» Are You Addicted to Competition?

Pro to Pro Insights

Laura Cannon

This post was written by Laura Cannon, President of the International Association of Professional Wedding Officants and owner of Ceremony Officiants™, an award-winning team of officiants serving 8 states on the East Coast. A member of the National Speakers Association, Laura is passionate about bridging the gap between spirituality and business and teaching others how to bring more love, balance, and mindfulness into their lives. Visit her website to learn more.

It’s no secret that competition can be fierce in the wedding and events industry, with a crowded marketplace of wedding professionals vying for business in practically every corner of the globe. Competition can bring out the best in entrepreneurs by spurring innovation and creative solutions, and fueling a desire to constantly push the limits of what’s possible. But is there a hidden cost in being addicted to competition?

Arm wrestling competitionThe Art of War

Inc. Magazine recently named The Art of War by Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese treatise on military strategy and tactics, as one of the top ten most influential business books of all time. Although it wasn’t written as a business book, it has had a huge influence on capitalism in both the East and West, with many Japanese corporations making the book required reading for executives. The notion of treating competitors as enemies to be conquered, an “us against them” attitude, is generally accepted and encouraged in business – with few questions asked about its effects on companies, people, or the broader economy.

Viewing competitors as enemies can have many short-term benefits, but it’s a perspective that also comes with unintended long-term consequences. Like anything in life, a competitive mindset is best used in moderation – it may be helpful in some situations, but could become detrimental if it gets out of hand. What happens when a competitive mindset becomes an addiction?

The Price of Competition

Anyone who has achieved great success in business, or at anything in life, can tell you that winning feels good. The problem is, the good feeling doesn’t last long, and once you’ve had it you only want more. To get more of that good feeling, you stay locked into the competitive mindset.

Focusing too much on competition can easily become an addictive cycle that takes on a life of its own. Just like any addiction, the competitive mindset may have short term rewards but it also has long term consequences.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Comparative Social Science, happiness decreases as the level of competition increases. It is nearly impossible to win 100% of the time, but of course as business owners, we want to be the best in our trade. When it doesn’t happen we are left feeling angry, humiliated, worthless, and ashamed.

To make matters even worse, since people typically avoid feeling those types of negative feelings, they tend to unconsciously project that negativity onto others by gossiping and attempting to discredit them in some way. This way of being creates even more negativity in our lives and in our industry as a whole. It’s a way to become caught in a never-ending loop of habitually focusing on the external world to determine our internal sense of self-worth.

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» The Paradox of Choice: When More Isn’t Better

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

In my 2014 webinar on pricing, I talk about having better packages and pricing information. I suggest having three packages, where the middle package is the one that you want/expect most customers to buy. I want to delve a little deeper into why this may work for you.

Decision makingIn his book The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less, psychologist Barry Schwartz suggests that “eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.” Today’s couples have grown up in a world of seemingly limitless choices. But more choices aren’t always better. More choices don’t make choosing easier; in fact, too many choices makes choosing harder. When presented with so many choices, how do you choose?

Give them better choices
It’s your job as the expert in your field to help guide your customers to the right choice. Giving them a very long list of options is only going to delay them from making a choice. It’s also making selling harder for you. It’s simply harder to sell and harder to buy when there are more choices. If you often have customers say “You’ve given us so much to think about we need to go home and process it,” you may be overwhelming them with choices. In addition to presenting them with choices, it’s also your job to eliminate the options that won’t work for the customer and remove them from their view, literally and figuratively.

Imagine you only have one thing to sell – then it’s simply a yes or no decision. Add another choice and it’s either Option A or Option B. But when you add a third choice something magical happens: Option B becomes the easier choice. Adding more choices muddies the middle, and the clear/easy choice isn’t as apparent.

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» How-to: Understand Facebook Insights

Facebook logoA lot of Pros focus on building your Facebook page, but there’s an important aspect beyond the exterior of your page. Analytics can be a foreign concept to a lot of people who own and run businesses, but they’re an important part of building and bettering your Facebook posts. You can see in-depth information about your top posts, demographics of your followers, and more. Here’s a quick how-to that will help you understand and utilize your analytics!

If you’ve never looked at your Facebook page Insights before, you’ll find them located at the top menu bar on your Facebook page. Only page administrators have access to these valuable insights, so visitors to your page will not see your page’s performance. Facebook Insights tracks and reports on a number of metrics and statistics – here’s a breakdown of what each metric means.

Likes

The Likes menu shows you, fittingly, how many likes your page has. It also gives you more in-depth statistics and also  allows you to pick a time period to analyze. The first section of the page has “start” and “end” fields, where you can adjust the time period you would like to measure. Once you select the dates you want, you’ll see the total likes and net likes your page has, and where your likes happened over  that time period.

Net Likes is a really useful tool for figuring out what gets more followers and what makes you lose followers. If you tried a new posting technique during the month of April, you can gauge exactly how effective it was. If you typically gain 20 followers per month but you gained 50 new followers in April, it’s likely that your strategy worked. But if you lost 7 followers and only gained 2, it might be time to try a new posting strategy. Hint: Our posts about using social media effectively and using images on social media would be a good start.

Where Your Page Likes Happened is a tool that gives even more insight into how people liked the page. If Facebook suggested your page on someone’s profile and they liked it because of the suggestion, this chart will show you how many likes that generated. You can also see if someone visited your page, enjoyed what they saw, and then followed through and liked the page. And that’s always a good thing!

Facebook Insights: Likes

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» What’s Next in Social Media: May 2015

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 May 2015:

What’s Next in Social Media: May 2015

Image via Mashable

Twitter and Google make tweets searchable

Twitter has teamed up with Google to allow tweets to be surfaced within search results. Before this collaboration between Twitter and Google, the only way to search for a Twitter username or specific tweet or hashtag was to search internally on Twitter. Now, for example, searching “WeddingWire twitter account” on Google will pull up results that include WeddingWire’s handle, WeddingWireEDU’s handle, and WeddingWire Support’s handle. This update will go into effect the week of May 26 in the U.S. and will apply to both mobile and desktop Google searches.

Read the full article on Mashable >>

Facebook releases Instant Articles

Earlier this month, Facebook announced its release of a new product for publishers: Instant Articles. Like LinkedIn’s Pulse, Instant Articles gives publishers the opportunity to create and publish long-form articles to share directly on the social network. Instant Articles provides a great alternative for those businesses who do not have a website or blog but have content to provide for potential customers and other industry experts. The articles are interactive and mobile-friendly.

Learn more from Facebook’s Media room >>

Pinterest introduces Cinematic Pins

Pinterest is implementing the use of Cinematic Pins, which are animated ads that show up on users’ feeds. The preview ad released by Pinterest is similar to a .gif because it doesn’t contain audio, and it only moves when the user is scrolling down. In addition to the rest of the Pinterest Advertising suite (including Promoted Pins), the network also plans to add new forms of audience targeting. These new products are being rolled out with a few brand partners to start before becoming available to all brands.

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» Pro Forum Buzz: Getting on Google, Counterfeit Wedding Dresses 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, wedding professionals are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Pro Forum Buzz: Getting on Google, Counterfeit Wedding Dresses and MoreHere’s what Pros are talking about this month in the WeddingWire Pro Forums!

Getting on Google

What are your best SEO tips for boosting Google search ranking for your business’s website? WeddingWire Pros weigh in to help a new business learn how to optimize their website and online properties in order to rank higher in search results.

Give your advice >>

Counterfeit wedding dresses

Pros talk about a recent segment on Good Morning America about counterfeit wedding dresses and why it’s not a good idea to order items with a drastically-reduced price from unfamiliar websites.

Read more >>

Vendors sampling at a wedding

Should other vendors working at a wedding be able to sample food or drinks during cocktail hour? Pros debate whether or not it’s generally considered acceptable, and who should have the final say – the couple or the venue.

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» Same-Sex Marriage Evolution: From Niche To Modern Market

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.

It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity on Tuesday, May 19 to talk about the evolution of same-sex marriage over the years and the key elements that wedding professionals need to keep in mind when marketing to and serving same-sex couples. I’m deeply grateful to WeddingWire for its incredible support over the past 5 years, but also to the more than 2,600 wedding professionals who registered for the webinar and the 120,000 wedidng professionals who are listed in the GayWeddings.com directory.

Same-Sex Marriage Evolution: From Niche To Modern MarketAs I mentioned in the webinar, there is no better indicator of how much things have changed than the fact that 86% of the wedding professionals that WeddingWire surveyed report that they are serving or plan to serve same-sex couples in 2015. It’s a majority that outpaces the approval ratings (reported by an April 2015 Washington Post/ABC poll) of Millennials (78%) and the general adult population (61%). I very much look forward to celebrating nationwide recognition of marriage equality — hopefully as early as this June!

On our webinar, I promised some bonus content. Please find it below. There are two videos and three links.

One video is a trailer from the film, Limited Partnership, which will air on PBS’ Independent Lens on June 15; the other is a clip from my own wedding shower a couple of friends hosted for me and my wife in 1999.

You can read:

I’ll be following up in my next post with more post-webinar content to answer those great questions which went unanswered. We’ve got a long list, but do feel free to tag @WeddingWireEDU and #AskKathryn if you’d like to add a few more into the mix.

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» Top Problems to Watch for in Networking Groups

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.

A client of mine recently joined a local wedding association (on my recommendation) and boy did that leave us something to talk about.

Over the past five years, I have seen a rapid decline in local associations. The association my client tried out has always been a good fit for me, but when he showed up he had a very different experience. I have withheld the name of the association, so I want those of you involved in associations to take a long hard look and see if something similar is happening with your group.

Top Problems to Watch for in Networking GroupsHere are the top three problems I’ve noted with many networking groups:

  • There are too many cliques and friend groups
  • They don’t always practice what they preach
  • They have too many wedding professionals in one or two categories

Too many cliques

My client is a master networker as he has led groups previously as well as has 25 years experience in going to meetings like this one. When he walked in, he was not greeted by other members and he felt like an outsider. This is one of the biggest problems I hear about with any networking groups in the wedding industry and beyond. This is actually a big problem because people are uncomfortable in these situations and gravitate to those they know. This gravitation towards cliques makes it harder for new members to feel welcomed.

Whether you are new to your networking group or are an existing member, take this part of my client’s story to heart. Remember what it was like the last time you showed up somewhere and didn’t know anyone. Wouldn’t you have appreciated if someone made an effort to make you feel welcome? Having a group of friends in a networking group is great, but remember to look beyond your own clique and reach out to other members whenever you can.

Not practicing what they preach

At this particular association meeting there was a professional panel, and every panelist agreed that being responsive is key to establishing connections in the industry. They suggested that 24 hours was more than enough time to respond. My client wanted to connect outside of the meeting after meeting them face to face, so he wrote a very professional follow up email with these folks to start building a relationship. As of this writing, 3 of the 4 panelists have yet to respond.

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» WeddingWire Workshop Seattle

Earlier this week, local Seattle Wedding Pros gathered at Mayflower Park Hotel for WeddingWire Workshop Seattle, an event focused on managing your business!

At the WeddingWire Workshop, Pros gathered for an in-depth presentation on the tools available within the Clients Tab of premium members’ WeddingWire accounts. In addition to receiving this tutorial, attendees also enjoyed a Peer Insights Panel, met their local WeddingWire representatives, and networked with other local Pros during a closing reception.

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 the near future!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us and participated in the Workshop, including our panelists from Honey Crumb Studio, Dani Weiss Photography, 206 Events, and Seattle Wedding Officiants. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Workshop Seattle 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 Guides, 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 afternoon possible:

Finally, congrats to Gayle of Gayle Orth Catering, the winner of the WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Workshop Seattle

WeddingWire Workshop Seattle

WeddingWire Workshop Seattle
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» The Importance of Maintaining Your Blog

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.

If You’re Holding a Microphone, You’d Better Start Talking!

Most wedding Pros understand the benefits of having a blog on their site. It helps tremendously with search engine optimization (SEO), it gives you the opportunity to interact with and cross-promote other wedding vendors, and it helps you to establish credibility as an expert in your field. It’s also a chance to speak directly to the specific clients you’re trying to target, by creating content that is relevant and appealing to them. All good things, right?

The Importance of Maintaining Your BlogStill, many (if not most) Pros seem to struggle when it comes to keeping their blog updated regularly. Through market research, conversations with my business coaching clients, and just browsing vendors’ websites for fun, I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve encountered that have become a ghost town. The last post may have been three months ago, and the post before that is almost a year old. Yet the blog still sits there in a site’s navigation bar, looking sad and neglected.

This is problematic for many reasons: it implies a lack of good business sense (because if you really understood the benefits, you’d make your blog a priority), and more importantly, it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail and follow-through on your part. Not exactly the image most of us want to portray, especially in the wedding industry.

Still, I get it, believe me. Life just gets in the way sometimes. I took a big step back from my own wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, to deal with personal circumstances and it took me a year and a half to officially relaunch. And while that wasn’t ideal by any means, at that time WeddingIQ was a passion project, not an income source, and I did continue to focus on maintaining the blog for my primary business. So while I can completely relate to the reasons for not keeping up with a blog, I also understand how important a blog is as a business tool. It’s never too late to create a blogging habit.

Here are some tips to help you get back on track and start maintaining your blog again:

To begin, begin. William Wordsworth’s famous quote can apply to lots of things, blogging included. You need to set the intention to become a blogger, and then just jump in with both feet.  Remember that you’ve accepted the benefits of actively blogging, you understand the value in it, and you’ve consciously chosen to invest your time. Your motivation to reach the goals of improved SEO, vendor relationships, reputation and targeted client inquiries will keep you going even when writing feels hard.

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» Special Savings for Wedding MBA: Just for WeddingWire Members!

Don’t miss four days of education for wedding professionals at Wedding MBA this September 14-17th in Las Vegas! Invest in your business’ success this fall with great industry speakers including WeddingWire CEO Timothy Chi, CMO Sonny Ganguly, Education Experts Alan Berg, Andy Ebon and Kathryn Hamm, and more.

Register with this special link to save an extra $20 on the current ticket price, just for WeddingWire members.

Why attend Wedding MBA?

  • Great education and the latest industry tips to boost your business! Don’t miss great presentations including: Wheel of Fortune: Solve the Puzzle of Tech, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Mobile is the Final Answer, Flavor of Love: Win the Hearts of Couples with Social Media, and Jeopardy Daily Double: What are the Top Business Mistakes to Avoid?
  • Networking with other industry Pros from around the country (and beyond!). Hundreds of wedding professionals from across service categories and all around the world will join together to learn, network and have fun. Make new friends and learn new tips from other Pros this fall! Plus, meet with members of the WeddingWire team to discuss your account and best practices.
  • Time for fun! Why turn down a business trip to learn in Las Vegas? WeddingWire will be hosting fun events like our annual Tuesday evening party and a Happy Hour at the convention space on Wednesday after sessions wrap for the day. Stay tuned for more details!

Check out our highlights from last year’s event post and the Wedding MBA official website for more information. We hope to see you at Wedding MBA 2015!

transformers

 

WeddingWire Staff

WeddingWire Party

» Taking Time to Re-Adjust Your Annual Goals

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.

With Memorial Day fast approaching, June weddings will be upon us, and the Fourth of July will quickly follow. It’s already almost mid-year!

Think back to New Year’s Day – that’s the time when you made business resolutions and built your goals for 2015. I strongly suggest you start to re-adjust your annual goals by midyear, if not quarterly, to better reflect your current status.

Taking Time to Re-Adjust Your Annual GoalsThe longer you’ve been in operation, the further back you can make comparisons. Circumstances change; expansion, relocation, adding employees, setbacks, natural disasters, and more could all affect your business’ performance thus far this year. That’s all true, but what one should be looking for is consistent profitability and growth, month after month, year after year.

Let’s start with keeping score

Perhaps the first question that needs asking is: Are you effectively tracking leads, appointments, sales, closing rates, reviews, and other activities? Are you applying the most complete and efficient systems to learn the outcomes? If your overall measure of success is profitability, you have to know what’s working and what’s not.

Whether the results are better, in decline, or about the same, the next question should be, “Why?” What changed in your given time period that caused the difference (or lack thereof) in results? Write down the major milestones or events that may have caused an increase or decrease in your metrics.

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» Promote Your GayWeddings Listing with a Custom Button

We’re excited to announce new GayWeddings.com custom buttons you can add to your website or blog to showcase your service to same-sex couples! Get started promoting your GayWeddings listing and boost your Storefront traffic by adding your button today.

Get your button by following our step-by-step instructions!

  1. Choose your button design from our four badge options
  2. Enter your GayWeddings Storefront URL, which you can easily grab from your WeddingWire account under the Networking tab
  3. Paste your GayWeddings Storefront URL into the form to get your custom code
  4. Add the code to your business website or blog, and your button will appear!

GayWeddings listing badgesLooking for more? You can also add a Wed We Can badge on your website or social media accounts, and show your support of all couples by joining in the #WedWeCan social media campaign.

Have additional questions? Learn more about our partnership with GayWeddings.com, get instructions on how to opt-in to the directory (open to all WeddingWire professionals), and learn how to customize your GayWeddings.com profile image. Plus, you can always contact support@weddingwire.com with any of your account needs!