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
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Email Marketing Science (& special offer)

admin wrote this on Feb 10 |

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I just attended a webinar on the ‘Science of Email Marketing’ and thought I’d share some findings.  These findings are based on over 9 billion (with a B) emails that were sent to consumers and businesses.  I’ve stripped this webinar down to just the most important pieces of information for us bridal retailers.

  1. Email is not dead – Having an systematic approach to building your email marketing list (i.e. audience) is crucial.
  2. The best time to send email is on weekend mornings, when highest click through and open rates prevail.
  3. More people are reading email on their smart phones, so make sure your emails are readable on mobile devices (iPhone, Android, Blackberry).
  4. Fill your email with links. The more links there are to your targetted landing page (i.e. request an appointment), the higher your click through rate will be.
  5. Exclusivity is important.  Let your readers know that they have “special access” to something (i.e. an offer, a special report, etc) and they’ll be more likely to read your email.

I’m a firm believer in the power of email marketing.  That’s why I’ve made the next version of BridalLive an email marketing powerhouse that can completely automate most of your emailing duties, including appointment confirmations and follow up sequences (i.e. drip marketing).

In preparation for launching version 2.1 of BridalLive on February 28th, the first 10 people to purchase any one of BridalLive’s plans (Pro, Plus, Starter) will get a special Pre-Release of BridalLive v2.1, a FREE Custom HTML Email Template and 1 free hour of consulting (total value = $399).  During our time together, I’ll show you how to use BridalLive to send professional emails (including appointment confirmations, after purchase Thank Yous, Feedback Requests, etc) and how to set up a drip email marketing sequence that will entice your customers to come back and buy more from you.  If we have time remaining, I’ll show you how to leverage BridalLive to target your customers’ behaviors and respond by automating follow up sequences, scheduling tasks and much more.  As an added bonus, I’ll show you how to stop wasting time processing bridal show leads by leveraging BridalLive’s new import and bulk subscribe features.

If you are looking for a way to reduce customer acquisition and follow up costs, this is how you do it.

Call me at 888-764-2605 or buy online TODAY! This offer Expires 2/28/2011

5 characteristics of high performing websites

admin wrote this on Dec 17 |

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I recently did a ‘study’ that you’ll be interested in.  Last week, I looked at the top 10 performing web sites of retailers using BridalLive’s Internet Marketing Tools.  My analysis showed 5  characteristics that these websites share.  Where does your website rank?

Let’s get to it.

Trait #1: Use Video

Video is one of the best ways to communicate with today’s busy brides.  Including video on your web site can increase the visitor’s engagement with your brand and make you stand out from the rest.  Here are some ideas and examples of stores that are doing a great job with this:

  1. Formals of Litchfield – Meet the Staff
  2. Bel Fiore Bridal – The Experience
  3. Arizona’s Bridal Warehouse – Owner interview

Tech Tip: Don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of each video!

Trait #2: Make your contact information stand out (on every page!)

This is one of the most fundamental elements of a successful site.  Most visitors will find you through a search engine.  Therefore, if it’s not obvious to the visitor whether you serve their area, they’re likely to look else where (i.e. click ‘Back’ button).  This behavior can be measured to some degree with a good web site analytics package.  The figure to look for is ‘Bounce Rate’

Trait #3: Obvious Navigation

Each site that I reviewed had their primary site navigation menu across the top of the page.  The point here, don’t make your visitor have to think about how to get to the next page.

Trait #4: Calls To Action

Without a Call to Action, you have given the visitor no way to engage further (other than picking up the phone).  Calls to Action are a fundamental components of high performing websites.  For a brick and mortar bridal salon, good calls to action are “Request an Appointment” and “Sign up for our newsletter”.  These calls to action should be placed on your home page and stand out to the user.

Trait #5:  Takeaways

All but 1 of the top websites I reviewed had a takeaway in some form or another.  Some have “Special Reports” for the brides to download.  Others had coupons redeemable in-store.  The point here is that you want to give the visitor something to take with them, typically as a result of completing your call to action.

To learn more about these services, contact me today – 888-764-2605

Helping you thrive,

Tom Esposito

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!

Ella Park Bridal owner speaks about BridalLive

admin wrote this on Oct 10 |

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This week at Chicago, I met up with Mike Daniel who owns Ella Park Bridal in bridal and formal wear store Newburgh, IN. He was one of BridalLive’s first customers and has helped shape many of the features in the software. Here’s what he had to say about BridalLive.

Announcing BridalLive v2.0 – Update now because it’s free.

admin wrote this on |

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In Version 2.0 you will find many new features, some you’ve requested and others were created to soothe the pains I’ve had in my own store. Let’s have a look at the most notable features and how they can help you increase profits and build traffic.

Event Item Registry
In this version, you can create an entire wedding party and specify what each member will wear. Once the items are registered, you’ll enjoy tracking the entire order process from 1 screen. Look for this new feature on the ‘Event Tab’ of the ‘Contact Screen’.

Marketing Flows
Whether it’s simply automating the sending of an appointment confirmation email or building out your entire marketing sequence, BridalLive’s unique Marketing Flows feature is the first of it’s kind in the bridal industry.

For a complete listing of new features and improvements, please reference the release notes.

How to get the new version

Updating is free and simple and takes less than 30 seconds. On each computer running BridalLive, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Open the Administration Module
  2. Click “Program Settings” in the left navigation menu
  3. Click “Check For Updates” and accept the updates.

As always, if you have any questions/suggestions, please contact me.

Helping you thrive,

Tom Esposito

Bridal Image talks about their experience with BridalLive

admin wrote this on Oct 7 |

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I was lucky enough to meet up with Colin and Angela from Bridal Image a bridal salon San Francisco, CA. They stopped by to say ‘Hi’ and check out the upcoming features in BridalLive 2.0. Here’s what they had to say

I’ve changed the name of our blog

admin wrote this on Oct 6 |

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I’ve just returned from Chicago Market and based on the feedback received from independent bridal shop owners, I’ve decided to change the name of this blog to “Bridal Shop Meets Internet”. After the first day of speaking with shop owners is became clear that many of us are struggling to effectively use technology/internet to build their sales.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be posting pithy insights on how the independent bridal shop owner can utilize technology to create an experience that the internet discounters and big box chains could never provide.

Cheers,
Tom