» 3 Key Ways Millennial Couples are Different from Past Generations

WedInsights

	3 Key Ways Millennial Couples are Different from Past GenerationsMillennials (also known as Gen Y), whose current age ranges from 16-34, account for roughly 25% of today’s US population – making them the largest living generation. By 2017, U.S. Millennials are estimated to spend roughly $200 billion annually and will make up 75% of the workplace and comprise of the majority of the consumer market within the next 10 years.

Why does this matter for your business? The Millennial generation is at the age where major life events are taking place, like graduating, buying a house, and getting married. In fact, more than 80% of WeddingWire couples are Millennials! Knowing where they are in their life stages is key for understanding how to communicate with this important group.

Below we share some critical stats from WedInsights Volume 13: Keeping Up With The Millennials to explain the habits and needs of today’s Millennial couples.

Millennials are willing to spend more to personalize their weddings

Over the past 10 years we’ve continued to see overall guest count decrease, regardless of age, whereas the total spend per guest is on the rise. Couples are willing to spend extra on each guest in order to really personalize their big day and make it memorable and unique. Millennials spend on average $31,000 on their wedding, whereas GenX spends $24,000 on fewer guests. A few other points of differentiation between Millennials and their older counterparts:

  • Engagement Length: 13 months for Millennials, 11 months for GenX
  • Number in Wedding Party: 10 for Millennials, 7 for GenX
  • Number of Vendors Hired: 11 for Millennials, 9 for GenX

87% of Millennials report having their smartphones on them at all times

Millennials are the “mobile generation”, everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go, so a non-existent or bad mobile website can be an instant deal breaker for this group! Make mobile a priority by doing a full sweep of your online properties from your mobile website to your emails and make sure the content is easily digestible (and layout is responsive) on smartphones and tablet devices. Continue reading

» 5 Things to Remember When Creating a Website

Pro to Pro Insights

Leila Lewis, photo by Valorie Darling PhotographyThis post was written by Leila Lewis of Be Inspired PR. As a business school graduate from Santa Clara University, Leila (Khalil) Lewis’ career began in publishing, where she worked in marketing and editorial roles for business and lifestyle publications. Since transitioning into the wedding business in 2004, Leila has over 10 years of wedding marketing experience under her belt, and is the industry’s go-to for wedding public relations services, brand development and business consulting.

Online brand representation can make or break a company. I’ve been consulting with brands for the past 10 years, and I have seen just how effective a well-done company website can be. Your website can be visually appealing, but if it doesn’t have a few fundamental basics, then your website could have a negative impact on your business.

5 Things to Remember When Creating a WebsiteBelow I share five things to remember when creating a website for your wedding business. Some of these tips may seem like no-brainers, but 60-80% of sites I review are still missing the mark on what makes a website client-friendly!

Tell Your Potential Clients Who You Are

Many sites refer to the overall company name when describing what they do, but there is no mention of who is behind the brand. Potential clients are looking to learn everything there is to know about your company when accessing your website, especially who you are! Including an “About Me” page will allow your clients to easily access the information they want, including your name, photo, and a short bio. Use this page to your advantage and list your impressive credentials and past experience.

Include Social Media Links

If you make it difficult for potential clients to find your social media sites, they aren’t going to spend the time looking for them. Including links to your company’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other relevant social media accounts will allow clients to not only access the sites quickly, but will give your company credibility and relevance with the new generation of customers. Make the links clear and visible on the home page and include it on all other pages as well.

Show off!

A company website is not the place to be humble. Create a press page where you showcase any features, mentions, or positive reviews. Clients will be more inclined to work with a company who has had previous success. Include links to these features and don’t be afraid to show off your work!

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» 10 Best Practices for Communicating with Millennials

10 Best Practices for Communicating with MillennialsSuccessfully communicating with Millennials can sound like a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with their heavy reliance on mobile devices. After all, Millennials are the “mobile generation”: everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go. They have around the clock access to email, news, social media you name it, they can do it!  So how do you possibly get their attention in a time when there are literally thousands of modes of interaction? The key is to understand three of the most popular (and efficient) ways Millennials are interacting with the world around them: texting, email, and social media.

To give you an idea of just how “mobile” this generation is, consider this: Millennials spend an average of four hours and 22 minutes on smartphones each day, and 87% of millennials have their smartphones on them at all times. According to the same data, 80% of Millennials said that the first thing they do when they wake up is check their smartphone, and 60% said that they believe everything will be done on mobile devices in the next five years. Looking at your audience specifically, engaged couples spend 30% of their time planning their weddings on mobile devices each week. The world is shifting to become much more mobile-based, and it’s essential to adapt your business’s marketing strategy accordingly. Is your business catering to these individuals?

If your answer is no, don’t worry. By following a few simple mobile etiquette tips and adjusting your current marketing strategy to account for this mobile generation, you’ll be equipped to successfully communicate with Millennials via email, social media, and even text messaging.

Email

  1. Make your emails mobile-friendly. According to the 2016 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, about 70% of WeddingWire consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, which demonstrates how important it is that all of your business’ emails can be opened from a mobile device. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg refers to this practice as “mobile end-to-end,” which means that the Millennials who are constantly on-the-go can access your content on a desktop or mobile device and enjoy the same experience.
  2. Don’t get lost in the (inbox) crowd. Once you reach your client’s email inbox, it’s important to direct them to your email amidst the hundreds of others they’re probably receiving. To do this, use a short, descriptive subject line that grabs their attention and provides all of the important information. This strategy is crucial for a generation that often weeds out emails based merely on the subject lines.
  3. KISS. This acronym – Keep It Short and Simple – is the golden rule for your email content. Millennials’ time is precious; they’re a busy generation with very little time to read through lengthy boring content. So once you’ve grabbed their attention with a catchy subject line, make your emails concise and exciting. Use images and large font to engage your clients, and be sure to keep the message short enough so you don’t lose their interest.
  4. Respond ASAP. Remember to respond as quickly as you can, because besides being courteous, doing so lets your clients know they are important. Our data suggests that most couples expect to hear back from a vendor within 24 hours, so aim for that at a minimum.

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» Introducing the Updated WeddingWire App for Couples!

We’re excited to let you know about some exciting updates to our consumer app!

We’ve learned that the vast majority of engaged couples prefer the convenience and simplicity of planning their wedding all within one app. We listened to feedback from real WeddingWire users and made significant updates to improve the performance of the app and the overall user experience.

Download the new WeddingWire app to start planning your wedding!

Our newly redesigned WeddingWire app makes it easier for brides and grooms to find and interact with your wedding business by allowing them to:

  • Search by vendor category and location
  • Find your business and read your reviews
  • Contact you directly by phone or email

Although the new WeddingWire app has changed a lot – including a personalized home screen, wedding countdown clock, and a fresh new look and feel – many of your clients’ favorite features have stayed the same! Your wedding clients can still:

  • Stay organized with our wedding checklist and budget calculator
  • Join the conversation in our community forums right from the app
  • Access our guest list tool and manage RSVPs on the go

Help your clients turn their wedding vision into a reality with our new mobile app! Learn more about the new WeddingWire app or direct your clients to download from the App Store or Google Pay.

» Mobile Matters! Create a Winning Business for All Devices

December-Webinar_MobileMatters!_TileMobile Matters!

Today’s couples are planning their wedding while on-the-go. Does your business make a great impression, and stand out on all devices? Thinking ‘mobile-first’ creates an exceptional brand experience from phone to tablet to desktop, and impresses your target audience!

During this one hour webinar for premium members, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly shared his tips for how to best engage with mobile-friendly couples, his top ‘mobile mantras’ for your business and the best 15 apps of the year.

Here are Sonny’s seven mobile mantras to set your business up for success:

  1. Mobile first: When designing your website and emails, think ‘mobile first’ with an easy to read and navigate core design, that you can build upon and modify as devices get larger and for desktop.
  2. Mobile end-to-end: Set the goal to make all your communication and campaigns a strong experience from end to end from all devices. For example, if you create a great email, make sure it works just as well from a mobile opener as a desktop!
  3. Mobile conversion: Make sure you add a simple and easy to use contract from to your website for mobile visitors. The form should be large enough to type easily from phones, and not ask for unnecessary fields which will cause drop-offs in your leads.
  4. Mobile mail: 70% of WeddingWire consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, which means your clients are opening your emails on the go as well! Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly by always testing them on a mobile device with clear calls to action for the greatest engagement.
  5. Mobile payment: Accept payments from your mobile devices to close more sales quickly. Devices such as Squares plug right into your smartphone, and with new apps for payments such as Apple Wallet – mobile payments are only going to continue to rise.
  6. Mobile audience: Prepare your business for your clients and store all their important event information in one easy to access place by using WeddingWire Client Sites, available in premium accounts. Both you and your client can log in any time, and from any device to finalize payment, track contracts and add event info.
  7. Mobile me: Mobile devices are becoming even more personal and easy to use. Smartphones, watches and assisting systems such as Siri are getting to know and remembering your preferences, and are more able to be tailored than ever before. Stay ahead with the latest tech!

» 7 Components of a Successful Website

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.

Your website is always evolving, but it has one singular purpose: to generate inquiries and leads. Creating an engaging, optimized, easy-to-navigate site is a critical part of your success. Now, more than ever, an impressive website is the sign of a successful and trustworthy business, so it’s vital that you modernize and update your website often.

How to build a successful websiteThese seven components of a successful website will help you update your site to today’s standards and put your best foot forward for potential clients in your area.

Functionality

How your website functions and responds to visitors is the starting point of your website’s user experience. If visitors can’t find what they need or your website is broken in some way, the content you write doesn’t matter. There are several considerations to take into account when thinking about your website’s functionality:

  • Intuitive Navigation: Your website’s navigation is the blueprint for visitors – they’ll use your framework to find what they’re looking for. Give your web pages logical names, and keep it simple. The ideal number of pages in your main navigation is seven or fewer. If you have more pages than that, consider adding sub-pages that drop down from the main pages. Additionally, recognize that there is a top-down or left-to-right bias in order and choice. A user is more likely to click one of the first three tabs, so be thoughtful about choosing the order.
  • Internal Search: Our collective brains are wired differently. Some people will follow your carefully thought-out main navigation menu, while others prefer a search box to find specific information quickly. Offering a search box gives visitors a number of options for how they prefer to navigate your website. Most website builder platforms/programs offer this sort of option, plus third-party widgets are available to incorporate a search function into your site.
  • Mobile-friendly: Google reports that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan. It’s no longer acceptable to expect users to pinch the screen to zoom in or out to view all the features of your website on a mobile device. In fact, Google has begun prioritizing mobile-friendly, responsive sites in search results to encourage those who have not yet updated their sites to make the necessary changes. You can check your website’s compliance with Google’s mobile-friendly test. The best solution? Choose a responsive template that automatically adjusts to the visitor’s screen size.

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» Updates to Your WeddingWire Account: September 2015

New WeddingWire account updates and features in September 2015

Today we rolled out some exciting new additions and improvements to your WeddingWire account. Read more about our September 2015 updates below!

All mobile everything

By now, we all know how important a good mobile experience is for your business! Because of that, we’ve updated WeddingWire mobile (also known as m.weddingwire.com) to properly display all Storefront videos across all mobile devices. Video is a great way to engage potential customers and set yourself apart from the competition.

Upload new videos »

Learning more about couples

As the wedding industry continues to evolve, we’re learning and growing right along with it. To stay ahead of the curve, we launched a new optional Q&A after a user submits a review. Through these questions, we’ll be able to better understand couples’ wedding experience and continue to provide the best service to keep them coming back to your Storefront when they search for their wedding team.

Always improving

We are continuously working to best serve you, which includes updating existing features, as well. Recently we’ve updated proposals to prevent clients from requesting changes after you’ve converted it a contract, added functionality to allow you to upload a .csv in the Review Collector, and much more! As always, please share your feedback and needs with our team at pros@weddingwire.com.

» 3 Statistics That Prove You Need Mobile Optimization

WedInsights

Young people using mobile devicesA mobile-friendly website is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s now a necessity for conducting business in the wedding industry. More than ever, couples are using smartphones at all hours of the day to keep the planning process moving along, from searching for vendors to finding inspiration.

Your mobile website might be the first and only impression a couples sees of your business, so it’s vital that your site provides a good user experience and highlights important information. You can learn more about mobile optimization in Volume 3 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series, but below we’ve compiled a few stats that prove that mobile optimization is a big deal for your wedding business!

61% of mobile users say they are likely to visit another site when they don’t find the information they’re looking for right away

Today’s society is accustomed to instant gratification and the same holds true for the wedding planning process. Smartphones allow couples to search for information during their commute, while at the gym and even at 2am; therefore, it’s important to provide the content they’re searching for when you have their attention! If a couple can’t find the information they’re looking for on your site, they’ll quickly move on to the next.

Each week, couples spend over 30% of their time planning their wedding from a mobile device

While all businesses need to have a strong mobile presence, it’s important to recognize if the product or service you provide is better suited for a desktop or mobile interaction and adjust content accordingly. While a couple might not create their wedding invitation on a mobile device, they will certainly be browsing for design inspiration. Think about what is most valuable to your mobile clients and how you can deliver a great experience, while highlighting the most meaningful content. A good mobile experience does not need to replicate your website, but should offer up content that makes prospective clients want to take the next step.

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» Stay Connected with Our New WeddingWire Mobile Apps for Pros

Stay Connected with our New WeddingWire Mobile Apps for ProsIntroducing the new WeddingWire mobile apps for Pros, My Reviews and My Clients! These new apps allow you to put your wedding business’ best foot forward and manage the most important parts of your business from the palm of your hand.

These new apps are exclusively for WeddingWire Pros so you can get immediate notifications and respond quickly when you receive new reviews and leads. Research shows that if you respond within 5 minutes rather than 30, you are 100 times more likely to make contact with the lead – so responding quickly is extremely important!

The WeddingWire Review Manager for Pros allows you to receive instant review notifications and even request new reviews from your clients through your mobile device. Respond to, share or dispute reviews with a few easy clicks, plus view your current review status and any awards you may be eligible for on an ongoing basis.

Our latest addition, the WeddingWire Client Manager for Pros, helps you manage your inquiries and bookings on-the-go! See important client details like date, location and more right at the initial point of contact so you can determine availability at a glance. Manage the entire process and communicate with current clients from start to finish!

Both apps allow our Pros to easily access what you need from your WeddingWire account and sync new information automatically so you are always up to date. We’re happy to announce that they’re free to download for both Apple via the App Store and Android via Google Play.

Find out more about the Review Manager for Pros and the Client Manager for Pros and download the apps to your devices today!

» The Surging Necessity of Your Mobile Presence

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.

No matter what industry your business operates in, you must be aware of the new platforms and tools used by your audience. I live by the simple rule that when more than 5% of your audience is using a certain channel or medium to find your business, you should invest in that channel or medium. In the case of the wedding industry, you can no longer ignore the mobile trend; you must have a mobile presence to reach potential clients where they’re already spending their time.

The Surging Necessity of Your Mobile PresenceThe main age demographic for the wedding industry is 18-35 (your local area may vary). Just four years ago, 5-10% of that age group was using mobile devices to search. Today, the same age group uses mobile devices 65-75% of the time. No matter how they find your business, whether through an online wedding directory, online search engine, or countless other choices, a mobile website is mandatory.

When a visitor attempts to access your website from a mobile device, the mobile browser reads the code on your website and determines whether it should show the prospect a full desktop version or a mobile-friendly version of your site.

If you take a look at Google Analytics for your website, you can view what percentage of your audience is visiting your website on desktop or mobile. Drilling deeper, you will be amazed at how many different formats access your website. It is not uncommon to see 25-40 different computer screen sizes and 50-100 mobile resolutions.

There are a number of ways to make your website more mobile friendly, so below I’ll explain the two main strategies for mobilizing your website.

Responsive Design

A website built using a responsive design or format automatically changes the layout and/or content of your website based on the size of the user’s screen. For example, your website on a desktop will display your full site navigation in a horizontal bar, but your website on a mobile device will stack those navigation elements or change to offer drop down menus to accommodate the slimmer screen size. Rather than designing two separate versions of your website, your business can create one website with one experience, no matter the screen size.

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» Make 2015 Your Mobile Marketing Year

It’s now officially the last month of 2014, which means it’s time to think about next year! There are probably a number of items on your business’ to-do list, but you should also consider mobile marketing as an addition to your goals.

This year, mobile devices overtook desktop Internet usage for the first time ever – in January, mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the U.S. It’s safe to say that mobile marketing is here to stay! Below are some tips for making 2015 your business’ mobile marketing year.

Make 2015 Your Mobile Marketing YearAssess your mobile readiness

Before you start creating your mobile marketing strategy, assess your business’ mobile readiness. Do you have an optimized mobile website? Is your business’ website responsive on all devices? Do you have the ability to create a mobile app for your business? Answering these questions can help you determine where you should start and how far your strategy can take you! Remember that there’s no sense in dedicating time or money on mobile marketing efforts if you’re not ready to provide a good mobile experience for potential clients.

Enhance your existing mobile presence

Mobile websites are different from their desktop counterparts in that the screen is much smaller and there’s no mouse, so the way a person uses your website will be different. They’ll need big, easy-to-click buttons rather than text links, and you’ll want to break up the copy on your web pages to make them easier to read on small screens. If you don’t have a responsive website design, you can easily create a mobile website with our Mobile Website Creator.  Our tool allows you to paste a quick bit of code to your website, which will make it so your website is optimized for mobile devices.

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» Top Apps to Help You Work Smarter

In this day and age, smartphones have become a lifeline for business operations. We use mobile devices to schedule, analyze, remember, and complete all sorts of tasks both for our business’ and our daily lives.

Luckily, there are a ton of great apps available to help you be more effective and help you get more work done. We’ve compiled a list of great apps for Wedding Pros that will help maximize your productivity and keep you organized!

top-apps-to-help-you-work-smarterNeed an app to manage to-do lists? Wunderlist is the app for you!

With Wunderlist you can…

  • Create to-do lists that you can access on your smartphone, computer, or tablet
  • Share to-do lists with other people
  • Attach photos and PDFs
  • Delegate to-dos
  • Set reminders for to-dos

Need an app to help with your time management? Toggl Time Tracker is the app for you!

With Toggl Time Tracker you can…

  • Track how much time you are spending on certain apps or websites
  • Track employees time management
  • Export time sheets
  • See what you spend the most time on and use the info to plan accordingly

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