» Top 5 Ways to Network on LinkedIn

Many wedding and event professionals are members of a small business, and certain service categories may require only one employee to constitute their wedding business. Officiants, DJs and Photographers, and others fall into this category. For those individuals who may solely represent their wedding business, personal branding and networking can be big drivers of referral business.

As busy professionals, it can be hard to forge these connections in addition to all the duties and responsibilities associated with your business. Networking events and association meetings are great ways to establish relationships with other Pros, but what can you do on a daily basis to network? LinkedIn is a great way for wedding and event professionals to network and build relationships with other Pros!

Top 5 Ways to Network on LinkedIn Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks differ from LinkedIn in that those channels are great places to represent your business and attract potential couples, but are not designed to build your personal brand on a professional level. You can create a business page on each to represent your company, and improve your brand awareness. LinkedIn is not likely to put your business in front of couples looking to book a wedding vendor. Rather, look at LinkedIn as a tool to grow your individual brand as a wedding professional.

If you don’t have a personal LinkedIn profile, signing up is easy and free. Once you get started on LinkedIn, follow these steps to help you network on the world’s largest professional network!

Fill out your profile completely. LinkedIn has a great feature that will help you fill out your profile and provide easy step-by-steps on what you should do next. You’ll add your full name, a professional photograph (no selfies, please!), a summary of your professional experiences and a description of your business and your associated duties. You can also go so far as to include any relevant school information or awards and honors that may set you apart as an expert! Even if you have an account set up, check in to make sure you have completed your profile as much as possible to maximize your exposure and keep your virtual resume up-to-date!

Connect with other Pros. Here comes the fun part – connect with Pros you know as well and connect with new industry contacts! Try finding your Pros I Know, Preferred Pros or other Pros you interact with in the Pro Forums through LinkedIn search. LinkedIn will also suggest other connections based on your connections, so you can easily expand your network to reach those you may not have met in person yet! Since LinkedIn is a dedicated social network for professionals, connecting with others in your industry (even if you don’t know them) is encouraged. Just remember to include a short note in your request explaining why you think the two of you should connect.

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» WeddingWire Ranked #27 on Forbes’ Most Promising Companies List

We’re excited to announce that WeddingWire has been named one of America’s Most Promising Companies by Forbes magazine!

WeddingWire Ranked #27 on Forbes' Most Promising Companies ListThe third-annual Forbes list, which ranks America’s highest-growth privately-held companies, listed WeddingWire as 27th among the top 100 companies. The America’s Most Promising Companies list is determined by reviewing the various factors that set companies apart as fast-growing, such as unique business models, strong management and investment capital availability. We’re honored to be among the other impressive companies that made the list.

2013 was a wonderful year for WeddingWire as a company, and this award is another milestone we could not have reached without you! Our continued growth as a company and our dedication helping businesses, like yours, be successful is a result of the business of wedding and event professionals.

Thank you for continuing to support our business as we remain committed to supporting yours. We are proud to say that we owe our success to you!

» 6 Principles of Successful Email Marketing

Despite the daily inundation of emails in our inboxes, email marketing is still one of the most effective communication methods for businesses. Email marketing is a great way to reach your audience and share timely and pertinent information.

Because seemingly everyone is using email as part of their marketing repertoire, it’s hard to know what exactly constitutes a successful email marketing campaign. We’re here to help with the 6 principles you should follow to make the most of your email marketing!6 Principles of Successful Email Marketing

1. Examine your audience. As a business, you should understand your overall audience, but it’s also important to examine the specific audience you are emailing. Email campaigns should be segmented in a way that may not include your entire audience. Knowing your audience is the best way to create emails that they will find relevant and useful. This can also determine your tone and email content, such as whether your emails should be conversational or more formal.  For example, you wouldn’t want to send the same email about a free consultation to your booked client—this should just to go active leads.

2. Write a catchy (and different) subject line. When writing your subject line, look at it from your own point of view as a consumer: Would I open this? Your subject line has to entice the recipient to open the email. Even if you’ve written the whole email in a way that is relevant, useful and full of great content, your recipients will never know unless they open it! Keep it short and to the point, and don’t use the same subject line for every email. Also avoid super sales oriented subject lines which can seem spammy and focus on what value you are providing to your audience.

3. Keep the design simple. Think about all the emails you receive in a single day – tons! With all of the back and forth in the average inbox, your recipients probably don’t have a lot of time to read through your email. Keep your content concise, and keep your email design simple. Make it easy for people to skim the email to find the parts that interest them, and make it even easier for them to take action on a given item by remembering to…

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» Pro Forum Buzz: Venue Considerations, Budget Expectations and More

The WeddingWire Pro Forums are a great place to meet and connect with other Wedding Pros across the country to grow your network. Every day, Pros are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Here’s what Pros are talking about this month in the Pro Forums!

Opening a new wedding venue

Pros weigh in on the research and considerations for opening a venue, from the amount of space and equipment required for outside caterers to zoning and insurance requirements.

Share your knowledge of venues >

Offering review incentives

Should you offer an incentive for submitting a review, or could that be considered a bribe? Wedding and event professionals discuss whether or not a review incentive compromises the integrity of a review, whether good or bad.

Offer your voice >

Obtaining insurance for Officiants

Pros question whether or not they should have professional liability insurance. Some venues require all vendors to have insurance, but should Officiants be considered clergy or vendors?

Do you have insurance? Join in >

Managing budget expectations

Have you ever turned down a client because of a budget? Pros across all categories talk about dealing with couples with lower budgets and how to best accommodate them (or not accommodate them).

Give your opinion >

Have a question or want advice? The Pro Forums are organized by topic so you can easily browse what interests you or use the search option on the right to find something specific.

» WeddingWire Workshop Orlando

Yesterday, local Orlando Wedding Pros gathered at Mission Inn Resort & Club for one of our first WeddingWire Workshop events, focused on managing your business!

At the WeddingWire Workshop, Pros gathered for a comprehensive training on the tools available within the Clients Tab of premium members’ WeddingWire account. In addition to receiving hands-on WeddingWire account training, attendees also learned more about eventOS tools, met their local WeddingWire representatives, and enjoyed light snacks and beverages while networking with other local Pros after the training session.

WeddingWire Workshops are the newest addition to our variety of educational events and networking opportunities created for Wedding Pros, which include our annual user’s conference WeddingWire World, networking events such as WeddingWire Mix & Mingles, WeddingWire Networking Nights and more. We look forward to hosting more local WeddingWire Workshops in 2014!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us and participated in the Workshop. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Workshop Orlando board in the Pro Forums!

We’re excited to share some highlights from the event and additional resources including access to our Clients Tab Quick Start Guide, the WeddingWire Education Guide for more business tips, and great photos from the evening (as seen below).

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

Finally, congrats to Cally Bastin of Elegant Weddings of Orlando, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Workshop Orlando

WeddingWire Workshop Orlando

WeddingWire Workshop Orlando

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» What’s Next in Social Media: January 2014

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know for social media news and updates from January 2014:

Facebook's new Trending featureFacebook’s “Trending” topics

Facebook recently launched its new Trending feature, which displays a personalized list of popular topics. Its gradual rollout has begun in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, India and Australia, so you may see this new feature appear in your account soon!

Trending stories are based on a variety of factors, including your interests on Facebook and how much your friends are interacting with the story. This new feature goes hand-in-hand with Facebook’s launch of hashtags, allowing Facebook users to consume new and content in a similar way to Twitter’s feed.

Since the Trending feature consolidates topics which users are talking about and clicking on, it’s easier for businesses to hop in and discuss trending topics that may be related to their industries. Be sure to keep an eye on the top right corner of your News Feed to see what your network is talking about!

Read more from InformationWeek >

Twitter’s new design

Twitter’s desktop design is now in line with its mobile versions for iOS and Android – a more refreshed design with in-line compose function and simple navigation bar.

Twitter had been testing several versions of a new design for the past few months, with this new design clearly being the winner. The left-side profile box and other information with the compose function are aimed at converting Twitter readers into more active tweets by eliminating the pop-up compose function. Now, users can read and tweet at the same time.

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» Announcing the WeddingWire Newly Engaged Guide

We’re excited to announce our latest wedding planning tool, the WeddingWire Newly Engaged Guide found at engaged.weddingwire.com!

Announcing the WeddingWire Newly Engaged Guide

This website allows couples to start planning their dream wedding immediately after getting engaged. It’s full of advice and information for newly engaged couples so they have the first five steps to follow when they begin wedding planning.

Our guide helps couples through these first few important steps:

  1. Announcing their engagement by sharing one of our badges, or by following some expert advice on engagement etiquette, party ideas and more.
  2. Choosing a wedding date based on our suggestions for consideration and sending save-the-dates.
  3. Setting a budget to help couples easily manage expenses, track spending, and set up payment schedules.
  4. Building a guest list and keeping track of RSVPs and meal preferences.
  5. Finding a venue and other vendors in the WeddingWire directory, as well as advice for choosing the best venue for your needs and budget.

This new website is just one of the ways we attract new couples to our site every day! Of course, it’s powered by WeddingWire, so these new couples will use our leading technology to find the best vendors for their wedding day.

Check it out, and pass long to your clients for guidance and inspiration!

» Revamping Your Storefront for 2014

January is one of the busiest months for our WeddingWire Pros! With most of the big engagement season holidays now behind us, there’s a whole new class of couples starting to plan their weddings! With the increased traffic, couples will be spending more time on your WeddingWire Storefront deciding whether or not they would like to book your services. Revamping your Storefront will help your business convert more leads and secure more bookings.

First and foremost, your Storefront should be a representation of your brand and what makes you unique as a Wedding Pro. As the industry becomes more competitive, it is important to stand out from your peers in the industry. Below are three easy ways you can revamp your Storefront and reach more couples in 2014!

Revamping your Storefront for 2014Main Image

A great way to stand out is through your main image. When couples are browsing through the catalog, your main image is the first representation they have of your business. Take a look at your local catalog – choose a main image that stands out among your competitors and is more likely to draw potential clients to your listing. Couples are more likely to click on an image that features people rather than a logo. Choose a main image that exemplifies what you do and how your services will enhance the couple’s wedding.

Examples: If you’re a DJ, choose a main image of the couple during their first dance or a group of guests dancing. If you’re a Florist, select a main image with the bridal party holding your bouquets.

About Us

After selecting a new main image, take a look at your About Us section. When a potential client clicks into your Storefront, the About Us section is the first section shown. Make sure your About Us section speaks to your potential clients and explains what they need to know about your services or products. Try including a call to action at the end of this section to guide couples to do exactly what you want them to do – whether that be sending you an email, giving you a call, or filling out the contact form.

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» WeddingWire SpringBook: Share Your Money-Saving Tips!

Share your money-saving tips for the WeddingWire SpringBook!Attention all Wedding Pros: WeddingWire’s Editorial Team needs your help!

We’re hard at work on our upcoming SpringBook and are looking for wedding professionals to share their top money-saving tips for an article in the magazine. What are the most creative ways for couples to save money on their weddings? We know you have ideas, and we want to hear from you!

Use this form to submit your ideas – keep your responses short (just a sentence or two each) and sweet, please! We’ll select our favorites to feature in the magazine, and if chosen, we’ll share your tip along with your name, business name, and we’ll link to your WeddingWire Storefront.

Our deadline for this article is Monday, January 27, so it’s time to start writing! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Submit your ideas now >

» Your Playbook for Business Success in 2014

Webinar Recap!

This month, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly presented our monthly educational webinar for premium members, Your Playbook for Success – Top Business Resolutions for 2014! In this one-hour session, Sonny shared the top 10 categories that are important to consider for your business’ success, and some key resolutions or strategies associated with each that will work to improve your business this year.Your-Playbook-for-Success_2014_End-Overview

Listed below are high-level business resolutions based on the top 10 categories for business success!

  • Brand: Your business brand matters! What does your brand currently say about you? Invest time and energy in building your brand equity and creating more value and awareness surrounding your services.
  • Website: Metrics are important. Commit to tracking your analytics this year by measuring, analyzing and improving your traffic and engagement across your website. Google Analytics is a free and user-friendly resource!
  • SEO: We know that Search Engine Optimization can seem daunting, but all you need is a little L.U.C.K! Be on your way to being an SEO pro by remembering the keys to success when optimizing your site and blog – Linking Strategy, URL structure, Content Optimization and Keyword Focus.
  • Social media: Take the time to create a social media strategy this year. Focus on a few key social media sites to really engage with, and dedicate a bit of time to developing content, growing your audience and improving interaction to reach more new target audiences. We recommend establishing a presence on Facebook and 2-3 other popular sites (such as Pinterest, Twitter, Google + or Instagram) to build your brand and gain some added exposure.
  • Video: Video will become increasingly popular and an important marketing tool this year. Get started by creating a YouTube account for your business, and also easily create professional video in minutes with the Video Builder to showcase your services in an engaging and fun way. Continue reading

» 6 Steps to Wedding Show Success

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is a member of the National Speakers Association, an author, and founder of The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, an organization dedicated to the educating and consulting of highly motivated individuals and businesses. Learn more at http://alanberg.com/.

Wedding or bridal shows are still relevant for today’s couples because they still like to see, hear, touch, smell and taste, before they buy. They’re relevant for you because you crave the face-time and want to show the passion for what you do. Is there a magic formula for wedding show success? As with any other marketing vehicle you have to be an active participant. You can’t just buy your booth and expect the sales to come rolling in.

How can you make the most of your investment in wedding shows? First, think of it as more than just the day(s) of the show. Next, follow these 6 steps to maximize your return.

1. Before the show 

6 Steps to Wedding Show Success

Click to enlarge the infographic!

  • Prepare your booth in advance and have a goal (sales, appointments, interested prospects, etc.).
  • Have them come to the show, specifically looking for you. Give your booth number and include visual elements that will tie your advance promotion to your actual booth.
  • Use Social Media, your website, direct mail, email, your voice mail and email auto-responder to alert your prospects that you’ll be at the show.
  • Phone prospects who have shown interest and let them know you’ll be at the show.

2. Prepare your follow up

  • Don’t wait until you get the list to decide what to do via phone, email and/or direct mail.
  • Create the scripts, email templates and direct mail pieces before the show so you can get them out when the list arrives. Find out what data will be on it and when you’ll get it.
  • Prepare a different follow up for those who scheduled appointments, those who showed interest and then the rest of the master list. The language should be different based upon what you do, or don’t know about them and their level of interest.

3. At the show

  • Make your booth stand out and reflect what you do. Don’t distract or confuse them with elements that don’t reflect what you do.
  • Use professional signage, something they can read from a distance with easy to read language and font styles.
  • Put your signage up high so they can see it.
  • Don’t sit down in your booth.
  • Don’t eat in your booth.
  • Have a clear purpose for the show. If you want to make appointments, have your appointment schedule with you.

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» Check Out the New Look and Feel of WeddingWire

We’re excited to announce that WeddingWire.com now has a new look and feel! Visit our website from your desktop or tablet to experience the new cleaner and even more user-friendly design.

Check out the new look and feel of WeddingWire!

Check it out now >

As the leading technology company in the wedding industry, we aim to improve our site and tools to better serve your business. That’s why we’ve updated the design and functionality to help drive additional traffic to your Storefront! Specifically, we refreshed the desktop and tablet experience by optimizing the look and feel to streamline how couples navigate the site and find your Storefront.

A key update to help improve couples’ experience is in the vendor search function. Now, when consumers visit WeddingWire.com, the vendor search function is front and center, prominently located to meet the eye. The streamlined design also applies to the WeddingWire vendor directory, making it intuitive for them to find you and locate the most pertinent information about your business (including your contact info and reviews!).

This update is the result of various rounds of consumer testing – including sentiment testing – to gauge what consumers feel best serves their needs. Users expressed that they desire a cleaner, easy-to-navigate layout. Our update makes it easier than ever for them to navigate through the WeddingWire vendor directory.

While our look and feel has improved, couples will continue to experience the same premium functionality when using our site to help plan their wedding and find the perfect vendors for their big day!

We hope you like our new look!