» Tips for Working with Wedding Planners and Getting on Their Preferred Vendors List

Laurie-HartwellThis article was written by Laurie Hartwell. Laurie is the owner of A Wedding To Remember. With offices in Orlando, New York City, Kansas City, Chicago, and Atlanta her firm strives to offer top notch, affordable wedding planning and coordination services. She is also the Founder and CEO of The Bridal Society, an organization that offers Wedding Planning Certification Courses in cities across the US. As the main instructor for the course, Laurie tries to share her 20 years of experience with her students to instill the importance of professionalism, character, morals and fairness in the wedding industry. www.TheBridalSociety.com. Check out their upcoming events here.

In addition to constant advertising and excellent reviews, your business can benefit greatly from having a healthy relationship with one or more wedding planners in your community and networking with other local professionals. Once you establish a relationship with a wedding planner and you have proven to him/her that you offer a great product at a reasonable price then they have the ability to send you business on a regular basis. Wedding planners are your repeat customer, so being on their preferred vendor list should be a top priority. Wedding planners often sell their clients on your services through recommendations well before your initial meeting so by the time they meet with you they are practically ready to sign.

Here are some key things wedding planners and wedding professionals you would like to network with (and their clients!) are looking for in a wedding vendor partnership:

Be on time. Make an effort to arrive at least 15 Bride With Wedding Planner In Marqueeminutes early for all meetings. There is nothing that turns a client (and her wedding planner) off more than you being late. Being on time tells the wedding planner and client that you value their time just as much as your own. Always be on time, but if traffic or another issue forces you to be late make sure you communicate with the wedding planner so they can make needed adjustments to the schedule. Many times a wedding planner will schedule meetings with several vendors throughout the day so make sure you communicate, so they can reschedule other appointments accordingly.

Have the right attitude. There is nothing more frustrating to a wedding planner than sitting down with a vendor and immediately having to endure all the gory details about everything that went wrong with your morning. Save those conversations for your friends or family members at another time. When you are meeting for business keep it professional. Having a professional demeanor will give you an edge on the competition!

Focus on a team approach.  Are you easy to work with on the wedding day? Are you sensitive to the needs of the other wedding vendors? Always be willing to cooperate and be flexible when unexpected circumstances come up. If you give the impression that you are not a team player it is unlikely you will make it on anyone’s preferred vendor list. Continue reading

» WeddingWire Networking Night Kansas City

Monday night, Wedding Pros gathered at Hotel Phillips for WeddingWire Networking Night Kansas City!

At the Networking Night, Pros from the Kansas City 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 educational 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 Alan’s 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 Networking Night Kansas City 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:

Finally, congrats to Deanna Johnson of A Day to Adore Photography, the winner of a WeddingWire prize pack!

WeddingWire Networking Night Kansas City

WeddingWire Networking Night Kansas City

WeddingWire Networking Night Kansas City

WeddingWire Networking Night Kansas City Continue reading

» Are You Investing in Yourself?

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is a member of the National Speakers Association, an author, and founder of The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, an organization dedicated to the educating and consulting of highly motivated individuals and businesses. Learn more at http://alanberg.com/.

This question was recently posted on my Facebook page: “What is your best golden nugget of info for sales and marketing success?”

While many things rushed through my mind, I responded with this: “Invest in your own business the way you want others to invest in you. If you don’t want your customers to take a DIY approach and skip using you, the professional, then you shouldn’t think you can do a better job than the Pros you need (such as website and graphic designers).” 

Are You Investing in Yourself?Help me!

I meet lots and lots of wedding and event Pros every year. Some are just getting started, while others have been in their business, or the industry, for decades. The one consistent theme for the most successful people I meet is their willingness to seek out and invest in the best resources for their businesses. They’ve learned, whether through personal experience or education, that there are some things they’re very good at, and others they’re not. I launched a new website last September and I hired a professional to make it… and I wrote a book on websites! My specialty isn’t building websites – it’s seeing and understanding how to design the look and functionality for the best user experience, for you and your customers. That doesn’t qualify me to program or write code. And, most importantly, my time is better spent working with my current clients, and finding new ones, than trying to learn how to build sites.

So, what are you doing now that you should be outsourcing to people with more expertise? Are you designing your own business cards, brochures, logos, menus, price sheets, emails and more? Are you building your own website? The question is not how much it will cost to outsource; the better question is how much more you can earn by having a better website, better graphic design and better marketing. These days prospects make decisions very quickly on whether or not to keep you on their list of possibilities. If they don’t like your website, they’re probably going to leave within seconds, and they’re not going to give you another chance. If they think your business card seems cheap (thin paper, stock images, poorly designed), they’ll toss it and move on. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Expect that your prospects will as well.

Are you investing in yourself?

Continue reading

» Get Ready! Announcing the WeddingWire World Tour 2014

Announcing the WeddingWire World Tour 2014

As we officially announced last week, our award-winning day-long conference is on the move! WeddingWire World is touring five U.S. cities as part of the WeddingWire World Tour 2014.

WeddingWire World is a day-long conference full of education and information to help you grow your business. Not only will you have the unique opportunity to hear presentations from leading wedding industry professionals, our Customer Success Management team will also be available for on-site consultations to answer your questions and help you take advantage of everything your WeddingWire account has to offer. There will also be plenty of time to network with your fellow Pros to learn from one another and create long-lasting connections.

We hosted our first two years of WeddingWire World in DC in 2012 and 2013, but this year we’re taking the show on the road so you have the opportunity to join us in whichever of the five locations is most convenient for you! Get motivated and prepared to reach new levels of success across all of the most important channels for your business including sales, reviews, marketing, business management, networking and more. You don’t want to miss out!

You can sign up to receive updates and special discounts as tickets become available in all locations at weddingwireworld.com

Interested in WeddingWire World DC? Early bird tickets are on sale now for Monday June, 16th at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Learn more here »

We can’t wait to see you all at one (or more!) of our stops on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014! 

» Pop the Question! How to Turn Appointments to Clients

Webinar Recap!Pop the Question! How to Turn Appointments to Clients

Do you want to save time while booking more weddings? This month’s educational webinar for premium members focused on how to sell more clients from each appointment – whether it be an in-person meeting, phone call, email or even Google Hangout! WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg hosted the webinar and shared his best tips on how to ‘pop the question’ to convert more appointments into clients, and how to effectively and quickly sell your services.

What are the keys to having better appointments?

  • Be present. Focus on each appointment by avoiding other distractions and really listening to the potential client, their needs and referencing them back in conversation to show you’re paying attention. This also shows you find their time valuable and will make them feel a positive connection with you and your business.
  • Build rapport. Take time to get to know each client’s personality and basic background, and what they are looking for in a professional like you. This shows you care about them as a couple and want their business, and don’t see them as just another source of income.
  • Make it all about them. Everyone wants to feel special on their big day! Making the appointment about what they want and how you can help will make it easy for them to picture you as part of their wedding day team. It will also make your appointment feel like less of a sales pitch and more of a conversation.
  • Ask them what they want. You won’t know what they’re looking for unless you ask! Asking exactly what services they need will also help to streamline costs and event details to more quickly move into a contract should the client be ready at appointment close or in the near future!
  • Ask better, open-ended questions. Avoid yes or no questions as much as possible. Open-ended questions allow the client to share more of their insights, and allow you to get a better vision of their wants and needs and how you can tailor your services accordingly to effectively sell your business.
  • Recognize if it is a good fit or not. Not all clients are a perfect fit for your services and business, and vice versa.  If it’s clear that you are not a good match, politely say so to save both your time and your potential clients’ time. If handled tactfully and respectfully it will be appreciated as everyone’s time is valuable.

Continue reading

» How to Incorporate Facebook into Your Marketing

Running your business is a full time job, and it may seem like taking on additional responsibilities would be too much to handle. With all the talk about social media and other online tactics, there’s a lot of confusion over what’s necessary for your business and how to get started. Even if you’ve started using social media for your business, it’s easy to get stuck in the same pattern of not knowing what to post or posting the same content over and over.

How to Incorporate Facebook into Your MarketingHowever, if social media is something you’re interested in incorporating into your marketing strategy, create a Facebook business page! Facebook business pages are free, and they have a variety of different benefits over using a personal Facebook account. And with over 1 billion active users on Facebook, you’ll be opening up your business to more exposure as well as another way to connect with your clients.

If you’re ready to get started, below are a few topic ideas to consider when writing your next (or first!) Facebook post:

Use your Facebook Page to Request Reviews

A Facebook status is a great way to reach out for reviews without having to personally email your clients. Posting a status including your personalized review URL is an easy way to solicit reviews, especially if you’ve tried sending personal requests and haven’t heard back from them all.

Pro Tip: Consider sharing this post on a monthly basis!

Share something from “Behind the Scenes”

Give your followers a glimpse from behind the scenes of one of your events. Your followers would love to see a post/picture of what goes into each wedding! This idea also lays the ground work for a follow-up post – the following week you can post a photo of the finished product.

Pro Tip: If you’re a florist, post a picture of your van packed full heading to the event. If you’re a photographer, share a story about the great lengths you went to secure the perfect shot.

Continue reading

» Wedding PR: Making the Most of Social Media

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

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

If public relations is about getting your message to your desired audience, then social media is your bullhorn.

Most successful promotional campaigns involve a mix of strategies – from advertising and bridal shows to real wedding submissions and targeted media pitches. Oftentimes, they even work together hand-in-hand to achieve your desired results. Such is the case with social media, which complements the research, engagement and promotional aspects of public relations quite organically.

Wedding PR: Making the Most of Social MediaHere are the top four ways you should be using social media with your wedding PR strategies in mind:

  1. Get organized. If you’re looking to connect with media channels, then look no further than Twitter. This is a hub for reporters and editors alike, and they’re not afraid to start asking for submissions and content for their followers. Want to make sure you’re catching each and every opportunity? Create Twitter Lists, which allow you to organize your followers into categories. This is the perfect opportunity to create a set of media lists dedicated to each of your media groups – whether it be a list of wedding bloggers, magazine editors or regional outlets.
  2. Customer service. Wedding PR focuses on managing your reputation in the marketplace so customer service is essentially the front line for your company. These days, if a client is unhappy, they are far more likely to make sure everyone knows it online – oftentimes, before they’ve given you the courtesy of an email or phone call. The solution? Maintain a regular presence on your social media channels and be quick to respond to any negative comments, with the goal of simply moving the conversation to a more private channel.   Continue reading

» Heartbleed Update: What You Need to Know

You may have heard of a recently discovered security issue – called Heartbleed – that has impacted many sites on the internet this week, including the Client Site functionality in your WeddingWire account. Heartbleed affected OpenSSL, a type of technology websites use to keep information secure as it travels through the web. Here’s what WeddingWire Pros need to know about Heartbleed and how it affected your account.

What is the Client Site?

The Client Site provides easy access to contracts, questionnaires and invoices, all in one password-protected, secure location, accessible via desktop & mobile devices.

Who was affected?

  • Premium Pros who used the Client Site before the vulnerability was fixed.
  • Client(s) of those Premium Pros who used the Client Site before this vulnerability was fixed.

While this vulnerability affected the Client Site (as well as many of the sites on the Web), we have no indication that anyone exploited this vulnerability and we patched it as soon as we learned about it.

What did WeddingWire do to address the vulnerability?

We took immediate action to fix the vulnerability in our infrastructure. And although we have not found any evidence of malicious behavior we’re encouraging you to take the following actions to ensure your client data is safe.

What action should I take?

Since each of your clients gets their own password protected ‘Client Site,’ we advise you to update the password for each of your clients by taking the following steps:

  1. Log in to WeddingWire
  2. Go to the Clients section
  3. Click into the client’s name
  4. Then click the ‘Change’ link, located next to the client site password

*Make sure to include a password hint for your client to easily access their client site*

WeddingWire takes information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to protect your personal information. Please contact our Support Team at support@weddingwire.com should you have any additional questions.

» WeddingWire Named Official Honoree in the Webby Awards!

WeddingWire Named Official Honoree in the Webby Awards!We are very excited to announce that WeddingWire has been selected as an Official Honoree for the Webby People’s Voice Award in the 18th Annual Webby Awards for Guides/Ratings/Reviews!

The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) — a 1,000+ member judging body that leading web experts, business figures, and former Webby Award Winners and Nominees.

The Webby Awards presents two honors in every category — The Webby Award and The Webby People’s Voice Award — in each of its five entry-types. The online community determines the winners of the Webby People’s Voice by voting for the nominated work that they believe to be the best in each category. Each year, The Webby People’s Voice Awards garners millions of votes from the Web community all over the world.

WeddingWire is honored to be part of the Official Honoree distinction, which is awarded to the top 20% of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement. We received Official Honoree distinctions in 2011 and 2012 as well, but with 12,000 entries received in 2014 from all 50 US states and over 60 countries, we’re thrilled to be honored this year!

Thanks again to all the Pros who make WeddingWire great! We couldn’t win these types of awards without the support of our vendor community.

» Celebrating Our 100 Review Club

Celebrating Our 100 Review ClubIt’s the 100th day of the year, and we’d like to use this day to recognize the elite group of WeddingWire Pros who’ve made it into our WeddingWire Rated™ 100 Review Club!

The WeddingWire Rated™ program recognizes wedding professionals across the U.S. and abroad for commitment to providing quality service by allowing them to showcase different badges based on their number of wedding reviews. WeddingWire members with a minimum average rating of 3.5 are eligible to receive new badges when they reach 3, 10, 25, 50 and 100 review levels. The more reviews you collect, the higher your WeddingWire Rated™ status!

Vendors who have made it into the 100 Review Club are part of an exclusive group of premium Pros who have worked hard to earn more than 100 wedding reviews while maintaining an average rating of 3.5 or higher. We’re celebrating all the hard work it took to reach the coveted WeddingWire Rated™ Black Badge with a new page to showcase the winners! Be sure to check out the new WeddingWire Rated™ 100 Review Club page today.

With 95% of engaged couples using online reviews to select their Pros, reviews from your past clients are extremely important! Below are just a few of the benefits reviews can have on your business:

  1. Reviews create consumer trust because they come from other consumers, not your business! In fact, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  2. Having a high average rating as you collect more reviews shows consistency in your work. Seeing that other couples are all saying the good things about your business helps other couples make decisions.
  3. Reviews can help increase your number of inquiries – our research shows that average Storefront traffic increases 106% for Pros with 11-20 reviews!

And don’t forget – collecting all your reviews in one place makes research easier for engaged couples. They can search for your business and find examples of your work, an explanation of your services, your contact information and your reviews all on WeddingWire. WeddingWire also helps you monitor and manage your online reputation by notifying you every time you receive a new review. Check out your current reviews, and request reviews from past clients here.

Happy 100th Day of the Year, Pros!