» WedInsights: Why Couples Prefer Online Payments

WedInsights

WedInsights: Why Couples Prefer Online PaymentsSmall and large businesses alike have an increasing number of options to collect digital payments from customers. Now that credit cards and online payments are more commonly being used in the wedding industry, it’s important for professionals to accept most forms of payment – especially the forms that are most convenient for your clients!*

Mobile payments are only expected to grow in prevalence – transforming the way consumers pay both online and offline in the coming years. Stay ahead of the trend and ensure you are collecting payment the fastest, and easiest, way for your clients! The stats below from Volume 9 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series shed light on why couples prefer online payments.

More than 50% of couples prefer to pay their wedding vendors using an online payment method

Although 85% of couples pay for their products or services by personal check, writing a check has become a thing of the past in the minds of today’s couples. Just like you need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your field, it’s important to do the same with your business practices so you aren’t perceived as outdated!

Online payments typically take less than one day to submit payment

Submitting a payment online is not only convenient for the client, but it also helps you get paid faster. Couples on average take less than one day to submit an online payment, whereas those required to mail in or drop off a check take 3 – 4 times longer. Why wait?

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» The Latest Ways WeddingWire Helps Couples

We detail how WeddingWire helps couples plan their weddingAs seasoned wedding professionals know, couples who are new to the wedding planning process are often overwhelmed with the amount of coordination and careful preparation required to pull off the big day. Scattered across Pinterest are tons of wedding ideas, but it can be hard to manage it all without one place that brings it all together. That’s where WeddingWire comes in!

In addition to our wedding websites, budget and checklist tools, below are some of the latest ways we help couples with the wedding planning process:

Newly Engaged Guide

After the proposal and celebration with friends and family, many couples experience the “Now what?” moment. Our newly engaged guide offers advice and information about the first five steps of the wedding planning process. The guide helps couples announce their engagement, choose a desired wedding date, set a budget, build a guest list, and find their venue. This engagement guide is just one of the ways we attract new couples to our site every day! These couples will use our leading technology to continue planning their dream wedding vision and find the perfect professionals to execute it.

Bach Party and Wedding Hashtag Generators

Our new hashtag generators are sure to make a splash with your clients! Coming up with clever bachelor/bachelorette and wedding hashtags is a problem for today’s social-savvy brides and grooms, so we made a fun and easy tool that helps to get the creative juices flowing. Couples just need to fill out a quick form with some basic facts about the wedding day and—voila—a stream of customized hashtag options are generated! Share with your clients to help them get excited about all the wedding events.

Digital Inspiration Magazines

Our editorial team is constantly on the hunt for the latest and greatest styles, fashion, and ideas. That’s why we release a new online magazine each season! Our free wedding magazines offer gorgeous inspiration for all types of wedding styles and tastes, and each new issue provides seasonally-appropriate ideas to spur creativity in your clients. Plus, since our magazines are exclusively online, they’re completely interactive and clickable. Businesses featured in our articles and real weddings can receive direct click-throughs to their Storefronts – a huge benefit that print magazines just can’t match.

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» Top Wedding Planning Tools for Your Clients

Top Wedding Planning Tools for Your ClientsAs the wedding professionals in the WeddingWire community know, we’re committed to providing the top tools to help Pros build, manage and grow their businesses. What many wedding professionals may not know, however, is that WeddingWire is also a valuable resource for brides and grooms! We not only help them find their perfect professionals, we also provide tools to help them plan each important detail related to their wedding.

The more educated and organized couples are before they make an appointment with your wedding business, the better understanding they’ll have of the value of your service and all the ways you can help them plan and execute their wedding vision. Find out more about the wedding planning tools we offer for engaged couples below!

Wedding Websites

Creating a wedding website is a great way for couples to put all the pertinent information regarding the Big Day in one place for all their friends and family to see. Your wedding clients can personalize their WeddingWire wedding website easily with our sleek new website editor that even allows couples to use their own photo as a custom backdrop for the design. Couples can create their own custom web address and interact with guests before, during and after the wedding with a social guestbook. Plus, our wedding websites are mobile and tablet friendly, with a stacked design that displays perfectly no matter what device your clients prefer.

Wedding Budget

One of the most important aspects of wedding planning – not to mention one of the first tasks necessary to start booking wedding professionals – is to set the budget. The WeddingWire budget tool helps your clients track spending across all service categories by suggesting budget allocations for each part of the wedding. Couples can then add or remove line items depending on their specific needs, as well as redistribute funds based on which areas are most important to them. Your clients can also set up payment schedules by recording due dates and creating payment reminders to make sure nothing falls through the cracks! A good understanding of their budget will help couples understand the true value of the different service categories, which means they’ll be better prepared for your appointments.

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» Latest Updates to WeddingWire Analytics Beta

WeddingWire is excited to introduce new updates to our Analytics beta tool!

Since launching last April, we’ve been collecting feedback and improvement requests, and we’re thrilled to add some exciting new features as we continue to work on future updates to the tool.

Check out the newest features added to Analytics beta:

  • Reviews Analytics: Cumulative monthly reviews written about your business. Compare your reviews to the median number collected by all Pros and premium Pros in your region and category.
  • Table View: Cumulative monthly data in table form for easy comparison and analysis.
  • Export All: Download your Traffic and Reviews Analytics for all your listed regions and categories.

As of today, these Analytics beta updates are now available within the Advertising tab of your WeddingWire account. You can read more about WeddingWire Analytics in the Education Center of your account. We’ve also updated our Knowledge Base with tips for understanding your new insights!

These updates were based on feedback from our community of Pros! If you have more feedback about future Analytics enhancements, please provide us with your feedback here and how you’d like to see it grow in the future.

WeddingWire Traffic Analytics, along with guaranteed directory placement, is only available to Premium WeddingWire members. Learn more about upgrading at vendors.weddingwire.com or get started by contacting us at sales@weddingwire.com.

» 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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» Introducing the WeddingWire Education Guide

WeddingWire believes in the power of education to keep your business ahead of the competition so you can gain new clients. We’re excited to announce that the 2014-2015 WeddingWire Education Guide is here, full of tips and strategies for growing and improving your weddings and events business!

The WeddingWire Education Guide provides lots of great content to answer your most pressing business questions from how to get more reviews and marketing strategies that work to the top client advice, networking suggestions and much more.

Check it out today!

Education Guide

» 3 Advantages of Having a Mobile Presence

3 Advantages of Having a Mobile PresenceSpend time walking around a public place and you’ll see the majority of people using mobile devices in one way or another. Whether texting, surfing the web or playing a game, people are on their smartphones and tablets at an ever-increasing rate. As a wedding and events professional, you may find it hard to understand how you can take advantage of this trend – but you can (and should).

While the core of your business is the same – you’re still selling the same product or service – mobile customers expect a different experience when searching for their perfect Pros. Your business’ information needs to be easily found, read and digested so those searching during a free moment can learn all they can quickly and efficiently!

Don’t just take our word for it – below are three advantages of having a mobile presence for your wedding business:

Conduct business anywhere, at any time

When potential customers can interact with your business on mobile, it makes it easier for them to keep your business in their consideration set. If a potential customer cannot find or access your business’ key information from her phone, she might cross your business off her list and keep moving forward with a competitor. WeddingWire’s mobile site allows potential customers to find your Storefront and inquire about your business on-the-go, meaning that you’re never out of touch. Our Mobile Website Creator also makes it easy for your business to optimize your website for mobile in a few easy steps, without having to consult a website developer.

Improve customer service quality and responsiveness

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» Internet Explorer Security Alert

The following alert concerns any of our Pros using Internet Explorer as their browser of choice.

Microsoft has admitted to a major vulnerability in the Internet Explorer browser over the weekend. This vulnerability allows users who visit a page with using IE (versions 9 through 11) to be open to hackers who aim to set up malicious sites in order to gain complete access to visitors’ PC.

We know that a lot of our Pros access their WeddingWire accounts using IE, so we highly encourage you to take the following actions in order to protect yourself from this vulnerability:

  1. Refrain from using any version of Internet Explorer until the vulnerability is repaired.
  2. Use Firefox or Chrome for your office needs (and personal use at home as well) and ensure that the browser is running the most recent version as well.

There is always some risk in using the Internet and no browser is completely safe, but taking the steps above will help your business protect itself from hackers who are looking to access your personal information. You can use the links below to download the alternative browser of your choice:

Download Firefox >

Download Chrome >

For more information on the security notes regarding this vulnerability, please see the list of additional resources below.

» Heartbleed Update: What You Need to Know

You may have heard of a recently discovered security issue – called Heartbleed – that has impacted many sites on the internet this week, including the Client Site functionality in your WeddingWire account. Heartbleed affected OpenSSL, a type of technology websites use to keep information secure as it travels through the web. Here’s what WeddingWire Pros need to know about Heartbleed and how it affected your account.

What is the Client Site?

The Client Site provides easy access to contracts, questionnaires and invoices, all in one password-protected, secure location, accessible via desktop & mobile devices.

Who was affected?

  • Premium Pros who used the Client Site before the vulnerability was fixed.
  • Client(s) of those Premium Pros who used the Client Site before this vulnerability was fixed.

While this vulnerability affected the Client Site (as well as many of the sites on the Web), we have no indication that anyone exploited this vulnerability and we patched it as soon as we learned about it.

What did WeddingWire do to address the vulnerability?

We took immediate action to fix the vulnerability in our infrastructure. And although we have not found any evidence of malicious behavior we’re encouraging you to take the following actions to ensure your client data is safe.

What action should I take?

Since each of your clients gets their own password protected ‘Client Site,’ we advise you to update the password for each of your clients by taking the following steps:

  1. Log in to WeddingWire
  2. Go to the Clients section
  3. Click into the client’s name
  4. Then click the ‘Change’ link, located next to the client site password

*Make sure to include a password hint for your client to easily access their client site*

WeddingWire takes information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to protect your personal information. Please contact our Support Team at support@weddingwire.com should you have any additional questions.

» The Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to Inquiries

As the wedding industry continues to evolve and become even more reliant on the internet, the ways in which couples reach out to prospective Wedding Pros is changing as well. Now, more than ever, couples are doing their due diligence by researching Pros and reaching out to multiple options at once – all online!

Sometimes it may be difficult to get back in touch after a prospective client submits an inquiry, which may make it feel as though your inquiries are not converting into bookings. Follow these do’s and don’ts of responding to inquiries to make sure you’re turning all your leads into bookings!

Do:

The Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to InquiriesReturn all contact in a timely fashion. Because most couples are reaching out to multiple Pros at once, you want to be sure to get back in touch quickly. Whether it’s by email or by phone, set time aside during your day to get caught up.

If you’re using Inquiry Questionnaires, keep them short! Remember that too many questions can scare off potential clients by being too long to read or answer. If the couple is indeed reaching out to multiple Pros, they likely don’t want to spend the time to read through a lengthy questionnaire.

  • Pro Tip: Stick to the basics with questions like: “What is the best way to reach you?” or “What is your event date?”

Be sure to answer any questions asked in the initial inquiry. Many initial leads will reference price – keep in mind that just because a potential client asks about your pricing does not mean they are price shopping. Most of your clients have never been married before and simply may not be educated about the pricing for your services!

  • Pro Tip: If giving pricing is specific to each client – still give them a starting price, or an average.

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» Create a Free WeddingWire Lite Account!

Create a Free WeddingWire Lite Account!If you’re in the weddings and events business, you know how hard it can be reach local engaged couples searching for a wedding professional like you. For engaged couples, WeddingWire offers a suite of cutting-edge wedding planning tools and the ability to search and locate over 200,000 local Wedding Pros, all at no charge. Every month, couples perform an average of 8 million vendor searches across the WeddingWire Network and we want to help your business get found!

With that huge audience, we provide more opportunities for your business to book more weddings. While we offer several levels of premium membership, creating a WeddingWire Lite account is free and just takes a few minutes to customize your own business Storefront to showcase your photos, contact info, reviews and more!

Ready to get started? Follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Visit our Sign Up page
  2. Select your business category and region
  3. Fill in your listing’s details including business name, phone number and email address
  4. Submit your account for approval and start customizing your Storefront by requesting reviews, adding business details and photos

Not sure if you are ready to create an account? Below are a few of the great benefits your business will receive by signing up for WeddingWire!

Create a custom Storefront

Showcase your business with a WeddingWire Storefront, an online profile you can customize to include any and all information about your business you think engaged couples would like to see – from the basic About Us section to Frequently Asked Questions to Photos to showcase your best work. And, because your Storefront has a custom URL, your business will be more SEO-friendly! Not only will couples be able to find you on the leading wedding network, they’ll also be able to find your business more easily through search engines.

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» Update your Website with WeddingWire Widgets!

Update Your Website with WeddingWire Widgets!It’s always important to make sure your website represents your business, but it’s especially important at this time of year! With spring and summer quickly approaching, your business is likely to be extremely busy with all sorts of weddings and events. While you’re spending all that time making sure your couples are happy, you may lose sight of your business’ WeddingWire Storefront and website. Even though it may not be your highest priority, your business’ website should be updated often to make sure it’s both aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly.

We’ve created a gallery of Website Widgets to easily display important and relevant information on your Storefront or website. Below are three ways your business can incorporate WeddingWire Widgets into your website!

Use the Reviews Widget on your testimonial page

Do you currently have a testimonial page on your website? You can make it easier to display your client reviews by using our Reviews Widget! It will automatically display your three most recent WeddingWire reviews on your website, meaning that you don’t have to spend time copying and pasting reviews to move them over to your website. To view the rest of your reviews, users can click to view the rest of your reviews on your Storefront. You can use the Reviews Widget as the sole content for your testimonial page, or in addition to any other content or testimonials you’d like to display. It’s a great way to keep your website fresh and up-to-date without spending a lot of time each week or month.

Streamline your inquiries by using the Contact Us Widget

Do you feel like there are multiple outlets that prospective clients use to submit a lead Even if you’re already using inquiry questionnaires and automated email templates to make managing inquiries easier, it’s not hard to get these multiple outlets confused, or worse – to forget about one! By using the Contact Us Widget on your website, all inbound inquiries will automatically be added into the Inquiries tab of your account. You’ll be able to see all inquiries from both your website and Storefront in one place, making it even easier to keep track of all your clients.

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