» Set Business Resolutions that You Can Keep in 2016

Business Resolutions You Can Keep Webinar recap!

Every January starts with excitement about New Year’s Resolutions, but all too quickly they can be forgotten or pushed aside. Make 2016 your best year yet by setting business resolutions that you can actually keep, and that will have a lasting positive impact!

During this month’s webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg discussed the importance of setting challenging, yet achievable resolutions for yourself and your business each year.

Review Alan’s Top 5 Resolutions for Pros:

  1. Be respectful of time. As a busy Pro, you know that often, it can seem like there are simply not enough hours in the day! Save your own time, your clients time, and other professionals time, and keep your communication direct and concise. Also, work to respond to all inquires or questions in a very timely manner (aim for 24 hours or less!), even if just to acknowledge them.
  2. Be less connected to tech. While we all love technology and how it can make our lives more in sync, it can also be a distraction from personal interaction and taking the time to enjoy the moment. Challenge yourself to set some specific time to disconnect completely from tech each day, and focus on really connecting to the people and experiences in your life.
  3. Avoid hypocrisy. Wedding pros often have similar complaints when it comes to some clients. Next time you feel frustrated, take a moment to truly consider their point of view. After all, they are planning and investing in a once in a lifetime event. Wouldn’t you have questions, expect the highest quality service, and want to save some money if you could? Work to see their perspective, show empathy, and then use your experience to help them feel confident in their decision to do business with you.
  4. Shorten your to-do list. There is an easy way to shorten your to-do list without simply saying ‘no’ to more work! Make a daily ‘must-do’ list to go with your larger ‘to-do list.’ On this list, prioritize a handful of key actions that you must meet that day. Then, when the list is complete, move on to the next prioroity round of to-dos, or catch up on emails, calls or errands! You will feel accomplished and more relaxed, while keeping your focus on high priority items.
  5. Resolve to think bigger. Challenge yourself this year! What is the next big business step you hope to achieve? More revenue? More booked events? An expanded team? Consider what a better business means to you. From there, set three goals you hope to reach in 2016 that will get you to your next level. Create some metrics or programs that will help you reach your goals, and get started! Don’t forget to visit them regularly to stay on track, and see how you are progressing. A monthly check in can help!

For more great tips on creating and keeping your resolutions this year, watch the full webinar!

Commit to more education this year! All past webinars on a variety of important business topics for wedding Pros are available in the Education Center for premium Pros to view anytime, anywhere.

» Mobile Matters! Create a Winning Business for All Devices

December-Webinar_MobileMatters!_TileMobile Matters!

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

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

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

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

» Webinar Recap: Delight, Don’t Fright! 10 Dos and Don’ts from Couples

October-Webinar_Delight-Dont-Fright!-10-Dos-and-Donts-from-Couples_TileWebinar recap!

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:

  1. Acknowledge and understand their point of view. Be approachable, helpful, and avoid surprises later on by asking and answering all questions up front.
  2. Respond quickly and professionally. Try to respond within 24 hours, and stay responsive through the planning process.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

» Take Your Business to New Heights: Reach Expert Status

September-Webinar_Take-Your-Business-to-New-Heights-Reach-Expert-Status_TileWebinar Recap!

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.

» 5 Questions a Winning Website Must Answer

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!

5 Questions to Make Your Website a Winner

» Achieving Success through Appreciation, Reviews and Endorsements

Acheiving Success WebinarWebinar recap!

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. Continue reading

» Success by Association: Network, Collaborate & Get Awarded

Success by AssociationWebinar recap!

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?

Continue reading

» Top 10 Business Resolutions for 2015

Top Business Resolutions WebinarWebinar Recap!

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly hosted our annual webinar, Top Business Resolutions, to kick the new year off right. Sonny shared his best tips for a successful year for your business from brand to website, reviews and more.

Here is a sneak peek of the top 10 tips, and be sure to watch the full webinar in the Education Center!

  • Brand: Focus on brand consistency for your business, and work to create a quarterly PR plan.
  • Website: Make it easy for website visitors to contact you. Create an easy to use contact form and place it very prominently on your site, then use Google Analytics to see how your site performs.
  • SEO: Every page on your site should have a page title, meta description, meta tags and H1 tag to build strong SEO.
  • Social: Commit to being active on Facebook + two other sites at the least. This year, we recommend Instagram and Pinterest to reach your target audience most effectively.
  • Video: Create and post videos across all your sites – from your website to your Storefront to social media. Video is very engaging and a great way to showcase your work.

Continue reading

» The Price is Right: Tips for Dealing with ‘How Much?’

The Price is Right: Tips for Dealing with ‘How Much?’Webinar Recap!

Whether it’s in person, on the phone, via email, or on your website, handling pricing questions is a delicate art. In this month’s webinar, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared how to effectively deal with the dreaded question ‘how much?’ in order to establish a better rapport with your customer, make more appointments, and close more sales.

Find out some top highlights from the webinar below!

  • A key to making a sale or handling a pricing question effectively is to tell the client why not just what. Make a bullet list of the outcomes of the client going with your business so they can visualize you being a part of the day, and how these great services lead to the price. This will help explain and justify your prices.
  • Remember your brand is defined by the words your customers use, not just your own claims. Leverage online reviews and collect client testimonials for your sales and marketing communication to let them do the work and sell your services for you.
  • Ask yourself if your pricing challenges are self-inflicted. Do you clearly communicate the service that you provide and effectively explain your price? Do you know what matters most to the client? Easily avoid pricing issues before they arise by keeping your pricing transparent and getting to know the client a bit to tailor your sales pitch to their needs. Focus less on selling and more on helping the client buy.

Continue reading

» Infographic: How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand

In today’s marketing landscape, 72% of internet users are active on social media and 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision. Those are impressive statistics! Is your wedding business taking advantage of these statistics to reach couples planning their wedding?

If you need help building a buzzworthy brand in the wedding industry, our infographic has tips for using social media to grow your business’ presence!

Infographic: How to Build a Buzzworthy Brand

» Who’s in Your Professional Network?

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

While doing my research for the recent webinar on networking, with its accompanying survey, I found myself weaving back and forth between formal and informal networking.

Formal Networking

Who’s in Your Professional Network?What I call formal networking is when you belong to one of the myriad of associations and groups that dot the landscape of the wedding and event industry. Formal groups have a structure, typically meet at the same date and time each month, and have a volunteer board running it and a particular mission or scope. Some are local and some are national; many are the local chapters of a national group. The advantage of formal networking is the structure and predictability, as well as the tie-in to the national professional networks and often, state or national conferences.

Some are formed around a particular category or skill (i.e. Association of Bridal Consultants – ABC, American Disc Jockey Association – ADJA, or Professional Photographers of America – PPA). Some are centered around a few categories and are a little more broad in scope (i.e. National Association of Catering and Events – NACE, or International Special Events Society – ISES). While others are intended, specifically, to encompass all wedding and event professionals in a particular geographic area (i.e. Maine Wedding Association, Buffalo Bridal Association, Monterey Bay Wedding & Event Professionals or the Bay Area Wedding Network).

Teach me something new

One of the key tenets of these formal networking groups is education (something that’s clearly important to WeddingWire, which is why they allow me the privilege of speaking and writing for you here!). That said the survey results show that a majority of members do not feel they are getting enough high-quality educational content from their participation in networking groups. My question is whether the education is available, or whether the members just choose not to attend.

Informal networking

Both inside and outside the formal groups networking is happening as well. Whether you grab a cup of coffee with another wedding or event Pro, talk shop with them in the hallways of a conference or see them at bridal shows, any time you meet and talk with other Wedding Pros, you’re networking. Neither one is necessarily better than the other – they’re both valuable in building your brand and business.

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» Network Your Way to New Business

Network Your Way to New BusinessWebinar Recap!

Networking is an important part of your business’ growth! Being a good networker will help you to get more leads, build more connections and gain more industry knowledge. This month’s educational webinar for premium members focused on the value of networking.

WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared his insights on how to become a super networker and get noticed in a competitive market. Check out these top five tips for networking success, below!

  1. Un-clique: You can’t extend your network without meeting new contacts! It may be comfortable to stick with industry friends at events, but challenge yourself to meet new people and you may be rewarded with a new friend, mentor or future referee.
  1. Be a resource: Be helpful to your network and offer advice, tips or insights to other Pros from across categories when you feel comfortable with a new connection. People enjoy and respect others who are friendly and working to making the industry better as a whole, and your openness will be noticed and appreciated.
  1. Refer others first: Want to know a secret to getting more Pro referrals? Offer to refer them first! While it is important to only refer Pros you do know and feel comfortable with, making the “first move” when you know a client who may need a great florist or Planner in town can break the ice. Referrals are always appreciated, and they will be likely to return the favor.

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