Supporting the Bridal Business Industry

Posts tagged ‘blogging’

How Pinterest powers Charlotte’s wedding industry

bride11By Caroline McMillan

Charlotte Observer

Gone are the days when a bride-to-be strolled into Amy Craparo’s The Wow Factor Cakes with a blank slate and a couple of magazine clippings.

Now, brides in the throes of wedding planning come to her Park Road bakery armed with their smartphones and tablets open to their new primary source of inspiration: Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to maintain virtual pinboards with images from the web.

“Almost every bride I sit with for a consultation brings in a picture from Pinterest – almost every single one of them,” says Craparo.

It’s a virtual networking tool that’s changing the way wedding retailers do business. Many Charlotte-area wedding vendors – from dress shops to florists, cake designers to stationery experts – now use the site as a cost-free way of interpreting trends, connecting with clients and garnering more exposure. It all helps these businesses capture a bigger piece of the $40 billion wedding-industry pie.

Since it launched in 2009, Pinterest has cracked Comscore’s list of top-50 U.S. Web sites, drawn nearly 26 million unique visitors and been valued at more than $1.5 billion. The site, which allows users to browse other people’s pinboards for inspiration and “repin” images to their own boards, offers a nearly infinite stream of idea for home decorating, recipes, fashion and weddings.

Approximately 68 percent of Pinterest’s users are female, and nearly one-third of those women are ages 25 to 34, according to digital ad agency Modea.

Given those demographics, it’s no wonder Pinterest seems tailor-made for the wedding industry, which revolves around evocative visuals.

“That’s the beauty of Pinterest,” says Kristin Vining of Kristin Vining Photography, who started using Pinterest in 2010, soon after the site launched. “It’s a domino effect. One person tags it, then BAM, pinning and pinning and pinning … (People are) seeing your name over and over again.”

Vining now has nearly 1,300 followers on Pinterest, and she regularly updates her page to include photos from recent shoots and events. She has separate boards for engagement sessions, bridal portraits and wedding pictures, and strongly encourages her clients to maintain their own pages.

But for Vining, Pinterest is just one of many social media outlets to attract clientele. She also blogs and maintains a presence on Twitter and Facebook – all of which help her Search Engine Optimization ranking with Google, she says.

“(They say) it takes someone seeing your name three times to notice you and seven times to remember you,” says Vining. “Pinterest is just another one of those tools for us to reach our audience.”

Wedding planner Katrina Hutchins of Come+Together Events, often uses Pinterest to connect her clients with local vendors for rental chairs, linens, cakes and photography.

Party Reflections, a special event rental company located on Monroe Road that Hutchins works with regularly, has nearly 900 pins.

“I follow them on Pinterest, and sometimes they’ll be pinning ideas from their own inventory, and I’ll call my girl and say, ‘I want to use this in a wedding,’ ” Hutchins said.

Hutchins said she also spots photos of events she planned floating around on Pinterest – even if she didn’t pin it herself first.

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Is it really SPAM or does it cost you wedding business?

I must admit, I’m amazed by the wedding professionals who spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours promoting their business only to throw it all away when the bride can’t reach them.  Isn’t that the point of marketing and public relations; allowing interested parties to actually make contact with you?

Grow your sales!

Doesn’t it seem counter intuitive to post your email address as a point of contact and then create a barrier to that contact with a spam filter?  Oh I know, we are in a war against spam and without the
filters we will lose.  I don’t think so.  Spam is just one of the costs of doing business today.  Fight spam by clicking the delete button, not sending potential clients to your competitor who doesn’t employ a spam filter.

You don’t think a spam filter is such a great deterrent?  Let’s look at it another way.

Imagine you promote your business’s telephone number. Everyplace your prospect looks they see your phone number. When they finally pick up the phone to give you a call, instead of actually reaching you they have to answer some questions about themselves so that you can determine IF they are truly worthy to receive follow-up from you. How many potential clients will hang in there and invest the effort to become actual clients?  Why wouldn’t they just call another wedding professional who will actually pick up his phone?   It’s not likely that anyone would actually create such a barrier to contact via the telephone.  If you are promoting your email address as a point of contact for your business, you shouldn’t create barriers there either.

Stop Being Lazy!
Every time I run across a spam filter for a business, I am perplexed.  Why would any business owner purposely make it harder for potential clients to get in touch with her?  The bottom line is that spam is inconvenient.  Wouldn’t you rather create a small inconvenience for yourself than one for the person who is trying to give you some of their hard-earned money?  Please….take the 10 minutes required each day and manually delete spam messages.  Wouldn’t you rather give up 10 minutes than lose just one customer?

You Don’t Want to Send the Wrong Message
Besides being inconvenient, a spam filter delivers this message to each prospect: “Hi.  I’m so busy that I can’t figure out how to set up email filters to cut down on spam.  I also believe that my time and energy is important than you working with me, therefore, I am going to make you jump through some hoops to prove you are worthy of my attention.  Once you jump through these hoops I promise to have you question the service that I am providing you right now, which may result in giving you pain later.”

The truth of the matter is that spam filters and excellent customer service don’t go together!  I am sure most consumers believe that barriers to contact detract from an outstanding customer

Create a strategy for follow up

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Spam  
1.    Make an attempt to avoid electronic email harvesting programs by posting your email address without symbols.  For example, instead of posting  –post john[at]royalweddings[dot]com.

2.    Learn how to use and set up the spam filters on your email program.  Even the free email programs are outfitted with sophisticated filters.

3.    Have a dedicated business email.  Don’t sign up for newsletters and free offers with your business email address.  Only use your business email address for business functions and you will surely
see a decrease in the number of spam messages you receive.

You can learn more about advertising programs and generally accepted policies that cost you money by reading my book, ‘How to Double Your Wedding Business in 12 Months’ by visiting or call 805-322-4446
Evans Sales Solutions, LLC, is an outsourced bridal  marketing concierge company.  We operate to best suit our clients needs by providing a complete range of full service marketing techniques and training.  As a solutions-based and results-driven concierge in today’s fast-paced marketing environment, we simplify the lives of our clients while growing their sales and increasing their profitability.

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