» WeddingWire Networking Night Napa

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Silverado Resort & Spa for WeddingWire Networking Night Napa!

At the Networking Night, Napa pros had the opportunity to enjoy a picturesque venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media presented by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Katey McBurney.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Napa board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

And finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Sharon of Napa Valley Custom Events!

WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Napa 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Foundry by Herban Feast for WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle!

At the Networking Night, Seattle pros had the opportunity to enjoy a unique, gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how engaged couples make their purchasing decisions from WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Click here to check out the photo booth pictures from Drunken Pixel Photo Booth!

And finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Emily of Mle Jayne Photography!

WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Seattle 2016
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» WeddingWire Networking Night Portland

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Aerie at Eagle Landing for WeddingWire Networking Night Portland!

At the Networking Night, Portland pros had the opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about local-industry statistics and how engaged couples make their purchasing decisions from WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Portland board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to MaryAnn of Simply Beautiful Cakes!

WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Portland 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre for WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary!

At the Networking Night, Calgary pros had the opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, learn more about our approach in Canada from Regional Manager for Customer Success, Megan Hayes, and get tips on how to handle tough pricing questions from WeddingWire Education Guru and industry expert Alan Berg.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Calgary board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Jess of Jess Cockburn Photography!

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» How to Get the Most Out of Networking Events

Pro to Pro Insights

Leila Lewis, photo by Valorie Darling PhotographyThis post was written by Leila Lewis of Be Inspired PR. As a business school graduate from Santa Clara University, Leila (Khalil) Lewis’ career began in publishing, where she worked in marketing and editorial roles for business and lifestyle publications. Since transitioning into the wedding business in 2004, Leila has over 10 years of wedding marketing experience under her belt, and is the industry’s go-to for wedding public relations services, brand development and business consulting.

Whether you have an established business or if you’re just starting out, networking is crucial for your company to thrive. Networking can be intimidating and nerve-wracking, but with the proper tips, you can definitely take advantage of any networking event. You want to come in confident, make your mark, and guarantee that they will remember you.

  1. Do your research.

How to Get the Most Out of Networking EventsNever go into a networking event blind. You don’t need to necessarily deep dive to find every little detail, but definitely do some background research to find out the background of the company hosting the event, who will be there, what type of features the event will have to maximize networking, etc. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare some conversation starters. It may seem awkward and unnatural at first, but the more you have these in the back of your head, the more prepared you will feel when you meet up with someone new.  You never know who you are going to meet, and you want to guarantee that you make a solid impression.

  1. Shake out the nerves and be confident.

When you get to the event, you may feel nervous (which is normal!), but don’t let it affect you to the point where you just freeze. You’re here to maximize your business and meet people that will only help you. The more confident you feel, the more you will succeed at these events. Take a couple of deep breaths, shake it off, and walk in and network like boss. You’ve got this!

  1. Just do it.

Do a quick scan of the room, find the person you want to talk to and just do it. You have about five seconds to go start that conversation before you begin to overthink it or worse, allow someone else to beat you to the punch. This is all about creating those new connections and you want to take advantage of these opportunities.

  1. Be genuine and keep it real.

Yes, you have the prepared conversation ignitors, but make sure to keep it natural. These connections could help build lasting relationships and give you the ability to collaborate in the future. Be genuinely curious about what they have to say and learn more about them.  Continue reading

» How Big Should Your Wedding Business Get?

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.

I’ve had several conversations recently with established wedding professionals that were reconsidering their business size. Rather than looking for ways to get bigger, they were downsizing – on purpose. The most recent business was an entertainment company downsizing from a staff of 6 down to just the owner. I’ve heard this from planners and photographers, and other wedding pros. There are many reasons feeding this particular DJ’s decision, from wanting to simplify his life to being able to spend more time with his family. It’s what’s right for him and his family.

How Big Should Your Wedding Business Get?What’s right for you?

The only vision of your business that matters is yours. From however many weddings and events you do to how much money you make, the goals and targets you set should be your own. There’s no magic number that’s right for everyone in your market and category. Just as with the example above, there’s more to your decision than just money. I once had a wedding pro tell me that he wanted to do 250 weddings per year. I asked him why 250? He said that he felt it would present him as more successful to his peers. The problem with his strategy was that he was taking on lower-dollar, lower-profit business to increase his volume. While his total number of weddings was going up, his bottom line wasn’t. He’s since backed away from that and is happily doing fewer weddings.

Too many people try to model their businesses after others they see or, as with the previous example, they try to chase an arbitrary number. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring for more, just be sure to do it for the right reasons and get all of the facts. From the outside, other businesses often seem smoother and more successful than they really are. A common analogy is of a duck, gliding smoothly across the water, while it’s paddling like mad under the water. That happens a lot on social media, as we see a skewed view of people and businesses. Their triumphs are plastered for all to see, while their failures never make it to their posts and tweets.

What’s the right number?

If you’re currently doing 25 weddings per year and you want to get to 50, how are you going to get there? If you only want to personally do 25 weddings, who’s going to do the rest? Are you already getting so many leads that you’re turning business away? If not, then you’ll need to get more leads, which means increasing your marketing, advertising, and networking efforts. If you’re getting multiple leads for the same days, then you can’t double your number of weddings unless you staff-up. One person can’t be in two places at once.

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» WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids

Yesterday, wedding professionals gathered at Noto’s Old World Italian Dining and Banquet for WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids!

At the Networking Night, Grand Rapids pros had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, and listen to an educational presentation by WeddingWire’s Director of Market Insights, Andy Whittaker.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and gorgeous photos from the evening (as seen below). If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the incredible event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Loren of YoloEventPics!

WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Grand Rapids 2016 Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at the Gem Theatre for WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit!

At the Networking Night, Detroit pros had the opportunity to enjoy a historic venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, and listen to an educational presentation by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Megan Hayes.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Trevor of Me + Him Photography!

WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Detroit 2016 Continue reading

» Have You Registered for Wedding MBA?

Have You Registered Wedding MBA?Don’t miss three exciting days of presentations and seminars from top-notch wedding professionals and favorite industry experts at Wedding MBA this October 3-5th in Las Vegas!

Did you know you can save extra on your ticket just by being a WeddingWire member? Register using this special link to save an extra $20 on the current ticket price (please note your discount will be applied when you complete checkout).

What can you look forward to at Wedding MBA?

  • An entire first day  filled with specialty content covering a variety of categories. There will be Wedding Venue Seminars, Photobooth Seminars, Decor Seminars, Florist Seminars, and many more! Attend the sessions to learn from your peers.
  • Many WeddingWire Education Experts will be in attendance, such as WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, who will be presenting his own talk, “Wedding Cashers,” on making more sales in less time. Alan’s other presentation, “Word Up,” will discuss ways to optimize your website text. You can also hear from WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm on “Serving Same-Sex Couples: The Real Story”, and Meghan Ely on “One for the Money: Ten Ways to Boost Sales Without Discounting.” Plus, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly has three main stage sessions you won’t want to miss.
  • WeddingWire is excited to have our booth, annual party, and to sponsor a Happy Hour as the closing celebration for the event Wednesday evening! We can’t wait to show you what fun surprises we have in store this year.

The event will be here before we know it! Don’t forget to register now and save on your ticket before the next price increase on Saturday, June 25th.

» 10 Best Practices for Communicating with Millennials

10 Best Practices for Communicating with MillennialsSuccessfully communicating with Millennials can sound like a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with their heavy reliance on mobile devices. After all, Millennials are the “mobile generation”: everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go. They have around the clock access to email, news, social media you name it, they can do it!  So how do you possibly get their attention in a time when there are literally thousands of modes of interaction? The key is to understand three of the most popular (and efficient) ways Millennials are interacting with the world around them: texting, email, and social media.

To give you an idea of just how “mobile” this generation is, consider this: Millennials spend an average of four hours and 22 minutes on smartphones each day, and 87% of millennials have their smartphones on them at all times. According to the same data, 80% of Millennials said that the first thing they do when they wake up is check their smartphone, and 60% said that they believe everything will be done on mobile devices in the next five years. Looking at your audience specifically, engaged couples spend 30% of their time planning their weddings on mobile devices each week. The world is shifting to become much more mobile-based, and it’s essential to adapt your business’s marketing strategy accordingly. Is your business catering to these individuals?

If your answer is no, don’t worry. By following a few simple mobile etiquette tips and adjusting your current marketing strategy to account for this mobile generation, you’ll be equipped to successfully communicate with Millennials via email, social media, and even text messaging.

Email

  1. Make your emails mobile-friendly. According to the 2016 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, about 70% of WeddingWire consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, which demonstrates how important it is that all of your business’ emails can be opened from a mobile device. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg refers to this practice as “mobile end-to-end,” which means that the Millennials who are constantly on-the-go can access your content on a desktop or mobile device and enjoy the same experience.
  2. Don’t get lost in the (inbox) crowd. Once you reach your client’s email inbox, it’s important to direct them to your email amidst the hundreds of others they’re probably receiving. To do this, use a short, descriptive subject line that grabs their attention and provides all of the important information. This strategy is crucial for a generation that often weeds out emails based merely on the subject lines.
  3. KISS. This acronym – Keep It Short and Simple – is the golden rule for your email content. Millennials’ time is precious; they’re a busy generation with very little time to read through lengthy boring content. So once you’ve grabbed their attention with a catchy subject line, make your emails concise and exciting. Use images and large font to engage your clients, and be sure to keep the message short enough so you don’t lose their interest.
  4. Respond ASAP. Remember to respond as quickly as you can, because besides being courteous, doing so lets your clients know they are important. Our data suggests that most couples expect to hear back from a vendor within 24 hours, so aim for that at a minimum.

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» WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix

Earlier this week, wedding professionals gathered at The Clayton on the Park for WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix!

At the Networking Night, Phoenix pros had the opportunity to enjoy a modern venue space, network with other local professionals across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team, and listen to an educational presentation by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Katey McBurney.

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our newest issue of WedInsights, and beautiful photos from the evening. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix board in the Pro Forums.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

We’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack – congrats to Cori of the Phoenix Art Museum!

Click the photo below to view the highlight video by Distinctive Wedding Videos.

WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix

View the rest of the event photos below!

WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix 2016
WeddingWire Networking Night Phoenix 2016 Continue reading

» Why Craigslist is Not Your Competitor

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.

Just the other day, I heard yet another wedding pro bring up Craigslist, lamenting how easy it is to get into his industry (in this case, be a DJ). The thing is, he’s at the top end of the price spectrum in his market. Why would he think that people charging a fraction of what he’s charging are his competition? It’s an easy trap to fall into. Theoretically, anyone who does what you do is a competitor. In the real world, though, that simply isn’t true.

Why Craigslist is Not Your CompetitorIs there really a difference?
Technically, Rolls Royce competes with Kia, because their products are both capable of transporting people from point A to point B. Of course, we know that isn’t true. While a Kia buyer might dream about one day owning a Rolls Royce, the opposite isn’t so. People buy Rolls Royce cars for reasons beyond basic transportation needs. The same is true when couples are shopping for their DJ, or photographer, or caterer, or dress, or wedding planner; they need what you do. But do they need and want you to do it?

Marketing thought leader Seth Godin suggests that you don’t need everyone to get what you do. You only need a small portion of the total market to really understand the specific value you bring. You can’t get them all, and you probably don’t want them all. That DJ doesn’t want the couple that only has $500 to spend on their wedding entertainment. Sure, they’re entitled to have a fun wedding, with great music – he’s just not their guy. Maybe someone else is; maybe they’ll use an iPhone. Either way, he didn’t lose that gig. It was never his to get.

What about you?
Are you wasting time, energy, and resources worrying about every other company in your market, professional or not? You simply can’t control those variables. The barrier to entry, for most wedding and event businesses, is very low. Many, if not most, don’t require a license or certification. Other than those that require a substantial physical presence (caterer, venue, dress shop, etc.), the monetary investment is very low as well. You don’t need the most expensive camera to take great photos; you need a great wedding photographer behind that camera.

Experience can’t be bought – it has to be earned. That said, experience is not a guarantee of success. Being in business for 10 years doesn’t guarantee that couple a great outcome from you. Have you done 5 weddings each year of those 10 years? Or, have you done 50 weddings each year? Have you updated your technical skills, as well as your business and customer service skills? There are many moving parts when it comes to providing a successful wedding outcome.

Who is your real competition?
If it’s not everyone who does what you do, then who are your real competitors? To figure this out, you have to understand how your target market shops for your product/service. What are the things that they value the most? Their priorities drive their budget, and fear is a major factor when making a big decision. What are they afraid might happen if they make the wrong decision? If they’re afraid that you can’t or won’t deliver the outcome they want, they’ll pay more to someone else for the peace of mind. Those are the times you scratch your head, wondering why they chose a higher-priced supplier, when you felt you could do everything they wanted.

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