» 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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» Is Video Content Important?

Is Video Content Important?As a member of the WeddingWire Customer Success team, I’m frequently asked whether or not video content is important. Do you really need photos and videos on your Storefront? Does anyone actually watch videos?

The short answer – Yes! In fact, the second largest search engine behind Google is YouTube. Video content is not only an important aspect of your online marketing, but it also plays an important role in search engine optimization (SEO) and can impact your search rankings.

Below are a few ways to integrate videos into your WeddingWire Storefront and other online marketing platforms:

1. Build a commercial with the Video Builder

Did you know that you have access to a tool that creates professional videos in your premium WeddingWire account? The Video Builder allows premium Pros to build video slideshows out of photos uploaded to your Storefront.

Pro Tip: Use the Video Builder tool to create a teaser video for your clients. Because you own the rights to any videos you make with this tool, you can email your videos to your clients or share on social media!

2. Embed professional videos from YouTube or Vimeo

If you already have videos on YouTube or Vimeo, consider embedding them on your WeddingWire Storefront. Potential clients will be able to view your videos right from your Storefront, and learn more about your business and the services you provide.

Pro Tip: You don’t need to embed all of your videos from your YouTube or Vimeo account. Instead, select one to three videos that best show off your business’ products or services to feature on your Storefront. Keep in mind you can swap these out for newer videos at any time!

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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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» 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.

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» Top 10 WeddingWire Resolutions

Top 10 WeddingWire ResolutionsIt’s 2014 – whether you’re ready or not! We know you’re probably dreaming up your personal New Year’s resolutions, but have you considered your business’ New Year’s resolutions? What do you wish to accomplish or do differently as a business this year?

Premium WeddingWire members may find that many of their business’ New Year’s resolutions can be accomplished from within their WeddingWire accounts. If you’re ready to make your business more effective and efficient in 2014, try our top 10 WeddingWire resolutions!

Update your Storefront.

It may seem simple, but a few updates to your WeddingWire Storefront can make a huge difference to new and potential clients. Update your messaging to include any new products or services, and try to upload some new photos to show potential clients that you always have new, fresh experiences to share.

Configure your Mobile Site.

Mobile usage grew significantly in 2013, and it will only continue to take over in the New Year. Our Mobile Site Creator allows you to mobilize your own business website in seconds! Customers on-the-go will see your photos, reviews, and info so they can contact you with the tap of a finger.

Join a conversation in the Pro Forums.

Grow your professional network and industry knowledge by becoming a regular in the Pro Forums! Thousands of Pros nationwide are there to offer expert advice, personal experiences and professional opinions to other Wedding Pros. Try jumping into a conversation that interests you and see what you can learn!

Stay up to date on Education.

Since you’re already reading this blog post, you’re off to a good start! You always have access to our Education Center, but you can deepen your relationship with WeddingWireEDU in 2014 by liking us on Facebook, adding us to your Google+ circles, and following us on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You’ll never miss a post or event!

Optimize your Storefront for Search.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has only grown in the past few years, which means it will continue to be important in the New Year! Improve your SEO rankings for your Storefront and your own website across Google, Yahoo and Bing by creating a custom url, receiving direct inbound links and adding custom SEO content all from within your account.

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» Increase Your Storefront Traffic for the Holidays

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

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

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

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

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

» Small Business Marketing: Are You Holding Yourself Back?

With the world becoming increasingly digital, there’s a website for almost any imaginable idea, event, company or person. In addition to a website, many entities expand their reach by setting up social networking profiles, mobile websites, and profiles on other industry websites and communities.

So how can it be that so many small business owners have not adopted modern technology to assist in their marketing efforts? According to a recent survey by Yodle, more than half (52%) of SMB owners do not have a website, or even measure the results of their marketing programs. Even worse, only 1 in 10 small businesses have figured out how to use social media or online advertising.

Small Business Marketing: Are You Holding Yourself Back?In this day and age, you cannot afford to hold yourself back by not having an online presence. Think about it from an engaged couple’s perspective: are you willing to hire a company who doesn’t have a website or has one of poor quality that is hard to navigate? How can you trust this service’s work without being able to do online research? If the company can’t afford a website, how can they be successful?

At WeddingWire, we’re constantly improving our services to be a true technology partner for small businesses. Wedding and event professionals like you should be able to focus on what you love to do, and we make that easy through our industry-focused business management and marketing tools. We make it simple and quick to build a strong online reputation with reviews, create a mobile site, set up and manage social media in one place, and more. WeddingWire’s suite of online tools, available to our premium members, help you easily manage your business and get back to doing what you love!

If your business is missing a website or other key online elements, here’s how WeddingWire can help:

1.  Create a Storefront. Your WeddingWire Storefront is a customizable area for you to describe your business services to prospective clients. Here you can upload photos, collect reviews, display your services and a include variety of other important aspects of your business! Your Storefront will be seen by engaged couples searching for wedding and event vendors in your chosen category and region. Continue reading

» The “Real Deal” Behind Deals

Wedding season is almost here and clients are looking for great deals, so here are a few Pro tips and suggestions if you consider creating deal for your WeddingWire Storefront!

       Deals are created in your business Storefront by selecting the Deals tab. When adding a deal, make your deal title is something that’s going to catch the attention of engaged couples. Try using the words “free”, “savings” or “percent off.” These phases can jump out to a client looking for a good deal, encouraging them to act and contact you for more information. Another tip: always make sure you are following all Community Guidelines when creating your title.

·         When considering how interested parties can redeem your deal remember to think of what is easiest for your clients. Consider how many potential clients may be reviewing your listing on their mobile devices or who may not have easy access to a printer. Printing a coupon can be difficult; consider using a personalized promo code such as WeddingWire2013 or WWPromo. This way they can act fast and send the code in their email to you, or mention it on the phone, and you will easily know they found your deal on WeddingWire!

·         Additionally, all deals must have an original value. For example if you are doing a percentage off a specific package, be sure to include what the base price of the package would be. For example, if you are offering 20% off a photoshoot, be sure to include your standard rate before any discount is applied. This helps to showcase the great deal that the potential client is taking advantage of!

In your deal description, be sure to provide all the details your client should know, and what they may ask Tell them exactly what you are offering, any restrictions, and again how to redeem it. Additionally, it is helpful to add an image (especially if your deal is a tangible item). Finally, expiration dates and deal limits are great because they drive urgency and will encourage the couple to take action to get the deal before it expires!

Need some deal ideas? Here are some examples that Pros like you are using:

Venues:

  •         Discount on facility when mentioning they were found on WeddingWire
  •         Time of the year or day of the week wedding package discount

Beauty and Health:

  •         Free or discounted service to try your product out before their big day
  •         Group special for large bridal parties

Catering:

  •         Buffet upgrade
  •         Select percentage off with a certain number of guests

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» Choose a Stand-Out Main Image

What is the first thing that couples notice when reviewing the WeddingWire vendor catalog? Your business’ main image! It is extremely important that this image is clear, professional, and attention-grabbing. The main images that get clicked the most by engaged couples are real photos that are fun and joyful. Aspirational images that show a couple or a party celebrating are very engaging to potential clients – and can be applicable across categories. Couples like to see an image of what they envision for their big day and evoke feelings of love, celebration and happiness!

If you have a logo that you love, we encourage you to include it in your About Us section of your Storefront instead of showcasing it as your main image. Besides the fact that potential clients prefer real photos, there can also be sizing and formatting issues when you attempt to use a logo as your main image. With certain logo design dimensions, sometimes they will get cut off or distorted because of the size of the thumbnail in the catalog. Additionally, since the main image is a thumbnail, it is challenging to read text in a small window, which isn’t a positive experience for engaged couples reviewing their options for Wedding Pros in your category.

Once you select your main image, be sure to view your listing in the vendor catalog. That way, you will be able to view your image from the perspective of a potential client, and determine if you love your selected image or whether a different photo might be a better choice. Switching your image every few months is a fun way to keep your catalog updated, and you can select an image you love by season, and test out different images to see what generates the most leads to your business. Have fun with your Storefront!

» Effective Ways to Get More Inquiries

All businesses want inquiries. Every Wedding Pro wants potential clients actively reaching out and requesting information about their services for their upcoming wedding or event. Simply creating a listing about your business doesn’t guarantee you business. It’s important that you develop, manage, and maintain your listing over time to maximize your business exposure and that you are showcasing your work to engage with interested parties.

Here at WeddingWire, we often use a billboard analogy. If you buy a billboard on the highway and don’t put anything on it, that billboard is not going to bring about much business for you. You need to make sure that you have eye-catching content and information that pushes couples to contact you.

Customer Success Managers and Account Managers are often asked by Pros, “How can I get more inquiries?” While there is no finite formula to get couples clicking and calling to encompass all Wedding and Event Pros, we do have some effective tips and best practices to drive interest and therefore, inquiries!

In addition to considering premium placement, which lists your business before basic listings and highlights your account, having a ton of great reviews will help to bring potential clients to you Storefront.

If you believe that you could be getting more inquiries from couples calling and emailing you saying they found you on WeddingWire, it could be time for a Storefront face lift.

Here are some top tips for changing the appearance of your Storefront:

Swap out your Main Image. Even though your Main Image could be your favorite picture, it might not be helping to drive couples to your Storefront. Remember: couples looking at WeddingWire and our partner sites tend to respond to “aspirational” images. Your Main Image should showcase a couple or wedding party celebrating or using your product. Make sure that your pictures are bright, clear and colorful! Double check your Main Image in the vendor catalog after you choose it. You don’t want any important parts cut off or zoomed-in too far.

Change your Tagline. Your Tagline appears along with your company name, Main Image and number of reviews in the vendor catalog. If you’re not getting the clicks that you want, change it up! Instead of saying “Since 1942” for your Tagline, try “Hosting Gorgeous Weddings for Decades…” Instead of “Photojournalistic and Editorial Photography” try “The Beauty of Your Big Day Captured for a Lifetime”.

Edit your About Us section. Is your About Us section too long? Does it take several “scrolls” to get to where your Photos section is? Shorten it! Do you have only one sentence in this section? Add more content! Your About Us section should be a teaser that not only provides information about your company, but also pushes couples through to your website and to other sections of your Storefront. Make sure that there aren’t any typos or spelling errors and that the format looks clean.

Pick new pictures. For premium members on WeddingWire, there are an unlimited number of albums and pictures that you can add to your Photos section. Upload a new album (or two) with 15-25 professional pictures and change the order of your albums. This way, you’re adding content for couples to click through. By swapping your old albums for your new ones, you’re changing the look of your listing.

Add a video. Videos not only help to boost the SEO for your listing, but they also keep potential clients on your page for longer. Make new videos using the Video Builder, or embed videos from this past wedding season.

Highlight a recent review. A lot of the time, upgraded Wedding Pros will highlight a review on their Storefront and never bother to choose a new one. It’s important that the review you have highlighted is not only flattering to your company, but it also should be from a wedding within the past calendar year to show you consistently get great reviews, and have recent experience.

Most importantly: keep getting great reviews! Try using our Request Reviews Tool. You can also use our Reviews Widget and you can send out your Personalized Review URL to your past clients. All couples will want an idea of what to expect from your business. Make sure that you have a lot of examples!

» 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!

» New Customization for your Storefront

Is your business listed on EventWire and GayWeddings.com? We have launched exciting new updates for these sites, allowing for further online exposure and customization for your business on the services you offer.

Check out the new EventWire updates for paying members:

Customize your main image for the EventWire network! Either upload a new image from your computer, or select your favorite image from your photo gallery to best represent your business.

Provide your business overview in the “About Us” section! Provide a description of your business and event services specifically for EventWire to highlight your expertise in the event space.

Set unique images for the EventWire microsites! Create unique, tailored images for each of EventWire’s microsites that you would like to be listed on—BirthdayWire, BabyShowerWire, MitzvahWire and PromWire. Simply create photo albums on the microsite of your choice, and the first photo from your album will be showcased at your main image on each specific site.

For step by step details on editing your main images, the About Us section and creating albums, click here.

Also, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to show off your best work but submitting photos of your real events to Eventwire, and you could be featured on BirthdayWire, BabyShowerWire, MitzvahWire and PromWire!

Customize Your Business on GayWeddings.com:

Take advantage of being found by thousands of same-sex couples through listing your business on WeddingWire’s network partner site, GayWeddings.com. Now, within your WeddingWire account you are able to update your profile image to create a same-sex inclusive main image specifically for the GayWeddings.com directory. So, if you have an image which features a same-sex couple or an image inclusive of all couples, you can now set it as your main profile image for your listing on GayWeddings.com within your account!

Interested in being listed on GayWeddings.com? Learn how to update your setting today.

For more information on how to tailor your message to be inclusive of same-sex couples, read the latest Pro Blog post by Kathryn Hamm, President of GayWeddings.com.