» How to Make the Most of Engagement Season

wedding professional engagement season vendor

While other business owners may delight in the pre-holiday or back-to-school shopping seasons, the undisputed champ of sales for wedding professionals is engagement season. WeddingWire calculates that about 40% of couples who will be engaged in the next 12 months will do so between November and February.

These quick best practices will help you maximize this crucial time and set yourself up for a productive wedding season.

Freshen up your online presence: Couples these days are accustomed to shopping for services online, so it’s uber-important to put your best foot forward across the Web. That includes your website, social media, WeddingWire storefront and even your email signature. Be sure your branding is consistent throughout and that you make it as easy as possible to contact you. Don’t force couples to hunt for your email or social networks—be sure this is on the very first page of your website. Have a couple of friends put fresh eyes on your sites and social media to be sure you don’t have any broken links, confusing wording or blurry images.

Audit your social: While we’re on the subject, now isn’t the time to neglect your social media accounts! Couples will often use your social media to not only see some of your most recent work, but also get a feel for your personality. They’re looking for partners on their wedding day, not just someone to come in, provide a service and leave. With that said, don’t be a robot on social. Share your best photos, but also share what drew you to the couple, what you loved about the day or why that particular photo is one of your favorites. Be sure to get permission from couples to share and tag them (as well as the rest of the vendor team) if they’re also on social media.

Keep your calendar up-to-date: As couples are reaching out to you for consultations, they’ll want to know that you’re available for their wedding date and location. Take a few minutes to fill in your calendar with as many details as you can about your upcoming wedding season, including building in time for site visits, travel and administrative tasks as needed. While it’s great to be busy, you don’t want to lose business because you’ve incorrectly estimated the time commitment for future clients.

Consider an auto-email feature: In a rapid response world, sometimes 24 to 48 hours just won’t do. As couples fill out your contact form during engagement season, it might be best to automate an email that instantly responds. Beyond showing that you’re responsive right away, use this email to smartly promote your social channels, work that you’re most proud of or even an awesome piece of wedding planning content you really love. Give it some personality, but be sure it’s short, sweet and helping you meet your business goals.

wedding professional engagement season wedding vendor

Prove your credibility: It’s one thing for you to say you’re amazing, efficient and easy to work with, but it’s a whole other thing for someone else to say it. That’s why so many couples rely on business reviews before contacting potential wedding professionals. Make it a goal to amass at least five additional reviews from couples and other professionals you’ve recently worked with this engagement season. Don’t be shy about asking for them—newlyweds love to talk about their wedding and you were an important part of why it was so special!

Nail your first impression: Once you’ve set up a time to meet with a potential client, the real work of engagement season begins. Chances are, the couple’s had a chance to peruse your social media, your website and your storefront, so return the favor by learning a little about the couple as well. Check out their social media profiles if you can, and look into any information they may have included in their emails to you—the type of wedding they’d like, what they enjoyed about your work, their venue, etc. Be prepared to discuss the latest wedding trends in your industry and show a curated collection of your recent projects. So, if you know the couple will be wed at a fancy downtown hotel, don’t show up with a portfolio full of barn weddings you’ve done and vice versa.

Learn even more about how to nail engagement season with this fact sheet.

» Get Up-to-Speed this Engagement Season with Fact Sheets

engagement-season-fact-sheetEngagement season is here with 40% of couples celebrating their engagement from November to February each year. Now that the fall busy season is slowing down for may pros, the holidays are a great time to decompress and prepare your business for the busy months ahead.

It’s important to stay updated on the latest industry trends and stats to understand your audience and how your business can stand out. WeddingWire fact sheets are here to help!

As part of our WedInsights content, we have a helpful library full of great one-page resources you can download to get quickly informed on the latest industry research so you can impress more couples.

Here’s a peek at some of the latest fact sheets:

  • Buying an Engagement Ring: See how couples search for the perfect ring and what attributes matter most.
  • Setting a Wedding Date: Uncover the most popular days to wed and learn how couples pick their vendor team.
  • Wedding Stress: Learn what tasks stress couples out the most during the wedding planning process.
  • Bridal Re-Brand: A look at bridal bias and heteronormative assumptions in the wedding industry.
  • Planning a Honeymoon: From destination to budget, see what decisions couples make when planning a honeymoon.

Get started accessing these guides for free!

» WedInsights: How Couples Choose a Wedding Date

WedInsights

WedInsights: How Couples Choose a Wedding DateWhile 37% of engagements occur between November and February, 76% of weddings occur during the summer and fall months. In fact, 25 dates make up 50% of all weddings in 2015 (and you guessed right, they’re all on Saturdays!). Despite the fact that there’s a ton of competition between clients for those coveted dates, there are a number of reasons why a couple selects their wedding date.

Our research shows that the top ten most popular factors that influence when couples choose a wedding date are:

  1. Season/weather
  2. Convenient for the couples and families
  3. Sentimental date (i.e., anniversary date)
  4. Venue availability
  5. No clear reason
  6. Liked the date
  7. Convenient based on engagement length (i.e., enough time to plan)
  8. For financial reason
  9. On a holiday
  10. Astrology

Beyond those considerations, 74% of couples know vendor pricing may differ based on day of the week or season – which could also come into play when selecting a date if the couple is on a tight budget. And for those considering a destination wedding, choosing a date has a whole different set of considerations than those couples getting married locally. Our data indicates that 14% of U.S. couples have a destination wedding, and of those, 11% have a wedding at a destination within the U.S. and 3% travel internationally (mostly to the Caribbean).

What does it all mean for you?

Once the ceremony and/or reception venue is booked and the date is set, there is a general expectation that all other vendors need to work within that schedule. Since most couples hire 10-13 wedding pros, availability is a key criterion for choosing which pros to contact. However, don’t forget that other factors affect who a couple contacts – most importantly price, reviews, and location.

As we head into the busy wedding season, be sure to add pricing to your Storefront, update your About Us section to make all your contact information easily available, and collect those last few reviews you’ve been putting off! Ensuring you cover the top three factors couples consider when reaching out to a pro means that they’ll be well-informed about your business before they even ask you about your availability.

For more insights on how couples choose a wedding date, read our latest WedInsights fact sheet.

» Announcing Our Second Annual #justsaidyes Campaign!

Tell your wedding clients to share their #justsaidyes moment with WeddingWire!We’re thrilled to announce that our #justsaidyes campaign is back and better than ever this year!

The WeddingWire #justsaidyes campaign for consumers is held annually during peak engagement season. The campaign asks couples to share their engagement moment on social media with #justsaidyes and @weddingwire for a chance to win a honeymoon and $5,000 registry.

This year, we’re proud to announce that Shawn Johnson, the recently-engaged Olympic Gold Medalist, “Dancing with the Stars” champion, and ESPY Award Winner, has joined the campaign as she plans her own big day and inspires other couples to share their own special engagement celebrations!

With approximately 40% of engagements happening between November and February, engagement season is the perfect time to recognize and celebrate the hundreds of thousands of newly engaged couples beginning their wedding planning journey.

The #justsaidyes campaign encourages couples to upload photos and videos of their unique engagement story on social media for a chance to win prizes, including a wedding registry courtesy of Macy’s and a honeymoon courtesy of Marriott, as well as be featured on WeddingWire’s social media sites, and possibly receive a shout-out from Shawn Johnson herself.

To be eligible to win, couples must follow WeddingWire on Instagram and share their favorite engagement photos by tagging @WeddingWire with the hashtag #justsaidyes starting today through February 19, 2016. The grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 Registry from Macy’s and a $2,500 gift certificate to use at the Marriott of the winning couple’s choice for their honeymoon.

We encourage you to promote the #justsaidyes contest to your newly-engaged clients on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! The more money they can save on their registry and honeymoon, the more budget they can allocate elsewhere in their wedding planning journey. All couples – whether they use WeddingWire or not – are eligible as long as they are currently engaged and not yet married.

For more information about the campaign and instructions for submissions, please visit the official #justsaidyes website.

» 10 Dos and Don’ts from Couples this Engagement Season

Engagement season is here! Couples are getting engaged, starting to plan their dream day, and will be searching to find their perfect wedding team in the coming months. In our October webinar for premium members, we discussed the top 10 dos and don’ts for impressing these clients – right from WeddingWire couples themselves!

The infographic below highlights the 10 ways they indicated to make a great impression, keep your clients happy, and keep the planning process moving smoothly all the way to their big day!

Oct_Webinar_Infographic_DelightDontFright-final

» 4 Statistics to Prepare You for Engagement Season

WedInsights

Engagement season statistics from WedInsightsEngagement season is here, which means newly engaged couples everywhere are starting to plan their perfect wedding and looking for wedding professionals who can help pull it all together.

While some couples may be focused on celebrating their big news with family over the holidays, many others will jump right into the planning process – looking for a wedding planner, scoping out venues, building a budget and choosing a date.

Check out these statistics from Volume 7 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series to find out what’s in store for your wedding business this engagement season!

17% of engagements happen on the same 10 days each year

In fact, nearly 40% of engagements occur between November and February. The holiday season is the perfect time for many engagements, given that many couples have time off work and travel home to visit their families. The top ten most popular dates include major holidays such as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years’ Day, and Valentine’s Day.

On average, couples are engaged for 12 – 13 months before getting married

With that amount of time, couples have the ability to plan the wedding at a more manageable pace with their busy lives. However, it’s important to keep in mind that engagement lengths can vary greatly – our data shows that 29% of couples are engaged less than 9 months and 33% of couples are engaged for over 16 months. Those who have less than a year to plan are going to have very different wants and expectations, compared to a couple with 2 or more years to plan.

Most couples search for the majority of their vendors 7-9 months prior to their wedding

When jumping into the planning process, couples begin by setting a timeframe and budget. Certain categories such as venues, caterers, bands, and DJs are often researched as early as one year prior to the wedding. But don’t forget that 50% of couples getting married use products and/or services from at least 10 different vendors, so now is the time to ramp up your marketing. Continue reading

» 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!

Continue reading

» Revamping Your Storefront for 2014

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

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

Revamping your Storefront for 2014Main Image

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

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

About Us

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

Continue reading

» 5 Ways to Stand Out This Engagement Season

WeddingWire Education Expert

Christine Dyer is a social media expert and the founder of BridalTweet.com. Christine shares her social media expertise with the wedding industry through a series of free wedding marketing videos. As a testament of Christine’s social media success, BridalTweet now has over 14,000 Facebook fans, 44,000 Twitter followers, and over 3,000 Pinterest followers. Prior to launching BridalTweet, Christine Dyer was the Director of Social Media Marketing at American Express where she led the development and growth of their Facebook fan pages, which had 1.6 million fans. Christine received a B.S. and M.B.A. in marketing from Fordham University.

It’s a fact — Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s Day are the most popular days for engagements.  As a result, brides are more likely to browse the web to find wedding professionals and planning ideas from December through February. So are you prepared for this coming engagement season? Here are five ways to stand out on Facebook and to give you an edge this coming engagement season:

  • Attract newly engaged brides with 2014 wedding trends. I’m a huge advocate of posting ONLY quality content on BridalTweet’s Facebook page. If it isn’t something that I think is share-worthy, then I won’t post it. And this definitely holds true for this coming engagement season. I recommend that you collect a series of wedding trends that you think will be popular in 2014. Then, post one trend per day on your Facebook page. Or create a special report of 5-10 trends and promote it on your Facebook page. You can even require brides to give you their contact info in order to read the special report. Pagemodo.com is a service that lets you set up a custom tab on your Facebook page, which will have this type of lead generating functionality. You’ll just have to create the special report, set up the custom tab, and promote the tab through your Facebook posts. If you don’t know what the trends will be for 2014, then casually survey your wedding vendor friends and ask for their opinions on this topic. I’m sure they will come up with some inspiring ideas. They might even have some beautiful photos to share!
  • Post once a day and when you think engaged couples will be listening. Play around with this and see when you are getting the best response. A report from the link-shortening service, bit.ly, says:
    • The most optimal time of the entire week to post Facebook content is Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.
    • The highest average click-throughs on links within Facebook messages resulted from posting between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET.
    • Traffic peaks midweek between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET.
    • Content attracts the least attention before 8 a.m. ET and after 8 p.m. ET. Continue reading

» Spruce Up Your Storefront: Engagement Season is Here!

November marks the beginning of what we like to call “Engagement Season!” 43% of engagements happen between November and January as couples spend time with their families and friends during the holidays. Check out our WeddingWire Infographic on wedding planning seasonality for full details on the most popular engagement days, when couples are planning their wedding throughout the week, and what seasons are the most popular for weddings.

Newly engaged couples will be excited to start planning their weddings, and the WeddingWire Network will be a popular place for them to begin their searches for their perfect Wedding Pros. Follow these tips to ensure that your WeddingWire Storefront is ready!

Main Image – Take a look at your main image. Are the colors clear and bright? Are you showcasing a couple or group celebrating? Make sure that it looks right in the vendor catalog (ie: the image isn’t stretched or shrunk too small). Remember that text is hard to read in the vendor catalog, so typically logos will perform better in your About Us section, and we recommend using a photo as your main image.

About Us – Re-read your About Us section. Does it portray your company in a way that you want couples to perceive your business and services? Does it provide enough information without being overwhelming? Double check that there are no typos and add your phone number and email address so that it is easy for interested couples to contact you after reading a description of your company. This is also the best place to showoff your logo!

Photos – Have you updated your pictures since this past wedding season? Your first album should showcase your best and newest work, since that is the one that couples will be clicking through the most. You can always rearrange the order of your albums in the Photos section by clicking and dragging them.

Videos – When did you create your most recent video? Keep this section updated as well, as it showcases your work in an interesting and engaging way! As you’re adding in new photo content, premium members can also create new and unlimited videos and publish them to your Facebook, website, social media and more using the WeddingWire Video Builder.

Reviews – Make sure that you highlight a review on your Storefront by selecting the ‘Reviews’ tab in your Storefront. This review should be from this past year, if possible. Try using the Review Collector tool to gather great reviews from your clients over this past wedding season. The more reviews you have, the better!

Follow these simple tips to maximize your WeddingWire Storefront and be well-prepared for engagement season and set-up for booking more new clients!