Months into a worldwide pandemic, many of us find ourselves with more time on our hands than usual – and with so many couples in the midst of wedding planning at home on their computers, your online presence is more important now than ever. The team at Wed Society has put together a list of 5 easy steps you can take today to conduct an online health checkup for your business.
Consistency with your social media is key for brand recognition. Check to see if you are using the same handle across all social media channels so your business can be found easily. Identify your target audience, and review your voice in social media posts to make sure they are written with that audience in mind. Take a look at your bio – most are limited to only a few sentences so make sure yours gives an accurate description of the product or service you offer and what makes your offering unique. Consider using a tool like Linktr.ee or Linkin.Bio to allow you to link to more than one URL in your Instagram bio. Remember that many couples are looking at your social media profiles when searching for their ideal vendor, so it is important to post images that convey your best work!
Many wedding businesses have a blog on their site, but when was the last time you posted to that blog? According to Hubspot, businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t. Consistent blogging can also help with SEO (more on that below)! Try to view your website from an outsider’s perspective. Is it well-organized and easy to navigate? Is your content up to date and does it provide an accurate depiction of your services? Are all of the links and plugins working? These are just a few of the items to check for as you navigate through your site as part of your online health checkup.
SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is tremendously important for your website’s health, and ensures your business has the opportunity to rank for specific keywords in a Google search. Without an understanding of your current SEO, it is hard to create a strategy to improve it. Ubersuggest is a free tool that can help you identify your website’s top pages and the keywords you are currently ranking for. If you are a florist in Houston, TX and your top 3 keywords are common search phrases such as carnation color, succulents for weddings, and tulip wedding bouquet, chances are you will fall so far down the list in search that your website will not receive any organic traffic from those searches. If you built your website on your own several years ago, but the words header tag, meta description, and alt attribute sound like gibberish to you, it might be time to consider a website refresh.
Don’t overlook this important aspect of your online health checkup. From Google to Facebook to the Knot, online reviews are increasingly important for wedding businesses. Having great reviews can help boost your business, but did you know that responding to both positive and negative reviews is just as important? Harvard Business Review conducted a study which determined that replying to customer reviews resulted in better rankings overall, and according to Google, businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses who don’t. Set aside some time to make a list of every place your business has reviews, and add a recurring reminder in your calendar to respond to the latest ones. Lacking in a strong collection of reviews for your business? See our tips on getting more glowing reviews!
An optimized, updated Google My Business profile is vital to appearing in local search results. In fact, many consumers rely on Google My Business to provide them with the information they need instead of visiting a website to search for it. If you don’t have a free Google My Business profile, visit business.google.com to set one up. To determine whether your GMB profile is fully optimized for your business, check for these items: business description, categories, questions and answers, updated imagery, and frequent business updates. Keep your profile living and breathing with fresh content to showcase your most recent work! We have a helpful blog with more tips on optimizing your Google My Business page.
If all of this sounds great, but you’re not sure where to start, don’t feel overwhelmed. Wed Society’s sister company, Brandlink Media, can help! Brandlink specializes in helping wedding businesses reach new heights through thoughtful strategy and beautiful design.
Brandlink Media is offering free brand consultations and would love to connect to help your business come out of this time with a more solid strategy for the future! Learn more HERE.
Written by Ali Chambless
We’re celebrating this week as one of our companion media brands, Brides of Oklahoma, launched its Fall/Winter 2020 issue this past week! You’ll have to watch the video below to see inside this amazing new issue packed full of beautiful Oklahoma weddings. It was certainly a season unlike any other with COVID and bringing this issue to life was no small feat, but if anything, we learned that LOVE prevails. So many gorgeous weddings and intimate social distancing-style celebrations that have our hearts all a-flutter!
As a wedding industry professional who likely uses social media for your business on a daily basis, it can be tough to navigate the Instagram waters sometimes. Since its inception, Instagram has only allowed one link in each page’s bio, which of course needs to be used strategically. Why not send them to your main website’s home page, right? Well, for a bustling multifaceted wedding business, it can be tricky to pick just one page of your site to promote!
Your home page is a wonderful place for people to land if they find you on the internet, but if they’re interacting with your Instagram and perhaps you have a sale going on, a blog post you want to promote, a downloadable lead magnet or even just your contact form that you want to send them to directly, you don’t want to put that one specific link in your bio and consequently neglect other important pages.
Enter: Instagram bio link tools. These handy tools essentially help you build a landing page users can click on from your bio and from there, find exactly what they’re looking for without searching your entire website. They allow you to display all of your business’s most important links in one place.
Linktr.ee – The original Instagram bio link tool. Simple in appearance and to create, with free and professional levels. Linktr.ee‘s paid version offers more links, more branding options, tracking/stats and customization features, while the free version offers a few different color schemes and one simple layout.
Taplink -– Very similar to Linktr.ee in appearance. However, Taplink also allows you to link to other social media profiles with buttons for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and lets you collect emails and even payment info right there on your Taplink page. Users don’t ever have to leave Instagram! Taplink’s robust setup also has the options to create an FAQ page, an offer grab with images or a video and more.
Link in Profile – This option takes users to a page that looks exactly like your Instagram feed, except each image is clickable and can go to the link of your choice. As opposed to the options above, this Instagram bio link tool is ideal for wedding pros who sell several different products and highlight those products through imagery on their feed (i.e., dress boutiques, rentals, etc.). Your Link in Profile landing page automatically updates whenever you add another image to your grid, as long as you specify the destination link. This tool requires a fee, but is certainly robust and can help drive sales in a big way.
Linkin.bio – Affiliated and running in tandem with Later, one of our favorite social media scheduling tools, Linkin.bio is similar to Link in Profile and shows a landing page reflective of your existing grid images. You can connect up to 5 links per grid post, which is great for wedding businesses selling products frequently or with lots of different links that could correspond to different images on the grid. Our sister brands at Brides of North Texas, Brides of Austin, Brides of Houston and Brides of Oklahoma currently use Linkin.bio to link out to various blog posts and editorials from their individual Instagram images. A free version does exist, but the paid version has many more features.
Tools like Linktr.ee and Taplink.cc with textual links listed out in an easy-to-use button format are perfect for wedding vendors wanting to direct customers to a variety of destinations and be able to highlight several parts of their website at once. These are typically better for service-based businesses.
On the other hand, visual bio link tools that replicate the grid like Linkin.bio and Link In Profile are ideal for wedding vendors in product-based businesses, sharing products frequently with the goal of driving sales and making their Instagram shoppable.
While these tools are all helpful in their own unique ways, there are downsides they have in common. They aren’t owned by you (meaning you have no control over how these apps and websites could change at any time), they can be hard to track and attribute correctly in terms of analytics and they can do a disservice to your brand because none of these landing pages will look exactly like your website or the rest of your branding materials. So what’s the smartest alternative?
The ultimate way to share multiple relevant links within your Instagram profile is to create a custom landing page on your own website. No need to get complicated: this can just be a simple page that looks like an extension of the rest of your website and with relevant links listed, maybe a footer with buttons for your other social media profiles, and minimal imagery. This solution offers cohesive branding, easy trackability and 100% customization.
Consider a simple URL like yourwebsite.com/instagram or yourwebsite.com/links. Something short and sweet for your bio that indicates to clients that this is where they can find what they need. If having your home page in your Instagram bio isn’t ideal, this is a great workaround to be able to share all things relevant and current for your biz and put your Instagram images to work!
Written by Kaitlyn Bullard
Google Search Console is yet another free service from Google that allows you to check the health of your website, learn more about the people who visit it as well as identify the keywords being used to find your business.
Search Console used to be called Webmaster Tools but fear not: you definitely don’t need to be a “webmaster” to utilize this valuable tool. As a wedding business owner, there are just a few basics you’ll want to know. After all, your website is your most valuable business asset online!
Google Search Console is a channel for Google to be able to communicate with individual site owners. By having an account, Google can send you valuable information about your website, including errors and penalties that may need resolving to improve performance. To register your website, simply go to google.com/webmasters and log in using your Google account information.
Google Search Console also provides tools that can help in improving your site content, refining your site settings, and minimizing errors. It lets you submit your web pages to be evaluated for errors that could hinder potential couples from finding you on the web. Google Search Console also has a helpful analytics dashboard with insightful data about how your website is showing and performing in searches.
Wedding business owners should definitely take advantage of the free resources Google Search Console has to offer. With a setup that takes just minutes and valuable information, you can use to tweak your site to be seen by more of the right people, using Search Console is a no-brainer.
Keep the website knowledge going with tips on How Wedding Businesses Can Optimize Google My Business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key part of getting people to your website — and not just any people, the kind that will be interested in your products and services. Check out Wed Society’s YouTube channel for more helpful SEO-related videos and tips!
If you’ve claimed and verified your Google My Business but haven’t gone any further, it’s time to make sure it is optimized so that you can land in front of couples looking for your services. More and more businesses are claiming their Google My Business listings, but fewer are really taking the time to optimize their listings to the fullest. Set your business apart with easy optimizations.
An optimized Google My Business page helps tell Google more about your business. It’ll tell Google who you are, what products or services you sell, where you’re located and what your website is so they can crawl your site for more information about your business. The more Google knows about your business, the more types of searches your Google My Business listing will appear in.
To check how current your information is, click on Info in the left-hand column of your GMB profile. Filling in missing information and updating the info to the most current is the biggest opportunity you have to optimize your entire listing. Go through and make sure your basic info is correct, but also that you’ve selected your correct category and listed out the types of products and services you sell, where indicated.
Asking your satisfied clients and customers for Google Reviews not only strengthens your online reputation, but helps local businesses like yours to improve search rankings. Reviews are a good signal when it comes to search algorithms. It’s a win-win! To take your GMB page even higher, take the time to respond to reviews (by clicking the Reviews area on the left-hand column once again).
Not sure where to start when it comes to reviews? Check out our tangible tips on getting more glowing reviews for your wedding business!
The third step to optimize your Google My Business listing for your wedding biz is to enable the messaging feature. To enable this feature, you’ll need to download the Google My Business app on your phone and connect your account. With this feature turned on, you’ll be able to answer questions directly from interested customers, as well as increase visibility to your business page and take your user experience to the next level.
Stay tuned for more technical tips from our SEO experts, and subscribe to our Wed Society YouTube channel to stay in the know!
In the world of wedding planning, picking out a cake is the icing on top (quite literally) for many couples. Taste testing and selecting flavors is one thing, but working with a talented baker to design a cake that’s not just pretty, but a personalized work of art, is another. We’re lucky to witness the work of countless bakers across Texas creating delicious desserts for so many couples, but every now and then, certain cakes stand out above the rest.
These three wedding cake bakers have honed their craft and risen to the top of the game, serving as inspiration for not only brides in need, but other bakers, as well. Their cakes are award-winning and their styles are distinct. Take a look at the work of these three Texas bakers creating absolutely incredible edible artwork. Mesmerizing and mouthwatering, for sure!
If cake is a canvas, Butterfly Cakery is truly an artist for the ages. Their designer cakes bear uncanny resemblance to high-end oil paintings, Old World European rough stucco walls, smooth veined marble slabs or ethereal watercolor skies. No matter the medium, Butterfly Cakery has mastered the techniques needed to achieve the most stunning artful looks. They’re the masters of metallic, creating eye-catching designs with gold flecks and using edible colors in ways we’ve never seen elsewhere.
Hailing from Central Texas, baker extraordinaire Brittany of Morgan Pearl Cakes consistently takes her cakes’ textures to another level. She has a signature sugar flower look that blends seamlessly with real blooms, unmatched attention to detail with stencils and uses icing painted masterfully to achieve a three-dimensional look to her designs. We love the way Morgan Pearl Cakes have so many jaw-dropping elements to look at – who knew boho cakes could be so beautiful!
It’s not uncommon for creatives to be advised to “find their niche.” Well, Shelby Elizabeth Cakes has certainly found hers. In years of perfecting her craft, Shelby has become the go-to baker for Houston brides looking for something completely out-of-the-box. She specializes in uniquely sculpted geode cakes, often with the optical illusion of floating tiers and delectable amethysts via crystalized “rock candy” sugar. Shelby also loves creating sci-fi-inspired and hyper-realistic designs. Staring at her cakes will leave you wondering, “How on earth did she do that?” while at the same time, eager to dig in. Shelby is proud of her self-proclaimed over-the-top cakes, but not too proud to keep her techniques all to herself. She teaches classes to share her expertise and pass on her knowledge, making the world of cake a truly better place.
Image credits, in order of photos:
Butterfly Cakery: Andrea Elizabeth Photography, Nate and Grace Photography, Bay Productions
Morgan Pearl Cakes: HoneyGem Creative, Stefanie Thomas Photography, Samantha Kaye Photography
Shelby Elizabeth Cakes: Fulleylove Photography, @shelbyelizabethcakes
With each passing year, the wedding industry continues to play a huge role in pushing the envelope in event design and execution, with rental companies leading the charge. Long gone are the days where tablecloths and centerpieces are the only boxes to check in the decor process. From lounge areas and photo vignettes to large scale installations, curated tabletops and catering displays, venues can be completely transformed with fabulous furniture, luxury linens and custom graphics. There are so many noteworthy vendors in this category we could mention that are providing couples across the country with endless inventory and impeccable customer service. Below, we’ve highlighted four outstanding companies we’ve seen changing the wedding rentals game for the better.
Formerly associated with a more vintage flair, Loot Rentals is a specialty rental company that is now one of the most notable rental companies in the south and central Texas areas. This company is known for speaking to so many different styles and event types. By categorizing their inventory into easily identifiable styled lounges and producing seasonal look books to showcase new items, couples can easily source the perfect pieces for their wedding at Loot. They’ve even curated a fun custom style quiz to help match their products to your ideal wedding “vibe”! (hello, Natural Modern). Other vibes include Nouveau Americana, Boho Bungalow and Austin Authentic to name a few, which, despite our quiz results, we feel we might just fall into any of them. We love Loot for so many reasons, and we KNOW you’ll love working with their incredible team and will find something that you just simply can’t live without incorporating into your big day.
If you’re looking to dress your tables, chairs and place settings with linens fit for royalty, look no further. Hailing from Niles, Illinois and the vineyards of Napa Valley, California respectively, these two boutique linen rental providers are experts at creating unique linen styles, mirroring the finest materials, colors and textures from the design and fashion worlds. Once two separate powerhouses in the special event world, BBJ Linen recently acquired La Tavola earlier this year, further elevating their monopoly on the luxury linen niche. Collectively, their inventory includes thousands of different types of fabrics that range from formal to rustic, neutral to vibrant, prints to solids, classic to whimsical; catered to match any theme or color scheme imaginable and adding sophistication and glam to anything they touch. With showrooms strategically placed across the United States, orders can be placed nationwide. Whether it’s a private engagement, a high-end gala for thousands or a styled editorial photoshoot, BBJ Linen + La Tavola is shaping the luxury linen game making it easy to create event experiences with artfully designed and curated linen collections making celebrations worthy of your story.
What was once six separate rental companies has now been united to become one mega, premier event rental company; the almighty Marquee Event Rentals. Serving couples across the Midwest and South, their vast inventory includes event furniture, fine china, drapery, flatware, tenting, staging, climate control and lighting just to name a few, making them a true one-stop shop for all things rental and decor. Because of their accessibility across the region and unparalleled customer service, they are able to execute any type or size of event, from weddings to festivals to themed parties. A quick visit to their website to shop their incredible products is made even easier with access to templated design boards, product guides and the latest trend reports so you can make informed decisions when selecting the perfect pieces for your special event. So whether you need to deck out your tables, light up your ceremony or tent your entire reception, Marquee Event Rentals is on the job.
With a team of award winning designers to help you every step of the way, you’ll LOVE what specialty rental company, Archive, has to offer when it comes to event rentals and event design. Celebrating their 10-year anniversary in business this year, this company is exploding with growth into new markets with a presence in California, Texas and the Pacific Northwest but also takes their incredible talent and inventory international by serving the Riviera Maya coastline of Mexico. From ornate arbors, delicate accessories, unique seating options, and swoon-worthy glassware, Archive is known for their ability to give forgotten pieces new purposes. Their pieces are a unique mix of contemporary, boho and glam all rolled into one fabulous package and their ideal clients are those who want to break from the normal and design an event that is as unique as they are. If this sounds like you, you can start the dream wedding planning process by working with Archive not only on selecting amazing rental pieces to bring your wedding to life, but by working with an event designer who is on site day-of to make sure everything is placed to perfection.
We know there are so many more event rental companies paving the way for incredible design and curated events. What other wedding companies do you know changing the game in their respective category?? Drop us a comment!
Written by Molly Dysart
Featured image by Anne Marie Studio
Photos courtesy of Loot, La Tavola, Marquee and Archive
In our efforts to connect wedding vendor communities everywhere, we at Wed Society vow to highlight the incredible work Black wedding vendors are doing as we continue celebrating all vendors, all love, all beauty and all creativity. We are committed to staying informed and actively participating in the fight against injustice.
We’re moving beyond words to action by upholding our pledge to feature diverse, thoughtful content along with minority-owned businesses and ethnically diverse vendors. We’re conducting reviews regularly to make sure our website and social media channels reflect these values.
It’s important to us to use our platform for good and to be a welcoming, safe space for anyone looking for inspiration, education and connection within the wedding industry. To that end, we are proud to join other industry leaders like creative coach Terrica in the #UnityThroughCommunity initiative to stand in solidarity with the Black wedding community.
We promise to take continual action and to do our part in achieving change for this industry with the guidance of the Unity Through Community Creed:
If you’re a wedding professional or creative in the wedding space, we hope you’ll join us in these efforts and that you’ll also hold us accountable to our promises. Changing an industry for the better cannot happen overnight, but it can happen in significant ways when we’re all committed to improvement. Here’s to #UnityThroughCommunity!
Written by Kaitlyn Bullard
Feature Image by Anna Smith Photography
Graphic, creed and concept by Bron Hansboro, CeCe Todd and Tammy Fleuch
Do you struggle with blogging? You’re not alone! As a wedding vendor, blogging your work is crucial to showing off your talents, attracting new clientele and giving curious potential customers more of what they want to see.
It’s a process that can be streamlined to take as little time as possible while still occupying a permanent spot in your workflow. How to blog a client’s wedding day in a way that will have the most positive impact for your business and for your clients? Keep reading!
If you’re a not a photographer, make it a habit of asking the photographers you work with to send you the gallery. Bring a business card or send them an email so they have yours, and follow up if necessary! Photographers, you should be sending ALL vendors you work with on a wedding day a copy of the gallery. Depending on the gallery service you use, you can even create a separate sub-gallery with just images that would pertain to vendors (i.e., excluding all the family shots).
Once you have the gallery, it’s important to choose enough images to share to show a solid representation of the day and of your work, but no need to over-share. Only select images that represent your best work and/or the main parts of the day.
How many images should a wedding blog include? That’s up to your discretion, but no matter what, think quality over quantity. Think from a potential client’s perspective: are you really going to scroll through 100 images, no matter how beautiful they are? A blog post shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to digest and get the gist. Pick 15 or pick 50, but make sure each one adds something of value to the blog. That said, no need to overthink it. If you can’t pick between two similar images, flip a coin and move on! The reader will never know otherwise.
When crafting your blog, keep these SEO best practices in mind:
Image size: you want to be sure your blog loads quickly. Large image sizes can hurt load times. There’s really no reason for blog images to be more than 1mb each. Consider the “800 rule”: if you can export them to a decent width (800px or more) while keeping them under 800kb each, that’s great! Programs like BlogStomp and Narrative can help with this, along with easily creating drag and drop image layouts, and sites like Bulk Resize Photo are great for batch-resizing images to achieve much smaller file sizes without losing image quality.
Image names: Rename all images to include a keyword and/or your business name – anything but IMG_1234.jpg. If you want to take things a step further, add alt text to every image (here’s a great hack from Dawn Elizabeth studios for batch-adding alt text!).
Credits and links: It’s a good idea for SEO purposes and for ethical purposes to give credit to all vendors with an external link to each of their sites. To further boost your SEO power, include a link or two to pages within your own website, like another related blog or your About page.
Pinterest: Go ahead and Pin some of the very best images from the blog to your Pinterest page, and title each image with keywords brides would actually search for. The general public isn’t going to be searching for the name of your couple, but they might be searching Pinterest for Outdoorsy Groom’s Cake or Vow Book Ideas or Tropical Altar Florals.
WRITE! Write a good paragraph of text to go along with your images. More on that next!
There’s really no need to give a recap of the entire day. Potential clients don’t want to read a novel – they want snippets. So make them memorable snippets. Was there a particular moment that stood out to you? Something that embodied the uniqueness of this particular couple? Something that made this wedding truly one-of-a-kind? An awesome venue, location, or vendors? Something funny that happened? Something you took away?
Pick 3-5 noteworthy, unique elements to the day and share about these details from your heart. Whether you have one big block of text at the top followed by all of your images, or your text is sprinkled throughout the blog and paired with relevant images to the details you’re describing, it doesn’t really matter. Just write like you’d speak! Keep the tone light and conversational.
We hope these tips help you as you tackle more wedding day blogs. Do you have any best practices you abide by when blogging clients’ wedding days? We’d love to hear them!
Written by Kaitlyn Bullard
Image by Kristen Edwards Photography
Positive reviews from happy clients can make all the difference in the world. According to a 2019 study by Qualtrics, 97% of people read reviews of local businesses before making a purchasing decision, and 90% of those people said positive reviews directly influenced their purchase or hiring decisions.
We’ve talked about customer loyalty and why it matters – how “promoters” (those who’d rate their experience a 9 or 10 out of 10) and even “passives” (those who’d rate their experience a 7 or 8) can have a direct, positive effect on our bottom line, but how do you get there? First, you’ve got to ask the right questions!
Simply asking “How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend?” or “How would you rate your experience working with us?” is a great place to start. But to get actual written reviews with positive feedback that can be shared on your website and marketing materials, validate your work and reassure potential new clients, you’ve got to put in a little more work. Trust us though; it’s worth it!
Try these strategies to garner more glowing reviews for your wedding business.
First things first: focus on clients you know are satisfied. A few glowing reviews beats dozens of mediocre ones. Think about the couples you’ve served who already rave about you to their friends, unprompted. Think about the couples whose parents went on and on about how wonderful your work is or about how easy you were to work with.
Follow up shortly after their wedding with a short personal email (not the time for a template email – you want to make sure this email is tailored to them specifically) and request a review. Something simple at the end of your email like “If you were satisfied with your experience, would you mind leaving a review? Positive reviews really help me out and allow me to serve more wonderful couples like you!” can suffice.
Go ahead and include a link to your review site of choice before your email signature and prompt them to share what made their experience awesome. If a certain positive interaction between the two of you stands out, it’s ok to jog their memory, but never ask them to say anything verbatim. Let their voice be heard!
After they’ve left the review (this is key – doing anything beforehand is not only unethical but in certain instances, could be illegal), reward them with a coupon or small token of appreciation. Maybe you have a coupon you can send them for a floral arrangement, a dessert or a percentage off their wedding photography album. If a follow-up purchase doesn’t make sense for your business, an unrelated small gift might be appropriate (a gift card to a local coffee shop or a small personalized present). You definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money. If anything, and in all circumstances, a handwritten thank you note is always appropriate.
So, what can we take away from this?
Positive reviews can truly bolster your financial bottom line and aid you in booking even more satisfied clients, but in order to get really great reviews that reflect well on your wedding business, you’ll need to do more than send a simple survey.
Follow up personally, promptly and professionally with wedding clients you know are satisfied. Guide them to the right website (make it easy for them) and prompt them with an idea of what you’d like them to talk about (but never suggesting exactly what to say). Give them time to follow through, and thank them, regardless.
Share their reviews strategically and let your happy clients’ words do the work. Positive reviews should shine on multiple places on your website and marketing materials. Don’t just stick 15 lengthy reviews on a Testimonials web page and call it a day. Wherever a potential client might be making a purchasing decision (your About page! your Services page! your Instagram story!) is a great place for a positive, relevant review).
We hope these steps can help you gain better reviews and more business! Good luck!
Written by Kaitlyn Bullard