» The Changing Landscape of Same-Sex Wedding Planning

In October, we announced the results from our recent survey of same-sex weddings in 2012. The comprehensive survey asked members of the WeddingWire and GayWeddings.com communities to share the details of their recent wedding planning experience.

Survey results indicated same-sex couples are expanding the ways they plan their weddings, just as the mainstream market is embracing them. This infographic identifies some the key trends in same-sex wedding planning, so our LGBTQ-friendly Pros can be ready to embrace the growing same-sex community!

The Changing Landscape of Same-Sex Wedding Planning

» Announcing the 2013 WeddingWire FallBook

2013 WeddingWire FallBookWe are so excited to share our 2013 WeddingWire FallBook, the look book we create seasonally with the latest trends, real wedding inspiration, fashion and more

This year’s FallBook is focused on décor – everything from centerpieces to stationary. Read up on expert advice and draw inspiration from any of the five real weddings included. There’s plenty to discover on a variety of wedding-related features, but we’ve listed a few below!

  • Take our beauty quiz to find your best hair and makeup looks
  • Check out the latest in wedding fashion and see our suggested styling tips
  • Upload a photo of yourself and test the results with our new WeddingWire Makeover Tool
  • Take a sneak peek at some exciting new WeddingWire features on the way
  • And much more!

We’ve made this year’s edition of the FallBook super easy to share – so please do! Whether you’re passing along the whole book to your clients or pinning some of the most inspiring images to your own boards, we’ve got you covered.

We hope this issue will provide you and your clients with unique ideas and endless inspiration. Check out the full WeddingWire FallBook and let us know what you think!

» Best Practices to Stand Out with Reviews

Webinar Recap!

Best Practices to Stand Out with ReviewsYesterday, we held our monthly educational webinar, focused on showcasing your business expertise through reviews! WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, along with several WeddingWire Pros who have collected over 100 Reviews, detailed their top tips and strategies to build a strong reputation.

In the fast-paced and competitive wedding and events industry, reviews, ratings and referrals all play an important role in your ability to get more business. Today, 95% of engaged couples use online reviews to select their vendors. It’s more important than ever to pay attention to what your customers are saying, see the value in sharing their feedback with other couples searching for their wedding professionals online, and actively work to build up your reviews.

Below are some of the most interesting takeaways from this month’s webinar:

  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Collecting feedback about your business should be part of your sales cycle
  • Feedback can come in the form of reviews, endorsements, testimonials, and social sharing
  • The magic number of reviews for consumers is 11 or more
  • Average traffic increases 106% for wedding pros with 11-20 reviews
  • Consumers look at the quality, quantity, recency, and consistency of your reviews
  • The biggest obstacle to receiving reviews is not asking!

Finally, remember should you receive a less than perfect review (which is bound to happen from time to time for all Pros), keep your cool, take the high road and be polite – other couples will see your reaction!

Ready for more education or want to watch this webinar in its entirety? All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium Pros, and stay tuned for information on next month’s webinar!

» Making Business Personal

You can’t deny the vast impact that social media has had on B2C relationships. Its changed the way businesses can interact with their consumers and the way consumers interact with businesses. From buying products and services to solving customer service issues, social media has enabled small and big business alike the ability to forge relationships with their customers.

Gary Vanerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy, notes this incredible power businesses now have and how it has shifted these relationships. You probably wouldn’t pick up the phone to call any of your close friends just to tell them about a great new restaurant to try or new gadget to buy. Now though, you can tweet your thoughts or recommendations from a restaurant or store and instantly influence members of your social network who might buy too.

Vanderchuk emphasizes the benefit of businesses using social medium to create a personal relationship with consumers. You have the unique ability to establish loyalty and humanize your brand. The concept even expands to politics, he suggests future candidates answer questions streaming on Twitter for example. He compares this new relationship to that of the past, encouraging “small town rules” and the DMA of our grandparents generation.

While big box business may be scared of creating this 1-to-1 relationship, people have a hunger for socialization and are getting their fill through tweets and status updates. Many consumers are directly influenced by their friends and acquaintances and this trend will only continue to grow, becoming more and more powerful. Google has already introduced social networking information into their search results and as we approach 2013 you will see a greater growth of results based on individual’s social graphs.

For more information, watch this quick video of Gary Vanderchuk interviewed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

» Profile of a Wedding Photography Expert

How do you establish yourself as an expert in your industry? Paul Van Hoy II of Fotoimpressions has been working since the age of sixteen to do just that. After receiving his MFA in Fine Arts Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and winning Microsoft’s “Photographer of the Year” award in 2008, he has striven to establish himself as a skilled and knowledgeable photographer in the wedding industry.

How did he do it? Take a look at some milestones below and get inspiration for your own business:

Start a Website or Blog – Van Hoy is the co-founder of WPW (WeddingPhotographyWorkshop.com) which is a free, online, Internet sharing and resource for aspiring and established wedding photographers. The site offers a number of articles as well as educational sessions to help fellow photographers.

Showcase Your Expertise- Published in 2011,  Wedding Photojournalism: The Business of Aesthetics focuses on how to stay competitive and continue winning new assignments, despite  challenges. Van Hoy advises fellow photographers on a wide range of business operations from improving marketing to converting client contacts.

 

Build Relationships – Lowepro, “The Trusted Original” camera bag producer,  showcases Van Hoy on their website as a feature photographer. Building relationships helps increase credibility for your business.


Have a recent idea or accomplishment that you’d like to share with your fellow Wedding Pros? Leave a comment below or send us an email.

» “Pimp My Social Media”

Last Tuesday, WeddingWire’s CMO, Sonny Ganguly, discussed How to Successfully Embrace the Social Web as part of our monthly webinar series. Each one hour webinar for upgraded WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry trends and give you the tools you need to grow your business. This week Sonny discussed how social media has evolved through the years and how as we know it has become a multi-billion dollar industry that drives  how we search for and consume information.

Don’t worry if you missed it, past webinars are added to Education Center and available for all upgraded Pros. In March Sonny will discuss the 5 Steps to Closing the Deal, helping listeners learn how to successfully close a sale.

» Four Free Social Media Tools to Try

It seems like new social media tools you “gotta try” pop up almost every day. Well we’ve compiled some of the new tools you may have not seen that can really help impact your business impact, efficiency and growth.

1.

Screenr is a web based recorder that allows you to quickly and easily create “screencasts.” You can record what you are doing on your screen and then automatically is formatted and shareable. Use this tool for how-to’s or any thing you’d like to show your clients. Of course the best part is, its free!

2.

Oneforty brands themselves as “your social business hub.” At-a-glance you will see the most up to date tools, trends, and pros you can follow for more information. Use oneforty to keep on top of the newest tools, look at ratings, and decide for yourself which ones you should try.

3.

Hashtracking allows you to track your Twitter campaigns so you can compare your marketing efforts. A number of available metrics allow you to see information about who uses the hashtags as well. This gives you the tools you need to measure your influence.

4.

Instagram is a free iPhone app that allows you to edit and share photos. There are a number of available filters to make your camera phone images look beautiful. Use instagram and Twitter together to keep your followers up to date and interact further by showing them just what you’re doing! (Again, totally free.)

We’d love to hear what you think of these or if you have suggestions of your own – leave a comment below!

» HOW TO: Use QR Codes to Grow Your Business

A QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or type of 2D code) that is readable with specific barcode readers and camera phones. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, you’ve probably seen them around and wondered – what is this strange black and white box? In short, these QR codes connect people to mobile sites or information but what it is is not nearly as important as what is does.

According to an article recently featured on Mashable, 2D code usage quadrupled last year and can help increase your sales, customer loyalty, and revenue per customer. While popularity is increasing, that doesn’t mean all consumers have encountered these codes yet. Mashable recommends a short caption to help users understand how to download a reader to their phone and generally explain the process.

Great news – since your on WeddingWire, we automatically have created a personalized QR code for you! To access it, login to your account and click on the My Reviews tab. At the bottom of the page you’ll see your unique code. When a potential client scans your code, they’ll be taken directly to your Storefront and Reviews.

Some great suggestions on where to add your code:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Business Cards
  • LinkedIn and Facebook Pages
  • Bridal Show Posters
  • Flyers
  • T-shirts

To make it as easy for your to jump in and stay ahead of the trends, we’ve also created a printable QR poster. With the click of a button you can have a formatted poster with your business’ code and information about how it works.

Any creative ways your business has used 2D codes?


» Show Off Your Events & Your Creativity

The Events section of your WeddingWire account gives you the opportunity to showcase your business’ upcoming open houses, trunk shows, and bridal shows to potential clients. Engaged couples can quickly search by their location or zip code to find all upcoming events in their area. To see how this appears for brides, click here.

Adding an event is simple:

  1. Login to your account
  2. Click on My Storefront
  3. Click on the Events tab
  4. Click Add New Event
  5. Enter the details (date, time, location)
  6. Thats it – just remember to Save!

**Note: WeddingWire will only allow the host of the event to post it on their storefront.
Be sure to check the box confirming you are the host before saving.

So you have an event you’d like to post – how do you make it stand out to potential clients? Continue reading

» Did You Know WeddingWire Integrates with Facebook?

Your WeddingWire account is built to automatically integrate with your business’ facebook account. Quickly and easily share the link to your Storefront so your friends, clients and other Pros can “Like”  your business listing just by clicking the button under the main image on your Storefront. Use this functionality to run a promotion, drive traffic or however else you choose!

How? Simply mention the option for your contacts to click the “Like” button in your every day interaction. Whether it’s in the signature of your email, on the phone  or in person – let them know how easy it is for them to visit your Storefront and click “Like.” This one is up to you but don’t be afraid to get creative!

Why? Well, there are many reasons why you should do it, but here are some of the main ones:

Increase Referral Traffic – When clicked, a link is published to the person’s Facebook feed, building your online credibility and driving referral traffic tor your WeddingWire Storefront.

Build Relationships – Facebook alone has more users than some countries have people! The more likes you get, the greater the potential for others to hear about your business and grow your traffic.

Generate Buzz – We’ve already done most of the work for you! The “Like” button makes it easy to run a promotion and/or offer a discount off your services for those individuals that click on it!

Continue reading

» Rated: Truly in Love

Do you often hear couples looking for a unique way to put their own spin and personal touch on their wedding? Adding creative options and ideas to your repertoire can help you attract more clients to your business.  Delack Media Group created a romantic movie trailer for Chicago couple Christen and Mike’s Save the Date – perfect to share with you on Valentine’s Day! We hope you all have a wonderful day with your special someone. Click image below to view the trailer and hopefully get a little inspiration.

» Time to Play Foursquare

This post written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare…Ohh My!  Social networks have been growing like weeds over the past couple years.  Facebook has crossed over 600 million users, while Twitter recorded 25 billion tweets in 2010!  Last year another trend in social networking started to emerge: Location Based Networks.  The leader in this space has been foursquare, which has millions of people leaving a trail of where they are.

The concept of location based networks is simple, which leverages the best of social media and mixes in your physical location through your mobile device.  This trend started to take off in 2010 due to the rise of smartphones, with iPhone and Android leading the pack.  A location based network allows users to communicate with each other like on social networks, but also allows them to share details of where they are physically located.

Foursquare has considerable competition in this space, such as GoWalla and brightkite, which also allow users to share their locations with friends.  Even more interesting is that Facebook and Twitter have tried to add location data to their sites as well.  Facebook last year launched Places, which allows you to share your location with your existing Facebook connections.  Twitter now allows you to add your location to posts, whether from your computer or your mobile device.   Location based networks allow for a whole new type of interaction, but it also does raise some security concerns.  Let’s focus on foursquare and what it means for your business.

Why do people care about checking in and sharing their location?

Because you can become a Mayor!  Foursquare has made their location based network into a type of game that blends virtual activity with the real world.  If you ‘check in’ to the same location more times than anyone else, you will be crowned the Mayor of that particular location.  You must continue checking into that location to maintain your mayorship, otherwise someone  else will  unseat you.  Another component that drives ‘check ins’ are the ability to get Badges, which are virtual icons to symbolize your achievements on foursquare.  As  you ‘check in’ to various locations, you may be awarded a badge to show off.  Here are some of the badges you can get:

Adventurer – Check in to 10 different places

Barista – Check in to 5 different Starbucks locations

Don’t Stop Believing – Check into 3 different venues tagged as ‘karaoke’ in a month

Gym Rat – Check into a venue tagged ‘gym’ 10 times in 30 days

I’m on a Boat – Check in and include the word ‘boat’ in your post

School Night – Check in after 3am on a school night

Continue reading