faces. I’m not saying you need to be sending out newsletters all the time. I am saying, you are going to become the go-to person for whatever it is the opt-in has to do with. You are staying in front of their face. Say you signed up for anthropology and to receive updates. If you receive an email that has to do with macro-made planters, then you are going to remember that Anthropology sent you an email. So if you have been looking for something like that… you are going to buy it! BUT if Target, Etsy, and Michaels has them… you aren’t going to purchase one from those other locations. Because Anthropology has remained in front of your face. You must remain in front of potential clients faces, because if they are not seeing you... out of sight, out of mind.

If you are giving away things… that is okay as long as you are getting something in return. You want to make sure that it is serving you a purpose. Always ask yourself that. Let’s say you give away a wedding welcome guide, they need to be a client first. You can’t just give these away if they are not a client. What do you get in return from a client? Money and future business.

Opt-ins are not difficult to create. I am in the process of creating a challenge to pin-point your ideal client, to figure out your specific audience. If you go onto my website and click on “station 7, lead magnet toolkit”. It will bring you to one of my top secret tools. The Canva app will be your bestfriend. Canva will help you create your downloads and guides. Super simple!

Referral Systems

Marketing idea number two is… a referral system. Some of you might already think… you do get referrals all the time. That is great! Do you have a system in place that is actually going from point A to point B and really bring in those referrals?

What am I talking about?

Word of mouth and google search results are the two ways I completely booked my first year in business as a planner. Having a system in place will grow your business. Let’s say you have two clients for the season. You are okay! You will reward them. If a bride tells her friend about you, tells her friend about the experience, and you offer them $50 cash when that person books with you or extra little goodies when that friend books you. Then that person will get $75 cash (the one that did the referring). I cap it at $100. So one referral $50, two referrals $75, three referrals $100. They could quite literally earn back the money that they are paying you for your services just by talking you up.

So how do you go about creating a system for this? Easy! If you send a welcome box or package to your clients, inside that you put a referral card. You can word it something along the lines of:

“Our business grows on word of mouth referrals. We want more clients just like you. You are our ideal client. If you talk about us and the service you are receiving and you send them our way, for each booked client you will get…. X, Y, Z”.

The more clients they refer the more money they will get. It is that easy. I can’t tell you how many people sent you referrals my way. These weren’t penny pinching brides. They were just ones that understood “well yeah, which of my friends are engaged right now.. let me make a list”. They encourage them to make a list for themselves. Then tell them to reach out to them! It is an evolving process. The key here is that you have to make sure you plant the seed right from the beginning.

If you don’t they won’t know about it. They need something tangible in front of their face that will remind them of this. Then what I would encourage, if you use a client management system like Dubsado or Honeybook… within your automation (workflow) I would say 4 months out create an email that goes out automatically that says something like 

“Just wanted to remind you that you could literally score $100 every time you refer a bride to us”.

That way you don’t have to give it a second thought, but you are still in front of their face. If you have clients as we speak, use that to your advantage. It is so much haarder to try to find a new client that is hopefully in your scope of ideal people. You know if someone books you, chances are they are going to have friends that are engaged and ideal too.

What I will suggest… is if you start working with somebody and they are less than ideal… have a reminder somewhere to take that email OFF if you have it automated. You don’t want to encourage more pain in the ass clients, like the one you are working with. This is the only way it could really backfire for you.

Whip up a quick blog post, so all the information is outlined for them. No questioning anything. Then when you need to remind people about it in an email all you need to do is 

“If you forget the details about the referral program, just go here…”.

Done! You just boosted SEO because you just literally are sending someone back to your website and you are eliminating a lot of work for yourself on having to re-type the program out.

Contests and Promos

The third and final tip is… contests, promos. People like to be competitive.

An example of a promo for a wedding photographer: the first 25 people that mention this post get a free engagement session with me. I would say at least half of those people are going to hire you. Or if you need to build up your portfolio this is a perfect way to do it.

A content might be “come vote for your favorite wedding/family shoot/bouquet” and tie it to your past clients. Let those people know that are attached to that photo (email them) about the contest. The person that has the most “likes” or the person that has told x number of friends about our Facebook page… then they get something.

I am writing a blog post about contest and promos to help you navigate this better.

This is something a lot of people don’t do. When I was a studio manager for the wedding photographer, I used contests once a season and let me tell you we would add upwards of 1,000 people to the Facebook page every single contest. The one that got the most traction was the children’s portrait month.

What we would do was in July when the weather is still nice, kids are out of school, it would be children’s portrait month. There would be a discounted session fee and include x number of digitals. You would limit it to locations. You could say “On July 9th we will be at... On July 12th we will be at…” This could pertain to just about anybody!

Then the month of August was voting month. This is when you would use a giveaway type website platform like Rafflecopter, Gleam, Moobox… pay for it for a month then cancel it, but once you are using that platform you are able to have these people share the photo with their friends.

Contests, giveaways, and promos are things people don’t take advantage of. You shouldn’t be giving just a discount all the time. Highlight it and showcase it because it doesn’t happen regularly. This is a great way to beef up the calendar if you are looking to fill a certain month.

BONUS IDEAS

I have two bonus marketing ideas.

Tagging

When you are showcasing your work on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest make sure you are doing one of two things. 

  1. You need to be tagging the vendors. They have to be tagged because what you are doing is saying “I was part of a dream team and this is who was involved”. Then when people see that photo and they are wondering who the florist was, you just helped that vendor. They are going to do the same for you down the road.
  2. Tagging the location. What happens when somebody goes on social media and looks up a certain venue or location? You show up! You are looking like a trailblazer and a leader when it comes to whatever your expertise is because you are showing up in that search.

Bonus idea number two, at the actual event leave a business card.

Even have an iPad for people to sign up and say something like “if you want to check out these photos be sure to sign up here and we will let you know when the gallery is live”. Or if you are florist, put your business cards by your centerpiece. You are saying… “here, this is something you can take away, but it won’t take away from the event itself at all”.

A lot of times I will have guests come up to me asking for my contact information and stuff gets crazy! You may not have your business card handy. All you need to say is, go up to the bar and you’ll find my business cards there.

It is an added bonus for you because its not tacky as long as your business cards look professional. If they are Vistaprint 5 second special… refrain. You don’t want to take away from your own business or the event that is going on.

Last Thoughts

I would love to hear your feedback on these tips! Get in touch with me! Which idea was your favorite?

I am going to be creating a post that talks about creating a referral system for yourself. Also be on the look out for the upcoming post regarding contests and promos.

Have a fabulous rest of your week! Next week is going to be JUNE! WTF!? We will be having an entire new theme and new topics. If you are wondering what that theme is… go into the group, click on photos, and check out the album that has all the podcast themes in there.


How to Create a Referral Program for Your Business

The How To's of Setting Up a Referral Program to Keep New Business Flowing In

 
How to Establish a Referral System in Your Business
 

Creating a Referral Program for Your Wedding Business

Referrals Fuel Your Business

Word of mouth from past clients has always been one of the the biggest contributors to the growth of small businesses and yet it is often overlooked as a HIGHLY effective marketing strategy.

Recommendations are truly invaluable to a wedding pro not only because it is much easier to build upon an existing relationship you already have with an existing client than it is to find a new one, but also because you are almost guaranteed you will receive another ideal client similar to the one you currently are working with because they will be referring you to their immediate circle comprised of friends and family!

Let’s think about this for a second: If your friend were to tell you how absolutely incredible/wonderful/helpful/amazeballs a business or service is - would you believe them and want to hire them if they could solve a problem you have? Probably.

How about if that COMPANY were to say to a new bride or groom that they are all of those things (and more)…

S/he would probably think the wedding pro was bat shit crazy and narcissistic and run for the hills. Right?

An Example for the Referral Payout Structure

1 Wedding Referral = $50 cash + some extra goodies

2 Wedding Referrals = $75 cash + some extra goodies

3 Wedding Referrals = $100 cash + some extra goodies

Referral Program

Referral Program

This is an example of what to say on a graphic or card that you send clients.

The Fine Print of the Referral Program

The best part about a referral program is that it is open to anyone, even if someone hasn't been a client of yours. For every referral that someone sends your way that results in a signed contract, the referrer scores at least $50 cash money! Translation: The more you refer, the more $$ (and goodies) someone can get. It’s really that easy.

Thank you for checking out the blog and for sharing our resources with your fellow friendors and colleagues. Most importantly make sure to tell your referrals, to tell us, you sent them!

 
Generate New Business Effortlessly with a Referral Program
 

Tip #1: Someone doesn't have to be a prior client to refer a client. Anyone can receive the referral cash bonus.

Tip #2: Make sure to add this line to your email blurb, card you send, etc. "Most importantly make sure to tell your referrals, to tell us, you sent them!"


Lauren of Wedding Boss Life

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

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Common Courtesies Not Found in the Wedding Industry

Get Real Series

All I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten

by Tiffany Learned

 

Tiffany Learned, award-winning planner and owner of Detailed Engagements, joins us on the blog today to talk about the simple set of common courtesies that have disappeared from the wedding industry.  

 
Common Courtesies Not Found in the Wedding Industry
 

“Treat others how you would like to be treated” 

A common saying we have all heard before. Simple enough, yet somehow ignored. 

What happened to people? 

A few months back I had a venue showing with a potential client who brought their planner with them- the planner showed up 30 minutes after the couple. Had to restart the tour. Kept us all there late. 

A photographer friend of mine recently told me of a couple of theirs who showed up an HOUR late for their engagement session- on a Saturday night. 

I personally ask that business is conducted over email, not text. It is now just as easy to send an email from your phone as it is to send a text. Do you know how many people think I am nuts when I tell them that? Other wedding planners, other wedding pros are AFRAID that they will lose business or have clients give them a less than 5 star review for responsiveness if they do not ‘allow’ them to text them whenever and however they want. SMH. 

I have no words.

What happened to our clients and our fellow vendors?

Guess I am old-school in my thinking. I am 36 years old (young if you ask me). Carry at least 2 phones at all time. Have a laptop in my car at all times, a desktop in my office and another in my house. I am plugged in all the time.

BUT... 

All I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten

I set boundaries, create balance and always practice respect and kindness.

I respect your time, as I expect you to respect mine.

I show up early, as I expect you to be on time. 

I understand you have a life and I have reasonable expectations that you will respond in a timely fashion but I do not expect you to drop what you are doing whenever I send you an email, I expect the same from you. 

I am thankful for my team, my clients and my fellow vendors and I hope they appreciate me as well. 

I say please and thank you and smile whenever I can. 

I practice kindness in an industry that although should be filled with love can be extremely stressful. 

I treat others how I would like to treated.  

Now, here is the fun part. I challenge YOU to do the same.


 

Tiffany Learned is not only one of the most down-to-earth, tell it like it is people, but also the founder of Detailed Engagements, a wedding planning business located in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Since 2010 she has been putting her unique mark on the wedding and event industry and her passion for what she does shines through. Over the past 8 years she has won many awards and accolades but her latest accomplishment has been to open a wedding and event venue! For Tiffany this saying is not cliche -- she not only loves what she does but she does what she loves and her clients reap the rewards of this wedding industry powerhouse. 

 

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!

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📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣

Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?

🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses. 

YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:

  1. ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written? 
  2. 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
  3. ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it? 
  4. 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
  5. 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
  6. 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?

If you’d like to write a guest post, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!


How to Plan Content That Writes Itself

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Create Less Content

with Guest Host, Brittany Berger, the Content Marketing Unicorn

 
 

Grab your dark roast + join guest host, Brittany Berger, as she gives you a behind the scenes look at becoming a content marketing unicorn. You'll learn how to go beyond editorial calendars + use a content planning process that saves time, keeps your content focused, and takes the overwhelm out of writing.


Episode 21 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 21 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.



Transcript

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Hello! Happy Tuesday! We are here today with Miss Brittany Berger. She is my favorite Brittany ever. Even more so than Brittney Spears. That is a mic drop and a half!

Brittany Berger: Oh I can’t even say that I’m my favorite Brittney amongst Brittney Spears.

Lauren: I just did! Love you, mean it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Brittany and what she does… she is a fabulous content marketer. Where did you get your start, Brittany?

Plan Content that Writes Itself

Brittany: I just sort of fell into content marketing. I studied PR and journalism. I also loved as a teenager Live Journal and stuff like that. And when I was in college that was when social media and blogging was sort of getting big for businesses and I was like “wait… I know how to do that”. So I just graduated and started my career at a perfect time for content marketing. My first internship as a full time person was content marketing and I have done that ever since. About 8 or 9 years now.

Lauren: That is amazing. That is a really long time to write stuff.

Brittany: It is a lot of writing! When I think about how many blog posts I’ve written over the course of my career, I don’t think I can count that.

Lauren: I don’t think I would even want to attempt that, to be honest.

Brittany: And my crazy old ones are awful!

Lauren: Well you have to start somewhere! Just like with anything else. I’m stoked you are here today because I feel like we have a fabulous group of wedding pros and bloggers and other creatives that could use the help that only someone like yourself, doing what you do can provide. So without further ado…

I have to tell people how we met. Its kind of hilarious. I pretty much stalked her website for a solid week and then I finally have enough courage to write to her and say “ok I’m pretty sure you are my long lost twin just in the way you speak… your Golden Girls references and Beyoncé and pop culture…” It was how it kicked off!

Brittany: I still have it. Its in my folder of favorite emails. We LIVE streamed together at the beginning.

Lauren: It was a match made in heaven. FUN FACT about that email I wrote you… I lost the whole thing, so then I had to re-write it and I’m trying so hard to remember everything I said because I knew it was gold. It was a rough day.

Enough about that. I’m just going to let you take the stage Brittany and run with it. All you girl.

Let’s Get Started

Brittany: So today we are talking about planning content that writes itself because I write all day everyday and that gets difficult even for a writer. I need to make it a really systemized process so on days I am not feeling it at all its easy. I like to say I trust the system more than I trust myself. That way on days where I’m writing something I don’t know a lot about, I can at least say well I know this process works if I just follow the steps I can put something out that isn’t awful.

It is just something I’ve learned to do over the years, based off of some pretty awful posts that turned into better posts over the years. Really I did not know what I was doing when I started because it was all very new and we were figuring things out as we went along. I wasn’t concerned with frameworks or having calls to action or making content matter at all to the business. This system is what kind of got me out of my bad habits and make sure I get everything done perfectly or as perfectly as it can be. Perfection is overrated.

So today we are specifically talking about my version of content outlines. I like to call them content skeletons. They are amazing. They involve two levels of outlines. I love to jot down on my planner, so the more notes the better. BUT I like to say this makes your content write itself because when you don’t feel you are a natural born writer, going straight form your editorial or content strategy straight into a word document and going straight form a title to words on a page, can still be really overwhelming. If you know how long you’ve starred ta a black word doc before starting content, you know that having some middle step to break it down and make things easier could help you.

Get a lot of the writing out of the way before the writing starts. So by the time you go to write down the actual document, you already have the whole structure and layout of the post decided on. You already know what you are talking about. You can then get creative and get loose with things to have fun with it! That way you don’t stare at a blank word doc and try to figure out what to say, how to say it, what order, what examples to use… it breaks it all down into different processes.

I break it down over several different days. So today I am outlining and planning a post I will write tomorrow. It makes the writing process so much more manageable.

Lauren: I know nothing about this so I am ready! Give it to me! What does an outline look like?

Content Skeleton

Brittany: It is three steps. Assuming up to this point you know what you are creating content for. You know you are writing blog posts. You know you are sending weekly emails. This works for any content! Whether its am email, blog post, sales pitch…

First step: Content Skeleton. Narrowing in on your goals. I break that up into three parts: mission statement, description, and CTA (call to action).

  • Mission statement is a summary of what the point of this blog post is. For both you and the reader. For example, the mission statement for this live stream is you are learning how to go beyond editorial planners and use a content planning process that saves time, keeps your content focused, and takes the challenge out of writing. This is for the reader, so as I’m going on and planning everything else, I can keep this end goal in mind. That way I don’t go off on any tangents. Ideally! It keeps me asking “Is this accomplishing the goal?” “Am I being successful in this process?” It creates an end goal for your reader. Focus on the prize.
  • The description and CTA are a little bit more of a focused mission statement. This is more of the goal for YOU. Where does this content fit into my overall business strategy? That might be what are you linking to or promoting in this email? Or what content upgrade are you prompting in this blog post? For example, for this one would be to drive downloads to that content planning worksheet I gave you the link to before. 

By having the goals for the reader, the goals for you, and the place this has in your business it helps you align providing value for your reader with actually doing something that moves your business forward. It is really easy to fall into the trap of proving a lot of free content, but it doesn’t do anything for your business because it isn’t aligned to anything in your business strategy. 

You can define in the content goal, “this promotes this service I offer or this aligns with this content upgrade or sale that I have”. You have to ask yourself, what is this content doing for my business? It forces you to think about something you may not think about before you begin writing. It helps you to keep your content focused and goal orientated. 

Lauren: The thing that popped up for me is the simple fact that you are going to have to put a call to action into your blog post or email anyway. You are going to have to know the link to that thing you are promoting You have to know what the intention is for that post to begin with. You already have to know those things, but if you have it in one central location it will make it that much easier to write.

Brittany: A lot of people don’t think about it early enough. If you don’t you are in a position where you realize “well this doesn’t relate to anything”. It is easier to stray from your goal when it isn’t in front of your face. I am a big fan of having things in front of your face! That’s why I plan on paper. There Is so much power in having a physical reminder you can read.

Lauren: One question I do have before we keep going is… how does this strategy help people as a wedding professional? I know blogging and writing isn’t something the wedding industry thinks of at the forefront. How does it pertain to them?

Your Voice

Brittany: I like to look at content as a new way to communicate with your customers and potential customers. We are all online more and more and not having as many of those face to face interactions. Phone conversations and face to face conversations are moving to online. We are getting to a point in business and business communication where everybody writes. It is part of the job now. You might as well get good at it. Its not even about having perfect grammar, it is about being able to communicate your own ideas clearly to your ideal customers in a way they understand. 

When it comes to editing content (which I’ll talk more about later), I like to say perfection is about clarity not grammar. That is what marketing is about.

Lauren: Case in point, I stalked you for probably a week just reading your content… never having a face to face conversation with you… I just stumbled upon your website sand said “ this is my person. That is the power of having well written content. 

Brittany: It is not grammatically correct, it is a perfect portrayal of who I am and who I am looking for. We are a perfect match. Most people will see the stuff on my website and be unsure.. and that is fine! Content is how we show our fabulous online. It is how we make money. It is how we communicate with our customers. We have to get good at it.

When you write a good email, you close deals.

Lauren: This is true. For a wedding professional, that could look like setting up a consult call. That could be a 30 minute free complimentary whatever with somebody. Maybe you have a better close rate by having a phone call with someone than via email. There are so many different avenues I see wedding pros not taking advantage of when it comes to content. I see the same articles over and over again. Or the same emails going out. I just want people to have a fresh perspective. But it is hard!

Brittany: I think a lot of people don’t write in a voice, they just write word son a page. They aren’t breaking down what they want to say, they are just pushing it all out there and winging it. They don’t have room to showcase their personality or voice. It looks like a lot of the same blog posts. I just did a thread on social media about how yesterday I shared something on my Insta stories that I almost didn’t share because I thought it wasn’t new advice, but it was one of the most helpful things I ever shared based on the number of replies and re-posts.

So when you have your own voice and way of communicating, you can say things that other people have already touched on, but it is original! That is a lesson I keep learning. I was so insecure about that post yesterday.

Lauren: The key piece I want to reference back to is… it is really hard to know how to speak to your audience in a way that will capture them when you don’t know who your audience is. That is one thing we talked about last week and we are talking about again… I want to come up with the challenge to help people nail down who their ideal clients are. I think that is almost half the battle.

Brittany: It’s a lot of trial and error. I feel my ideal customer has shifted several times over the past year as I keep fine tuning. I like to say, especially when you are thinking about who you are writing to… think about you are writing a letter to your most recent customer you loved. How would you talk and communicate with them? Think about that person and finding other people like them. That can also lend a really personal feel to your content too.

I like actually talking out content and saying it out loud and taking note of how I phrase things and then putting it on paper. I like to call it editing out loud.

Lauren: How do you transcribe it?

Brittany: I don’t record a whole blog post as a time. I do know people that do that and I have clients who do that. They will send me the voice notes. That can be a lot of editing time. I write, but if there is ever anything I can’t figure out how I want to say something… I figure it out out loud. I don’t really speak out entire blog posts, but a paragraph or sentence that I can’t figure out… the easiest way to figure out the most natural way to say it is explaining it verbally.

Lauren: That seems so silly because it is so not complicated.

Brittany: If you don’t know what to write... say it. Then write down what you say!

Lauren: Sorry I totally diverted this conversation and put you on a different mission… so please continue!

The Architecture & Brain Dumping

Brittany: The content skeleton is an amazing starting point. You might be able to even just look at that and be totally clear on writing an email or something. If it’s a longer piece of content and you’re still looking at that and thinking writing will still be overwhelming, you can break it down further. I always do that. I like to call it the architecture. It just always seems fancy.

This is laying out the actual structure of the blog post. First, I summarize what I want to do the for intro. Intros can be really hard just starting from scratch. I like to decide ahead of time whether I will start with a story, or if I will ask questions. What approach will I take? 

I then layout what each section or subheading will be. I write a quick description of what that will cover. That is the skeleton of the blog post. That way you can go in and fill in the details once you start writing. That is adding in the meat on top of the skeleton and fleshing it out.

The last step I like to take before starting my rough draft is a brain dump of everything I want to say about the topic. Because I have the skelton there and the structure laid out, I can brain dump in whatever order the ideas come to me and add it into the relevant sections. I can think and let loose, but write it down in a way that has some organization. That way when I look and start writing, all the details are in the right section they need to be. Go on a creative spree! This is where I plan out everything important I will write before I make the complete sentences.

I even plan examples that I will site, jokes, and pop culture references. But I plan out everything I will say so that way when it is time to actually write it is just about the words and I don’t need to do anything thinking anymore. I have the entire architecture of the post finished. The writing process becomes such a tiny thing when you take this extra planning step. Just taking 30 minutes to do a good outline can save you 2 hours of writing.

Lauren: I’m looking at this and thinking of this… it is so freakin’ true! I could go in and look at rough drafts of blog posts I started over a year ago and I’ve never finished, because the task of trying to fill in the gaps seems too daunting. This makes so much sense. It’s a different approach to it.

Brittany: It might be more work upfront, but it is less work overall. The really fun thing about skeletons is once you start looking at that as the first step, when you do get an amazing idea on a creative rush one day, you can then go back to that skeleton months later and the structure and important stuff is already laid out. I can pick up a content skeleton I created ages ago and still understand it enough so I could go back and recreate it. Versus just brain dumping ideas and information and going back to it a day later and forgetting what you were doing. 

Apps and More

Lauren: Where do you store everything? Do you use Google drive? Before meting you I thought I was the app Queen, finder of the new things… NO. You took that torch from me and sprinted a mile down the road. You know all the apps! How do you do this? What apps do you use?

Brittany: I like to keep it classic with Trello. Another app I hear a lot of people are replacing Trello with is Notion. You can use it for regular note taking, but you can also build tables and databases too. It is pretty fancy. Fancier than I personally need. It can be fun to get geeky though! One thing people might like it is more of a drop down layout, one continuous page where you can expand and collapse things, versus having separate files.

Lauren: You use Air Table too, right?

Brittany: I use that as a second set of spreadsheets. I can have it in a different view and form.

Lauren: I love the concept of Air Table. 

Brittany: It is a database tool more powerful than just spreadsheets. It looks like a regular spreadsheet, but its power underneath and the technology driving it is much fancier. It is a whole data base. You can link to other spreadsheets and do easier formulas. You can also change the view. You don’t have to view it as a spread sheet. I change the view so it is a board. It’s less overwhelming for me.

Lauren: Air Table is great for referencing what opt in you used in what blog post.

Brittany: Yes. One thing I use it for content that is very helpful is a list of all previously published stuff. I’m a big fan of repurposing. So it is great at keeping track of all of that.

Lauren: Brittany is how I learned about Alfred. Love my Alfred! I didn’t think it would be something I would get really excited about, but I love it!

Brittany: I love to use Alfred to keep track of commonly used HTML and phrases and links. It’s a great way for me to add snippets and keep all my documentation in one place. 

Summing It Up

So back to the process… by you laying out the goals and the structure… half of the writing is done! You can save up to 2 hours of writing in some cases. It makes the content so much better too.

Lauren: There is an actual flow to it.

Brittany: It is more cohesive, less tangents. I have a workshop that I did and one of the testimonials I received from it was from someone who already had a great process but she added that mission and she stopped going on random tangents in her clients’ blog posts.

Lauren: There is some power behind the structure of this. When people are so scared of writing or blogging then… here you go! Take the anxiety away and use this as your base model. It is brilliant! I don’t know why I haven’t done it.

Brittany: Going straight form your editorial calendar to a blank page is so overwhelming, even to someone who does it all day.

Lauren: It is so simple, but so powerful. I feel it is a game changer for how to break down content.

Brittany: I felt like Beyoncé when I figured this out!

Lauren: How long does it take you, start to finish to write a blog post?

Brittany: A lot of my client blog posts are about 1,000 words and they take me (including the planning process and editing) 4 or 5 hours. That is spread out over the course of a week. This is because I’m writing for pretty enterprising companies and there is some approval processes. For my own brand I write shorter stuff. I mostly do emails and those are usual only 400-500 words each.

Lauren: Thank you so so so much! I feel a lot of people have had their mind blown. It is so simple, but writing content has become this unattainable difficult unicorn. No one knows how to even go about it anymore or they look at it as something they need to add to their list. But the reality is you don’t know how many people are actually looking at your content and then they finally reach out. You have to think of it that way. If you don’t provide content then… you aren’t doing a very good job of marketing yourself. It all ties in.

Any last words of advice for people?

Brittany: Always break it down. If you are ever stuck somewhere, break it down further. Don’t try to accomplish the entire task at once. That has been the solution to most of my problems. Just make ti a smaller problem. If it feels too big, make it smaller.

Lauren: That should be a freakin’ bumper sticker! Yes!

Brittany: I have a workshop that you can watch. It is an on-demand training that walks people through this process. A lot more detail! It also takes it further and helps you writing and editing your rough draft and content. So if you want to start blogging or email consistently, it is great to give you a workbook you can turn to every week.

I am always happy to give free help! Contact me like Lauren did! 

Lauren: You are a breath of fresh air and it is much needed. Thank you so much and we will be chatting again next Tuesday. Next week we will be talking about free marketing ideas. Maybe you haven’t thought about them yourself or you haven’t pursued because you have been caught up in the HOWs. I hope everyone has a fabulous rest of the week and as always reach out if you have any questions!

Q + A

Q: How do you think about topics?

A: I always do chunks of topics at a time. It goes back to cohesiveness. You don’t want a random post that isn’t related to anything else. I pick a goal or a theme. So if I have a launch coming up, I will tie that launch in to each topic. If it is untimed, I might just pick a theme. Right now I am picking topics for productivity and a theme around energy management. That was based around responses I’ve gotten recently, what I’ve been thinking about… its pulled out based on a combination of what people want and what I am interested in.

I like to start with covering basic questions. The 5 W’s. Who, what, when, where, and why. So if you take energy management for example… what is energy management, who should care about it, why should they care… these are all different things I can explore more. Maybe I’m doing something for a month… the first week can be an introduction and explaining what it is. Then as the month goes on you could explore related things. I like to brainstorm content in chunks is because as your mind wanders you tend to spin off and get related ideas and it gets easier to come up with a series.

 


Protecting Your Business + Website as a Wedding Professional

Why a Terms + Conditions and Privacy Policy Matter in the Wedding Industry

by Christina Scalera

 

Christina Scalera, owner of The Contract Shop, joins us on the blog today to talk about the most common misconceptions you have when it comes to the legalities of owning a business and website.

This is a must-read with the new GDPR policies taking effect May 25th, 2018!

 
Protect Your Business as a Wedding Professional
 

You’ve got the topics nailed down, the shiny new website, your fun new social media graphics picked out, and your adorable dog/cat/child is ready to play model for all the pictures you could possibly want to post… you’re almost ready to announce the launch of your brand spankin’ new blog!

But woah… hold up for just a minute, buckaroo!

Have you posted your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions on your site yet?  

Some of you are nodding along, and some of you are going, ‘Wait, what?! What the heck is that?’

There’s no need to get freaked out, these two bits of legal-ese aren’t hard to understand and use, but it is a good idea to have them displayed prominently on your blog. In fact, you could be violating federal law if you don’t.

So let’s talk about what they are, and what you need to do.

Privacy Policies

At their heart, Privacy Policies are intended to create transparency between users (in our case, readers) and yourself via your blog or website.

If you read blogs (and I’m assuming you do, since you’re starting one) then you know that you leave little bits of your personal information behind when you visit. Things like your IP address, your name (or username), and email. If you make a purchase, there’s even more personal information that can be collected by the site selling you something.

A privacy policy informs your visitors what information is collected from them when they visit your site, how you use that information (ie: emails for your newsletter), and who else has access to the information (like your hosting company).

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that any web page collecting information from consumers and/or that uses cookies, have a privacy policy available to visitors.

Not only is it legally required, but having one builds a greater sense of trust with your readers and makes you look more professional.

WHERE DO I GET ONE?

Creating and implementing a privacy policy doesn’t have to be hard. You can start with an attorney-approved template, and then customize it to your situation.

You can also take note of what other companies use for their privacy policy. While I’m not recommending that you simply copy/paste, you’ll likely run across a few things you haven’t thought of, and you’ll get a sense of how a Privacy Policy can be made to represent your brand. While this is the cheaper option, if you want to just get ‘er done and move on sans any worry or weird Frankenstein-ish policies you put together yourself, click here and snag your policies today.

Terms and Conditions

A basic Terms and Conditions policy tells people what they can and cannot do with your original content (like your photos, your content, or that cool idea you talked about in your last post.) If you also sell content, it can be extended to protect you in the event that someone wants a refund or shares your content illegally.

It’s not at all uncommon for photos and content to be shared — with or without the permission of the creator — and often without credit. If this happens to you, what recourse do you have?

This is where a Terms and Conditions can help protect your interests. If you’ve clearly spelled out that you need to be asked for permission before your content is shared, then you’re on firmer ground if you need send a cease and desist letter or claim copyright infringement.

Just like the Privacy Policy, having a Terms and Conditions puts you on the level with your readers and consumers, lets them know that you’ve given thought (and care!) to what you’re doing and creating, and gives them clear instructions on how they can interact with your content.

WHERE DO I GET ONE?

Here again, you can start with a solid, attorney-approved terms & conditions template and customize it to your needs which should covers everything you need and some things you might not have thought of.

Now you’re ready to rumble!

I want to mention a couple other things before I wrap this up.

First, make sure that both the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions are posted and there’s a direct link (prominently posted) on your blog footer somewhere.

Second, don’t stress too much about making sure your policies cover every tiny thing. You can always update them as you go along. (It’s a nice thing for your visitors if you include a “last updated on” date, and make sure you mention that the policies can be updated at any time.)

Third, and finally, if you have visitors from the European Union, you should check out this article to make sure you have that extra step covered.

The moral of the story? Privacy Policies and Terms of Conditions are important. It's your ride or die front seat buddy.


 

Christina Scalera is an attorney and founder of The Contract Shop. She aims to make a positive impact on the creative industry by elevating the client experience with a professional, easy-to-understand contract for your particular niche. 

Leave her some love on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest!

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Turn Instagram Followers into Raving Fans

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Using Instagram like a Boss

with Guest Host, Tyler J. McCall

 
 

Tyler J. McCall is an Instagram connoisseur, social media master, and badass marketing strategist for creatives. He teaches his students how to have more conversations with your followers, drive more traffic to your products, services, or blog, and increase sales by drawing from his 10 years of experience in non-profit marketing and community building.


Episode 20 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 20 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Links

Tyler: Instagram | Website

Follower to Fan Society - Tyler has been kind enough to give you all a major discount because he loves the WBL tribe! You can now join FTF for $30 for 30 days! (And can cancel at any time!) Click that link and enter Lauren Dragon-Cook on your membership form for the question "Did someone refer you to The Society? Tell us who!" YAY! 


Transcript

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Hello everyone! How are we all doing on this fabulous Tuesday? We are here with my good friend Tyler McCall today. He is an Instagram genius! We love him to pieces. He is fabulous and approaches Instagram in a way I think will be very helpful and give a new perspective. Tyler is real. He is down to earth. He is not a bullshitter. So please join me in welcoming him and making him feel at home and part of this family!

Tyler McCall: Hi everyone! I am so excited to be here today. This is great! Thank you so much for having me today and everyone who is tuning in!

Lauren: Let people know how you got into Instagram? How has your journey led you to really being at the forefront of teaching people how to use it properly?

Tyler's Street Cred

Tyler: So my background is in the nonprofit world and community and political organizing. That is what I did in my life before doing what I do now. I was in the nonprofit world for about 6 years and then spent spent a couple of years doing community and political organizing. I also started and ran a nonprofit for a while and then helped LGBTQ communities in rural North Carolina. All that fabulousness. Toward the end of my nonprofit career… I don’t know if anyone here has come from that background. But nonprofit work is very exhausting, burn out is high. I was burnt out! I was over it. I started doing this side hustle thing.

Turn Instagram Followers into Raving Fans

So back in 2015 I made a handmade room and linen spray. It was called Mr. McCall’s Fine Fragrances. It was essentials oils... all natural. The only way I marketed that was on Instagram. I didn’t have any money. I was literally buying the bottles for the spray on Amazon and then printing the labels off at work after hours. The hustle was very real back then. I had the trunk of my car FILLED with all of this fragrance. I would drive around and go to little shops and take samples in. I would go to trunk shows and craft fairs and then I started Instagram. I slowly but surely spent relationships on Instagram to sell this product. This was at a really cool time where influencing was just starting on Instagram. I had people posting about my product for free because I did the craziest thing. You may never guess what it was…

Lauren: Tell me!

Tyler: I built a relationship with these people. That was it! I engaged with their content. I commented on what they shared. I slide into their DM’s when it felt appropriate. So when I launched Mr. McCall’s I would message them and say “Hey I love your content. I feel your followers would really love this product I created. Let me send you some for free. Let me know what you think”. 

That was it! No obligation, no expectation. And I was just getting post after post after post. So fast forward to the end of 2015 I was ready to go from my nonprofit job.. I had had it. And I started doing more side hustling with social media management.  There was a cute shop in downtown Alabama that was carrying my Mr. McCall’s products and their Instagram was garbage. And I went in there and said “I love you, I love what you do, but your Instagram page needs help. I will run it for your for $200 a month”. And they hired me! I started running their Instagram account and then got more clients through social media management. I was then able to leave my job at the beginning of 2016. 

All of 2016 I was running a small agency with a close friend. We were doing social media management. I was exhausted. I hated it. I was BROKE! I didn’t know what I was doing. At the end of 2016 my business partner and I sat down and decided to do something different. I want to go a completely different direction. So 2017 started and I was on my own. So all of last year was this year of exploring and fuginrig out what I was passionate about. How I wanted to show myself online. How I wanted to serve my community. By the end of 2017 we opened the doors to the Followers Into Fans Society. That is now the only thing I have to do because it is the only thing I want to do. It is members of our community market themselves in a really genuine way.

I think what has made the difference for me and how I am able to approach Instagram in the way I do is because I pull from a lot of experiences. I pull from marketing my own product online. I pull from the experience of marketing for other people. I pull from working with local businesses. I also pull from the experiences of the nonprofit world and the realm of community and political organizing, which I think is the most important part of what I bring. It really taught me the value of building relationships and focusing n community and getting people passionate about something.

That is what a lot of people are missing on Instagram. They are creating content to create content.  But they are not keeping the goal or objective in mind of “how do I get these people who are following me passionate about what I am doing? How do I get them to a place where they will tell the world about me on my behalf for free?”

That is a lot of the work I do now for other people. Its not about the quantity of fans, its about the quality. Its not the number of likes you get, it’s the quality of the conversations you are having. 

Lauren: Tyler… if I didn’t already love you before I love you even more now! I just want to keep you in my pocket at all times. Its revolutionary in how you go about things… but then again its not. It’s a lost art form. Connectedness.

Relationship Marketing

Tyler: My entire marketing strategy is rooted in relationship marketing. Its all about talking directly to someone, identifying a new or a problem they have, and then positioning your product or service as the solution they need. In doing that you are turning off the wrong people. You don’t want people following you that aren’t really interested in what you sell. And then you are also getting the right people really excited about what you sell. That way the question isn’t can I afford this or is it too much, it is where can I send my money? How do I buy this thing because I need it? And when you are marketing from a place of a relationship and the quality, selling becomes unnecessary really. You are no longer selling to someone, you are serving them something they really need. For me a lot of this comes through mindset shifts and recognizing that the success of my business is really rooted in what happens between my ears.

Which is hard! But when you take that responsibility for your relationships and for your content things change. A lot of people now are being passive in the way they market, rather than being active. We post a pretty picture with a link and wait for people to find us, when really we should be going out there with our content and pursing people. Its not about the hustle, its about really intentional engagement and taking that intentional action to engage with people. That way when people come to you and see your content its either beautiful, inspirational, or educational so it becomes a no brainer for them. They will want to follow you and learn more about working with you.

Inside Follower to Fan we have this whole system we teach where we get really crystal clear on who you are speaking to and then we can build a content strategy. A lot of people go to the content first and not the audience. 

Lauren: I do want to backtrack for one hot second… in talking about you need to figure out who your audience is first… if you don’t know who you are speaking to, when you create content you are literally throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping it will stick. That is not how you should be going about it. I feel like so many people out there who are social media gurus… they talk about what techniques and tricks have worked for them, but what they are missing is framework. A set of steps to follow in order to make sure you can’t d anything but succeed. That is why I love love love Follow to Fan so much! It is a breath of fresh air. You are the solution! You give a reason why this process and framework works.

So Tyler, in this group we are mainly wedding professionals, but within that there are different facets. Some bloggers, some photographers, some planners… so how do they go about creating those relationships and cultivating a community on Instagram when they are more of a service based than a product based?

Marketing A Service vs. Product

Tyler: I love this question. I want to challenge the belief that product based business have it easier on Instagram. I think they have it harder. I think it is easier for a service based business to market on Instagram… let me tell you why!

Product based business have a really easy thing to create content around... their product. They also have a high likely hood of boring the shit out of their audience really quickly. Because your product is incredible, I applaud the work you’ve done to make this thing by hand. The intention that goes into it.. I love all of that. However… no one case as much about that product as you do. And what tends to happen is product based businesses will just post their product again and again and it gets really boring for their followers because they don’t understand how it fits into their life. Or many they just buy it once…

As a service based business you have unlimited opportunity and potential. You can talk about so many things related to the service you can provide.

Let me give you some examples!

  • The Story Background Content: Tell me the background of why you decided to offer this specific service. So if you are a wedding photographer, tell me why you decided to be a wedding photographer. I don’t want to hear the story of how you bought your camera… but WHY did you get into this. What is it about love that you love? What is it about weddings you’re are attracted to you? And then I want to know the history of you getting into photographer. I want to know about your first wedding. And then I want to know what you learned since then. I want to know about your favorite types of weddings, and the weddings you don’t like to shoot. I think when you know your audience it makes it easier for your audience. They have this moment where they immediately know it is whether for them. And you want to turn off the people that aren’t for you. You want people to not follow you. That means you know you are talking to the right people! Tell me about your couples, but do it in a way where you talk about your experience being with them during that day. I want to know about the experience! I want you to feature your couples and allow them to tell your story about you being a part of their wedding day. You spend the most time out of anyone with the couple on their wedding day. They didn’t hire you just for the photos… they hired you to capture a visual representation of their day, they want that memory. The other reason is because they want to spend their wedding day with YOU. There are many different personalities in the world. Maybe you feel you are really shy and awkward… someone will resonate with that. Maybe you are super talkative and you’re really grandiose… that will resonate with someone. Maybe you want to go on a hike with them… that is going to resonate with people. But they need to see YOU. They want to connect with YOU. I built my business by supporting and helping people in the wedding profession. I love you and care about what you do! However… wedding pros tend to come from a place of creating their beautiful content and expecting the work to flow to them without doing ay other work. At the end of the day you are a business. That means you need to take ownership of your marketing, you need to brand your story, and you need to be proactive in how you are showing up online. That also means you need to recognize the fact that while social media are amazing places… nothing will ever beat the value of in-person connections and referrals for your business. Referrals are the life blood of the industry. So if all you’re doing is posting pretty pictures on Instagram, that business can’t grow because you need relationships. You need real in-person networking relationships with people who serve people that you want to serve as well. Instagram can allow you to do that! You can like their content and comment… but those relationships are so important.

I was having a conversation with another wedding pro the other day about nailing down their ideal client. And let me tell you… its hard work! You are trying to attract a very specific type of person and a specific time in their life. We have 3-6 months after the proposal when decisions are being made. In the grand scheme of things that might be a few thousand of people at a time. There are so many people selling programs that tell you how to do that. But why can’t be build a presence online that connects people who resonate with your message and then connect more people who resonate with that? Why don’t we spend the time developing real relationships with people who serve those people as well? So when someone is looking to do their hair, that person knows you as the photographer? Or as a videographer? Or as the makeup artist.

Social media is a valuable thing. You need to be online. People need to be able to find you and see your work and connect with you. At the same time social media does not relationship relationships. It does not replace referrals. It can’t! It never will! Those relationships and referrals are so important for getting people to your business.

Lauren: Mind blown! This is literally what I try so hard to cultivate without our little community. It really is about the relationships and connection with people. Everything else will follow suit. But if you are not doing those basic things right out of the gate, then it is going to be a struggle. You are going to be asking yourself where is my next client coming from? What am I doing? What am I doing wrong? Will I be able to eat this month?

How to Build Relationships

How then… that is the real question. How do we do this?

Tyler: The first thing is to recognize… you’ve probably been told by others that there is just a simple formula for this. Use this caption and use this photo. But is it not true! Instagram is very a niche specific. It is a place where you have to have this strong understanding of who you are speaking to and what you are saying to them and it has to be in a way that is very specific. 

  1. Who are you speaking to? Think about them in a way that takes into account their values. There are a few ways we can do this. Survey past clients. Call them, go to coffee. Talk to them about “Hey tell me why you hired me?” (If you do not have a place for people to tell you how they found you in your initial contract or survey… go do that right now!) You need to be collecting data and information. Everything in your business is just data! This is how you figure out how to market and how to price. You need to ask “why did I stand out to you? Was it the price? Was it the photos? Was it meeting me in person?” You need to ask them what it was like to spend time with you on their wedding day. I want you to spend some time ranking your clients. Who were your dreams clients and who were the nightmares? Are their any characteristics you can make sure you are NOT speaking to or you ARE speaking to in the future?
  2. Figure out their values. While you are doing this you may discover your values and your clients values are the same. And that may be true, however they mean different things to different people. You have to get really clear on that. 
  3. What is your objective? What are you trying to accomplish on Instagram? If you say you want more sales… then I want to unpack that. We need to recognize that if you are wedding photographer and you are selling a $2,000 to $10,000 photographer package, that isn’t going to sell through one single interaction. It takes some work. Something we do inside Follower To Fan is we get really clear on your conversion metrics. What is the conversion factor you want to track? I’m a big fan of tracking and looking at a quarterly basis. We need to measure this someone. Maybe you just want to convert more followers to commenters. Or maybe you want more people to stick around for your Instagram story. Whatever your objection is is going to influence your content. This path of how we get a random person on Instagram to like our content, to engage, to inquire. That’s the path we need to take them on. How do we insert content through this path to achieve our objective?
  4. Clarify our story. Here is something I want to point out… I’ve been walking you through this process and we have not yet talked about your phot, your caption, your hashtags… all of that stuff is the easy stuff! Actually what we teach inside Follower To Fan… I teach you a planning system where you can plan up to a months worth of content in an hour. Your effort and energy needs to go engaging outside of your account. We get clear on what is your unique brand story. How can you show up in a way that is true to you? And then we can create your brand voice and identity and your posting habits. We can then go out and engage and get new followers. But we cannot attract people to our account and content, if we haven’t done all of this first. I see a lot of people that are not growing, but you can’t expect your following to grow if you don’t have quality content. I don’t just mean a pretty photo, but Instagram isn’t a photo sharing app it is a story telling app. That means you have to have a great photo and then put your energy into writing captions. Something that is of value to your followers! Then you can engage with people to bring them back to your account. 

This is all a process that builds upon itself.

Lauren: This is what isn’t spoken about. These elements and this course of action isn’t talked about. We just want quick results and they think the money is in the number of followers you have. Unfortunately it isn’t a quick fix.

I’ve been contemplating creating an ideal client challenge for people. When I was in Disney with my screaming children it was great because I was looking at all of these characters and it clicked for me that all of these characters have different personalities and that is so similar to clients we work with. Who would I jive best with? Are they sassy and grumpy? Are they sweet and kind?

This is such good stuff!

Be YOU!

Tyler: I want to go back to something you said… I hear Natalie Frank say this almost a year ago. It really connected with me. “Stop trying to replicate what other people are doing on Instagram.” Some people will go to successful people’s Instagram accounts and try to copy what they are doing. Use the same hashtags, post the same type of content. But we are trying to attract different people. You don’t need to be me on Instagram. We are in different phases of our life. We are trying to attract different people. That’s how who we are trying to attract can influence our content. You need to not replicate what someone else is doing. Instead follow a framework that you can get really clear on these key parts of your business.

Instagram is not a marketing strategy. It is a channel.

It is one piece of the puzzle. When we talk about your objective and voice and audience… those are all brand elements that should be consistent on your website, your blog, your in person interaction. We just talk about it through the lens of Instagram because it is the platform most people use as a first step in getting people into their business. There is a lot more than just Instagram.

I see a lot of people who get obsessive over just the Instagram and think that is the be all to their business. It is so important… however there is a lot more that goes into your overall picture to marketing your business online and in-person. Don’t lose sight of that.

Lauren: Tyler… where have you been all my life? It is so true and it is just one component of your business. Don’t let is consume your business. It is the relationship and referrals and type of community you have going… you have to cultivate that and Instagram is just one means to do that.

Hashtags

I have a million questions that I could ask… I feel you have given them a new lens. How do they go about finding hashtags that would be poignant to their ideal business? How do they do without replicating? How do they find ones that are pointed to them? 

Tyler: Again it is about the audience. Recognizing that hashtags have two main purposes.

  1. Hashtags allow people to find you. It is true. However they don’t do that as much as they used to. The conversation we would have on Instagram a year ago would’ve been very hashtag focused, however what is happening now is that so many things have change don the platform and how people are using it, that people finding your through a hashtag isn’t as pervasive as it was before.
  2. Now hashtags should be used to help you find people to engage with.

As you are coming up with hashtags there are a few things you should be thinking about.

  • Is my ideal client here? Are they using these hashtags? Are they following these hashtags? Could then end up in this hashtag?
  • Do I want to be associated with this content. (For example, look up #entrepreneur… it is trash! It is filled with terrible content and quote images and stacks of money… none of it is related to entrepreneurship.)

Then use hashtags on your post. They still work! People just aren’t engaging and consuming content in the feed as much as they did before. Instagram is about stories. That is really where it is all happening now. More importantly, pick hashtags you want to engage with. Where you want to go into their accounts that are using those tags and follow and like and consume the content that way.

If you serve people locally, then you want to use a lot of location specific hashtags. Try abbreviations, try making words plural, try shortening words or lengthening words. Try using area codes or zipcodes. Test our different hashtags. When I do my research, I do it in Instagram because they will recommend related hashtags and show you how large it is. There is a sweet spot for hashtags. You want to look for ones that aren’t super overly active, where your content will get lost too quickly.

Growth

Lauren: I am just speechless after every single time because it is such a breath of fresh air. So much energy and time is put into this and it can be exhausting When you first started, Tyler, you started at 0… where are you at for followers?

Tyler: 16,000

Lauren: How long did it take you to see that growth?

Tyler: Using Instagram from a business perspective to market myself and what I do since mid-2016… almost two years. At that point I had maybe a few hundred followers who were friends and family. It has grown since then. Most of my growth came toward the end of last year. Something you need to know is if you are in the line of a consultant or operates a launch based business…. It can grow your community exponentially. If anyone is this space is an educator or speaker, the visibility side of your business is really important. I’m at a place in my business right now, where I am proud to say I have a multiple six figure business. Here is the thing… I don’t have hundreds of followers on Instagram or on a mailing list. What I have is a community online where I show the eff up. I’m not always on, I don’t allow it to consume me. But when I am there I am there and I am available for people. It is a boundary that you need to work on building. Those boundaries between life and work and being online as a person versus a business, it takes work and practice. But I don’t have all of these things other people have, I just have my community where I speak to and I stay very visible.

It takes time. Social media is a long game. It is not a flash in the pan. If you are in business to make a quick buck, then you probably don’t need to be in this group. But if you are in this because you want to build a legacy, you want to have impact then it doesn’t matter how long it takes.

There is a really popular concept online… if you only have 100 followers and all of your effort is going to getting more followers, think about how much of a difference it would make if you put half of your effort into engaging with people who are already there! Just serving those 100 people really really well… having conversations and getting to know them… you better believe those people will be loyal and devoted to you and will tell others about you.

Why are we putting so much obsession into trying to get more more more! Instead of recognizing we have people who are already here!

Inside Follower To Fan society we had a really great conversation where someone had grown their followers from about 800 to 1,600 within a couple of months and she was frustrated. She wanted more people. My partner Eric who works with me, he jumped into the chat box and said “how would it feel if you walked into a room and 1,600 people were sitting there and waiting to hear from you?” That is all you need! What is one more person? If you walk into a room with 1,600 people waiting to hear from you, think about what that would do for your life and business?

Lauren: I think a lot of people due to the nature of the beast and being in the wedding industry there is a high turn over rate. Because once you are done with a client you have to find a new one. But what I think a lot of people fail to recognize and embrace is if you have done a good job of building a community, they will sign your praises to everybody and anybody they know. Clients will still continue to come. Don’t worry about growing your following. Continue to show up for the people who have already hired you and do a stellar job of serving. They will do the work for you! But I think people get so scared that they won’t talk about them. It is just the opposite!

Business vs. Personal

Do you recommend having a separate account for business and personal?

Tyler: Great question. Whatever account you are going to use to market your services needs to be focused solely on that audience and purpose. It doesn’t need to be so stripped down that it is just business. Its needs personality. You need to be there. Do you feel the need to have a space on Instagram where you can post pictures of your kids, your dog, your food, and you want that to be part of what you are doing? If so, then that needs to be a separate personal account. If you don’t feel the need to do that, then you can have just one account. It depends on whether or not your business is a personality branded business or if it is more of its own entity. 

For example, I have a personal brand. I am Tyler J McCall. I have created the Follower To Fan Society. If you encounter my content online, I talk about Instagram but I talk a lot about life and lifestyle. Because discussing those things is a way in which people better understand what I do, my approach, and they type of life I’m able to live because of my business. It is all tied together.

If you are going to use an account for your business, make that account specific to that thing and you need to upgrade to a business account profile. You cannot market without that profile because you do not know what you are doing. You don’t have the data to make any decisions. 

Lauren: You nailed it. To even go further with that, if you are your brand that is the difference between if you are separate from your brand. I am my brand. I am The Wedding Boss. I had some stories on Instagram from my trip to Disney. But if I was still actively planning weddings, would I have still posted that? Probably not. Because that brand was more business-esque. 

I feel I could literally sit and chat with you all day. This has been so helpful. And I think a lot of people weren’t expecting this. I think a lot of people were expecting the tips and the tricks. But what so many people in that mindset are lacking is the framework. I would highly encourage everyone to follow Tyler on Instagram.

Tyler: @TylerJMcCall

Lauren: Absolutely check him out. 

Tyler: For a limited time we have a 30 day trial available for Follower To Fan. If you go to tylerjmccall.com/trial you can get a 30 day trial for $30 when you start your monthly membership.

Lauren: That is exactly how I joined. I had to really narrow down my life and focus on what was going on with my business and it was the perfect time. I will be totally honest, I haven’t even begun to scratch the service on what Tyler has to offer with this service. But even just the little bit I have done has been a total game changer. In all facets of my business! I cannot thank you enough for that. It is just the beginning.

Tyler: Of course! I think we have the most supportive Facebook group on the planet.

Lauren: Really truly! It is one of the best I have ever seen.

Tyler: Such an engaging and supporting place. We have members that bust through the framework and then they are still there! It is such a valuable place to be in. We need relationships to make this business thing work. Working from home is great, being your own boss is great, rocking that yoga pant lifestyle is great. However, you need people to cheer you on. You need people to call you out on your bullshit. You need people to answer questions and cry with you and yell with you. Complain about things with you! Follower To Fan provides that to a lot of our members. I am so grateful the people who are part of this community are so passionate about making it what it is.

Lauren: That is another reason why I love it so much myself. It is so reminiscent of what we have happening and going on here! If you are going to bring negative bullshit energy, you are getting your ass kicked faster than tomorrow. We have to embrace and support each other. That is why your community too is a safe place.

Thank you so much Tyler. If people have questions what is the easiest way to reach you? DM on Instagram?

Tyler: Yeah on Instagram! You can also check out TylerJMcCall.com we have some free content and downloads you can grabs.

Lauren: You have one all about the engagement season!

Tyler: We will start promoting that in the fall. Eight out of the top ten most days people are getting engaged are between Thanksgiving and Valentines day. So we have this walkthrough that shows you how to get your Instagram account ready for that time of year. And how to find those couples!

Lauren: A million thank yous! I hope you all enjoyed our time with Tyler. Next week we will be chatting with Brittany Berger. A really good friend of mine. We will be talking about recycling content. Don’t miss that!

I hope this has been helpful for everyone! See you next week.


Email Lists + Newsletters

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

The Importance of an Email List and What You Should Send Them

 

 
The Importance of Email Lists and Newsletters
 

Grab your dark roast + join us as we dive into why the heck anyone in the wedding industry even needs an email list, what the benefits are to having one, and the types of content you should be sending your subscribers!


Episode 19 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 19 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.



Transcript

Lauren Dragon-Cook: How is everyone doing on this fine Tuesday? Today we are going to be chatting a bit about email lists and newsletters. It is something that I feel a lot of people get very disgruntled with because they feel it is one more thing they have to do and try to manage within their business. Bu the reality is, you know what you are kind of doing and you’re not creating any extra work for yourself because you are just repurposing stuff you are already doing. I’ll dive into that a little bit more.

Let’s get started! Why not! 

Do I Need a Newsletter?

One question I get asked on the regular… do I need a newsletter? I only have two people… do I need a newsletter? Let’s chat about this a bit. If you have been paying attention at all to social media, Facebook, Instagram… you actually don’t own the people that follow you. You don’t own your “likes”, your followers. Especially now that the Facebook algorithm has changed drastically. Less and less of our posts are being seen by our ideal clients and audience. It makes things a little bit difficult when you are of the mindset that by posting on social media you are doing your do-diligence for people that are watching you and haven’t hired you yet. These people will tune it and see what is going on… and then they see if they want to hire us. They are in the shadows lurking! The reality is it is harder and harder to get in front of our ideal clients. The long and short answer to this? Well… yeah. 

If you want to protect yourself from all the changes on social media. If you have products that you sell in addition to your services or you want to upgrade your services with somebody that has already hired you for the day of coordination package but you would love to upsell them to a more expansive package. 

Having a newsletter will bring clients down a customer journey. Its almost like dating. They get to know you, you wine and dine them a bit… and then you ask them… do you want to be my boyfriend? Do you want to be my girlfriend?

Why you need an email list as a wedding pro

Having a newsletter is almost like a VIP club. You are getting a group of “special clients” because you can give then extra value. You can tell them about deals and promotions first.

Building Credibility

The biggest thing I find with a newsletter is you are truly building credibility. You are building it not just for you as a business owner, but also because it is putting you in a position of authority within your industry. The power of what a newsletter does! Wow!

People start to look forward to receiving emails from you. They will immediately open it up and be like “yay!”. It is something people begin to look forward to. The difference I want to talk about between a newsletter and a blog post is a blog post should be an in depth description of whatever you’re talking about. You might talk about “3 tips on how to survive planning your wedding” or “how to choose your color theme”… You are writing for SEO. You are writing a post because you want to get the content out there. But a newsletter can do a lot of different things! One thing I enjoy doing is I’ll write a blogpost but them give a little snippet of it in my newsletter. It can be talking about even more in YOUR own voice. Someone that has signed up for your newsletter wants to know more about you. They want to know the inside scoop. They want to know who you really are. 

Our website can be superficial. But the beautiful thing about a newsletter is you can really be yourself. You are attracting your ideal client. So if you are not yourself… if you are scared to be speaking in a way that reflects who you are… then that is who you are going to attract. Instead, you want to be yourself in your newsletter! You can utilize it to send time sensitive information. I sent a reminder (when I remember) to my newsletter list when I want to mention a coffee chat or I’ll mention I launched a new SEO course. This gave me the opportunity to offer them a discount before anyone else and it was a thank you.

It is a quick snippet. When you start to think about “do I really want to get into a newsletter?”… just keep it short. Think about YOURSELF when you get an email. When you get an email that is about 75,000 words long… do you read it? Do you read the whole thing? I know myself and I am looking for the bold or the numbers. You want to make sure you are writing things that will captivate your email list and not repel them.

You Own Your Email List

Another key element of a newsletter is you own that list. You own your email list! You might be thinking “well what is the point? Why do I want this email list? They are a one and done”. That is where you are wrong. What ends up happening (from my experience) when somebody signs up for your email newsletter, regardless of whether or not they are getting married themselves, they will send out that information to other people. One of my most shared newsletters was when I did a break down of all the wedding shows, bridal expos in the area for the upcoming two months. That was my number one shared newsletter. It’s a get out. The people who it was shared with… then joined my newsletter and email list. Don’t think that just because you may be an officiant or wedding planner or florist you can’t benefit from having an email list.

How Do I Start?

With all of that being said, another question I get asked is “Well this is all great grand and wonderful,  but how do I get people to sign up for a newsletter? How do I even start that process?” Please, if nothing else from today, please do not just say “join my email list, subscribe!” Don’t just say that, please. You can do that, within your blog on the side bar. But make it more fun than that! People view their email addresses as a commodity. Some people make fake email addresses because they sign up for so much crap and they don’t want to get spammed. But a lot of people view their email address as a commodity, so they are exchanging that with you for valuable information. What are you going to provide to them that is valuable? They want to know that they are going to get something out of this “relationship”. Everybody wants something for free. Everybody thinks that by signing up for this checklist or this guide… it may be the secret missing piece. The reality… probably not. BUT this is helping you as a business owner. We are using this principle in that regard. 

Where Do They Sign Up?

Easy ways you can have people sign up is maybe you don’t have an opt in yet. Maybe you haven’t created a checklist or a guide… that is okay! You can say “if you want to be kept in the loop with all the bridal happenings… sign up!” There are different ways to go about it. I would definitely suggest putting a place for people to enter into your email list on your about page. On your blog on the side bar within each blog post! If you go onto my website and look at my blog posts, there is a spot for people to join at almost every single post. Think about it… where is the bulk of your traffic going on your website? Are they looking at your pricing? Probably. Would that be a good place to put something? YES! That is where you are getting a lot of traffic. People want to be kept in the loop with information and advice and tips for the expert. They may not necessarily hire you, but they will share that with their friends. I promise you! Don’t feel you have nothing to provide. If you are someone who has already written a lot of blog post… REUSE THOSE! They can be a part of your newsletter. It is really easy to just take the first two sentences, stick it into a newsletter and say something like “find out the other three tips HERE”… create a button, click on it, and now you have someone who trusts you now and looking forward to your emails BUT you also just sent somebody to your website and bumped up your SEO.

The main source of traffic for my website is from Pinterest. But guess where I am sending them> YES! I’m sending them to opt-ins and blog posts where I know there is a place for them to sign up for my email list. That is how between October and now… 6 months I have grown my email list to almost 2,000 people. That is just from having valuable content and pins. 

Another place a lot of people don’t realize that they can have a location for people to sign up… is within your email signature! I just think that is so brilliant!  I have it on my signature. I am sending anybody that wants to join to THIS group. What do they do when they click on this link? I ask people a set of three questions… one of them is “would you like to receive my 10 free templates? If so leave your email”. That has worked so well! I would say 85% of those people leave their email address. Do the math on that! Super simple!

If you are a bride and you email me at my LDC email, and they click on the link “bridal resources” I am sending them to my blog. But you could have that opt-in already on your website and you can send them to that specific place so they can sign up. Again, having it in your email signature is a great place to do it. Create a graphic that when they click on it, it brings them where you want them to be… and they can sign up!

Opt-Ins

If you are a portrait photographer… trying to figure out what to pack and what to bring and the outfit for a boudoir shoot… that was harder than trying to find my wedding dress! What I would suggest is creating something people can use as a checklist. Anytime you are doing a reveal as a blog post… create an opt in (the checklist) of all the stuff they should pack prior to your shoot. Then on your website you ask for their email address and in return they will get that PDF you created. It is something you create one time… but for any boudoir shoot you can use that as your opt-in. One and done! It is so much easier when someone can break it down for you. We see these leaders in the wedding industry and they have opt-ins upon opt-ins constantly! Well they’ve either been in this for a long time! Its not that they sat down one day and created ALL of them. No, they started out with one. Create one that can be super universal!

If you are trying to create an idea of an opt in… put it into the community! You will get some feedback as to whether or not people will actually want it! Ask me! I’ll tell you the honest truth! Get advice. Or if you are lacking creativity, go back to the questions you get all the time. And then create something off of that! Then when someone emails you asking that question… you send them along the PDF. Which then brings them to your website and then getting them on your email list!

The majority of my newsletters… start to pay attention. There is a method to my madness. I will typically send reminders for coffee chats, but I will also send you out a newsletter. I try to minimize that… I hate getting tons of spam email from people. But you can expect two regular newsletters from me a month. See what I talk about. Use it as a guide. If I have a new download or guide to something…I’m going to talk about that!

Use Your Existing Content

Don’t send a newsletter out to your email list, just saying “hey I wrote a new blog post”. Don’t do that. INSTEAD take the first few sentences or paragraphs, repurpose it… make that your newsletter and say “if you want to read more, check it out here”… then they may not even know it is a blog post. That is part of using your content!

You are creating a pathway for your client and audience. They sign up for your email list to get a free resource, but then you are building trust with them and it s a journey. You can share things like your favorite tools and resources. This is one of my favorite emails to send… I do it probably every 4-5 months. I will quite literally say “how can I help you?”. Those that know me well enough know that I genuinely care. Its not a sales pitch. You can very easily do the same thing with people on your email list. 

  • How can I help you right now? 
  • What are you struggling the most with? 
  • What is giving you the most grief? 
  • What is holding you back from doing a boudoir shoot?

You are having a conversation with people. Its almost profound, but at the same time it is so simple it seems stupid! Answering common questions is also super helpful. Maybe you’re getting the same questions a lot of the time… write an email out answering some of those questions!

What Do Newsletters Look Like?

I want to go over some newsletters I have used for my LDC newsletters. I use Active Campaign. I tried InfusionSoft, MailChimp, MailerLight… for me Active Campaign is the best fit for my business. It is very easy.

I created a template for my emails, and that way I never have to go back and re-create it again. I introduced myself, the wedding experience… basic information. For one newsletter I sent people a list of my favorite resources to use. At the bottom of that newsletter I said “To see the full list of resources and their descriptions head to my website…” and then it sent them to the complete blog post. BOOM! DONE! 

Another newsletter I sent out “Why a DIY wedding isn’t always less expensive”.  I also did one tipping and feeding their vendors. Right there you are providing the solution to the problem. There are multiple ways you can go about solving industry problems, but people don’t take the time to be proactive. They are only reactive.

Last Remarks

I hope this has given you a little insight into the value of having an email list. A lot of people say this feels like just another thing they have to do. But once you’ve set it up… it is so easy to tap into! Initially it can be difficult to start, but if you want help with that I am more than happy to talk with you.

Next week I am so excited! Monday is our “LIVE”, not Tuesday. It will be the SEO workshop. Exclusive! I am leaving for Florida on Tuesday, that is why we moved it to Monday. But it is not something that will be available to watch like all the rest of the “LIVES”. 

I will be chatting with you all next week so please have a fantastic rest of your week!

Q + A

Q: With bio make up could you offer make up tips or list tips and tricks in a newsletter?

A: Absolutely! I would suggest including a video tutorial. If you have already recorded something, you can have that video be embedded in the newsletter. Also, if you are an affiliate of anything… you would include a link to your “shop” as the back end. If you are talking about a new lipstick, where can they find it? Well put a link to it. But instead of just linking to the normal place… use your affiliate link. Then they make a purchase and you get a partial commission. But make sure that any time you have an affiliate link to anything you have to state “this email/newsletter contain affiliate links”. If you don’t… BAD. You can then say, “But I wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t fully stand behind or support.

 

Q: Is it okay to use an opt-in as a “bit-ly” address for them to click on? Or would it be better to use a “sign up here”?

A: You can always use a “bit-ly” link as the hyperlink, but I always recommend highlighting the text and making that into a hyperlink. Statistically speaking people are more likely to click something highlighted. This will also help to track it. However, will a provider like Active Campaign, I will see who actually clicked on that link. You can also insert a button! People love them!

 

Q: For people who respond to your newsletter asking for help, how do you respond?

A: I will typically email them back and offer them a free 30 minute coffee and clarity chat. I can always insert that into the initial email I’ve sent out as well. You can try it without sending the link and then if you get a reply doing it that way and seeing which way has a better response? But honestly it is whatever you decide in the moment.

 

Q: Regarding make up, asking something like “what are your concerns for the wedding” could be helpful?

A: Yes you absolutely can. Or you can always ask what look they are going for and provide them some examples. Show a couple different looks and then say “for the full list of beauty looks go here”… and link it to your blog post. You will find that until you have built up a significant email list, you may not get a lot of dialogue back and forth. It took a while for that to happen for me. If your list is growing, I would absolutely suggest doing a blog post and then taking the first part of it and including that in your newsletter. I’ve seen people create a grouping of their favorite things. They include graphics and descriptions and those always seem to have a great response rate. 

 

Q: As a calligrapher I am losing business to graphic designers and savvy brides, any advice on how to stand out?

A: That just sucks, it hurts my heart. Show them why they should hire you over doing it themselves. Whether that means that your product will last a life time, versus their work. I’ve seen a lot of calligraphers sell their work online. You could sell your products as digital downloads. A lot of people are willing to pay when it comes to doing the work for them, but they may not want all the bells and whistles. Unfortunately the problem of having brides use digital calligraphy, is not going to go away… unfortunately. But the people that are doing it themselves probably aren’t your ideal client anyways. But that isn’t to say you can’t sell them your service. It just may not be wedding calligraphy.

 

Q: What platform do you use for email?

A: I personally use Active Campaign now. If you want I can show you a bit of the backend, just let me know! I use Squarespace for my website. I use the app Zapier as a middle man. So when people go onto my website and sign up using their email address, it sends it to Zapier, which then transfers their email address to Active Campaign. 


Paving the Path to Uniqueness

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Thinking Outside the Box

Kasey is a badass designer that is crazy passionate about creating jaw-dropping, personalized wedding experiences for couples and their guests. She owns revelry + heart, a custom design studio for couples that revel in their authenticity and crave design that evokes conversation.

 
Kasey K of revelry + heart on Wedding Boss Life
 

revelry + heart's mission is "following hearts, not trends." Kasey highlights couples' unique personalities and embodies them through creative detail design. Starting with epic wedding invitations, Kasey creates a foundation aesthetic that is 110% you and weaves these elements throughout your wedding to create a lively expression of self-celebration, a revelry, giving you confidence in your planning process. Creating from your heart forms an amazeballs experience for you and your guests that you'll love for all time.


Episode 18 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 18 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Links

Kasey Kyprianou: Website | Facebook | Instagram

About Page Episode


Transcript