» Join the ISS Experience in Riviera Cancun, Mexico!

The ISS Experience is completing the 2012 tour in sunny Riviera Cancun, Mexico! Experience 4 days full of inspiration, education and plenty of opportunities to network and relax on the beach at the luxurious Now Jade Riviera Cancun from December 3-6!

WeddingWire believes in the power of education, and the ISS Experience is a unique opportunity for Pros to learn and grow your business. We are excited to participate as the media sponsor for the event, which will  feature valuable advice from many successful entrepreneurs and business leaders across several categories in the wedding industry.

WeddingWire’s own Chief Marketing Officer, Sonny Ganguly, will be presenting and participating in breakout sessions throughout the conference where he will share marketing solutions, tips and techniques for success that are useful to all Wedding Pros. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from industry experts including Sonny, Stacie Francombe, Preston Bailey and more!

Sessions include:

  • Blogging for Newbies
  • Business Development: Make Money on the Internet through a Social Media Strategy
  • Finance: Setting Up Your Business to Make Money + MORE
  • Selling Your Value
  • Branding Makeovers

Don’t miss out! Registration closes this Friday, November 2, so learn more and register today. 

» Boost Your Productivity!

Take advantage of the first hour of your workday, and boost your overall productivity by allowing yourself some time to get focused, organized and connected.

Fast Company evaluated what some of the most successful business leaders do with the first hour of their workdays, and compiled a list of suggestions that could get your day started out right, and impact your productivity.

Get your day started off right with these suggested productivity tips:

  • Don’t check your email the first hour of your workday—instead focus on getting settled, organized and checking in with your employees. This will enable you to be energized, relaxed and focused when you are ready to get started.
  • Take time to review your workload and center your day with a prioritized to do list. It is tempting to simply jump right into your work, especially when you have a lot to do, but your work will improve if you are able to focus and prioritize your tasks. If you have a variety of responsibilities, consider breaking your day up by tasks. For example, dedicate your morning to business operations, an hour in the afternoon to accounting, and your late afternoon to client work and meetings.
  • Do your big tasks first and avoid the distraction of small tasks. If you have a large contract looming over your head or a full event plan, get right to it first thing, and have more time later in the day for your smaller tasks.
  • Don’t take meetings or calls during your first hour. Give yourself time to get organized so you will be prepared and alert for your client meetings and staff updates.

» Verify Your Website on Pinterest

We recommend that your business create a presence on Pinterest to showcase some of your best work, inspiration and your personality.

One of the latest features that Pinterest has rolled out is website verification for profile pages. This feature was designed to let other users learn more about your business and the people they are following on Pinterest.

Overall, this feature will allow you to highlight your business website URL on your profile. To verify your website, follow the steps outlined below. This feature is being rolled out over the next week, so if you do not have the option listed next, then you should over the next few days—just be sure to check back!

Verify Your Website on Pinterest:

  • Step 1: Login to your Pinterest account and select ‘Settings
  • Step 2: List your full website URL in the ‘Website’ field, and select the ‘Verify Website’ button.
    • Note: In order to appear more often in search, also fill out your business location city and make sure that ‘Search Privacy’ is off so you are able to be found
  • Step 3: Click the bold ‘Download the HTML verification file’ and you will be directed to a confirmation screen
  • Step 4: Upload the file that you just downloaded to your main web server (not a subfolder)
  • Step 5: Click the bolded ‘Click Here’ you see on the verification screen so Pinterest can check your website for the HTML file to verify it, and will show a success message when the process is done!

To learn more, read the article How to Verify Your Website on Pinterest from Hubspot!

» Networking in the Digital Age

We all know the power of networking to expand your business opportunities and contacts! In today’s technology-driven and busy world, people are connecting more than ever online and through mobile.

While face-to-face meetings and networking events are very important and often the best ways to make meaningful connections, there are many online opportunities to make new contacts, as well.

Here are several sites that provide ways to connect to new people professionally:

  • Twitter: More and more people are including their personal or business twitter handles on their business cards, blogs and websites as a way to share their expertise and grow their followers. Interested in connecting with someone you find on twitter? Send them a direct message, or tag them with a message using @!
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, and was created as a way for professionals to connect and share business information, as well as showcase their virtual resumes.
  • Instagram: Snap and edit photos on-the-go, then post to Facebook and Twitter to show off your latest work, recent events and new inspiration with this popular mobile application! Showcasing your work is a great way to build your brand and expertise as a Wedding Pro.
  • Bump: Bump is a smartphone app that relies on a phone’s movement sensor and an Internet connection for trading contact information by physically bumping two phones together. No need for business card swapping with this new technology!

» Does Your Business Need a Message Makeover?

The first key to booking more business is connecting with your potential clients!

Whether an engaged couple is reaching out to you to learn more about your business and services, connect for your first consultation or reach you with a question about their big day once you are booked, it is important that they are easily and effectively able to connect with you.

We encourage the ability to connect with your business in a variety of ways, including submitting a contact form, scheduling an appointment directly on your website or Storefront, or simply picking up the phone!

At some point in the planning process, the couple will call your business. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to reach you! If you miss a potential client’s call, you don’t want them to have to jump through hoops to leave you a message, which too often can be the case in the hectic wedding industry where Pros are always on-the-go an balancing lots of events.

With engagement season approaching, it’s important to be reachable!

Book more business by following these easy 5 tips to effectively connect with potential clients:

  • Make sure that your voicemail is set up: With so many new phone releases, many of us have picked up new devices or service providers. Double-check that your voicemail is activated and personalized. How can a potential client let you know that they’re interested in your services if there is no way for them to leave you a message, or if they are not sure they reached your personal or business line without a personalized voice message?
  • Remember to check your voicemails: If a potential client is calling you and they cannot leave you a message because your voicemail is full, it gives the wrong impression. Hearing a recording saying that your voicemail is full tells the client that you’re not around to check your voicemails or that you’re unresponsive and unprofessional.
  • Be concise: If your voicemail has a ton of options, it discourages couples from sticking through to the end of them (engaged couples are busy too!). Be sure that the phone number you have listed on your WeddingWire Storefront, website, and business pages goes straight to a person, not a menu, and be as direct as possible to avoid confusion and frustration.
  • Clarity is key: If you are sticking with a menu, ensure that it is clear what extension or person the caller should reach ultimately. Providing their name and title or a very brief summary of what they are responsible for will help to effectively direct calls, and lose less leads.
  • Respond in a timely manner: In today’s fast-paced world, people seek instant gratification. It is fair for these couples to expect a response within 24 hours – reach back to them sooner rather than later, at the very least thanking them for their inquiry and setting a time to follow up with a more in-depth conversation or more information.

» Sign Up for Wedding MBA 2013 and Save Big!

The WeddingWire team had a great time at the Wedding Merchant Business Academy (MBA) this fall and we’re already getting excited for next year!

Wedding MBA is the nation’s largest annual educational event dedicated to the business side of the wedding industry. This year, WeddingWire gave 5 presentations by CMO, Sonny Ganguly, and CEO, Timothy Chi, who presented on pressing industry topics including what’s next in technology, big business ideas for small businesses, the importance of going mobile and much more. The WeddingWire team also had a great time mixing and mingling with Pros at our swag booth and Charging Station during the Expo, and at the WeddingWire rooftop party at Ghostbar in the Palms Casino & Resort!

Interested in attending next year? Don’t miss out on this exclusive opportunity to save big through Wednesday, October 31st!

Sign up today and save $120 off the current registration price with early bird registration and an exclusive WeddingWire member discount. Tickets sell fast and pricing increases throughout the year, so act soon and save big!

We look forward to seeing you in Vegas next fall!

» Featured Pro Tweets

In our Featured Pro Tweets series, we highlight interesting tweets that we receive to @WeddingWireEDU. We love to share your insights, feedback and thoughts with other Wedding Pros!

Check out some latest top tweets below, and be sure to tag @WeddingWireEDU and you could be featured next! We look forward to hearing from you!

https://twitter.com/ReverendTan/status/258297952869683201
https://twitter.com/floralartistry/status/258370562244620288
https://twitter.com/makeup4yourday/status/258295762570592256
https://twitter.com/carolynburkestl/status/258290833328046081
https://twitter.com/Stephie_Lewis/status/254589322559377408

» Fashion and Fun at New York Bridal Market!

This past weekend, New York International Bridal Week was all the buzz as buyers, retailers and manufacturers enjoyed countless fashion shows and exciting exhibits at Pier 94 in Midtown, New York City. WeddingWire was thrilled to be the show’s media sponsor this year, providing select designers with a private runway show, and guests of the event some R & R at a chic lounge full of treats from some of our generous partners.

On Friday, the WeddingWire team hosted 11 designers for a private runway show in Pier 94’s Fashion Theatre. We’re excited to share video footage showcased on WeddingWire, featuring the talented designers including Sarah Janks.

Throughout New York Bridal Market we hosted the WeddingWire Lounge. The lounge became a hot spot for designers, models, guests and other exhibitors who stopped by to power up using one of our Charging Stations, indulge in some treats and hydrate with iced tea. Just Sweets provided the lounge with a mouth-watering candy buffet complete with chocolate-covered pretzels, M&M’s, and lollipops. Honest Tea stocked the Lounge with a selection of teas to help visitors wash the sweets down and refuel. Lounge décor featured glamorous Judith Leiber handbags that stopped passersby in their tracks!

On Sunday, the WeddingWire team invited all of our featured designers for a champagne toast and cupcake reception courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake Soho. Another highlight was on Monday, when Judith Leiber’s Creative Director, Jana Matheson, stopped by the Lounge for two hours of engaging Q&A.

We had a great time at New York International Bridal Week, and are excited to share some of our behind-the-scenes photos below!

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» Stand Out with a Winning Website

Yesterday, WeddingWire Education Expert, Alan Berg,  joined Wedding Wire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, to present ‘Stand Out with a Winning Website’ as part of our monthly webinar series.

Each one hour webinar for premium WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry trends and give you the tools you need to grow your business. This month’s webinar focused on:

  • Top dos and donts for your business website design
  • The key actions that engaged couples take when visiting your website
  • What content really attracts and engages your website visitors
  • How to improve your SEO
  • How to easily add contact forms and appointment scheduling tools to your website with WeddingWire widgets
  • All about the WeddingWire Search Engine Optimizer and its impact on your business

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros, and stay tuned for information on next month’s webinar!

» Tips to Drive Twitter Engagement

Interested in improving your exposure on twitter for your business? Check out some top tips below on how to encourage more engagement with your audience, improve your exposure and ultimately, gain more followers on this leading social media site!

Buddy Media has recently analyzed over 320 of the twitter handles for some of the world’s biggest brands to determine what action is most effective. Check out top tips below, and for more information of improved twitter engagement, review their Tweet Cheat Sheet!

Top Tips to Use Twitter Effectively:

  • Keep tweets short: Tweets that contain less than 100 characters receive higher engagement than longer tweets
  • Use a hashtag (or two!): Businesses that use hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without them. However, avoid using more than two hashtags in each tweet, or engagement will drop.
  • Post images with your tweets when relevant: Your followers love photos! Post of a picture at your next event, or share a daily inspiration photo. Tweets with images receive twice the engagement as tweets without images.
  • Add a call to action to reply or retweet: Give your followers something to do! Adding a request to “RT” or “retweet” will increase the amount of times your message is shared by your audience, because you are requesting them to act. Use with your most engaging tweets, and gain more traction on twitter.
  • Add interesting and relevant links: Share interesting links with your audiences. Whether it is a link to the latest wedding trends, news, or an exciting event you just registered to attend—share it!

» Inside WeddingWire: Halloween is Coming Soon!

At WeddingWire Headquarters, Halloween is serious business! Every year, the full WeddingWire team looks forward to dressing up, decorating and celebrating this spooky holiday—and we have established some great traditions over the years. As Halloween is quickly approaching, we thought we would share some of our favorite traditions with you for holiday inspiration!

Favorite WeddingWire Halloween Traditions:

  • The full staff wears costumes to celebrate Halloween every year—the more creative the better!
  • Host a competitive best office decoration contest
  • Themed pumpkin painting
  • Celebrate with team members (in costume, of course!) at the annual WeddingWire Halloween party
  • Lots of candy and decorations around the office

Check out some photo highlights from last year, below, and be sure to check back for a Halloween 2012 recap post!

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» Introducing Facebook Collections

Facebook has recently begun testing “Collections,” a new feature that allows users to “want” or “collect” images. These images are then saved to a “wishlist” on user profiles, where you can save images and products you like, then click-through to purchase the product offsite.

Currently, seven retail partners, including Pottery Barn and Michael Khors, can now share Collections posts to their fans, and is created to help retailers gain clicks to their websites, and generate purchases. If successful, this new feature could potentially be rolled out to business pages.

Facebook has released the following statement about the Collections feature:

“We’ve seen that businesses often use Pages to share information about their products through photo albums. Today, we are beginning a small test in which a few select businesses will be able to share information about their products through a feature called Collections. Collections can be discovered in News Feed, and people will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of  Facebook.”

For more information, check out this post on TechCrunch. What do you think of the new Collections feature?