» Top Marketing Resolutions for 2013: Part 1

The start of a new year is a perfect time to evaluate your business. What defines success? What changes can you make to enhance your marketing strategy? Check out this four part series which highlights WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly’s top 20 marketing must-dos for 2013!

Check out part one below, and check back soon for the next three sections!

» Reviews 101 – Showcase Your Feedback

In addition to the great ways to collect reviews in  Reviews 101 – Getting Started, you can add our Review Us button to your website! Adding the button to your website will lead potentail clients checking out your site straight to your reviews page on WeddingWire, and show off your great feedback from past clients! Ready to add the button? You can find this button in the Reviews section of the Home tab under “Get More Reviews.” This button can be customized to match your website, as shown below.

As you’re working to build your reviews, it’s important to monitor your online reputation. Double check your Email Settings to make sure that the Reviews notification is turned on. To do this, once logged into your account, click your name at the top of the screen, then go to “Employees”. Click on “manage” next to your name and check the box in Email Settings next to “Send an email notification when… You receive a new review from a past client.”

“Okay, I am working to get more reviews. What now?”

As you’re working to build your reviews, it’s important to monitor your online reputation. Double check your Email Settings to make sure that the Reviews notification is turned on. To do this, once logged into your account, click your name at the top of the screen, then go to “Employees.” Click “manage” next to your name, and check the box in Email Settings next to “Send an email notification when… You receive a new review from a past client.” This will ensure you are notified of any and all new reviews as soon as they are submitted.

Once you have reviews on your listing, there are a couple of different actions that you can take, should you choose: highlight a review, respond to a review, dispute a review, or share to a social network, shown in the image below.

Highlighting a review will put that review on your Storefront. Select this option for your best reviews that reflect your business in a positive light, and that would make an impact on potential clients checking out your business. To do so, visit the Home tab in your account, and select “Storefront.” Then, sort through your list of reviews and click “highlight this review” on the top reviews you would like showcased. A great review often leads to an Inquiry!

Remember, you can respond to any review that you receive! In the same screen shown above, you can select to respond to a review. We recommend responding to some top positive reviews that couples leave you to show your appreciation for their kind words and show that you value their time spent reviewing your business. Responding to reviews also shows other engaged couples who are looking at your listing, or who have yet to review you, that you really do value the experiences of your couples. If you are comfortable, you can also respond to a less than perfect review to acknowledge their feedback and professionally explain any misunderstanding. Remember, not all reviews can always be perfect 5.0’s, so don’t get discouraged by positive, but not perfect, ratings.

Your business also always has the option to dispute a review. Once you dispute a review, our Review Dispute Team will contact the couple who wrote the review to verify it, and will follow up with your business on next steps. Check out the guidelines if you have questions about the process.

Finally, show off your recent review on your social networks! Select the “share to a social network” and pass along a per-populated message about your new review on your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.

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» WeddingWire Happy Hour Boston

On Monday night, local Wedding Pros gathered at Scholars American Bistro & Cocktail Lounge for our second WeddingWire Happy Hour Boston!

Boston Wedding Pros had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, enjoy snacks and beverages, and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Other Happy Hour events have been held throughout the United States over the past year, with our list of cities growing in 2013. Thank you to all the wonderful Boston area Pros who joined us, and congrats to Theresa Moore of Garnick Moore Photographers, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

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

Interested in Pro tips to Power Your Business? Be sure to check out WeddingWire’s complete Education Guide!

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» Featured Pro Tweets

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

Check out some recent tweets below and be sure to tag @WeddingWireEDU! We love hearing from you.

» Wedding PR: Bringing in your Wedding Day Team

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding PR, please contact us today.

There is no wedding that is a result of just one person’s efforts. After all, there are cakes to be made, limos to be driven and linens to be ordered.  The success of an event, ultimately, is due to the hard work of many.  This team effort mentally will take a Wedding Pro far, especially when it comes to their Wedding PR efforts.

When submitting a real wedding for consideration, one of the most important components is that of the vendor list. While requirements vary between editors, the rule of thumb is to at least have the name of each company (properly spelled please!) along with a link to their web site.  Consider taking the extra step and collecting the name of the lead contact for the event, along with his or her email address a great habit to get into as it may come in handy the day of the event.

Photo credit: Rob Garland Photographers

Don’t just stop there! If one of the key players can lend further insight into the Big Day, consider getting a bit of insight from them to include in the narrative portion of your pitch. Did you love the tablescapes but have no idea how it all came together? Touch base with the planner. Can’t quite remember the catchy Grand Entrance song but would love to include it in your submission? Give the DJ a call. They’ll no doubt be appreciative of the opportunity to be included.

Additionally, should a real wedding be picked up, this is the ideal time to circle back around and reconnect with the team to share the good news. Not only is it a goodwill gesture, but you may find that some eagerly promote the feature among their friends, colleagues and clients as well- a fantastic way to increase awareness for the piece.

Creating mutually beneficial relationships among Wedding Professionals should be the cornerstone of any marketing plan, and including them as part of your wedding PR strategies, will no doubt pay back tenfold.

» WeddingWire Happy Hour Hampton Roads

Last night, local Wedding Pros gathered at Lesner Inn Catering Club in Virginia Beach for WeddingWire Happy Hour Hampton Roads!

Hampton Roads Wedding Pros had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Other Happy Hour events have been held in Boston, Westchester, New York City, South Florida, North Jersey, Philadelphia, San Diego, Richmond, St. Louis, Providence, Baltimore and Hartford— with the list of cities growing in 2013! Thank you to all the wonderful Hampton Roads area Pros who joined us!

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

Finally, congrats to Isha Foss of Isha Foss Events, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

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» Reviews 101 – Getting Started

Here at WeddingWire, we believe that it is important for Pros to have many reviews to showcase your work through the eyes of clients! Engaged couples browsing our vendor catalogs are more likely to click into a listing with 10 reviews than a vendor with 1 review. Consider when you are shopping online at a site such as Amazon. Do you purchase from a seller with only one review (even if it is a perfect score), or do you go for the more consistent seller with a very strong but not perfect rating, but over 20 reviews? The large majority go with more reviews, which indicates consistency.

We know that reviews can be a pain point for some Pros. Sometimes, no matter how amazing your services were, it can be impossible to please a couple which can result in a not-so-great review, or you may feel uncomfortable making the request. We encourage Pros to request reviews from all clients, to grow a strong, consistent database of valuable client feedback. Having many reviews also helps to deflect from the one review that may not have been as positive as you would like. WeddingWire provides you with tools to make requesting and tracking your reviews easy.

How do I get reviews?

Make sure that you’re discussing reviews early in the planning process with your couples. If you mention that you’re going to be asking for a review from the couple early in your relationship, then when you actually request the review it will simply serve as a reminder for them. Keep in mind: couples do not have to make accounts on WeddingWire to write you a review. They simply have to provide us with an email address and password in case they want to edit their review or if we need to contact them regarding the validity of their review.

The easiest way to request reviews from past clients is to use our Review Collector Tool, located in premium member’s Home tab under “Reviews.” In this tab, we provide easy ways to upload your clients contact information, an email template that can be personalized, and a tracking tool to see if the request was received and added.

With these helpful tips and tools, requesting reviews from previous clients is easy! Check out Reviews 101 part two – Showcasing Your Reviews!

» Inside WeddingWire: Office Move!

With the start to the New Year this January, at WeddingWire we were also excited for a big move! This month, our WeddingWire Headquarters relocated to a new office space in Chevy Chase, Maryland—right on the Washington, DC border.

Our team is excited to grow into this new, large space and for our full team—from web development, to design, to sales and account management, to marketing and more—to all be on the same floor!

While we are still in the process of moving in and getting settled, we are loving the new, bright and open space. Fun features include:

  •   A café complete with snacks and large tables to eat and relax with friends
  • Conference rooms named after special life events we feature on WeddingWire and EventWire, including Weddings, Birthday, Mitzvah and more
  • Re-instating our ping pong and foosball tables and keeping track of office champs
  • 360 degree views of the city out of our office windows

We look forward to hosting our first events at the new space, including a career mixer and wine tasting Happy Hour this week. Check out a few pictures from the new office, below!

» Facebook Graph Search

Facebook introduced Graph Search this week, a new way to navigate your connections on the leading social network. This introduction was met by much buzz in the technology industry—as Graph Search potentially has a huge impact on the future of personalized search!

So, what is Facebook Graph Search? Graph Search is new way to navigate the more than a billion people, more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections on the world’s largest social network – Facebook.

Here’s how it works:
Graph Search appears at the top of each Facebook page. A Facebook user can then enter a search query such as, “my friends in Washington, DC” or “my friends who are engaged,” and the results reveal friends who have shared this information, which can then be edited and re-named to save for future reference.

Currently, Graph Search focuses on four key areas: people, photos, places, and interests. According to Facebook, the results of a search depend on a number of factors, including information shared by a brand and a person’s connections with a brand. That means your brand page’s content could appear in a person’s Graph Search results, so it is another reason to keep your business page updated and fresh with content and images daily!

Interested in learning more? Click here for more information on this new tool, including a video explaining Graph Search and how it can be used.

Graph Search is currently available in a limited preview, also known as beta. Want access? Sign up to be on the waitlist by selecting the “join waiting list” button at the bottom of the page.

Check back soon for more Facebook Graph Search updates!

» Follow WeddingWireEDU on Pinterest!

In today’s digital world, visual content is key! Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share images that interest, inspire or intrigue you from the web in one central location— and is a hugely popular social media site.

Pinterest is now the fourth leading source of traffic to publisher websites, is notably very popular in the weddings and events space— and is a great way to showcase your work. Recently, business accounts were launched on Pinterest, and we are happy to announce that WeddingWireEDU has a Pinterest account dedicated to engaging visual content and information valuable to Wedding and Event Professionals like you!

WeddingWireEDU’s Pinterest account is another social media outlet where we are sharing the latest information and statistics, small business tips, and technology updates to Power Your Business. Check out our boards, including: Marketing Infographics, Social Media, Technology Trends, Email Marketing, Go Mobile, and WeddingWireand more coming soon!

Be sure to follow WeddingWireEDU on Pinterest for daily images and Infographics to help you Power Your Business and stay on the forefront of technology.

Ready to set up a Pinterest account for your business? Learn more and get started today!

Already have a Pinterest business account? Maximize your reach and improve your traffic by adding a ‘Pin It button’ to make it easy to share your images, and a ‘Follow button’ to gain new followers, to your website or blog.

Happy Pinning!

» Capturing Love: It’s not rocket science, but there is an art to it!

This post is by Thea Dodds, the owner/photographer of Authentic Eye Photography, a boutique wedding and portrait studio based in New Hampshire. Thea is the co-author of Capturing Love:The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography, along with Kathryn Hamm, President of GayWeddings.com.  Visit www.capturingloveguide.com to order the book and find a list of our scheduled appearances, and “like” us on Facebook for updates!

 

In my past fifteen years as a professional photographer, I’ve photographed more than two hundred weddings. So, you could say that I’ve gotten pretty comfortable working as a wedding photographer. I’ve got an established routine to meet and exceed my clients expectations, and I’m able to offer guidance, based on my extensive experience, to better create beautiful and lasting wedding photographs for them.

But, in 2005, I photographed my first same-sex couple’s wedding and realized that, while I had plenty of professional experience to lean on, I felt, in many respects, like a beginner.

That first gay wedding represented many firsts for me. It was, in fact, the first same-sex wedding I’d ever attended. It was the first wedding I’d ever photographed where neither member of the couple was wearing a wedding gown. And it was the first wedding where the ceremony kiss turned out to be the first time this couple had ever kissed in front of their families.

This couple was fantastic, two beautiful people who truly and deeply loved one another. But capturing their love in camera was challenging. My “regular bag of tricks” was no help when I tried to convey the level of intimacy I usually capture at a wedding.  Even simply posing this couple, because they were similar heights and weights, made the “standard” images difficult, since they couldn’t physically dip or lift each other.

Flash forward to today and I’ve learned a lot. Namely, that love is love and gay and lesbian weddings have a lot in common with heterosexual weddings. There are, however, some key differences that a photographer must understand and I wanted to do something more to share my experience with other photographers.

That’s why I called Kathryn Hamm, president of GayWeddings.com, a the first online resource specializing in support and information for same-sex couples, their families, and the Wedding Pros who wish to work with them.

The end result of that fateful call? Together, we designed a groundbreaking guide—Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Photography—designed to help photographers and engaged couples understand the art and mechanics of photographing lesbian and gay weddings and engagements.

To understand in depth what we’ve discovered and the tips and information gleaned from so many talented photographers and beautiful couples, seeing a copy of Capturing Love is well worth the time and effort.  We scoured through thousands of photographs to select 65 outstanding examples of same-sex engagement and wedding photography, which represent the work of 38 photographers and 46 couples from 19 states, Canada, the U.K. and Italy.

Check out just a few examples of what we reveal in the book:

Seasoned photographers will recognize this pose from the traditional wedding playbook for grooms and their best men. This casual, yet connected pose generally conveys a connection of friendship and support. In this image, however, the direct and meaningful gaze shared by the two men indicates a much closer, more intimate relationship.

 

Nothing says love like a nuzzle. The challenge with a couple of the same height (often occurring for same-sex couples) is getting the couple close without covering up too much of their faces. Layering their bodies is key to solving this challenge. Guidance with phrases like, “put your shoulder into your partner’s armpit,” can reduce confusion so the couple can stay in the moment and focus on their nuzzling.

 

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» Top Marketing Resolutions for 2013

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented ‘Top Marketing Resolutions for 2013’ 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 marketing resolutions that all Pros should keep in mind to keep your business ahead of the competition this year.

Top Marketing Resolutions Include:

  • Use Google’s free tools, including Alerts, Analytics and Webmaster
  • Focus on 6 SEO On-Page factors
  • Create unique blog content (Not yet blogging? Consider tumblr!)
  • Makeover your social profiles, and track your analytics
  • Develop and integrate video content
  • Mobilize your business 
  • And more!

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros. Be sure to stay tuned for more information about February’s webinar, coming soon!