What’s a reasonable conversion rate for visits to my website?

conversion rate

I took a call from a friend-wedding professional. In a matter of fewer than 30 seconds, I was incredibly annoyed.

He asked me what seemed like a simple question:

“What’s a reasonable conversion rate for visits to my website?”

In laymen’s terms, that would mean, for every 100 people who visited your site, what percentage either filled out an inquiry form or called you directly for more information? 5%, 10%, 25%…. more?

My response:

“How did those people find your website (and in what percentages)… search engines, The Knot, local websites, in response to email…?”

He gave me a non-specific, all-of-the-above (I don’t really know, answer).

My shoot from the hip response was… “I’d be pleased with a 5% to 10% conversion rate.” That seemed low to him.

Here is what really flipped me out. He said, “Well I’m asking the same question to various people to get their opinion.”

So, he’s crowd-sourcing a poorly conceived question of people who don’t have solid backup data and getting their opinion. What the devil will that accomplish.

Then I started in…

“Every time you hear me speak about websites, I emphasize the importance optimizing your website for user-friendliness (to encourage conversions) before obsessing over search engine optimization.”

He didn’t remember it that way. Essentially, he remembered I emphasize SEO. HE WASN’T LISTENING or HE WAS LISTENING WITH SELECTIVE PERCEPTION AND MEMORY.

I spent a few minutes detailing obvious deficiencies in his website (some of which I pointed out 18 months ago before he launched it). The site is graphically better than most but lacks in many other ways… including maintaining the blog.

THE LESSON: If you ask opinions, using badly formed question, you get nothing of value. If you want a real evaluation, pay for it, and live with it. A neutral party will point out issues that are under your nose.

Then, act on those answers, and get up to speed.

End of rant!! Listen up!

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Website Designers Shouldn’t Hold You Hostage

website designersMany wedding businesses have hired a person or company to create its website, thinking the site is a permanent fixture. Website designers should remind you the site is not a work in progress needing continued care and improvement. Sometimes years pass without having a single thought of making a single change to a website.

Time for an update?

What happens when it’s time to make an update even if just a small one?

Today is as good as any to look at your site to see if updates or changes are needed. If you have not recently been in touch with your web designer, he or she may be unreachable. Complications ensue if you did not protect your investment by getting a copy of the files of the website. Not to mention the username and password to gain access to the website.

Do you have your domain registrar contact information (i.e. GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.,)? You may not own your site’s domain name even though you bought it.

Have you changed your email address? As a result, you may not receive important information on renewing your domain name or hosting of the website. This means you can lose your domain name and website – permanently.

Here are some action steps:

  1. Contact your web designer and ask for the FTP (file transfer protocol) information with the username and password to have access to your website.
  2. Ask for a copy of all website files sent to you on CD, DVD or flash drive. Learn how to download and backup your files.
  3. If you reserved your domain name, find the registrar and hosting information, and check the expiration date of the domain name. If your web designer reserved the name for you, ask them to transfer the domain name to your control.
  4. Have access to the company hosting the site. A host transmits your site pages to the computer when a customer types in or clicks on a link of your domain name. It is essential to have access to the username and password and aware of the renewal date.
  5. Make sure the host and registrar have your current email address on record to receive important notifications about renewals or expired credit cards on the account.
  6. When you dismiss or change webmasters, make sure to update passwords so they no longer have access to your accounts.
  7. If you own a site that has a database, such as a site with a blog or a dynamic shopping cart, make sure regular backups are being made.
  8. If elements of your site were created using layered Photoshop files or Flash, make sure those raw files are backed-up as well.

Otherwise one day your site could suddenly be inaccessible or updates can become costly. If you contact a new web design company for assistance let it be because you chose to, and not because you had to.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Marketing Decisions: Right, Wrong or None of the Above

Marketing Decisions
Marketing Decisions

Marketing Decisions are sometime made in a moment; other times, it days, weeks or months to make a firm decision… if one is made at all. This is a challenge for wedding professionals and wedding couples.

A wedding couple’s decision making process, if viewed from the position of a wedding professional, often feel mind boggling. What should be a ‘no-brainer’ or so we think, looks quite confusing to the couple.

The reason is simple: In most cases, the wedding is a first-time event, involving hundreds of choices, large and small, offered up to a couple with little or no experience… IN DECISION MAKING.

While business owners and managers may condescend to couples waffling over choices, wedding professionals suffer from the same kind of brain freeze; even when it comes to routine marketing decisions.

Why is decision making so challenging?

When teaching college a few years back, I noticed the high school system had trained its students for answering TRUE/FALSE, YES/NO, MULTIPLE CHOICE. In the real world, searching for A SINGLE right answer is often folly, and leads to head-scratching. I notice the same symptoms in business professionals, today, when giving seminars.

The choices presenting themselves often involve multiple options. A single best choices is usually different for your business than someone else’s. More complex opportunities, such as ‘Which Social Media Platforms are best for your company?” create a myriad of permutations. After all, it’s not enough to choose several social media platforms, one has to have an overall social media strategy, tactics for each platform chosen, and methods for measuring ROI to determine the value of all elements.

Overwhelmed, huh?

Part of the challenge exists, because many wedding businesses don’t stop to plan, frequently enough. Having 1-year or 5-year plans for your business used to be enough. Now, a 1-year marketing plan is too long a time period. It’s fine to have 1-year business goals, but marketing needs to be tweaked at midyear; perhaps more often.  Yes, changes and opportunities move that fast.

There are some easy choices, so commit

You’ve been exhibiting with a solid bridal show producer for 5, 10 or 20 years plus. They do what they promised to promote the show… Brides and Grooms show up to all shows. Rebook for the year, making this commitment a foundation of your marketing budget, improve your in-show presentation, and challenge yourself to better pre and post-show marketing. The show promoter’s job is to get people to the show. It’s your job to follow up with prospects and close the sale.

Shiny New Objects

It’s not necessary, and rarely smart, to latch onto the new publication, bridal show, website, etc. the moment it presents itself. Let your competitors be the guinea pigs.

“I had a simple formula when presented with new ‘lead generating’ opportunity. I asked myself if was following up effectively on all the leads coming my way from existing sources. If the answer was NO, I used it to stiffen my backbone and do two things. 1) Say No Thanks, or Not Yet to the new choice and 2) Get busy with following up on existing leads.”

~ Andy Ebon

Your website doesn’t make sales… online inquiries don’t make sales… bridal show generated leads don’t make sales. These are tools feeding your pipeline, but only you make the sale.

Don’t get confused by existing options, or worse, the new shiny options. Ask better questions of yourself, nail down the obvious marketing options, and stop looking for simple answers from the rest. You may find yourself with multiple-right answers.

Those are tough choices, but if you’ve assessed the options, well, you are in a no-lose situation. Nice problem!

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

WeddingWire World DC: Next Stop

WeddingWire World Speakers
WeddingWire World Speakers

WeddingWire World DC used to be a 1-day, 1-location educational conference in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, WeddingWire World has expanded to five cities. On Monday, June 16th, WeddingWire World returns to DC, near its corporate headquarters.

It’s about the approach

WeddingWire World has its own flavor, style, approach and takeaways.  It is efficient, paced quickly, and peppered with three types of presenters:

  • In-House WeddingWire Experts
  • National Wedding Industry Education Experts
  • Regional Industry Experts

The sessions are 30, 45, and 60 minutes, with short-short 5 minute breaks. The last two sessions of the day are breakouts. The rest are general sessions.

Speakers make themselves for questions during breakfast, lunch, and the day-end cocktail party.

There are WeddingWire Customer Satisfaction Experts available throughout the day to assist current and prospective advertisers with answers to their questions. Invariably, most questions centered around maximizing a business listing or better understanding and utilizing back-end tools to communicate more effectively with clients and manage one’s business.

Prepare Yourself

WeddingWireIt’s a full day, 8am – 6pm, so get some rest and clear your brain.

If you take away just a couple of gems from each session, you’ll be supercharged.

You can look for the heavy sell, but you won’t find it on the WeddingWire stage. All presenters are there to information, explain, and education…. PERIOD!

… refreshing!

You don’t have to live in Greater Washington DC to attend. Anywhere in a few hours driving radius the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center should consider a Sunday drive and a productive Monday. Oh, there are no rules against flying in from further away.

Hope to see you there…

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

 

 

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog