Wedding Leads Decline: What gives?

wedding leads decline

Fewer Americans are getting married. On average, the ones getting married are having slightly smaller weddings. Their celebrations are shrinking; however, not necessarily becoming less expensive. Wedding leads are an important part of profitability.

Wedding couples are deferring wedding dates. In 2015, the average American bride was just under 28 years old and the average groom almost 30 (Source: according to the most recent data available from the Census Bureau). A decade earlier, brides were 25; grooms about 27.

Wedding Statistics

wedding leadsThe number of new marriages per 1,000 people (The U.S. marriage rate) has declined for decades. It crashed especially quickly, in 2008 and 2009. However, there’s little evidence people began getting married at a quicker rate, despite the recovery of the economy. The marriage rate is unlikely to improve, significantly in the foreseeable future.

On the world stage, this is no shock. The United States marriage rate must plummet by about one-third to match marriage rates elsewhere. Recent data shows a U.S. marriage rate of 6.9%, compared with an average rate of 4.6% for countries in the European Union.

In the United States, couples are postponing marriage indefinitely, as it is more socially acceptable for couples to cohabitate and parent outside the bonds of marriage.

Year Over Year Statistics

wedding keadsWhile advertising costs continue to rise, it’s important to compare the cost-per-lead from the various sources of traffic. It is reasonable for prices to rise, commensurate with website traffic, but only if cost and activity are rising in tandem.

You will know, immediately if a proper relationship between marketing costs and click-throughs or leads exists.

As a wedding business, your website or storefront on sites such as The Knot or WeddingWire are key factors. Most of all, they should be in proper order. That means current photos, accurate copy, etc.. This goes for local and regional sites as well.

Review your wedding statistics and marketing costs not less than every three months.

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Authority

Hashtags and Ham Sandwich Marketing

ham sandwich marketingAs I was reading every possible book and resource on blogging, I came across the great title: No One Cares What You Had For Your Lunch: 100 Ideas for your blog. It turned out to be one of the most important marketing lessons, about blogging, micro-blogging (Twitter), social networking (Facebook), and business networking (LinkedIn).

Now, we add the posting of nonsense hashtags to Twitter and Facebook to a long list of pointless activities. And not just nonsense hashtags, but many, on a single post. Don’t think it looks hip or smart, momentarily, but there is no upside impact, particularly on Facebook. In fact, the reverse is true.

Each HASHTAG should have a purpose…

The essence: In all forms of advertising, marketing, social media, and networking you are vying for people’s attention within brief and/or limited time constraints. It is important for your words and images be pithy, crisp, motivational, interesting, and memorable.

To rambling about topics which don’t pass the ‘Who cares?’ test is not just a waste of a reader’s time, it increases the likelihood they will tune you out in the future.

Facebook offers many options for people to lessen your presence, including demoting you to acquaintance status or turning off the appearance of your updates in their news feed. So, with those choices (and others), to unfriend or block someone and likely offend them; you can simply silence them.

Just what is Ham Sandwich Marketing? It is my buzzword phrase, inspired by the aforementioned book. It is my notation of meaningless posts and status updates that are useless and annoying to everybody but the person who initiated them.

Example: “Just had lunch at Wolfgang Puck with Susie, Johnny, and Big Al.”

My response (Either mentally or actually, by Direct Tweet, Direct Message or Public Facebook Wall Post): “Did you have a ham sandwich?”

ham sandwichIt’s my not-so-subtle sarcastic way of nudging the poster or blogger with the subtext: “I read your item. Am I supposed to know who Susie, Johnny and Al are? Am I supposed be impressed you lunched at Wolfgang Puck. Why don’t just tell me you had a ham sandwich. That would be equally unimpressive and unnecessary?”

If you’re lunch was outstanding, take a picture of the ham sandwich. post about the freshly made Dijon mustard, the soft fresh-baked roll, and what variety of ham was involved. Then there is possibility of being entertaining. Otherwise, you’re just engaging in Ham Sandwich Marketing.

In today’s fast and furious world of communications, being boring is a big crime. Being irrelevant is a felony offense.

Don’t waste people’s time. Be interesting or be gone!

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Website Management: Are you qualified to do it?

Do you know the right questions?
Do you know the right questions?

Website management is a critical skill for the business manager or owner. All too often I hear off-the-cuff answers when I ask softly about how people handle their websites and how much they know about them.

As human beings, many powerful people are all too willing to delegate important services, without a question. We do it with attorneys, with doctors, and we do it with Webmasters or alleged social media experts. I haven’t figured out all the causes… and probably never will, but some of the reasons usually are:

  • Too busy to think about it
  • Too trusting
  • Feel uncomfortable challenging  a person with superior knowledge
  • Don’t learn from earlier mistakes

In almost every seminar, even tangentially related to websites, I ask how many people look at their website statistics. As a follow-up, I ask how many people have Google Analytics. 

The responses are generally pathetic. I’ve yet to see an audience with more than a 40% affirmative response to those questions. At Wedding MBA, I asked those questions, directly, to a business owner (in private). She answered, “Oh, I don’t have access to that information.” My head nearly exploded.

I gave her the 2-minute explanation of website analytics.

The short list:

  • Every hosting company provides analytics of some kind, and you should have access to the control panel of your website for that information, or in emergency. If your webmaster gets struck by lightning, and you don’t have website access (or domain name access), you are in big trouble.
  • Google Analytics: Google provides both free and premium analytics service. For small and micro-businesses, it is usually more than enough. website managementAmong a long list of features, it describes in detail:
    • How many people visit your site in the last 30 days.
    • What number of people are new or returning visitors.
    • How long people stay on your site.
    • How many pages and which pages they visit.
    • What the screen size is on their computer.
    • What kind of browser and operating system (Windows, Mac OS, which version) they are using.
    • What the last page visited was.

The source of the traffic…. This is a partial list, but you get the idea.

  • Search Engines and which search engines
  • Links (paid or free)
  • Entered your domain name directly

As a business professional providing a service, one usually has superior knowledge than the client, in many areas. For that reason, it’s our obligation to anticipate client needs and tell them about details they need to know, whether asked or not.

When the hands go up, in response to the questions about ‘Who is looking their site statistics on a regular basis or who has Google Analytics‘, I bluntly tell the uninformed majority they should fire their webmaster.

With Google Analytics, you don’t even need to sign in, on a regular basis and dig through every detail. The service sends an email to you (and anyone else you choose) every Monday, with a multi-page summary of the basic stats. You don’t need to remember to do it, and you don’t need to be a math professor to understand the numbers or their value.

Any competent webmaster could install Google Analytics in about 30 minutes, and you would begin receiving reports-by-email the following Monday.

Are you winging your decisions?

If you don’t know the basic information, outlined by Google Analytics, I guarantee your missing sufficient information to make qualified marketing decisions about how you invest your time and money. You may think you know, but you’re really just guessing.

There’s an old advertising adage:

“I know that half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half.”

website managementThese days, that is an insufficient answer… especially for small or micro-businesses.

You are not the New York Yankees. You don’t have the revenue to cover up mistakes by just spending more money.

You cannot make basic decisions about maintaining and improving your website with understanding how people are using your website. It is not necessary to become a Wedding Marketing Expert to learn the basic questions that need to be asked

If I’ve just describe you, get with the program. If I’ve describe one of your peers, forward them a link to this post.

Don’t be naïve. Don’t be wimpy. Don’t delegate work into a black hole without some curiosity or questions.

You’ve been served! No excuses.

FYI: My new friend who got her 2-minute Google Analytics speech from me, called her webmaster and instructed him to install it, post-haste. He said he would do it right away. To me that meant he knew the tool existed and hadn’t made it available to his client. Instead, he told her “You don’t have access to the statistics.” I’d still fire him, just on principle… or I’d dress him in a clown suit.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert
Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Overused Advertising Wedding Cliche of the Day: Unique

fingerprintFrom dictionary.com: u-nique: having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable: Bach was unique in his handling of counterpoint.

Snowflakes and fingerprints are unique. Hate to drop this on you, but most weddings are not unique.

If one has worked at enough receptions, you know there may a unique element or two at any wedding. However, it’s rare that one is blown away by original thoughts, at every turn.

What is annoying is the lack of creativity in copywriting for advertising to the bride. When a slew of other advertisers define their product or service as you unique, the word loses meaning and impact on the prospect.

Your wedding marketing message will have far greater impact if you can write engaging copy that intrigues the bride.

Now, if your business name, headline, sub-headline or slogan don’t contain the word unique, then please enjoy the holiday. If, on the other hand, you are using the word, unique, that is a felony copywriting offense. The Wedding Police hereby gives you a warning, and asks that you come back in 30 days with new creative.

Don’t agree? Post your comment and make your case.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority