Getting used to working from home can be a challenge at the best of times. Let alone when it’s forced upon you.
But luckily, we live in a world of highly advanced technology that can not only help us stay connected during a pandemic. It can also help us run our businesses without face-to-face contact.
We’ve taken a look at some of the best and most popular software products that people use to run their businesses from home, to see how they apply to the wedding industry.
Staying connected with couples
Staying connected is more important than ever while everyone is practising physical distancing. Especially with uncertainty for wedding dates looming, it’s so important to stay connected and in touch with couples who have booked your services.
Making yourself available for a conversation about what is happening or reaching out to them proactively will help you nurture the existing relationships you have at this time. It’s also worth being proactive and reaching out to potential leads who haven’t booked with you yet but might need the extra support.
Here are some tools that you might find useful to stay connected with couples while you’re not able to meet in person.
Calendly is a tool that connects with your calendar and helps couples book in a time to meet with you. It automatically syncs with your calendar to check your availability and you can set certain times that couples can book in.
Usually, this is a useful tool to help save you time on emails or back and forth trying to find a time that suits everyone. But during isolation, it can work as a method for your couples to get in touch with you. Having an accessible Calendly link on your website, social media or email signature will make you available to couples who might need the support; whether they’ve booked with you or not.
You can sync Calendly with one calendar for free.
You’ve likely already heard a lot about Zoom over the past few weeks. It’s become one of the most popular video conferencing platforms for staying connected during isolation. Having a video call over a professional platform is a great way to have a face-to-face meeting with a couple when you can’t meet in person.
Zoom offers a number of benefits that make it ideal for connecting with couples. Firstly, it’s free to use and they’ve extended their original 40-minute free time limit during COVID-19 to help people stay connected. Zoom also allows you to share your screen, so if you want to walk a couple through a gallery or feature you can do so together. Plus, you can have multiple users on a video call. That means important people like parents or the wedding party can be involved if your couple chooses.
Use video conferencing to connect to your couples more than if you were just talking on the phone. Other useful tools for video calls include Google Meet, which can be connected to your calendar, and Jitsi.
A good headset and microphone
So this isn’t a tool in itself, but it is a piece of equipment that will make your life connecting over video calls much simpler. A good quality headset with a good quality microphone means your couples will be able to communicate with you clearly and openly.
To score more pro points, make sure that the background behind your video call is professional. People are more forgiving of the working-from-home environment at the moment. But there are still ways to make your professionalism on a video call stand out.
Staying connected with staff
Couples aren’t the only group we may have lost contact with. It’s also important to make sure you’re keeping your staff members engaged and make sure everyone is on the same page for the business.
Video conferencing is a great tool to stay connected with staff and communicate with one another. But there are some other tools that could come in handy for your business.
Slack is an instant messaging communication tool that offers chat function and quicker contact than email. It’s a great way to stay connected with various projects and can sync with other tools you use, such as Google Suite or Trello.
Slack is more like a group chat function. But it can also be split into relevant groups and channels. Channels can represent different departments, such as marketing or sales. Or you can use channels to split up projects or teams.
You can also sign up for the free version of Slack to see how it works for you and your team.
Trello is a project management tool that can help you and your team keep on top of what everyone is working on. It works off a simple task, or card, concept. You can move cards around your boards, add checklists, assign tasks to team members and set due dates for projects all through Trello.
This could be a great tool to manage different projects you’re working on. Or even a project management tool for the different weddings you work on during the year. There is a free version of Trello as well, so again you can try it before implementing it fully with your team.
Showcasing your product or service
Now that we’re not able to meet couples to show them our products and services, it’s time to get creative. Social media, websites and directories have been the primary ways to show couples what you can offer online. But there was always the fallback of being able to have someone meet you, or pop into your store to see your product.
So it’s time to get creative. Here are some tools that will help you showcase your product and service further online. Or to potential couples who want something personalised.
We know that many of you are likely already working on social media, but there are ways to streamline the process. While Facebook can be scheduled in its own platform, Later allows you to plan your posts on Instagram, Instagram stories, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more.
As uncertainty about weddings is high at the moment, couples are spending their time on social media for inspiration and advice. Make sure your business is front-of-mind with a scheduled social media strategy that means you are posting relevant content, often.
Don’t forget to engage with your couples on social media as well. There’s no point posting an image and not engaging back with those who enjoy it.
Quik is a simple but professional video editing app that is available on both Android and IOS. It was made by the creators of GoPro and allows you to edit videos to make them more professional for your audience.
Video is not only popular on social media, but it’s also a great way to personalise and create messages for couples. A video could showcase a video walk-through or your wedding venue or a slideshow or your photography portfolio. You could use video to show the intricacies of a new car. You could show the power of your band through video.
If a recorded video isn’t your thing, think about what you can showcase through Facebook and Instagram Live, or through video conferencing. A celebrant could use a live video to run-through how a ceremony works. Or a florist could present a live video of how to make a bouquet in real-time.
Most of us are filming on our phones, so having an easy-to-use app that we can edit straight from our mobiles is a plus. For those editing on their desktop, take a look at Animoto or Kapwing as useful alternatives.
There are many different ways to share files, but Dropbox is one of the best. It’s a universal tool, is free to sign up, and is more accessible to all email addresses than other alternatives like Google Drive.
Dropbox is perfect for sending larger files through to couples. These could be particularly useful when sending personalised videos you’ve made or sharing galleries and portfolios.
If you have large files that you usually show couples and clients in person, share them over Dropbox instead. Or, share your screen during a video chat to look at them together.
Mailchimp is an email platform that allows you to send bulk emails to couples. But it’s not just used to try and push people in a sale. Mailchimp is incredibly visual and can be used to share new products or services with your couples in a visual way.
Rather than sending an email out with attachments, look at using Mailchimp to create more visual emails where your images are a part of the layout. It’s a great way to keep your couples up-to-date with the latest trends, or a new piece you might have available to hire.
We know that selling your product or service at the moment is particularly difficult. Not just because couples are more uncertain, but also because you’re still getting used to working from home. But for the new couples who do get in touch with you, it’s important to have your processes in place.
A strong customer relationship management tool will make keeping track of your sales process that much easier. There are many different products on the market, including HubSpot, SalesForce and of course, WedCRM.
Having your CRM set up means you can look at your sales pipeline and see where couples might be feeling uncertain. That will then make it easier for you to improve certain parts of your sales process and make sure that nothing gets left out.
If you’re not already using a CRM, we highly advise setting one up during isolation. If you do, take a look at how you can be using it more to convert more of the enquiries you are getting.
When in doubt, pick up your phone! We highly advise using video calls and conferencing to get in touch with couples. But if you’re still getting used to working from home, there’s no harm in using a method that is tried and tested.
Pick up the phone to give your couples a call and have a chat to them like you would on any other day. Send them a text message to see how they are. Mindset is everything, so remember to stay positive.