6 Essential Features Most Bridal Brand Websites Are Missing
By now we all know that having a website is as essential to business as having an actual product to sell. There seems to be a disconnect in bridal, however, when it comes to understanding the purpose a website serves. Many bridal brands seem to think their website is simply a gallery of images - a place to send prospective customers to view their collections. This is not how other industries think of their website. To most other businesses, a website is a virtual storefront, and the purpose it serves is to encourage prospective customers to take an action or a series of actions that ultimately lead to a sale.
Bridal is different, I know. Unless you’re selling directly online, the process of acquiring customers is longer and a bit more complex. But that doesn’t mean you can’t approach your online presence the same way other more digitally inclined businesses do. You should still strive to have a website that a) attracts visitors, b) educates them, and c) encourages them to take a desired action (e.g. request a line sheet).
I’ve listed a few features every bridal designer website needs. That is, in addition to the essentials which include a site that is easy to navigate, aesthetically consistent, with up-to-date business information, fast loading time, etc.--all features which I’m sure you all know by now.
I should mention I’m recommending these features because I have found them to be missing from most of the bridal brand websites I’ve audited.
Headings & Meta descriptions
You can try and let your images speak for themselves, but that’s not going to help your website get found when someone searches for, say, whimsical wedding gowns on Google. The fact is, if you don’t label your website and images properly, and include detailed descriptions of your gowns, you’ll never get the chance to convince that prospective buyer that you’re the brand they should choose. So, in order to maximize your visibility online, make sure you’re clearly describing each page and picture on your website using consistent words (keywords) that describe your brand.
A powerful value proposition
Why should your website visitor buy from you? Again, images are great, and video even better, but ultimately you need to be able to convey in words why you have the best product, as well as how you can make your customer’s life easier or solve a problem for them. Tell them why you are different from competing bridal brands and how they (the customer) stands to benefit from choosing you.
A blog is a powerful tool in more than one way. It’s an opportunity to educate customers about your brand; to feature your latest projects, editorial shoots, collaborations, real weddings, and bridal market highlights; a way to provide helpful information that attracts prospective customers; and a pretty great way to optimize your website for search engines. Most bridal designers already have a lot on their plate and blogging is not priority, but I highly recommend you update your blog at least twice a month and promote the content on social media. Also, make it easy for visitors to share your blog content with their social media followers and through email. You can even use your blog posts as your newsletter copy to keep your customers up-to-date on what’s going on with your brand. The bottom line is, the more high-quality content you produce, the better your chances of getting found by people who don’t know you yet, driving traffic to your website and capturing the interest of prospective customers.
Customer reviews are no longer just useful for the food and service industry or Amazon products. These days, your prospective customers are researching your product thoroughly before committing to a purchase. They also trust what others who have tried your product say about it more than they trust you, the brand. Dedicating a small section of your website to highlighting bride and bridal boutique customer reviews and testimonials gives your visitors an opportunity to learn how others benefited from your product, and it gives you credibility because you’re providing them with evidence.
Strong calls to action
This is where it gets a bit tricky and therefore where you have to be more strategic. Calls to action are your key to generating leads or prospective customers. What you want, then, is to have more than just a pop-up inviting them to sign up for your newsletter. Those pop-ups can not only be annoying but if they appear right when your visitor lands on your website, you haven’t given them a reason yet to give up their email address. Instead, you should wait for your visitor to learn more about you and then offer them something in return for their email. If your visitor is a bride, for example, you might consider an offer in the form or a discount during a trunk show. If your visitor is a bridal boutique owner or buyer, then you offer something else. The point is, you’re asking your visitor to give up their email address which you will then use to market to them, so the least you can do is offer something of substance that they will really be interested in.
Analytics tools like Google Analytics
In order to know what’s working on your website, how you’re acquiring visitors (for example through Facebook, Instagram, direct search, etc.), and what content is performing best, among other things, you need to have access to analytics. Think of your website as a brick and mortar store - wouldn’t you want to know how many people are coming in to see your gowns? How they heard from you, and how much time they’re spending viewing certain collections or gowns? Tools like Google Analytics are extremely helpful in this regard. There’s so much information you can learn from your visitors and from your own content so that you can change what’s not working or double down on what is. These are just a few of the many uses of analytics, and for brands that are just becoming familiar with this technology, looking at customer behavior on your website, as well as your sources of traffic, might be a good place to start.
There’s a lot more to say about constructing an effective website that helps generate more business. So while this is not a comprehensive list by any means, it’s definitely a good starting point and, if done right, you should be able to see improvements right away. But keep in mind that things like reaching the first page of Google don’t happen right away. That is a process that takes time, a long-term strategy, and continuous updates.
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