» How to Respond to a Negative Review

Negative reviewsReviews are key to your online reputation, and it can be frustrating to receive a review that you may not be satisfied with or feel you don’t deserve. Although you may disagree with the review, it’s important to be professional in your response. Here are some suggestions for responding to negative reviews you may receive on your WeddingWire account:

  • Never write a response while you’re still upset. Take a few hours or even a day before responding to a negative review. Your response is public, so you want to make sure you don’t say something that you will regret later. When you’re calm and ready to address the issue, then you can carefully write your response.
  • Check and re-check your response. Before posting the response, have someone else read it as well just to make sure it does not come off as defensive. Try reading your response from the perspective of a potential client– you want them to see that you are open to feedback and always professional in your communication.
  • Don’t play the “He Said, She Said” game. Remember, the customer is always right (even when they’re wrong!). Apologize for any mishaps you may have caused, or that even may have been outside your control, and point out your other great reviews as proof of your other satisfied customers. Always let them know you value their business and that ultimately your goal was to help create a fantastic event.
  • Keep it simple. Try not to post a long response; leaving a short 3-4 line response is best! Address the reviewer’s concerns, apologize and leave it at that.

What’s the best way to move on after a negative review? Keep collecting more reviews! The more recent reviews you receive, the lower that review gets pushed on your list. Use our Review Collector Tool to keep collecting positive reviews, and you’ll soon forget all about that negative review. Remember, a less than perfect review every so often also adds to credibility, after all, no one is perfect 100 percent of the time!

Pro tip: Don’t forget to respond to positive reviews, too! Let your reviewers know that you appreciate them taking the time to respond to them and return the compliments. Responding to both positive and negative reviews helps show potential clients that you listen to your clients and want to help them have the best experience. It also shows you value the time they took to write the review after their event.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for freshness and accuracy.

» Increase Your Storefront Traffic for the Holidays

Increase Your Storefront Traffic for the HolidaysWith engagement season upon us, it’s important for wedding and event professionals to increase the traffic coming to your Storefronts or websites to generate more revenue! But it’s also the holiday season, which means engaged couples have a lot of other things on their minds.

You likely see fewer inquiries, reviews and other activities in your account during the holidays. How do you keep couples coming to your Storefront even when they’re focused on impending holiday travel and plans?

Below are several things your business can do to increase your Storefront traffic during this tough time of year!

  • Promotions: Deals are a great way to drive more interest, especially during this time of the year when everyone one is looking for a good bargain! Get the attention of potential clients by giving them a better deal for a limited time. Use your social media pages and email to alert your audience of any promotions you establish.
  • Gifts: Tis’ the season of giving! Consider giving a free gift to clients who book you during the holidays! This is similar to a deal, but instead of offering a discount, you can make your packages more appealing. Try offering a free gift that they’ll want to use in their wedding planning! Your gift could also come in the form of a gift certificate for other services you provide.
  • Host a party: What better time to network, connect and book clients than with a holiday party? A holiday party with food, drinks and even raffles could help build awareness of your brand. Just remember to provide guests with a business card and other materials that tell them how to find out more about your business!
  • Give back to those in need: Think about ways you can give to your community! Not only will you help someone in need, but you’ll also earn a lot of goodwill for your business. Use our Love. Write. Feed. program as an example – pledge a donation amount for a certain action your clients can take.

These four ideas will help you continue to bring in business over the holidays, despite the holiday distractions! What strategies have you tried in years past? Let us know in the comments.

» Online Payments: PayPal vs. Authorize.net

Online Payments: PayPal vs. Authorize.netAs a wedding and event professional, creating efficient payment schedules and distributing invoices is vital to organizing your business and ensuring you are promptly paid for your services. Did you know our Clients Tab has the tools to allow you to make these invoices and collect online payments?

WeddingWire Payments & Invoices are designed to help you get paid faster and ensure that you never miss a payment from your clients! You can immediately prepare customizable invoices, collect ePayments received through each Client Site and review all recent and upcoming payments – all in one place!

Our Clients Tab allows you to set up your Payments & Invoices the way you’d like to receive payments. With different payment methods available, here are some key factors for both PayPal and Authorize.net:

PayPal: Third Party Processor Account

  • It’s easy to use for both clients and vendors. With a quick set-up, you can have PayPal link to either your credit or debit card or directly to your bank account.
  • PayPal is trustworthy and secure. Many major retailers, including eBay, use PayPal to transfer funds between users.
  • PayPal does not charge a monthly fee. While there’s no set up fee, there is a $0.30 transaction fee.

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» Tips for Getting More Facebook “Likes”

Tips for Getting More Facebook "Likes"It’s important to extend your online presence beyond your website and Storefront, since more people are likely to find you if your brand has a presence in more places. Facebook business pages are a great way to gain more exposure for your brand! As the reigning #1 social networking site, Facebook is a great place to interact with your fans and potential customers.

Whether you’re starting a new Facebook business page or just want to increase the number of followers on your current page, here are a few simple tips for getting more Facebook “likes”!

  1. Put the Facebook “Like” button on your business website. Follow this link to learn how!
  2. Invite your Facebook friends to like your business page. If you have a following on your personal Facebook, post a status asking them to “like” your business page. This will give your brand added exposure to their networks.
  3. Include your Facebook link in multiple places such as on your website, blog and even in your email signature. Without sharing you business page, your clients, potential clients and more will not know it exists! Continue reading

» The Benefits of a Client Questionnaire

Many times, an engaged couple submits a number of inquiries to several potential wedding professionals when trying to determine who to select for their big day. These inquiries are a way for engaged couples to decide if you’re a good fit for them, but you can also use this as an opportunity to decide if the couple is a good fit for your services. You may find yourself needing more information about the engaged couple in order to best serve their needs, and determine if they are a match for your business.

The Benefits of a Client QuestionnaireGood news! WeddingWire recently added the Questionnaire feature to the Clients tab for upgraded pros, which allows you to create and send a questionnaire to potential clients before they sign a contract in order to gather some more information about their day and needs in a safe and custom Client Site. If you haven’t used this feature yet, below are a few sample questions, broken down by category, to include in your client questionnaire to help qualify potential clients:

Bands/Ceremony Music:

  • What is the time of your event?
  • Are you looking for any specific style?
  • Do you need music for ceremony, cocktail hour and/ or reception?

Beauty and Health:

  • How many people will need appointments?
  • Do you want hair and makeup done on-site or at the salon?
  • Are you interested in other services like airbrushing, waxing or extensions?

Catering:

  • How many total guests are you expecting?
  • Are you offering gluten free or vegetarian options?
  • Are you looking for buffet or plated meal?

Ceremony Venues/Receptions:

  • How many total guests are you expecting?
  • Are you looking for an indoor or outdoor wedding?
  • Are you looking for on-site coordinators?

Continue reading

» The Importance of Twitter for Your Business

Debating if you want to jump on the Twitter bandwagon or have you let your Twitter account become inactive? With a near 200 million people using Twitter every day; you may want to take a look at some of the reasons why iMarketing Factor makes the case for how important it is to use Twitter for your business!

  • Twitter helps you connect to your customers: Since so many people are on and joining Twitter daily, it is a good place to look for those future customers and connect with them.
  • Twitter helps you build relationships: Once you have a following on Twitter it’s important to keep them engaged with useful or helpful tweets. Make sure you don’t too much in a certain time frame of they could end up as spam.
  • Use Twitter to create brand awareness: If you’re a smaller company you want to get your name out there, so its easy to present your logo so that followers can recognize your company name and logo together.
  • Use Twitter to market new products: Twitter is a great place to Tweet about your business updates, including services, events and more! Promotions of a new product through social media can make a bigger impact then traditional ways of advertising. You can also let your followers know what you are up to, Bridal Shows and events you are planning to attend, and more.
  • Use Twitter to provide information: Twitter is the cheap way to spread the word. Something new going on, tweet it and all your followers will see it right away!
  • Use Twitter to survey and gain feedback: Follow the conversations about your company or products. This can help you gain knowledge on what people want. You can gain a lot of information through a poll as well.
  • Use Twitter to manage your online reputation:Make sure you are following the tweets about your company and products. If there is an unhappy customer or competitor you want to make sure you are aware so there is not negative publicity.
  • Twitter can boost sales with special offers and discounts: Everyone loves a discount or giveaway! What better way to get that information out quick than with a tweet (and encouragement to RT to their followers and friends!).
  • Twitter allows you to keep an eye on competition: ‘Twitter Search’ is a great way to keep your eye on what your competitions activity.
  • Twitter can be viral: Once you have the following on Twitter your tweet can be re-tweeted a number of times gaining more popularity.
  • Twitter is a great place to promote your company’s blog: Have a blog? Share it! This will help you also gain traffic to your blog and get more shares and brand awareness.
  • Access great education: Follow industry leaders and news and educational sources that matter to you and your business for instant updates and resources. Be sure to follow @WeddingWireEDU!

So, why not get a Twtter account and start tweeting, or boost your business’ Twitter account to the next level?

Create an account today, and check out these tips for being a social media posting Pro!

» All About Embracing Video Marketing!

Have you considered adding a personalized business video (or videos!) to your business website or WeddingWire Storefront? Take a look at a few highlights of these recent statistics from Hubspot regarding the influence of video on potential clients to help make your decision!

  • 40% of people will respond better to a visual then to text
  • 46.1% of people believe that the design of a business website shows their credibility
  • Adding videos will attract 3x the traffic as just text
  • 85% of online users in the US watch videos
  • 60 hrs of videos are uploaded on YouTube each minute
  • 100% more time is spent on pages with videos
  • 85% of people are more likely to purchase something after they have watched a video

So, you can see that video content is important! We make it easy to create a customizable video by taking advantage of the Video Builder tool in all premium WeddingWire accounts! Already have one? You are able to create unlimited videos, so consider creating different themes to show off your breadth of skills and work in action.

Just follow this user-friendly step by step guide:

  • Sign into your WeddingWire account, and navigate to the Marketing tab
  • Click on ‘Video Builder
  • Click ‘Create New Video’
  • Select the type of video you want to create from the drop down list (Commercial, Events, Holidays, Real Weddings, or Seasons)
  • Select your theme. When scowling over each theme with your mouse, hit the ‘preview’ button to see a sample video using that specific theme
  • Hit select when you find your perfect theme
  • Add anywhere from 10-25 photos from your WeddingWire albums by clicking on the photos you would like to add.Once you have added your photos, you can click and drag them to  a specific order. Note: You are not able to add video within the video builder.
  • Now hit ‘Next: Add Soundtrack’
  •  Pick a song from the music library that is the best fit for your video. Note: You are not able to add your own soundtrack, but there are a lot of great options here!
  • Now hit ‘Next: Create Video’
  • Add text to your video. First give your video a title! You also have 4 boxes to add your business tagline and facts.
  • Hit ‘Create Video’ once you have added your text and you’re done!

To find your finished video look in the Marketing tab and under the ‘Video Builder.’ Click on the video name and then hit “yes” to display the video on your Storefront. Once it is published to your Storefront, you are also able to share it on your website and social media networks to get that great traffic and exposure to potential clients! Have questions about the tool? We’re here to help!

Interested in more video marketing tips? Check out this past post!

» Pro Image Tips for Your WeddingWire Account

It is important to make a lasting impression with your WeddingWire main Storefront image!

Your Storefront image is the first visual piece of your WeddingWire account that potential clients see, so you want to make it as eye catching as possible. We compiled some top tips for a strong main image from our Customer Success Team’s experience, below!

Photo Credit: Main Line Wedding Photography

  • Use a real picture instead of your logo. This way, a client can see you in action or they can picture themselves in the picture. Real photos are proven to generate more interest than unfamiliar logos. Also, logos can also be hard to see or get cut off based on the dimensions.
  • Use an engaging, easy to see photo with bright colors to help your business pop out to searching engaged couples.
  • Use a 600 x 600 size picture, the dimensions that are provided in your account. Keeping these dimensions in mind will ensure your image fits and is not cut off.
  • Additionally, 72 dpi (dots per inch) works best for the main image, if you want to get specific, or if your image seems unclear.

To update your WeddingWire main image, log in to your account, navigate to the ‘Advertising’ tab, and select ‘Storefront.’ Then, get started uploading your new image.

Additionally, our team pulled together some main image ideas by service category for inspiration!

Suggestions for your main image based on your category

Bands and Ceremony Music:

  • A picture of your band or musical group performing at an event
  • A picture of the audience enjoying your music while your are performing

Beauty and Health:

  • Your client after you have done their makeup, hair, etc
  • You applying the makeup on your client or posing with them on their big day

 Catering:

  • A picture of a signature dish that is colorful, fresh and unique
  • A catering set-up in a beautiful venues or outdoors

 Venue:

  • Your venue set up for an extra-stunning event
  • A couple in front of your venue, or at a popular landmark on the property

 DJ:

  • The bride and groom dancing with their guests on a fun dancefloor
  • A couple’s first dance

 Dress & Attire:

  • A model in one of your most stunning dresses
  • A wedding party looking dapper in your exclusive attire

 Event Rentals and Photobooth:

  • Guests having fun in your photobooth, decked out in fun accessories
  • A pre-event shot of your event decor, lighting or a unique themed set-up

 Favors and Gifts:

  • The couples or a group of guests posing with your products
  • A favorite or trendy unique favor that will catch the eye of potential or searching clients

Flowers:

  • A colorful bouquet that reflects the season or favorite flowers
  • Your favorite arrangement, unique set up, or the happy couple posing by your flowers

 Invitations:

  • One of your favorite invitations close up, or spread of different styles
  • A unique save the date

 Lighting and décor:

  • Up-lighting at a special event
  • The reception area table with décor

 Officiants:

  • You with the couple during the ceremony

 Photography and Videography:

  • Show off your favorite photo or a still from a recent wedding
  • Fun shots or a stunning close-up with great colors and lighting makes a strong impression

 Wedding Cake:

  • An elaborate cake or shot of your favorite sweets
  • Fun shot of the couple cutting the cake at the wedding

 Wedding Planning:

  • A photo of a happy couple at a breath-taking ceremony or reception
  • The rings on display, for example on the heel of the high heel

Now is the fun part: picking a favorite photo to showoff your business! Remember, you want you picture to make an impression, so make sure it’s something that stands out and catches the eye. Changing your main image often is a good idea to keep your photo relevant, engaging and fresh to the season. Use these image tips to guide your decision!

» Keep Your Facebook Business Page Fresh!

Facebook brand pages for your business are a good way to connect with your client base and reach new audiences. However, it is important to keep your page updated with new, engaging and relevant content (but not overpost!).

fb-like-this

Check out these 6 ideas of engaging Facebook content for businesses from SocialApe Marketing:

  • Behind the Scenes Photos: Share a peek into your day! Followers will be interested to see what you are up to, and feel like they get to know you and your staff on a personal level. Examples of this may be photos of prepping from a past wedding or event, a new arrival of business-related good or product, an inside look at your workspace, or what you did recently for inspiration.
  • Trivia Questions: People love a little friendly competition. Ask something about the most popular wedding flower in August, pop culture trivia about a celebrity’s wedding, and more. You could even make this a deal where the first person to answer right gets a prize or you pick the most creative answer to encourage engagement with your post.
  •  Offer Exclusivity: Post a deal on Facebook that is valid to Facebook fans of your business only. This is a great way to make followers feel like you are really invested in them. This is also a great way to add fans!
  • Don’t Just Talk About Your Business: It may seem strange, but you want to post content that is not just about you. Occasionally post about the season, fun events, upcoming holidays, or even current events. This will helps fans connect to your business and see the “person” behind the brand.
  •  Ask Questions: You want fan interaction? Start a conversation! Have clients post photos about your business when they visited you for consultations, or with your product. Ask them their favorite part of planning their big day or special event, and what your business can do or has done to help. Also encourage them to share their photos or memories to increase engagement.
  • Be Original: Remember, nothing is right or wrong when it comes to marketing your business on social media. Don’t be afraid to show your personality, but always remain professional.  Showing originality is great to stay on top of trends in an ever-evolving industry, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

When it comes to social media and blogging, content and images are key! Keep your sites up-to-date with new content, and test what works for your business and what drives positive engagement. For additional tips, check out “How to Be a Social Media Posting Pro”  from an earlier blog post.

» The Inside Scoop on #Hashtags

With the recent launch of #Hashtags on Facebook, questions have started to arise such as, “What are hashtags?” and “Why should we use them on Facebook?” from Facebook users, and Pros like you!

Let’s get started with some #hashtag basics!

What’s a Hashtag?

A hashtag is word or phrase prefixed with the symbol ‘#.’  By adding a # before a certain word or phrase, makes this phrase a click-able link in your status update on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or post on Google+.

According to Facebook, by having #hashtags in a posted status, Facebook users will be able to connect with others who are talking about the same thing, just by clicking on the hashtag. A popular hashtag may be “#wedding” or a big topic in the news, or event industry. This is an example of yet another way that Facebook is improving the future of personalized search, along with the recent Graph Search announcement!

Here are some Pro tips to remember when using #hashtags in your next Facebook status:

  • Make them short for relevancy and optimized for search-ability, such as #marketing or #weddings
  • Stay away from long phrases such as #SpringWeddingsAreTheBest, very few people will be searching for such a long and specific hashtag
  • Consider sharing the Facebook URL for a hashtag so that followers can join you in the conversation
  • Hashtags are a great way to market and events, services or products so consider using them when announcing your attendance at an upcoming bridal show or networking event
  • Make sure your hashtags are words people would actually search for so you get found
  • A hashtag can be used anywhere in a sentence, not just at the beginning or end
  • Don’t overload your status with too many hashtags, one or two is best
  • Use only relevant #Hastags, if the hashtag does not fit it will not make sense to your audience

To learn more about the recent addition of Facebook #Hashtags, check out our post on the topic! #HappyHashtagging!

» Marketing Tips to Boost Your Business

What does it take to make sure that your company really hits the ground running and has a successful season?  Whether you are a new business, or a seasoned business looking to expand, these tips from Mashable provide valuable insights into how to boost your business to the next level!

  • Focus on your Target Customer: Who is your target client? Instead of focusing on reaching anyone and everyone, consider your select target group of customers that will lead you to your short term goals and can help take your business to the next level. Do you have some openings in your calendar? Focus on how to find more niche clients or how to get your business known to more couples or people planning events. Have a packed calendar but need more income? Focus on raising select prices while remaining competitive.
  • Build Strategic Partnerships: Getting involved with a business that you know has a strong brand and will help you build the creditability of your business. Form strong relationships with other local and wedding professionals, and work together to serve as a reference to each other’s clients looking for a Pro in that service category. Consider joining a top Association or community group in your category as well for added benefits, exposure, and accreditation.
  • Engage in Community Outreach: You want to get your name out there, whether it is in local news papers, radio, or through an industry blog. Check out our tips for building a strong brand, and start pitching your business! Brand exposure and attendance at local networking and professional events will lead to your business being considered a key player in the industry.
  • Incentivize People to Share: It is important to get people talking about your product or service, so don’t be afraid to give a discount or some form or a perk for having them talk up your company or “like” your company on Facebook. Some options include a free consultation, added gift or select discount on your most popular product or service with the proof of a “like” or recommendation.
  • Leverage Social Media: Make sure to establish a relevant and engaging social media presence for your business. Couples are planning their weddings online, and spend hundreds of hours on social media. Be sure to post daily when you can, and share social media content that is relevant and consistent with your brand, service offering and target client. Favorite wedding and event inspiration, how to planning tips, favorite quotes, and your latest blog posts are great places to start.
  • Apply for and Share Your Business Awards: No matter what your product or service is, it is important to get the recognition for your stellar business when you can! Keep an eye out for relevant local awards, and aim for industry-wide awards such as the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards and WeddingWire Rated (and show them off on your website, Storefront and at your business or local wedding shows to stand out!).

To get more in-depth information on these marketing tips to boost your business, click here!

» The Social Media Revolution

How much time during your day would you say you spend on social media? Five minutes on your metro ride to work? 15 minutes during your lunch break? Or do you seem to be on some type of social media network all day? Working at a techonology company, I know I usually have my Facebook account open all day (and connect with clients online) and seem to search YouTube at least once a day.  According to a recent article on Slashgear.com, Americans spend over 2 billion hours on social media per month!

Clearly, social media has a definite impact on our daily lives — from catching up with friends and sharing recent updates and photos, to forming new relationships, promoting certain brands and companies, and sharing updates from our own businesses!

For some amazing statistics and insights into how we use social media and the internet, check out this installment from a social media video series, the Social Media Revolution: Social Media in 2013.

Here are just a few social media and tech highlights:

  • Social media has become the #1 activity on the web
  • There are over 1 billion Facebook users (making it the third largest country in the world!)
  • Each day 20% of Google searches have never been searched before
  • 1 in 5 couples meet online
  • Every second, two new members join LinkedIn
  • Every minute, 72 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube

Check out the full video, below! What are your favorite stats or what do you find most surprising?