Bride_With_Groom_Looking_OnLast month Jeff and I had the pleasure of speaking to the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, a lovely group of people, in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida.

We weren’t the only speakers, and we eagerly soaked up their presentations as well.

You didn’t think you were the only one learning out there, did you?

Here are a few of my take aways from the event…

Rick Brewer of Get More Brides

Rick’s presentations focused in on the psychology of the bride. He used some great visuals and mercilessly critiqued a sampling of bridal ads to demonstrate the good, the bad and the ugly.

One thing that he said really stood out to me. I’m paraphrasing here…

“How much better than your competitors do you need to be to win the race?” He paused and touched his nose. “A nose. You can win by a nose. You just have to be a little bit better.”

So many times we get overwhelmed by our competition, how professional their website looks, how polished their presentation might be. But it just takes a little bit of extra to make the difference.

Chris Jaeger of Marketing to Brides Online

Chris swims in the deep waters of SEO, website conversion and internet marketing. He offered website reviews and explored the website features responsible for transforming visitors to real leads.

A few enlightening facts he revealed…

Fact – 80% of the leads wedding vendors get come in through the website. The other 20% come in over the phone.

Take Away – If you’re not capturing your website visitors and turning them into REAL leads with a Bride Bribe, you’re missing out in some serious money. While it’s still important to have good phone skills, excellent email follow up is essential to turn that 80% of leads into meetings and booked weddings.

Fact – Only about half the “unique visits” to your website are actually qualified leads. The rest are visits from you, your staff, your competitors, and non-qualified visitors.

Take Away – You may not have as many brides on your site as you thought. That’s okay, but if you aren’t getting at least 5% of those qualified leads to take an action that gets them closer to contacting you, your website isn’t working for you.

Sonny Ganguly of Wedding Wire

Sonny shared so many fascinating statistics and predictions for the future that I couldn’t possibly recount them all. Here are a few of my favorites…

Fact – Wedding vendors who have > 10 reviews on their listings get 106% more clicks than their competitors.

Take Away – Make it your mission to get at least 10 reviews on Wedding Wire and any other places where your business is listed. It makes a big difference in the number of leads you get!

Fact – 40% of mobile searches are LOCAL.

Take Away – Brides and grooms are searching for you on their mobile phones. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your website, you’re missing out.

Fact – 50% of people read their emails on a mobile phone.

Take Away – If you’re sending a fancy html email newsletter, half the brides and grooms you’re sending it to won’t be able to read it unless you format it correctly. Make sure your emails are laid out simply in a vertical format that can be easily read on mobile phones.

While we learned quite a bit from our fellow speakers, our biggest marketing “aha moments” came outside the seminar. Oh, yes, while we were eating dinner and Jeff had a Belvedere vodka martini (straight, up, dry, with olives) in his hand.

I can’t wait to share what we learned next week in a whole blog post of its own!

In the meantime, what have you learned lately? Leave a comment and share the wisdom.

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