We interviewed Wedding SEO's Steve Hooper. His company has helped over 200 companies with website design, management & promotion. Get his insight into the wedding industry and where tech is leading it!
1. Introduction - meet the man behind several of the best wedding websites!
My name is Steve Hooper, I've worked in and around the IT industry for 20 years and for the last 15 of that a majority of my time has been spent designing and promoting websites. I studied in America with some of the top names in SEO and Social Media promotion and have worked for some of the largest and smallest companies in the world. Around 4 years ago I stumbled into the Wedding Industry and designing and promoting websites for the industry having been invited to the Wedding Idea Awards and launched UK Wedding SEO back in January 2010.
Since then we have worked with almost 200 companies in the industry helping them with their website design, management and promotion.
2. What advice would you give stores to reach as many brides as possible online?
The best route at the moment to get that contact quickly and effectively is to talk to them on Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. This is where the brides are hanging out and talking to their friends, families and suppliers about their weddings. The important thing is not to sell, advise an talk to people, never forget that it is SOCIAL media, not "Ram my message down the throat of anyone that will listen media". Be nice help people and they will remember you and come back to you for your services when they are ready.
3. What advice would you give brides when looking for their dream dress online?
Start with some of the amazing sites out there that have incredible resources. For example http://www.FindYourDreamWeddingDress.co.uk which has collections of dresses from the top designers and brides can see the dresses, search for particular styles, lengths, necklines and price ranges. Then within a few seconds they can find their nearest stockist and email them for an appointment. They can save themselves literally hours of time in finding the dresses that they like and where they can get them from locally to them.
Also don't be afraid to ask questions on social media such as Facebook and Twitter and the experts in the industry are all out there to help you and guide you towards getting exactly what you want. The social networks are powerful tools use the knowledge that you can get from them to help you in every way possible.
4. How have you seen the bridal industry change over the years?
When I first started with the bridal industry there was a real fixed way of doing things. Everyone knew how they got out to the brides, everyone knew how to market to the audience that they were looking for. However this has changed so much now, the growth of the numbers of people with mobile devices and the use of social networks people shop differently and the industry is adapting to the changes.
Websites now have to be mobile friendly to make sure that the brides can check out the latest dresses on the bus to work via their smart phones, Facebook pages keep the brides up to date with latest collections and let them see some of the amazing dress images and so on. A bridal shop has gone from being on the local high street to being something that is a source of information to brides around the country and even the world. It is a big step for companies as a whole to make changes to strategies that have worked for so long but now they are moving over to find brides in the world of new media which I have to say is exciting for all parties as they push the boundaries of what is possible to excite this evolving audience.
5. What bridal trends are you expecting in 2014?
Full made to measure and couture services available on Enzoani collections, ask stores for more details
Well I'm lucky I get to go and see and talk to numerous designers and hear all the passion that has gone into the collections and see the collections go from factory to shop and in some cases from the design board all the way to the bride. I think the brides are going to be looking for more flexibility with their dresses to add their own special touches, even more so than we have seen in the past few years.
So the ability to have the adjustment made to the neck line, the straps or the waist will just add to the uniqueness of the dresses and make the bride feel that much more special than they already do. In many cases the brides don't know that many designers offer these solutions at a very reasonable rate and dare not ask as they worry about budget. I think in the next 12 months designers and shops alike will be pushing a lot more to let brides know of the possibilities that are available to them through the amazing collections.
6. Which Enzoani gown is your favourite and why?
I have to admit that I am a fan of a dress from an older collection. A very good friend of mine has Dakota in black and having seen the dress on a number of occasions as we have attended events together it has become a little bit of a favourite of mine.
7. Any further comments?
I can imagine now many of the brides reading this are thinking, a technical man in the bridal industry, how does that work? Well I have to say if you had asked me 5 years ago if I would be doing what I am doing now I would have laughed for a month. However being in an industry that revolves around the one goal of making dreams come true for people is something very very special. I am lucky to work with and be friends with some of the biggest, brightest and most innovative minds in the industry and all I can say is that there are extremely exciting times ahead for everyone as the world of weddings grows and grows.