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

Wedding MBA: A sea of open minds, searching for nuggets

Wedding MBASince early 2008, the business of conferences has been in a funk (that’s a technical term). In the hospitality industry. Generally, when speaking with conference producers, one hears that the norm is being down about 20% from the prior year. Have flat attendance, plus or minus 5%, is considered great.

In the face of these statistics, Wedding MBA, in its second decade, has grown by leaps and bounds. Approximate attendance has tracked a consistent upswing in the last few years.

The conference’s final year in Phoenix, ten years ago, hosted about 350 people. This year, the Las Vegas conference should see about 4000.00

There are many reasons for this consistent climb in attendance, but it does contrast to other hospitality and wedding industry conferences. Industry-specific content on Monday has been a major factor in the last couple of years.

Wedding MBA: ANALYSIS AND OPINION

Moderate conference price, good airline access to Las Vegas, and rock bottom hotel prices are all helpful. A great assortment of national speakers and enticing session topics are of great importance. However, there is still the nasty business of committing 4-5 days away from one’s own business that asks for a strong belief that there is value in making the trip.

I assert the vast majority of attendees, no matter how successful, bring an open mind. They bring the desire to acquire at least one new, significant strategy, a piece of information, or technique that will provide fresh perspective or skill to vault their business to a higher level.

Having a standard of looking for one new bit of knowledge is NOT a matter of low expectations. The more success and experience one has, less presented information is new. Much of it feels recycled and unsatisfying.

Yet, sometimes that recycled idea, with a fresh approach, may set off sparks. An absolutely new technology, strategy, product, service or marketing avenue, properly applied, can open entirely new vistas for a business.

It is a privilege to make presentations to a sea of open minds at Wedding MBA. Along with my fellow presenters, exhibitors, and attendees, I’m certain we can move-the-meter toward immediate wedding prosperity for industry businesses.

If you’re not already registered, change your plans, and be at Wedding MBA. We’ll make room.

FYI: I will be making two short, WedTalk presentations on Wednesday morning, October 4th.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

The High Cost Of Integrity and Independence

Being RightSince returning from three and half weeks of business travel, for speaking, I’ve been in a somewhat contemplative state. I admit to having tuned out most of the ‘debt ceiling debate’ while on the road. Hopping from city to city, and country to country, in major chunks by car and plane, gives you quite the opportunity to be introspective.

At a relatively early age, I think most of us learn that life isn’t fair. Recently, I’ve become more aware of the plummeting value of integrity and ethics. I know… this is a wedding marketing blog. Somewhere along the line, I made the declaration that…

“…marketing is everything that touches the customer.’

In the wedding industry, it has become far more complicated than that. The interactive dance of bride-media-venue-vendor-et al has become a conglomeration of overreaching, on too many occasions.

Code words such as: “my bride” or “my couple” are mindless inferences that a single business has ownership of the bride or wedding couple and their decisions.

When someone says “I recommend them because they always follow our rules.”, it may be code for: “We don’t want anyone’s creativity interfering with our ability to get home in time for Saturday Night Live.”

“I’m not a public service, I have a business to run.” is code for: “I know I’m doing business with a jerk, but if it brings me business, I’m going to employ situational ethics.”

“The percentage we take for referring business is simply the cost of doing business.” is a ham-handed way of saying, “We narrow the field of leads for you, and if the value of business is worth it to, your business will happily pay it.” – Fair enough, but with the absence of transparency (revealing that percentage to the customer), I’m not sure if the policy passes the complete smell test.

I continue to look for fairness or reasonableness from time to time, but mostly find abuse of power, situational ethics, and lack of integrity.

You’d think I’d be used to it by now. Not so… I continually seek to do business with like-minded people.

How about you? Do you think about who (and what companies) you do business with? What bugs you? What makes you happy?

Share YOUR wisdom… and philosophy.

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Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Wedding Sales Fable of Goldie-Bride and the 13 DJ-Bears

mixed-signalsOnce upon a time there was a bride named Goldie. She had met her prince charming and couldn’t wait to start the process of planning her wedding. She stopped at a bookstore and came home with an armload of wedding magazines. Goldie was inspired.

Goldie set her DVR and recorded many wedding shows. There were shows about cakes, shows about brides-behaving-badly, shows about wedding dresses, and shows about planning the almost-perfect wedding… including one with a white knight named David Tutera who rides in on his trusty steed, Marky Mark (named after his favorite actor), to save the day from incredibly amateur wedding planning. Goldie drank gallons of coffee and watched the wedding shows until the wee hours of the morning. Goldie was jittery… and further inspired.

Goldie took her inspiration to the internet where she registered at every wedding website known to humanity… local sites, regional sites, and national sites. She read many message board postings of incredibly uninformed and self-centered brides, most of whom had not yet married, and therefore knew little of what they spoke. Nevertheless, having logged dozens of hours, swimming in information and data, Goldie was convinced she was becoming a wedding expert. She now forecast a career as a wedding planner, as soon as she completed her own wedding.

Like a college student, cramming for final exams, Goldie‘s head was ready to explode. She had consumed seemingly unlimited amounts of information, but hadn’t made one decision. Poor Goldie. A bridal show… that would be the answer. She could meet many wedding professionals, under one roof, on one day. Surely this would make decision making easier. Go Goldie, Go!!

disc jockey bearGoldie started with wedding disc jockeys, knowing how important they would be in the success of her reception. She was quite excited after meeting the first couple of DJ’s. And then, at each aisle, it seemed, there was yet another disc jockey. They were all dressed in bear suits and had matching accessories from a local tuxedo store.

Goldie learned a new word… commodity.

And with each successive encounter she filled her wedding basket with a treasure trove of CHOICES. Choices of music, disc jockeys, wedding entertainment directors, uplighting, dance floor lighting, gobos, party motivators, more equipment, less equipment, CDs and vinyl records. Goldie’s eyes started to spin like a cartoon character that had been conked on the head with a frying pan. Poor Goldie…

Goldie was no longer inspired. She was confused.

Goldie wanted fewer choices.

There weren’t too many bears… uhh, DJs. Though each of them offered too many choices. Goldie’s head was splitting with options. She couldn’t make one decision, until she met the 13th bear. That bear offered a single choice, an appointment.

“I’m sure you’ve met many other bears and DJ’s, today. I know we all have a lot to offer. Perhaps it would be easier if you came to our office, brought your fiancé, and enjoyed some porridge. Then we could answer all your questions without your head exploding. Would afternoon or evening be better?”

bear-coupleAnd so, Goldie deferred her decision until she met with the knowledgable and professional 13th DJ-Bear. Goldie was able to clear her head, at least for a little while, and decided to hire this particular bear to entertain at her wedding.

Goldie was no longer inspired. She was content and relieved.

As she made her way around the bridal show floor, Goldie made appointments with other wedding professionals who understood the wisdom of how to work a bridal show.

Morale: Disc jockey wedding bears and other wedding professional bears that make appointments at wedding shows, make more sales. Any other strategy would be… well, unbearable.

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Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog