» How Advertising and Marketing Work Together

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

How Advertising and Marketing Work TogetherWhile many wedding professionals think that marketing and advertising are one and the same, there are important distinctions between the two. Advertising is a strategy for getting your business in front of as many potential clients as possible, while marketing is a strategy for making sure your business stands out from the competition. Both are necessary to reach and book wedding clients.

For your advertisement on WeddingWire or other online listings, your business should focus on:

  • Clearly communicating your products/services
  • Images and/or videos of your work
  • Consistent and recent client reviews
  • Pricing and/or any deals or discounts you offer

But for your marketing strategy, consider the following as ways to distinguish your business from the other listings the couple passed before you:

  • A well-written About section that describes who you are and why you’re a good choice
  • A website that provides more detail about your business and why you’re unique
  • Text on your website or blog that speaks their language to connect with potential clients
  • Strong calls-to-action that guide potential clients through the inquiry process

Both advertising and marketing are about pulling clients towards you, not pushing them to book you. The aforementioned tactics will help you drive potential clients to take action – whether the action is as small as clicking your ad or as big as signing a contract. When a bride sees a photo that she can imagine herself in, or a couple sees a review from an authentic client, they’re compelled to take action.

Continue reading

» Pro Forum Buzz: Same-Sex Wedding Advice, Contract Mistakes, and More

The WeddingWire Pro Forums are a great place to meet and connect with other Wedding Pros across the country to grow your network. Every day, wedding professionals are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Here’s what Pros are talking about this month in the WeddingWire Pro Forums!

Same-sex wedding adviceSame-sex wedding advice

A venue coordinator is about to host her first same-sex marriage and wants to make sure she doesn’t offend the two brides. Other experienced Pros offer advice for same-sex wedding etiquette and special considerations for newer traditions.

Offer your opinion >>

Handling contract mistakes

What happens when you make a mistake in your initial contract? A southern wedding planner seeks advice on a contract mistake which has resulted in an unexpected fee. Who should be responsible for paying the difference?

Weigh in >>

Working with verbal contracts

A beauty Pro expresses her frustrations regarding a client who keeps changing the services requested, but there is no written contract to enforce. How do you suggest she work with this client to find a good solution based on a verbal contract?

Share your suggestions >>

Continue reading

» Cultivating Win-Win Event Relationships

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.

On the big day, engaged couples simply want one thing: a memorable event. They are counting on the professionals they’ve painstakingly researched and hired to handle everything as planned and minimize any potential bumps in the road before they cause issues.

Vendors at a wedding must work togetherHowever, brides and grooms tend to select one or two vendors at a time, often not considering the teamwork advantage of businesses working well together. Regardless of where your company lands in the planning/buying process, it’s to everyone’s advantage to guide the clients toward equally-skilled and team-oriented professionals.

Serving a couple on their wedding day requires teamwork, cooperation, and coordination, regardless of who does the hiring. It’s natural to value one’s own contributions as important; however, any professional who does his or her job without regard for other vendors at the event will undoubtedly cause conflict. All wedding professionals need to act cooperatively to be truly effective.

Below are a few common day-of conflicts Pros may encounter:

  • A busboy walking a direct path between the kitchen and guest table, unaware of the photographer’s line of sight, ruins the photo opportunity the photographer was after.
  • A photographer taking formal shots – planned for only 20 minutes but actually taking 60 minutes – delays the start of the meal. The caterer is working on a timeline for preparation and service, so now the food is cold and the chef is angry.
  • The DJ needs adjacency to the dance floor and clear space for speakers, but he arrives to find that tables are placed between the music source and the dance floor. He’ll have to play music at a lower volume to avoid making those guests closest to the speakers unhappy.

These conflicts can easily be avoided through more awareness and communication. Communicating your needs to your fellow vendors and listening to theirs in return will give you a better understanding of how the event will flow. The flow of the event and the ceremonial moments need flexibility to maintain the maximum energy; every interruption in the action resets the energy. The minimum number of stops and starts will result in a fluid and upbeat event.

Continue reading

» What’s Next in Social Media: August 2015

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from August 2015:

Facebook introduces live streaming for public figuresFacebook introduces live streaming

As part of the Facebook Mentions app for public figures, celebrities, and other influencers, Facebook has introduced Live, a new way for public figures to share videos with their fans on Facebook. The new feature allows for a more direct connection between the influencer and their fans, but it also takes advantage of new live-streaming technologies being rolled out like Periscope and Meerkat.

Read more on the Facebook Media blog >>

Twitter expands Audience Platform

For advertisers who want their Twitter campaigns to go beyond the social network, Twitter has expanded its platform to run advertisements on other publisher sites and apps. Additionally, Twitter added new ad objectives and ad formats to help advertisers accomplish a variety of goals across the Twitter Audience Platform. Users will be able to retweet or favorite ads directly from the ad unit.

Learn more from TechCrunch >>

Instagram allows more photo formats

For those frustrated by Instagram’s square photo requirement, the social network has released an update that drops the requirement and allows for both landscape and portrait photos and videos. Instagram made this change based on user feedback that for some photos, square formatting is not a good option. Now users can post their photos and videos in the formats they were originally intended, or crop to be square.

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey

Last night, wedding professionals gathered at the Aloft Mount Laurel for WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey!

At the Networking Night, South Jersey and Philly Pros had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief presentation by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

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 great photos from the evening (as seen below). If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey 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 Colleen Jackson of Blu Events and Decor!

And finally, don’t forget to email events@weddingwire.com if you’d like to take advantage of your WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey discount for up to two tickets to WeddingWire World 2016!

WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey
WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey
WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey
WeddingWire Networking Night South Jersey Continue reading

» Post-Marriage Equality Outlook For Gay and Lesbian Weddings

View More: http://carlyfullerphotography.pass.us/kathryn-amy-weddingThis post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, 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.

In many respects, the wedding industry has already been doing the work it needs to do to embrace and better serve same-sex couples. In a recent poll by WeddingWire, for example, we found that 90% of wedding professionals are already serving or planning to serve same-sex couples. This doesn’t mean, however, that our work is a fait accompli, but it does mean that we are on the right path. Wedding pros must continue to evaluate the inclusivity of their marketing materials, consider how they interface with prospective clients, and understand the needs of the LGBTQ client.

For those of you wondering “What’s Next?”, here are a few broad brush strokes on the canvas that will eventually represent the outcomes of the post-marriage equality market and the themes that I’ll be keeping tabs on in the months ahead.

What does the post-marriage equality market look like for gay and lesbian couples?Couples can now marry in 50 states, but how level is the playing field?

The one thing that simplifies any educational efforts in the field is that we no longer need to lead with how the legal status of individual states impacts the choices a lesbian or gay couple might make in where to marry. With the Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015, same-sex couples may now marry legally in all 50 states, and all 50 states will also recognize out-of-state marriages.

Those couples who are located in or choose to marry in states where same-sex marriage has been recognized for several years are likely to have an easier time with their planning. In these areas the market has adjusted, Pros have had experience serving same-sex couples and, as a result, lesbian and gay couples are likely to have a deeper pool of seasoned Pros from which to choose.

In the thirteen states that have only recently come to recognize same-sex marriage (and in rural areas compared to urban areas), it’s possible that some couples will have difficulty finding experienced Pros and encounter vendors who are not yet ready, willing and able to serve them. It is also true, however, that same-sex couples will also encounter fabulous allies who are able to provide superior service in those states.

All of this to say that the playing field is not level as far as experience goes on a state-by-state basis, but we’ll get there now that marriage equality is the law of the land in 50 states.

What will same-sex weddings look like in the next two years?

In the past decade, we’ve seen a range of wedding options that have evolved based on each couple’s individual needs. This included legal elopements (traveling out-of-state for a marriage certificate or running down to City Hall for a quick marriage once the laws changed), non-legal wedding ceremonies, big weddings, small weddings, creative weddings, traditional weddings and so on. One of the biggest changes will be that the backlog of couples who have been together for years will abate and the majority of same-sex couples will begin to follow a more typical relationship trajectory (meet, date, get engaged, get married).

Continue reading

» Introducing Quick Leads by WeddingWire

Get Quick Leads to connect you with clients via phoneIt’s no secret that response time is a huge factor in whether or not a prospective client will book your wedding business. The quicker you respond, the more likely a couple is to perceive the quality of your product or service to be higher.

In fact, our data shows that 70% of engaged couples find vendor responsiveness to be one of the most important characteristics to look for while researching professionals. To help your business respond to your inquiries faster, we developed Quick Leads, the newest feature from WeddingWire!

Available to all premium WeddingWire members, Quick Leads allows you to instantly connect by phone when prospective clients inquire about your services. When a couple leaves a phone number in the contact form on your WeddingWire Storefront, you’ll instantly receive an automated call with an offer to connect you with the couple who inquired. If the couple doesn’t leave a phone number in the contact form, you’ll receive a text message with their information so you can still take action quickly.

As part of Quick Leads, you’ll receive a unique WeddingWire phone number to be displayed on your Storefront which allows you to view and track your phone leads in your account. Your unique WeddingWire phone number will appear on your Storefront in place of your business number. All calls made to this number will be forwarded immediately to your business number!

Because Quick Leads uses Dynamic Number Insertion to change your Business Phone Number to your unique WeddingWire number on your Storefront, Google and other search engines will only see your actual business phone number when they are crawling your Storefront.

The best part about Quick Leads? There will be no outward indication that you have Quick Leads enabled! When a couple submits a lead that includes their phone number, they will not know that WeddingWire has reached out to offer to connect you with them. From the consumer perspective, it will appear that your business is just very good (and fast!) at responding to their request.

Quick Leads is an optional feature that is included for all premium WeddingWire members. Find out more about Quick Leads here. If you do not wish to have Quick Leads and would like to remove your unique WeddingWire phone number, you can do so within the Client Response Settings in your WeddingWire account. If you would like to share feedback about Quick Leads or suggest future updates, please visit our feedback page.

» Make Your Website a Winner

August-Webinar_MakeYourWebsiteaWinner-HowtoWriteBetterCopy_TileWebinar recap! Make Your Website a Winner: How to Write Better Copy

This month, as part of our monthly educational webinar series for premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared his tips for how to create a more successful website by writing better copy and adding key features.

Find below some top highlights from the session.

5 Things to Look for on a Website:

  1. Who are you? Does your website clearly and concisely tell the viewer who you are and what your business is about? That should be apparent within the first few seconds of landing on a site.
  2. Where are you? Be sure to provide where you are located, and the areas you are willing to serve. It will save both you and the potential client time if they learn up front you don’t serve their area. Or, make it clear you serve outside your typical location if that is an option.
  3. What do you do? What does your business provide and how are you unique? This will engage the viewer and help ensure that you are the solution they are looking for.
  4. What do you want me to do? Make it clear the action you want your visitor to take. Whether that is read your reviews, look at photos from past events, or contact you, make your next steps clear and a contact form readily available on every page.
  5. Is it aesthetically pleasing? Having a visually appealing and easy to read website really matters! Avoid bright backgrounds with light text as that is hard to read, or too much copy on a page. Viewers are more likely to stay on a website they find aesthetically appealing.

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Orlando

Earlier this week, Wedding Pros gathered at the Historic Dubsdread Ballroom for WeddingWire Networking Night Orlando!

At the Networking Night, Orlando Pros had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief presentation. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

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 great photos from the evening (as seen below).

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 Jayne Balsamo of Windermere Flowers and Gifts!

And finally, don’t forget to email events@weddingwire.com if you’d like to take advantage of your WeddingWire Networking Night Orlando discount for up to two tickets to WeddingWire World 2016!

WeddingWire Networking Night Orlando
WeddingWire Networking Night Orlando
WeddingWire Networking Night Orlando
WeddingWire Networking Night Orlando Continue reading

» The Value of Professional Partnerships

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

Last month, I shared some tips on working effectively with photographers to secure the images you want and need for your marketing. That was just one example of how a good relationship with other Pros can benefit our businesses, and it illustrated the value of professional partnerships. Partnering with other wedding vendors should be a priority for any business owner in this industry, for a number of reasons:

Building professional relationships in the wedding industryPartnerships create opportunities to collaborate. Vendors with great relationships can find a variety of ways to work together: co-hosting an industry event; organizing and executing a styled shoot; dually offering a special promotion to clients; even launching a new venture like a blog or a side business. I’ve done several of these things myself and I’ve always appreciated the experience of working alongside others I respect, as well as the added benefit of exposure to one another’s network of clients and colleagues.

Partnerships generate referrals. Practically every wedding vendor gets asked for suggestions in other service categories. And when that question arises, we naturally think of other professionals we trust. Partnering with other vendors often results in referrals not only to clients, but also to other vendors and to opportunities we might never have had otherwise (wedding shows, media exposure, speaking engagements, guest blogging…the list goes on and on!).

Partnerships build credibility. Being associated with other reputable, high-quality Pros is a boost to your own reputation – clients and vendors alike tend to think more highly of business owners who can work well with others in their field. Face it: if one of your colleagues recommends you for something – let’s say an award, or placement in an exclusive vendor list, or a leadership position in an organization – that recommendation is more likely to be considered than if you were “nominating” yourself.

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Workshop Orange County

Earlier this week, local Orange County Wedding Pros gathered at The Island Hotel at Newport Beach for WeddingWire Workshop Orange County, an event focused on managing your business!

At the WeddingWire Workshop, Pros gathered for an in-depth presentation on the tools available within the Clients tab of premium WeddingWire accounts. In addition to receiving this tutorial, attendees also enjoyed a Peer Insights Panel, met their local WeddingWire representatives, and networked with other local Pros during a champagne reception.

WeddingWire Workshops are the newest addition to our variety of educational events and networking opportunities created for Wedding Pros, which include our annual user’s conference WeddingWire World, networking events such as WeddingWire Mix & Mingles, WeddingWire Networking Nights and more. We look forward to hosting more local WeddingWire Workshops in the near future!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us and participated in the Workshop, including our panelists from Extreme DJ Service, Swellegant Events, Designs by Tricia, and Dove Weddings. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Workshop Orange County board in the Pro Forums!

We’re excited to share some highlights from the event and additional resources including access to our Clients tab Quick Start Guides, the WeddingWire Education Guide for more business tips, and great photos from the evening.

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

Finally, congrats to Nathaniel of Blue Truffle, the winner of the WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Workshop Orange County
WeddingWire Workshop Orange County
WeddingWire Workshop Orange County Continue reading

» WeddingWire Workshop Los Angeles

Yesterday, local Los Angeles Wedding Pros gathered at Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for WeddingWire Workshop Los Angeles, an event focused on managing your business!

At the WeddingWire Workshop, Pros gathered for an in-depth presentation on the tools available within the Clients tab of premium members’ WeddingWire accounts. In addition to receiving this tutorial, attendees also enjoyed a Peer Insights Panel, met their local WeddingWire representatives, and networked with other local Pros during a closing reception.

WeddingWire Workshops are the newest addition to our variety of educational events and networking opportunities created for Wedding Pros, which include our annual user’s conference WeddingWire World, networking events such as WeddingWire Mix & Mingles, WeddingWire Networking Nights and more. We look forward to hosting more local WeddingWire Workshops in the near future!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us and participated in the Workshop, including our panelists from The Replicas, Aevitas Weddings, Massey’s House of Flowers, and Wedding 64. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Workshop Los Angeles board in the Pro Forums!

We’re excited to share some highlights from the event and additional resources including access to our Clients tab Quick Start Guides, the WeddingWire Education Guide for more business tips, and great photos from the evening (as seen below).

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

Finally, congrats to Michelle of Piccolo Flowers, the winner of the WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Workshop Los Angeles
WeddingWire Workshop Los Angeles
WeddingWire Workshop Los Angeles Continue reading