Could Guides for Brides work for me? Interview with Nikita Thorne

Show notes:

Want to get your wedding business in front of over a million potential customers? In today’s episode I interview Nikita Thorne from Guides for Brides to find out about the platform and to ask some difficult questions about how it could benefit you and your wedding business.

Find out more about Guides for Brides: https://www.guidesforbrides.co.uk/advertise

Discover Wedding Safe: https://weddingsafe.co.uk/

Transcript:

Nikita: [00:00:00] They find a business on our website. They then maybe save them in their wedding planner that they’ve got with us. And then they’ll spend time looking at that listing, looking at their social media, looking at their website, looking at their reviews, making sure they are a hundred percent happy that that business is genuine and reputable before they even start the conversation.

Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you’re listening to the wedding pros who are ready to grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business, doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. Over the last year, I’ve had the privilege of speaking at the national wedding show up and down the country, as well as meeting incredible couples and suppliers. I’ve also got to speak alongside some amazing educators, including [00:01:00] today’s guest until recently, for me, guides for brides was a faceless wedding directory, but that will change.

Once I met today’s guest Nikita. Now I can see the heart and the message behind the company, and I’m hoping she can share some of that with you today. Nikita is great to have you. Why don’t you introduce yourself to.

Nikita: Thanks so much, Becca. Hi everyone. I’m Nikita. I’m the head of strategy at Guides for Brides.

So I lead the marketing department at the company and I’m responsible for brand partnerships, um, ensuring our website and our tools are always developing. Um, and that’s for the benefit of both businesses, um, and couples who use our websites, and I also attend the wedding industry shows and conferences and speak alongside Becca.

I see each other don’t we? So we always bump into each other. It always ends up being a bit of a cocktail evening afterwards as well. Absolutely.

Becca: And that’s why it’s so much fun. So, so for anyone who maybe doesn’t know what guys for brides is, or has only recently come across you, do you want to just explain to [00:02:00] everyone who you are?

What it’s all about.

Nikita: Sure. So Guides for Brides is essentially all about connecting couples with wedding businesses. We’ve been established since 1995, and we began as these paper guides in local areas. And those that have been with us for, I think even five years ago, will remember the local guides that we still had in print.

So since the pandemic, those have stopped and we’ve gone fully online. But I think since the early two thousands we’ve been online anyway, so now we’ve got this huge, huge online wedding directory, a wedding blog, a large social media following of over 170,000, a repertoire of planning tools for couples and a B2C podcast, which I’m the host of.

And we get to work with brilliant brands and businesses across the country and abroad. Our website is used by 1.6 million people every year. So that’s couples and their families and friends who are helping them plan. And you’re based

Becca: here in the UK,

Nikita: aren’t you? Yes, we are based in Oxfordshire. [00:03:00]

Becca: And do you cover just the UK or do you cover any of the rest of the

Nikita: world too, so we do have an abroad section and we have, um, sister brands called, uh, we’ve got sister brand called beyond weddings, which is a luxury destination, website, but we mainly have a UK.

Becca: So your wedding directory, you’re trying to link up couples to the suppliers. So how do the couples find the suppliers in the first

Nikita: place? So they’ll come onto our website and they can use our tools like our wedding venue finder, uh, they can use our website to find specific suppliers like florists, cake, makers, whatever they’re needing at that moment in time.

Stage, they are in the planning process. Some of them will come in and they will use our wedding planning tools first and foremost, which then helps them to have a checklist of what they need to do. So for example, they might join and go right. This is the first thing I’m doing. I’m just gonna join the website.

And I’m going to look at, um, my wedding venue. So from that point, they’ll have chosen their wedding venue and they go, the checklist goes, right. Next thing you need to do is find your photographer [00:04:00] and they’ll then go and find their photographer. What they’ll do is they’ll use all the different aspects of searching on our website.

So whether they’re wanting to find a specific, special. Or search by date availability, or just find people in the local area to their wedding venue or to themselves. They can do all of that on the website. They’ve got lots of different avenues to find businesses. Well, that’s really

Becca: interesting. So can supplies put their date availability straight into your site then?

Yeah.

Nikita: So we’ve got a date availability search, which is 18 months in advance. It relies on a business who is listed on our website to update their availability. And you can do that with limited availability. If you know, you’re speaking to couples and they might book, you can mark that as limited availability so that you’re still able to be found in searches, but say, I am a couple and I’m planning my wedding for October 20, 24.

Um, or no, that’s a bad example. Uh, maybe October 20, 23. Um, I [00:05:00] then go. I’m looking for a wedding photographer in Essex in October, 2023, or even on a Friday in October in 20 to 23 or on a specific date in October, in times 23. And anyone that has that availability, marketers limited or available will come up in that search

Becca: so if you’re listening to this and you’ve got your guides for brides listing, I think you should definitely be updating your availability, especially if it’s last minute. Cause I know right now there’s lots of people posting all over these Facebook groups all the time saying I need a last minute videographer for two weeks time.

Nikita: Absolutely. We’ve got we’ve ever since the pandemic, but that availability search, which used to actually be called the late availability search, we extended it up to 18 months because of the pandemic. It was originally six months in advance. Um, so. 18 months. And that’s, that is where people go. I think January 20, 21, when I looked at the stats, I was absolutely in shock because that tool went up by, in usage by [00:06:00] 4000% year on year.

And that was like, Wow. So yeah, if you’re, if you’re, if you’re listed on our site and, uh, have availability in the next sort of six to 12 months and make sure you’re marking it because couples are looking for late availability.

Becca: Yeah. And that definitely works just to give an example of someone using late availability.

Just yesterday. I saw one of my wedding suppliers post on their Instagram last minute availability for the 25th of June unexpectedly. And then I suddenly saw another post looking for that kind of supplier for the 25th of June and I linked them together. So it really does. To tell people, people think, oh, well, why does anyone care?

But actually if they’re getting married on that day and they’re looking for whatever you do, and they’re going for guys for brides or your social media or whatever it is then having that late availability opens people is really, really important. So we talked about trends pre and post pandemic a little bit there about how people are using that late availability tool.

What other trends? Obviously you have a huge amount of data as guys for brides, with so many people using your website. So [00:07:00] what other trends are you seeing, which would help the wedding pros who are listening?

Nikita: So I think it’s important to remember that trends are forever changing and as a business, you need to be looking at your own trends and not just relying on the information I’m about to give.

So for example, in January, this year, we noticed that where couples were previously inquiring mostly on a Sunday, there’s been a slight shift. So. Still using our website on a Sunday. So actually Sunday evenings are the busiest time for our website, but most couples are actually doing a little bit of investigation into those businesses before they send their first inquiry.

So we’re actually seeing the most inquiries being sent on a Monday or a Tuesday. And the way I’m thinking of it is people are doing their planning on their sort of quiet Sunday afternoon. They’ve had their Sunday lunch, they’re just sitting down and now they’re gone right. Need to get the wedding planning.

They find a business on our website. They then maybe save them in their wedding planner that they’ve got with us. And then they’ll spend [00:08:00] time looking at that listing, looking at their social media, looking at their website, looking at their reviews, making sure they are a hundred percent happy that that business is genuine and reputable before they even start the conversation.

Um, so that’s another way that our website is being used as a tool. You know, they’re looking at it like an extension of your portfolio. They are, they need to find your social media, they need to find your website. They need to find, uh, images of what you’ve done in the past. All of that is available to them in one place.

So they’re using that to sort of look at all the aspects of your business marketing before they then start to have a conversation. That’s

Becca: a really interesting stat. So they’re kind of using Guides for Brides as a launch pad. So they’re finding the supplies on there, but then they’re kind of launching out into their social media platforms.

So again, if you’re listening to this, this is why it’s so important. Number one, to keep your listing up-to-date, but number two, to make sure your social media handles. And the name of your business and the images [00:09:00] match across all the platforms, because what happens otherwise is they go from Guides for Brides or wherever it is onto your social media.

And then they’re not sure if they’re in the right place. And if there’s any like unsure ness, if that’s a word shortness in their mind, they’re just going to go to someone else. So you need to make sure your branding and your messaging and your imagery is consistent across your directory listings, across your social media, across your website.

Everywhere else. So would you say people are going to Instagram, Facebook websites. Where do you think they do their research? I think

Nikita: they do it everywhere. To be honest with you, Becca, I think they, so they don’t, first of all, they don’t know where to start, so it’s a natural starting point for them to look on Google and look on wedding websites like ours.

So we did some research in 2021 and we asked couples two key questions. Where do you plan your wedding and how many different wedding planning platforms do you use? The first question, where do you plan your wedding? Wedding directories came up as only second to Google. So where would you start your wedding planning?

You’d probably go to Google because you don’t know [00:10:00] where to start. Right. And then you’ll find the wedding directories on Google. So those were the two key places and they were well, well above social media, wedding fairs, all of that kind of. When we ask them, which one wedding planning websites they use, the data showed that at least 50% of the people that answered were using three or more wedding planning websites to do their research.

So it’s not just about being on one directory. It’s about being on multiple because they are using multiple directories to do their research. They want to have that wide variety of, um, places to go to look for things and do their sort of window shopping before they send the initial inquiries. In terms of where, where they’re looking, the benefit of a listing is that you’ve got links to your social media.

You’ve got links to your website, you’ve got links to videos, you’ve got images. You’ve got the ability to put information into your listing about your business. So all of that stuff that they are looking for and all [00:11:00] of the places they want to look can be found in one key place. You know, I think they’re looking at multiple places, but they’re finding it in that sort of initial wedding directory stage

Becca: yeah. And that is really important to note because one thing that people say to me all the time is Becca, I just don’t get enough inquiries. I just don’t have enough people knowing I exist. How do I get in front of more people? Well, that’s why these platforms work because you’re basically putting your business in front of all the people they’re doing the work on the SEO for you Guides for Brides are working hard to make sure they come up high on Google.

They’re spending the money on those things to help you get in front of the. Well, which is why it’s worth paying attention to these

Nikita: platforms. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Can I just add to that as well? Cause I think. One of the key things of advice, I would say about a listing and with you mentioning SEO is that it’s apps.

You will be surprised as to how many businesses forget to put the word wedding in their copy for [00:12:00] their listing. And they also forget to put the counties that they cover. So if you want to appear in people’s Google searches. Please make sure you got the key, those keywords in your listing because you know, you might be a fantastic photographer with 25 years experience, but do you do weddings?

Yes. You’re on a wedding planning platform, but you need to have the word wedding in your listing. Copy.

Becca: That is so important. Okay. Everyone, who’s got a listing on any directory. Your first job after listening to this podcast is to go and make sure your, your listing has the right. In it, because it’s easy to neglect that kind of thing.

So in terms of booking trends Nikita, are you seeing, uh, people booking last minute, they booking really far in advance. What are you seeing coming through? I think

Nikita: it’s a bit of a mix of both because you’ve still got that pandemic backlog that people are trying to work through. So there is a slight, I don’t want to call it panic on the couples front.

I think that’s the best word I can come up with is that they are looking very, very far in advance at the moment. And some venues I’ve heard of [00:13:00] some venues opening their books for like 20, 25, 20, 26 already. So that’s half of the sort of audience that we’re seeing are. Going looking far in advance.

That doesn’t mean you should be booking so far in advance. You know, I’m not going to say that you should do that. That’s your own business decision, but that is, that is a key trend that we’re seeing is that it’s very, very far in advance. But on the flip side, we are seeing people needing that late availability and they are also looking on that late availability search because they’re thinking, you know what, we’ve had two years of pandemic.

We just want to get this done and we want to have a really great time. Let’s see what we can do.

Becca: Okay. Okay. Let’s move on then and think about the guys for brides listings that you offer. So is it, am I right in saying that you have a free listing option and a paid-for listing option? How does that.

So

Nikita: the free listing is very, very basic. It’s just there if you are wanting to be found on those multiple platforms, but you’re [00:14:00] having to prioritize which one you want to advertise on, we have got a free, basic option. And by basic it is so basic. It’s got your business name, it’s got a profile image and it’s got text and it’s got the ability to have one review showing at all times.

Then you go into the enhanced listing. So they’re the paid for versions. They appear obviously above all of the basic listings and your peer above basic listings and search. And there are three levels to that. So we’ve got the standard, the featured and the spotlight listing. The key difference is the featured and spotlight listings come with additional sort of social media marketing from our.

The ability to be featured in blog posts. So if the team are writing, I don’t know, you say amazing wedding venues in Oxfordshire. If you’ve got a featured or a spotlight listing, you’re more likely to be picked for those blogs. And then of course they appear higher. So standard listings appear above the basics.

Featured listings appear above the [00:15:00] standards and the spotlight listings are limited and appear in the first sort of top part of the listings.

Becca: You would be surprised Nikita, about the amount of wedding suppliers that I look at. So when people work with me one to one, or do one of my courses quite often, I’ll go and research where I can find them from a customer’s perspective.

And so many of them don’t even have the free listing. And the first thing I say to them is it’s free. Like the free version, at least appear in the search in case people are looking for you. So another task for you to do, if you’re listening to this, if you don’t yet even have a free listing on Guides for Brides, go and set that up immediately.

Yes. It’s not going to be as good as more of the enhanced and paid for options, but don’t have nothing at least have the free option and then work out where you go from there. So if people are thinking about having a listing or perhaps even have a listing already, and don’t feel like it’s working for them, have you got any tips for people around how they can make the most of that listing?

Nikita: Okay. So I would [00:16:00] first say double-check whether it’s a basic or a paid listing, because you know, I know some other platforms do do basic listing as well, and it can be difficult at times when you, when you don’t know the site, like the back of your hand, it can be difficult to know whether you’re having, whether you’ve got a paid listing versus a versus a basic, so just make sure.

Like which one you’ve got, because obviously then you’re limited if you’ve got basic listing and what tools you have available to you, the next thing I would then do is make sure I’m using every tool that is available to me. So the example of the late availability set. It’s obviously increased in, uh, since the pandemic of how many people are using that search tool.

But if you are not using the calendar feature that you pay for, with your listing, you are not going to appear in that search. And that’s just one example. The same goes for, um, our offers search. The same goes for, if you haven’t ticked a filter. But if you’re a country house wedding venue, and you haven’t ticked that your country house, [00:17:00] wedding venue, you’re not going to appear in that search.

So make sure you ticked all those filters and make sure you’ve got videos. Make sure you’ve got imagery. Make sure you’re using everything that’s available to you. If that then fails, I would then pick up the phone to actually speak to someone. So. I can only speak for Guides for Brides, but our team are so, so dedicated to their customers.

And it’s literally the whole point of them being that they want you to be successful. They don’t just want to sell you a listing and then leave you to it. You know, they want you to be successful in your business. They want it to work for you. So they’re more than happy to advise on what needs to be done.

They’re happy to have a look at your listing and see other things need to happen, or whether you’re, you’re struggling to find a specific tool that you can use. Are you using it? They can check everything for you now for some clients, we find that having a relationship with the marketing team works better than just the listing as well.

So that’s another thing that the team can do. If you’re finding that your listing is not working, we can find ways for. That to [00:18:00] work for you. So we can, for example, instead of you paying for a spotlight listing and that not working, you might pay for a standard listing and then have the marketing team using the rest of that budget to really push you out to the audience.

So, you know, you might find that certain things work for one business and things don’t work for another. So that’s the kind of thing I would say is, is to actually speak to people and build a relationship with them because they really want to help you. They’re not. They’re not just going to leave you to it.

You know, they want you to, they want you to be successful and that’s the main point.

Becca: I think that’s really important to note. So if that is you and you’ve already got a listing with with Guides for Brides or one of these directories, don’t wait till the end of the year, when you’re about to renew to decide whether it’s not working or not kind of get three months in, use all the tools.

And if you’re not happy with how it’s going. Exactly like Nikita said, pick up the. Ask the question because they’re there to help you and they’re there to make sure it does work for you. So don’t be afraid to do that. Just pick up the phone and say, I love the site I’m on here, but it’s just [00:19:00] not getting me any inquiries.

Now for most of you listening, you probably only need one booking from one of these platforms to pay for the. Yeah, if that, so that’s achievable for every single one of you, you should be getting at least one booking from these platforms. And if you’re not, and you’re not even getting the inquiries, then pick up the phone and try and find out why, because it may be that just a couple of small changes to the way you list yourself could make all of the difference.

Now, some people Nikita, say to me, oh, directories aren’t for me because my kind of couples don’t use them. Do you have any information about the kind of couples, the kind of budgets people have that use your site.

Nikita: Um, so I think it depends, it varies across the board. So I think what you need to do is research into the directories and decide which one is right for you or which set are right for you based on, um, based on the kind of couple they attract.

So. There’s one directory, for example, that really attracts the alternative couple there’s directories like ours, that attract sort of the [00:20:00] majority markets. Um, and then there are others that are a bit more niche. So you need to do your research and sort of figure out, cause I know, you know, I would say advertise on every single directory, but that’s not going to work for you.

You need to make sure it works with your brand in terms of budgets, the typical wedding budget in the UK. It’s about 17 and a half thousand pounds. So that’s what we’re kind of finding on our site. The majority of the couples that use us are in the sort of 12 to 20,000 pound region. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not in the higher budgets.

 either, we have got a luxury wedding section. I’ve had some clients success stories that have told me that, you know, they they’re a caterer. They paid 595 pounds for an annual listing with us. And they got 10,000 pound booking just from that. And, you know, that’s a big catering budget. So, you know, that’s, that’s one way I would say, you know, don’t discount that there will be outliers even if the typical budget is around 17 and a half, thousand

Becca: so people are on the site and [00:21:00] they’re getting inquiries. The other thing that people say to me all the time is they get some inquiries, they get kind of standard inquiries with the standard message, whether it seems like they’re just contacting everyone from your site and then they never hear from them again.

Have you got any tips for people around trying to avoid that ghosting situation or how they should be responding or the speed of response?

Nikita: So I would say that. Think about it from the couple’s point of view, a lot of these people have never done this before. They don’t know what to say in an inquiry that that’s why we have this sort of standard.

Email, you know, I found you on guides for brides. I’m interested in your services, please. Can you give me a quote? Well, please, can you give me a brochure? That kind of thing is what they don’t know what to ask. So that’s, that’s why we’ve got that there so that they can, you know, inquire without feeling like they need to give all of this information that actually is not useful to you as a business.

What I will say is [00:22:00] check your. You’ll find all your inquiries when you log into your listing backend. Anyway. So if you’re finding that you’re not getting inquiries, check your spam folder, check your check, your listing backend, because you might find that they’re just not reaching you or the email that you’ve given is misspelt or something like that.

You know, there could be a simple explanation for it. The next thing I would do is go, send a personalized email, but send it proactively. So if you are, and I know it’s very easy to say because we’re about to hit well, we’re in a very, very busy wedding season where people are away from their desks.

What I will say is have an out of office that keeps you open. So, you know, the phrase I’m working at weddings all weekend, so I won’t be at my desk. Isn’t going to cut it. You need to make them feel really happy that you’ve, they’ve inquired to you while letting them know that you might not respond immediately.

So you can sort of have an out [00:23:00] of office that says I’m probably working a wedding right now, but thank you so much for your inquiry. Congratulations on your engagement. I will be in touch within the next 24 to 48 hours. Um, with a response, you know, something that keeps you open is better than sort of shutting the door immediately.

The next thing I would say is on your initial response, personalize it. So even if you need to work with a template, make sure you have the ability to put their name in, ask them a question about their wedding. That’s going to sort of make them want to respond to you. If you are a hair and beauty artist, say to them, What color are your bridesmaid’s dresses or how many bridesmaids are you having that kind of sort of noncommittal question that shows an interest in their wedding.

It’s going to help you have more of a conversation with them rather than do you want to book me, you know, because a lot of the time they are using directories and they’re making inquiries because they are [00:24:00] deciding between different businesses and they want to make sure that your business fits one, what they want in their wedding to, within their budget and three, that they’re going to like you, and that they’re going to want to work with.

Becca: So keep it short, keep it conversational. Don’t send the masses and masses of information and loads of big attachments, keep it short and friendly. And I think the template idea is really helpful. Personalizing a template, have something on your phone if you’re out and about all the time, save something in the notes section of your phone that you can just copy and paste and just change the first couple of sentences each time.

Save you so much time, but speed is definitely of the essence. I don’t know if you find this Nikita, but I know from wedding fairs, for example, often the first suppliers to go back are the ones that get the bookings. Do you think that’s the same with the directories?

Nikita: Yeah, I think, I think it’s in most cases, I would say that the person that responds the fastest is the one that’s most likely to get the.

So if you have [00:25:00] a personal assistant or a virtual PA that is helping you with your admin, for example, make sure that they know that this is, that, you know, January to March is my busiest time for an inquiry. So please, can you make sure that you’re keeping up to date with that, or if you’re doing that yourself, make sure that you are keeping an eye on things, have that, as you say, on your phone, the template on your phone so that you can quickly respond to them.

It’s not in every case. You know, people understand that. I think you’ve got a busy life. I’m not saying you need to sit at your computer at 2:00 AM and wait for the inquiries to come in. That’s that’s not what I’m saying, but you know, having that out of office that keeps you open sort of conversational, makes you feel very open and friendly and that you’re very interested in their inquiry and.

You know, I’m actually, I’m actually on holiday at the moment, but I am checking my emails. So I will hopefully be able to respond to you within the next 24 to 48 hours so that they can expect that response rather than feeling left in the dark. Because I think a lot of couples do [00:26:00] feel like they’ve also been ghosted, you know, and I think that.

That’s not the relationship start that you want.

Becca: Definitely. I am right now in this situation myself. So I’m organizing an event. I’m trying to find a caterer for it. I’ve been given this caterers information and oh my goodness, are they ignoring me? It’s so frustrating. I’ve contacted them on Instagram. I’ve left them an answer phone message.

I want to give them some money and they are just ignoring me. And if I could just at least get a text to say, we’ve got your message. We’re on holiday. We’re doing this, but we’ll get back to you tomorrow. I would know. But otherwise, right now I’m thinking well I better go to someone else, because they’re obviously not interested in me.

And you don’t want your potential customers to be feeling that way because it doesn’t exactly get you off to a good, start.

Nikita: No. And the thing is, you know, when you’re a business owner and especially a sole trader, you are on your own. In most cases, you know, your, you have the support of everyone around you, but actually it’s you, that has to take responsibility for answering that.

And. [00:27:00] You need a life as, you know, make sure you’ve got some work-life balance, but I think has you’ve, you’ve just got to be aware that couples are wary of being ghosted as well. We’re in a world now, and especially this generation of couple where responses are instant, you know, they DMS instant messaging.

This is something that they can get immediately and they want the information immediately. Not saying you have to give it to them that quickly. But again, going back to that out of office, even attaching a brochure to your out of office or a link to your portfolio is going to give them something rather than.

You know, making them wait for it because unfortunately people’s patience is not brilliant these days.

Becca: No, it’s not. And again, I’m the same. If I want to get in touch with a help desk or something, I get annoyed when they’re not open at eight o’clock at night. And then I realize,

Nikita: oh, I totally agree. I totally agree.

I don’t know how I’m supposed [00:28:00] to work a nine to five and go to a doctor’s that’s only like open 19. Like, how are you supposed to do that? You know, it’s very annoying. It’s very frustrating. I don’t have time. I don’t have time to go to the shop immediately after work. I don’t want to do that. So it’s is it’s really frustrating, isn’t it?

Becca: It really is. Okay. So talking about being short of time, if some of the wedding pros listening right now are thinking, right, I need to go and update my listings. Where would you get them to start? What’s the most important thing for them to get, right? When it comes to changing or updating their existing.

Nikita: I think the important thing to remember is that we can put you in front of the couple, but we can’t make them inquire and you know, your customer best. So if your customer responds really well to a chatty tone, make sure you’ve got a chatty tone in your listing. Copy. Make sure you’ve got great photos. I know that one key frustration for the marketing team on our side for example, is making sure that [00:29:00] the images on a, on a listing are attractive

to a couple, if you are a hair artist showing the bride’s hair from the front, but not from the back. And that really detailed thing, you’re going that having loads of photos from the front, you’re not makeup artist, you’re hair artist show the hair. Obvious thing. I know they sound really obvious, but it’s often the obvious things that are overlooked.

So. Actually approach your listing as if you are your target, couple, you know them better than anyone else, you know, who, who inquires with you, you know what they’re looking for. So does the copy match what they’re looking for? Do the images match what they’re looking for? Have you got links to your social media, just going through that checklist and thinking about what your couple wants.

is I think the place to start.

Becca: And if someone doesn’t have a listing at the moment, but they’re listening to our chat and they’re thinking, I need to find out a bit more about guides for brides, or maybe I need to get onto this directory. What’s [00:30:00] the best place for them to go.

Nikita: So I would, first of all, go to guidesforbrides.co.uk/advertise.

There. You’ll be able to find all the key information about advertising. Um, what the listings come, uh, come with. The next thing to do is. Interested is to speak to a member of the team. So you can give us a call or the information is on our site. Uh, oh 1, 2, 3, 5, double seven, double 0 7, 8. Oh, I’ll knock that in there Becca, but just speak to a member of our team because they’re really friendly and they’ll be able to walk through everything for you.

That’s that’s what they’re there for. That’s, you know, they want to help you. They want to make sure that this listing is going to work for you. Speak to them, ask them the questions, speak to them about your concerns. Maybe you’ve had listings in the past and they’ve not worked. Ask them about what’s changed because things change very quickly.

We’ve got a brand new site in the works, you know, it’s been in the works for two years. These things take time, but we’re at the final testing stages now on sign off [00:31:00] stages. So we’ve got a brand new website coming. It’s going to be really exciting. Ask them what’s coming up. What can I expect? You know, what, what’s different.

What’s changed from five years ago when I last listed with X or Y that kind of.

Becca: So pick up the phone have the conversation and share your concerns and I’ll make sure I link to that link that you mentioned as well in the show notes of the show. Now Nikita, before I let you go, there’s two final things I want to ask you about the first one is something that you have as part of Guides for Brides.

And the last time I spoke about it, we accidentally broke your website. So we’re going to give you a pre warning this time before we talk about it. But tell us a little bit about Wedding Safe.

Nikita: So wedding safe is a platform that we created to help couples find businesses that they can trust. Because during the pandemic, we all know you really couldn’t get great wedding insurance and it was a big,

I [00:32:00] wouldn’t, it was something that put couples off a little bit from booking. And so in order to boost their confidence, we created wedding safe, which is somewhere that a business can list themselves, show where they’re listed. So which directories they are listed on where couples can read reviews, show that they’ve got public liability insurance show that the sort of template contracts they might use so that.

Couples can immediately see that they’ll have a contract. You can show that you understand all the sort of COVID safety advice. You can show all of these things that just going to help them tick that trust box. If that makes sense. So it’s wedding safe.co.uk. It’s totally free for businesses to sign up and sort of showcase that they are trustworthy business on there.

And yeah, last time Becca mentioned it. It completely broke because we weren’t expecting so many people to jump on there. Uh, so I will mention it to the team and make sure all [00:33:00] is well and good before this goes out.

Becca: Amazing. So wedding safe. I am. Advocate for this because in the work that I do, I see all sorts of different wedding businesses all of the time.

And we know that there’s lots of people who just randomly set up a business out of their kitchen or whatever. And don’t have all the paperwork that makes it a business, the insurance and the food hygiene and all those things. So if you are out there and you are a reputable business, you need to make sure you’re standing out from the crowd.

So whatever you do once you’ve sorted your directory listings that we’ve already talked about, make sure you go and get that wedding safe tick, and be proud of it, showcase it on your website, showcase it on your social media and say, look, this shows that I’m a reputable business and the more people we can get with this wedding safe mark is just going to bring up the overall standards of our industry, which is why I’ll keep talking about it.

Keep breaking Nikita’s website, and get you guys on there because I think it’s a really. Thing for the standards in our industry to make sure that people are getting all those pieces of paper, those insurances, et cetera in

Nikita: [00:34:00] place. Absolutely. We want to make sure there is a standard in place for cause you know, people that are listening to this podcast are going to be repeatable businesses.

You’re investing in your education. You’re investing in your business, make sure you’re showcasing.

Becca: Yeah, definitely. So do make sure you go and get that wedding safe, mark. And once you’ve got it and you’ve got the check box, tag me or Nikita in it on social media tag guys, surprise and show it off because I’d love to see that you are reputable and that you’ve got it going on.

Okay. Before you finish, I always finish with the same question, which is what’s one final piece of advice that you have for people out there who own a wedding business, that they need to know wherever they are on their journey.

Nikita: You’ve got to be proactive. Everything you do to market your business works together.

Hand-in-hand whether that be advertising social media, your own website, you wouldn’t go to a wedding. You wouldn’t pay for a stand at a wedding fair, and then not show. You know, you’ve got to be [00:35:00] proactive. You’ve got to be constantly looking at your, your website trends, your social media, keeping up with that algorithm.

You know, making sure that you’re being proactive with your marketing and even at your busiest time, because you don’t want that to fall off the, off the, off the wagon. Just be proactive with everything you do for your marketing and make sure that it works for you because there will be a solution.

Becca: Yes.

I’m so on board with that being proactive is so important. What’s the point of learning? If you don’t take action, like I always say we’re not Netflix. We’re not here to just sit back and listen and be entertained. We’re here to help you promote your wedding business. So you can’t just listen to the advice you’ve got to go out there and actually.

Nikita. Thank you. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you thank you for bringing Guides for brides to life for us and becoming the face of the brand. So we know the heart and the message behind what you’re all about. I know lots of people have enjoyed this conversation if they want to find you or Guides [00:36:00] for Brides where can they find you on social media?

Nikita: So if you follow us on @ guides for brides. So G U I D E S F O R B R I D E S. And that we’re at guide for brides on all social media platforms.

Becca: Amazing go and follow them, go and check them out. And if you do join, Guides for Brides and set up your listing, why not send it to me or post it on social media so I can take a look as well.

Nikita. I hope to see you at an event for a cocktail very soon.

Nikita: I’m sure we will see you back.

Becca: I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Nikita as much as I did. Isn’t she just, the loveliest person it’s such a pleasure to speak with her at some of these big events. If you go ahead and get a guide for brides listing, or perhaps you’ve already had some success with the platform, why not share with me and the rest of the community over in my free Facebook group, wedding pros, we’re ready to grow.

I’ll see you soon.

One thing I love about the wedding industry is the other amazing people you get to work with. If you want to meet [00:37:00] like-minded wedding pros, just like you, then why not join my free Facebook community wedding pros and we’re ready to grow. Come meet some new connections, hang out with me and hopefully learn some new things too just search for us on Facebook.

Becca xo

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