Today, Jenna Bechtholt shares how she connects and networks with other wedding pros. It’s all about reaching out! If you haven’t been doing this in your business, do so now!
Making the first move and putting yourself out there can be a scary thing, even in the wedding industry. But when it comes to business, getting connected with other wedding professionals could be the key to really launching your company or getting your name out to a new community. By keeping to yourself, you may be missing out on a lot of great opportunities to grow your business. So let’s talk about some ways to start getting connected!
1. Meet People That Do What You Do
Spend some time researching local wedding vendors in your area. When you find a company that you sincerely like find them on Facebook and send them some support by liking their page or leaving them a nice comment. Don’t you check out people that like your page? Exactly. So you can bet that they will check you out and you may even get a like back. That is the perfect interaction to start up a conversation or send a quick message to say hello.
Although I don’t only want you to get to get to know photographers if you are a wedding photographer, there is something to be said for forming friendships and relationships with people who are running a similar business as you. There will be plenty of ways you can relate to one another and you may even learn to lean on each other for help or assistance on jobs.
Additionally, there are tons of wedding related groups for any sort of wedding vendor to join on Facebook or various forums online. Take a minute and look around. If you find the right groups you might even pick up a job or two that other people are looking to refer out. Being part of a community definitely has its perks and this is a great way to find people and begin branching out.
2. Pass Out Those Business Cards
The simplest way for people to remember your name and your brand is to hand out business cards at events that you are working. Leave a few for the guests but don’t forget the other vendors working along side you. Introduce yourself, pay them a compliment and hand them your business card. What could be easier marketing than that? Make sure to follow up with those vendors a few days later by sending out a quick email to say hello and mention how much you enjoyed meeting them. This will allow them to recall who you are and hopefully remember the great work that you did. It is always good for other wedding specialists in your community to think positively about you. Remember, referrals!
3. Be Open to Styled Shoots
In the wedding business styled shoots are fairly common. It is a great way to build the portfolios of various vendors all at once. This is often a very productive idea because everyone wants the shoot to turn out well in order to benefit from it. Therefore, each individual is putting in their best effort to get amazing results. There is really no limit of who can be included in a styled shoot, often times the more detailed elements that there are the more interesting the images will be. Some people are busy enough that they don’t feel they need to participate in styled shoots where they will not be paid, but it is important to remember these kinds of projects are great marketing tools, too. Your name will follow that styled shoot wherever it goes, and often times really well done shoots are published in bridal blogs and magazines where they give credit to every vendor who participated. This is helpful for SEO purposes, more exposure as a professional in your field and something to add to your resume! So keep in mind everyone has the potential to take something away from a styled shoot. Again, this is a great way to get to know people in the wedding community and actually work with them. If these vendors are happy with the work you do they may remember you for the future and recommend you to a client, and you can do the same. There is really nothing better than personally knowing professionals in your industry who do great work.
So what do you do if you have never been approached to be a part of a styled shoot? Take control and set it up YOURSELF. (This is when spending that time researching local vendors and meeting people that do what you do becomes really beneficial!) Find all of the vendors that you think you need and put together the best shoot you can. You don’t need to be the photographer to take the lead on this sort of project, but you will need one to capture the event – so don’t waste time and start getting connected!
4. Make Friends in Your Industry
Growing a business is hard work. Of course we want to attract as much business as possible, but sometimes we need to take a break from looking at our competitors as competition. We would be wise to recognize that they are people who are walking down the same path as us and that probably know exactly what we are going through. It can be encouraging to know that there are other people who are going through the same struggles, have dealt with similar hardships but who are just as excited to be working in the wedding world as you are. Making friends in the wedding community can have a really positive impact on your life and may help you to grow in ways you never imagined. Taking the time to say hello could be the best move you make all day for your business.
The moral of this story is that spending a small amount of time getting to know other wedding vendors in your community has the potential to bring you more business than you could gather on your own. Remember, we all work in the same market and deal with one another very often, so it is likely that some of the people you meet will recommend you to their clients if you leave a good lasting impression on them. It is also great to meet people that share a common interest and to find friends that understand exactly what you are going through as a businessperson in the wedding industry.
Jenna Bechtholt is a wedding photographer in Los Angeles. You can find her at: http://www.jennabechtholt.com/