Photo by Bradley Images
Did you know that nearly 18% of all engagements occur in December alone? Now is the time to start tuning up your online presence in preparation for these couples. During our October webinar, Education Guru Alan Berg shared his best tips for tuning up your Storefront to help you connect with more couples this engagement season.
Here are the top four ways that you can take action now and strengthen your Storefront:
Make sure you have an aspirational thumbnail image that stands out.
Even though it’s small, your thumbnail image is very important! That tiny picture could make or break a couple’s decision to click to your Storefront. When a couple sees that image, you want them to feel emotionally connected and think, “Wow, I want to be just like that couple!” This can be achieved by selecting a lovely lifestyle image of a happy couple at their wedding. Remember: It’s not about the flowers, the food, the music, or any other service you provide, it’s about making couples feel like they can achieve their dream wedding with you.
- Does your thumbnail image have a photo of a happy couple? If not, change it! We know this can be tricky for some categories, but be creative with it! If you’re a caterer, we know you don’t want to show a couple with a mouth full of food, but you do want to show a couple interacting with your food. If you’re a videographer, use a photo of you filming a couple with a beautiful scene in the background. The default choice should always be a happy couple, no matter your category.
- Test it on mobile. Couples are browsing through Storefronts on their phones, so take a moment to ensure that your thumbnail is compatible. Is it missing the detail you were trying to show? Did you turn the couple into headless horsemen? If so, fix it!
- Look at your competition’s thumbnail images in your category. Make sure that your image stands out and is the best reflection of your ideal client so that you will attract more of those engaged couples to click on your page.
Update your Storefront albums with lifestyle images.
Great work! Your beautiful thumbnail image has now led a couple to click on your Storefront. The first thing that they will do now is look at your photos. Remember that more is not better. Better is better! Your goal is to get them to contact you, so your job here is to guide them through the best examples of your work, with plenty of lifestyle images of happy couples that they can instantly relate to and be inspired by. Lite members can share 5 photos, while Premium members can upload up to 100 photos per album.
- Review your current albums to assess the feeling that they convey to couples. Do you have a balance of inspiring lifestyle photos mixed in with designed detail shots? Similar to thumbnail selection, make sure the photos you choose to place in your album will transport a couple to envisioning their own big day.
- Organize your albums into relevant categories (and consider doing some editing down). Think about the best ways to sort your photos. For example, if you are a caterer, you can create albums titled “Cocktail Hour,” “Dessert Tables,” “Plated Reception,” “Buffet Reception,” “Bar & Beverages,” etc. This will help couples navigate your photos and find images that reflect the wedding they envision. Make sure you have just enough photos to give a strong first impression of your work, but not so many that a couple gets lost and overwhelmed. Focus on quality over quantity; 50 photos in one album is probably too many.
Captivate couples using your reviews.
After your thumbnail image and your Storefront photos, the next thing a couple will look at is your reviews. The more reviews you have, the more engaged couples will be able to see the consistency of your work and the way past couples feel about you. The more recent your reviews, the more a couple will be able to see that your business is presently providing a great service. Couples care what you did last week or last month, not so much what you did over a year ago! While having a ton of reviews is great, it’s not the only thing couples are considering when they are looking at your reviews. Couples are also looking at the recency, your responses, and emotional keywords that can connect them to experiences you provided other couples.
- Update your highlighted review. Premium members can highlight a review; choose a review that is recent, short-to-medium in length and uses great emotional words at the beginning. Don’t pick the longest review you’ve ever received. Couples are likely to skim, so you want them to quickly get the gist when reading through. This doesn’t have to be your most recent review, but it should ideally be one from the same calendar year.
- Respond to all reviews and make sure your responses include personal details about that couple’s day. These responses should be written with future couples in mind and show that you are engaged with the couple from start to finish.
- Make sure you are always ASKING for reviews. To find out what you can be doing to get more reviews, see this post. And don’t forget, 5 new reviews in 2017 will make you eligible for the upcoming Couples’ Choice Awards!
Read all of the text on your Storefront out loud.
Take the time to read through your About section and FAQ (and all the text on your Storefront); as silly as it might feel, do it out loud! Does it include language you wouldn’t normally use when you are describing your business over the phone or in a meeting? Does it include old services that you no longer offer? Question every sentence to make sure that you are describing your business accurately and using language that connects directly with the couple reading it.
- Change any language that doesn’t sound like you are talking to a couple! You want to send a consistent message and sound relatable. Don’t forget that couples are often looking for a vendor that they can connect with, not just someone who provides a service. You are important to them, so they want to feel that connection with you.
- Add a call to action. The couple is on your Storefront after all, so you’ve already gotten them this far! Tell them what they should do next (contact you!). This provides a sense of direction and urgency. Let them know that you look forward to connecting with them about their big day.
Stay tuned for more engagement season tune-up tips over the coming weeks including website tips, client communication strategies, and more.
In the competitive wedding industry, everyone wants lots of high quality leads – but how you reply to each lead plays a pivotal role in determining if you will successfully book the client. These quick tips will help you optimize your lead replies so you’re more likely to receive a positive response and ultimately win the business!
Don’t forget to be personal
Clients know you’re busy, but responding to an email inquiry with an auto response may not have the positive impact you intended. About 25% of couples don’t like generic automated responses, as they can be perceived as impersonal and often provide little added value. Take an extra minute to include in your reply some details from their message, such as wedding date, style, or venue, or to add a personal comment. This effort makes a human connection and helps you stand out in their crowded inbox.
Keep it short and simple
Many couples check emails primarily on their mobile devices, and short emails are more likely to get a reply. Start with a brief subject line and get to the point quickly, since lengthy emails often go unread. Avoid long paragraphs by adding line breaks and use bullet points or numbers where possible to highlight important details. Come up with a few sample responses to keep on hand so you can quickly add in a bit of custom information based on the inquiry and hit ‘send.’
Answer any questions they asked
Many pros make the mistake of not responding to directly asked questions, which can frustrate couples because they’re often reaching out to a number of pros and may have specific questions or criteria they need to know to move forward. You can prepare ahead of time by coming up with a list of answers to common questions such as price range, packages, and availability – but be sure to address any specific questions they asked in your initial reply. These answers are important in determining if you are a good match – nd will ultimately save you time!
Use their preferred contact method
Our research shows that 48% of couples express frustration when a vendor does not reciprocate their preferred communication type. Get off on the right foot with potential clients by contacting them in the way they prefer!
Couples can give you their phone number and indicate their preferred contact method for your response. The couple’s preferred method will be shared with you in their message details saved on their client information card within your account. If they choose to provide a phone number, it will also appear within their client details for easy reference.
Check out the change on your Storefront now >>
Check out the latest updates to your WeddingWire account this November!
New Storefront Edit Mode
We are excited to share that your account editing options have been improved to better build out your business’ Storefront. Updates include a streamlined design that gives you the ability to update your listing from all devices – mobile to desktop to tablet!
Plus, thanks to feedback from Pros like you, we have added additional popular social networks you can now add to your Storefront, including Instagram, Vimeo and YouTube. Plus, we updated the About Us formatting so you can more easily customize your profile, and preview your Storefront on WeddingWire, EventWire and GayWeddings.com, based on the site’s you are listed on.
Take a look» Continue reading
Introducing WeddingWire Editors’ Picks – a new program recognizing ceremony and reception venues across the U.S. and abroad!
The WeddingWire editorial team spends a great deal of time looking for the brightest stars in the wedding community, so we launched our Editors’ Picks program to highlight some of our favorite wedding venues across the country.
The first set of winners fall into our first two categories: Colleges and Universities and Farms and Barns. We will showcase two categories per month and update categories once a year. Categories are chosen based on the time of year (seasonality and popularity of that particular style in a season) and the interest of our users in order to maximize engagement. Up to 20 venues are selected to feature per category, per year.
Want to be an Editors’ Pick? While there’s no way to apply for our Editors’ Picks program, our editorial team regularly reviews Storefronts on WeddingWire and look for the following:
- Updated Photos of Your Venue: Ensure you have high-quality, professional photos of your venue from the past year. Photos should highlight what sets your venue apart, features, different wedding styles, etc.
- Accurate and Updated Venue Information in Your Profile: What makes your venue unique? Explain specific features and services you offer that set your venue apart.
Our Editors’ Picks program is not related to or impacted by our premium advertising options. We encourage you to keep your Storefront photos up to date to catch the attention of our Editors; your business could be picked for one of our upcoming categories!
Find out more about this program and check out the first round of winners on the WeddingWire Editors’ Picks website.
As we move into the spring season, Pros across the country are preparing for a busy wedding season full of events. While you may have already booked most of your weddings through the fall, couples are still seeing your business as they continue to search for their wedding professionals. It’s essential that your brand presence remain strong while you’re otherwise occupied!
Below we break out the individual areas that affect your brand presence online, with tips for updating each area in preparation for the wedding season.
Brand: Add professional photos
It’s important to take time several throughout the year to update your Storefront with recent photos and information. Before you reach for that cell phone camera, though, consider getting some more high-quality images! Featuring high-resolution, professional photos that showcase your business is an important way to make your Storefront and website more appealing to visitors. We recently redesigned the look and feel of your Storefront to bring more attention to photos of your work, and we’ve seen that visitors who click the new Storefront photo carousel view an average of 22 photos per session. The more visitors to your Storefront who check out your photos, the more time they’re spending on your Storefront considering your business. Make the decision easy by giving them plenty of great photos to choose from!
Public Relations: Submit a real wedding
One of the most crucial aspects of developing strong wedding PR for your business is getting published. Whether you’re a DJ, florist, venue, caterer, wedding planner or any other wedding professional, getting published will expose your business to an even wider audience. If you’re taking our advice and adding more professional photos, your Storefront will look more attractive to our Editorial Team, who spend a lot of time browsing WeddingWire Storefronts to look for Wedding Pros to interview and feature. We also created RealWeds.com to streamline the process of submitting real wedding photos to WeddingWire and our sister site, Project Wedding. Whether you submit your own photos or your business is selected by our Editorial Team, being published on WeddingWire will help your business reach even more engaged couples.
We’ve updated the look and feel of the WeddingWire Storefront with a new streamlined design, built with your business in mind!
The new modern, professional look will help your business photos and information stand out. Our goal is to continue to improve and optimize the Storefront to connect wedding professionals and engaged couples and deliver the best experience possible.
Here are a few of the major changes you’ll notice today:
- New photo carousel highlighting the first fourteen photos on your account
- Simplified About Us section that is optimized for desktop and mobile visitors
- Additional ‘Email Vendor’ link to bring you more leads through your Storefront
These updates are based on a test of the new Storefront layout we’ve been displaying to a subset of WeddingWire traffic for several months. In this test we saw a significant overall increase in total leads submitted, so we feel confident that this new layout will help your business put your best foot forward!
In order to see the updated version of your Storefront, click the “Preview” button at the top of the page when you’re in Edit mode. We’ll keep you informed as we continue to update features within our site! As always, we welcome your feedback in the comments below or via this form.
Creating a brand in the wedding industry can be difficult – there’s a lot to consider! Your business needs a logo, consistent messaging, pricing details and more just to create a Storefront or website. Though it’s very easy to purchase stock photos to help boost the imagery on your website, it’s a best practice to feature photos of your own work to show off your expertise!
Before you reach for that cell phone camera, though, consider getting some high-quality images. Featuring high-resolution, professional photos that showcase your business is an important way to make your Storefront and website more appealing to visitors. According to Air BnB’s own research, listings with professional photos are booked 2.5 times more frequently than those without.
Not only are photos important for couples searching for their Pros, they’re also important for real wedding submissions. Any type of wedding professional can be featured in WeddingWire publications or on Project Wedding, but we do require at least 75 high-quality images for each submission. Our Editorial team will also seek out Pros on WeddingWire whenever they need to provide examples for our consumer audience, and having a lot of professional photos on your Storefront will help your wedding business stand out.
Unless you are a photographer, we know that high-resolution photos are hard to come by for many wedding and events professionals. Here are a few steps you can take now to start collecting more professional photos of your work:
- Make it a point to meet the photographer at each wedding or event you do. Whether you meet with the photographer beforehand or at the event, be sure to chat and exchange business cards. This will open the door to requesting photos from the event that you can use to promote your own business.
- Keep track of the photographers you work with over time. This will make it easier to reach out after the event for photos, plus it’ll help you build relationships in your local market. You might find that you work with some photographers more than others, which can be a great opportunity for referrals.
Florists, Videographers, Bands, DJs, Wedding Planners, Ceremony Musicians/Bands, Officiants, Beauty & Health professionals or Lighting & Decor businesses may notice new pricing-related questions within the FAQ section of your WeddingWire account.
The answers to these basic pricing questions will display on your Storefront and provide important information to engaged couples evaluating your business. Many wedding professionals already provide general pricing information on their business website to set better expectations with consumers, ultimately allowing them to pre-qualify their inquiries and focus on prospective clients who are serious about booking their business.
As you add your pricing information, be sure to check out Alan Berg’s tips for handling pricing questions with potential clients, including:
- Shift the conversation to focus on your service quality. Couples who ask about price don’t necessarily think price is more important than quality. They’re buying something they’ve never bought before, so use pricing questions as a starting point for a deeper conversation.
- Make it clear that you’re on their side. Explain that you don’t want them to pay any more than they have to in order to get everything they want. Sharing general pricing information ahead of time means that couples will have a better expectation of your cost and will be more ready to start discussing how they can customize their plan.
If you’re a Ceremony and Reception Venue, Rehearsal Dinner Venue, Caterer or Photographer you may have noticed new pricing-related questions within the FAQ section of your WeddingWire account.
The answers to these basic pricing questions will display on your Storefront and provide important information to engaged couples evaluating your business. We’ve implemented this addition after our researched showed that 88% of WeddingWire couples want to see pricing information before they reach out to a vendor. After months of collecting feedback from industry professionals and vendors across all service categories, we are excited to start sharing this important information on WeddingWire.
Many wedding professionals already provide general pricing information on their business website to set better expectations with consumers, ultimately allowing them pre-qualify their inquiries and focus on prospective clients who are serious about booking their vendors.
Pricing questions are customized for each service category and currently apply only to venues, rehearsal dinner venues, caterers and photographers; however, we will gradually introduce custom FAQ and pricing updates for all categories over the coming months.
Be sure to check out Alan Berg’s tips for handling pricing questions with potential clients, including:
- Tell the client why you charge what you charge, not just what you charge. We offer you the ability to upload a PDF in addition to answering generally pricing questions. This will help your business better qualify what you offer and share different packages available.
- Leverage online reviews to let past clients do the selling for you. We already took care of this one for you! Since the information will show on your Storefront where couples are also able to easily view your past client reviews.
The last few months have been very busy for our team as we prepared for this weekend’s latest release with brand new updates to your WeddingWire account. Below are some of the biggest changes you’ll notice when you login!
Access your account on any device
To make running your business even easier (and accessible from anywhere you go), we’re working to make the WeddingWire platform fully responsive! You can now use any device to access your Dashboard, Clients, Reviews, Education and Settings tabs.
Try it out now >>
Reviews keep getting even better
The new Manage Reviews section allows you to easily view, respond, and dispute your reviews within the Reviews tab. In addition, engaged couples now have the ability to submit a review before their wedding date for all categories as long as they have a signed contract. Get new reviews early while they are most likely to rave about your business!
Request new reviews >>
New Clients improvements
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!
Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more.
The Editorial Team’s role here at WeddingWire is to create content (like our SummerBook!) to entice and inspire couples, and as wedding professionals, your WeddingWire Storefront should do the same. Think of your Storefront as a magazine with you as the editor-in-chief, where you choose the the right photos and information to share. We spend a lot of time browsing WeddingWire Storefronts to look for Wedding Pros to interview and feature in our content (including our seasonal e-magazines!), and we came up with these tips to make your Storefront even more appealing.
Only Professional Photos
You’re more likely to catch an engaged couple’s eye with clear, professional photos. We do not recommend including blurry photos taken with mobile devices on your Storefront. Even the most beautiful wedding element will look unattractive and unappealing with an unclear photo or an image that is cluttered with effects. Make sure to network and maintain good relationships with wedding photographers to obtain these images.
Yes, we love to see beautiful photos of couples as much as the next person, but if you’re a beauty Pro, we want to see the back of the intricate hairdo you did, or a close-up of the bride’s make-up. Make sure that all of your Storefront photos relate to your services.
Categorize Your Photos into Albums
If you offer multiple services (lighting, rentals, flowers) create separate photo albums that highlight each of those services, so if a couple/editor is using you for just one or two of them, they can get a sense of that service as it stands on its own!
The More, The Merrier
Let engaged couples get lost in all of your beautiful work! We say the more images you include, the better. Be sure to provide a variety of examples of different types of weddings in your albums to ensure that a couple can find images that match their style.