» The Surging Necessity of Your Mobile Presence

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.

No matter what industry your business operates in, you must be aware of the new platforms and tools used by your audience. I live by the simple rule that when more than 5% of your audience is using a certain channel or medium to find your business, you should invest in that channel or medium. In the case of the wedding industry, you can no longer ignore the mobile trend; you must have a mobile presence to reach potential clients where they’re already spending their time.

The Surging Necessity of Your Mobile PresenceThe main age demographic for the wedding industry is 18-35 (your local area may vary). Just four years ago, 5-10% of that age group was using mobile devices to search. Today, the same age group uses mobile devices 65-75% of the time. No matter how they find your business, whether through an online wedding directory, online search engine, or countless other choices, a mobile website is mandatory.

When a visitor attempts to access your website from a mobile device, the mobile browser reads the code on your website and determines whether it should show the prospect a full desktop version or a mobile-friendly version of your site.

If you take a look at Google Analytics for your website, you can view what percentage of your audience is visiting your website on desktop or mobile. Drilling deeper, you will be amazed at how many different formats access your website. It is not uncommon to see 25-40 different computer screen sizes and 50-100 mobile resolutions.

There are a number of ways to make your website more mobile friendly, so below I’ll explain the two main strategies for mobilizing your website.

Responsive Design

A website built using a responsive design or format automatically changes the layout and/or content of your website based on the size of the user’s screen. For example, your website on a desktop will display your full site navigation in a horizontal bar, but your website on a mobile device will stack those navigation elements or change to offer drop down menus to accommodate the slimmer screen size. Rather than designing two separate versions of your website, your business can create one website with one experience, no matter the screen size.

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» Make 2015 Your Mobile Marketing Year

It’s now officially the last month of 2014, which means it’s time to think about next year! There are probably a number of items on your business’ to-do list, but you should also consider mobile marketing as an addition to your goals.

This year, mobile devices overtook desktop Internet usage for the first time ever – in January, mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the U.S. It’s safe to say that mobile marketing is here to stay! Below are some tips for making 2015 your business’ mobile marketing year.

Make 2015 Your Mobile Marketing YearAssess your mobile readiness

Before you start creating your mobile marketing strategy, assess your business’ mobile readiness. Do you have an optimized mobile website? Is your business’ website responsive on all devices? Do you have the ability to create a mobile app for your business? Answering these questions can help you determine where you should start and how far your strategy can take you! Remember that there’s no sense in dedicating time or money on mobile marketing efforts if you’re not ready to provide a good mobile experience for potential clients.

Enhance your existing mobile presence

Mobile websites are different from their desktop counterparts in that the screen is much smaller and there’s no mouse, so the way a person uses your website will be different. They’ll need big, easy-to-click buttons rather than text links, and you’ll want to break up the copy on your web pages to make them easier to read on small screens. If you don’t have a responsive website design, you can easily create a mobile website with our Mobile Website Creator.  Our tool allows you to paste a quick bit of code to your website, which will make it so your website is optimized for mobile devices.

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» 4 Tips for a Better Website

4 Tips for a Better WebsiteWhen was the last time your wedding business revamped your website?

As technology continues to improve, so should your website! New techniques and trends may be available that you’re missing by not re-evaluating your website. As a wedding professional, it’s imperative that your website be up to date! Consider these 4 tips for a better website to increase traffic and retention so you can boost the amount of leads and revenue your website drives.

Add video content

Video content is not only a strong component of search engine optimization, but it is statistically proven to increase the likelihood of a customer purchasing your product. Because video content is more eye-catching, it also increases the likelihood of a customer returning to your site. Consider an engaging video of your work space, or of your unique product!

Check your loading time

Does your site load quickly? Keep in mind if your site takes too long to load, you could lose customers before they even see your product. In today’s fast-paced environment it is crucial to have a speedy site, in fact, 57% of consumers abandon a site if it does not load within 3 seconds. Try testing out your page speed from time to time to make sure everything is functioning properly.

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» Mobile Marketing for Wedding Professionals

Mobile Marketing for Wedding ProfessionalsWith all the components of digital marketing to keep track of, mobile marketing may not be a high priority. Much of the research and articles written about mobile marketing suggest that your business create a fully responsive website, send SMS messages or create a mobile app.

OK, so your wedding business probably won’t be creating its own mobile app, but that doesn’t mean you can’t optimize your marketing efforts for mobile devices! Mobile marketing for wedding professionals is a whole different ball game, and with your limited time to dedicate to mobile marketing strategy you might feel overwhelmed. Don’t worry! There are a number of small things you can do that will have a big impact on your business’ ability to reach couples wherever they’re spending their time.

Below are the areas you should focus on mobilizing for your business so every couple who interacts with your business in some way gets the best experience, no matter the device!

Mobile website: Before you protest that you don’t have enough time to create a mobile website, read further! You don’t have to have a separate mobile website for your business; the key here is to ensure that your existing website functions well on a mobile device. Use your phone to check out your website on your smartphone. Is the text too small to read easily? Do you have trouble clicking on individual links? Do you have to zoom in and out with your fingers to navigate through the site? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you have some optimizing to do! WeddingWire offers our Mobile Website Creator to premium Pros, which simply requires you to paste a quick bit of code to your website and voila! You’re done and have a mobile-friendly site. Some website providers, like WordPress, also provide similar plugins that may be worth checking out.

Mobile-friendly email: Email marketing can be a very useful tool for many Wedding Pros, but unfortunately many of the beautiful emails you design don’t look so beautiful on mobile. Luckily for you, most email marketing platforms now offer desktop and mobile versions of their own templates, or they offer responsive designs that work on all devices. Unluckily for you, there are still a number of considerations you should still be aware of even if you have separate versions of your emails. You should be prepared to examine your versions and make adjustments where necessary. Remember that big buttons are easier to click than smaller text links, and keep your content as short as you can in your mobile versions. It’s difficult to read a lot of text on a mobile device without breaking it up with other design elements, so bear that in mind as you make adjustments and always review your emails on both desktop and mobile before sending.  Continue reading

» 3 Advantages of Having a Mobile Presence

3 Advantages of Having a Mobile PresenceSpend time walking around a public place and you’ll see the majority of people using mobile devices in one way or another. Whether texting, surfing the web or playing a game, people are on their smartphones and tablets at an ever-increasing rate. As a wedding and events professional, you may find it hard to understand how you can take advantage of this trend – but you can (and should).

While the core of your business is the same – you’re still selling the same product or service – mobile customers expect a different experience when searching for their perfect Pros. Your business’ information needs to be easily found, read and digested so those searching during a free moment can learn all they can quickly and efficiently!

Don’t just take our word for it – below are three advantages of having a mobile presence for your wedding business:

Conduct business anywhere, at any time

When potential customers can interact with your business on mobile, it makes it easier for them to keep your business in their consideration set. If a potential customer cannot find or access your business’ key information from her phone, she might cross your business off her list and keep moving forward with a competitor. WeddingWire’s mobile site allows potential customers to find your Storefront and inquire about your business on-the-go, meaning that you’re never out of touch. Our Mobile Website Creator also makes it easy for your business to optimize your website for mobile in a few easy steps, without having to consult a website developer.

Improve customer service quality and responsiveness

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» The WeddingWire Mobile Revolution [Infographic]

Since the beginning, WeddingWire has been a mobile-thinking company with the goal of infusing technology into the wedding industry. We’re committed to keeping up with emerging mobile trends that help connect our Wedding Pros with local engaged couples. As part of that commitment, we’ve created new tools like the Mobile Website Creator, optimized our website and released a family of mobile apps to make it even easier for your business to be exposed to more couples so you can book more weddings.

To get a full picture of where we’ve been and where we’re going, check out our infographic on the WeddingWire mobile revolution!

The WeddingWire Mobile Revolution

» March “Fourth” and Meet Your Mobile Goals

March “Fourth” and Meet Your Mobile GoalsIt’s the calm before the storm for many wedding and event professionals; engagement season is over, and the big rush for many couples to book their Wedding Pros has died down a bit. With about 33% of weddings happening in the spring, you’re about to get really busy really soon!

Take advantage of this lull in your schedule to get in the spirit of March fourth – the only day of the year which is also a command. Use today as motivation to get organized for the busy season by checking some items off your business’ list. What’s one important step? Mobile!

Mobile marketing should be part of your overall marketing strategy, but depending on your business, your goals may be different. Since your mobile strategy depends on your mobile goals, be sure to decide what you want before you begin.

March forth to meet these mobile goals for small businesses:

Meeting Customer Expectations

If you want to meet the barest of customer expectations you need to be able to be found and used on mobile. Today’s couples are always on their phones, and many people may do some wedding planning research when they have a few spare moments. They’ll be able to find you easily with WeddingWire’s new WedTeam app, but if they want more information they’ll continue on to your website. Make sure you have a mobile website so they can easily scroll through it on their smartphones, and make it easy for them to contact you with big buttons and concise copy. Our Mobile Website Creator will help your business get started and lets you have control over your mobile site’s design elements.

For more mobile website tips, check out this post!

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» Do You Have a Mobile Website?

It seems like every business blog is touting the importance of the mobile experience these days – and for good reason! The number of smart phones in use worldwide has exceeded 1 billion, and it’s only continuing to climb. In fact, although only 1% of small businesses have optimized their website for mobile viewing, 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices! With engaged couples using mobile devices and tablets more and more often, it has become very important to create a mobile website for your business.

Do You Have a Mobile Website?A mobile version of your business website allows potential clients to contact you easily while on the go, directly from their mobile devices and tablets. Your WeddingWire Storefront is already optimized for mobile viewing, so that’s one less thing to worry about!

If you don’t yet have a mobile version of your website, follow our tips that will take you from creating your mobile website to integrating mobile into your overall marketing strategy!

Create a mobile-friendly version of your website

The WeddingWire Mobile Website Creator allows Premium Pros to optimize your business website on mobile and tablet devices within seconds using information from your WeddingWire account! You’ll always have up-to-date information synched, and you can easily customize the look of your mobile site to match your business’ branding. Other solutions include Mobify or the Obox Mobile plugin if your website is a WordPress site. Creating a mobile website should not be expensive or take up too much of your time, so there’s no excuse not to go mobile!

Keep it short and simple

All mobile content should be two things: short and simple! Don’t overwhelm your mobile visitors with too much copy so that they have to scroll endlessly to read all you have to say. Images should be used, but make sure they’re sized appropriately and use them sparingly to break up content. Keep everything concise and to the point. If there’s too much content on your mobile site’s pages, it might cause them to load slowly! Keep the site simple by making links and buttons large enough to be easily pressed.

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» It’s Time to Embrace Our Mobile Future!

It's Time to Embrace Our Mobile Future!Have you mobilized your business? The worldwide phenomenon of mobile technology is creating a booming market, and it is reported that consumers will spend a whopping $860 billion dollars this year on mobile devices! More importantly for our businesses, a shocking 80 percent of consumers will leave a mobile site after just one bad experience. Don’t miss out on these potential clients interested in your services just because your business has not gone mobile.

Still not convinced the power of mobile?

Here are some stats to get you up to speed on our mobile future:

  • By 2014 mobile is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage
  • According to a new report, more than half of American adults now own a smartphone (and 91 percent of adults own a cellphone of some kind)
  • The higher your earnings, and the younger you are, the more likely you are to own a smartphone
  • One half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices
  • Google reports that 40 percent of mobile consumers turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile Web experience, and 57 percent wouldn’t recommend a business with a bad mobile site
  • The majority of customers will abandon a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • 53 percent of American consumers use their smartphones to access search engines at least once a day
  • 43 percent of email is opened on a mobile device, this means think “simplicity first” when designing your email campaign and make your message clear

All of these stats make it very clear that clients are no longer only searching for their perfect Pros on desktops or laptops. This means that you need to create a strong online presence for your business – today!

Luckily, WeddingWire makes it easy to create a mobile site for your business in just a few minutes for premium Pros as part of membership! Get started by logging into your account, navigate to the “Marketing” tab, and select “Mobile Website Creator.”  Then, easily optimize your website for mobile and tablet devices. Simply copy and paste your custom code to your business website to get mobile and tablet friendly versions of your site!

Make your business mobile-friendly this year with this mobile goals checklist:

  • Create a mobile presence for your website!
  • Track your mobile Google Analytics to see how your business is doing with mobile visitors.
  • Mobilize your business emails to make your messages optimized for smartphones and tablets, with simple, relevant content and large buttons and a clean design.
  • When you visit your mobile site, make sure your business is easy to contact with a quick form or direct button to email or call for more information to maximize leads.
  • Keep your directory updates accurate on sites commonly accessed on the go, including: Google Maps, Google+ Local, Yelp and more. Provide a simple description of your services, your hours of operation, your phone number, your address and a link to your website.

Don’t be afraid to embrace our mobile future! By following these Pro tips, you will connect with more new clients searching on the go and positively impact your business this year.