We were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Brenda Cadman of Wedding Business Websites! I recently presented a webinar on Tech Apps for her website and we were so impressed with her, so we wanted to share a bit more about what she does. In addition to sharing her expertise in websites, Brenda also hosts Wedding Business Workshops, a monthly subscription program that provides wedding professionals with a treasure trove of business resources, workshops and webinars. Read on to learn more about Brenda and her services!
1. Please share a bit about Wedding Business Websites, Wedding Business Workshops, and what our readers can gain from them.
Wedding Business Websites is the wedding industry focused arm of my business, Bon Accord Creative. While I do often provide website design and development services to wedding professionals, my focus within the industry has shifted more towards providing education and training opportunities.
I accomplish this through a variety of platforms, including a free Facebook community (Website Marketing for Wedding Professionals, currently over 2600 members), free and paid online courses, and online workshops featuring guest experts.
2. Can you tell us a bit about how and why you started out in the wedding industry?
One of my best friends, Kathy, had been a long time wedding cinematographer, and after 13 years she decided to transition out of working with couples, and to instead provide an online video marketing platform for other wedding professionals themselves.
She was regularly speaking with business owners who had websites that were NOT working effectively for them so I found myself on the receiving end of a lot of referrals for photographers and make up artists and cake designers and so on.
When I realized that I was seeing a lot of the challenges and the same mistakes being made, I wanted to find out if it was unique to the referrals I was getting or if it was a more widespread issue across the wedding industry.
So with Kathy’s help, I did a review of over 500 industry websites across the US and Canada, and sure enough, the same mistakes were cropping up over and over. I realized that this was an industry that I really loved and where I felt I could make a difference.
3. What are some of your top tips for creating a great website?
There’s a tendency for many designers to focus on creating a beautiful website, and of course, you want your website to be attractive and enticing to wedding couples. But beauty isn’t going to save a website with a nasty user experience.
Ensuring you have an intuitive, consistently placed navigation that quickly helps wedding couples find the information they’re looking for without overwhelming them is one of the most important components of creating an effective website.
That means making sure you don’t have more than 6-8 primary menu items, that you’re utilizing drop downs to break information into bite-sized chunks and that your menu names make sense. I often quote Marie Forleo: “Don’t sacrifice clarity for cleverness.”
Also, pay close attention to your galleries. For many business owners in the wedding industry, you have visual examples of your work which you are likely presenting in a portfolio or gallery area of your website.
You’ll want to make sure to adhere to best practices here, including curating your work so that you’re showing the best of the best, organizing your information so it’s not overwhelming and ensuring that you’re using high quality images (I have seen far too many itty bitty, pixelated photos!).
Both of these topics are ones that I cover in a free mini-course, “Create a Better Website in 5 Days”, along with other lessons to address some of the common mistakes I see and the simple changes that can have a big impact on a website’s effectiveness.
4. Are there any major no-no’s when it comes to website design?
Too many to list here. :)
But honestly, some of the biggest mistakes I see aren’t even related to the design, they’re more about how business owners are presenting their website content.
Your contact information in particular is an area where simple changes can make a tremendous difference. Many wedding business are still using a gmail or similar email address as their official email address, and the reality is that it does not look professional. It is what it is. #sorrynotsorry
It’s an easy and inexpensive change that can automatically make a business look more credible, yet many new business owners (and some established ones too!) haven’t changed to using an email that uses their website domain.
I know not everyone is in a position to hire a development firm to professionally design and build their website so it’s been a key mission for me to teach business owners about things they can easily improve themselves, even if they are DIY’ing their website, and even if they don’t have a strong design skill set.
5. What inspired you to launch your webinar program?
It all started with one live webinar with a guest presenter back in August 2015 when we talked about some SEO basics that wedding business owners could apply on their own websites. That workshop proved to be so popular that I arranged some other presenters to speak about a few other topics, such as blogging, Instagram and Google Analytics.
The feedback I received highlighted that there was a need for someone to curate experts to provide more online education opportunities… not just in website related topics but also a variety of other marketing and business subjects as well.
Flash forward to January 2016 when I realized how many of these guest expert trainings I was beginning to accumulate. It was suggested to me by others in the industry that I needed a place to house all of the workshops to easily access on demand.
And so Wedding Business Workshops was born! In a nutshell, Wedding Business Workshops is a members-only website that provides ongoing training (3 new masterclasses added every month) at a low monthly cost. From the beginning, it was important to me that it be extremely accessible cost wise so that all businesses, whether active in the industry for many years or just getting started, could easily afford it within their marketing budget.
All new workshops have a limited time free viewing period when they are released, but it’s a short window so many wedding industry professionals have opted for the flexibility of having 24/7 access via the member site.
Folks who want notification of new workshops when there’s a free viewing period should jump on the subscriber list to ensure they get an alert when a new masterclass is available.
6. How do you connect with other wedding professionals for your webinars?
Relationship building, both online and offline, has been a critical part of finding smart and savvy people to speak to my audience. In addition to hosting my own industry Facebook community, I also actively participate in a variety of other online groups for creative professionals, and I’m constantly keeping my eyes and ears open for potential good fits.
I also periodically survey my audience to find out the most sought after topics, and then I will make a point of asking within my own network to try to source experts to speak on those topics. As much as possible, I try to find folks who specialize in working with the wedding industry (or at least with creative service professionals).
Attending conferences like Wedding MBA has also been very beneficial for meeting great people who are excited to teach others in the industry how they can improve various aspects of their business or marketing. In fact, as I’m sharing my answers now, I’m on a flight headed to Wedding MBA for my 3rd year. :)
7. If you could give one piece of advice to wedding professionals, what would it be?
Keep learning. And then APPLY that newfound knowledge. As business owners, often solo entrepreneurs, we have to wear so many hats to run our businesses effectively, and the landscape of business and marketing is constantly evolving. Online marketing in particular changes quickly.
It doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself (and in fact, you shouldn’t!), but you do need to be aware of what you or someone on your team should be dedicating time to in order to get in front of your ideal clients and to achieve your business goals.
To do that, you have to keep educating yourself… and fortunately, with the availability of so many online training opportunities, it’s never been easier.
Interested in Brenda's workshops? Enter to win one of (10) 2-month memberships with Wedding Business Workshops here! With your membership, you'll gain access to over 40 past workshops, as well as (3) new classes each month. So, what are you waiting for?