You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
Autumn is the perfect time to audit your website - to make sure you have all the elements that make a successful site and to let some other features go - just like the trees lose their leaves! Remember that the key factor with bridal boutiques is location, but brides will travel if they see what they want to see on your website and want to join your 'gang'.
Ivy Communications Ltd specialises in bridal boutique marketing and can help you with your website's identity, content, design and functionality. But what's most important, is that a bride can instantly feel an affinity with your brand through the boutique, that they can navigate to what they want quickly and easily and that your website feels and looks up to date so your brides can see that you are on the ball and with the times!
Have you thought about a tagline for your brand? If you have one, this should be one of the first things a visitor to your site sees – it should appeal to them and tell them what you can offer them…
Websites should be full of Calls to Action – Book here, discover more, email us… It should also give visitors a clear path through the site so your bounce rate is low. Show some of your real brides, and add a few, very short testimonials (with links to the associated weddings), which you should update regularly.
Most of all, you should make your website fun and memorable and make people want to connect with you. Here are the eleven elements we recommend for your site, as a bare minimum:
This should simply tempt visitors to your site to dig deeper, go further and convert the traffic by getting brides to book an appointment. Its content should be well-written, straight-talking, light and reflect your brand, right from the first click. It should contain your Instagram feed, for fresh and engaging content and ultimately be welcoming and warm.
The homepage will set and ultimately reflect the tone and theme for the rest of the site, your marketing, social media and your boutique. It’s your biggest advert, so you should keep it current and fresh.
There’s no such thing as ‘done’ when it comes to your website. On your homepage, a bride should be able to find the following things…
About Us and Meet the Team
Recent photos and a few lines about each of your stylist is plenty. Remember that things often change quite soon after this content is uploaded, so avoid saying things like 'So and so has been here for three years' and 'Just engaged, our stylist X has...' Because these things will soon be out of date. We always recommend; 'Our lovely stylist X has been with us since 2020' and 'Having recently been immersed in wedding planning herself, X knows exactly how it feels to be in your position.'
Clear directions to your boutique - ideally a map, but full address, postcode, phone number, and email. Some people worry about publishing their email addresses, but we think it's important - many people find online forms off-putting. Remember the aim of this page is to make contacting you as quick and easy as possible. This area should also contain quick-link logos to all your social media platforms, including LinkedIn (on that note, when was the last time you updated your LinkedIn?!). Your contact page should scream: ‘We’d Love to Hear From You!’
Divvied up by designer or dress type, you should have all of your dresses available online - as soon as they come into the boutique - referenced by dress style or designer. It's up to you if you publish prices, but those who do will find the transparency works wonders for them. If you don’t categorise your dresses by manufacturer, you may want to explore their profiles in more detail, saying why you work with that designer, what the dresses offer, and their price point. It’s important to keep your brides engaged, even after they have chosen their dress. It’s important to give your brides all the information they are looking for about one of the biggest purchases of their life.
A chance to showcase your thought leadership and authority… We cannot stress the importance of having a blog on your website. Not only is it great for SEO, but it's also an important source of information for brides, it's where you can share your infinite experience and expertise with hints and tips, your latest gowns and your real brides… A massive factor in persuading brides to book with you is seeing the type of bride and wedding you work with and feeling like that could be them. Blogs can be one a month or three a week, but you should be consistent with blog content and keep it fresh and interesting. Again, this is something Ivy Communications can support you with, creating content that sounds and 'feels' like you.
Awards / Achievements
If you have won any awards, locally or nationally… Any accolades should go towards the bottom of the homepage.
Another tab for the footer of your homepage is the official bit about using people’s data. It’s important, so don’t ignore it. You may also wish to add a link to your terms of service. The details of your contract with a bride, which you should ask all brides to sign before they pay for their dress. These are optional but useful if something goes wrong and recommended as a link from your footer.
Collecting data is really useful for future marketing activity so be sure to ask your brides to sign up for your newsletter/mailing list, you can use this to regularly promote your latest news, offers, new styles and designers.
As we all know social media has become a solid tool for marketing any business, big or small and your social media handles should be visible on your website. Keep your accounts active and engaging, brides will check you out before visiting your shop so make sure that your socials sing your song and represent the experience your brides will receive when they walk through your door...
And finally (but very importantly!) Book Now
The ultimate goal is to get brides through your door, more footfall, means more sales so make it clear and easy for brides to BOOK that all-important appointment with you.