by Steff Green

couple silhoute

Wedding directories are rampant online – and they offer a valuable service to brides and grooms looking for vendors. Directories might be attached to blogs, wedding magazines, or on their own websites. They collate local vendors into an easily searchable database to help couples find everything they need in one place.

Most directories offer a free listing alongside paid premium listings. By adding your business to as many directories as possible, you broaden your chances of being seen by more couples. Listing your business in wedding directories can also help your SEO (providing the listing links back to your website or social media pages).

So how do you get the most out of your directory listing? Here are my top tips:

Assess the directory’s market.

Each directory will target a specific target market – the type of couple they are trying to draw. Here are some examples of markets commonly targeted by wedding directories:

•    couples within a certain locality

•    high-end, mid-range or budget brides

•    eco-friendly weddings

•    gay-friendly weddings

•    vintage-style weddings

•    “alternative” weddings

When writing the content for your directory listing, make sure you tailor it toward the directory’s target market. If you’re targeting same-sex couples, then talk about previous same-sex clients or your support for marriage equality. If you’re targeting budget brides, then offer a discount to leads coming through the directory.

If you’re allowed images, make sure they also reflect the directory’s market; high-end listings need high-quality images, while beach or backyard weddings are more appropriate for budget-friendly guides.

Choose the right category.

Every directory has a different system for categorizing wedding vendors: usually by geographic location or service type. Listings are usually only available under one category, and it’s simply a matter of choosing the category that best fits your business/location.

But choosing the correct category can be difficult. What if you are an online bridal boutique who can ship to any area? What if you’re a photographer who splits your time evenly between two states? How do you choose one location? What if you are a florist AND a cake decorator, but these two categories are separate and you can only choose one?

My advice is to focus on getting one really decent listing up on each site, and then focus your attention on your own website and social media pages. People working in multiple geographical locations might find they can have multiple listings by creating new accounts. Our florist/cake decorator should just choose one category (usually the one she’s had the majority of her training in, or comes first in her business name), and she can direct any potential clients to her other services.

Focus on keywords.

Keywords are essential for any website where you rely on online search to be found. Your keywords describe your core business (e.g. catering, wedding photography) and often your geographical area or a specific niche (vintage weddings, ethical diamonds). Make sure you include keywords when writing your directory listing copy. (See Why Keywords are Super Important To Get Found Online.)

Try to get your keywords into your listing title. You may like to add a keyword after your business name – e.g. If your business name is Colour Me Beautiful, you could make your listing under Colour Me Beautiful Make Up Artistry.

Be careful what you pay for.

Most wedding directories will offer a paid premium option that allows your listing to jump to the front of the searches, includes more details, or offers other advantages. Some of these paid listings will bring you plenty of referrals and leads, while others aren’t worth the price.

Figure out exactly what you get for your money. Some directories offer:

•    Premium placement under category headings and searches.

•    Your ad on the front page of the website.

•    A feature on the directory blog.

•    A feature in directory email campaign.

•    Mentions on directory’s Facebook page.

Some of these are only high value in certain circumstances: for example, if the directory’s blog contains only adverts for other vendors, and isn’t read by any brides, it’s not a worthwhile investment. A feature on a Facebook page with 100 followers is worth practically nothing. Don’t be afraid to ask for statistics on different aspects of the ad package.

Before embarking on a paid directory listing, sign up for a free listing and see how much website traffic or inquiries your listing generates. Choose only the top-generating sites to experiment with paid listings.

Have you ever used wedding directories to market your wedding business? Have you had any success with them? What are your top tips for successful wedding directory listings?

steff-green-headshotSteff Green is a New Zealand-based alternative wedding celebrant and freelance writer. She writes a monthly column on vendor marketing tips on the  WeddingWise blog, a wedding directory with a difference: WeddingWise allows couples to rate and review their vendors, helping future couples to make smart wedding decisions.

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