» Build Your Online Reputation: Step 2

This post written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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Step 2: Promote Positive Feedback

Feedback can come in many shapes and sizes.  As a business owner it is good to promote all types of positive feedback, in particular Reviews, Testimonials and Endorsements.  Reviews have become extremely important in the online world as consumers want to make informed decisions.  Building reviews for your business is critical to success and should be aggregated on reputable websites that showcase reviews across a wide set of businesses.  This will enhance the credibility of the reviews that you receive.

Testimonials are also another great form of feedback and can be used very effectively on your website or blog.  If you receive letters or messages about the work you have done, you should show it off.  Consumer testimonials tend to be less formal than reviews, but can help showcase the great work you have done.  Also, it is important to get endorsements from your peers.  Reviews and testimonials come from your clients, but having other wedding professionals vouch for your services can provide additional credibility.  You may also receive feedback on social media sites or blogs.  Make sure to treat these with the same type of respect and respond in a timely manner.  When it comes to these different forms of feedback, there are three factors that determine your success:

Quality of Feedback – Having high quality feedback is the first thing a customer notices.  Positive reviews, testimonials and endorsements show customers that you are good at what you do.

Quantity of Feedback – Quality matters, but you need to make sure that you have a large amount of feedback.  This is also important in case you receive some negative feedback.  Quantity shows your track record over time.

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» HOW TO: Social Media Checklist

You already know it’s important to establish a social media presence for your business on Twitter and Facebook, but sometimes figuring out what to say (especially with a 140 character limit) can be tricky. We get it and we want to help! Within your WeddingWire account your Social Media Checklist will help you get started.

We’ve created a dynamic list of potential Tweets and Facebook posts for every upgraded Wedding Pro to help you share your recent activity with your followers. Keep in mind the first three messages are static and will always display at the top of your page. Following those general notifications, you will see 10 additional activities based on your WeddingWire account (from newest to oldest). To share an activity, just click on the Twitter or Facebook icons. Yup, that is it – just one click of a button! The first time you do this you’ll need to click “Allow” on the pop up window that appears. After you share your activities, they will always be listed in a box on the right hand side of the page.

» Build Your Online Reputation: Step 1

This post written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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Reputation matters!  We care about the reputation of our businesses and work hard each day to strengthen it.   Word of mouth and referrals have traditionally been a significant source of business for wedding professionals. People trust recommendations from other consumers, especially from their friends and family, and this is very apparent in the wedding industry.  Engaged couples and newlyweds are talking about wedding businesses all the time, sharing both positive and negative feelings.  A solid reputation amongst customers can help drive success for years to come.

What happens when these conversations happen online? All of a sudden people are tweeting, posting, blogging, commenting, reviewing, and discussing your business online.  The rapid rise of social media has made it easier for customers to quickly share their opinions, while it has made it more difficult for business owners to have control of what their customers are saying.  However, technology provides easy ways to monitor and manage what people are saying about your business. You can build your online reputation in 4 easy steps which will be posted here over the next week.

Step 1: Know What People are Saying

The first step to building a positive online reputation starts with knowing what people are saying about you and your business.  Technology had made it easy for us to quickly and easily monitor what is being said in the online world.  The best places to know what people are saying are on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

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» Take It From the Pros: Saying Thanks

Just like Mom always taught you, don’t forget to say thank you! After an event, it is important to follow up with your clients to make sure they are satisfied with services rendered. We recommend sending an email a couple weeks after the wedding – leaving enough time for the couple to return from their honeymoon and get settled in their new lives as newlyweds. This is also the perfect time to ask them to complete a review of your business on your WeddingWire Storefront. Just visit the Reviews tab of your account for your unique URL to request reviews.

As recently discussed on this WeddingWire Pro Forum posting, some Wedding Pros have used this as an opportunity to get creative  in showing their appreciation to past clients. Customizing a thank you gift is always a nice touch. Photo and Video by Media Concepts in Massachusetts sends a custom photo gift card with the couple on their wedding day and a short note.

What other unique thank you gifts have you sent? Click here to personalize your own Dunkin’ Donuts card.

» Successful Sales Strategies

WeddingWire’s CMO, Sonny Ganguly,  held a webinar on Successful Sales Strategies this past Tuesday. Our monthly webinars for upgraded WeddingWire Pros are designed to inform you about the latest industry trends and give you the tools you need to grow your business. This week Sonny discussed a variety of sales strategies that have proven effective for small and large businesses alike. Drawing reference from many real word examples including, Target, Subway, and Kraft.

Past webinars are available in the Education Center for upgraded Wedding Pros to reference at any time. Coming up next month: Sonny will present Big Business Ideas for Small Businesses. Just because you have a small business, doesn’t mean you can’t think big!

» Be Where Your Customers Will Find You

Local search marketing is an important part of your business. Make sure when a bride or groom is searching for their wedding vendors that your business gets in front of them by implementing the tips below.

Know what people are searching for and put that content on your site. Most engaged couples will search by the location and type of Wedding Pro they are looking for, i.e. Dallas Wedding Planners. Make sure that on your website somewhere it says that information so that search engines will effectively match you up. Focusing on keywords is an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well. Some sites to take a look at to monitor what your potential customers are looking for:

Google Wonder Wheel – Simplifies and arranges search results for you. This will allow you to see other relevant search terms for what you are looking for.

Google Adwords – Advertise on Google with the flexibility of cost, reach, and messaging.

Flowtown – “Helping social marketers deliver real ROI.”

Google Alerts – Set up automatic email notifications for specific search terms.

Claim your local profiles. Make sure that when someone does find your business, they are able to get there. Set up your profile Bing, Google, Yahoo, Mapquest, etc.

Engage them once they find you. You should have multiple forms of communication open for your potential customers to reach out to you. Actively manage and update your email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts.

» WeddingWire Networking Night Miami

This past Monday, we held our second WeddingWire Networking Night (WWNN) for local Wedding Pros. Our team had a great time meeting many of the Miami Wedding Pros as they mingled with one another at WeddingWire Networking Night Miami. Guests also enjoyed food and beverages as they listened to WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, give an educational presentation on current marketing trends.

As WeddingWire CEO, Tim Chi, mentioned in this post after our first WWNN – “When we launched WeddingWire a little over 45 months ago, we made a commitment to share our knowledge back with the wedding industry. We work very hard to stand-out and differentiate ourselves to brides by following the latest technology trends and adapting them for our industry.  Sonny often covers these concepts and techniques in his monthly webinars (which can be found in the WW Vendor Education Center).”

Also in attendance was WeddingWire COO, Lee Wang, and local Miami representative, Margo Trak. See the whole team and some other photos from the event below.

Special thanks to Classic Fare Catering & Events, MB Entertainment, and VIP Party Productions.

The WeddingWire team on the Sky Terrace at The Miami Tower for WWNN Miami

The Sky Terrace at The Miami Tower

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» Get Reviews and Get Recognized

Get ReviewsThe more reviews, the more visits to your Storefront. Vendors with 10 or more reviews receive 100% more clicks, which turns into more business. Not only do reviews help to increase your traffic and credibility, WeddingWire will reward and award you for your reviews!

Get Rewarded:Since over 90% of wedding professionals see more success with postive reviews, make sure you contact couples you have worked with in the past to ensure you reep the benefits in the future!

Get Awarded: Based on your reviews, you can qualify for esteemed awards like our annual Brides’s Choice Awards as well as WeddingWire Rated. These accolades are prominently displayed on your Storefront for engaged couples to see!

» You Made a Mistake, Now What?

It happens. You’re human. What defines your business is how you deal with the clean up. Especially in the day of social media, you want to make sure you turn a customer’s bad experience around before they spread the word on Facebook or Twitter.

Arguably one of the most important things is reaction time. When you first hear about an issue, make sure you get on the solution immediately. Make sure you know ahead of time what your plan of action will be if (read: when) something goes wrong.

  • Show them why they should stick with your business. Use this as an opportunity to show your customers how well taken care of they are as your customers. That way they know, even if something happens in the future, they’re in good hands.
  • Give them something. Everyone likes something free, usually consumers will focus on what they got and forget about the initial problem. Have low cost freebies on hand to help ease the blow.
  • Be honest. Rather than get defensive and try to turn things around. Apologize, explain, be human. Again, everyone makes mistakes and customers will understand an honest explanation. Just remember then to tell them what you are going to do about it.

For more details, check out this recent article on OPENForum.

» Everybody Loves a Good Deal

Running a promotion? Use your WeddingWire account to spread the word. Engaged couples can easily search for current deals in their area to find your current offers and get more information about your business since all deal link to the Wedding Pros’ Storefront.

Adding your deal is a simple 5-step process:

1. Login to your Storefront

2. Click on the Deals tab

3. Click the “Add New Deal” button

4. Enter the main details about your deal

5. Click the “Add Deal” button to save your deal

In the day and age of Groupon and LivingSocial, everyone is looking for a good deal. Adding your ongoing promotions and deals will help your business get more exposure. Note: all deals are reviewed by WeddingWire, which reserves the right to approve or deny any deals.

» Making Business Personal

You can’t deny the vast impact that social media has had on B2C relationships. Its changed the way businesses can interact with their consumers and the way consumers interact with businesses. From buying products and services to solving customer service issues, social media has enabled small and big business alike the ability to forge relationships with their customers.

Gary Vanerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy, notes this incredible power businesses now have and how it has shifted these relationships. You probably wouldn’t pick up the phone to call any of your close friends just to tell them about a great new restaurant to try or new gadget to buy. Now though, you can tweet your thoughts or recommendations from a restaurant or store and instantly influence members of your social network who might buy too.

Vanderchuk emphasizes the benefit of businesses using social medium to create a personal relationship with consumers. You have the unique ability to establish loyalty and humanize your brand. The concept even expands to politics, he suggests future candidates answer questions streaming on Twitter for example. He compares this new relationship to that of the past, encouraging “small town rules” and the DMA of our grandparents generation.

While big box business may be scared of creating this 1-to-1 relationship, people have a hunger for socialization and are getting their fill through tweets and status updates. Many consumers are directly influenced by their friends and acquaintances and this trend will only continue to grow, becoming more and more powerful. Google has already introduced social networking information into their search results and as we approach 2013 you will see a greater growth of results based on individual’s social graphs.

For more information, watch this quick video of Gary Vanderchuk interviewed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

» WeddingWire Update: Email Preferences

As we spring forward, we have a quick update from WeddingWire headquarters.  One of our main goals is to continue to effectively communicate with you to make sure you are up-to-date on all that’s happening at WeddingWire. In order to ensure you receive any news and/or updates, we will now be sending all email communication to the email address that you use to manage your user account on WeddingWire. This way everyone will be up-to-date!

If you would like to update or change your WeddingWire account email address, please follow these steps:

1)      Login in to your WeddingWire account

2)      Click on My Account in the top right corner

3)      Select Employees

4)      Click on Manage to the right of your name

5)      Update your email address

6)      Remember to hit save!

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to our support team via support@weddingwire.com.  We look forward to continuing to grow together in the coming year!