» Choose a Stand-Out Main Image

What is the first thing that couples notice when reviewing the WeddingWire vendor catalog? Your business’ main image! It is extremely important that this image is clear, professional, and attention-grabbing. The main images that get clicked the most by engaged couples are real photos that are fun and joyful. Aspirational images that show a couple or a party celebrating are very engaging to potential clients – and can be applicable across categories. Couples like to see an image of what they envision for their big day and evoke feelings of love, celebration and happiness!

If you have a logo that you love, we encourage you to include it in your About Us section of your Storefront instead of showcasing it as your main image. Besides the fact that potential clients prefer real photos, there can also be sizing and formatting issues when you attempt to use a logo as your main image. With certain logo design dimensions, sometimes they will get cut off or distorted because of the size of the thumbnail in the catalog. Additionally, since the main image is a thumbnail, it is challenging to read text in a small window, which isn’t a positive experience for engaged couples reviewing their options for Wedding Pros in your category.

Once you select your main image, be sure to view your listing in the vendor catalog. That way, you will be able to view your image from the perspective of a potential client, and determine if you love your selected image or whether a different photo might be a better choice. Switching your image every few months is a fun way to keep your catalog updated, and you can select an image you love by season, and test out different images to see what generates the most leads to your business. Have fun with your Storefront!

» Top Marketing Resolutions for 2013: Part 4

Smart and effective marketing is an important key to business success! Check out the fourth and final installment of our 20 marketing must-dos for 2013!

Check out part four below, and be sure to review part one, two and three. Tell us your favorite resolutions in the comments below!

» Inside WeddingWire: DC Levo Power Panel

Last week, members of the WeddingWire team attended the Local Levo League Power Panel event in Washington, DC.

The Levo League is an online destination designed to provide Generation Y women with advice, mentorship and career opportunities. Local events take place in cities throughout the US and abroad, and members of the WeddingWire team enjoyed attending in the recent DC Local Levo Power Panel Event!

Megan Griffith, Associate Director of Sales Development at WeddingWire, participated in the panel with other local “power panelists” who spoke about personal career success stories, mentoring advice and more. Other members of the WeddingWire team mix and mingled with DC Levo guests after the panel and enjoyed treats and special give aways.

Check out some photos from the event below, taken by Carleigh Smith:

» Get Blogging!

Starting a blog is one of the best ways to improve your online exposure, as well as share your business insights, latest inspirations and best work with potential clients and other members of the industry.

Blogging is an easy and fun way for your clients and potential clients to learn more about your business personality, see your work first hand, and keep updated about your business even after their big day. Additionally, blogging is a great way to consistently create fresh content for your business, which will be crawled by top search engines and improve your business Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Whether you are considering a blog for the first time, are fairly new to blogging, or are interested in re-visiting your current blogging strategy, find some of our top tips for getting starting and building a successful blog below.

Create an account: First things first! Pick your blog name, and get started using a blogging platform. Your name should express your business personality, and the content you will share should be consistent with your brand. We use the popular blogging platform WordPress, which is easy to use with lots of great features. Sign up for a WordPress blog here!

Consider Your Content: Planning the content of your blog is very important. What will be your niche? Who is your target audience? Who will be the contributors? How often do you plan to post? How will you share your posts and gain followers?

We know this can be a bit overwhelming. But considering these important questions early on will give your blog a purpose. It will help you structure the content of your blog, which will lead to its long-term success and growth. While there is no right answer, we do recommend as a general rule to try to post consistently to keep the blog active and engaging. Once a week is a great goal as you are getting started, and maybe in the future you can aim for a post per day as it becomes part of your daily routine and you build more contributors.

Get Started: Invest time into getting familiar with your blogging platform and setting up your account. Take time to read the instructions on getting started, and set your blog design, theme and the “About” section where you can give a description about your blog. Once your blog goes live, be sure to link to your business website and social media accounts for additional exposure, and so any interested parties who read your blog can learn more about your business. It is always a great idea to start with an introduction post to share your excitement about the blog and provide some insights into your personality, your business and your passion for your work.

Gain Exposure: Once you have a few posts and are ready to “go public” – showcase your blog to your communities! Send a link to your friends, family and clients to let them know you are excited about your new blog and would love it they followed it. Share links to your latest posts on your social networks, and add a button to your blog on your website so visitors can easily navigate to your blog! Also, be sure to appropriately categorize and tag your blog posts based on the main topics covered, which will help with SEO. Select 2-3 general categories that are covered in the post, and then add 2-3 more specific tags that relate to the post. For example, a category for this post is “Business Ideas” and a tag is “Blogging Tips.”

Keep It Interesting: Regularly updating content encourages readers to return to your blog. Also, encourage comments to keep the discussion going when relevant, or ask what theme readers would like to see you feature next – and follow through with their suggestions when you can. Assess the needs and interest of your readers and work to feature content they will find relevant and engaging! Mix heavy content or educational posts with more fun and short posts to keep it interesting and fresh. You may even consider coming up with mini series or themed days as you get established (for example, our “Inside WeddingWire” series on the WeddingWireEDU blog to show what our team has been up to recently!)

Using the top 5 tips above, you are ready to take on the blogging challenge! Seasoned bloggers, do you have any other top tips and advice? We would love to hear from you!

» Wed We Can: Extend Your Services

This week, WeddingWire Network partner and President of GayWeddings.com, Kathryn Hamm, presented ‘Wed We Can: Extend Your Services to Better Serve Same-Sex Couples’ as part of our monthly webinar series for premium WeddingWire members.

Each one hour webinar is designed to inform Wedding Pros about insights, trends and topics that may be of interest to effectively and strategically run and expand your business. In this month’s webinar, Kathryn shared 4 simple steps to extend your services to better serve same-sex couples for LGBT-friendly Wedding Pros, as well as some legislative updates and details about getting listed on GayWeddings.com.

4 Simple Steps to Extend Your Services to Same-Sex Couples:

Educate Yourself – Be sure to follow the latest headlines, follow industry experts on social media (such as Kathryn: @gayweddingcom), interview same-sex couples, and talk with other Pros and know there is always more to learn!

Evaluate Your Coffee Table – What is your business’ first impression? Do you use the language “Brides and Grooms” or “Engaged Couples?” Do you have a variety of diverse images and examples of your work to spread the message that you are inclusive?

Update Your First Impression – Work to be neutral and inclusive on all your marketing materials including you business website, print collateral, blog and advertisements.

Expand Your Network – Ask for referrals and reviews from your same-sex couples. Get your business listed on LBGT professional resources like GayWeddings.com in order to be found by same-sex couples, and market to the audience.

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros. Be sure to stay tuned for more information about March’s webinar, ‘Are You Too Busy to be Successful?’ presented by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg.

» Top Marketing Resolutions for 2013: Part 3

Smart and effective marketing is an important key to success by growing your business awareness, sharing your great work and reaching your target audience. Check out this four part series which highlights WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly’s top 20 marketing must-dos for 2013!

Check out part three below, and review part one and part two, and visit the blog again soon for the final Marketing Resolution list for 2013!

» WeddingWire Happy Hour New Jersey

Last night, local Wedding Pros gathered at Salt Creek Grille in Princeton for WeddingWire Happy Hour New Jersey!

Wedding Pros from New Jersey 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, Baltimore, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego, Richmond, St. Louis, Providence, Hartford and more, with the list of cities growing this year!

Thank you to all the wonderful  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 Mila Berman of Heaven Scent Floral, the winner of our drawing, who will receive a WeddingWire prize pack!

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» Social Search: Bing and Facebook Collide

Earlier this year, Facebook announced their new feature, Graph Search. Following this announcement, Bing revealed that its search results will now include 5 times more content from users’ Facebook friends. The concept of search results being customized and personalized by user based on their social networks is referred to as Social Search and is a huge technology trend for the future.

What type of content is shared with Social Search? Search results on Bing will include status updates, links, and comments. Now, Bing will show your organic search results on the left side of the results page, paid per click advertisements in the center, and social media – primarily Facebook – results on the right hand side.

So, what does this mean for your business? This announcement by Bing, one of the top three largest search engines, is yet another reason why it is so important for your business to be on Facebook and developing a consistent presence on top social media sites by sharing valuable content with your audiences. To develop a strong presence, you should post on a regular basis, but also be sure to engage with your fans and get them sharing and liking your posts and comments by providing them with relevant education, fun topics and asking for their feedback.

What do you think about the future of Social Search and Bing’s recent announcement?

» Attention Photographers: Join us at WPPI 2013!

WeddingWire is excited to join the Wedding Photographers Association in Las Vegas at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) Expo March 11-13th!

Each year, thousands of photographers attend WPPI to discover innovative photography techniques, network with peers, and learn about new products to improve their businesses. The MGM Grand Conference Center will host both the Conference and Expo portions of the event.

WeddingWire is excited to participate in WPPI this year! Be sure to look out for the “WeddingWire Charging Station” at the event Expo (we are booth #1678!). Boost your battery, grab some WeddingWire swag, and chat with our Directors of Sales who will be available to answer questions about WeddingWire and share tips to effectively build a strong online reputation.

Additionally, LGBT-friendly Pros should stop by the WeddingWire booth on Wednesday, 3/13 from 10:30am-12pm for a meet and greet with Thea Dodds, co-author of Capturing Love:The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography!

Registration is quick and easy for WPPI members and nonmembers, but hurry – the big event will be here in a flash! We look forward to seeing you there!

» Inside WeddingWire: Happy Mardi Gras!

This month’s WeddingWire team celebration was in honor of Mardi Gras!

Yesterday, our staff joined together to celebrate Fat Tuesday by indulging in a New Orleans themed lunch in our WeddingWire Café. We donned Mardi Gras beads and enjoyed a traditional Louisiana meal of jambalaya, shrimp creole, oyster po boys, red beans and rice and more!

Check out some photos below!

» WeddingWire Happy Hour Miami

Yesterday evening, local Wedding Pros gathered at Briza on the Bay for WeddingWire Happy Hour Miami!

Miami 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 several years, with our list of cities growing in 2013. We were thrilled to be back in the South Florida area for the third time and enjoyed seeing familiar faces and meeting new Pros.

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

Thank you to all the wonderful Miami area Pros who joined us, and congrats to Jeanie Agmon of South Florida Gets Married, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack! Interested in Pro tips to Power Your Business? Be sure to check out WeddingWire’s complete Education Guide!

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