» Networking Etiquette for Trade Associations

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.

One of the key marketing channels for wedding professionals is networking with their peers through industry trade associations and other membership organizations. Building and maintaining business relationships through such organizations are key to referrals and introductions to engaged couples for potential bookings.

Part of the appeal of participating in organizations is the excitement of attending events and simply mingling with fellow wedding professionals. Over time, many of these business relationships become close collaborative partnerships and creative teams. That’s why it is essential to choose the organizations wisely, develop a plan for participation and do not over commit.

Networking Etiquette for Trade AssociationsFinding Where You Fit In

In most geographic areas there are more opportunities for networking than there is time in your week! Your experience as a wedding professional will help direct your involvement. Whether it is a chapter-based national or regional organization, the strength of its board of directors is the major indicator of success or failure.

Key questions to consider when evaluating trade associations:

  • Do I know and like some of the board members?
  • Are the general membership meetings well organized and run smoothly?
  • Are meetings facilitated by several people or is it a one-person show?
  • Is there an educational component, as well as a networking component to the meeting?
  • Would you be proud to bring your best client to meeting of interest to them?

Learning the Ropes

When you’ve joined an organization, one of the wisest moves you can make is to have coffee or a meal with one of the board members to understand the association culture, find out where you can contribute, what you can learn, and how you can benefit professionally. A great way to create personal or company awareness is donate services for a meeting. However, the donation should be a good fit for what you have to offer. Below are a few ways to donate your time and effort:
Continue reading

» WeddingWire World Tour 2014: SoCal

We had a great time at WeddingWire World SoCal!

The WeddingWire team was thrilled to come together one last time with hundreds of wedding and event professionals for a day of education from industry experts, along with networking and fun surprises. This event was the last stop on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014, with earlier stops in Miami, DC, Chicago and Houston. Thanks to all our Pros who attended our SoCal event!

Our guests received great educational information to power their businesses from our team of presenters. Sessions included main stage presentations from WeddingWire Education Experts Alan Berg, Andy Ebon, and Kathryn Hamm in addition to two presentations from WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly.

We were also pleased to include a panel of local wedding professionals, featuring Scott Nelson of Scott A. Nelson Photography, Tina Moran of Oh So Swank!, Krissi Trevino of Lomas Santa Fe Country Club and Bethel Nathan of Ceremonies by Bethel.

WeddingWire World SoCal also featured two breakout session tracks, which gave attendees the option to choose between sessions on a variety of topics, including a deeper dive into WeddingWire tools, blogging, and same-sex weddings skill sets.

We hope all our Pros enjoyed the day as much as we did! In addition to the main presentations and educational sessions, some highlights from the day include:

  • Starting the day at the Networking Breakfast by learning more about Pros in attendance with a special version of bingo
  • Awesome tweets from attendees throughout the day to @WeddingWireEDU using the hashtag #wwworld
  • The opportunity for Pros to meet with our Customer Success team members one-on-one to discuss their WeddingWire accounts
  • Our networking roundtable breakout session to facilitate new connections both within Pros’ service category and with other types of local professionals
  • Announcing the winners to our raffle prize drawings, including an iPad mini, Amazon gift card and tickets to WeddingWire World 2015 in DC
  • Free t-shirts and luggage tags for all attendees

Finally, a big thank you to our fantastic partners who helped make this event a success: fantastic event photos by Scott A. Nelson Photography, exciting event music by Special Occasions DJ & Lighting, photobooth fun from Open Air Photobooth and beautiful mood music during our reception from Payam Larijani of WeLoveGuitar!

Although SoCal was the last stop on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014, we’re already busy preparing for WeddingWire World 2015! We’re happy to announce that our award-winning conference will extend to two full days in Washington, DC on March 16-17.

Check out some of the photos below, and see our full event album on the WeddingWire Greater LA Facebook community!

WeddingWire World SoCal

WeddingWire World SoCal

WeddingWire World SoCal

WeddingWire World SoCal

WeddingWire World SoCal

Continue reading

» Top Apps to Help You Work Smarter

In this day and age, smartphones have become a lifeline for business operations. We use mobile devices to schedule, analyze, remember, and complete all sorts of tasks both for our business’ and our daily lives.

Luckily, there are a ton of great apps available to help you be more effective and help you get more work done. We’ve compiled a list of great apps for Wedding Pros that will help maximize your productivity and keep you organized!

top-apps-to-help-you-work-smarterNeed an app to manage to-do lists? Wunderlist is the app for you!

With Wunderlist you can…

  • Create to-do lists that you can access on your smartphone, computer, or tablet
  • Share to-do lists with other people
  • Attach photos and PDFs
  • Delegate to-dos
  • Set reminders for to-dos

Need an app to help with your time management? Toggl Time Tracker is the app for you!

With Toggl Time Tracker you can…

  • Track how much time you are spending on certain apps or websites
  • Track employees time management
  • Export time sheets
  • See what you spend the most time on and use the info to plan accordingly

Continue reading

» Wedding PR: Media Kits

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

The cardinal rule of public relations remains constant in this always-evolving industry: the key to success is making it easy on the media to find you and learn more about you. Remember – most journalists are constantly on a deadline and only have so much time to get the information they need.

Wedding PR: Media KitsA media kit is a great tool that does just that – giving the media pertinent company details for their story. And just how important are media kits? In a recent study by TEKgroup International, 98% of journalists agreed that companies should have a media kit, preferably as an online press room.

That’s right – gone are the days when professionally designed, printed media kits were the preferred method for distribution. Now, it’s advised that the budget allocated for the creation of a print media kit now is redistributed toward a goal of a strong, easy to navigate online press center.

The inevitable question becomes: what should you include in your media kit? While the must-have’s vary depending on the company, below you’ll find some of the most common items you’ll want to consider including:

  • Company fact sheet with interesting points such as your mission statement, company size, location and target client
  • Company profile/history outlining your story
  • Biographies for each member of your team
  • Logos and Photos, that are easy for the media to download
  • Recent Releases featuring newsworthy announcements about your company
  • Contact information for press inquiries (that’s you unless you’ve hired representation)

I’ve always found that examples help my clients better visualize the final outcome, and look no further than WeddingWire’s own Press Center for inspiration.

Looking to develop meaningful media relationships? Take the first step by creating an informative and comprehensive media kit that editors will no doubt appreciate.

» Today is WeddingWire World SoCal!

Today is WeddingWire World SoCal!WeddingWire World SoCal is the final stop on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014! Previous stops include Miami, DC, Chicago and Houston.

Today, at the Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center, wedding and event professionals from southern California will learn about the latest in the wedding industry and how to keep their businesses on top of all the most important channels, including sales, reviews, marketing, business management, networking, and more!

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear from leading wedding industry professionals and special guest speakers, and our Customer Success team will be available all day for on-site consultations to answer questions and help our members take advantage of everything their WeddingWire account has to offer.

Below are a few other helpful notes for WeddingWire World SoCal attendees:

  • Check in and start the day on the second floor foyer, where WeddingWire staff will be ready and waiting to assist you.
  • Download theProWire mobile app on iTunes or Google Play and select WeddingWire World SoCal so that you’re able to access everything you need to know, on the go!
  • Catch up and create new connections with your fellow Wedding Pros at our Networking Breakfast from 9am-10am.
  • Earn raffle tickets throughout the day to be entered in our drawing to win an iPad Mini, $100 Amazon gift card or tickets to WeddingWire World 2015!
  • Tweet your own takeaways and follow along with the hashtag #wwworld on Twitter, where @WeddingWireEDU will be live tweeting and responding to Pro feedback and more! We’ll also post some behind-the-scenes photos on the WeddingWireEDU Instagram account.

Be sure to check back later this week as we continue to share photos and highlights from the event.

Thanks to all the Pros joining us today!

Missed the 2014 WeddingWire World Tour? Don’t worry! Join us March 16-17 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor in Washington, DC for WeddingWire World 2015!

» The Marriage Equality Streak Is Broken: What Does This Mean For Wedding Pros?

This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.

Experts’s Note (11-12-2014): Since this post, marriage equality advanced in South Carolina. A federal judge overturned the ban on same-sex marriage, leading the way for marriage equality in the Palmetto state thanks to the binding pro-marriage equality ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision is on stay until Nov. 20.

Experts’s Note (11-13-2014): On November 12, the Supreme Court lifted the stay on marriage in Kansas, making Kansas the 33rd state to allow marriage.

Four weeks ago, I was struggling to keep up with what states needed to be added – and in what expedited order – to the count of marriage equality states. Today, the marriage pace has changed.

Since my last post on the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the pending marriage equality cases, more states have moved toward joining the list of states that recognize marriage equality (including Missouri), but, more significantly, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals broke with the trend of favorable Circuit Court decisions and announced its decision to uphold the bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Michigan.

This mixed result – it’s the first Circuit Court of the four (the 4th, 6th, 7th & 10th) that have heard marriage-related legislation to uphold a marriage ban – is one that invites the Supreme Court back to the table to weigh in.

Marriage Equality by June, 2015?

For those of you interested in the details of legislative journey of challenges to the ban in the 6th Circuit Court (impacting OH, KY, TN & MI), keep an eye on the blogs of Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Otherwise, know that the legal teams from the four states in the 6th Circuit Court plan to appeal directly to the Supreme Court in hopes that the quick action will result in the Supreme Court choosing to hear the case during this term. And, yes, this action would set up a possible result of a federal ruling on marriage equality by June 2015.

There are many small legal twists and turns to expect along the way, and one can never predict exactly how the Supreme Court might react, but there is plenty of reason to be hopeful that the Justices will weigh in this term on the question of marriage equality as the law of the land. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had noted not long before the current term, there would be little reason for the Supreme Court to weigh in unless there was a conflict in rulings arising through the lower courts. The 6th Circuit Court, as the only court to uphold its states’ bans, has just introduced the need for some black-robed referees to help settle the question of marriage equality.

Continue reading

» WEDNESDAY: WeddingWire World SoCal

WEDNESDAY: WeddingWire World SoCal

We can’t wait for WeddingWire World SoCal on Wednesday!

The 2014 WeddingWire World Tour officially kicked off in June with WeddingWire World Miami and WeddingWire World DC, followed by WeddingWire World Chicago in August. We just wrapped up WeddingWire World Houston in October, which brings us to our last stop – Long Beach, CA!

WeddingWire World SoCal will feature main stage presentations from our industry experts and guest speakers, including WeddingWire’s own CMO, Sonny Ganguly, plus Education Experts Alan Berg, Kathryn Hamm and Andy Ebon. We’re also excited to feature a panel of wedding professionals who’ll be discussing their keys to success, moderated by WeddingWire VP of Operations Marty Kaufman.

Attendees will also have time to meet 1-on-1 with our Customer Success Managers as well as several opportunities to network with other local Pros at our Networking Breakfast in the morning and Cocktail Reception following the day’s presentations!

WeddingWire World SoCal will also feature several breakout sessions, including presentations on the following topics:

  • Blogging and why it’s so important for your wedding business
  • Serving same-sex couples and how to adjust your language and offerings
  • Service category networking roundtables offering even more peer insights
  • Reaching, attracting and impressing potential clients with WeddingWire tools

Don’t forget that you can still follow along with the fun by searching the hashtag #wwworld on Twitter! @WeddingWireEDU will be live tweeting all day with key takeaways, Pro feedback and more. You can also see some behind-the-scenes photos on the WeddingWireEDU Instagram account.

We’ll see our west coast Pros on Wednesday!

Missed the 2014 WeddingWire World Tour? Don’t worry! Join us March 16-17 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor in Washington, DC for WeddingWire World 2015!

» 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

» Facebook Like Gate Changes

Facebook Like Gate ChangesThe day has come – those who rely on contests or promotions with a “like gate” (meaning a user must first like the page before entering) are losing the feature forever.

Like gates are used to increase likes quickly by requiring those users to like the page before they can see or interact with the page’s content. The problem with like gates is that once the user likes your page to access whatever they were looking for, they’re likely to unlike or unfollow your updates. Even if they do remain one of your fans, likes acquired through like gating are often less qualified as actual fans of your business.

Like gates go against the new user experience Facebook has been implementing since March of this year. With the big News Feed algorithm update, Facebook announced that engagement (likes, comments, shares) played a much larger role in what is displayed for each user. Facebook began displaying the most relevant content based on engagement and prioritizing those posts over others that you don’t engage with as frequently.

So, what can you do? Unfortunately, like gates are likely to go away sometime this month and there’s no way to keep them in place. However, you can take the following steps to continue your social media strategy beyond Facebook like gate changes!

Think about what high like counts contribute to your business

Does it really matter if you have 100 likes or 1,000? Sure, a higher number may be desirable, but is it actually useful? Facebook can help your business reach new customers and build brand awareness whether you have a huge following or a modest one. Here, the quality is much more important than the quantity. You don’t need to trick users into liking your page – acquire them in more natural ways such as through your website, Storefront or other tactics. Even just asking clients to like you on Facebook during face-to-face conversations helps!

Continue reading

» Four Tips to Ensure Networking Success

One of the greatest aspects of being a Pro on WeddingWire is the opportunity to network with other Pros! Networking is an extremely important part of your business that allows you to build connections within the industry as well as gain industry knowledge. We know that networking isn’t always easy though!

Here are four tips to help you achieve networking success at your next event:

Four Tips to Ensure Networking Success1. Don’t just intrude into someone else’s conversation

Politely adding yourself into a conversation can be hard but there is a way to do it professionally without being intrusive. Make sure that when you enter a conversation you have a good conversation starter and always introduce yourself when there is a break in conversation. If you want to talk to a member of the conversation privately, make sure you mention that you would love to talk to them about a topic later.

2. Watch your body language

Make sure that you have open body language! Don’t close yourself off to anyone during a conversation. Smiling and having open body language will also make you seem more approachable.

3. Involve everyone in the conversation

Rather than constantly talking about yourself, try finding things to relate to with everyone in the conversation. Remember, you are all at the same networking event so you must have some things in common!

Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh

Monday night, Wedding Pros gathered at The Stockroom at 230 for WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh!

At the Networking Night, Pros from the Raleigh area had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories, meet members of the WeddingWire team and listen to a brief presentation. Other networking events have been held throughout the country, with more exciting events and locations to come this year!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the presentation, the WeddingWire Education Guide, and great 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 Raleigh 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 Nicole Swango of Sugarland!

WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh

WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh

WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh

WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh

WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh

Continue reading

» Latest Updates to Your WeddingWire Account

Latest Updates to Your WeddingWire AccountThe last few months have been very busy for our team as we prepared for this weekend’s latest release with brand new updates to your WeddingWire account. Below are some of the biggest changes you’ll notice when you login!

Access your account on any device

To make running your business even easier (and accessible from anywhere you go), we’re working to make the WeddingWire platform fully responsive! You can now use any device to access your Dashboard, Clients, Reviews, Education and Settings tabs.

Try it out now >>

Reviews keep getting even better

The new Manage Reviews section allows you to easily view, respond, and dispute your reviews within the Reviews tab. In addition, engaged couples now have the ability to submit a review before their wedding date for all categories as long as they have a signed contract. Get new reviews early while they are most likely to rave about your business!

Request new reviews >>

New Clients improvements

Continue reading