» Welcoming Wedding Planner (Bodas) to the Family!

Welcoming Wedding Planner (Bodas) to the Family!We are thrilled to announce that WeddingWire has acquired Wedding Planner, S.L., the largest operator of online wedding sites across Europe and Latin America. Today’s acquisition now makes us the global industry leader powered by a team of over 650 talented employees.

Over the past eight years, we’ve worked hard to establish ourselves as the number one resource in North America that connects engaged couples with trusted wedding professionals. The acquisition of Wedding Planner accelerates our international expansion across 12 countries, including Spain, Italy, France, Mexico and Brazil. We have market-leading brands, including Bodas.net, Matrimonio.com and Casamentos.com.br, that create the largest global resource for online wedding planning from Washington D.C. to Honolulu, and now also from Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro.

WeddingWire will continue to provide the same great service that our wedding and events professionals are accustomed to – there will be no change for businesses on WeddingWire. Our team remains focused as a partner in success to deliver business to our community.

We hope you’ll join us in taking a moment today to celebrate this union and welcome all the new members of our family!

For additional information, please visit global.weddingwire.com.

» New Employee Onboarding Success Tips

Big Ideas for Small Business HR

New Employee Onboarding Success TipsThe hiring process, from start to finish, can feel like a daunting task. And with so much work going into identifying and hiring that perfect new employee, it’s easy to forget that your job isn’t over when the contract is signed!

New employee onboarding is not often a skill that most wedding professionals have in their realm of experience, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be learned. Use these new employee onboarding success tips to set yourself (and your new hire) up for long-term success.

Get a head start

Onboarding a new employee should start before he or she even arrives! The new hire will need to know when to arrive, where to park, how to dress and what to bring on the first day. Make the situation easier for the new hire by providing all this information prior to the first day. Maintain an open and consistent line of communication in the days or weeks leading up to the employee’s first day, and make sure your team is ready internally.

Cover all the basics

In addition to all the HR forms you and the new employee will need to fill out, there are a number of basic steps to take when onboarding a new employee. Even if you have a small store or office, don’t skip the office tour! You’ll need to point out important things like break areas, rest rooms and emergency exits. It’s also important that you go over any emergency procedures with the new employee to keep them up to date on workplace safety. If you have enough employees that it might be confusing for the new hire, provide an organizational chart to show who to report to with questions or issues.

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» Customer Success Profile: Shayna D.

Did you know that all premium WeddingWire Pros have access to a dedicated Customer Success representative?

Our Customer Success Team is there to share ideas and tips to help you get the most out of your account. No matter if you have a specific question or you’d like recommendations on best practices, the WeddingWire Customer Success team is dedicated to helping you grow your business.

In our Customer Success Profile series, we interview a member of our Customer Success team each month. Get to know your Customer Success representative and learn more about how they can help your wedding business!

NCustomer Success Profile: Shayna D.ame: Shayna D.

How long have you worked for WeddingWire?

3 years and 2 months

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

My favorite part of my job is getting the opportunity to talk to so many different Pros each day. I really feel like I am helping them grow their businesses and I love when I hear about their success with WeddingWire. I recently moved into my market and I really enjoy being able to make a stronger connection with my local Pros, but I’m also excited to see how I can become more of a face in the local wedding community!

What’s your favorite tip to help Pros?

I always share with my vendors how important reviews are. People today use reviews to evaluate everything, from a restaurant to a dentist to a plumber. Weddings are the biggest day in a couple’s life, so they are going to want to read reviews to find out what to expect. Even if your business gets a lot of bookings through word of mouth, couples are still going to go to search your business name and expect to find reviews.

How do you keep up with technology trends?

I read blogs all the time. I am big on business and tech blogs such as TechCrunch and Mashable. I think we live in a tech-focused world and it’s great to see what is new.

How do you keep up with trends in the wedding industry?

I love Pinterest and Instagram. I think both platforms are great for inspiration but also to see what’s trending!

If you’d like to learn more about the WeddingWire Customer Success Team or find out who your Customer Success representative is, please email pros@weddingwire.com!

» What’s Next in Social Media: February 2015

What's Next in Social Media

Social media is constantly changing. Each network has its own strategy and features, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest news. Never fear! We’ve got your monthly update, all in one place, so you can be prepared for what’s next in social media!

Here’s what you need to know about what’s next in social media from February 2015:

Announcing new Product Ads on FacebookProduct Ads on Facebook

In addition to Facebook’s existing ad products, the social network has announced new Product Ads, designed to help businesses promote products or product catalogs across all devices. These ads allow businesses to highlight their products to specific audiences, or let Facebook display the most relevant products to people. These are a great way to link directly to your products and offer discounts.

Read more on the Facebook for business blog >>

Twitter launches Curator

Twitter’s latest tool, Curator, helps media outlets and businesses figure out which topics are popular and where. Curator allows you to search through tweets, Vine videos and other data with filters to narrow down the results by location, word count, sentiment and more. Users can also select tweets from the search results to present them together in relevant groups.

Continue on Mashable >>

Pinterest’s new spam-fighting tool

Stingray, a spam-fighting service widely used at Pinterest, can identify inappropriate and unwanted behavior on the social network in real-time. Since many social networks rely on manual moderation to keep spam posts under control, Stingray balances automatic detection and manual intervention. Rather than block the spam account, the service makes it so that the spammer’s posts are invisible to others.

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» The Surging Necessity of Your Mobile Presence

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.

No matter what industry your business operates in, you must be aware of the new platforms and tools used by your audience. I live by the simple rule that when more than 5% of your audience is using a certain channel or medium to find your business, you should invest in that channel or medium. In the case of the wedding industry, you can no longer ignore the mobile trend; you must have a mobile presence to reach potential clients where they’re already spending their time.

The Surging Necessity of Your Mobile PresenceThe main age demographic for the wedding industry is 18-35 (your local area may vary). Just four years ago, 5-10% of that age group was using mobile devices to search. Today, the same age group uses mobile devices 65-75% of the time. No matter how they find your business, whether through an online wedding directory, online search engine, or countless other choices, a mobile website is mandatory.

When a visitor attempts to access your website from a mobile device, the mobile browser reads the code on your website and determines whether it should show the prospect a full desktop version or a mobile-friendly version of your site.

If you take a look at Google Analytics for your website, you can view what percentage of your audience is visiting your website on desktop or mobile. Drilling deeper, you will be amazed at how many different formats access your website. It is not uncommon to see 25-40 different computer screen sizes and 50-100 mobile resolutions.

There are a number of ways to make your website more mobile friendly, so below I’ll explain the two main strategies for mobilizing your website.

Responsive Design

A website built using a responsive design or format automatically changes the layout and/or content of your website based on the size of the user’s screen. For example, your website on a desktop will display your full site navigation in a horizontal bar, but your website on a mobile device will stack those navigation elements or change to offer drop down menus to accommodate the slimmer screen size. Rather than designing two separate versions of your website, your business can create one website with one experience, no matter the screen size.

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» Pro Forum Buzz: Reasonable Pricing, Contact Forms and More

The WeddingWire Pro Forums are a great place to meet and connect with other Wedding Pros across the country to grow your network. Every day, wedding professionals are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Here’s what Pros are talking about this month in the WeddingWire Pro Forums!

Pro Forum Buzz: Reasonable Pricing, Contact Forms and MoreThe word “reasonable”

When a client uses the word “reasonable,” what do you understand that to mean? Pros talk about the best way to communicate with clients who want to lower your price, and how to help them understand what is actually considered reasonable in the wedding industry.

Add your thoughts >>

Adding contact information

Where do you post your contact information on your business’ website? On a topic fresh from this month’s educational webinar with Alan Berg, Pros discuss best practices for contact forms to help get more qualified inquiries.

Join the discussion >>

Joining area Facebook Groups

Do couples in your market participate in local Facebook Groups to discuss wedding planning? Pros talk about how these groups are a new trend among couples and vendors alike, and how some vendors are trying to advertise or argue on these pages in an inappropriate way. Continue reading

» Ace the Inquiry! Tips for Better Sale Conversions

Ace the InquiryWebinar recap!

When it comes to booking more business, getting more inquiries is just the beginning. How you handle those new inquiries is crucial! Many Pros do not realize the impact that your response time and communication style to leads can make on closing the sale.

In this month’s webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared his best tips to improve your sale conversions so you can have your most successful year yet!

Check out the tips below on how you can ace your next inquiry:

  • Respond quickly. More often than not, one of the first Pros to respond gets the business! Most couples only reach out to their top choices, so respond quickly to get their attention and work towards setting up a conversation that may lead to a sale.
  • Respond personally. Couples want to feel special as they plan their big day. Respond with a personal touch to acknowledge their request with their name and tie in any specific details about their day they may have shared. This will make them more inclined to learn more about your services and is a great first touch to establishing a connection.
  • Respond conversationally. Be mindful to be professional in your replies, but there is no need to be overly formal and stuffy. They are planning a very personal life event, and are more likely to want to do business with a Pro they feel a connection with. A conversational reply will make the couple feel at ease and will give a sense of your personality which can help you to stand out as they chose between Pros.
  • Don’t avoid the price question. When a couple is ready to know cost, don’t hesitate to share that information but do explain why you are priced the way you are! Work to make sure they already know about what makes your business special before jumping right into cost so they will be more inclined to appreciate the value of your services. Let them know you are happy to explain the reasoning behind your prices should they have any questions (or sticker shock!).
  • Use reviews. Reviews are a great way to stand out from your competition by letting your past clients do your bragging for you. With 72% of customers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, there is no reason not to be collecting as many testimonials to share with potential clients as you can! Use the WeddingWire Review Collector tool to make it easy to gather great reviews.

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» The Importance of Networking for Wedding Professionals

The Importance of Networking for Wedding ProfessionalsWith all your meetings, appointments and events, networking can seem like the last priority on your to-do list. Especially since it’s so hard to measure the ROI of networking, many Pros may see networking as a less valuable business growth strategy than online strategies like SEO and social media. However, there’s a good reason that the most seasoned wedding professionals will tell you that it’s all about who you know!

Just as SEO or social media marketing are not standalone strategies, networking is an initiative that should be done in addition to your other business growth efforts. Below we explain the importance of networking for wedding professionals and why your wedding business should look for more networking opportunities in 2015.

Get more referrals or opportunities

Referrals are huge in the wedding industry. Wedding professionals in most cities or regions have a lot of choice when it comes to other Pros to work with, so it’s important for you to meet more people in your area to identify opportunities. The connections you make at networking events or even social events can be the reason your business gets the referral over another local business – if you’re equally skilled and rated within your community as another Pro, you’re much more likely to be selected as the preferred Pro if the referrer knows you well. Connections you make through networking are extremely important if your business is interested in making it onto a wedding planner’s or venue’s list of preferred vendors.

Gain credibility in your area

If you’re new to the wedding business or new to the area, this benefit is absolutely necessary. While it’s still important to get consumer reviews to help boost your online reputation, an endorsement from another professional helps potential clients see how credible your business is amongst your peers. You want your peers to have nothing but good things to say about your business! Making connections and accumulating endorsements from other local Wedding Pros will instantly add credibility to your business and show that your professional network recognizes your work. It’s best to be proactive about your business’ reputation by putting yourself out there and networking with other local businesses.

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» An Insider’s Look at WeddingWire World

We can’t believe that we are just one month away from WeddingWire World 2015! This year marks our fourth annual educational conference for wedding and events Pros, and will be bigger and better than ever before. Get excited for a special two days full of brand new presentations, amazing speakers, networking opportunities and (of course) lots of fun.

The WeddingWire World team had our final walk-through of the beautiful event space at the Gaylord National Resort outside of Washington, DC last week. We are excited to share a sneak peek of where the conference is taking place in the photos below! Now the only thing missing is our conference décor, wonderful Pros like you and some fantastic speakers! We’re proud to feature entrepreneur and winner of The Apprentice Bill Rancic, wedding style icon Monte Durham from Say Yes to the Dress, sales expert Alan Berg, tech predictor Sonny Ganguly and many more.

Have you gotten your ticket yet? Don’t delay; there are only a limited number of tickets left! Be sure to grab yours now at the discounted rate of just $199 through February 20th.

Get all the event details!

Look below for a sneak peek of where the event will be taking place!

View from the Main Stage

View from the Main Stage

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» WeddingWire Workshop Atlanta

Earlier this week, more than a hundred local Atlanta Wedding Pros gathered at the Loft at Castleberry Hill for WeddingWire Workshop Atlanta, an event focused on managing your business!

At the WeddingWire Workshop, Pros gathered for a comprehensive training on the tools available within the Clients Tab of premium members’ WeddingWire account. In addition to receiving hands-on WeddingWire account training, attendees also enjoyed a brief panel presentation, met their local WeddingWire representatives, and networked with other local Pros during a closing reception.

WeddingWire Workshops are the newest addition to our variety of educational events and networking opportunities created for Wedding Pros, which include our annual user’s conference WeddingWire World, networking events such as WeddingWire Mix & Mingles, WeddingWire Networking Nights and more. We look forward to hosting more local WeddingWire Workshops in the near future!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us and participated in the Workshop, including our panelists from Hip & Hitched and Unique Events. If you want to continue the conversation with some of the Pros you met at the event, check out the WeddingWire Workshop Atlanta board in the Pro Forums!

We’re excited to share some highlights from the event and additional resources including access to our Clients tab Quick Start Guides, the WeddingWire Education Guide for more business tips, and great photos from the evening (as seen below).

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

Finally, congrats to Daphne Simpson of Elite Designs, the winner of the WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Workshop Atlanta
WeddingWire Workshop Atlanta
WeddingWire Workshop Atlanta
WeddingWire Workshop Atlanta Continue reading

» WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Jacksonville

Yesterday afternoon, Wedding Pros gathered at The River Club for WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Jacksonville!

At the Mix & Mingle, Pros from the Jacksonville 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 educational 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 Mix & Mingle Jacksonville 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 also excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack! Congrats to Jay Rockwitz of A-1 Majestic Sound!

Finally, as mentioned at the conclusion of the presentation, we encourage you to take advantage of your discounted registration for WeddingWire World! As a WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Jacksonville attendee, you may use the promo code provided at the event for your ticket. Please email events@weddingwire.com if you have any questions!

WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Jacksonville
WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Jacksonville
WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Jacksonville
WeddingWire Mix & Mingle Jacksonville Continue reading

» Old SEO vs. New SEO for Wedding Pros

Old SEO vs. New SEO for Wedding ProsOne of the most common questions we hear from wedding and event professionals regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, “How long does it take to start working?” Our answer is usually, well, it depends. It depends on a lot of factors, including the age of your website, how long you’ve been optimizing it, the amount of content on your website, the age of your content, and more.

SEO has been around for a while now, and some of the rules have changed as technology across the Internet changes. There are some significant differences in the way we view SEO now from the way we used to view it, and they affect the way your business should approach its strategy. Below we’ve listed the two main areas affected in the world of new SEO for Wedding Pros!

Old vs. New Keywords

Old SEO dictates that your business should select a short list of big keywords to focus on within your website, blog, social networks and more. While this strategy is still huge in SEO, new SEO is taking the concept in a new direction. With changes made to the Google algorithm from Google Hummingbird in 2013, Google is now doing more than finding relevant web pages – it is compiling information from several sources and displaying the results within Google itself. This helps searchers find answers faster, with fewer steps between query and answer. In other words, Google is now attempting to understand what a person is searching for and return the most relevant results for that specific query.

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