This 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. And do what brides are doing with these forums, share this article with other retailers.
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.
Magazine publishers have this challenge. Twenty years ago when a wedding business or stationery business advertised in a wedding magazine, proof of print would be the phone call. When I was a retailer with multiple stores, I took a full page ad in Brides and Modern Bride magazines and also had a coupon for the bride to fill out and mail to me. Magazine advertising was indeed a mainstay for my business.Unfortunately proof is now more difficult now because the bride and grooms go to websites first and then they pick up the phone. If you do not list your website you risk hurting your credibility.
That does not mean magazine advertising does not work. An attractive ad can drive customers to your website but because the customer cannot click on your website, it cannot be quantified. The only way to quantify a magazine ad is to have a unique landing page specifically for that ad or a domain name that points to your main website. This is similar to what limousine companies did when they advertised in the yellow page in multiple areas. At least this way you are playing chess with your print advertising dollars rather than rolling dice.
For example if you own AmourPhotographyStudios.com and you are in Portland, Oregon, using a domain name like PortlandWeddingPhotography.com will allow you quantify the number of times that domain was typed in and also can actually increase the response to your ad by clearing tell the couple what you do and where you do it. There are some geographic domains still listed on my Wedding Industry Domains website.