The verdict is here: mobile marketing is the new normal and if you haven’t already, it’s time to catch up. The first step to becoming a mobile-friendly business is ensuring that visitors accessing your website through mobile devices have a great experience. 60% of all searches are done through a mobile device, which is causing Google to shift towards ranking websites based on their mobile sites (mobile first SEO). So if you want to show up in couples’ search results on Google, mobile optimization is more important than ever.
To be ready for this shift to mobile-first SEO, it’s important to understand how Google ranks mobile friendliness and what you can do to be in Google’s good books.
3 tips for optimizing your mobile site:
Test each page separately
In order to optimize your mobile site, you need think deeper than the landing page. Just because your homepage is mobile friendly, doesn’t mean all pages of your website are mobile friendly. Your site needs to be optimized from start to finish, which means making sure that users have a good experience when they are directed to any part of your website. Moreover, each page should be treated as an entry point since most visits on websites don’t begin with the landing page. Google’s new algorithm is more granular, compared to the past, and will be looking at each page separately to determine how your site will rank in search results.
Page speed matters (a lot)
Google wants to ensure a good experience when people click on a website, so they look at your page speed to decide if you are offering a good mobile experience for visitors. The average load time for a mobile page is currently 22 seconds, but research shows that people will click out if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, indicating an imbalance in user expectations. Google offers the free tool PageSpeed Insights which reports on the real-world performance of a page and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved — check it out to put your website to the test.
Remember: Google operates in real time
Previously, every few months, Google would crawl through web pages and collect data that would deem websites either up to standards or spam, which would then determine the search rankings for these pages. Prior to Google’s latest update, even if you improved your website you would still have to wait a few months until Google re-indexed in order to have any penalties on your website lifted.
But with the new update, Google’s systems are operating in real time. With its latest release Google crawls and re-indexes pages as changes are made. This means you can make improvements to your website and see results in your search rankings quickly.
With Google’s mobile-first indexing rolling out, mobile optimization is the biggest and most critical topic in SEO. It is now easier to understand where your website stands and how to improve it, and as competition increases, differentiating yourself with a well functioning website can help boost you to the top of search results. So get out there and improve your mobile optimization!
These tips originally appeared in WeddingWire’s Webinar “Master Mobile Marketing” with Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire’s Chief Marketing Officer.
The world is transitioning to mobile — with Google paying more attention to mobile sites and users engaging mainly via mobile phones, mobile conversion and optimization is going to start impacting us more than ever before.
To prepare for this imminent mobile takeover, here are 7 tips from WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly to make sure your business is set up for mobile success:
1. Be ready for mobile-first SEO
Mobile-first SEO means that Google will be looking at your mobile site to determine both mobile and desktop search rankings. To prepare for this, it’s important to start thinking mobile first for ALL things: website, blog, emails and other communication. This means designing for mobile phones first and then taking that design to desktop instead of the other way around.
Because of mobile-first SEO, it is crucial to have mobile parity which simply means that your mobile website today has to be equivalent to your desktop experience, if not better. The easiest way to achieve this is to have a responsive design that has one brand, one domain and one codebase; a website that looks good on all devices (LiveBooks is a great service for responsive websites that are design focused!).
2. Mobilize from end-to-end
Even if you mobilize the first step, you need to make sure to mobilize the entire process when you send an email. Mobilized emails that link to non-mobilized websites result in 80% of users leaving the site. Every step along the way must be made mobile-friendly.
3. Create short video content
Facebook has a growing emphasis on video content, and this will continue to increase in the coming years. . Winning at mobile isn’t going to be about words and photos on social platforms, but instead about sharing short video content that is less than 60 or 30 seconds. Also keep in mind that in the world of mobile, most people do not have their sound on, making text overlays vital to a successful piece of video content.
As the availability of content grows, users attention spans are getting shorter, making it important to brand within the first 3 seconds, if not the first second, with some sort of overlay. Because people process visuals and video at a much faster rate than text, short video content is the future.
4. Communicate with millennials
In the world of mobile and millennials, there is an expectation that communication needs to move faster. Couples expect a reply from wedding professionals within 24 hours and 50% of buyers choose the wedding professional that responds first. So speed does matter! and being able to communicate via your mobile phone is a good way to be quick with a response.
When communicating with millennials, it is also important to reciprocate the channel where they prefer communicating, 48% of couples are frustrated when vendors who do not use the same channel to reply as the couple used to reach out. If a couple sent an email that was followed up with a call from the vendor, it is typically viewed unfavorably.
To streamline mobile communication, WeddingWire offers vendors easy-to-use messaging features to communicate quickly and effectively with their couples.
5. Monitor your search console
Search console is a free service from Google that helps you get the data, tools, and diagnostics needed to create and maintain Google-friendly websites and mobile apps. It’s a service that every business should have running for them to let them know of their average position within search rankings and where they can improve. Search Console is Google’s way of giving you a report card and notifying you of what is working for your website and what is not.
As Google moves towards mobile-first SEO, monitoring your Search Console will tell you if your rankings stay consistent or shift, and where you can improve.
6. Focus on mobile conversion
Mobile conversion is how well your mobile site is converting visitors into leads. Looking into these conversion rates can tell you a lot about how friendly your mobile site is and if there are areas for improvement when compared to your desktop site.
If you’re using Google Analytics you can turn on conversion tracking to see how many people visit your mobile website and convert into leads. You can then use this data to compare your rate to previous years, seasons and even desktop conversion rates to see if you’re achieving mobile conversion parity.
7. Accept mobile payments
Accepting mobile payments before your competitors can be a big advantage for your business; couples were 23% more likely to recommend wedding professionals who had a form of online payment. Fortunately, WeddingWire members can use WeddingWire Payments to seamlessly request and accept client payments through WeddingWire in the Messages section of their account.
As Eric Schmidt, the previous Chairman of Google, said “The trend has been that mobile was winning, it’s now won.” and these 7 tips will help your business stay on top of this shift to handheld devices and mobile-first SEO!
These tips originally appeared in WeddingWire’s Webinar “Master Mobile Marketing” with Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire’s Chief Marketing Officer.
Successfully communicating with Millennials can sound like a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with their heavy reliance on mobile devices. After all, Millennials are the “mobile generation”: everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go. They have around the clock access to email, news, social media – you name it, they can do it! So how do you possibly get their attention in a time when there are literally thousands of modes of interaction? The key is to understand three of the most popular (and efficient) ways Millennials are interacting with the world around them: texting, email, and social media.
To give you an idea of just how “mobile” this generation is, consider this: Millennials spend an average of four and a half hours on smartphones each day, and 87% of millennials have their smartphones on them at all times. According to the same data, 80% of Millennials said that the first thing they do when they wake up is check their smartphone, and 60% said that they believe everything will be done on mobile devices in the next five years. Looking at your audience specifically, engaged couples spend 42% of their time planning their weddings on mobile devices each week. The world is shifting to become much more mobile-based, and it’s essential to adapt your business’s marketing strategy accordingly. Is your business catering to these individuals?
If your answer is no, don’t worry. By following a few simple mobile etiquette tips and adjusting your current marketing strategy to account for this mobile generation, you’ll be equipped to successfully communicate with Millennials via email, social media, and even text messaging.
- Make your emails mobile-friendly. About 70% of WeddingWire consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, which demonstrates how important it is that all of your business’ emails can be opened from a mobile device. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg refers to this practice as “mobile end-to-end,” which means that the Millennials who are constantly on-the-go can access your content on a desktop or mobile device and enjoy the same experience.
- Don’t get lost in the (inbox) crowd. Once you reach your client’s email inbox, it’s important to direct them to your email amidst the hundreds of others they’re probably receiving. To do this, use a short, descriptive subject line that grabs their attention and provides all of the important information. This strategy is crucial for a generation that often weeds out emails based merely on the subject lines.
- KISS. This acronym – Keep It Short and Simple – is the golden rule for your email content. Millennials’ time is precious; they’re a busy generation with very little time to read through lengthy boring content. So once you’ve grabbed their attention with a catchy subject line, make your emails are concise and exciting. Use images and large font to engage your clients, and be sure to keep the message short enough so you don’t lose their interest.
- Respond ASAP. Remember to respond as quickly as you can, because besides being courteous, doing so lets your clients know they are important. Our data suggests that most couples expect to hear back from a vendor within 24 hours, so aim for that at a minimum.
- Give it whimsy. Millennials spend about five and a half hours on social media daily, most of the time via mobile devices, so it’s important for your business to have an active presence online and to post interesting, relevant content that will grab their attention. Industry thought leaders suggest that you include a little playfulness in your posts, as the social media that Millennials find the most engaging and shareable is often a combination of goofy and earnest content. Don’t be afraid to show some personality – after all, they’ll need to be working with you personally on a very important day in their lives!
- Be creative. Despite their reliance on mobile, Millennials switch their attention between electronic devices several times an hour, so it’s important to post engaging, creative content across all platforms that will keep users’ attention no matter what medium they are viewing it on. The key, however, is to post the right content for the platform; don’t just post the same content across your social networks. Consider your audience for each network to post the appropriate content with the right tone. Think about it: You wouldn’t post the same thing to LinkedIn that you would post to Facebook, would you? Use all types of platforms to showcase your expertise and let your product sell itself.
- Start a conversation. Millennials are more likely to engage with a social media post if they care about the content. Our research shows that 40% of couples say they comment, tag their partner or friend, and/or post on a vendor’s page if they like the content. They are also more likely to share your content with their own followers if they feel a strong connection to it, so encourage this behavior by posting content that they can respond to or share. If they share your content, it not only indicates loyalty, but it also extends your reach to even wider group of prospects.
- Follow trends. We get it; you’re busy! With countless social networks and apps available today, it can be hard to stay up to date with them all. You don’t need to have a presence on them all, but you do need to understand which are the most popular among Millennials. For instance, many engaged Millennials are using Instagram to look for inspiration and to post engagement and wedding photos for guests to see. They often use personal wedding hashtags and location tags that make it easy for friends to find, so mirror these trends by using your own hashtags or geo-tags in your media posts to direct more people to your content.
- Proceed texting…with caution. Text messages are one of the dominant forms of communication among Millennials, well above phone calls. However, while texting is an easy way communicate a quick message, there are still important rules that apply to the business world and are important to remember even when communicating via text. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg recommends that wedding professionals (and all professionals for that matter) never text prospective clients first. Texting is the last personal communication method we have today, so boundaries are necessary for it to remain that way. Once you’ve had meaningful contact with someone via email or by phone, you can ask if they would prefer texting. If you prefer not to text with clients, you can explain that they should only be texting you for wedding “emergencies,” or if they’re running late to an appointment.
- Keep it professional. Avoid falling into the laziness trap of abbreviations and emoticons. While it is easy to simply write, “c u @ 3 today,” you want to keep your texting “voice” professional when communicating with a client – even Millennials who are all too familiar with the vernacular. Adhere to basic grammar rules, don’t type in all caps (to Millennials, that translates into screaming), consider your tone, and always include your name in the text so as to not confuse your client.
Millennials may seem like a complicated generation with their smartphones, tablets, desktops, and other devices. However, following their trends on social media and using professional email and texting behavior will allow you to communicate with these individuals in the most efficient way possible, no matter what device they’re using!
This article was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire.
In 2018, a mobile-friendly website is no longer a trend or a nice-to-have – it’s a necessity for conducting business, especially in the wedding industry. More than ever, couples are using smartphones at all hours of the day to keep the planning process moving, from searching for wedding professionals to finding inspiration for the big day. Your mobile website might be the first-and-only impression a couple sees of your business, so it’s vital that your site provides a great user experience and highlights important information that will turn prospective clients into a bookings.
The tech landscape is fast-evolving, and not so long ago simply having a great website could put you ahead of your competition. But today, it’s no longer enough to give you a competitive edge. No matter your industry, you must be aware of the new platforms and tools used by your audience. If the majority of your audience is using mobile (and they are!), you should make the investment in mobile optimization and prepare for the Google mobile-first index.
Millennials are programmed to think mobile
As we know, smartphones have significantly changed consumer behavior and their impact on the wedding industry is no exception. Roughly 90% of adults in the U.S. between the ages of 25-34 own a smartphone, meaning that the majority of engaged couples are active on mobile devices.
Today’s society is accustomed to instant gratification, and the same holds true for couples in the wedding planning process. Smartphones allow couples to search for information during their commute, while at the gym, or pretty much anywhere at anytime of the day. It’s critical to provide the content they’re searching for when you have their attention! If a couple can’t find the information they’re looking for on your site, they’ll quickly move on to the next.
Mobile optimization is essential
Gone are the days when a business could get away with displaying their desktop layout on mobile. The moment a prospect needs to magnify text on their smartphone, you’ve lost a client – and if they’re willing to stick around, you’re certainly not providing the amazing experience your brand deserves. Instead, your business should have a responsive website, meaning that the content on each page adjusts to the device being used, so you can provide the best experience no matter how visitors are viewing your site. If you just redesigned your website and it’s not responsive, no need to panic! Until you’re ready to fully optimize your website, take the following actions to improve how your site appears on mobile without a responsive template:
- Keep your color palette and branding consistent
- Stick with a simple layout and avoid multiple pages
- Resize your font and images to be mobile friendly
- Reduce the amount of text displayed
- Use large clickable buttons for calls-to-action
Understand how customers interact with your mobile site
Each week, couples spend over 30% of their time planning their wedding from a mobile or tablet device, which is about 40 minutes a day. During this time, couples are searching for things like wedding checklists, planners, colors, themes, websites, venues, budgets and more. Couples feel that these searches are less “risky” actions to be taking on mobile.
While all businesses need to have a strong mobile presence, it’s important to recognize if the product or service you provide is better suited for a desktop or mobile interaction and adjust content accordingly. While a couple might not create their wedding invitation on a mobile device, they will certainly browse for design inspiration on mobile. Think about what is most valuable to your clients and how you can deliver a great experience, while highlighting the most meaningful content (like providing contact information or sharing inspiring imagery). A good mobile experience does not need to replicate your website but should offer content that makes prospective clients want to take the next step.
Be ready for mobile-first SEO
By optimizing for mobile, you are setting yourself up for mobile-first search engine optimization. Now that mobile searches outnumber desktop searches, Google has been working on a rollout that will create and rank search listings based on the mobile version of content rather than the desktop experience. This project is most likely to launch sometime in 2018 and could negatively impact your search rankings over time if your site is not mobile friendly. You must ensure that your mobile site is at parity to your desktop version.
Having a mobile presence for your wedding business will change the way potential customers interact with your business for the better! Keep these advantages in mind and you’ll reach more couples and keep them coming back to your business.
Sonny leads WeddingWire’s B2C/B2B marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and community development. Sonny is a widely acclaimed speaker, giving over 50 presentations across the globe each year on technology, marketing and strategy. Sonny holds a B.A. in Economics with a focus in Management and Marketing from The University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Photo by Anna Simonak Photography
Millennials (also known as Gen Y), whose current age ranges from 16-34, account for roughly 25% of today’s US population – making them the largest living generation. As of 2017, U.S. Millennials are estimated to spend roughly $200 billion annually, make up 75% of the workplace and comprise the majority of the consumer market within the next 10 years.
Why does this matter for your business? The Millennial generation is at the age where major life events are taking place, like graduating, buying a house, and getting married. In fact, more than 80% of WeddingWire couples are Millennials! Knowing where they are in their life stages is key for understanding how to communicate with this important group.
Millennials are willing to spend more to personalize their weddings
Over the past 10 years we’ve continued to see overall guest count decrease, regardless of age, whereas the total spend per guest is on the rise. Couples are willing to spend extra on each guest in order to really personalize their big day and make it memorable and unique. On average, millennials spend $31,000 on their wedding, whereas GenXers spend $24,000 on fewer guests. A few other points of differentiation between Millennials and their older counterparts:
- Engagement Length: 13 months for Millennials, 11 months for GenX
- Number in Wedding Party: 10 for Millennials, 7 for GenX
- Number of Vendors Hired: 11 for Millennials, 9 for GenX
87% of Millennials report having their smartphones on them at all times
Millennials are the “mobile generation” — everything they do or want to do can be done on-the-go, so a non-existent or poor mobile website can be an instant deal breaker for this group! Make mobile a priority by doing a full sweep of your online properties from your mobile website to your emails, and make sure the content is easily digestible (and layout is responsive) on smartphones and tablet devices.
Nearly all (89%) of Millennials report using social media
Millennials spend about 5 ½ hours on social media daily, most of the time via mobile devices, so it’s important for your business to have an active presence online. Make sure to post interesting, relevant content that will grab their attention. Keep your content visual and whimsical by incorporating useful videos, tips or advice! Use hashtags to focus on key topics and don’t forget to interact with followers, prospective clients and other industry professionals.
Remember: Just because we’re focusing on Millennials, these tips and tricks are relevant for ALL of your customers. Thinking about age and generation is one helpful way to think about where you customers are in their life stage and how can you best serve and meet their needs!
Today’s couples are planning their wedding while on-the-go. Does your business make a great impression, and stand out on all devices? Thinking ‘mobile-first’ creates an exceptional brand experience from phone to tablet to desktop, and impresses your target audience!
During this one hour webinar for premium members, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly shared his tips for how to best engage with mobile-friendly couples, his top ‘mobile mantras’ for your business and the best 15 apps of the year.
Here are Sonny’s seven mobile mantras to set your business up for success:
- Mobile first: When designing your website and emails, think ‘mobile first’ with an easy to read and navigate core design, that you can build upon and modify as devices get larger and for desktop.
- Mobile end-to-end: Set the goal to make all your communication and campaigns a strong experience from end to end from all devices. For example, if you create a great email, make sure it works just as well from a mobile opener as a desktop!
- Mobile conversion: Make sure you add a simple and easy to use contract from to your website for mobile visitors. The form should be large enough to type easily from phones, and not ask for unnecessary fields which will cause drop-offs in your leads.
- Mobile mail: 70% of WeddingWire consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, which means your clients are opening your emails on the go as well! Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly by always testing them on a mobile device with clear calls to action for the greatest engagement.
- Mobile payment: Accept payments from your mobile devices to close more sales quickly. Devices such as Squares plug right into your smartphone, and with new apps for payments such as Apple Wallet – mobile payments are only going to continue to rise.
- Mobile audience: Prepare your business for your clients and store all their important event information in one easy to access place by using WeddingWire Client Sites, available in premium accounts. Both you and your client can log in any time, and from any device to finalize payment, track contracts and add event info.
- Mobile me: Mobile devices are becoming even more personal and easy to use. Smartphones, watches and assisting systems such as Siri are getting to know and remembering your preferences, and are more able to be tailored than ever before. Stay ahead with the latest tech!
A mobile-friendly website is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s now a necessity for conducting business in the wedding industry. More than ever, couples are using smartphones at all hours of the day to keep the planning process moving along, from searching for vendors to finding inspiration.
Your mobile website might be the first and only impression a couples sees of your business, so it’s vital that your site provides a good user experience and highlights important information. You can learn more about mobile optimization in Volume 3 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series, but below we’ve compiled a few stats that prove that mobile optimization is a big deal for your wedding business!
61% of mobile users say they are likely to visit another site when they don’t find the information they’re looking for right away
Today’s society is accustomed to instant gratification and the same holds true for the wedding planning process. Smartphones allow couples to search for information during their commute, while at the gym and even at 2am; therefore, it’s important to provide the content they’re searching for when you have their attention! If a couple can’t find the information they’re looking for on your site, they’ll quickly move on to the next.
Each week, couples spend over 30% of their time planning their wedding from a mobile device
While all businesses need to have a strong mobile presence, it’s important to recognize if the product or service you provide is better suited for a desktop or mobile interaction and adjust content accordingly. While a couple might not create their wedding invitation on a mobile device, they will certainly be browsing for design inspiration. Think about what is most valuable to your mobile clients and how you can deliver a great experience, while highlighting the most meaningful content. A good mobile experience does not need to replicate your website, but should offer up content that makes prospective clients want to take the next step.
Introducing the new WeddingWire mobile apps for Pros, My Reviews and My Clients! These new apps allow you to put your wedding business’ best foot forward and manage the most important parts of your business from the palm of your hand.
These new apps are exclusively for WeddingWire Pros so you can get immediate notifications and respond quickly when you receive new reviews and leads. Research shows that if you respond within 5 minutes rather than 30, you are 100 times more likely to make contact with the lead – so responding quickly is extremely important!
The WeddingWire Review Manager for Pros allows you to receive instant review notifications and even request new reviews from your clients through your mobile device. Respond to, share or dispute reviews with a few easy clicks, plus view your current review status and any awards you may be eligible for on an ongoing basis.
Our latest addition, the WeddingWire Client Manager for Pros, helps you manage your inquiries and bookings on-the-go! See important client details like date, location and more right at the initial point of contact so you can determine availability at a glance. Manage the entire process and communicate with current clients from start to finish!
Both apps allow our Pros to easily access what you need from your WeddingWire account and sync new information automatically so you are always up to date. We’re happy to announce that they’re free to download for both Apple via the App Store and Android via Google Play.
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 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.
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.
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.
Assess 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.