» #WWEDUChat Recap: Pricing Questions with Alan Berg

#WWEDUChatYesterday, we hosted our first Twitter Chat for Pros, featuring WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg.

Alan answered the biggest pricing questions so you can be better prepared to deal with ‘how much?’ this engagement season. Missed the chat? No problem! Find below a full recap of our Q&A with Alan, or check it out on Twitter by following along with the #WWEDUChat hashtag.

Q1: How should you respond when a couple’s first question is ‘how much?’

  • A1: Don’t be evasive, that will turn them off. Give them an idea of cost, without committing to a specific price. #WWEDUChat

Q2: How do you stand out among competition to book the business besides having the best prices?

  • A2: Use reviews to show the value of doing business with you beyond your price. #WWEDUChat

Q3: Do couples find price more important than the quality of work?

  • A3: They’re buying something they’ve never bought so they default to price. Let them ask & start the conversation #WWEDUChat

Q4: How can you shift early convos from price to service quality?

  • A4: Tell them, “I don’t want you to pay any more than you have to, to get everything you need and want” #WWEDUChat

Q5: What is the best way to offer a deal or discount in pricing convos?

  • A5: Discounts and deals work best when there’s a sense of urgency or deadline. Make them clear and simple #WWEDUChat

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» Pro Forum Buzz: Best of 2014

Every day, wedding professionals are talking about a variety of topics in the WeddingWire Pro Forums. We regularly read these conversations to see what’s trending in the industry and how we can help our community of Pros. Some conversations attract Pros from all categories to weigh in on important topics and offer advice where possible – those are our favorite discussions!

Below we’ve identified some of the best WeddingWire Pro Forums conversations of 2014 – join in on these now or create your own to start preparing for 2015.

Pro Forum Buzz: Best of 2014Working without a guest list

What do you do when your clients won’t provide you with a clear (or at least estimated) guest count? Pros weigh in with their opinions on handling the situation and provide advice for explaining why a guest list is so important for wedding professionals.

Join the conversation >>

Accepting final payments

When do you accept final payments from your clients? Some Pros add a specific date in their contracts, while others accept final payments within a certain time frame such as the month or week before.

Share your experiences >> 

How to coexist with photographers

For DJs, caterers and wedding planners, it’s important that the newlyweds stick to a schedule for the reception, but often photographers need more time than allotted to get all the right shots. What suggestions can you offer to ease this type of situation?

Offer your suggestions >>

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» How to Avoid Becoming a Wedding Industry Cliché

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.

The all-time cliché success advice from business coaches is to just be yourself. If only life were so simple! In reality, such an approach works for a scant few. As a professional in the wedding industry, it’s important that you rise above maintaining the status quo and come up with ways to be original.

To avoid becoming a wedding industry cliché, ask yourself these questions, below.

How to Avoid Becoming a Wedding Industry ClichéAre you aiming to be the best or to be the most unique?

One can debate who is best at something all day long, but that’s completely subjective and cliché. It’s far better to be different, striking, unusual, interesting in one or various ways. People and work that are truly set apart from the crowd don’t have to shout (figuratively or literally), “Look at me, look at me!” Their work and personal style do that without the accompanying fireworks.

Do you have 10 years of experience or 1 year of experience 10 times?

Many professionals stop growing after a few years in one job or profession. They simply start to repeat themselves. Yawn! Whether you change your services or start coming up with out-of-the-box wedding ideas, be original. Over time it becomes clear that your company produces fresh work for each client. Don’t keep giving tired, repeat performances – try something new and different each year.

Are you obsessively comparing your business to your competition?

Seeing your competition at work, on websites, or in any forum will automatically cause you to compare yourself. If you’re looking for inspiration, find it at conferences, on websites and photos from across the country and around the world. Don’t just copy. Find an inspiration that amplifies or alters what you do.

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» Top 10 WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2014

Top 10 WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2014Throughout 2014, we’ve shared the latest news and advice to apply to your wedding and events business. We always hope our posts are helpful, but it’s great when we reflect on the year and look at which articles our community of wedding professionals enjoyed the most!

Check out our countdown of the top WeddingWireEDU posts of 2014 based on your views, comments and shares:

10.  How to Build Strong SEO in 4 Ways

Building strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important for your wedding business’ online exposure. But, there’s so much information available about SEO that it may be difficult to know what you should (or should not) be doing for your business. We break down what you need to know to build strong SEO with tips for how to optimize your website, blog, social networks and online listings.

9.  3 Unique Ways to Collect More Reviews

Building online credibility by collecting reviews from past clients is an important aspect of your business’ marketing. While your clients probably tell you they are going to write you a review, you may find getting them to follow through is time consuming and difficult. We’ve got three unique ways you may not have tried to reach out and collect more reviews from your clients!

8.  Pro Tips: Auto-Reply Email Best Practices

For many wedding professionals, email auto-replies are the simplest (and quickest) way to respond while you are out and about. Make sure your business is putting its best foot forward right away by following these five best practices for crafting your auto-reply emails.

7.  5 Ways to Improve Your Communication with Clients

Wedding Pros are often juggling busy schedules. All the phone conversations, emails, and in-person meetings with both prospective and booked clients can feel overwhelming, but effective client communication is key for your business’ success. These tips from Education Expert Jennifer Reitmeyer will help set the tone for a strong first impression from first contact with the client to the event itself!

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» WeddingWire Workshop New York City

Yesterday, local New York City Wedding Pros gathered at the 3 West Club for one of our WeddingWire Workshop events, focused on managing your business!

At the WeddingWire Workshop, Pros gathered for a comprehensive training on the tools available within the Clients Tab of premium members’ WeddingWire account. In addition to receiving hands-on WeddingWire account training, attendees also learned more about eventOS tools, met their local WeddingWire representatives, and enjoyed light snacks and beverages while networking with other local Pros after the training session.

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. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Workshop New York City board in the Pro Forums and our new WeddingWire Greater New York City Facebook community!

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 evening possible:

  • The fantastic event space, and delicious snacks and refreshments provided by the 3 West Club
  • The wonderful photos as seen below from Olli Studio

Finally, congrats to Rudy Valme of Crossing Midnight Entertainment, the winner of the WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Workshop New York City

WeddingWire Workshop New York City

WeddingWire Workshop New York City

WeddingWire Workshop New York City Continue reading

» What Your Handshake Style Says About You

Pro to Pro Insights

Traci Brown

This article was written by Body Language and Persuasion Expert Traci Brown. Traci teaches strategic body language for unconscious persuasion in keynotes worldwide. She’s a frequent guest on TV interpreting the body language of criminals and politicians.To book Traci to speak to your team and get them performing at their best, visit www.BodyLanguageTrainer.com.

Body language can be anywhere from about 20% to 100% of a person’s communication; a study of it can reveal secrets hidden in plain sight. It can uncover lies, truth, real feelings and what they may do next. Learning to read others’ body language and strategically use your own can dramatically increase your likability, your sales and your bottom line.

Handshakes originated hundreds of years ago, in the Middle Ages, to determine if people were safe. If knives fell out of someone’s sleeve as you shook their hand, you knew they were up to no good.

Today handshakes are the standard greeting in business and even personal situations. You’re probably not looking for weapons. But there’s still a lot to be learned about the motives and beliefs of others through their handshake style!

Palm down shakeThe Palm-Down Shake

When someone shakes your hand and turns their palm down, they want to dominate the interaction.

When you receive a palm-down shake you can move both of your hands back to the Equal Shake. And you could make the decision if you want to work with the other person or not. They are most interested in getting their way!

Palm up shakeThe Palm-Up Shake

When someone shakes your hand and turns their palm up, they want to be welcoming and pleasing and will most likely do exactly what you want.

When you receive a palm-up shake, you can move it to the Equal Shake position to show that you want to be on even ground. In your dealings with palm-up shakers, make sure that you go for a win-win. They will be easily persuaded to do what you want!  Continue reading

» Wedding PR: Preparing for 2015

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire and NACE Education Chair for 2014-15. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

Wedding season has come and gone and while our first inclination is to put our feet up and enjoy the momentary quiet, it’s also the perfect time to put the wheels in motion to start strategizing for 2015.

Wedding PR: Preparing for 2015If the goal is to increase your PR strategies, or even refine current ones, now is the time to ask yourself the following questions:

What do I want to focus on?

PR can take on many forms – from real wedding submissions and guest writing, to TV appearances and speaking engagements. Now is the time to consider the target audience you’d like to reach and the best channels in which to connect with them. If you find that your favorite couples love finding inspiration through other weddings, then you’ll want to shift your focus accordingly. If your hope is to increase brand awareness among fellow wedding professionals, then public speaking may be the first “to do” to put on your list. Take time in the off season to create a road map for yourself, and you’ll no doubt be able to target your efforts for maximum impact.

What would I consider a successful outcome?

Return on investment can be tricky in PR, as it may not always boil down to a direct increase in new business.  A real wedding feature may lead to a new piece of business but more than likely, if promoted correctly, it will impress visitors to your web site and allow you to stand out from your competition. So before diving into a PR campaign, be sure to come up with your own definite goals so you can decide how to reach them.

How can I plan ahead?

A not so secret PR tip: savvy wedding professionals make it a priority to get organized in the off season so they are in a better position to execute strategies during the busier points in the year. This will take a bit of planning so now the time is to consider ways to get ahead- whether you focus on creating a media list, researching conferences to pitch or developing a media kit to distribute to editors. With real wedding submissions, decide if you have enough organizational tools in place prior to the start of the season to collect images, wedding information and vendors.

While you should certainly take the time to enjoy a successful year, commit to maximizing the time you have now by preparing yourself for the best year yet.

» Announcing our First #WWEDUChat! Pricing Questions with Alan Berg

We are excited to be hosting our first Twitter Chat for Wedding Pros, featuring WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg!

We hope to have you join us and tweet all your pricing questions to @alanberg and @WeddingWireEDU next Thursday, 12/18 at 1pm ET/ 10am PT.

Twitter Chat Details:

#WWEDUChat: Pricing Questions #WWEDUChatwith Alan Berg

Now that it is officially engagement season, get ready to hear from lots of new couples! Along with inquiries about your services, you should also be prepared to answer pricing questions to more effectively close the sale. Join @WeddingWireEDU Guru @alanberg for a Twitter Chat to discuss all your pricing questions on Thursday 12/18 at 1pm ET, 10am PT.

Never been a part of a Twitter Chat? It’s easy!

Simply log in to Twitter and tweet your questions using #WWEDUChat and Alan will share his answers to top pricing questions from Wedding Pros. We look forward to having you join us!

RSVP for the Chat in less than a minute to add the Chat as a reminder to your calendar, and spread the word via social media and email to other Pros.

Have questions about the Chat, or want to suggest some pricing questions ahead of time? Email pros@weddingwire.com and we will be in touch soon.

» What’s Next in Tech: 2015 and Beyond!

Tech WebinarYesterday, we hosted our monthly educational webinar for premium members. WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly shared his insights into the past, present and future of technology. This annual series is always one of our most fun and interesting webinars!

From wearable tech to the internet of things and health improvements, we have a lot of exciting things to look forward to both in business and everyday life.

Find below a snapshot of Sonny’s top 10 emerging tech trends, and be sure to check out the full webinar any time in our Education Center!

  • Social: Social media is still a place where our audiences spend a lot of their time. However, the focus of sharing is shifting from text updates and tweets to sharing photos and video on emerging social sites such as Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat.
  • Mobile: Our smartphones are continuing to evolve, and will take over our desktops. Screens are getting larger, and wireless energy is being developed to make us fully accessible at all times. It will be easier than ever to run your business on-the-go!
  • Payments: Devices are going to take the place of our money and wallets. Smart technology and secure apps such as Coin and iPay are being created and rolled out to the masses to make payments seamless without paper and plastic.
  • AR/VR: This stands for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. These are both tools that can help you learn more about the world around you, and make your life easier by integrating technology into our daily lives and work through a wearable device, or integrating with our tech like phones and tablets.

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» We’ve Officially Reached Over Two Million WeddingWire Reviews!

We’ve Officially Reached Over Two Million WeddingWire Reviews!We are thrilled to announce that newlyweds and professional peers have submitted more than two million vendor reviews, the largest number of reviews on any wedding and event industry site!

As the necessity of reviews continues to build across the wedding and events industry, reaching two million WeddingWire reviews is a huge milestone. These reviews represent experiences in working with wedding professionals in the United States and Canada, across more than 20 service categories.

As we continue to grow, don’t forget about the many ways we reward you for new reviews! Our December Reviews sweepstakes, where each review written on WeddingWire during the month of December enters that the couple AND their reviewed vendor to each win one of two $1,000 Amazon gift cards. Also, the  WeddingWire Rated™ program continuously recognizes wedding professionals across the country for their commitment to providing quality service with various badges, based on their number of reviews.

We’ll also soon announce the winners of the annual WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards®! Couples’ Choice Awards® winners, distinguished as the top 5% of local wedding professionals in more than 20 service categories based on their quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism, are determined specifically by engaged couple and newlywed reviews.

This achievement signals a major trend in the wedding space where engaged couples are not only relying on reviews to help make their critical wedding decisions, but are actively giving back to all engaged couples in the future. The collective 2,000,000 vendor reviews help engaged couples find their perfect wedding vendor team and strengthen the online reputation and credibility of our community of wedding professionals, which ultimately helps them grow their businesses.

Thank you to all of our Pros for being so dedicated in collecting reviews for your business!

» A Beginner’s Guide to Using Pinterest

A Beginner’s Guide to Using PinterestBy now, you’ve probably heard from other wedding professionals that Pinterest can be a big driver of traffic for your website. Pinterest helps users discover things they want to plan, buy or do sometime in the future. As an image-centric social network, Pinterest is one of the best ways to reach potential wedding clients because brides (and grooms!) will often use Pinterest for wedding inspiration.

If you’re a Wedding Pro with a lot of great photos, blog posts or other content you want to get out there in front of potential clients, Pinterest is a social network you should consider. Below are the elements you’ll need to optimize for your business when you begin using Pinterest!

Business Name/Username: When creating a Pinterest account for your wedding business, it’s important to use your business’ name so clients and potential clients can find you. It’s also important that you remain consistent across as many channels as possible so that all your networks can be found when searching for your business. With Pinterest, your business name is how your Pinterest account is displayed, and your username is what determines your account’s URL. If your business name is very long, you can shorten in the username and leave the full name as your business name.

Profile: Other elements of your Pinterest profile include a picture (which should be your logo if you have one) and a short “About You” section. This section should describe your business in a little more detail. It’s also a great place to include any keywords for your service category! There are also fields for your business’ location and website. You can verify your website to show Pinterest users that you’re a trustworthy source – instructions here.

Pins: On Pinterest, the content you post is called a Pin. You can pin from a website or from a file on your computer. Adding a Pin from a website is the best way to take advantage of Pinterest – you simply paste the URL of the page you’d like to pin and Pinterest pulls any images on that web page for you to add to your account. The benefit to pinning from a URL is that if users click on your Pin, they’ll be taken to the web page the image came from. Many wedding professionals use Pinterest to further the images they add to their blog and drive traffic to their website. However, if you have something you want to add as a Pin that isn’t on your website or blog, you still have the option to upload from a file. When you pin something, that Pin is public so that people searching Pinterest in the same category or topic as your Pin will see it. You’ll also be pinning it to your own board.

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» The Journey of a Brand

Pro to Pro Insights

Kylie Carlson

Kylie Carlson is the founder of the Wedding and Event Institute, a certification and training company offering courses in wedding planning, event planning and event design. With campuses in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Kylie is a sought after international speaker on the business of weddings and events. She has also helped to launch the businesses of over 250 wedding planners around the world and is on the Advisory Board of Event Solutions Magazine.

Branding in 2014 is all about storytelling. Before you can tell your story, though, you need to take your brand on a journey that will allow you to attract and engage with your target market. This comes through knowing and understanding what makes you truly unique and irresistible to your audience. We like to call this the five steps of branding; a process that walks you through your focus, values, personality, color and communication.

The Journey of a BrandFocus

What is it you want to be known for? Take some time to sit down and really think about what it is you want your customers to recognize in you or your product. Think about what makes your business unique and what it is your customers find compelling about you. What do you do really well and how do you interact with clients? Why do people want to buy what you do?

Once your business has a defined focus you can really mold your brand into something that will resonate and start to tell the story and take people on the journey of your brand. It is this that ultimately people buy into.

Values

Once you’ve found your focus it is easy to then pinpoint your values. These are what underpin your business and show people what you stand for. They guide the way you do business. They help you to establish a foundation from which your clients will form expectations and build a level of trust.

Personality

The personality of your business should shine through in everything you do. If you think about your favorite brands they will all have a personality that appeals to you. Is your brand sophisticated, exciting, sincere, competent, reliable, creative etc.? These are all adjectives that could be relative to your wedding brand.

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