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Good morning,

I am unsure of where and how to start.  I mean doing weddings or hospital work.  I am just not sure how to get my first few steps going with my ordination.  Almost like getting my name out there.  I was thinking Facebook but that only reaches some, not everyone one there is looking to get married.  Can i just go to a wedding show, and hand out business cards, and even at that what type of cards does everyone use?   I am at huge crossroads and am not sure of the best directions.  

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Not sure if they are the best methods, but I can suggest what works for me. 

Nowadays, never underestimate web presence.  There are free, simple-to-use website builders like weebly.com to set up at least a page with the name of your ministry, a pic of you with a email and/or business phone, as well as the services you provide. As you get business, make sure you include photos as samples. Now you have a place to point people to. Websites have become the new business card and include as a link when you list yourself with area pages of wedding search sites. Be sure to include the search words in your site you want to be "findable" in search engines, such as "wedding", "hospital visitation" or specifics you want to stand out for, and the city/state you are in, so locals can find you.  You don't absolutely need a private domain name at first until you get going, and the longer your site is online, the more you are "findable" by search engines.

If you want to do hospital or some other type of ministry or visitation, nothing beats going to area hospitals. convalescent and retirement homes and either talking to their social services or clergy offices, they may be able to connect you to people who would benefit. I've found most places don't mind you visiting with residents.

There are wedding officiant listing sites you can be listed for free by area location, and they are good if someone specifically clicks you, but the free account listings don't usually help promote you, although it's good to be listed and include your website link for someone searching. If you are going to do weddings, it helps to research the local area floral shops, sometimes you include their ad on your page, they may mention you on theirs.

Facebook is only good if you have things to say, such as hospital visitation, wedding, and other ministerial things to show photos and people leave positive feedback for things you did, and it's best to be tied in with other groups where you post or that are relevant so people can follow your comments back to your fb page, where again, you will have the trusty link to your website. Otherwise, if you aren't a big fb poster, it's not worth it.

There are usually four major bridal shows in larger areas a year, each season promotes the upcoming season. Most of the professional people will have booths and attention-getting advertising and promotions displayed, and it can be hard to compete at first with what they offer. It's best to find some specialty niche or appeal to the smaller, intimate one-on-one situations and ... figure out who your target is. If parents are paying, your down-to-earth, common sense and empathy may win over overwhelmed fathers or mothers. Most people at big bridal shows aren't in the market for wedding clergy at that time, but a business card with your ministry website information can easily be tucked in their sacks where they're collecting all the other promotional things, to be looked over once at home.

If you want business cards, I've gone through Vistaprint, but their cheapest cards used to have their logo on the back of your card, you pay extra either to have that taken off or for your own printing on the back. I've also use a cheap flip-top Trak phone for a business-only number I use for weddings, funerals, etc. That is the number I post publicly so my real life and family life isn't interrupted by crank calls. 

Take time to snoop over other people's websites (who are doing similar things) and see what they include and how they lay things out, you may get ideas. Also, take the time to learn the answers to questions people may ask you, in order to be a better help. You'll make yourself the expert they depend on.

Not sure if this is the type of information you were looking for, but hope it helps in getting started when it seems like there is so much to know and not sure what to do.

 

 

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On 5/5/2016 at 1:48 PM, Dianna said:

Not sure if they are the best methods, but I can suggest what works for me. 

Nowadays, never underestimate web presence.  There are free, simple-to-use website builders like weebly.com to set up at least a page with the name of your ministry, a pic of you with a email and/or business phone, as well as the services you provide. As you get business, make sure you include photos as samples. Now you have a place to point people to. Websites have become the new business card and include as a link when you list yourself with area pages of wedding search sites. Be sure to include the search words in your site you want to be "findable" in search engines, such as "wedding", "hospital visitation" or specifics you want to stand out for, and the city/state you are in, so locals can find you.  You don't absolutely need a private domain name at first until you get going, and the longer your site is online, the more you are "findable" by search engines.

If you want to do hospital or some other type of ministry or visitation, nothing beats going to area hospitals. convalescent and retirement homes and either talking to their social services or clergy offices, they may be able to connect you to people who would benefit. I've found most places don't mind you visiting with residents.

There are wedding officiant listing sites you can be listed for free by area location, and they are good if someone specifically clicks you, but the free account listings don't usually help promote you, although it's good to be listed and include your website link for someone searching. If you are going to do weddings, it helps to research the local area floral shops, sometimes you include their ad on your page, they may mention you on theirs.

Facebook is only good if you have things to say, such as hospital visitation, wedding, and other ministerial things to show photos and people leave positive feedback for things you did, and it's best to be tied in with other groups where you post or that are relevant so people can follow your comments back to your fb page, where again, you will have the trusty link to your website. Otherwise, if you aren't a big fb poster, it's not worth it.

There are usually four major bridal shows in larger areas a year, each season promotes the upcoming season. Most of the professional people will have booths and attention-getting advertising and promotions displayed, and it can be hard to compete at first with what they offer. It's best to find some specialty niche or appeal to the smaller, intimate one-on-one situations and ... figure out who your target is. If parents are paying, your down-to-earth, common sense and empathy may win over overwhelmed fathers or mothers. Most people at big bridal shows aren't in the market for wedding clergy at that time, but a business card with your ministry website information can easily be tucked in their sacks where they're collecting all the other promotional things, to be looked over once at home.

If you want business cards, I've gone through Vistaprint, but their cheapest cards used to have their logo on the back of your card, you pay extra either to have that taken off or for your own printing on the back. I've also use a cheap flip-top Trak phone for a business-only number I use for weddings, funerals, etc. That is the number I post publicly so my real life and family life isn't interrupted by crank calls. 

Take time to snoop over other people's websites (who are doing similar things) and see what they include and how they lay things out, you may get ideas. Also, take the time to learn the answers to questions people may ask you, in order to be a better help. You'll make yourself the expert they depend on.

Not sure if this is the type of information you were looking for, but hope it helps in getting started when it seems like there is so much to know and not sure what to do.

 

 

And if you have The Print Shop (for Mac or Windows) or some other similar design software you can design and print your own cards, most times 10 [cards] to a sheet. And depending on the business card stock & the chosen template, you can do 2 (double) sided printing. For the Mac version of The Print Shop go here: http://www.mackiev.com/printshop3/features/whatsnew.html It's what I use.

Edited by Taliesin2

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On 5/5/2016 at 10:58 AM, RevDeCo said:

Good morning,

I am unsure of where and how to start.  I mean doing weddings or hospital work.  I am just not sure how to get my first few steps going with my ordination.  Almost like getting my name out there.  I was thinking Facebook but that only reaches some, not everyone one there is looking to get married.  Can i just go to a wedding show, and hand out business cards, and even at that what type of cards does everyone use?   I am at huge crossroads and am not sure of the best directions.  

Is it possible for you to check in with those already doing both to see how they got started in the area you serve? See if you can get a few interviews, be an assistant and such until you get a foothold? Might be easier to get an idea of which to do when you have a better idea of what is needed.

Edited by AmberLF

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Since this post is over a year old, I would hope you have found all the answers to your questions by now.    If not, I use vistaprint for business cards, you design your own with there templates and they are very lost cost.   You can hand out cards at shows.  When I first started I went to only a few cards and spoke with DJs and exchanged cards and what ever venues where there I would get there cards.  Most of these shows are way to expensive for you typical minister to be able to afford a table at so if you do find one in your area its a great way to get your name out there.  I have advertised on Craig's list but not often, I have a free website on weebly and a facebook page.  I do advertise on facebook a couple times a year and you can reach a very large audience that way.  When you go into the ad setting you can expand your audience.  Its low cost and I always get a return and increase in customers.  I have only don't 1 wedding show and I did not make my money back on that.  I have formed relationships with flower shops and photographers but word of mouth and FB advertising seem to work best.  Put your card up on bulletin boards at bookstore or any where else they will let you.  I have been doing this for 7 years and love weddings.  I also searched local officiants webpages to get and idea of prices and services offered.  Hope this helps!

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Yes, I think I missed it was a 2016 post. Either way, maybe someone currently or in the future might be able to use the ideas.

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Hello all. Thank you all. Especially all the newer comments. Sorry I haven't been around. Lots of things over the past year has happened. I just came back over this and saw my post lol. 

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I hope life is pacing much more smoothly these days. Welcome back. :)

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