I'm guessing this won't really surprise you, but brides tend to get ideas for their dress online. Bridal Buyer just published a stat that in 2011, 27% of brides had been on their phone to prep for dress shopping. Not a small chunk!
But can you guess how many it is now?
And that's just on mobile. I would bet that number is higher when you lump in computer use, too.
That means that 2 out of 3 brides buying a dress used the internet to help them decide where to spend that money. That's huge. Even 27% is a chunk you don't want to ignore, but 2 out of 3?! If you aren't following a really specific and purposeful strategy for your online presence, you're hurting your profit. Bottom line.
Like I said, that probably isn't surprising for most of you. Just like saving money and exercising, it's advice we all know. It's also advice that many aren't really following.
I get really excited about that though. That means there's that much opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. Where we can serve brides even better as an industry.
The best piece of advice I can give owners for their online presence is to see all of it as one big, genuine, conversation with their ideal bride. That means you need to be really clear on a few things:
- Your brand's soul message - What makes your brand 100% unique. I promise, that description DOES NOT revolve around words like perfect, inexpensive, or beautiful. You can use them! But there needs to be a deeper emotional message that stands out from the bridal business crowd.
- Who you're talking to - Know, to the little details, who your muse is. If you could wave a wand and build the perfect bride you love working with...what would they be like? What do they do, love, need, and struggle with?
- What you want brides to do - Your online presence should be driving your biggest goals for your business. Know what actions you want the person on the other end of the phone or computer to take and make sure all the parts of your online presence point them in that direction.
Those are the deeper meaningful elements to having a great conversation. If you can nail those, you'll make the kind of connections with brides that matter. That make them feel like their dress finding experience will be missing something special if it doesn't include you.
The next thing is to have the right tools and knowledge to actually have the conversation. You need to cover your bases (website, social media, email marketing, etc) so that brides hear from you often. Build a system that engages them and lets them give you their information so you can follow up and follow through. You're trying to build a genuine relationship, remember?
And you need to do things well for this to work. Pay attention to the details. Have the elements that need to be there for brides to talk back. Answer their questions. Know what they expect to see from a business they can trust and make sure you do it well. Keep up with technology shifts (like having a mobile responsive site!). Find and fix errors. Have a purpose and a plan and be consistent.
This is no small task...to assess your current set up and identify all the places you can make improvements to better serve more than 2/3 of your brides. Luckily, we have something that takes you through ALL of it, on every page, to help you make a plan:
Grab it here!
Then come tell us what it is and what questions and thoughts you have!
If you got your score and now you're looking at your to do list and wondering how you're going to tackle it, we can help :) Work with us individually or jump in our free and completely amazing community of bridal business owners. The focus is on business building, marketing and strategy, and community. You can find it here, just request to join :) The group is pretty great, I think you'll like them.
PS - Why are we focusing on your website first? Because while brides LOVE social media to connect with stores and designers, social media is a tricky arena. Algorithms shift, trends change, and different target markets pick different platforms to fall in love with. But the biggest bottom line fact? YOU HAVE NO CONTROL. You don't own it. You can't change anything about it. You're tied to their rules. They own every follower, heart, and message you earn. And they could shut you down tonight.
So I believe in starting on your own turf and making your website something you're proud of and that does a fantastic job. Then you can take that amazing content and use all your social media to go out, connect with potential brides and the rest of the community you've built, and direct them back to your site. Because that's where there aren't a million notifications, you're in control, and no one can take that away from you.
(Side note - that's also why you should build and use an email list! We'll talk about that soon, too.)
And if you need help shaping up your website, email marketing, or social media outreach, let us know.