» Pro Forum Buzz: Email Best Practices, Digital Marketing 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!

The next ProChat

Congratulations to the host of our next ProChat: Catch Photo Booths! Tune in to our wedding forums on Tuesday, April 8 between 2-4PM EST and join our vendor-hosted chat about the most unique detail you’ve ever seen at a wedding!

See the details >

Using email auto-responders

Using email auto-responders

Do you use an auto-email response service? Pros weigh in on the benefits, negatives and preferred systems for email auto-responders as well as best practices for what information to include and how quickly they should be set up.

Share your methods >

Value in digital marketing

Are you interested in the latest digital marketing and trends? So are we! Check out our ‘Continuing the Conversation’ discussion to find out more about how to use statistics to drive your business’ digital marketing strategy.

Get started >

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» Featured Pro Tweets

In our Featured Pro Tweets series, we highlight great comments that we receive to @WeddingWireEDU. We love reading and sharing your insights, feedback and thoughts with other Wedding Pros! Be sure to tweet at us and you could be featured next!

If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter for the latest WeddingWire updates, industry and technology news and small business tips.

Check out some of our favorite tweets from the last month below!

 

 

 

 

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» Let’s Get Analytical!

Top Business Tracking TipsWebinar Recap!

In late March, we held our monthly webinar for premium members, all about tracking your business analytics online! WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly hosted the webinar and shared his insights into the importance of analytics, and the best resources for business tracking online.

Analytics plays an important role in measuring your business’ success and online impact – but don’t let the numbers scare you! Check out the six key sources you should be measuring, below!

  • Traffic: The best way to track your business website traffic is through Google Analytics. Review your site’s basic metrics and overall page traffic as well as your key driving sources in one place with this tool.
  • SEO: A key to standing out in search is to use the best keywords for your business. Do a bit of research to determine interest in search terms using Google Trends to get started.

» WeddingWire Workshop Detroit

Yesterday, local Detroit Wedding Pros gathered at Shriners Silver Garden Events Center 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 Detroit 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 Glorianna Cece of MacRay Harbor, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit

WeddingWire Workshop Detroit

WeddingWire Workshop Detroit

WeddingWire Workshop Detroit

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» How to Climb to New Profits

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

The wedding industry is unique in that you do not have to create the need for products and services. At a formal wedding, you can approximately forecast what and when they will buy. Most wedding professionals specialize in a particular category. While most wedding businesses may network on some level (through the exchange of business cards, for example), the majority of businesses do not focus on making the most of networking relationships or think about add-on sales.

It is natural for businesses to focus on increasing the amount of clients. Profitability, however, can be more easily gained by a continued exploration on how to make more money on each client. The most passive attempt to accomplish that would be to raise prices. However, your bottom line, what the market can bear and the bridal niche you are trying to target should motivate pricing, or raising your prices can result in you losing business.

How to Climb to New ProfitsFinding new products and services are a more creative and effective process to increasing profits. One of the most valuable outcomes that many brides and grooms are motivated by is the saving of time. If your company is an earlier rung on the planning ladder as a venue, caterer, bridal shop, photographer, video or entertainment company, often couples will have yet to order invitations, favors, bridal gifts, flowers, limousines and tuxedos, for example, and you may be able to be of assistance.

If you were to endeavor into offering these services to existing customers, you have an advantage; you already have their trust. Secondly, if a bride and groom are convinced that they can enjoy equivalent or better quality and comparable pricing that trust advantage along with the benefit of saving time and keeping track of fewer bills, can help you win business. In addition you have the advantage of exposing the couple to services at earlier stage than they may have normally began their research and can more time to pay the services on a more gradual basis (a strong benefit you can establish).

Some wedding businesses may be overwhelmed at the thought of taking on new services without understanding the craft and how to fulfill the service or merchandise the products. It’s easier than you think. Continue reading

» What’s Next in Social Media: March 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 about what’s next in social media from March 2014:

What’s Next in Social Media: March 2014Facebook Redesigns…Again

Starting the week of March 10, Facebook began rolling out a “streamlined” look for Business Pages on desktop. The new look will be easier for people to find information they really want as well as help Page admins access tools faster. The new redesign features an updated timeline layout, a new “This Week” feature that provides a snapshot of your Page’s activities for the week and easier ability to benchmark with Pages to Watch. Page admins have already reported seeing the option to switch or join the waitlist.

See the new layout on Facebook >

Pinterest’s New Gifts Feed

Good news for those wedding and event professionals who provide goods: Pinterest has announced that it’s introducing a new feed specifically for Product Pins, meaning that they’re tied directly to the retailer and you’re able to purchase them directly. While much of Pinterest is used purely for inspiration, this feed will only show items which can actually be bought (and are up-to-date). This feed will also include a price filter, making it function more like a retail site than a social network.

Read more on the Pinterest blog >

Twitter Gets Faster Video Playback

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» 5 Ways to Improve Your Communication with Clients

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

We’re all juggling busy schedules, and between prospective clients and those who’ve already booked, most of us are in communication overload. Phone conversations, emails, and in-person meetings can leave even the most organized Pro feeling overwhelmed. However, effective client communication is so important. Not only does it set the tone for a client’s impression of our business, but it also plays a huge role in how well we carry out our services at the wedding itself.

Here are five tips for getting the most out of your communication with clients.

5 Ways to Improve Your Communication with Clients1. Be prepared. It’s great to be accessible to your clients, but if you don’t have their information on hand when you accept their calls or respond to their emails, your instant response won’t matter – clients will fear that you don’t really know who they are and what they want. It’s essential that you take a moment to review your notes on a client before communicating with him or her, and that you have a plan.

2. Structure your communication. For a phone conversation, this might mean just a quick introduction outlining what you want to accomplish on the call (Example: “Today we’ll be going over the seating arrangements, confirming your centerpieces and linen colors, and answering any questions you may have.”) In an email, it’s even easier: just separate the most important points with paragraph breaks or bullet points so that the message is easy to follow.

3. Be thorough. If you’ve reviewed your notes beforehand, you should have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish in the communication. Over the course of the conversation, be sure that you’ve gathered all the information you need, and don’t be afraid to ask a client to clarify any points that may be confusing or open to interpretation.

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» Facebook Profiles vs. Facebook Business Pages

Facebook Profiles vs. Facebook Business PagesWhen Facebook first began to gain popularity with businesses, organizations and companies in addition to individuals, there weren’t many professional options. As a result, many business owners created personal accounts for their businesses which allowed them to “friend” their customers and grow a following that way. These accounts functioned for a while, but Facebook quickly realized that there was a growing need for a different type of access for entities.

Then Facebook Business Pages were created, and Facebook began offering different products to businesses because they have different needs than individuals. Whether you created a personal profile for your business because there were no other options at the time or you just don’t want to make the change, it’s time to switch to a business page! This tool will better serve your business’ needs, and there are a lot of benefits to having a business page rather than a personal profile.

Here are a few reasons why your business should make the switch from a personal profile to a business page (if you haven’t already), or why you should get started with a Facebook business page today if you don’t have one:

Professionalism

Even with constant changes to Facebook’s look and feel, it’s easy to tell the difference between a personal profile and a business page and business pages look more professional.  Also, since “friends” have access to each other’s profiles, you may be preventing potential customers from creating a relationship with your business because they may not want to share all of their personal information with you, or may be unable to search for your business by a personal name.

Multiple users

Using a business page for your business means that you can add multiple users with different levels of permissions. You don’t have to sign in and out or share your password with other employees who need access; you can just add them as administrators and they’ll be able to access from their own accounts. Facebook also added a new feature that allows only admins to see who posted on behalf of the page, so you’ll always know who posted what should anything go awry.

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» Update your Website with WeddingWire Widgets!

Update Your Website with WeddingWire Widgets!It’s always important to make sure your website represents your business, but it’s especially important at this time of year! With spring and summer quickly approaching, your business is likely to be extremely busy with all sorts of weddings and events. While you’re spending all that time making sure your couples are happy, you may lose sight of your business’ WeddingWire Storefront and website. Even though it may not be your highest priority, your business’ website should be updated often to make sure it’s both aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly.

We’ve created a gallery of Website Widgets to easily display important and relevant information on your Storefront or website. Below are three ways your business can incorporate WeddingWire Widgets into your website!

Use the Reviews Widget on your testimonial page

Do you currently have a testimonial page on your website? You can make it easier to display your client reviews by using our Reviews Widget! It will automatically display your three most recent WeddingWire reviews on your website, meaning that you don’t have to spend time copying and pasting reviews to move them over to your website. To view the rest of your reviews, users can click to view the rest of your reviews on your Storefront. You can use the Reviews Widget as the sole content for your testimonial page, or in addition to any other content or testimonials you’d like to display. It’s a great way to keep your website fresh and up-to-date without spending a lot of time each week or month.

Streamline your inquiries by using the Contact Us Widget

Do you feel like there are multiple outlets that prospective clients use to submit a lead Even if you’re already using inquiry questionnaires and automated email templates to make managing inquiries easier, it’s not hard to get these multiple outlets confused, or worse – to forget about one! By using the Contact Us Widget on your website, all inbound inquiries will automatically be added into the Inquiries tab of your account. You’ll be able to see all inquiries from both your website and Storefront in one place, making it even easier to keep track of all your clients.

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» WeddingWire Networking Night Lancaster

Last night, Wedding Pros gathered at Cork Factory Hotel for WeddingWire Networking Night Lancaster!

At the Networking Night, Pros from the Lancaster area had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief educational presentation. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, the WeddingWire Education Guide, and great photos from the evening (as seen below). If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Lancaster board in the Pro Forums!

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

Finally, congrats to Jennifer Meglic of Posh Bridal Salon, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Networking Night Lancaster

WeddingWire Networking Night Lancaster

WeddingWire Networking Night Lancaster

WeddingWire Networking Night Lancaster

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» Making a Good First Impression With Same-Sex Couples

This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.

What does your virtual coffee table say about you?

In social interactions, we all tend to size each other up quickly. Sometimes our snap judgments have merit and sometimes they don’t. But, either way we, as human beings, have a tendency to size each other up – to judge a book by its cover, if you will – and proceed accordingly.

Making a Good First Impression With Same-Sex CouplesThis is especially true for the LGBTQ community. Not long ago, we didn’t feel safe being ‘out’ (and some of us still don’t) and we spent a great deal of time looking for signals that the space or relationship was safe enough for us to be our true selves.

Today, old habits die hard and phone hang ups still happen so gay grooms, lesbian brides and queer couples continue to spend extra time looking for the ‘little things’ to let us know that we can be honest with you if we do pick up the phone and call to inquire about your services. This is especially true for couples in non-marriage equality states in the midwest and deep south, but it also happens everywhere.

Case in point: I was working with a client from California (a marriage equality state) a few weeks ago, and he mentioned that he and his fiancé had booked a limo for their wedding day. But, he said, in doing so, he had booked it using his name and a fake bride’s name in order to avoid a difficult conversation. Clearly, there were no clear signals of LGBT-friendliness on this vendor’s website so the groom took a low-risk approach to engage the vendor.

That limo company is lucky that they got the business of this gay couple, but one can imagine the trouble that can ensue as a result of mixed signals and false pretense in this situation. In a worst case scenario, it doesn’t bode well for the couple or the limo company and one’s wedding day is not the day to sort this out!

As a wedding pro, you work hard to make sure that you are presenting your business to prospective clients as professionally as possible — from your brochures to your business cards to your website. You want to — you have to! — make a good first impression in an incredibly competitive marketplace.

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» Inside WeddingWire: DC Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon

This past weekend, members of the WeddingWire team ran in the DC Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon Race 2014! The race, featuring both a half marathon and a full marathon event, began on Constitution Avenue and the course ran through historic sights like the White House, Washington Monument and more.

The race also featured a sneaker and clothing donation component in partnership with clothes-pin, a non-profit organization who focuses on the collection and distribution of sneakers and clothing for people in need. Runners and spectators were able to contribute these items during race weekend, and the donations will be distributed to local DC shelters.

We’d like to congratulate WeddingWire team members Americo, Brendan, Christina and Lizzie for finishing the half marathon! We’re so proud to have such driven and diligent people in the WeddingWire family.

Check out the photos below of WeddingWire’s runners with their friends and family after the race. Congratulations again to all the runners!

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