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So, one year on, is there any difference in your views on what the most effective advertising is for your wedding business? Lets see what this year’s results are!

Wedding Magazines 1.15%

Newspaper Advertisements 0%

wedding directories 8.05%

Word of Mouth 19.54%

Features on Blogs 8.05%

Your Website 21.84%

Discussion Forums/Chat Rooms 5.75%

Flyers/Business Cards 2.3%

Wedding Fairs 13.79%

Recommended Supplier lists 4.6%

Facebook 11.49%

Twitter 2.3%

Bebo 0%

pay per click 1.15%

google adverts 0%

Other: 0%

As you will see, the most popular advertising option is ‘website’. In second place is ‘word of mouth’ with ‘wedding fairs’ in third.

It seems the least expensive, or zero cost, options are the most successful for you.

Facebook, blogs and directories have seen a wee increase on last year whilst we suspect some wedding businesses have yet to try Twitter (you should, its very effective!)

Any surprises? Any comments, please post them below!

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Okay, so about a week ago, out of curiousity, we asked our fellow wedding suppliers to share with us what forms of advertising they felt worked best for them.

As a wedding supplier ourselves (both the directory and wedding photography), we feel we have tried most forms of advertising over the year and have now figured out what works best, but do our fellow suppliers feel the same? Well here are the results of the poll in order of most effective to least effective:

Your Website 23.73% of the vote

Word of Mouth 22.03% of the vote 

Wedding Fairs 13.56% of the vote    

Features on Blogs 10.17% of the vote 

Facebook 6.78% of the vote

Discussion Forums/Chat rooms 6.78% of the vote

wedding directories 5.08% of the vote

Recommended Supplier lists 3.39% of the vote 

Flyers/Business Cards 3.39% of the vote

Twitter 1.69% of the vote

pay per click 1.69% of the vote

Wedding Magazines 1.69% of the vote

Newspaper Advertisements 0% of the vote

Bebo 0% of the vote

google adverts 0% of the vote

Other 0% of the vote

So…are you suprised? Especially at the fact magazine and newspaper advertising features so low? I’m not. To many businesses, starting out, bridal magazines may seem like the best and only way to advertise.

It works for some, but for the majority it wont. It can depend on where your advert is situated and how often  you advertise in that magazine – regular adverts gets you remembered, apparently.

However, I do know of someone who, for a good few years, has taken out a full page advert four times a year at a cost of about £2000 each time.

I don’t know if she haggled a reduced price, but I do know her business is struggling now so probably not…(if you’re struggling why continue to advertise in such as way?? madness in my opinion!!!)

Am I disappointed that wedding directories (considering I have one), aren’t featured higher? No. I actually feel relieved. This is because my directory is free to advertise in, so my suppliers have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I did my research – there are lots of directories out there ranging from free up to about £300 for a year’s advertising> Sometimes they do wedding fairs, magazines or brochures on top of that, so you have to fork out more…its a LOT! When you add it all up, could it afford you a stand at the next national wedding show???

 Some directories are a great success, and some are not. I’ve witnessed many suppliers not signing up for a second year and it will be interesting to observe what happens this year, especially with the VAT rise. I anticipate some directories reducing their yearly fees (I’ve already seen this in some instances), or increasing their yearly fees.

Back to wedding shows. This is the only suprise really. You’d think they’d feature more highly, but when I spoke to some suppliers, they say they much prefer local wedding fairs and dont want to spend more than £100 on exhibiting to be sure of a good return. Thank goodness our fairs are less than that to exhibit with eh??

Share your thoughts!

www.yourweddingatlochlomond.co.uk

Free to use, Free to Advertise with – forever

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www.yourweddingatlochlomond.co.uk

www.twitter.com/wedatlochlomond

Find us on facebook – Your Wedding at Loch Lomond

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Many established wedding businesses are unconvinced as to the benefits of social media to their businesses. They view Facebook solely for keeping in touch with family and friends, and if they do have a business page, they don’t use it properly.

The main benefit of Facebook is that it’s free and easy to use. So even if you’re unconvinced as to its benefits to your business, there is simply no reason not to create a fan page for your business and start putting it to use. You might be surprised by the results.

Below are advantages and disadvantages of Facebook to wedding businesses, some of these you may not have considered so I hope it helps.

Advantages:

  • You can engage customers directly
  • It gets your brand and website known.
  • show how much you care about your business
  • Instantly address any questions or concerns that your customers may have.
  • Have a review tab so that potential customers can see how good you are!
  • It can improve the SEO for your website by providing backlinks and encouraging clicks.
  • When you share news and blog posts, people can link to this and it gets passed along a wide network of people.
  • It also gives you the opportunity to keep tabs on what people are saying about your competitors, which amounts to valuable business intelligence that you can act on.
  • Prospective customers can be impressed by how many fans you have and see this as “proof” you are well known and well liked.
  • Be careful of your settings – If you chose ‘view all posts’ then potential customers will be able to see who you network with, comments from other customers and overall its further proof that you are successful, well known
  • Post links to stories you believe will interest your fan base. Don’t make it all about you! This encourages interaction as users are more likely to add their thoughts if you have already kicked off the debate.
  •  Run competitions – getting people to like your page, so it can sometimes pay to run a competition to encourage comments. But check the Facebook rules!
  • Facebook has an ‘Events’ tab that will allow you to create virtual invites for any events which you’re running. This means that you can keep your fans updated on the very latest events that you are offering, as well as reminding them about the events as they draw near.
  • Promote your page every day – include a link to your Facebook fan page in your email signature?

Disadvantages

  • Check the settings of your page. Who can post? Do you want lots of spammers?
  • Having a ‘review’ tab also means prospective clients can see how BAD you are!
  • Watch what you say! Keep it business related. While it’s good to show a bit of personality and show prospective clients that you are a nice person, you don’t want to give them a bad impression either.
  • Don’t talk about having a hangover. Don’t moan about a job that didn’t go to well. Don’t criticise your competitors, whether by name or implication unless you want to present an unprofessional image etc.
  • Settings – if people can only see your posts, it could look a bit boring. Yes it avoids spam messages being viewed (although you could just delete them!); it prevents potential customers from seeing positive comments from previous customers and other businesses you network with.
  • Time – it can take up a lot of your time. You have to post regularly to keep people interested in your page and to maintain your number of ‘likes’. Make sure that what you do post is interesting and different.
  • Administrators – having multiple administrators can help with the ‘time’ issue, but can they be trusted to be professional?
  • Fans – as you can see above, it can be good to have 1000, 5000 fans etc, BUT ARE THEY BUYING FROM YOU???
  • Security – be very careful as to the security of your page. If it is obvious who the administrators are, is that administrator’s personal page, contact details etc, easily viewable to potential customers? They could be tempted to have a ‘nosey’ at the person behind the brand. What do you have posted on your page? You want to give your potential customers a good impression and that extends beyond your business page.
  • Rules – check the Facebook rules carefully. If you have a personal profile that has your business name as opposed to your real name, this is against Facebook rules and they can delete your page without any prior warning. Also be careful what you post on your business page or indeed anywhere, as again it can lead to deletion without warning. (the report button allows people to report you to Facebook for breaking ‘rules’!)

Website: www.yourweddingatlochlomond.co.uk

Blog: www.yourweddingatlochlomond.wordpress.com

www.twitter.com/wedatlochlomond

Follow us on facebook: your wedding at Loch Lomond

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Every Friday morning, wedding professionals around the country, who use the social networking site Twitter, visit www.easyweddingsearch.com to find out if they have made “the list”. The rest of the morning is spent either squeeling with glee all over Twitter or grumbling about having gone down “the list“, or not being featured.

What is “the list” I hear you ask?

The list is created by Christian of www.easyweddingsearch.com who you can follow on Twitter at @ukweddings. Christian checks against over 5000 wedding professionals on Twitter. He’s the only one who knows the exact criteria for getting onto the list, but he says its all to do with your ‘influence’, not how much you tweet or how many followers you have.

However, further down this page, I have offered my own personal tips as to how you can make Twitter work for you. I can’t guarantee it will get you onto the list though, but if it does, make sure you thank me!

How important is “the list”?

Some people might laugh at those who shout about being on “the list”. They might consider physical awards much more important and yes, they are important.

However, speaking from personal experience, being on “the list” can make a HUGE difference to your website hits, your sales, enquiries and most especially, to the numbers of people who will then recommend you to other wedding suppliers and brides/grooms to be.

Think about all those wedding professionals, some VERY well known, that feature on, or follow “the list”. Wouldn’t you like them to notice your name? Click on your name? Follow you? Tweet to you? Retweet your tweets? Suggest you to their customers? And you get the idea…

How do I get on “the list”?

As I said earlier, only Christian from www.easyweddingsearch.com knows the exact criteria. He has posted some tips up on his site if you want to check them out. However, here are my own personal tips as to how you can make twitter work for you, whether or not you end up on “the list”.

1. Tweet

It may seem obvious, but if you’re only going to tweet once a week, then you’re not going to have much luck getting yourself known.

2. Network

Follow other wedding professionals and get to know them. Pay attention to what they tweet about and get ideas from this.

3. Retweet

If you like what people tweet, Retweet it. You are promoting them. They’ll be grateful. They’ll pay you more attention and might retweet what you say. Free promotion.

4. Follow messages

You may have heard of “Follow Friday”, “Wedding Wednesday”, “Tagging Tuesday” etc. Its easy and less time consuming to put several Twitter usernames into one message with a ‘Follow Friday’ and click on ‘Tweet’, and there are Twitter applications to help you with this BUT unless you don’t know your follower that well, doing this risks making you look like you haven’t made the effort to get to know your follower properly.

Having individual follow messages such as “follow @aperson because she’s got a new offer on…” shows that you know the person, you’ve taken the time to find out what they do and you’re telling people exactly why this person should be followed. They’ll be grateful and might return the favour.

5. Tweetdeck, Tweetlonger, SocialOompth, FF Helper etc

These are all tools and applications which can make your Twitter experience much easier. I love ‘Tweetdeck’, Twitter has become so much easier with it because now everything is on one page and filtered etc.

Other systems out there allow you to send automatic ‘thank you for following’ messages or to set up regular tweets if you want to keep repeating your message without typing it over and over again.

6. Join in the conversation

No matter how ridiculous the topic may seem! If you’re going to post constantly about your product, your service etc, that can get a bit boring and people might switch off.

Mix it up. Have messages about your product, your offers, alongside messages about television programmes etc. If you’re a cake maker and there’s a photographer who shares your love of Jane Austen, chat away about it, leave them with the impression that “Mrs. cake is such a nice friendly person…” and there you go, someone else who likes you and might remember you when speaking with clients.

7. Link Twitter to Facebook etc

You can link your Twitter account to Facebook and vice versa, so that when one updates, the other is automatically updated also. If you have TweetDeck installed, you can update even more pages all at once.

Be careful though, that you don’t rely entirely on this. If all your Twitter posts are really Facebook posts then you are not getting the full benefit of Twitter or indeed any other social media page that you link Facebook too.

8. Follower numbers

As my husband, rather wisely, informed me – “Fans and Followers mean nothing, if they aren’t buying from you etc”.

So yes, by all means, encourage people to follow you on Twitter and ‘like’ you on Facebook etc, but then what? Are they buying your products, using your services, recommending you? You could end up with 1000 followers/likers where only 100 are actual customers.

Do encourage people to ‘like’ you etc but you then have to then make the likers/followers buy from you!

9. Don’t underestimate Twitter/Social Media!

Some have scoffed at the usefulness of Twitter/Facebook etc with regards to promoting themselves, only to make a U Turn!

Twitter and other social media sites are FREE to use, so FREE advertising for you. There have been lots of stories in newspapers recently about how social media has helped people get jobs etc.

Traditional methods are still used, such as leaflets, brochures, newspaper adverts, but the internet is taking over. Don’t be a dinosaur and just stick to the traditional methods. Keep up to date by using traditional methods of advertising alongside more modern methods, and you will benefit doubly.

10. Turn yourself into a red spiky cyborg called bananakaffalatta

Otherwise known as Sarah, “the Queen” or @hhjtinygems on Twitter. Hehehe

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wedatlochlomond www.yourweddingatlochlomond.co.uk

Follow Christian on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ukweddings

www.easyweddingsearch.com

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Tell us more about Amethyst Photography, how you got started etc

Amethyst Photography grew from a hobby that developed over years. I had an interest in taking pictures, but nothing more, but after a spell working for the Inland Revenue, I spotted an opportunity to work for an international photography company, I went down south to Swindon to train, however that didn’t work out, as I felt their service to clients was appalling and that they were a financial consideration only, so I decided to give my own business a go.

So in 2006, the savings were raided and equipment bought, and Amethyst Photography was born.

We began marketing locally and built the website, www.amethyst-photography.org.uk and in 2008 as work steadily grew, I opened a studio in Stockton on Tees and its now in its third year there.

We now have 3 part time photographers and a makeup artist working for and with us.

What services do you offer (eg wedding, portrait etc)?

I began primarily as a wedding and portrait photographer, but over the last few years, requests for various services have meant the company now covers all styles of photography, from weddings and portraits, to maternity, makeover, boudoir, model portfolios, event and commercial styles.

Basically if someone asks for it, and we can do it, we are more than happy to give it a go, within reason that is.

What areas do you cover?

I thought initially that I would be working in the Teesside area, but through word of mouth, demand for our services began to spread around the country and we now also have bookings for destination weddings, our first in Cyprus being in 2011.

What makes you different from your competitors?

In a world that works at 100mph, we decided that the most important thing to us was that clients were 100% happy with what we did. We believe that our customer service is second to none in the photography world and our personalities make having photographs taken a pleasure rather than a chore. We are so certain that clients will like what we do, that we offer free photoshoots for all of our studio services and if the client doesn’t like what we have shot, then they don’t pay a penny. In almost 5 years, no one has ever declined our images. In fact on freeindex.co.uk, we are ranked as number 2 out of almost 4000 wedding photographers on customer satisfaction.  http://www.amethystphotography.freeindex.co.uk/

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I have always been a people person, and love to share in the clients time with us, if that involves having to drive wedding guests to church,  carry flowers or as we often do, dress brides then so be it. Whenever we do a wedding, we understand that both bride and groom may be nervous, or feeling stressed, but with our experience, we guide them through with fun and laughter. To hear clients comment afterwards on how easy going, yet professional we were, makes it all worthwhile

Can you tell us about your favourite wedding that you have shot?

Wow, there have been so many weddings now that to pick put one particular one would be really difficult, however iIn 2009 we covered the wedding at Middleton Lodge nr Richmond in North Yorkshire of Rebecca and Matthew, a professional couple who had travelled North from London for their wedding, which was themed around Alice in Wonderland, so shooting photos of guests dressed as characters and taking part in events from the book, was an amazing day, and when they faked a first dance to look as if the CD of the romantic music had broken, then for a stream of dancers in fancy dress to appear in the marquis and join in with YMCA with them was phenomenal

What have been your key achievements?

Over the last few years, becoming one of the busiest photographers on Teesside was a major achievement, as well as the opening of the studio, however the greatest achievement in my eyes are the thank you cards from our clients, and seeing the tears of happiness in a brides face after watching her wedding DVD slideshow in our viewing room

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans are really simple, to grow and grow and grow. We want Amethyst Photography to become a major name in photography around the country, for prospective clients to feel that they are important to us as a company and possibly, just possibly, the chance of maybe franchising the business model

How can our readers contact you?

Your readers can contact me in lots of ways. They can email wayne@amethyst-photography.org.uk, use the contact form on our website www.amethyst-photography.org.uk, they can telephone 01642 887630 or 07724 997696 or they can pop into the office/studio at 7 Hambletonian Yard, Stockton on tees, Cleveland TS18 1DS, opening times 10am – 2pm Wed – Sat, we’ll even throw in a cup of tea or coffee if they visit us 🙂

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Hi … I’m Candice. Creator of Cerendipity … a little wedding planning business based in the heart of Buckinghamshire … and mum of three! (Not forgetting wife to a wonderful man!) I love weddings (that one’s obvious) but I also love vintage and pretty … cosy nights in front of a roaring fire and reading … and I love the smell of freshly mowed lawn.

A freckly, strawberry-blonde and a South African, I moved to the UK 8 years ago when I got married. I have planned many weddings … and parties … for family and friends since then but took the leap earlier this year to make a dream come true. I never had a wedding planner … I was pretty determined that I could and wanted to plan it all myself (boy was I wrong!). It wasn’t until I started Cerendipity that I realised how much a wedding planner could have helped me, while still allowing me to have control of the things that were important to me. My only wish is to help every couple I work with to have the wedding of their dreams … exactly the way they have always dreamed.

So … what is Cerendipity all about?

Weddings of course! More importantly about you and your dream wedding. My focus is entirely on you, the couple, and I can help you bring your dreams to life. I work with you to plan and co-ordinate your special day right down to the smallest of details.

Planning a wedding should be fun and it’s my job to  take on the pressures of planning your special day by offereing impartial help and advice on all aspects of your wedding so that the little things don’t turn into arguments over nothing, leaving you free to concentrate on the things you really want to be planning. I know that every couple has their own unique vision of their special day and that’s why I don’t define you into packages but instead tailor the service to suit you which means, you will always get what you want and know exactly how much you are paying.

From ‘Ideas&Inspiration’ sessions that can be fitted into even the busiest of lifestyles for an hour lunch-break pick-me-up to Invitation RSVP & Management, and Budget Planning consultations to Full Planning of your special day … I can be involved as much or as little as you like and my only wish is for every one of my couples to have their dreams of their wedding day come true.

Wedding planners are not just for the rich and famous and are really not too expensive … especially when they can help save you time and money. Not forgetting that you should be treated like royalty on your special day.

For creative, practical, and extra-ordinary help and advice for your special day, get in touch. I would love to hear from you!

 

www.cerendipity-events.co.uk

candice@cerendipity-events.co.uk

07805 979 112 | 0843 289 3717

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