» What Can Wedding Pros Expect from Gay and Lesbian Couples in New York?

This 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.
Congratulations New York!

If the results we saw when Washington, D.C. legalized (and California briefly legalized) same-sex marriage is any indication for the New York market, it will be important for wedding pros to thoughtfully approach the growing market of engaged, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered) couples.

We believe that these are the vendors who stand to gain the most and, in turn, offer the greatest help to the LGBT community.

In the twelve years that we have nurtured and observed this market from our perch as the original same-sex wedding pioneers, we have seen each legal victory bring rhythms of excited stories of booming business projections; wedding vendors realizing that there are couples who need compassionate and competent services and products; spontaneous business decisions to get front of this market; and inevitable questions about why some marketing efforts failed and why each Wedding Pro didn’t walk away with some life-changing percentage of the projected windfall.

The reasons for these trends are complex, and we’ll be discussing them in depth during our upcoming GayWeddings.com / WeddingWire webinar on July 6.

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» Create New Wedding Deals Today

WeddingWire has updated the Deals section of your account. It is now easier to create deals and share them with your customers using the new Twitter and Facebook features!

By adding a new wedding deal on WeddingWire, you can attract new customers, get more business, gain additional exposure and stand out from your competition!

Get started >>

» Nation’s Leading Wedding Review Site Unveils WeddingWire Rated 2011

WeddingWire is pleased to announce WeddingWire Rated 2011, the annual award program that recognizes reviewed Wedding Pros across the country for their excellence.

WeddingWire Rated, the industry’s first formalized review program, is the most recognized and trusted brand among engaged couples looking to find the best local businesses for their wedding.

If your business is WeddingWire Rated for 2011, make sure to get the official badge and share the news via the free marketing tools provided here.

Check out the Press Release for full details >>

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» Get Connected

Take a minute today to link your WeddingWire Storefront with your Blog, Facebook and Twitter. Doing so will allow brides considering your business to connect on a deeper level and learn more about you!

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Login to your WeddingWire account
  2. Click the My Storefront tab
  3. Click “Edit” next to your business name
  4. Enter the URL’s for your Blog, Facebook, and Twitter
  5. Click “Save”

» Your Wedding Business, Squared

WeddingWire and WedLock Magazine hosted an educational event for local Wedding Pros in the Atlanta area this past Monday. CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented on Social and Mobile trends and Editor In Chief, Jayne Hallock, presented on SEO tips.

Attendees enjoyed hors d’voures and refreshments while learning and networking with their fellow Wedding Pros. They also had the opportunity to meet with WeddingWire and WedLock Magazine staff at the event.

Pictures to come soon!

» Following Is Easy

Twitter recently came out with a new “Follow” button so that you can allow your website visitors to follow your handle directly from your website. If the user is already logged in to their account, they press the button and voila! You have a new follower. If they aren’t logged in, they will receive a pop up prompting their username and password, then, you will have a new follower!

The process is surprisingly easy, check out the steps below:

  1. Log into your Twitter account and visit this link
  2. Your username will prepopulate, make sure it’s correct
  3. Select your website background color
  4. Do you want to show how many people are also following you on Twitter? Select Yes if you’ve built up a good number, hold off if you are a new user
  5. Choose your language
  6. Copy the code from the right side of the screen and add to your website or provide to your web developer

Have you tried out the new Follow button yet? How has it worked for your business?

» The Growth of Social Networking

You keep hearing how important it is to integrate social media into your marketing efforts. Why? Because your clients are increasing the time they spend social networking. Your business has the unique ability to reach and connect with more customers than ever before.

ComScore released the graphic below, showing the growth of sites like Facebook and Twitter over the past 4 years. Now, social networking represents 1 out of every 6 minutes is spent online. Compared to the 1 of 12 minutes spent in 2007.

Facebook now reaches 73% of the total US population each month, averaging 6.3 hours per month spent on the site per user. Facebook isn’t the only social network that is continuing to grow. Several other sites continue to grow in monthly visitors according to ComScore (LinkedIn: 33.4 million, Twitter: 27 million, Tumblr: 10.7 million).

» Brides Can Find You On Facebook

There are 1.8 million brides on Facebook. How do we know? Because they all mark their Relationship Status as “engaged” so they are easy to target. WeddingWire makes it easy for engaged couples to find their perfect Wedding Pros through our Facebook app. Brides can chat with friends and family online while searching for your business on the largest social wedding database.

Check it out, type WeddingWire in the top search bar on Facebook or just click here.

» WeddingWire Networking Night Chicago

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

Congratulations to Emily Larson of The Mid America Club – you won our WeddingWire prize pack drawing valued at over $200!

Special thanks to The Metropolitan Club, Tone Productions, and I Do Photo Booths.

CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presenting on Social and Mobile trends

Local Chicago Wedding Pros networking

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» Why the Wait? Improve Customer Satisfaction

According to a recent study done by Harvard Business School, you can improve customer relationships and sense of value of your services by being more transparent. What they’ve deemed the “labor illusion” explains that customers  who see or understand what tasks are taking place while they weight, are typically happier with services rendered. Sometimes even happier than those who didn’t have to wait at all.

You’ve seen this concept used before though you may not have realized it, Kayak for example shows search results being aggregated as you wait to find travel deals. Rather than seeing a blank screen, you see progress being made while you wait for your final results. The study showed that in simply showing what is going on behind the scenes, customers are more willing to wait and tend to hold more value in the service provided.

Other companies have incorporated this theory into their strategies interacting with customers. Apple added a prerecorded sound of typing to their automated voice response system. The US Postal Service now shows customers each step postal workers take to help them. Even Starbucks has started requiring baristas to steam milk for each drink to show customer’s what process goes into making their cappaccino or latte.

So how can you incorporate this practice into your business? Often just touching base with your clients or explaining the process upfront can help you yield more satisfied customers. Check in to tell them where you are in the process or even share what you’ve done so far.

What strategies have you used in the past to ensure transparency and happy couples?

» Be a Twitter Search Result

As you may have heard, Twitter has added some new functionality for users – incorporating tweets into search results. While we don’t recommend using purely keywords (just like the content of your website shouldn’t) there are some things you can do to boost the probability that your messages will come up.

Share photos, often. Not only is this new functionality fun and interactive, it can help make sure your content is “discoverable.”

Link more and use #hashtags. By linking to your website or blog, you are delivering a greater audience to your site and hopefully engaging them further. With the new search capability other companies like Mozilla are creating new ways to find your messages.

Optimize your brand. Twitter has also integrated usernames into search results. Make sure to use your full business name in your handle so that anyone who may be searching for your business will easily be able to find and follow you.

Has your company used Twitter in a new and creative way? Share your experience below! For more information or to read the full article, click here.