Yesterday, we held this month’s educational webinar, Build Your Reputation Through Relationships & Referrals, hosted by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. In this session, Andy explained an important, yet highly underrated part of a successful marketing strategy, which he calls “reputation marketing.”
Andy provided several tips for developing relationships within the industry and expanding your inventory of reviews and endorsements. By following his advice, you can build a reliable reputation, grow your business, and book more clients!
Here are a few ways to build a positive reputation within the wedding industry:
- Track particular keywords or phrases about your business on Google Alerts to know what people are saying about your business and/or about your competitors. These updates are delivered straight to your inbox.
- Create a blog where you can promote your own business, as well as those of your peers, whose professionalism you can trust and recommend. WordPress is a great platform to get started!
- Collect more reviews from past clients and and peer endorsements from other vendors on WeddingWire. This will help to further develop your strong online reputation, and let potential clients know you are reliable!
- Get involved in your community by attending events, joining associations, or accepting leadership roles in your favorite industry group. Not only can you become a figure of authority in your local community, but you can also demonstrate important skills that people will associate with you as a business owner.
- Make an effort to learn all aspects of the wedding industry by grabbing a casual lunch or coffee with a peer and get to know the challenges they face on a daily basis, or share business tips. If you better understand each other’s work, you can refer each other when the time comes!
For more information, watch the full webinar, available within all Premium member accounts any time! For more education from Andy, visit his blog.
Being accurately informed and understanding the real story around what goes into planning a same-sex wedding is key for pros who want to be prepared to proudly serve all couples in the increasingly competitive modern market.
As we approach the one year anniversary of marriage equality in June, this month’s educational webinar hosted by Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, and Andy Whittaker, Director of Market Insights at WeddingWire, discussed the latest LGBTQ wedding trends, how LGBTQ weddings differ and are the same as opposite-sex weddings, and how the landscape for same-sex weddings has evolved.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the interesting insights shared during the webinar:
- Gay-friendliness and customer service often outranks industry experience in importance to same-sex couples when it comes time to select their wedding team
- Self-identified same-sex couples who married in 2014 & 2015 remain much more comfortable breaking with traditionally-defined gender roles than previously-wed couples
- Same-sex couples are more likely to have blended wedding parties than opposite-sex couples
- As marriage equality has become the law of the land, legal elopements and out-of-state ceremonies are on the decline for same-sex couples
- Non-LGBTQ couples who value inclusion continue to rise as more couples look to work with wedding professionals who serve all loving couples
For more information, watch the full webinar, available within all Premium member accounts. And stay tuned for more in depth information on the latest wedding trends for today’s same-sex couples, coming soon!
Plus, don’t forget to opt-in to the GayWeddings vendor directory and update your main image just for GayWeddings.com to attract more engaged same-sex couples – learn how with our step by step guide.
Already listed on GayWeddings.com? Grab your GayWeddings listing badge to add to your website or blog and get added traffic to your listing!
Busy wedding season is here (or very close!) for many wedding professionals. Along with this exciting time of the year often comes long days, needy clients, and plenty of unexpected surprises along the way.
It’s important to not lose your sales and operations momentum while you are hard at work executing your events so you can keep your business thriving year-round! In this month’s one hour webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Jennifer Reitmeyer shared tips to manage your business, your clients, and even your stress-levels like a pro!
Here’s the five keys to stay sane during wedding season:
- Take stock of your business as it is right now. Get real about your business, and take stock of where you are in the important areas of sales, marketing and operations before things get too busy.
- Create a plan. Determine how you will get all business-related items done while you are also executing lots of events. By setting a basic weekly routine, deadlines, and creating helpful resources such as an event prep list, you will stay organized and efficient.
- Embrace (and communicate) your boundaries. Most client and vendor-facing issues can be avoided by simply setting expectations. Make your boundaries clear on items such as working days and your service process, and communicate them clearly to each new client.
- Assess and re-asses. Remember that every good plan is flexible. Set aside time each month to check in with yourself and your business. Ask questions like “Am I continuing to make time to sell new clients?” or “How are my weddings going? Am I upholding to my standards and promises made, or do I need additional resources?”
- Treat yourself with the same respect and consideration with which you’d treat others. Make time for yourself or you will burn out! Schedule time off, set aside time to do the things you enjoy on a weekly basis, prioritize your sleep, and maintain your physical health. You will stay happy, and so will your business!
For more great advice, watch the full webinar, and be sure to check out Jennifer’s blog all about the business of weddings, WeddingIQ.com!
Don’t forget that your clients also get stressed during the wedding planning process up to the big day! Do you have any expert tips you would like to share with WeddingWire couples? Submit your tips here, and they could be included in an upcoming consumer campaign!
The ability to listen is one of the most important sales skills a pro can learn. It sounds simple (and it is!), but listening more than you talk during appointments can help you ask better questions in order to learn more about your prospects and tailor your sale to the custom needs of each couple.
Our March educational webinar for premium members hosted by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg provided key insights on how talking less, but with thoughtful intent, can help you make more sales in less time. Get Alan’s top 4 tips in our infographic, below!
Don’t forget that all past webinars are available in the Education Center for Premium members to view anytime right from your WeddingWire account.
Webinar recap: Learn how you can benefit from listening up to sell even more!
Like it or not, sales skills are an important part of every successful wedding professional’s job! Do you ever talk yourself out of a sale? When was the last time you had a couple sell themselves?
This month’s educational webinar for premium members hosted by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg provided key insights on how talking less, but with thoughtful intent, can help you make more sales in less time. After all, we all want to do business with people we know, like and trust!
Here are a few key tips:
- If you want more sales, ask better questions – and really listen to the answers!
- Ditch the pitch and instead focus on what details matter to the individual client to customize your sale to connect with each couple.
- Let the potential client the majority of the talking so you can learn more about their day, and don’t answer questions they haven’t asked.
- Don’t try to rush the decision making process, it can be a big decision to choose their wedding team that can take time!
- Remember that listening applies not only to appointments and calls but also emails and texts, so don’t data dump or over-share without finding more about their needs and wishes first.
- Close the sale when you see and hear buying signals (such as asking about price, or availability for a specific date), and don’t be afraid to ask for their business!
Want to learn more about these tips? Watch the full webinar!
All past webinars are available in the Education Center for Premium members to view anytime right from your WeddingWire account.
Many pros use the first few months of every year, often considered as the “off-season” to regroup before the upcoming wedding season begins in the Spring. While it’s great to use this time to refresh your business, it is important to maintain a sharp focus and use this time effectively to leverage your impact during the ongoing engagement season, and to set yourself up for a profitable year ahead!
In this month’s webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon shared his perspective on how to stay productive and maximize your business impact during the off-season.
Here are a few of Andy’s tips focused on improving your profitability:
- Grow your professional network: Join or attend a local networking group or industry event, and make new industry connections with pros you admire that you can leverage to connect with more clients in 2016, and in turn recommend their services to your clientele.
- Calculate your gross wedding income: Make sure you take the time to find out how successful your 2015 year was for your business by determining your gross income. To find this number, determine your overall wedding revenue in 2015, and divide that by the total number of weddings you serviced. That will show your overall income per wedding. Set a goal for your gross wedding income for 2016 and evaluate how you will get there— an expanded team, more booked weddings, higher prices?
- Compute your marketing expenses: Take the time to track your marketing expenses to determine your overall spend, and apply that to your marketing plan for 2016. Expenses include association membership, online advertising, print ads, wedding shows, continued education and more. Review your overall spend, and determine how you will use it effectively in 2016 to help reach your business goals.
- Determine your variable cost per wedding: How much do you spend per wedding on average? This amount impacts your overall revenue, and should factor into your prices. To find your variable cost per wedding, add up the cost of good, travel and delivery expenses, payroll per event, and any additional costs you may need to consider. Then, simply divide that number by your total number of weddings last year.
For more great tips on staying productive and profitable, watch the full webinar! Plus, all past webinars are available in the Education Center for Premium members to view anytime, on topics including marketing, sales, client communication and more.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Engagement season is upon us, and soon you will be interacting with many newly engaged couples searching for their wedding professionals. Are you ready to make a great impression and quickly earn their business?
During this month’s one hour webinar for premium members, WeddingWire’s Customer Success team leaders Marty Kaufman and Ashley Conway shared the top dos and dont’s for Pros – taken right from the couples’ themselves!
Here are 10 key takeaways for your business:
- Acknowledge and understand their point of view. Be approachable, helpful, and avoid surprises later on by asking and answering all questions up front.
- Respond quickly and professionally. Try to respond within 24 hours, and stay responsive through the planning process.
- Provide pricing. Share pricing information when asked, and consider adding it to your website and Storefront. Be direct and provide education around pricing, and avoid scoffing at their initial budget.
- Communicate professionally. Make sure you have a professional email address, and use easy to read fonts in your communication. Don’t forget to spell check!
- Get to know your clients. Focus on getting to know the couple, or all decision makers – not just the bride! Provide inclusive language and acknowledge that both partners getting married and planning their day.
- Educate your clients. Get to know your client’s wishes, and provide helpful suggestions or tips as necessary. Don’t brush off their ideas too quickly, but politely share your expertise as needed to help create their perfect day.
- Make a good first impression. Avoid pre-judging couples, being presumptive, or jumping into business too quickly. Instead, ask a few key questions about the couple, be open-minded with their ideas and interested in their vision.
- Respect your competition. Do not trash-talk your competitors! It will only reflect badly on your business and character. Instead always be respectful of the industry, take the high road, and make helpful suggestions to make a great impression and remain professional.
- Stay humble. Despite your many successes, try to remain grounded and approachable to connect with your clients. You don’t want to see too expensive, hard to reach, or busy for them to want to book with you. Instead, showcase your quality with great past work and reviews.
- Respect their opinions. Overall, the wedding is their day! Your job is to work to try to bring their vision to life and give helpful recommendations along the way. Avoid projecting your own taste or opinions too much, and be sure to ask for feedback throughout the process so you know they will be happy with the end result.
For more details, watch the full webinar!
Plus, all our past webinars are available in the Education Center for premium Pros to view at any time. Check it out for some great education on leading important topics for your business’ success.
Do you consider yourself an expert in your field? In our September webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Meghan Ely shared her tips for packaging your skills, experience and knowledge to become a recognized expert in your industry. After all, building your reputation helps you stand out from your competition, increase your value, and boost your brand!
Find out some top highlights from the webinar below.
- First ask yourself: What am I an expert in? Some considerations include: regional knowledge, destination weddings, LGBTQ, Indian weddings, Jewish weddings, Persian weddings, Elopements, second marriage and more!
- Before submitting a real wedding, you must first: do your research, focus on your target audience, study the submission guidelines and be mindful of editorial calendars. You can submit real weddings to WeddingWire at RealWeds.com!
- If you are interested in guest writing, be sure to: research the top and best fit outlets for your expertise, select your top outlets to approach, outline the submission guidelines and follow them, craft a list of topics and only then make the pitch!
- To help your business get press, here are some great tips: learn to think like the media – what content and help do they need? Make it easy on them, make your outreach about them and their success and not too self-serving, treat them like a client and act professionally, and be prompt with deadlines and organized in your follow up.
For more details, be sure to watch the full webinar!
Interested in learning more from Meghan and her team at OFD Consulting? Until this Friday, 9/25/15 at midnight, all WeddingWire webinar registrants can save 40% on products such as a Real Weddings Submission kit with promo code: weddingwire at checkout!
Did you know that all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium Pros to view at any time? Check it out for some great education and inspiration on important topics for your business from sales to client communication, marketing and more.
Your website is an important part of your business’ marketing and sales process! Creating an engaging, optimized, easy to navigate and use site is a critical piece of your business’ success. In our August webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg share his tips for how to create a winning website.
This infographic shares the five key questions every successful website must answer. Read below to find out if your website is a winner!
This month, as part of our monthly educational webinar series for premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon shared his insights into the value of showing appreciation to the people in your life and business – from employees, to clients, to other Pros.
Plus, great Reviews and Pro Endorsements are more likely to happen for people who not only do their job well, but are helpful and approachable, so sharing and showing appreciation can go a long way in building your reputation!
Here are nine simple ways you can show appreciation, inspired by a recent Inc. article:
- Write it by hand: An electronic thank you is fine, but if you take time to write the perfect message of appreciation, why not consider writing it by hand? A note shows you really took the time to say thank you and is always a fun surprise!
- Offer small gestures: A small gesture requires little additional effort for you, but removes a burden for a colleague or client, and makes their day a bit better. It also shows you know they are working hard. A small gesture can be as simple as bringing them a cup of coffee or offering to take an item of their to-do list, and can make a big impact.
- Acknowledge an absence: If you are going to be out of town or wrapped up in events, make sure you are up front with your clients and potential clients about any changes to your normal schedule, so they understand if you take a bit more time to get back to them. Also, try to set an expectation on when they may hear from you, or who they can contact with immediate needs.
- Give back: If another Pro takes the time to write you an Endorsement or recommend you to a client of theirs – say thank you and return the favor if you can. Write them an Endorsement as well, send them a note, give them a call, or keep them in mind for any future client needs. If a client takes the time to write you a Review, respond to the review and the client to show your gratitude for their time and acknowledge the personal impact it will make on your business by those who read it in the future.
- Offer public praise: It feels good to be told, “You did a great job!” and public praise is even more appreciated. You can offer praise to your co-workers, employees, or even clients and other Pros. Post on social media to say how incredible their wedding was! Or, give a shout out about how talented another wedding Pro that you worked with is at their job. Genuine compliments and praise pay off – from helping create new connections to simply making others around you happy!
In the competitive wedding and events industry, networking and industry recognitions are two leading factors to building your reputation and boosting your professional success.
This week, as part of our monthly educational webinar series for premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon shared his insights into the value of networking, and how collaborations and joining associations can help your business grow.
Check out some of Andy’s tips below!
What are the best places to network?
- National Association meetings (industry or skill-based) and local chapter meetings
- Local industry networking groups
- National conferences
- Your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau
- Community events
When you make a new connection, how can you continue the conversation and build a professional relationship?