Every so often, we like to check in with you, our loyal readers and advertisers, to see how we’re doing what changes you’d like to see made to SoMdWeddings.com. We’d like to thank everyone who responded to our survey last fall. Your responses were extremely helpful, and they will be incredibly helpful to us as we move Southern Maryland Weddings into 2014.
Here’s a summary of the survey results and some notes about our plans for the site related to your responses.
Marketing Seminars and Training
Marketing your business on a budget is one of the hardest parts of running a small business. Nearly everyone said they would like some type of help marketing their business online, in person, and on social media. The most-requested seminar topics were Marketing 101, Social Media Management, Bridal Shows 101, Website Design and Development, and Facebook. Banner Advertising, Email Newsletters, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogging also received several votes. As you know from reading these newsletters, all of these topics are important when you’re promoting your small wedding business to brides and grooms in Southern Maryland.
Good news! We’re about to move into a new office space, and that space includes access to a training room. We plan to put together training on several of these topics once we’re moved in and settled. Watch this newsletter for details and how to register.
Adding a Ratings System
Most of our respondents were in favor of adding a rating system to our vendor listings: 11 in favor, 5 against, 1 unsure. Your comments and thoughts on both sides of this issue are appreciated. Some of the concerns raised included:
- Non clients being able to comment and rate a business
- Losing the ability to control your first impression
- It can become a forum for hard-to-please clients to complain
- It’s burdensome to ask couples to return to SoMdWeddings.com to rate you
- Would rather give references to potential clients than refer them to a rating
- It’s a good idea, but there should be space for comments so vendors can respond
- Make it easy for brides to complete
- No pressure for vendors to push the review with their clients
With your comments and concerns in mind, we are planning to roll out a rating system on SoMdWeddings.com later in the year. We will have several safeguards in place to make sure the process is not abused. First, only registered users of SoMdWeddings.com will be able to review vendors. The reviews will not be anonymous. Plus, you will see all reviews before they appear on the site and will approve them to appear on SoMdWeddings.com – or not. And, you will be able to respond to comments made about your business. We do plan to make the review process easy and fast to encourage couples to fill it out, and we’ll never pressure you to ask your clients to complete reviews. We will encourage you to do so – we think readers will find the rating system helpful – but it will not be a requirement.
Comments and Suggestions
We received several great comments and suggestions for new additions to the vendor area of our website.
Calendar with Deadlines: One suggestion was to give vendors a calendar with our publication deadlines for our print and online products. We think this is a great idea! We’re working to revise our media kit and will include that information in the kit.
Vendor account area: Another idea was to have an area on the website where vendors could see what advertising they currently have running with us and when it will expire. We think this is a great idea, too, and we will investigate what it will take to create this for you. We’re also hoping to give you the ability to edit the text, photographs, and contact information on your directory listing. In the meantime, you can always call or email us to check your account status.
Best of the Best Vendor Guide: One responder suggested we put together a guide of the “cream of the crop” of Southern Maryland wedding vendors. Funny you should mention this – we’ve been discussing running a “Best Of” poll with our readers like many publications do. (Perhaps you’ve seen something similar done for restaurants, attractions, etc. in the DC-area newspapers and magazines.) We think it would be fun to ask our readers who they think is the best of the best in Southern Maryland.
More Vendor Interviews/Blog Articles: As mentioned in the welcome letter above, we always welcome guest blog posts from our advertisers! There’s no extra charge to submit a guest blog post – we’d love to hear from you! You are the expert in your field, and sharing that knowledge with our readers cements your expertise with local brides and grooms. It’s a win-win for us all – increased visibility and credibility for you, great content for us.
We will be adding the feature reception site articles from our magazine to the website soon, and will add any from future publications as well.
Mobile App: Trust us, this is on our radar, too. We’re beginning with making sure the SoMdWeddings.com website is mobile-friendly since so many people now are accessing the web via smartphones and tablets.
Changes to Vendor Listing: Two respondents had small changes they’d like to see made to vendor listings. The first was to list what you specialize in. We’ll look into this. In the meantime, remember that you can always list your specialties in the text on your vendor profile page. You control this content, and if you specialize in more than one area of wedding service, I’d urge you to make note of that in your text.
The second suggestion was to not list full addresses on the listings – just the city, phone number, and email and website information. We understand not wanting your home address published – we’ve worked out of home offices, too! Right now, our directory listing management system requires an address. We’ll look into what we can do for those who don’t want a home address published.