BridalLive v2.7 is available!

admin wrote this on Jul 16 |

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I’m happy to announce that the next version of BridalLive is available for you to download for free (as always)!  This version introduces some powerful and exciting features that you will want to take advantage of immediately. Let’s have a look at a few highlights.

Scheduled Emails

Are you struggling with a high number of “No Shows”? Say ‘hello’ to scheduled emailing.  Perfect for automatically reminding your brides about their appointments, the new Smart Flow Setup in BridalLive allows you to schedule emails to be sent at a date in the future.

Internet Marketing Tools are now HTML-based

Bye, Bye Adobe Flash.  The Appointment Request, Leads, Registration, Feedback, and Testimonials forms are now in HTML and iPad friendly.  While we were re-doing this, Lindsey threw together a great new design for the Testimonials form.  No changes are required on your end.  All of the Website Plugins will be automatically converted to the newfangled ones.

Support for larger stores

It’s true, we had some growing pains as BridalLive became more and more popular.  With nearly 200 bridal stores using BridalLive now, we started to hear about some bugs in the system that could only be produced by stores with heavy usage of the software.  With help from a friend that works at MailChimp.com (thanks Eric!), we were able to design and implement an new component that will allow BridalLive to support stores with high volume and a large number of computers.  This new component is freely available now.  Contact BridalLive Support for assistance with setup and installation if your store is a high volume store.

More articles added to the Support Center

In an effort to make it easier to obtain support and learn how to use BridalLive to it’s fullest, we launched the Support Center back in November.  It is available at http://support.bridallive.com or inside BridalLive under Administration > Support Center.  When you need some help, just open the Support Center and search for a topic that you are interested in.  Need to learn about printing labels?  Want to learn how to access BridalLive from home?  The support center has what you need and it is constantly being updated.  If you have a suggestion for an article, simply post a question on the new Support Center and I’ll add it to the growing list of articles.

Update Now!

If you are already running BridalLive, updating is simple and takes less than 1 minute per computer. On each computer running BridalLive, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Open the Administration Module
  2. Click “Program Settings”
  3. Click “Check For Updates” and click “Yes”.

Important Note: When performing your updates please remember to update your “Master” computer first followed by each of your “Workstation” computers.

Helping you thrive,

Tom Esposito
Founder | tom@bridallive.com | 888-764-2605
 Join BridalLive on Facebook

Come and get it. BridalLive version 2.1, now available.

admin wrote this on Mar 6 |

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I'm happy to announce that the next version of BridalLive is available for you to download for free (as always)!  This version introduces some powerful and exciting features that you will want to take advantage of immediately. Let's have a look at a few highlights.

Mobile Phone Texting
You can now send and schedule text messages from BridalLive to your contact's mobile phones.  Just in time for prom season, this feature opens up a new marketing channel to a demographic that is increasingly mobile.  This feature is free for Internet Marketing Tools subscribers and also requires a Twilio.com account. You can watch a how-to video to learn more about this feature.

New Support Center
In an effort to make it even easier to obtain support and learn more about BridalLive, we are launching a new Support Center which is available at http://support.bridallive.com.  The support center has also been embedded right inside of BridalLive under Administration > Support Center.  When you need some help, just open the Support Center and search the vast knowledge base of topics (coming soon!).  Over the next few weeks, we will be filling out the Knowledge Base with articles on various BridalLive topics.  If you have a suggestion for an article, simply post a question on the new Support Center and I'll add it to the growing list of articles.

New Reports
There are 3 new reports that will help with buying inventory and customer pickups (Sales Summary by Size, Sales Summary by Color, and Pickup Report).

Discontinue Items
BridalLive now allows you to discontinue inventory items.  You will now be warned when adding a discontinued item to a Sale or Sales Order.  This feature is evolving as I receive feedback from you.  If you have any suggestions on how you'd like this feature to work going forward, please reply to this email and let me know!

Credit Card Processing Compliance
Mastercard recently announced support for partial approvals and BridalLive now supports this as well.  If you still don't have a merchant account that is linked with BridalLive, please reply to this email for a free cost analysis.

And over 25 more new enhancements and bug fixes…
For a complete listing of new features and improvements, check out the release notes.

Update Now!
If you are already running BridalLive, updating is simple and takes less than 1 minute per computer. On each computer running BridalLive, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Open the Administration Module
  2. Click "Program Settings"
  3. Click "Check For Updates" and click "Yes".

Important Note: When performing your updates please remember to update your "Master" computer first followed by each of your "Workstation" computers.

Helping you thrive,
Tom Esposito
Founder | tom@bridallive.com | 888-764-2605
 Join BridalLive on Facebook

AMEX Open Forum Article – 7 Steps to Creating a Marketing System

admin wrote this on Nov 29 |

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I came across an article on the AMEX Open Forum that I thought you’d like to read. It’s written by the author of Duct Tape Marketing and highlights 7 important steps of establishing marketing system.

Click Here to read article

My favorite step is #6 – Drive a lead conversion system.

Are you building a marketing system or just running your formal wear business by the seat of your pants? This article can help you begin formulating a successful marketing process.

What you need to know about the latest Google local changes

admin wrote this on Nov 21 |

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I came across an article that you may find helpful when it comes time to improve your ability to ‘Get found’ online.  It looks like Google has made some changes to their Google Local that you should know about.

Click here to see the list of tweaks

5th Annual Retailer Bridal Convention – Tampa, FL

admin wrote this on Nov 13 |

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The 5th Annual Bridal Convention (for Retailers only) is happening in Tampa, FL on 12/4/2010 – 12/8/2010. If you haven’t yet registered for the event, jump over to www.bridalconvention.net to sign up!

This seminar is put on by the Better Bridal Group so you know there will be a ton of idea sharing. If you are looking for ways to grow you business in the coming year, this is the place to be.

I’ll be doing a hands on session where we’ll collaboratively design a marketing process. Then I’ll show everyone how they can automate it with BridalLive!

Look forward to seeing you there!

Setting up Google Analytics for your Bridal Shop’s web site

admin wrote this on Sep 6 |

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Google Analytics is considered by many to be the most complete package for tracking traffic on a website. It allows you to track the success of your content, your most popular items and a wealth of information regarding your visitors. Using this information effectively will allow you to improve your traffic, more effectively market your products and services and make sure your visitors keep coming back for more. The only barrier that stands in your way is the initial setup, so this guide aims to help you do just that. With this guide, you’ll be analyzing your bridal store’s website in just a few minutes.

What You Need
In order to use Google Analytics, you don’t need very much. Obviously you need a connection to the internet, a purpose for the tool (a website you’d like to track) and an internet browser. The main issue here is to make sure that you have access to edit the code of your website. Whether you do this by using a program, edit by hand and upload the files or use a service which allows you to edit the files in a web editor, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to make sure you can edit the actual code (HTML). If you don’t have access to the HTML of your site (contact your webmaster and tell him you’d like Google Analytics setup).

Step 1 – Signing Up
Navigate via your web browser to http://google.com/analytics and if you do not already have an account, create one by clicking the Sign Up Now link shown below.

Once you’ve clicked the link, you’ll advance to the next stage and you’ll need to confirm your desire to sign up to Google Analytics by clicking the Sign Up button shown below.

signup-2

Now comes the important stuff. You should get a form similar to the one shown below. You’ll need to enter the URL of your website (basically the address your visitors and the rest of the public uses to gain access to your site) as well as provide an account a name (I usually just accept the default name the form generates) and specifying your time zone. After you do all of this, head on to the next screen.

signup-3

Here you’ll enter your name, phone number and country in another form which is shown below. After you finish this form, go on to the next screen.

signup-4

You’ll be taken to terms and conditions statement for the Google Analytics service. Read through it and if you agree to the terms then select the check box at the bottom of the statement to agree to the terms and conditions. It is worth noting here that by default, you are opted in to share data with Google. If you’d like to change these settings, you’ll need to click the Edit Settings link.

signup-5

The next screen you should come to is the screen which contains the code (shown below) you must insert into each and every one of your pages you wish to be tracked within Google Analytics. You’ll need to copy the entire contents of the text box to get all of the code. Once you’ve got it all selected (ctrl-a on a PC or cmd-a on a Mac) and copied (ctrl-c on a PC or cmd-c on a Mac) you may want to save it to a plain text file for future reference or in case you forget and copy something else before you’ve pasted it in your code. If you don’t remember to do this, it is no big deal. We can get back to the code later. When you’re finished with this screen, go ahead and click the button at the bottom to finish the process.

signup-6

Step 2 – Inserting the Code
This step is going to be different for each individual site, so we’ll cover the most basic methods here. First of all, let me reiterate that for most basic sites, you must insert the tracking code on every page you want tracked. This may not be true in the case of a site which is running a content management system or a self hosted blogging solution such as WordPress which has header and footer files which are included on every page. In this case, you could put the tracking code in the header or footer files and it should theoretically work for each page without having to insert it multiple times. For a standard static site, though, your basic method is going to be as follows.

You’ll need to use your normal method of accessing your site code. Make sure you’ve copied the appropriate tracking code and navigate to the file for the page you want to be tracked. For the example below, I’ve just used a basic index.html file, which would be the root of my site – for purposes of this example, let’s call it http://www.example.com. Open up the file and look through the code until you’ve found the tag. This should be toward the bottom of your page. Immediately before this tag, paste in your tracking code. Do this for each page you’d like to track. See below for my example.

more-5

Note for WordPress users – you can setup Google Analytics without editing any files by installing the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin

Step 3 – Getting Acquainted
Once you’ve signed up for Google Analytics and have successfully logged in to your account, you should find yourself at the overview screen. From here, there are some important things to notice. First of all, you may notice that you have a warning icon (shown below) in the status column of one of your sites. This means that either you haven’t correctly pasted the code into your webpages or that there has been no traffic to the site since it was pasted so you haven’t received any data yet.

more-2

One way for you to get information regarding the success or failure of your tracking code is to go into the edit menu for that specific site. To get to the edit menu, you’ll need to look to the far right of the overview table along the row for your site and find the Edit link as shown below.

more-3

Once you’ve advanced to the next screen, you’ll see the Profile Settings for your individual site. You’ll see the information you supplied during your setup of the site as well as some additional information on Goals and Filters, but at the top right of the table, you’ll also see a check mark or or a warning sign as well as a Check Status link. Click the link to see some tracking status information as well as gain access to the tracking code, just in case you didn’t insert it correctly or forgot to insert it at all.

more-4

Another thing you should know is that in order to add more sites or domains for tracking, you’ll need to click on the Add Website Profile link below the table. When you click on that link, the site will essentially take you through a similar process to the one we’ve just outlined above. There is also a similar link at the top right of the overview table.

more-1

You should be set up by now to actually use Google Analytics as intended. You’ll find that it is extremely useful to be able to shift between reports based on Day, Week, Month or Year at the top right of the table. You’ll get access to different reports this way and you may find interesting trends you may not have discovered on some of the more long term views. Aside from that, it is best just to delve into the wealth of information Google Analytics can provide. Just click the View Report link and you’re on your way.

Drip Marketing and your bridal business

admin wrote this on Aug 22 |

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The term “Drip Marketing” is derived from the common phrase “drip irrigation”. This technique of watering involves applying small amounts of water over a long period of time. One effective way to include drip marketing in your toolbox is to design a series of marketing messages (email, direct mail, phone, etc) that are routinely “dripped” out to your prospects. These messages are initiated as a response to an interaction your prospect has with your business.

Let’s look at some examples…

Trigger Response
Brides registers on your website Email sent welcoming bride and offering assistance
Bride makes a Trunk Show appointment Email sent with information about designer and promotions offered during Trunk Show
Bride leaves store without purchasing gown Follow up phone call to touch base and re-iterate value proposition

These are just a few examples that illustrate how “drip marketing” can fit into your bridal business. The real power of this technique, once established, is it’s ability to be automated with technology.

One way to do this, within BridalLive’s bridal shop software, is to create email templates for each of your “Responses”. Then, when a customer performs one of your triggers, you can send the email from within BridalLive. Alternatively, if your response is a phone call, setting up a Task Type helps you schedule follow ups with your customers.

This technique keeps your brand “top of mind” during a bride’s engagement period. Once automated, you can spend more time focusing on other forms of engagement.