Tech Apps for Your Wedding Business

By: Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services

In the wedding industry, it can sometimes seem like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything finished. While I can’t tell you how to get 25 hours out of a day or eight days in a week (if only!), I’m here to share some of my tried-and-true tech apps that will help save time on a daily basis. Even if it is just a few minutes at a time, remember that time certainly is money. 

With this in mind, consider incorporating one, two, or all of the apps below into your everyday process – you’ll be happy to start gaining back some valuable time in your day!

Grammarly

If you’re like me and are always questioning your spelling and grammar, this is the browser plugin for you! Once you’ve installed the plugin, Grammarly will review any text that you put into the browser and suggest revisions to improve your writing. Save yourself the time of consulting a dictionary and the embarrassment of mixing up ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ once again with this intuitive browser plugin!

Doodle

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how much of a headache it can be to schedule an appointment. When somebody wants to meet with you, there’s usually a bit of back-and-forth required before the two of you can agree on a time that works for both of you. Rather than subject yourself to this process, opt for Doodle, an easy-to-use scheduling app that allows people to choose a time that works with your schedule. All you have to do is sync your calendar and it will do the rest for you!

When I Work

This is great for small businesses with employees, as it is the easiest way to create your team’s schedules. In addition to blocking out shifts for every staff member, there’s also a corresponding mobile app that allows employees to clock in and out at any time and location – perfect for keeping track of offsite hours!

Canva

So, you’re looking to have some beautiful graphics for your next newsletter but you don’t have the funds to contract someone and you’re not the sharpest Photoshop user. Enter Canva, an online platform that allows you to create graphics for anything you can imagine. You get access to hundreds of fonts, an endless supply of stock photos and illustrations, and icons and shapes to create your own designs. 

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is for you if you’re tired of juggling your separate social media profiles and want to simplify the posting process. This app can be used both on your desktop and on mobile, giving you the freedom to manage all of your social media usage from wherever you are.

Of course, there are an endless number of apps out there to help your business, so these are only suggestions. Be open to trying out new programs until you find the very best fit for your company!

 

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.

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What Makes Them Click: The Psychology Behind Client Conversion

By Kellie Daab, iDo Collective

The idea that the success of your business is purely reliant on your potential client’s choice to click can be fairly daunting. It’s not just about being good anymore. It’s about being great! So great in fact that clicking to find out more about your business isn’t a choice. It’s a must! 

Our current marketplace is full of excellent, attractive choices. Your competitors look as clean and fresh as you do. Especially as platforms get easier to use. The options for clicking are endless. And therefore, getting the sought after click through is more and more essential to the overall success of your brand. 

Let’s talk about why a potential client clicks on offerings. 

It Solves a Problem

If your potential client can’t seem to figure out what size linens they need for their 5ft. table, a quick trip to Pinterest will be an easy assumption. They type in linen sizes and select the most attractive image. This image will take them to your blog post or website page. You earned the click by being the most attractive solution to the problem. 

So, how do you maximize on this problem-solving conversion tactic? You begin creating content and materials that solve the most pressing issues your potential clients have. Write down a list of the most frequently asked questions and post, blog, tweet, and promote the answers to their problems. Become their Google. 

It Intrigues Them

How many times have you clicked on those “You’ll Never Guess What They Found in the 200 Year Old Home.” story? There’s something about a headline that intrigues you that makes you automatically click. What intrigue statements do you include in the marketing of your business? What stories can you tell? What “gossip” can you spread? By intriguing the potential clicker you’ll likely get them to follow through on your call to action. But beware, the end location must answer the intrigue in a way that leaves your potential client satisfied with the answer and then in want for more information. 

It’s Relevant

What’s more click-worthy than an article about announcing your engagement popping up in your feed the day after you get engaged? When crafting your product and service messaging consider what’s relevant to your ideal client at certain stages of their wedding process? Write content and pro tips that are relevant to the specific times of year or what they are thinking about. Consider content that is seasonal like; How to Stay on Track During the Holidays, Choosing Your Spring Flowers, or Staying Cool during Your Summer Wedding.  Seasonally and situationally appropriate content will most definitely slow the scroll and more readily ensure the click. 

It Makes Them Feel Something

It doesn’t matter what feeling you convey, only that what you say makes your potential clients feel something. Anything! Spend some time digging into the feelings you want to convey with your marketing. By marketing a feeling to your clients, you’ll entice them to follow their feelings. This might be a story of a bride and her dad. Or a sentimental moment. Maybe you’re going to surprise them with a room makeover that wows. Think of what they might feel when scrolling past your content. 

Emotion based clickbait draws from triggers that are less easy to control for the potential viewer. They are intrinsically drawn to the content or to the emotion and often begin to act on it before the logical brain kicks in. Use emotion in the body of your content as well. This will help to trigger easier more meaningful inquiries. Help them feel like you “get them” and you know exactly what they need. This helps to create emotional connections before ever connecting outside of the internet. 

By using these four psychological triggers in your marketing, you can ensure that you secure more clicks and (if your other branding pieces are in line) more inquiries. Consider the why when you’re creating compelling, click-worthy content and it will most definitely produce more than desired results. 

 

 

Kellie Daab is the owner of iDo Collective and a Wedding Business Architect. She is the creator of The Living Blueprint for Wedding Business Success, an author, and thought leader on client experience for wedding industry professionals. After serving 12 years in the wedding industry, owning a boutique wedding planning and consulting firm, managing high end hospitality, and producing events for a multi-million-dollar catering company, Kellie uses her skills to help other wedding professionals identify what’s not working in their business and works together with them to help fix it.  Paper products are her obsession and coffee is her spirit animal. 

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Let Technology Be Your Friend, Not Your Crutch

By Cindy Novotny, Master Connection Associates

Too often in special events and wedding planning teams the entire idea of social media is sharing pictures.  Although this is important and the best way to show active and exciting content, it cannot be effective in growing your business without good engagement with your followers.  Take some time and consider a social selling platform.  Using all the technology available – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn you can begin to strategize on the best tools to use at certain times.  It is a fallacy to believe that Facebook is not for corporate and social event planners are not on LinkedIn.  Not true!

So here are a few tips to consider in growing your business with social media.  

Create a 30 second video clip (commercial) on your business and put it on your LinkedIn profile as well as Facebook and Instagram

Continue adding contacts to LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram that will increase your circle of influence and engage with these new contacts

Don’t spam!  If you are asked to connect with someone who you do not know or there is not mutual connections or similar business – do not discount them and immediately delete their request.  Send them a message through the social selling platform thanking them for reaching out to you and politely asking ‘how your connection will be mutually beneficial.’  You will be surprised by the answers.  About 30% of the time you will get an immediate response telling how they know you or why they would like to connect – so accept!  70% of the time you will get no response to your message – so DELETE!

Follow your prospective clients, current clients and competition.  Be on top of trends

The last and most important tip on using technology and social media is to only spend about 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the day on these platforms.  The rest of the day should be spent actually engaging with clients to build your business.

 

An icon in the hospitality industry, Cindy Novotny is the original founder of Master Connection Associates and is an internationally renowned leader in sales, leadership and customer service. She has been recognized by the American Society of Training and Development as one of the most powerful, innovative and passionate speakers in the industry. Cindy has become a “radical mentor” for thousands of executives around the world. 

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5 SEO Action Steps That Can Help You Rank Higher in 2017

By: Kathy DalPra, Bride Appeal

Some SEO experts believe there may be upwards of 200 factors that Google uses to determine how to rank websites in its search results pages. Overwhelming, I know. As someone who helps small businesses with their wedding seo, I realize you don’t have time for all that.

So here’s the good news: 

You don’t need to master all 200 factors to jumpstart your SEO this year.

In fact, based on research conducted by some of the top Internet marketing institutions online, like SearchMetrics and SEO Powersuite, below are some of the top factors that will affect rankings in 2017, and if you can just focus on these 5 action steps this year, you’ll be well on your way.

Create Content: If you care about search engine rankings and traffic, then you must care about content because that is precisely what search engines rank.

Think about it: When you search for something in Google, what shows up?

Images, videos, articles…content! Content is what search engines are delivering to its users when they type in a search query. Right now, content is the currency of the web right. The more content and higher quality content you have, the better your chances for appearing in search engine rankings. Content is the only way search engines know what your website is about and which topics your website addresses. 

So if you want to stay current in 2017, you need to make content a part of your regular marketing habits.

  • If you dread writing, record simple videos.
  • If you’re terrified of the camera, leverage photography image SEO.
  • If you don’t have many photos, put your ideas into words.

Pick your poison and become your own special brand of content creator! The more content you have on your expert topic (event planning, wedding flowers etc.), the quicker search engines will start ranking you for your desired keyword phrases.

How to Get Started: Take about 1 hour to brainstorm 12 topics related to your expertise that couples may also search for. Visit popular wedding forums to get ideas of questions brides ask and challenges couples have related to your specialty. Use that list to plan 2 blog posts per month for the next 6 months.

Go Mobile: At this point, mobile search isn’t a trend, it’s a part of everyday life.

And Google is taking serious action to ensure that the mobile search experience is as pleasant as the desktop one. It’s even started promoting its own unique form of mobile website coding! If you don’t want to lose 30-50% of your search engine traffic, then your website must be mobile-friendly. Not just because that’s what your visitors want, but also because that’s what search engines expect. If your site is not mobile-friendly, search engines will avoid ranking it in mobile search results pages.

How to Get Started: Work with your developer to make your website mobile responsive. You may not even need to redesign it. Here’s a helpful guide on mobile SEO for wedding pros.

Optimize Your Site: Yes, it’s the same classic SEO advice that’s been around pretty much since the start of search engines.

And it’s not going anywhere. Why? Because when you optimize your site you tell search engines how to rank you! Search engines look at your optimization to determine what your site is about and which search phrases your website is a good answer to.

In other words, search engines are matchmakers. Users type in what they’re looking for and search engines like Google and Bing find the best match. When you optimize your website, you tell the search engines precisely which topics you are a match for so they can show your website to users when it makes sense.

How to Get Started: Every single page, post and media on your website should be optimized. Here’s a simple wedding planner SEO guide that applies to any event professional. It outlines the optimization process so you know which steps to follow.

Improve User Experience: What the heck is user experience, you might be thinking?

Simply put, it’s how easy it is for visitors to use your website. And this matters to Google. If visitors leave your website right away, that’s a strong signal to Google that your site doesn’t offer much value and, thus, doesn’t deserve to be ranked very high. On the flip side, if visitors stay on your website for a long time, visiting multiple pages during their stay, it’s a positive signal that your user experience is enjoyable. So your goal is create a website that has a great experience for your visitors so that they want to stick around.

What creates a great user experience?

  • Fast loading pages
  • Easy, intuitive navigation to help visitors quickly find what they’re looking for
  • Engaging content, like gorgeous images, informative articles and entertaining video
  • Clean, simple design free of distractions
  • Large fonts that are easy to read
  • Typography elements that make webpages easier to digest in chunks
  • Mobile-friendly design that looks great and works well on smaller screens

How to Get Started: Ask a handful of people to visit your website, both on desktop and from various mobile devices. Have them jot down their feedback about anything that was frustrating to use, difficult to understand or lacking in value. Use this feedback to start addressing your website’s overall experience one page at a time.

Promote Your Content: While I’d love to tell you that getting your website ranked in 2017 is simply a matter of posting great content, that’s just the beginning.

The fact is, search engines have a very tough job to figure out which content is the best among thousands of articles, videos and images that all cover the same subject matter. To tackle this challenge, they use other factors to help them figure this puzzle out, such as how well content is received by others online. For instance, if a certain blog post is shared frequently on social media, mentioned by other bloggers or linked to as a resource by other websites, it sends the message to search engines that this is a valuable piece of content. On the other hand, if no one is talking about a given article online via social media, website mentions and linking, it does not appear to be that valuable.

So...what’s that mean for you? If you want that awesome blog post you just spent two days creating to rank in search engines, you need to build some buzz around it.

How to Get Started: Spend twice as much time promoting your content as you do creating it. Build buzz by sharing on social media and tagging any vendors or parties mentioned in your piece. Contact peers and influencers who you think will have a direct interest in your content and let them know when it’s published so they can spread the word too.

 

Kathy DalPra takes the overwhelm out of SEO and sales so wedding businesses can turn more curious visitors into paying clients. Connect with Kathy at http://brideappeal.com.

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Better Late Than Never...My TSE Recap!

The Special Event 2017 Recap

By Kevin Dennis

 

Now that The Special Event is behind us, I’m excited to share a recap of my wonderful experiences in Long Beach! Overall, my trip was very productive and left me feeling motivated and inspired.

 

We had a great turnout for my talk about lighting and décor trends, which is always a favorite area of mine to discuss. I also enjoyed being a part of Honeybook’s panel about business technology – lots of great info was provided and it was an honor being among so many esteemed colleagues. 

 

I especially had a blast at the Opening Night Party, which was held at the Aquarium of the Pacific – what a fantastic experience! It was an incredible space that paired well with the inventive menu. The party was such a great way to reconnect with friends, as well as make some new ones!

 

I wrapped up the week by connecting with my colleagues (and enjoying the company of my fellow WIPA members at the WIPA tables!) at the Wedding Event. It was so great to see my friend Rrive’s pieces in action, as he was one of the main sponsors and provided many of the décor elements for this memorable event. 

 

Most importantly- it was wonderful taking in some great educational sessions. I enjoyed engaging with my colleagues, and potentially bringing on board more contributors to WeddingIQ. 

 

Up next, we’re looking ahead to more great inspiration and networking at Catersource in New Orleans in March, followed by WeddingWire World in Anaheim in May. 

 

I hope to see you along my travels- be sure to say hello if you see me!

 

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.

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