» What’s Next in Tech: Predictions for the Future

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and transforming our world! It is exciting to embrace new and emerging technology that will impact our daily lives and our businesses, and WeddingWire is committed to helping you stay on top of the latest tech trends and prepare for the future.

Check out our latest [INFOGRAPHIC] on WeddingWireEDU’s top tech trends and predictions for 2013 and beyond!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

» Be a Super Networker this Year!

The start of a new year is the time to set personal and business resolutions. Networking is an important and powerful element of the wedding industry, so consider making the commitment to being a better, more effective networker in 2013!

Photo credit: Andrew Jordan Photography

We know that attending networking events, reaching out to people you only met once, or making the introduction to a new contact can seem challenging at times. To help make your resolution a reality, check out Entrepreneur Magazine’s 7 Key Habits of Successful Networkers, highlighted below.

  • Ask insightful questions: Anticipate who will attend the networking events and opportunities you are participating in beforehand to gather an idea of who you may meet and any potential connects to explore. Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to learn a bit about individuals and companies so you will have the opportunity for an insightful conversation.
  • Add value: When you meet a new person that you would like to develop a connection with, look for ways that you can work together, and how you can help them. Take action by making an introduction of a contact to an engaged couple looking for a Wedding Pro in their service category. This is a great way to show a Pro that you value their business and work (and they will likely return the favor!).
  • Learn their ‘story’: Find out how they got in the wedding and event industry, and how they got to the business and more about the position they have today. Not only do people love to share their passion, but this is an easy ice-breaker as people enjoy sharing their story, and will likely lead to common connections and new topics of conversation about the industry.
  • Share a memorable fact: Make a lasting impression! When you meet a new contact and they ask you what you do, mention an interesting reason why you got in the business, a favorite business memory, or even a networking tip. This way, when they reflect on the people they meet and the business cards collected, they will remember meeting you over all the other connections made.
  • Keep a list: Make it a routine that after you network, you make a note of your new connections. Immediately add them to your contacts and draft a follow up email (to be sent in a day or two) expressing that it was great to meet them that evening, and personalizing it with a memorable topic shared in your conversation. Adding notes to business cards or your contact list about when you met, what was discussed, or any item to follow up on makes it easy to place your new contacts when you get in touch, or pick up on your conversation where you left off!
  • Make small promises and keep them: After meeting a contact you would like to get to know better, let them know you will be in touch and follow through! Whether it’s sending an email, making a social media connection, giving them a phone call or meeting for a coffee date, but sure to follow up in a timely manner to maintain your new connection and work to develop your professional relationship.
  • Reward your ‘power’ contacts: It’s a good idea to keep a list of your top networking partners for the year, and keep in touch with them. Finally meet the new events director at the venue you have always wanted to do an event at? Make a connection with a successful vendor in your service category from another city and want to get to know them and what works for their business better? Add them to your list and check in a few times over the year to touch base and maintain a professional relationship, which could help you develop your business!

Follow these top tips and you will be a super networker in 2013!

» Effective Ways to Get More Inquiries

All businesses want inquiries. Every Wedding Pro wants potential clients actively reaching out and requesting information about their services for their upcoming wedding or event. Simply creating a listing about your business doesn’t guarantee you business. It’s important that you develop, manage, and maintain your listing over time to maximize your business exposure and that you are showcasing your work to engage with interested parties.

Here at WeddingWire, we often use a billboard analogy. If you buy a billboard on the highway and don’t put anything on it, that billboard is not going to bring about much business for you. You need to make sure that you have eye-catching content and information that pushes couples to contact you.

Customer Success Managers and Account Managers are often asked by Pros, “How can I get more inquiries?” While there is no finite formula to get couples clicking and calling to encompass all Wedding and Event Pros, we do have some effective tips and best practices to drive interest and therefore, inquiries!

In addition to considering premium placement, which lists your business before basic listings and highlights your account, having a ton of great reviews will help to bring potential clients to you Storefront.

If you believe that you could be getting more inquiries from couples calling and emailing you saying they found you on WeddingWire, it could be time for a Storefront face lift.

Here are some top tips for changing the appearance of your Storefront:

Swap out your Main Image. Even though your Main Image could be your favorite picture, it might not be helping to drive couples to your Storefront. Remember: couples looking at WeddingWire and our partner sites tend to respond to “aspirational” images. Your Main Image should showcase a couple or wedding party celebrating or using your product. Make sure that your pictures are bright, clear and colorful! Double check your Main Image in the vendor catalog after you choose it. You don’t want any important parts cut off or zoomed-in too far.

Change your Tagline. Your Tagline appears along with your company name, Main Image and number of reviews in the vendor catalog. If you’re not getting the clicks that you want, change it up! Instead of saying “Since 1942” for your Tagline, try “Hosting Gorgeous Weddings for Decades…” Instead of “Photojournalistic and Editorial Photography” try “The Beauty of Your Big Day Captured for a Lifetime”.

Edit your About Us section. Is your About Us section too long? Does it take several “scrolls” to get to where your Photos section is? Shorten it! Do you have only one sentence in this section? Add more content! Your About Us section should be a teaser that not only provides information about your company, but also pushes couples through to your website and to other sections of your Storefront. Make sure that there aren’t any typos or spelling errors and that the format looks clean.

Pick new pictures. For premium members on WeddingWire, there are an unlimited number of albums and pictures that you can add to your Photos section. Upload a new album (or two) with 15-25 professional pictures and change the order of your albums. This way, you’re adding content for couples to click through. By swapping your old albums for your new ones, you’re changing the look of your listing.

Add a video. Videos not only help to boost the SEO for your listing, but they also keep potential clients on your page for longer. Make new videos using the Video Builder, or embed videos from this past wedding season.

Highlight a recent review. A lot of the time, upgraded Wedding Pros will highlight a review on their Storefront and never bother to choose a new one. It’s important that the review you have highlighted is not only flattering to your company, but it also should be from a wedding within the past calendar year to show you consistently get great reviews, and have recent experience.

Most importantly: keep getting great reviews! Try using our Request Reviews Tool. You can also use our Reviews Widget and you can send out your Personalized Review URL to your past clients. All couples will want an idea of what to expect from your business. Make sure that you have a lot of examples!

» Inside WeddingWire: Holiday Celebrations!

At WeddingWire, we are passionate about working hard, but also enjoy spending quality time together as a team having fun and unwinding! One of our favorite times of the year is the holiday season. WeddingWire has many holiday traditions that get our office into the holiday spirit.

From our team to yours, the warmest of wishes for a happy holiday season!

Check out some photo highlights from our top traditions below:

Each year after Thanksgiving, we decorate our full office to spread holiday cheer, as shown in this photo of our reception area for office guests.

We value the importance of giving back throughout the year, and the holidays are the perfect time to give back to members of our community. This year, we hosted a Toys for Tots holiday drive, and also adopted several local families to provide gifts this season.

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» Facebook Ad Targeting Tips

Facebook advertisements are a way to capture the attention of select users on the world’s largest social network. With 1 billion users, it is very important that your ads are segmented, and targeted specifically for your business’ select audience.

Luckily, Facebook offers powerful ad targeting options for business pages, which can effectively connect your business with potential new clients.

You are able to select what targeting options that you would like to include for your business’ ad. It is recommended that you select a more targeted audience versus a broader audience, as it allows for your business to reach the best matches for potential clients.

Here is a basic overview of the top targeting criteria you may want to consider for your Facebook ad:

  • Age: Select an age group that you are targeting, ranging from 13-65 years old.
  • Gender: Advertise to women only, men only, or everyone based on your messaging.
  • Interests and Categories: Interests allows advertisers to target Facebook users that have listed a specific interest on their Timeline, or are pulled from their Facebook profile activities, interests, job titles, education, pages they have liked and groups they belong to. Categories are compiled by Facebook by examining a user’s actions through clicks, shares and postings.
  • Connections, and Friends of Connections: The connections option allows Facebook ads to be targeted according to the relationship a user has with a Facebook page, and can reach similar audiences to grow a fan base by targeting friends of current connections.
  • Location (Country, State, City, Zipcode): Localize your ad through geographic targeting to narrow your audience, and only reach those in the area your business serves.
  • Relationship Status: Target Facebook users that are married, single, engaged, or in a relationship.

For example, a Wedding Planner in Washington, DC may want to target: women, aged 25-30, who are friends of connections, located in Washington, DC, and who are currently engaged.

Since Facebook ads are small, they should clearly and simply represent your business, and drive action to your business website, WeddingWire Storefront or Facebook business page, where users can easily learn more about your business, read reviews and contact you for a consultation.

Visit Facebook to learn more about targeting options, how to get started creating an ad and more.

» WeddingWire Networking Night Atlanta

Yesterday evening, WeddingWire was excited to host WeddingWire Networking Night Atlanta!

We had the pleasure of holding the Networking Night at the stunning Piedmont Room, and enjoyed meeting all the wonderful local Pros! Similar to past WeddingWire Networking Nights and Happy Hours held throughout the United States this year, Atlanta Pros had the opportunity to mix and mingle with area Pros across all service categories, and meet with members of the WeddingWire team.

We would like to extend a special thank you to the wonderful partners who helped make the event possible:

Finally, congrats to Gwen Long of A J Long and Company, the winner of our drawing, who will receive a WeddingWire prize pack!

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» Photo Editors: The Next Big Thing

This past week, Instagram pulled functionality from Twitter. What does this mean? Users can still post links to pictures, however, the actual photo will no longer show up in the Twitter feed. Instagram was purchased by Facebook earlier this year, so this has been an anticipated change as Twitter and Facebook are two of the top unique social networks.

Unsurprisingly, this week, Twitter announced that it would be releasing a new photo editing tool, with similar functionality to Instagram. The editing tool will allow users to post photos that they’ve enhanced and adjusted directly to Twitter. Android users already have access to the new app, and an app should be available for Apple users before the end of the month, so stay tuned!

Currently, Twitter is only offering 8 filters compared to Instagram’s 18. These both seem minor compared to the functionality of the new Snapseed, the new photo enhancing system provided by Google. This app allows for manipulation of smaller parts of the photos and for multiple enhancements on the same picture, all with simple taps, slides and pinches!

With all of these photo editors being released, we expect a lot of pictures to pop-up this holiday season. Photos are a great way to showcase your work and creativity, so be sure to participate!

Remember to follow @WeddingWireEDU for the latest tech updates, as they are released!

» Introducing Education Expert Meghan Ely

We are pleased to introduce Meghan Ely, a new WeddingWire Education Expert!

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 as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

Meghan will be contributing guest posts and sharing her public relations expertise monthly on our blog. Check out Meghan’s first post, The Art of the Media Pitch, below. Welcome, Meghan!

I’ve never been unhappier in a job than when I was forced to make a sales call quota each week in an effort to increase my already full calendar of events. I’m not sure if was my awkward phone skills (thanks a lot text messaging!) or simply the notion of calling people who didn’t ask to hear from me, but regardless, it was never the highlight of my week.

For years, I managed to sidestep the challenge but making regular calls to my event buddies and simply ending the conversation with a brief, but more importantly on record: “Oh, did you need to book any upcoming events with us? Nope? Ok!”

When I made the world of public relations my full time gig, I had to rethink the notion of making contact with people who may not be expecting my outreach. After all, media pitches are the cornerstone for making press happen.

The good news? I quickly realized that when I have a good story to tell, the media wants to know. The even better news? There is an art to media pitches. By putting just a few PR to do’s into practice, you’re far more likely to find success.

Below are a few tips and tricks that I like to keep in my back pocket every time I’m crafting a media pitch.

Plan, plan, plan: A generic media pitch sent out to your entire media list is of no use to anyone. You won’t receive any interest and before long, you run the risk of your contacts simply ignoring you. Instead, take time to research the appropriate media outlets— their point of contact, editorial calendar and the way in which they preferred to be pitched. Expect everyone to be different.

Pick an angle: Every media outlet is going to target a different audience and your pitch should be indicative of that. Decide how your story relates to their audience as well as how it complements their current features.  When I represented a local wedding event in which top area Wedding Pros toured a region, I quickly realized that the local newspaper would want a very different story than a blog focused on providing wedding related content to brides. By selecting a variety of angles in which to pitch, we were able to enjoy multiple features about the same event.

Keep it brief: Reporters are constantly on deadline and will have very little time to read through your pitch so get to your point and quickly. Very few people will take the time to read through a page and a half of anything.  Keep the inverted pyramid in mind while pitching: answer the who, what, when, where and why at the very beginning and only include the most relevant supporting details needed before you end.

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» Timothy Chi, CEO, Featured Guest on “Straight Up with Chris”

WeddingWire CEO, Timothy Chi, will be a featured guest on Voice America’s Internet Radio Network’s Straight Up with Chris: Real Talk on Business and Parenthood™” with Chris Efessiou today at 6:00pm EST (3:00pm PST).

Chris and Timothy will discuss “The Value of Curiosity in the Growth of Companies and Children.” Timothy says, “having successfully co-founded two companies while starting a family, it has been a wonderful journey witnessing the similarities and applying the strategies between my professional and parenting life. I look forward to what promises to be an exciting conversation with Chris and sharing with listeners the lessons I’ve learned.”

Be sure to tune in tonight as the show is streamed live here, and click here for more information!

» What’s Next in Tech

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented ‘What’s Next in Tech’ as part of our monthly webinar series for premium WeddingWire members.

Each one hour webinar is designed to inform Wedding Pros about the latest industry trends and technology insights to effectively and strategically grow your business. In this month’s webinar, Sonny shared his top technology predictions for 2013 from social media to 3-D printing and more.

Highlights of Sonny’s Predictions Include:

  • Social media will influence SEO rankings & search will become social
  • Pinterest will become the #2 social network
  • Online reviews will include in importance
  • We will stop watching TV on our TVs
  • We will focus on mobile first
  • Communication will become largely virtual
  • Phones will replace our wallets
  • 3-D printing will become mainstream

Remember, in tech, never say never!

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros. Be sure to stay tuned for more information about January’s webinar, ‘Top Marketing Resolutions for 2013!’

» Why We #Like Facebook Business Pages: Part 3

 

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire. You can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

 

In the final part of the Why We #Like Facebook Business Pages series, we will discuss the value in using social media management tools. Catch up part one or two in case you missed them.

Step 5: Use social media management tools

At WeddingWire, we strongly believe in the power of social media, but understand that it can be difficult to manage and stay up to date. The goal is to make sure you are sharing great content with your fans and followers on a regular basis. You want to keep them updated about your business and show off your personality.

A social media platform like Hootsuite allows you to:

  • Sync your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, making it easy to share across all three accounts at one time. You post once and it can hit all three!
  • Quickly pre-schedule your posts for a future date and time. So if you’re on vacation you can continue posting updates!
  •  Easily include web links and upload photos in each post.
  •  Monitor your social activity and view the number of comments and likes you receive every time you post.

Posting photos from past events, recent industry news, and your latest reviews and client feedback from this tool will help engaged couples get a sense of your business personality and work quality. Additionally, engaging and relevant posts for your audience will generate activity and shares, therefore having your business reach more people and expand your reach.

Facebook is a powerful tool to help you represent, grow and manage your business – and it continues to grow! Invest the time to design, create, manage and grow a strong Facebook business page.  You will drive engagement within your community, expand your business exposure and develop more connections with potential clients.

We #Like to see Wedding Professionals with a great Facebook business page!