» Everything You Need to Know About Live Streaming

Pro to Pro Insights

Ashley Jones, Ashley Ann EventsThis post was written by Ashley Jones of Ashley Ann’s Events. As a talented, award-winning wedding and event designer, Ashley has made a name for herself by offering unique and professional designs and productions. Ashley is a Master Flower Builder with a knack for transforming unconventional spaces. In the business world, Ashley offers speaking engagements for entrepreneurs on a variety of topics, including social media lead generation, sales funnels, and business growth. She has been featured on CNN Money, Fox News, KATV, STAND’s 30 Under 30, and several other media outlets and publications. 

By now, you’ve probably noticed that many celebrities and businesses are leveraging live streaming apps like Facebook Live or Periscope to reach wider audiences with fresh, engaging videos. Rather than recording a video and uploading it later, live streaming allows you to instantly connect with your followers in a more organic (and less time consuming!) way. Live streaming gives everyone in the world access to you instantaneously.

	Everything You Need to Know About Live StreamingI’m a huge fan of live streaming. One of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed is how quickly you can build a wider audience of followers. Using Periscope, I’ve been able to build an audience of a little over 20,000 followers in only about 5 months. I have followers in Russia, Canada, Australia, the UK, and of course the United States. It takes much more time on other social media platforms to build an organic audience of this size.

Another reason I love live streaming is its emphasis on the visual. As wedding professionals, our livelihood is based on not only the visual appeal of our work, but also our personality and friendliness towards our clients. Because it’s instantaneous, live streaming allows potential clients to see you and get a much better view of your personality than a scripted and pre-recorded video. Plus, research shows that visuals are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s a much faster and more effective way to connect.

Another recent study shows that using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%, and I can personally attest to this – when I post a video on my Instagram compared to a photo I consistently get 3 times the views and engagement. Periscope, in particular, is a great platform because Periscope users consume nearly 40 years of watch time every day. Continue reading

» Oh Snap! Tips to Connect with Today’s Millennial Couples

August-Webinar_OhSnap!TipstoConnectwithToday_sMillenialCouples_TileWebinar recap!

Many of today’s engaged couples are considered Millennials, in fact 80% of WeddingWire couples are in that age range! For your wedding business to succeed in connecting with this tech-savvy and social group, it’s important to keep a close eye on the top trends, preferred communication methods, and best ways to stand out on and offline to ultimately win them over.

In this month’s webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker, and Editor, Kim Forrest, provided an inside look into the mindset of today’s couples from how they prefer to connect with pros to the wedding content they are loving.

Here are some of the top take aways from the webinar:

  • Millennials now make up the largest group of the US population! There are 80 million individuals who are between the ages of 16-34, and are your average customer.
  • On average, they are engaged for 13 months, have 130 guests attend their big day, and hire 11 vendors to make their wedding come to life.
  • Millennial couples share the same top challenges when it comes to wedding planning as their more senior Gen Xers. These include budgeting, making decisions, tracking expenses, knowing they are on the right track and finding their vendors.
  • They look for their wedding pros on social media, so it’s important to have a presence and share your work and personality on top sites including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and beyond. Mostly they are looking for inspiration, to see the quality of your work, and to find your business info.
  • Aim to connect with your clients through visual content as much as you can. They love videos, listicles, infographics and visual-first social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Create your own images or share some you love, and add images of your work.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new social sites! Millennials are loving Snapchat and Facebook Live to name a few – so if these appeal to you, give them a whirl! You can also enlist Millennial employees to teach you about the sites or run accounts for your business if you lack time to coordinate the efforts yourself.

To learn more, watch the full webinar now! Plus, all past webinars are available within Premium member’s accounts to view anytime and learn about the topics that matter most to your business.

» How-To: Make Your Website LGBTQ-friendly

How-To: Make Your Website LGBTQ-friendlySince the historic Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, an entire new segment of the population has entered the wedding industry as newly-engaged couples. Your wedding business could be catering to those couples, but website content and images could be holding you back!

According to our 2016 Survey of Contemporary Couples & Current Wedding Trends, 98% of same-sex couples surveyed feel positively about a company featuring same-sex imagery on their websites and marketing collateral. However, at the same time, many couples are turned away from a site if they cannot relate to the content or visuals they see.

Are all different types of couples reflected in your marketing materials? If your answer is no, here are some suggestions for how you can incorporate more LGBTQ-friendly language and images in your website, WeddingWire Storefront, and other online listings:

  • Display an assorted representation of couples you’ve worked with through visual content such as your main image, photo albums, and video content
  • Select all of the types of weddings you service within your FAQ to make it clear to same-sex couples whether or not you are open to LGBTQ clients
  • Consider your social presence and the couples you’re using to feature in your blogs, social media, and website

Don’t forget: Language is huge factor in making underrepresented couples feel welcome! Be sure to use inclusive language within your About Us section, such as writing “couples” in place of “brides,” since same-sex couples as well as straight grooms will not be able to identify with what you’re trying to say.

Small changes can go a long way towards helping all types of couples feel comfortable reaching out and working with your business. Get started today!

» Wedding MBA: Don’t Miss Ask the Experts and Exciting New Content!

We can’t wait to see wedding pros from around the country for three full days of top-notch educational seminars at Wedding MBA this October 3-5 in Las Vegas. Don’t miss the fun and lots of exciting new content!

This year, the conference will start Monday morning and end after our celebratory Happy Hour at the Exhibit Hall Wednesday evening. Be sure to plan your travel accordingly to not miss any valuable sessions!

What can you expect at Wedding MBA?

  • The conference kicks off with a brand new track — Ask the Experts. During these sessions from 9am-12pm on Monday, you will be able to visit a variety of rooms on topics that matter to your business success and ask tough questions to experts in categories such as Online Marketing, Websites, SEO, Legal and more. Bring your toughest questions, or just pop around and learn tips from the questions posed by your peers. WeddingWire is sponsoring the Online Marketing track, so stop by to ask your questions our CMO Sonny Ganguly and Education Experts Alan Berg and Meghan Ely!
  • Monday afternoon you can follow the breakout track that applies to your business category and learn from other successful pros in your area of service such as Venues, Wedding Planners, DJs & Lighting, Photography, Officiants and more.
  • Tuesday starts bright and early at 8am with exciting sessions from top industry professionals including our own CMO Sonny Ganguly and CEO Timothy Chi, WeddingWire Education Experts and many more. Come ready and charged up for a full day of note taking and social sharing!
  • What’s a trip to Vegas without hitting the town? Stay tuned for more details on our can’t-miss annual party Tuesday night for conference attendees.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday from 12-6pm you will be able to visit the businesses participating in the Exhibit Hall. Don’t miss the fun give aways and surprises we have planned each day in the WeddingWire Lounge!
  • Wednesday is another full day packed with valuable business presentations you won’t want to miss. You’ll leave with a full agenda of ideas to apply to your business this year and beyond.
  • Join us to cheers to the end of a great conference with new friends, music, and a celebratory drink (or two!) at WeddingWire’s complimentary Happy Hour in the Exhibit Hall starting at 6pm.

Not yet signed up to attend? Don’t miss out! Register using this special link to save an extra $20 on the current ticket price simply by being a WeddingWire member (your discount will be applied when you complete checkout). See you in Vegas!

Sonny and Tim in Uniform

WW staff in boothKathryn 1

 

» WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Foundry by Herban Feast for WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle!

At the Networking Night, Seattle pros had the opportunity to enjoy a unique, gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how engaged couples make their purchasing decisions from WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Click here to check out the photo booth pictures from Drunken Pixel Photo Booth!

And finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Emily of Mle Jayne Photography!

WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Portland

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Aerie at Eagle Landing for WeddingWire Networking Night Portland!

At the Networking Night, Portland pros had the opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how engaged couples make their purchasing decisions from WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Portland board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to MaryAnn of Simply Beautiful Cakes!

WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016 Continue reading

» Do You Deserve an A+? Share Our Back-To-School Reviews Sweepstakes

Do You Deserve an A+? Share Our Back-To-School Reviews SweepstakesWith the summer months winding down and students heading back to school, we’re giving your clients the chance to win $500!

As part of our Back-to-School Reviews Sweepstakes, couples who write two or more reviews on WeddingWire for at least two separate pros now through September 30, 2016, are automatically entered to win $500. For extra credit, entries double if your clients write four or more reviews.

Since 38% of engagements occurring between November and February, a whole new class of engaged couples is right around the corner! Getting reviews now from your 2016 clients will help other engaged couples decide to book your business, plus you’ll earn more reviews towards our our WeddingWire Rated® program and the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards®, awarded each year in January.

Remember that customers look at the quality, quantity, recency and consistency of your reviews, meaning that you should be collecting at least one review each month. What better way to build your online reputation and encourage future clients to reach out than with the prospect of winning a cash reward?

We’ve added custom language to the Review Collector tool in your account so you can start spreading the word to your past clients!

Start requesting reviews now to fill out your 2016 ‘report card’ >>

If you have any additional questions regarding our latest reviews contest, please see our Official Rules.

» Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?

This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.

What you are probably missing in your LGBTQ marketing strategy…and what it costs you

Those of you who have been in the wedding business for a while have come to expect the steady onslaught of email invitations and phone calls inviting you to advertise on blogs, in directories or with other business tool-related services. And, as I’m sure you know by now, all offers are not created equal. That’s especially true when it comes to trying to understand where to invest your advertising dollars to let same-sex couples know that you see them and are prepared to serve them.

What you are probably missing in your LGBTQ marketing strategy…and what it costs youIs it worth it?

As you consider your ad buys at the end of each term, it’s important that you ask yourself: Was the return on investment (ROI) worth it? And, if the ROI does seem to be measuring up, it’s then important to ask a deeper question: What is the cause of the poor performance of the ad buy?

When it comes to thinking about an ad buy targeting same-sex couples as prospective clients, possible answers to the second question why is my ROI so poor? could be the fault of the media/source you chose. Or it could be a fault of your own making. So before you cast blame, take a deeper look at the cause of the breakdown.

Common failures include:

  • Making an impulsive buy when contacted by a salesperson because the pitch sounds like it fits a need, even though you haven’t reviewed your business plan and the goodness of fit of the investment;
  • Making an impulsive buy when contacted by a salesperson because the pitch sounds like it fits a need, even though you haven’t asked the salesperson the right questions to determine how that return on investment will really work for your business;
  • Signing up to advertise in a new directory or publication that purports to specialize in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) market, but doesn’t actually have the reach, relevance or readership for your services or doesn’t offer any clear reports on the effectiveness of the buy;
  • Purchasing and setting up a listing with images and text that you’ve used in the past without taking the time to learn more about what will ring as authentic and meaningful to the couples you wish to reach.

Is it worth it? How can you work it?

Here are a few key things I encourage you to consider before spending another dime on a new buy or renewing another LGBT-niche-based contract to make sure that you are making a smart decision that will produce the results you seek. Continue reading

» How to Incorporate Instagram into Your Marketing Strategy

How to Incorporate Instagram into Your Marketing StrategyInstagram is one of the most popular social media apps, with over 500 million monthly active users. The mobile-based photo-sharing social network, launched in 2010, has had an undeniable impact on the social media industry. But many businesses still question whether to take the plunge and allocate time and resources to creating an Instagram presence. If you’re still on the fence about using Instagram for business, it’s officially time to re-evaluate.

Instagram and Millennials

Recent research shows that 26% of online adults use Instagram, a number that has increased from 17% in 2013. With a combined 75% of adults on Instagram falling between the ages of 18-29 and 30-49, Instagram is one of the best ways to reach Millennial couples who are recently engaged or approaching engagement.

Instagram is beloved by its users, who primarily use the app to effortlessly edit and add filters to both photos and videos from their mobile devices. The visual focus, when first launched, offered a simpler alternative to Facebook, with fewer status updates and links. Studies indicate that consumers are able to recall visual content longer than text, which keeps users coming back. Today, Instagram is the second most used social network, with approximately half of their users accessing the site daily.

Couples often engage with social media when they’re multi-tasking, whether at work or at night when they’re unwinding in front of the TV or in bed. This makes it that much more important to post interesting content so that you can capture the short attention span of your prospective clients. Our research shows that 34% of couples say they’ve contacted a vendor though a social network, and Instagram is quickly moving up the ranks in popularity.

Instagram as a marketing strategy

If you haven’t yet incorporated Instagram into your social media marketing strategy, we’ve got you covered! Follow these 5 easy tips to get started with Instagram for your business: Continue reading

» Latest Updates to Make Connecting with Clients Easier

We’ve made some exciting updates to your WeddingWire account! To make it easier than ever to share your favorite documents, stay organized, and communicate more quickly, we’ve added a number of WeddingWire Messages enhancements. Plus, Florists and Wedding Planners will notice updated new vendor directory search filters based on pricing information. Learn more about each update below!

Frequently Attached Documents in WeddingWire Messages

Frequently Attached Documents

Do you have a few key documents you typically share with couples who are interested in learning more about your business, such as pricing packages, service details, or a marketing brochure? Now, it’s easier than ever to share these attachments from within your Messages inbox.

How does it work?

The attachments you’ve shared most will be listed as ‘Frequent Attachments’ when you click ‘Attach File’ while you’re composing a message reply.  Simply select one and send it with your message. If you prefer, you can still choose to upload custom attachments from your computer each time, but it’s faster to choose a commonly shared document from this list.

Inbox Search

Inbox Search in WeddingWire Messages

Staying on top of your Messages or finding a specific client’s history can be challenging for busy wedding pros. To help, we’ve added a new search feature to your Messages inbox.

How does it work?

Use the new search box at the top of your Messages inbox within your account to search by key information and instantly find the client details you need. You can search by first name, last name, email address, or even past message content to find what you’re looking for and catch up on your conversation.

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre for WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary!

At the Networking Night, Calgary pros had the opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about our approach in Canada from Regional Manager for Customer Success, Megan Hayes, and get tips on how to handle tough pricing questions from WeddingWire Education Guru and industry expert Alan Berg.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Jess of Jess Cockburn Photography!

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Continue reading

» The Key to Staying Motivated as a Wedding Professional

Pro to Pro Insights

Jennifer Taylor, Taylor'd Events GroupThis post was written by Jennifer Taylor. Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui.

Working in the wedding industry can be a fun and exciting experience, especially if you are passionate about the work. However, as great as it can be to put together a couple’s dream celebration, that’s not to say the job doesn’t come with its stresses.

Most people outside of the industry assume that our professions involve setting up a lot of pretty details and taking gorgeous shots of a couple – and it does! But it also involves client meetings, venue walkthroughs, contract negotiations and tons of paperwork that can get tedious pretty quickly.

The Key to Staying Motivated as a Wedding ProfessionalAs weary as it may be to keep up with the behind-the-scenes side of things, it’s essential to stay motivated throughout the wedding season to ensure that you’re on your game to provide clients with their dream wedding. Easier said than done, right? Let’s look at a few ways to stay motivated when everything seems to be piling up around you.

Just get it done

Ah, the old-fashioned approach. There is really nothing more motivating than checking something off of your to-do list. Start by knocking out a few smaller to-dos to get yourself going in the right direction. The feeling of accomplishment will push you to tackle some of the bigger tasks and you’ll be well on your way to a completed checklist!

Take a break

Sometimes, sitting at your desk and staring at your computer or piles of paperwork is the least motivating thing you can do. If you find yourself wasting time in the office because the inspiration just isn’t there, it’s time to unplug and take a break. It could mean walking around the block, reading a chapter of your current book or heading over to catch the afternoon yoga class – find something that helps your mind unwind and use it to your advantage. Once you get back with a clear head, the work will seem much less daunting than it did just an hour before.

Continue reading