» Review Your Fellow Pros with Endorsements

Review Your Fellow Pros with EndorsementsCollecting feedback about your wedding business is an important part of your business’ growth. With over two million reviews collected so far on WeddingWire.com, we know that reviews play a huge role in a business’ online reputation in today’s modern world!

Did you know that in addition to collecting reviews from your clients, you can also collect endorsements from other wedding professionals through your existing WeddingWire account?

Think of an endorsement as a review from a fellow wedding professional. Reviews from your clients show potential clients how well your business delivered on the day of the wedding or event, but endorsements from other professionals help potential clients see how credible your business is amongst your peers. Both reviews and endorsements, together, give a full picture of your business’ reputation.

Not convinced? Here are three reasons why professional endorsements should be part of your feedback process:

  • Getting professional references has never been easier. Easily receive endorsements for your skills and business practices from other Wedding Pros you’ve worked with and build more credibility with potential new clients.
  • Build instant credibility and strengthen your professional brand. Accumulating endorsements from other local Wedding Pros will instantly add credibility to your business and show that your professional network recognizes your work.
  • Endorse the Pros you know and give back to your peers. Endorsing other businesses is a great way to recognize your colleagues and help strengthen your peer connections within your network.

Use the Pros I Know tool to send or accept invitations to connect with other wedding and event professionals you know or have previously worked with. You can easily navigate between your connections, those you sent invitations to, and those who you received invitations.

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» What’s Next in Social Media: January 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 January 2015:

What’s Next in Social Media: January 2015Facebook’s Place Tips

In late January, Facebook unveiled a location-based recommendation feature called Place Tips. When Facebook users with enabled GPS/wi-fi settings are close to a location that Facebook believes they would like, they’ll receive a notification in their News Feeds. The notification itself directs users to access reviews, photos and posts from friends who have visited the location, making the information more personalized and relevant. This feature is part of the main Facebook app, not a spin-off app like Messenger or Groups.

Continue reading on Business Insider >>

Twitter “While You Were Away” feature

For Apple iOS users, Twitter has added a new feature that recaps tweets you may have missed since the last time you used the Twitter app. Because users who do not sign in or use the app often may miss tweets as they appear chronologically, Twitter’s new feature displays the top tweets for you based on an algorithm that takes into account user habits and engagement. The goal for this feature is to connect with users – even when they aren’t using the app – and boost engagement.

Learn more on Mashable >>

New Pinterest search filters

Pinterest’s internal search feature has evolved once again to display personalized results based on users’ gender selections. In an effort to get more men using the female-dominated social network, Pinterest has made this change to maximize its usefulness for men. When you create a profile, you’re asked to select whether you’re male or female; this filter is based on that original selection. This filter, in addition to other filters in Pinterest’s guided search, can be turned on or off at will – meaning that female users can still search men’s products, and vice versa.

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» Top Business Resolutions for 2015

Want 2015 to be the best year for your business yet? We’re here to help with your Top Business Resolutions!

Start the year off strong with these 10 key business items to focus on, directly from WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly. By committing to focus on each of these important categories, you are bound to have a successful year ahead!

Top Business Resolutions for 2015

» 7 Steps to Establishing a New Wedding Business

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.

No matter how active your current business or how big your aspirations, it’s not unusual to wonder about your next steps as a business. Whether you’re brand new to the wedding industry as a whole, or you’re considering moving to a new market or category, I’ve outlined below what I believe to be some of the best places to start when establishing a new wedding business.

7 Steps to Establishing a New Wedding Business1.  Jumpstart your experience and passion

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned professional who needs a booster shot, there is no better tactic than spending time as an intern with another professional in your field of endeavor. For the beginner, staying local (just be sure to share clear intentions) is a great place to start. Reading books, attending seminars, and the like all have their place; however, there’s nothing like getting your hands dirty and observing.

If you’re an experienced Pro, you’ve hopefully made peer contacts through wedding and category-specific conferences. Identifying a peer who is strong where you are weak and offering to work for free for a week or two is a fast-track approach to finding a spark. One of the keys in either situation is to offer something of specific value (think ‘skill’) to contribute. That value for value relationship is most likely to create a successful collaboration.

Approach these opportunities with clear goals, making sure you can achieve the experience and knowledge you desire, and arrive at a clear agreement on arrangement.

2.  Seek out educational and networking opportunities

There are local, regional and national entities offering a wide variety of education and networking opportunities. Even those choices can be daunting. Consider breaking it down like this:

  • National Conferences – Whether general industry conferences or category-specific conferences, there are a number to choose from. An example of wedding industry conferences would be WeddingWire World or Wedding MBA.
  • Regional Events – Depending on your resources and the curriculum, these are also a good place to start. Examples are hosted by NACE (National Association for Catering and Events), ISES (International Special Events Society) and ABC (Association of Bridal Consultants).
  • Local Groups – These can be local chapters of national associations or individually formed local groups. There are many wedding-specific organizations. To become educated or to stay current in your local market, you should sample multiple groups and pick a couple which fit your ambitions and goals. There is networking, education, seminars and more. Beginning to build business relationships and a personal fan club starts here.

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» WeddingWire Networking Night Richmond

Last night, Wedding Pros gathered at Maggiano’s Little Italy for WeddingWire Networking Night Richmond!

At the Networking Night, Pros from the Richmond area 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, the WeddingWire Education Guide, 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 Richmond 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 also excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack! Congrats to Andrea Pesce of Andrea Pesce Photography!

Finally, as mentioned at the conclusion of the presentation, we encourage you to take advantage of your discounted registration for WeddingWire World! As a WeddingWire Networking Night Richmon attendee, you may use the promo code provided at the event for your ticket. Please email events@weddingwire.com if you have any questions!

WeddingWire Networking Night Richmond

WeddingWire Networking Night Richmond

WeddingWire Networking Night Richmond

WeddingWire Networking Night Richmond Continue reading

» Congratulations to the Winners of our December Review Contest!

Congratulations to the Winners of our December Review Contest!During the month of December, we asked WeddingWire couples to leave reviews for their wedding professionals for a chance to win a $1,000 Amazon gift card for themselves AND a $1,000 Amazon gift card for the Pro they reviewed.

We’re happy to announce that the winners of our December Review Contest are Brian and Amanda of Dallas, TX for their review of Black Tie Sounds and Lighting!

To make it easy for our Pros to prioritize and collect reviews, we added pre-populated messaging in the WeddingWire Review Collector tool to help spread the news about the contest. The Review Collector allows premium Pros to create email templates for review requests and schedule them to send on a future date.

When it comes to collecting reviews, WeddingWire is the most trusted resource for engaged couples searching for their wedding team, with over two million reviews and counting! And don’t forget – you can earn awards for the quantity and quality of your reviews through annual programs like the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® and WeddingWire Rated.

While this contest ended in December, we offer an ongoing review program that rewards reviewers with up to $75 in gifts just for writing reviews. Feel free to share with your clients as an added incentive all year round!

Congratulations again to Brian, Amanda and Black Tie Sounds and Lighting, and good luck to all our Pros collecting reviews all year round!

» Pro Forum Buzz: Responding to Reviews, 2015 Weddings 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!

Pro Forum Buzz: Responding to Reviews, 2015 Weddings and MoreHow do you deal with inaccurate reviews?

Pros discuss the best way to professionally respond to negative reviews, especially those which you feel misrepresent facts or opinions. Feel free to jump in and share your tips for responding to reviews!

Share your tips >>

Turning down clients

At what point is it right for your business to turn down a client? If a potential client isn’t the right fit for your business, how do you deal with it? Pros weigh in on possible strategies.

Give your opinion >>

2015 wedding schedule

How is your 2015 shaping up? Pros across all categories discuss whether or not they’re seeing more or less bookings than in 2014, and what could be affecting the low number of events many Pros are seeing.

Join the conversation >>

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» Customer Success Profile: Katey H.

Did you know that all premium WeddingWire Pros have access to a dedicated Customer Success representative?

Our Customer Success Team is there to share ideas and tips to help you get the most out of your account. No matter if you have a specific question or you’d like recommendations on best practices, the WeddingWire Customer Success team is dedicated to helping you grow your business.

In our Customer Success Profile series, we interview a member of our Customer Success team each month. Get to know your Customer Success representative and learn more about how they can help your wedding business!

Customer Success Profile: Katey H.Name: Katey H.

How long have you worked for WeddingWire?

2 glorious years and 7 months!

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

The many opportunities our team has to meet our vendors face to face (through Networking Nights, Mix & Mingles, Workshops and WeddingWire World events). It is incredibly rewarding to meet our advertisers and hear about how WeddingWire has brought them success.

What’s your favorite tip to help Pros?

Utilize your network. A vendor can build a strong reputation by getting their friends, family, clients, and colleagues involved in spreading the word. This can be done via word of mouth, social media, events, email, and the collection of reviews.

How do you keep up with technology trends?

I’m a big fan of following tech blogs. My two favorites are Mashable and TechCrunch. I also follow them on Facebook and learn a lot directly from their posts.

How do you keep up with trends in the wedding industry?

Hi, my name is Katey and I’m addicted to Pinterest. Pinterest is a fantastic way to keep up with the ever evolving trends in the wedding industry. I follow all of the top wedding blogs and sites on Pinterest to keep myself informed. I always suggest this to my advertisers – it’s important to know what is trending so that you are well informed when working with today’s couples.

If you’d like to learn more about the WeddingWire Customer Success Team or find out who your Customer Success representative is, please email pros@weddingwire.com!

» WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte

On Tuesday, Wedding Pros gathered at The Westin Charlotte for WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte!

At the Networking Night, Pros from the Charlotte area 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, the WeddingWire Education Guide, 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 Greater Charlotte Facebook Community!

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

We’re also excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack! Congrats to David Stelzl of Something Gourmet Bakery!

Finally, as mentioned at the conclusion of the presentation, we encourage you to take advantage of your discounted registration for WeddingWire World! As a WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte attendee, you may use the promo code provided at the event for your ticket. Please email events@weddingwire.com if you have any questions!

WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte
WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte
WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte
WeddingWire Networking Night Charlotte Continue reading

» Top 10 Business Resolutions for 2015

Top Business Resolutions WebinarWebinar Recap!

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly hosted our annual webinar, Top Business Resolutions, to kick the new year off right. Sonny shared his best tips for a successful year for your business from brand to website, reviews and more.

Here is a sneak peek of the top 10 tips, and be sure to watch the full webinar in the Education Center!

  • Brand: Focus on brand consistency for your business, and work to create a quarterly PR plan.
  • Website: Make it easy for website visitors to contact you. Create an easy to use contact form and place it very prominently on your site, then use Google Analytics to see how your site performs.
  • SEO: Every page on your site should have a page title, meta description, meta tags and H1 tag to build strong SEO.
  • Social: Commit to being active on Facebook + two other sites at the least. This year, we recommend Instagram and Pinterest to reach your target audience most effectively.
  • Video: Create and post videos across all your sites – from your website to your Storefront to social media. Video is very engaging and a great way to showcase your work.

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» The Opportunity Cost of Not Asking for the Upsell

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

Are you getting the most profit from each wedding or event? I gave a presentation recently on closing sales and how none of us should sell a client something they neither want nor need. That doesn’t mean we don’t sell them things they didn’t come in for. Most couples don’t know how to shop for what you do, so they don’t always know what’s available.

The Opportunity Cost of Not Asking for the UpsellDiscover the interest

Part of your job in the sales process is to ask good questions to find out if your client is interested in hearing more about some of the things you do, but they haven’t asked you about. That’s called the discovery phase. If they’re not interested, move on. If they are then show them how those things can enhance their event, and then see if they’re interested in adding them. In other words, go for the close.

What if they don’t buy them today?

For most wedding and event professionals there is a gap between when you make the sale and the event date. Therefore there’s plenty of time to revisit some of the upsell opportunities with your client. But do you? Is the sale done and complete the first time, or do you call, email or bring up the other items during subsequent meetings? If not, why not?

What’s the opportunity cost?

If you’re not asking for the upsell with your client (I’m talking about upsell items that will legitimately benefit them), both you and the client lose. They lose the chance to enhance their wedding or event (and of course they can decline them) and you lose the revenue. The revenue you lose is called the “opportunity cost,” or more appropriately the “opportunity lost.” Over the course of a year this can add up to a lot of revenue. Just imagine an extra $50, $100, $200 or more, in profit from each event. What would that mean to you?

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» HR Tips for Establishing Company Culture

Big Ideas for Small Business HR

HR Tips for Teaching Company CultureFor many wedding professionals, hiring new employees is a simple process of identifying potential candidates based on experience and selecting the most qualified. However, when adding new employees it’s important to be strategic!

If you’re trusting someone other than yourself to work with or manage clients, you should be making sure that person is an extension of you in every way. Often times business owners will bring in new businesses and start the initial contract, but the client ends up dealing with a different employee throughout the rest of the process. This is very common for venues, which often have different sales employees from their day-of coordinators.

Everything you stand for as a business owner or manager should translate to every single employee to ensure that the customer gets the same experience (great experience!) no matter who they speak with at your business. The following HR tips will help your business identify your company culture and values and extend them to each new hire.

Confirm your company’s vision

It may seem old-fashioned to new wedding professionals, but setting a company vision or mission statement is necessary for any small business. Although no one will be grading you on it, it will guide you as you grow and start hiring more employees. If everyone is aware of your company’s vision and the values you strive to emulate, there’s a common goal in everyone’s eyes. There’s less confusion in the long run if employees break from that vision; it’s something to point to as a goal for everyone.

Consider fit, not just experience

When hiring a new employee, don’t just hire based on the resume – consider the candidate’s fit within your company culture. Think about the ideal employee, a person who shares your values and who you can be confident will do the best job representing your business. Is this person willing to go above and beyond what’s required of him or her to satisfy a customer? Even if a candidate meets the requirements, he or she may not be the best fit in your company culture.

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