» WeddingWire Workshop & Networking Night Austin

Yesterday, local Austin Wedding Pros gathered at the Westin Austin at The Domain for a special WeddingWire Workshop & Networking Night series of events, focused on education and networking with area Pros!

Austin Pros kicked-off the afternoon together with a WeddingWire Workshop, 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 met their local WeddingWire representatives and enjoyed light snacks and beverages. Immediately following the Workshop, attendees joined us for a Networking Night, sharing conversation and tips with other local Pros and the WeddingWire team.

WeddingWire hosts a 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, as well as tools trainings such as WeddingWire Workshops. We look forward to hosting more local WeddingWire Workshops and networking events in the near future!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us and participated in the Workshop and Networking Night. 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 WeddingWire Workshop & Networking Night Austin possible:

Finally, congratulations to Norma Beissner of Angel Springs Event Center, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Workshop & Networking Night Austin

WeddingWire Workshop & Networking Night Austin

WeddingWire Workshop & Networking Night Austin

WeddingWire Workshop & Networking Night Austin

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» Highlights from Wedding MBA 2014!

The WeddingWire team had a fantastic three days of education, meeting wonderful wedding Pros, and fun at the annual Wedding Merchants Business Academy 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada last week.

Missed the event or want to recap some of the best moments? Here are some of our favorite highlights from the conference!

Great education:

Our team enjoyed checking out all the great educational presentations for Wedding Pros, which included five WeddingWire sessions hosted by WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly and CEO Timothy Chi. Additionally, WeddingWire Education Experts Alan Berg, Andy Ebon, Kathryn Hamm and Meghan Ely all shared their expertise with engaging sessions and Wed Talks throughout the conference.

Finally, be sure to check out our new Education Guide e-magazine for great tips to take your business to the next level including how to get more reviews, networking musts, marketing strategies, client tips and more.

Meeting wonderful wedding Pros:

Industry conferences such as Wedding MBA and WeddingWire World are a great opportunity to get to meet some of the fantastic wedding and event Pros we work with in person! Attendees stopped by WeddingWire’s main booth and lounge for one-on-one account support sessions, to say hello and meet team members, re-charge devices at our Power Stations, and learn more about WeddingWire.

After parties:

Every year, we host our annual WeddingWire party to bring together the team and attendees for an evening celebration to have fun and mix and mingle. This year, we had a blast at the Ling Ling Club, located within Hakkasan in the MGM Grand.

Also, we were excited to sponsor the Wedding MBA’s first ever networking Happy Hour event on Wednesday evening to have a drink and chat with new friends. A special thanks to our partners The Slow Motion Photo Booth and A Very Special Day for the fun pictures and awesome entertainment.

Fun surprises:

We love to share our “WeddingWire swag!” This year, each WeddingWire session had its own themed t-shirt, along with a bonus party t-shirt. Additionally, we had fun sharing our duel action stylus-pens, WeddingWire koozies, WeddingWire shades, brand bags, and more limited edition swag such as a teal hoodie and mobile charger.

To go along with our Back to the Future presentation theme, we also were excited to showcase a real Delorean in the Lounge, with special thanks to Delorean International Las Vegas NV, and a 3D Printer in action to showcase the future of tech.

Want to get an insider’s look at Wedding MBA? Check out some photos below and on WeddingWireEDU’s Instagram, and also review the Wedding MBA edition of our Featured Pro Tweets series.

What were your favorite Wedding MBA 2014 moments? We would love to hear from you in the comments!

WW Lounge

Timothy Chi presenting at Wedding MBA

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» Featured Pro Tweets: Wedding MBA 2014

In our Featured Pro Tweets series, we highlight great comments that we receive to @WeddingWireEDU. All this week, WeddingWire staff and our team of Education Experts joined Wedding Pros from across the country at Wedding MBA 2014 in Las Vegas!

WeddingWire had a great time at the conference with our presentations, meeting wonderful Wedding Pros from throughout the country and abroad, having one-on-one sessions at our Expo booth, and chatting at our Power Stations as Pros charged devices. Finally, we celebrated an exciting week at our WeddingWire after party at Ling Ling Club, located on the third floor of Hakkasan Nightclub in MGM Grand Las Vegas!

Check out some Twitter highlights of the conference! Thanks to all the Pros who tweeted us while at Wedding MBA 2014, and we hope to see you all next year!

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» Pro Forum Buzz: Smartphone Vows, Late Payments & 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, Pros are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Pro Forum Buzz: Smartphone Vows, Late Payments & MoreHere’s what Pros are talking about this month in the WeddingWire Pro Forums!

Smartphone vows

How do you feel about the couple (or officiant!) reading from a smartphone during the wedding ceremony? Is it “tech savvy” and eco-friendly, or just a distraction?

Share your thoughts >>

Dealing with late payments

What do you do when a client is late on their balance payment? Do you tack on a late fee or reserve the right to cancel the contract?

Weigh in now >>

Venue photo shoots

How much should a venue charge to rent out grounds for photo shoots? Photographers and venues alike weigh in about an acceptable fee for using a venue’s grounds for non-wedding photo shoots.

What’s your opinion? >>

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» Closing the Sale Through Education

Closing the Sale Through EducationOne of the hardest parts of the sales process in most industries is closing the sale. In the wedding industry, once you get the lead, getting the appointment is typically the next logical step and (hopefully) takes a bit less work. However, when you get through an appointment it can be hard to walk away with the sale. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg addressed this topic in his discussion of the “dreaded” price question.

Why do couples always ask about price first? They ask “how much” because they don’t know what else to ask. It’s not that they’re price shoppers or that they can’t afford your services; sometimes they just don’t know where else to start the conversation or how much to expect. After all, everyone needs to know how much a product or service they want costs at some point and no one wants to overpay.

Remember that each couple you meet is trying to plan an event they have never planned before (for the most part). They’re not always looking to haggle on price. Sometimes they just don’t know enough about your business to differentiate it from the rest of the Pros out there. That’s where closing the sale through education becomes a viable strategy.

Avoid the immediate “How much?” by educating your prospective clients about your offering in general as well as about your business! Think about the most important things a couple should know or might not have considered. Then think about how your business goes above and beyond to meet those needs. These are the talking points to use during your appointment!

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» 7 Productivity Apps for Wedding Professionals

Wedding and event professionals are often out of the “office” a lot, which means you’re depending on mobile devices to keep you up to date with everything. It can be frustrating enough to get work done while you’re on-the-go, so it’s important to use the right apps to keep everything straight! Here are seven of the top productivity apps for wedding professionals from our Pinterest board, Apps to Make Your Life Easy!

	7 Productivity Apps for Wedding ProfessionalsCarrot

Have trouble keeping up with your to-do list? More than just a to-do app, Carrot rewards you for completing items on your list! Each time you complete an item, Carrot awards you points which unlock other features. These upgrades to the app make it easy (and addictive) to keep checking off the tasks on your list. We promise you’ll want to keep adding tasks so you can cross them off!

Chronos

If you’re wondering where all your time goes, look no further than Chronos. Without having to manually enter your time and tasks, Chronos automatically categorizes your time to help you analyze what you do each day. You can also track progress towards personal goals to make sure you stay on track.

DocuSign

The DocuSign app provides a simple and secure way to electronically collect signatures. This app eliminates the hassles, costs, and lack of security in printing, faxing, scanning, and mailing documents! If you don’t have access to WeddingWire Client Sites, it’s the next best thing to being able to quickly and easily get the documents you need from your clients.

Mailbox

Have trouble managing your email? The Mailbox app is for you! Mailbox combines your accounts to one place where you have the option to snooze certain email conversations so you can focus on more important items in your inbox. Plus, the app learns from your actions to help keep your accounts under control – the way you would organize it yourself!

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» Email Marketing: What Not to Do

Many service categories in the wedding and events industry have the possibility of repeat customers. Bands, Caterers, DJs, Florists and Photographers are the types of Pros that clients may go back to for future events if they had a great experience, so make sure you’re capitalizing on those opportunities! Email marketing is a great way to stay top-of-mind for those past clients and alert them to new products or services you may offer.

There are hundreds of articles online that explain what to do for a good email marketing campaign, but sometimes it’s important to know what not to do so you can cover your bases! Below, we detail what not to do when creating and sending an email marketing campaign.

Email Marketing: What Not to DoDon’t make your emails “one size fits all”

Let’s face it – every couple is different. While you can’t write emails that will be perfect for every single couple, you can learn to be smarter about the emails you send. If you have both prospects and past customers on your email list, you should not be sending both groups the same email! Think about the buying and planning process for the members on your email list. Is there a way you can group them based on timing or behavior? By creating these market segments, you can send the most relevant and helpful content to everyone on your list. Start by separating prospects from booked clients and past clients, then think about each group in turn. Your prospects are looking for something to put them over the edge to make a decision, so you might try sending a discount. Thinking strategically will help your wedding business start personalizing your email marketing.

Don’t assume people know who you are

Members on your email list could be very old depending on when they last worked with you or signed up to receive your emails. It’s important to remember that as you’re creating your email campaigns! If they haven’t heard from you or thought about your business in a while, it can be off-putting to receive an email from your wedding business out of the blue. For those users, send emails that are more personalized so they don’t automatically believe it’s spam. As for the rest of the list, start slow when you begin an email marketing campaign so that you don’t start sending them a lot of email they may not want. If they do unsubscribe, the next point will tell you how to approach the situation.

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» Twitter Best Practices for Wedding Businesses

Twitter Best Practices for Wedding BusinessesSince many wedding professionals focus on Facebook or Pinterest for their social media marketing, it seems like Twitter is sometimes lost in the mix – but it shouldn’t be. In fact, 23% of millennials follow a brand on Twitter, and 47% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website! With these strong statistics, it’s hard to avoid Twitter as a marketing tactic.

These Twitter best practices for wedding businesses will help you get started with Twitter so you can start connecting with new potential customers and building industry connections.

Optimize your profile

Customizing your Twitter profile is really easy and only takes a few minutes to give your business a professional look. Twitter has instructions and image dimensions here, but the basics are to:

  • Upload a profile photo. Since this profile is for your business, use your wedding business’ logo as your profile photo. If you don’t have a business logo, try using a photo of your finished product or a photo from a recent wedding. Try to avoid using your own image as your profile photo – remember, this is supposed to represent your business, not you!
  • Select a descriptive header photo. Your header photo appears at the top of your profile, and Twitter will overlay your business’ bio, location and website overtop, so keep the photo simple. Don’t use a lot of text and avoid overly bright or dark images. Be sure to check out how your header photo looks with your profile photo to ensure brand consistency.
  • Write your bio. Beneath your Twitter handle on your profile, Twitter will display your business’ name, location, website and a short description. Describe your business in this space to make it clear to anyone who stumbles across your profile. Also include keywords where appropriate – Twitter profiles do show up in search.
  • Choose a background. This step isn’t necessary; Twitter gives you several options for “themes” and you can leave your background blank if you’d like. If you have a design you’d like to use, upload it as your background. Don’t use a tiled version of your logo, though, as that often appears busy and unprofessional.

The bottom line for your Twitter profile is to keep it consistent with your business’ branding. Your Twitter profile could be the first time a new user interacts with your brand, so make a good first impression.

Know what to tweet

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» Wedding PR: Book Yourself as a Speaker

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.

When you think about public relations, and Wedding PR specifically, real wedding features is probably one of the first strategies that comes to mind. But public relations, by definition, is the management of one’s reputation in the marketplace, and promotional tactics can extend far beyond simply submitting events for exposure.  Public speaking, for example, is a fantastic way to increase brand awareness for your company while also building your reputation as an expert in your field.

Wedding PR: Book Yourself as a SpeakerBuilding a career in speaking, if for the above reasons or to assist with building an additional revenue stream for your company, can be an intimidating notion. The good news? If you’re familiar with the process of pitching to the media, you’ll find the learning curve is much less so.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Finalize your goals: If you’re going to add speaking to an already busy career, you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Are you looking to increase your wedding business or get in front of other wedding professionals? Different organizations attract different audiences so you want to make sure you’re ultimately targeting the ones that will put you in front of your audience.
  2. Consider your topics: What are you an expert in? If the goal is to speak in front of engage couples, then it should be related to planning a wedding, but you can expand on that if your audience is industry wide. Put and all thoughts down and be ready to visit this after step #3.
  3. Do your research: Now is the time to start combing your area for opportunities. Do you belong to any organizations that regularly feature speakers? Are there industry associations regionally that may be a fit? And think above and beyond the event world. If you are a small business owner, for example, seek out groups dedicated to serving that niche. Look into local chambers of commerce as well as rotaries.  Just keep in mind that larger conferences will expect you to have considerable experience so focus on smaller gigs to start. Continue reading

» It’s Here! The 2014 WeddingWire FallBook

It may still feel like summer outside, but at WeddingWire we’re dreaming about fall foliage, pumpkin-flavored everything, apple-picking…and of course, fall weddings! That’s right, our 2014 WeddingWire FallBook is finally here, and we’re thrilled to share it with you! As always, our newest interactive magazine features fresh inspiration and advice from Wedding Pros like you – in fact, over 200 WeddingWire Pros are featured in this issue. Check out just a sampling of the features:
It’s Here! The 2014 WeddingWire FallBook

  • We interviewed over 30 caterers for our WeddingWire Catering Guide, where the Pros share their top advice for wedding-planning couples.
  • Our Groom’s Guide will help guys with the wedding planning process from start to finish (there’s even some tips from the grooms on the WeddingWire team!).
  • We received an incredible number of real wedding submissions on RealWeds.com, and had the hardest time narrowing it down to just four! Check out the amazing real weddings featured in our FallBook.
  • Plus, you’ll find beautiful vineyard wedding venues from around the country, reception styling ideas, unique bouquets, colorful accessories, and more!

Be sure to check out our full 2014 WeddingWire Fallbook and feel free to share your comments and questions with us. Interested in being featured in our upcoming e-magazines or WeddingWire in general? Check out RealWeds.com for more information on submitting real weddings. While we’re not officially on the hunt for winter real weddings just yet, watch this space for the big announcement!

» 4 Tips for a Better Website

4 Tips for a Better WebsiteWhen was the last time your wedding business revamped your website?

As technology continues to improve, so should your website! New techniques and trends may be available that you’re missing by not re-evaluating your website. As a wedding professional, it’s imperative that your website be up to date! Consider these 4 tips for a better website to increase traffic and retention so you can boost the amount of leads and revenue your website drives.

Add video content

Video content is not only a strong component of search engine optimization, but it is statistically proven to increase the likelihood of a customer purchasing your product. Because video content is more eye-catching, it also increases the likelihood of a customer returning to your site. Consider an engaging video of your work space, or of your unique product!

Check your loading time

Does your site load quickly? Keep in mind if your site takes too long to load, you could lose customers before they even see your product. In today’s fast-paced environment it is crucial to have a speedy site, in fact, 57% of consumers abandon a site if it does not load within 3 seconds. Try testing out your page speed from time to time to make sure everything is functioning properly.

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» Networking for Wedding Pros: 4 Tips

As busy professionals, it can be hard to forge professional connections in addition to all the duties and responsibilities associated with your business! Especially for those individuals who may solely represent their wedding business, it’s hard to find the time to devote to networking.

Even though you’re a busy Pro, personal branding and networking can be big drivers of referral business. Networking for Wedding Pros doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking – try our tips!

Networking for Wedding Pros: 4 TipsGet to know people before you pitch them

One of the most off-putting parts of networking events is when another Pro homes in on you and starts pitching you about their business! Yes, one of the biggest benefits of networking is building connections with other wedding professionals to further your knowledge or identify opportunities for collaboration, but you shouldn’t walk in and start talking about yourself immediately. Spend time talking to other attendees and getting to know a little bit more about them first before you start wheeling and dealing!

Make a list of questions

If you’ve followed some of our previous tips and started the event with a goal in mind, you should make a list of potential questions you’d like to have answered. If you’re looking to further your knowledge or you’re seeking advice from other Pros, it’s important to come prepared with a few questions you’d like answered. At the very least, they’ll serve as talking points so you can get the conversations flowing easily. At most, you’ll leave the event wiser than when you walked in.

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