• about this blog

    The postings on this blog are a compilation of over 30 years of industry insights from wedding and stationery industry writer, seminar speaker and consultant Brian Lawrence from his broad experience in the retail and wholesale arena.

    Here you will find industry trends, marketing advice, new service offerings and musings. We invite you to add comments and learn from others who have businesses similar to yours. You can subscribe to the blog by adding your email address to the tab on the right side below.

The Wedding Market Expo Business Conference Experience

St. Louis wedding professionals that chose to attend The Wedding Marketing Expo educational conference at the Fox Theater September 9 and 10th were nurtured through an enjoyable, stimulating, diverse business growth experience.

Conference producers Bev Egidi and Linda Smith coordinated a substantial, yet not overwhelming seminar agenda through the two full days that started at 9:00 AM and ended at 5:00PM.  Attendees were treated to great cuisine, hospitality and ambiance in the majestic, interestingly ornate Fox Theater environment. Bev and Linda also fostered a strong sense of community by inviting participation and comments by the attendees. Several speakers incorporated group interactive experiences that let them practice networking skills and helped them think about action steps to take after the conference.

The conference started and ended with yours truly. I surprised the audience by singing a couple of lines of the Bye Bye Birdie Classic “Put on a Happy Face”, and quipped, “Now I am can say I sang at the great Fox Theater”.  My opening seminar “12 Steps To Wedding Business Success” set the tone for other speakers to elaborate on certain topics  . Regional sales manager of the Knot, Tom shared some of the vast marketing intelligence from surveying their audience and shared some of his own insightful marketing tips.

Other prominent national known wedding industry speakers during the 2 day agenda were Cherie Ronning of Wedding Network USA, Charles Oster of MyWedding.com, Shane McMurray of “The Wedding Report”, and Alison Howard of Wedding and Event Institute.

On a sign-up, first come, I also offered free half-hour website reviews to attendees through out the second day as a pre-cursor to my closing talk on “The Anatomy of A Website”.  That seminar focused on the ingredients of a website that creates the greatest possibilities of inspiring bridal visitors to contact the business with strong interest.

The trade show was supported by leading St. Louis wedding media companies like Perfect Wedding Guide, St. Louis Best Brides, wholesale suppliers  and businesses services like Constant Contact.

Upcoming events are taking place in Denver on October 21-22 and Nashville on November 11-12. Bev and Linda plan to repeat events in those areas in 2015 and expand to other regional markets.

 

 

 

Posted in Event Planning Industry, events, Uncategorized, wedding industry, wedding industry networking | Leave a comment

What Does The Stationery Show and a One Wall Paddleball Tournament Have in Common?

paddleballThis might seem like my weirdest blog post ever. Not for me. These are two events in my life where my talents were on display and felt extreme passion and positive anticipation about. And I prepared for both the same way. I visualized a positive outcome. I prepared snacks, vitamins and any healthy method to maintain my energy and endurance. I always rested to make sure I was ready to give it my all. I exhibited at NSS from 1997 – 2012. When I exhibited with Encore Studios before moving on to Local Traffic Builder,  on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday there were days I did not leave the booth other than to go to the bathroom. I did not want to miss a retailer that might have come to the booth to see me. I loved the opportunity to connect and talk business with so many people and I want to be at the top of my game. And yes I had the same mantra when I played paddle ball competitively.

Those of you that know me, would probably not describe me as the athletic type. However, when I played paddle ball I was all in and physically stronger opponents always underestimated me. When I was NSS I was all in. That was my playing field and I loved it.

This year I will walk the show. I will look for so many of my industry friends that used to visit me for so many years. I am the type of person that moves on and looks forward. Although I have to admit, I miss those days. I loved working for Encore and believed in our industry. I am still a believer, but wow are there challenges.

I want to inspire. I want to make a difference and if you have a business in the stationery industry or wedding industry and have me consult with your business, you will see that and benefit from it. Where can I make the most ruckus? Is it with www.localtrafficbuilder.com? Is it with www.sellthebride.com? Or will an invitation brand let me go back into a competitive arena where I know I was a top performer. And while I may not play paddle ball as good as I used to. I love it and still have a strong game. And yes, I still have plenty of game left to make my mark in the wedding and stationery industry. I am excited about the next few days. And yes I did prepare.

Posted in humor, invitation industry, Stationery Industry, wedding industry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Invitation Retailers Get Your Head Out of The Sand

There is an alternate state of reality going on, online. As Linda Richmond, the Saturday night caricature character used to say, “I’m feeling faklempt and talk amongst yourselves”. That’s exactly what the brides are doing and they are coming to their own conclusions on what is their best options for purchasing invitations. For example on this Wedding Wire Forum brides are totally touting DIY.

When I first looked at that post, I just wanted to create an account and weigh in on this conversation. I shouldn’t and neither should you. It is your clients that should. Ask a couple of satisfied clients to talk about their experience buying from you. Start searching out these forums of ignorance and let your voice be heard through your customers. They also can post a link to your website when talking about their experience with you. You might actually a get new customers.head-in-the-sand

This is not very profound, but collective actions like these are important to the stationery industry and its survival. It’s hard enough when a bride searches on Google and can’t find a local retailer because most retailers done nothing to optimize their website. And while I have your attention, please tell me what you think about my new website that serves the wedding industry www.sellthebride.com. I can really use your feedback. Email me at brianlawrence@localtrafficbuilder.com. And do what brides are doing with these forums, share this article with other retailers.

Posted in humor, invitation industry, search engine optimization, Stationery Industry, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

SEO Realism

You are not going to rank on the first page of Google for Wedding Invitations, Photography, Bridal Consultant or any other term that describes your business. Nor do you need to if you are a local business.

Your concern is to be visible when clients in your local area are searching. They are more likely to add a geographic term to tell Google the area they are interesting in finding a resource. However most businesses concentrate on ranking for the state, county or town they are located in. Many people (especially men according to studies) will search using a zip code. If you are in a larger city like New York City, one may use a neighborhood term like Chelsea or Upper West Side. Another little known strategy that can help your ranking on Google Maps is embedding your latitude and longitude. Here is a site where you can find out what that is.

While the broader the search term, the more potential clients there are searching, the more localized or specific the search term is in relating to where and what your business does, the stronger the average inquiry will be. And it’s much easier to rank for those more complex terms. Any Search Engine Marketing Professional will know how to do it. We certainly do. One thing you should not do is start adding zip codes to the text on your site but it can be a good idea to act text about neighborhoods.

Posted in invitation industry, local business, marketing, search engine optimization | Tagged | Leave a comment
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