» Inside WeddingWire: Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween from WeddingWire!

Every year, WeddingWire staff looks forward to dressing up, decorating and celebrating Halloween. Yesterday at WeddingWire Headquarters, our team celebrated Halloween early with a few fun traditions we’ve established over the years, including:

  • Candy and decorations around the office
  • All WeddingWire employees wear their costumes to work – group costumes are encouraged
  • Costume contest held to determine the Best Group, Most Creative and Funniest costumes
  • Our annual after-work WeddingWire Halloween party

Our Halloween celebrations keep getting bigger and better as our team keeps growing! Check out a few photos from our Halloween 2014 celebrations yesterday, below.

WeddingWire Halloween 2014

WeddingWire Halloween 2014

WeddingWire Halloween 2014

Inside WeddingWire: Halloween 2014

WeddingWire Halloween 2014

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» Today is Our 1,000th Blog Post!

Today is Our 1,000th Blog Post!As of today, we’ve published 1,000 blog posts on the WeddingWireEDU Blog. We are excited to have reached this milestone in our efforts to continue education for all our wedding and events professionals!

Since our first blog post in June of 2008, WeddingWireEDU has been hard at work providing the latest educational resources for our community of Pros on a variety of topics, including:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Small business tips and guidelines
  • Customer relationship management
  • Sales strategies and tactics

Before we added more extensive resources to the in-account Education Center for premium Pros, we were writing posts for people within our network and beyond. For a little trip down memory lane, head over to our Archive page and view our posts by date to see how we’ve grown!

We want to extend a huge thank you to all the amazing Wedding Pros who helped us reach this exciting milestone and have been part of the journey! Questions and requests from our community help us learn how we can best help wedding professionals and power your business.

What would you like us to post about next? Let us know in the comments!

» The Internet: Your New “Permanent Record”

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.

As valuable as the Internet is to couples planning a wedding, it’s equally invaluable to Pros in the business of selling weddings. Websites, blogs and social media have made it easy to adjust your pricing, roll out promotions and even overhaul your branding. However, keep in mind that the Internet has become a permanent record of sorts, with archive sites and mirror sites creating a history of practically everything that’s ever been published online.

The Internet: Your New “Permanent Record”That’s why it’s so important to make strategic decisions and take a long view approach when branding your business and setting your rates. Savvy clients and smart business owners tend to watch the market over time — they’re aware of what various companies are offering and how much they’re charging. And when a company constantly flip-flops on its pricing or drastically alters its entire image, people notice.

In my own market, I’ve heard lots of buzz about Pros who’ve arbitrarily doubled their rates, halved their rates, blasted people with coupons and threatened massive price increases. All of these changes, and the branding confusion that results, have been documented forever, thanks to the Internet.

Obviously, every business owner needs to make adjustments to accommodate a changing market. I’m all for making tweaks to your image, and even rebranding completely when it makes sense to do so. However, with your every business move captured online and added to your “permanent record,” it’s essential that the choices you make are carefully considered. Can you explain a huge price increase or reduction when someone’s aware of what you used to offer? (And believe me, even if your clients haven’t yet noticed, your competitors have!) If you’re rebranding, do you have a clear reason why, and are you able to account for how the “new” you is different from the old you?

If we’re all stuck with that online permanent record, let it be one that documents a series of logical, strategic growth and transformation over time.

» Win Tickets to WeddingWire World SoCal!

Win Tickets to WeddingWire World SoCal! We’re only a few weeks away from our last stop on the 2014 WeddingWire World Tour in Long Beach! If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, we want to give you a chance to join us for free!

We’ve reserved a select few WeddingWire World SoCal seats to give away to our Pros, and now’s your opportunity to get them for free! Complete the entry form and and a limited number of entrants will receive two free tickets to join us at the Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center on November 12, 2014 while supplies last. One lucky winner will receive a $500 Visa gift card! See Official Rules for more details.

You could receive two tickets to a day full of great information to power your business, industry-leading speakers, one-on-one sessions with our Customer Success Managers, networking with other wedding professionals and more – for free! Regularly-priced tickets are $199 each, so don’t miss out. Good luck, and we can’t wait to see you there!

Having trouble viewing this form? Try entering here.

Don’t want to wait? Guarantee your seat and buy your ticket today! Learn more and purchase tickets to WeddingWire World SoCal here.

» What’s Next in Social Media: October 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 October 2014:

Facebook's new Safety Check featureFacebook introduces Safety Check tool

Facebook has recognized its importance (among other social networks like Twitter) in times of disaster with its unveiling of Safety Check, a new tool to announce that users are safe and allow them to check on others. Users in an area affected by a dangerous situation will be asked if they’re safe, and a News Feed story will be generated upon an answer in the affirmative.

Continue reading on Facebook Newsroom >>

Twitter offers new tools for app developers

Twitter has been known as a stricter social network among the rest because of its rules around applications that integrate with its services. In the past app developers have had trouble creating apps that make the social network more useful – such as link shortening or photo posting. Twitter has now developed a suite of tools to help app developers build and monitor apps that integrate Twitter.

Learn more on The Wall Street Journal >>

Pinterest begins curating content for users

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» WeddingWire World Tour 2014: Houston

We had a great time at WeddingWire World Houston!

The WeddingWire team was thrilled to come together with hundreds of wedding and event professionals for full day of education and valuable information from industry experts, along with networking and fun surprises. Thanks to all our Pros who attended the event!

Our guests received great educational information to power their businesses from our team of presenters. Sessions included main stage presentations from WeddingWire Education Experts Alan Berg, Andy Ebon, and Kathryn Hamm in addition to several presentations from WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly. Traci Brown, Body Language and Persuasion Expert, joined us as well to share her body language tips with Pros in attendance.

We were also pleased to include a panel of local wedding professionals, featuring Allan Jones of JF Studioz Luxury Photography, Rick Ballard of For Heavens Cake and Jonny Black of Jonny Black Productions.

WeddingWire World Houston also featured two breakout session tracks, which gave attendees the option to choose between sessions on a variety of topics, including blogging, same-sex weddings skill sets, and a deeper dive into WeddingWire tools.

We hope all our Pros enjoyed the day as much as we did! In addition to the main presentations and educational sessions, some highlights from the day include:

  • Starting the day learning more about guests in attendance and playing a special version of bingo at the Networking Breakfast
  • The opportunity for Pros to meet with our Customer Success team members one-on-one to discuss their WeddingWire accounts
  • The great key takeaways tweeted throughout the day to @WeddingWireEDU using the hashtag #wwworld
  • A new networking roundtable session to facilitate new connections both within Pros’ service category and with other types of local professionals
  • Announcing the winners to our raffle prize drawings, including an iPad mini, WeddingWire prize pack, Amazon gift card and tickets to WeddingWire World 2015 in DC
  • Free t-shirts and luggage tags for all attendees

Finally, a big thank you to our fantastic partners who helped make this event a success: fantastic event photos by Anne Marie D’Arcy Photography and event music and slow motion photo booth fun by A Very Special Day!

There’s still one stop left on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014! We invite our west coast Pros to check out the schedule and register today for WeddingWire World SoCal on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by visiting http://weddingwireworld.com/socal.

Check out some of the photos below, and see our full event album on the WeddingWire Houston Facebook community!

WeddingWire World Houston

WeddingWire World Houston

WeddingWire World Houston

WeddingWire World Houston

WeddingWire World Houston

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» How to Stay Motivated After the Busy Season

Pro to Pro Insights

Rick Brewer

This article was written by Rick Brewer of Wedding Business Marketing. Rick has 22+ years in marketing and selling to wedding couples and is known for his proprietary approach to the psychology of wedding buying. Rick has worked with over 2100 wedding businesses, spoken to 250 + wedding groups and regularly shares his insight on wedding industry trends and cycles.

Zig Ziglar famously said, “Motivation doesn’t last, but neither does bathing. It is required daily.”

I have seen many people who need a boost after the busy season, so this week I thought I would write about the positive signs being seen in the market. Working with others in different markets throughout the country, I have a broad view and things are looking up – conditionally.

How to Stay Motivated After the Busy SeasonWhen I say conditionally, I mean that the conditions apply to those working their businesses. One motivated wedding professional can outshine an unmotivated wedding professional who may offer a lower price, a better product or more. The motivation of the individual has much to do with the success of the business.

As self-starters (most of us are owner/operators or in a leadership position), we are required to be self-motivated. At the end of the day, would I write myself up or would I praise myself for the work that I accomplished? I am careful not to set a standard of perfection as I would be disappointed day after day.

The key to motivation in top performers is maintaining the right attitude. If there are customers out there and your competition has somehow gotten a hold of them, your competition did something right that can be duplicated. The key to “realistic thinking” is that you need to truly understand that the business is out there. The challenge then becomes finding that business.

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» Should You Try Mobile Opt-in Marketing?

Should You Try Mobile Opt-in Marketing?By now your wedding business should be aware that mobile marketing is on the rise. While you know it’s something your business should be doing, it’s another thing entirely to start up a mobile marketing campaign or program! You can mobilize your website, Storefront and emails, but those are not your only options for reaching engaged couples on their mobile devices.

If you’re interested in sending immediate information on a more personalized basis, here’s a brief introduction to mobile opt-in marketing!

What it is

Traditional marketing tactics do not require your target audience to opt-in because most traditional marketing tactics are 1-to-many – meaning that one business is communicating with many people with one message. Traditional marketing tactics include print advertising, direct mail or radio and television ads. With the social media revolution, social networks opened up two-way communication with their audience. Now users can “like” your business’ page on Facebook and interact directly with your business. This change caused other changes in marketing strategies to shift from sending a mass message to crafting more relevant and timely messages based on behavior.

Opt-in marketing means that users have given your business permission to send them information on a 1-to-1 basis. The best and most popular use of opt-in marketing is email marketing – if you don’t have explicit permission to email a given person (whether they opt-in through your website or establish a business connection with you) you’re likely to be marked as spam and suffer other penalties.

Mobile opt-in marketing is very similar to email marketing, except that instead of giving you permission to send them emails, users are giving you permission to send them voice, text or other mobile messages to their smartphones or cell phones. Mobile opt-ins go beyond being able to interact with your business via smartphone; the user is giving you permission to push messages directly to their phone number.

How to do it

If you’ve ever opted-into an email newsletter list for a publication or individual business, you’ve seen how easy it can be! You’ll need to create a form to collect the phone numbers as well as some simple legal language to lay out your terms and conditions. These terms will explain in detail what you are and are not allowed to do with the user’s phone number. CTIA – The Wireless Association and Mobile Marketing Association have some great best practices for messaging consumers in the U.S.

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» The Top 5 Wedding Dress Trends from New York Bridal Fashion Week

The WeddingWire Team just returned from New York Bridal Fashion Week, and what a whirlwind it was! The team attended 86 shows and appointments over six days, and all agree that this was one of the strongest showings we’ve seen in a while! We saw lots of new designers, fresh ideas, and some interesting new wedding dress trends. Check out the styles we’re sure brides will be clamoring for in 2015!

Crop Tops

If this season’s Bridal Fashion Week had a theme, it would be “showing skin.” And designers found lots of ways to do just that. We saw two-piece wedding gowns featuring crop tops on many runways. While these styles aren’t for everyone, they’re certainly modern and fresh.

Crop Tops

Gowns (left to right) by Reem Acra and Hayley Paige. Photos by Dan Lecca

Deep V-Necks

How low can you go? Well, when it comes to necklines, pretty low, apparently. Designers were bringing necklines nearly down to the navel in many cases. However, if the rest of gown is kept fairly demure with a classic silhouette and perhaps, sleeves, the overall effect isn’t too scandalous.

Deep V-Necks

Gowns (left to right) by Dennis Basso and Inbal Dror. Photos by Dan Lecca

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» Refresh Your Storefront This Engagement Season

Refresh Your Storefront This Engagement Season!With wedding season coming to end, we are moving into the height of engagement season. Over 40% of engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day and these potential new clients will begin planning their weddings. Now is a great time to make sure your WeddingWire Storefront is going to attract as many couples as possible.

Below are three tips to help you get set up for success this engagement season!

1.  Add updated photos and videos to your Storefront

Make sure you take the time to collect photos and videos from the events you’ve done this year and add them to your Storefront. Couples want to see recently updated content on your Storefront since both photos and videos help them establish a mental connection with your business’ products and services. Be sure to include unique details when naming or tagging your photos!

Pro Tip: Be sure to introduce yourself to other Pros working your client’s wedding so that later you feel more comfortable asking for photos from the event that you would like to feature on your Storefront or website. Just remember to always give proper credit to each Pro’s work you’ll be featuring!

2.  Reach out to your recent clients for reviews

Remember to reach out to your couples from 2014 for reviewers sooner rather than later! Having recent reviews is important to potential clients and each review you collect helps build your online credibility. Each review you collect during 2014 will count towards your eligibility for our annual Couples’ Choice Awards, which are awarded in January!

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» Today is WeddingWire World Houston!

Today is WeddingWire World Houston!WeddingWire World Houston is the fourth of five stops on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014!

Today, at the JW Marriott Houston Downtown, wedding professionals from the Houston area will learn about the latest in the wedding industry and how to keep their businesses on top of all the most important channels, including sales, reviews, marketing, business management, networking, and more!

Attendees will hear from leading wedding industry professionals and special guest speakers, in addition to visiting with our Customer Success team that will be available for on-site consultations to answer questions and help our members take advantage of everything their WeddingWire account has to offer.

Below are a few other helpful notes for WeddingWire World Houston attendees:

  • Check-in and start the day at 8am – our staff will be ready and waiting to assist you!
  • Catch up and create new connections with your fellow Wedding Pros at our Networking Breakfast from 8am-9:15am.
  • Earn raffle tickets throughout the day to be entered in our drawing to win an iPad Mini, $100 Amazon gift card or tickets to WeddingWire World 2015!
  • Tweet your own takeaways and follow along with the hashtag #wwworld on Twitter, where @WeddingWireEDU will be live tweeting and responding to Pro feedback and more! We’ll also post some behind-the-scenes photos on the WeddingWireEDU Instagram account.

Be sure to check back later this week as we continue to share photos and highlights from the event.

Thanks to all the Pros joining us today!

Not in the Houston area? There’s still one stop left on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014! We invite our west coast Pros to check out the schedule and register today for WeddingWire World SoCal on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by visitinghttp://weddingwireworld.com/socal.

» MONDAY: WeddingWire World Houston

Win Tickets to WeddingWire World Houston!

We can’t wait for WeddingWire World Houston on Monday!

The 2014 WeddingWire World Tour officially kicked off in June with WeddingWire World Miami andWeddingWire World DC, followed byWeddingWire World Chicago in August. We’re excited to bring our full day conference to the next city on the WeddingWire World Tour – Houston!

WeddingWire World Houston will feature main stage presentations from our industry experts and guest speakers, including WeddingWire’s own CMO, Sonny Ganguly, plus Education Experts Alan Berg, Kathryn Hamm and Andy Ebon. We’re also excited to feature Traci Brown, Body Language and Persuasion Expert, who will speak about the importance of body language for the success of your wedding business.

Attendees will also have time to meet 1-on-1 with our Customer Success Managers as well as several opportunities to network with other local Pros at our Networking Breakfast in the morning and Cocktail Reception following the day’s presentations!

WeddingWire World Houston will also feature several breakout sessions, including presentations on the following topics:

  • Blogging and how it can help your wedding business succeed
  • Everything you need to know about serving same-sex couples
  • Proven success strategies from other industry Pros to help you build your wedding business
  • Reaching, attracting and impressing potential clients with WeddingWire tools

Don’t forget that you can still follow along with the fun by searching the hashtag #wwworld on Twitter! @WeddingWireEDU will be live tweeting all day with key takeaways, Pro feedback and more. You can also see some behind-the-scenes photos on the WeddingWireEDU Instagram account.

Your wedding business will be joining hundreds of other wedding professionals for a full day of education and networking to help grow your wedding business.

For full details about WeddingWire World Houston, including full schedule and session locations, please visit http://www.weddingwireworld.com/houston.