Wedding & Lifestyle Marketing Resources To Inspire a Successful 2018

Time for a reality check. Truth is, we are conditioned to continually push ourselves past base camp, even after a full year of climbing uphill. But as one year comes to close and we prepare to ring in 2018, it’s important to first toast to our monumental successes. Whether you’re a wedding planner who just wrapped a busy season of destination events, a photographer who has expanded your shooting team or a venue that has undergone a major renovation - take a moment to appreciate the unending commitment you have to your business.

A great way to establish a strong start to your New Year is to first assess your goals at face value, and acknowledge how they may have shifted or evolved over the last several months. Are there opportunities for growth in one area more than another? How are your objectives serving your business best?

It's also a great time to start playing around with few new tools that can be utilized for more effective workflows, and then integrating them into your blueprint for business growth.

To give you a head start, we’ve designed a guide with a few of our favorites (and take a peek at some of last year’s best marketing resources for wedding & lifestyle pros, too)

To keep your sanity and your team aligned: Asana

This online and mobile tool helps you track multiple projects and business tasks all at once -You can see the status on any given project at a glance without needing to schedule a call or shooting them an email. This is a great tool especially for those creative business owners who have remote team members or contractors. The clean dashboard allows you to see all of your tasks in one window along with their categories (ex: blog, client, etc...), due dates, and who they’re assigned to if you’re working with multiple people. Asana also integrates with Google Drive which makes it easy to keep all of your resources in one place. The mobile app means you can access things while traveling, too!

To flex your graphic skills: Canva

You don’t have to hire a professional designer for smaller graphic needs when you use Canva. You can upload your brand’s colors and fonts to ensure all graphics you create stay cohesive with your overall aesthetic. Overlay wording on top of a photo for a creative Instagram post. Mock up a new Facebook cover photo. Design a client presentation, promotion flyer or invitation to your next business event. It’s so versatile and a bit easier to use than Adobe InDesign (which can’t be beat if you’re working with more complex web design projects). Plus, learn tons of design principles and strategies with Canva’s Design School - a blog with a plethora of resources to help you create great visual content.

To make your website work for you: Yoast

Give your website a fighting chance to stand up against the competition with a plugin that can help you optimize your content to better attract new business through Google. Yoast is a great tool to install on your website that will give you tips for strengthening meta descriptions and improving overall search capacity. Check out our guide to understanding SEO here!

To protect your rep: Google Alerts

An oldie but goodie - Google Alerts is a great tool to keep a pulse on your brand (and others) through an easy and effective daily notification. Google Alerts enables businesses to review mentions of their brand name, track competitors or simple keywords about their industry - like ‘destination wedding planner’ or ‘interior design trends.’ It’s particularly helpful when your work is featured in various wedding blogs and magazines, or articles online - keep track of your presence in a measurable way without spending time scouring the Internet.

To execute a defined Instagram strategy: Planoly

Save yourself some time and schedule Instagram content for the week, month, or next year with this desktop site and mobile app. Planoly is aesthetically-driven so it has features that allow you to visually plan and curate your account layout in a way that aligns with your brand. You can also track and reply to comments as well as track your account analytics. These features allow you to view your followers’ activity with your account and determine which posts do best in specific time frames to help you adjust for the future. For more tips of crafting a social strategy that works uniquely for your business, check out some helpful social media marketing tips here.

Cheers to a prosperous 2018!

Interested in learning more about our customized public relations partnership, social media marketing services or a consulting engagement? We would love to hear from you!

Wedding Industry Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics

Let’s be honest - diving into your marketing analytics probably isn’t at the top of your priority list as as a wedding professional or creative small business owner. Over the last few years, Google Analytics has garnered major hype for business large and small. Why? Data.

Interpreting data from Google Analytics can help reveal which marketing strategies are working for your business, and where there are opportunities to actually grow.

While there are layers of information you can access through Google Analytics, this starter guide is designed to give wedding professionals a quick guide to understanding website traffic and your audience, so you can improve your marketing strategy and secure new clients for future wedding seasons.

Website Traffic & Acquisition

One of the most impressive features of Google Analytics is a view of your website traffic from multiple perspectives. Google splits this info into multiple categories through your ‘Acquisition’ tab: Referral, Social Media, Organic, etc. By determining which method most of your traffic comes from, you can adapt your marketing strategies to ensure your efforts are focused appropriately.

For instance, if you notice most of your traffic is coming from organic search, that indicates your SEO is working well. Leverage your primary keywords even further by ensuring they remain prevalent throughout the pages on your website. Likewise, if Instagram is successfully driving new visitors to your website, make sure you are posting engaging content that continues to nurture that audience. Then, look at what channels may need a bit of attention and pivot accordingly. Building external referral links tends to be a challenge for many small business owners, which can be improved through online blog and media coverage that links back to your website, amongst other tactics.

Website Audience & Behavior

So, you know what channels are driving visitors to your website. Now, it’s time to understand who those visitors are how you can keep their attention. Google Analytics can act as a looking glass into where visitors come from, and what they are doing on your website once you’ve captured their attention. You’ll see how long people spend browsing, what pages are keeping them engaged and if they are completing the journey successfully as a new visitor to contact you. For instance, if your blog is ranking a bit lower on that totem pole than you’d like, build a manageable blog calendar to ensure you’re delivering a steady stream of fresh content. Or, see which of your services are resonating most with visitors by comparing one page to another. You can also see if users are new or returning which is a key indicator of how you are nurturing your existing network and attracting new visitors. Ask yourself throughout this process; is there a way to improve or streamline my website experience for a visitor?

Also, take a peek at where your visitors are coming from geographically through the ‘Audience’ tab. Understand which areas of the country or world your visitors come from - perhaps there is an opportunity to market your business to an entirely new demographic you hadn’t considered. For those wedding professionals that provide destination services, you can better understand where your next new client may be.

Pro Marketing Tip

While looking at data, it’s important to mark any sudden changes such as a spike or sudden fall in traffic so you can use successful campaigns to inspire future strategies, and avoid repeating tactics that didn’t work out well. Annotations allow you to take notes on Google Analytics pages so that in the future your data remains clear and informative [follow instructions here, from Search Engine Journal]. Say you launched a boosted Instagram post from a published wedding and saw tremendous traffic from that source in your Analytics, note it with an annotation. In the future, if you look back at your data you’ll be able to see immediately why and how you got this sudden increase, rather than searching through your editorial calendar or Instagram posts to try and pinpoint the source.

A bonus? Use Google Analytics’ newly launched ‘Intelligence’ feature to ask any question like ‘which states are most users coming from?’ and voilà - your answer appears without a deep search mission. It can also give you a snapshot of performance week over week & so much more!

To conclude, a simple view of your Google Analytics on a consistent basis can give you the insights you need to learn about your clients and prospects.

*This post was conceptualized by Samantha Spica, a valuable member of the In Good Company team

Need some personalized marketing help? Our custom consultation may be the perfect fit for your business - let's chat

Creating Engaging Copy for your Wedding & Lifestyle Brand

With the pressure to maintain visual relevance in an age when Instagram has taken precedence, the importance we place on the written word can come secondary to a stunning photo.

But trust us - gaining the skills to write persuasive, thoughtful and inspiring copy is a worthy pursuit.

Oftentimes, small business owners are challenged by how to properly translate their brand’s vision and market differentiator through the words on their website, social media and press.

Working alongside clients to help them refine their own unique message, we’re here to share some of our advice to achieving captivating copy, so your brand is represented in the best light and you’re able to create meaningful business connections.

Identify your ideal client. Speak to one, attract many

Creating copy that engages and encourages growth for your end business starts with speaking to the client who you want to work with. Mentally creating a picture and list of characteristics of your ideal client is critical. For instance, the owner of a bridal boutique should understand the overall brand aesthetic of the shop, the designers and styles, and the ‘ideal’ bride who buys a gown. List out words and qualifying characteristics of who she is, where she shops for clothes, what she likes to do in her free time and what her wedding day vision may look like. How does she interact with others and carry herself day-to-day? Speak directly to her every time you write a caption for Instagram, or update your website language, or provide expert tips for an editorial story. Taking a personalized tone and approach to content will lead to more authentic connections with that bride, and others just like her.

Understand your competition + your key differentiator

Using the insights gained from an exploration of your ideal client, ask yourself this; If that client had to give a one-sentence description of your company, what would you want him/her to say? What makes your brand relevant and undeniably unique from the sea of other wedding photographers, planning firms or specialty vendors?

Take time to draft written content around these core concepts that reflect your business, from your approach to client service to how you translate your craft into something unique for clients. Then, go back and refine the words you’re using to describe those elements. Try to stay approachable but also true to your brand and the ‘ideal’ client you want to attract.

After your first draft of an Instagram caption, blog post or media Q&A, read through it again and ask yourself;

  • Am I actively connecting to my ‘ideal’ client?

  • Are the virtues of my brand being communicated the way I want?

  • Are there areas to eliminate wordiness and refine messages to be more clear?

Once you’re confident with the flow and message, consider integrating SEO key terms that will help boost the visibility of that content, as appropriate. This is especially useful when adding new messaging to your website or through your blog.

Make it personal

Be sure to put yourself into your work. This sounds simple, but after all of the editing and proofreading it’s easy to get caught up in making your text sound ‘perfect’ rather than authentically your own. If you’re a wedding photographer with a beautiful shot of the couple’s first dance, use the caption to describe what the moment was like, being in their presence. Organic, meaningful copy will always trump anything too formal or canned. After all, you are your brand’s voice, so be deliberate with how you communicate and connect with your audience.

*This post was conceptualized by Samantha Spica, a valuable member of the In Good Company team

We’re writers by trade, so if you need a bit of help in this area, reach out and say hello. We would love to get to know you.

The Ideal Email Marketing Newsletter for Your Wedding & Lifestyle Business

Email marketing is one of the most personal ways to nurture relationships directly with your wedding and lifestyle clients and new connections. Maintain a personal connection and show them you’ve created this content, just for them. Use email to cultivate a community that is eager to hear from you. Avoid the advertising sales pitch and, instead, embrace the value you can provide.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking at a local Rising Tide Society monthly gathering, focused on email marketing essentials for creative professionals. We so enjoyed the lively conversation and knowledge exchange - inspiring and energizing. Today, we are sharing a short guide, for wedding and lifestyle brands to leverage email marketing in a way that complements their marketing efforts online and through social media.

- The Ideal Email Newsletter -

Keep things concise: 20 lines of text — or about 200 words — results in the highest email click-through rate for most industries.

Stay on-brand: Use a clear, consistent email design every time, with your brand palette, logo, typeface and imagery. Save time by reusing past templates and then personalize the content for each campaign.

Create great content with a clear call to action: Operate according to the 'quality over quantity' mantra - your email newsletter shouldn't be long or overworked. It should feel like a snapshot of interesting findings, updates and personal commentary that engages your reader. 

You’ll likely use email marketing to send two types of emails; non-promotional updates, and time-sensitive promotions.

  • Non-promotional emails: Used to nurture customer/client relationships through more 'neutral' content, as opposed to a coupon, sales offer or business push. When creating this type of email, think about your target market; What do they want to learn? What are their pain points? Consider sharing:

    • A snippet from a new blog post, with a link to the post on your website / a short guide (example: Tips to designing your first gallery wall, Winter floral guide for home arrangements, Invitation + place card inspiration for your next dinner party, etc...)

    • Press/Media coverage link

    • New work / portfolio additions *rather than sharing photos from a couple's wedding, try some behind-the-scenes photos of a new venue or the design process behind a stunning tablescape

    • Curated resources + interesting findings from influencers, media and blogs relevant to your community

  • Time-sensitive emails: Used to drive sales and gain new business. Far more incentive-based than the non-promotional email, this approach should be used thoughtfully to create interest for:

    • Special offers / holiday sales

    • New Product Promotion

    • Event Promotion & ticketing

Regardless of how you grow your base, always commit to highlighting the benefits of joining your email list. Make it as easy as possible for someone to sign up - put a link in your email signature and on your website. Design an opt-in form that is beautifully branded and works seamlessly with your website integration. Promote your newsletter through social media, sparingly but intentionally, to complete the full marketing cycle.

A few final cardinal rules; be consistent / be accessible / provide value / get permission *always

Considering a marketing partner for your wedding or lifestyle business? We'd love to hear more

Lifestyle & Wedding Marketing Resources to Inspire A Successful 2017

Today, we are toasting our clients and those inspiring creatives who give In Good Company purpose each day. A new calendar year is upon us all and with that comes the perfect opportunity to celebrate our achievements and to set our sights on fresh goals for the months ahead.

As you look to build brand momentum and generate new business opportunities, expanding your knowledge as a small business owner is a smart strategy.

To help jump start the New Year, we’ve curated a brief collection of our favorite resources that are meant to motivate you to tackle new and exciting projects this year.

General Assembly: Register for a course locally or online from experts in various business related fields to gain new skills and knowledge to fuel your business. An Adobe Illustrator class, a coding course, or a workshop to writing that illusive business plan are just a few choices. With affordability at the forefront, General Assembly offers easy-to-follow courses that start at $69 - designed to encourage entrepreneurs to expand their education in a way that complements their busy lifestyle.

Sage Wedding Pro’s Accounting 101: Taught by the experts behind Sage Wedding Pros, Michelle Loretta and Kelly Simants have designed this beginners course specifically for wedding pros who have little experience managing their own small business accounting. The 10 course curriculum is delivered to your inbox, filled with videos, checklists and templates to make understanding your business’ finances a bit easier. *Registration closes January 5

Udemy: This online directory of educational courses offered by industry experts, world-renowned CEOs, authors, successful entrepreneurs & thought-leaders. Perhaps you’d like to add a Shopify functionality to your bridal website to start selling your designer gowns online; you’re in luck - there are plenty of classes you could take. There are also courses that cover industry specific needs as well as general business tools like like web design, re-branding, small business operations, marketing, etc... Once you create a profile on Udemy, you’ll start receiving email alerts with new courses that apply to your distinct needs (and bonus - your first course is just $10).

#Girlboss Radio: Visionary behind Nasty Gal & author Sophia Amoruso interviews powerhouse women entrepreneurs, artists and makers who have left an impression on the world, sharing their lessons learned with listeners. Unapologetically authentic, we’re fans of the inspiring stories of so many women from all corners of the business world - from fashion to technology and every corner in between.

So here’s to every entrepreneur, small business owner and maker with a vision to create and live through their passion. Cheers to a successful 2017!

Interested in learning more about our customized public relations or social media marketing services? We would love to hear from you!