» Email Marketing: What Not to Do

Many service categories in the wedding and events industry have the possibility of repeat customers. Bands, Caterers, DJs, Florists and Photographers are the types of Pros that clients may go back to for future events if they had a great experience, so make sure you’re capitalizing on those opportunities! Email marketing is a great way to stay top-of-mind for those past clients and alert them to new products or services you may offer.

There are hundreds of articles online that explain what to do for a good email marketing campaign, but sometimes it’s important to know what not to do so you can cover your bases! Below, we detail what not to do when creating and sending an email marketing campaign.

Email Marketing: What Not to DoDon’t make your emails “one size fits all”

Let’s face it – every couple is different. While you can’t write emails that will be perfect for every single couple, you can learn to be smarter about the emails you send. If you have both prospects and past customers on your email list, you should not be sending both groups the same email! Think about the buying and planning process for the members on your email list. Is there a way you can group them based on timing or behavior? By creating these market segments, you can send the most relevant and helpful content to everyone on your list. Start by separating prospects from booked clients and past clients, then think about each group in turn. Your prospects are looking for something to put them over the edge to make a decision, so you might try sending a discount. Thinking strategically will help your wedding business start personalizing your email marketing.

Don’t assume people know who you are

Members on your email list could be very old depending on when they last worked with you or signed up to receive your emails. It’s important to remember that as you’re creating your email campaigns! If they haven’t heard from you or thought about your business in a while, it can be off-putting to receive an email from your wedding business out of the blue. For those users, send emails that are more personalized so they don’t automatically believe it’s spam. As for the rest of the list, start slow when you begin an email marketing campaign so that you don’t start sending them a lot of email they may not want. If they do unsubscribe, the next point will tell you how to approach the situation.

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» Top Google Apps for Wedding Professionals

Top Google Apps for Wedding ProfessionalsIn the wedding industry, a day of work extends beyond 9am-5pm for many wedding professionals. Between actual client events, appointments with prospects and other business errands, you often find yourself out of the “office” more than you’re actually in it! With all the back and forth, you want to have access to everything your business needs.

If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you may be using outdated business tools simply because they weren’t available when you first started your wedding business. Google offers a suite of apps that help businesses get work done faster, and the functionality is only getting better by the day. Read on below for the top Google apps for wedding professionals today!

Gmail

For those old-school Pros who prefer Outlook (or Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.) for their email needs, Gmail is worth a second look! Google’s email product, Gmail, provides a number of helpful features for wedding professionals in particular. Because Gmail is a web-hosted email service, you can access your account from any computer, tablet, smartphone or other device with Internet access! This means that no matter where you are or how you’re accessing the Internet, you’ll be able to communicate with prospects and clients. And with 15GB of free storage, you don’t have to worry about deleting emails to make room. The best feature, though, is that you can also get a custom email with your company’s domain name which runs through Gmail! It’s free for personal users, but for a few dollars a month you’ll get the professional look you’re going for and never lose access to your business’ needs. Check out our list of Gmail tips and tricks to help you save time!

Google Drive

Ever want to share a document with a colleague or collaborate with more than one other person? If you’re emailing Word documents or Excel spreadsheets back and forth, you may experience issues dealing with the multiple versions. Google Drive is the perfect solution for wedding professionals who need lots of data and information at their fingertips at all times! With Google Drive, your business can go wherever you go. You can organize, edit and share documents from any computer at drive.google.com, or on-the-go with the Drive mobile app. Multiple users can be in your documents at one time, and you can add comments/track changes as you would in a Word doc. The spreadsheets in Google Drive are also extremely useful to keep track of all your event information and expenses. You can also upload photos, videos and other files to keep them accessible to multiple people from multiple devices.

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» Gmail Tips and Tricks to Save Time

Email was originally invented to help us communicate faster and more efficiently, and to ultimately make our lives simpler. However, in these days where an overflowing inbox is all-too-often the norm, it can feel like taking the time to read all your emails and respond is a job in itself. Below are a few helpful Gmail tips and tricks available to help make your email work for you!

Gmail Tips and Tricks to Save TimeCanned Responses

If you feel like you are consistently sending the same email over and over, take advantage of canned responses. Gmail’s canned responses are pre-scripted emails at the tip of your finger tips which you can edit before sending. Canned responses are a great time saver, and you’ll also be certain that your messaging is consistent.

Pro Tip: Consistently sending out your price sheet? Rather than copying and pasting from a word document or somewhere else in your computer, set up a canned response you can easily add into the body of any email and then edit quickly to personalize.

Undo Send

Have you ever sent an email without proofreading or just wish you could take it back right after clicking the “Send” button? Gmail’s Undo Send allows you to stop the email from leaving your outbox if you change your mind within a few seconds of sending. You’ll have to be quick with this feature, but it’s worth it for those last minute, silly mistakes!

Pro Tip: Undo Send saves you from appearing unprofessional if you accidentally mistype your client’s name or notice a typo right after sending. This support article will walk you through adding this feature to your Gmail settings.

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» Five Tips for Successful Email Marketing

email-marketing-tipsEmail marketing is a great way to connect and share important details about your business with your audience. However, it’s very important to consider your messaging, design and calls to action to ensure your email marketing is effective. Most importantly – always focus on the consumer first! Consider their needs, interest and what would engage them and be sure to avoid ‘me’ language. Tell them what you can do to make their life better, not just why your business is so great.

To help maximize the impact of your next email campaign, check out these top tips for effective email marketing!

  • Send people the content they want. Great content is an important part of a successful email campaign. Determining your email content is really all about understanding what your audience would like to know about or what would be helpful for them. Consider sending relevant wedding planning tips to your category that would be relevant and engaging to them!
  • Keep your email short and sweet. Your email should be simple, and right to the point with one main focus. Too much content or differing messages will not only be confusing to your audience, but also will cause reader drop off. Too much writing is overwhelming and not digestible from all devices.
  • Create a brand voice and design. Strive to reflect your brand message and voice in all communication and all your marketing materials. Ideally, your audience should recognize your email campaigns and the content you share, and over time will look forward to your emails and updates.

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» Top 5 Lessons from the WeddingWire World Tour So Far

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

Now that we have two of the five WeddingWire World Tour stops for 2014 under our belt, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on what I’ve seen and heard, not from the stage, rather from offstage. I’ve met so many great wedding and event Pros, exchanged business cards, heard your stories and listened and answered your questions. I’ve often said that the best part of many conferences for me is what happens in the hallways, at the meals and at the bar, and these WeddingWire World events were no exception.

Top 5 Lessons from the WeddingWire World Tour So FarSo, here are five things that stood out for me as some of the lessons I’d like to share with you (and if you haven’t made it to a stop on the WeddingWire World Tour yet, there are still three more coming up later this year!):

1) Free and cheap are worth exactly that.

Don’t be lured in by free/cheap websites and business cards. One of my presentations was specifically about your printed marketing materials (business cards, brochures, postcards, etc.). Printed marketing is a multi-sensory experience. When someone hands you their business card you unconsciously take notice of the feel of the card, the weight of the paper and the texture. Then you look at the quality of the design and printing. You’re making judgments about the quality of the business based upon the quality of the card. Don’t believe me? Has someone ever handed you a thin business card? What did you think of it? You probably didn’t think they were the highest quality business, did you?

2) What does your email say about you?

Almost half the business cards I collected had email addresses that were not matched to that company’s website URL. Instead they had Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo or their internet provider (Verizon, Comcast, RoadRunner, etc.). When I survey audiences they always say that using a Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. email address makes you look like a new or part-time business, no matter how long you’ve been in business or how high your quality.

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» When is an Email Reply Not an Email Reply?

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is a member of the National Speakers Association, an author, and founder of The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, an organization dedicated to the educating and consulting of highly motivated individuals and businesses. Learn more at https://alanberg.com/.

Auto-responders. Email replies. Out of Office messages. We get them every day. Some of us send them every day. But are they providing a good experience to the recipient? Does the person receiving these messages feel better about the interaction? Do any of us really need another email in our inbox?

I speak and consult with countless wedding and event Pros each year and I know that many of you like your auto-responders. You have them set up to reply to inquiries. You have them set up to reply whether you’re in the office or out. So, let’s turn the tables on you and see what experience you’re actually providing. When you’re the customer and you email a company you’ve never done business with, and you get an almost immediate email reply that says something like “Your message is very important to us. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.” How does that make you feel? Do you feel like they’ve actually responded? Or is it just a validation that their computer has received your email?

When is an Email Reply Not an Email Reply?Where’s the value?

My simple philosophy on auto-responders or out of office messages is that they should add value to the recipient. Telling me that you’ve received my message adds no value for me. Saying that you’ll get back to me as soon as you can is a statement of the obvious. I hope you’d get back to me as soon as you can and not make me wait any longer than necessary.

What I’m looking for is information that I didn’t have before I sent you my email, or filled out your contact form. I only use an out of office reply when I’m out of my office for a full day, or longer. It states when I’ll be out, where I’ll be, gives information on my availability and how to get a message to me when it’s urgent, including my cell phone number. I’ve seen way too many messages that say to call for more information or faster service, and they don’t include the phone number. It also includes my full email signature with all of the included contact information.

Are you listening?

What about auto-responders that send information to whoever completes your contact form? Unless your system is sophisticated enough to only send what they asked for, and nothing more, then I’m not a fan. If you’ve heard me present on sales on a WeddingWire webinar, or at a live presentation, then you know that I’ve said not to answer questions they haven’t asked, and don’t send information they didn’t request. Your marketing materials can’t qualify a prospect, only you can. They’re already interested or they wouldn’t have made the inquiry. Show them that your company provides real, personalized customer service by actually replying, instead of reactively sending the same information to everyone, regardless of their need.

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» 4 Email Marketing Metrics to Track

4 Email Marketing Metrics to Track

Of the major marketing tactics employed these days, email marketing is one of the least used by wedding professionals. In order for email marketing to be a viable option, you must have a solid email list. But if your “client” is an engaged couple who’ve booked your product or service for their wedding, they might not be a repeat customer, in which case it doesn’t make sense to email them about your business on a semi-regular basis. This is often true for Pros in the Venue, Dress & Attire, Officiant and Wedding Planning categories.

For many service categories in the wedding and events industry, though, there is the possibility of repeat customers. Bands, Caterers, DJs, Florists and Photographers are the types of Pros that clients may go back to for future events if they had a great experience. To capitalize on those opportunities and stay top-of-mind for those past clients, email marketing is a great tactic!

Email marketing is a valuable tool because everyone has an email address (or two or three!). And better yet, people are accessing emails 24/7 through both their computers and mobile devices. But for those who are just starting out with email, it can be hard to figure out how to measure success.

Below are four email marketing metrics to track so your business can determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns (and improve on them in the future):

Open rates

The open rate of an email is usually the first metric most businesses will look at to understand the success of the email. The open rate tells you the percentage of those who opened your email out of the total number sent. Since people can’t possibly click through the content in your email without opening it first, the open rate of your email is the first step in determining whether or not your email is resonating with your audience. A good open rate is a good indicator that your subject line for the email was engaging and relevant to your audience!

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» Email Signature Do’s and Don’ts

No matter what size your business is, email signatures are an important part of your business’ marketing. Think about it – every email you send and even every auto-response you trigger includes your personal or business information at the bottom of the email. This signature does more than just inform the recipient of your name, title, business name and/or contact information; it’s an opportunity to call recipients to different types of action.

As we’re rounding the corner into busy season, follow these email signature do’s and don’ts to make sure your business puts its best foot forward at the end of every email!

Email Signature Do's and Don'tsDo: Include all the basics, but keep it simple! Your name should be first, followed by your professional title if you’d like to include it, then your business’ name (linked to your business website). If you do business by phone you should also include your phone number, and re-typing your email address is a nice touch so that all your contact information is in one easy-to-find place.

Don’t: Go overboard with links and information in your email signature. Including every single possible way to contact you may seem like you’re being helpful, but all that information can be overwhelming. The more choices you offer the recipient, the more likely you are to cause confusion and the less likely it will be that they’ll use any of them!

Do: Encourage users to follow you on your most popular social networks. If your business is on Facebook or Twitter and you would like to highlight that content, include those links as your recipients are most likely to have their own accounts on those networks. You could also include other social links, but don’t include all of them! Remember the first point: keep it simple.

Don’t: Include irrelevant information in your email signature. It’s common that you’d like to drive traffic to your blog or various pages on your website, but not all of that information will be useful to your email recipient. You email both potential clients and current clients, so be sure to consider both audiences when deciding which links to include.

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» 6 Principles of Successful Email Marketing

Despite the daily inundation of emails in our inboxes, email marketing is still one of the most effective communication methods for businesses. Email marketing is a great way to reach your audience and share timely and pertinent information.

Because seemingly everyone is using email as part of their marketing repertoire, it’s hard to know what exactly constitutes a successful email marketing campaign. We’re here to help with the 6 principles you should follow to make the most of your email marketing!6 Principles of Successful Email Marketing

1. Examine your audience. As a business, you should understand your overall audience, but it’s also important to examine the specific audience you are emailing. Email campaigns should be segmented in a way that may not include your entire audience. Knowing your audience is the best way to create emails that they will find relevant and useful. This can also determine your tone and email content, such as whether your emails should be conversational or more formal.  For example, you wouldn’t want to send the same email about a free consultation to your booked client—this should just to go active leads.

2. Write a catchy (and different) subject line. When writing your subject line, look at it from your own point of view as a consumer: Would I open this? Your subject line has to entice the recipient to open the email. Even if you’ve written the whole email in a way that is relevant, useful and full of great content, your recipients will never know unless they open it! Keep it short and to the point, and don’t use the same subject line for every email. Also avoid super sales oriented subject lines which can seem spammy and focus on what value you are providing to your audience.

3. Keep the design simple. Think about all the emails you receive in a single day – tons! With all of the back and forth in the average inbox, your recipients probably don’t have a lot of time to read through your email. Keep your content concise, and keep your email design simple. Make it easy for people to skim the email to find the parts that interest them, and make it even easier for them to take action on a given item by remembering to…

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» 3 Quick Tips for Writing Better Emails

3 Quick Tips for Writing Better EmailsThe human race sends and receives billions of emails per day89 billion of which are business emails – and we spend an average of 11.2 hours per week reading and answering email. Let’s face it: it’s hard to get noticed with that amount of email volume. But there are a few simple strategies your business can use when writing your emails to help them get noticed!

Want to make sure your emails are being opened, read and clicked? Follow these tips!

Write a descriptive yet clear subject line

Make it easy for your audience to find out what your email is about by making the subject line descriptive, but don’t add so much that the message gets blurred. Keep it simple and clear by choosing only one or two main ideas in the subject line. If you’re using an email provider service, you also have pre-header text to use to further elaborate on the information contained in the email!

Put your calls-to-action up front

Don’t waste your recipients’ time with a lot of content before getting to the important parts mentioned in your subject line. Feature the calls-to-action prominently in each section of the email, with the option to read further for more details and context. This makes it easier for recipients to see everything you’re asking for or telling them about, and avoids the distraction of too much content.

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» How to Stand Out in the Evolving Inbox

Email marketing plays a key role in your business’ success, but we know inside the inbox can seem like a scary place. What should you say to keep your clients engaged? What makes your recipients open your email or click on your links? How do you reach your target audience on-the-go?

WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg, and Senior Email Marketing Manager, Matt Byrd, shared tips to effectively communicate with clients through email. Attendees learned how small changes to your email marketing strategy can reap big rewards for your business.

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Be sure to review the full webinar in our Education Center for all the interesting email marketing tips! Remember, all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center to watch at your convenience. Stay tuned for info on next month’s webinar!