Is it time for a wedding business rebrand? That’s the question we are asking today!
In today’s episode I am chatting with branding and web designer Katie Lake of Studio Lago design.
We talk about how to know when your wedding business needs a rebrand and the importance of having a website that reflects your work and speaks directly to your ideal customer.
The importance of reassessing your business (00:00:00) Katie discusses the need to reassess your business and realign your values and brand if necessary.
Introduction to Katie Lake and her business transition (00:01:03) Becca introduces Katie Lake, owner of Studio Largo Design, and discusses her transition from the wedding industry to offering branding and web design services.
Common mistakes in wedding business websites (00:06:26) Katie discusses common mistakes in wedding business websites, including lack of customization for ideal clients and lack of strategic planning for customer journeys.
Updating Your Website Strategy (00:09:47) Importance of having a website as the center of your business and strategies for updating it frequently.
Gaining an Outside Perspective (00:12:39) The importance of stepping out of your own perspective and seeking feedback from ideal clients and market research calls.
Knowing When to Rebrand (00:16:37) Considering the alignment of business goals, values, and vision before deciding if a rebrand is necessary, and focusing on the ideal client’s perspective.
The visual rebrand process (00:19:30) Tips on aligning visual branding with ideal clients and creating mood boards.
Improving your website (00:21:14) Suggestions for updating and enhancing a website, including reflecting the brand visually and optimizing the home page.
Finding the right website designer (00:26:39) Considerations for selecting a website designer, including personal connection, experience, strategy, and budget.
The importance of running your business as a business (00:29:50) Katie emphasizes the need to see your business from an outsider perspective and run it with a clear business strategy.
Transitioning from winging it to running a proper business (00:31:12) Katie discusses the process of reframing everything and gaining clarity in order to run a business with confidence, rather than waiting for business to come.
Taking action to improve your website and brand (00:32:32) Becca encourages listeners to set goals, revisit their values, and evaluate if their website and brand are still aligned, and take action if necessary.
Katy: Rediscover what’s going on with your business and remember the reason why you started your business in the first place. And if those things are no longer working for you, then reassess them. And then if you kind of look at the visual brand and you go, Hey, do you know what those values and that brand no longer align, then perhaps it’s time for.
It could even be a brand refresh, it could be sort of not completely overhauling the brand, but some aspects of it.
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. Today I’m chatting with Katie Lake, owner of Studio Lago Design. Having worked in the wedding industry for eight years, her world shifted entirely during the pandemic.
Katie now provides creative design solutions for other businesses, offering both branding and web design services. Her goal is to help business owners revamp their online presence and give them the confidence they need to thrive and to grow. Katie, welcome to the podcast.
Katy: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Becca: I’m thrilled to have you. Thank you for getting in touch about coming on. I know that my listeners are going to really enjoy this conversation, talking all things branding and web design because it’s an area lots of them struggle with. But before we get into that, I would just love to hear from you just a brief history really of how you went from being in the wedding industry to where you are now.
Katy: Yeah. So, well, it was It was COVID, as you mentioned, so during the pandemic, obviously, weddings weren’t happening for quite a long period of time. And I had been sort of thinking about what I might do to, I suppose, not be reliant on a big bunch of people being in a room all together at one time, because we didn’t know how long that was going to not be allowed for.
So I just wanted something more sort of stable, and I I did design at university. I’ve always been a designer and And actually it just kind of came to me this idea that I would set up a business helping other, I think in, in the, in the beginning it was other wedding professionals and helping them to, you know, recreate their branding and update their websites because I started doing that during the pandemic for myself and it’s something I’ve always done.
And so I went through a rebrand and, created a new website for my own business. So that was Malarkey Cakes at the time. And had a few people comment and say, Oh, who did your branding and website? And I was like, actually, actually it was me. And, you know, I had a few people saying, would you do the same for me?
And so it just kind of grew organically from there. And I thought, you know what? I’ve got nothing to lose. Let’s launch forward with this. And it’s just become a really big passion because I now get to help people who are running businesses. Just like the one I, I’ve been running with Malarkey Cakes and, you know, helping them with the same kind of issues, the same kind of problems that I was having.
So I can really relate to them, relate to, you know, people in the wedding world, small business owners, and all of the issues that they face with, with branding, websites, and, you know, how to stand out online and get visible. So, yeah, that was the kind of the transition between. from one to the other. Yeah.
And now, you know, I absolutely love what I do. It’s, it’s so nice to be serving people that are so similar to me and kind of helping them essentially like fall back in love with their businesses. So yeah, that’s kind of how it went.
Becca: And are you still making cakes or have you stopped malarkey cakes altogether?
Katy: So, I still love making cakes. I still love that business, and I’ll always have a part of me that will do that. But I sort of, now it’s more of a sideline business, and it’s It’s a passion, I guess, that I’ll always carry forward with me. But now I kind of get to pick and choose what weddings I do and which ones I don’t.
You know, if an inquiry comes along where a couple are getting married at some epic venue that I’ve always wanted to work at. Those kind of orders I will take on. So the two businesses work, they work alongside each other quite well. So malarkey cakes is still very much in operation, but on a smaller scale than it was before.
Becca: So you’re kind of keeping your hand in both sides of the business. And you mentioned in the introduction that originally you thought you’d be doing this branding and web design for wedding pros. Are you only working with wedding professionals or have you branched out and worked with other people now as well?
Katy: So I have worked with a lot of wedding professionals but I do also work with other, it’s essentially now service based business owners. So predominantly female as well and I’ve realized as I’ve kind of gone through the process of of growing my business to where it is now that it’s not so much about the type of person of the type of industry that the person who, you know, runs a business is, is in, it’s more about their, their mindset.
So they’re a service based business owner, but equally, they’re ready to kind of take their business to a new level to elevate things to really, you know, get Get themselves out there, get visible online. So, I help a lot of coaches, I’ve helped educators, all kinds of service based business owners now. But I’m lucky and I’m really happy to say that I do also help wedding professionals because I love that world and I love still having, you know, a part of me still very much involved in that world.
Becca: Absolutely. The wedding industry is the best place to work. You never want to lose that. So you’ve obviously seen a lot of different wedding business websites over the last few years. You’ve worked with lots of wedding business owners. Do you think that there’s certain things you see regularly, the mistakes that people in the wedding industry are making when it comes to their websites?
Katy: Yeah. So, I do, I do see the same sorts of things over and over. I think one thing I’ll say with branding and websites in general, just sort of overall with marketing, is that it’s so, so important to remember that everything should be ideal client centric. Everything should be based on who, who your ideal clients are and about getting inside their head.
And so, if you really want a website… that really works for your ideal clients, it’s got to be bespoke, it’s got to be, it’s got to really talk to that person to a certain level. And so, I do see lots of websites that are kind of, you know, they can feel like they’re just sort of out of the box, and not particularly bespoke, and not particularly tailored to speaking to that ideal client.
Perhaps they’re not put together strategically enough, I would say, in that. They don’t look at how the customer journey would work through the website. So I create all of my websites strategically which would mean that I plan out or help my clients to plan out customer journeys through the website to think about the best way that you can guide people on your website to your goals.
So say if you’re a business. a service based business owner. For example, if you’re a wedding professional, it’s highly likely that the biggest goal for the website is for people to get in touch with you. So you need to make that as simple and as easy and quick for people to do as possible. So we see a lot of websites that, that actually you would land on on the website and it’s not entirely clear, not only what you do, but also.
What to do next and how to get in touch with you. So I’d say, yes, a lot of websites are created possibly for the aesthetic rather than the strategy. But a website that can really work for your business with a strategy can make such a huge difference.
Becca: So the other thing that I noticed in the wedding industry, which may be similar to your own story is that when people start out with their wedding businesses, they don’t have loads of budget.
They don’t have loads of money. And so they go ahead and try and build their own website. And then as they evolve as a business, that website doesn’t really evolve with them. So quite often I’ll go on a business’s Instagram page, for example, and it’s incredible. And then I click through to their website and it’s like, What happened to this?
Like what, what happened to this? What should we be doing to make sure that we keep our website up to date and looking on brand?
Katy: That’s a really good one. And that is something that I talk to my clients about all the time. It’s. Yes, this is such a big thing and it’s something I’m really passionate about and I’m trying to get my kind of my message out there as to say to people, you know, how would you get, how would you let your website go out of date?
I have so many people come to me who say, Oh my God, Katie, I’m so embarrassed to send people to my website and I’ll say, okay, what, why do you think that’s happened? What are the reasons behind that? And I think there can be so many reasons, you know, if you’ve built your own website. Maybe you found it hard, maybe you found it laborious, it took you months, and then the last thing you want to do is go and log into your website and make changes.
Or, you know, perhaps you taught yourself how to do all of it, and it’s been a year, and… You can’t remember and you haven’t got time to go back in, log back into the website and make those changes because you’re going to have to re learn everything all over again. So, there are different ways, I think, with this and I think it’s so important to think about your online presence as kind of one entity.
So rather than having your Instagram over here, your website over here, I always say to people, It’s so important to have your website as the center of what you do in your business, rather than a lot of people put too much emphasis, I think, on Instagram. And I always say this to people because, you know, at any, at any time, Facebook, Instagram could come along, just pull the rug from underneath you and change everything.
So see your, your website as the biggest asset that you actually have in your business. And I’d recommend even just having a really simple strategy for updating your website, whether that’s I don’t know, setting a reminder once a month to log in and make any changes or, you know, with my clients, I also, if they work with me, they get like half an hour, it’s even half an hour a month with me.
I check in with them and I literally say to them, right, any content that you want me to add to your website this month. So I keep them. Accountable to it. They have to do it. So that’s one way of looking at it But I think it’s essentially a seeing kind of your website and your instagram as an interlinked thing Therefore you shouldn’t really have one without the other so yeah I’m kind of on a bit of a campaign to help people to be more aware of the importance of updating their websites and I’m a firm believer that You know, I, I build websites that give my clients access to edit them themselves and to empower them to do that.
I hand over with tutorial videos, and I make sure, you know, that, you know, they’ve logged in, they’ve watched them, and they’ve made sure that they can, they can do things themselves on their site, because I think that’s also really, really important. So, I think it’s about empowering, and I think it’s about having a really simple strategy.
to updating the site frequently.
Becca: I think as well, we often become blind to our own websites. I definitely know that that’s a problem that I have, and I think it’s a problem others have, where you’ve built this website you thought is really through a lot, and then you suddenly realize, oh, I haven’t updated it for ages, but now I don’t even know where to start.
People say it’s not working very well, but you you kind of get blind to what it is because you’ve spent so long on it. How do we have that outside perspective?
Katy: Oh, that’s a good one. Do you know, I think it’s like, it comes back to what I said earlier on. It’s all about thinking about your, your brand, your website, all of your marketing with.
The view of being your ideal client. So I think with anything to do with your business, it’s so important to step out of your kind of your brain somehow and jump into the view of your ideal client. So if, if you haven’t already, or if you haven’t recently, I highly recommend reviewing and reviewing again who your ideal client is.
And how they would view your website. So, that includes things like language, so the copy that you use on your site. All the way down to how it works and those sides of things. But also one thing that would be really, really good. And I do this in my business. I am literally do market research calls. So I speak to.
previous clients who I’ve had a great time working with but I also speak to people in my audience and I say to them would you mind hopping on a 15 minute call with me and answering some questions and what you could do is ask people to go through your website. And give, you know, give them, give you your, their honest opinion on how things work.
Because sometimes when you’re working on your own website, your own marketing, you can’t see the wood for the trees. And so it’s really, really good just to have that outsider perspective. You know, and they might even pick you up on, Oh, this button’s not working or this link’s not working. So it’s just super helpful to incrementally from time to time to be doing an activity like that.
Becca: Yeah. It’s so much better when someone else looks at it as well, because they notice things you don’t notice. And again, something I’m trying to foster in my community is looking at each other’s websites, but also telling people when there’s things that are wrong, because if no one tells you the button’s broken or the link’s not working, or it takes you to a dead page, often you don’t go through and Realize that.
Whereas actually if we just tell someone I went on your website and the button didn’t work, then they can fix it. But we’re all too scared to tell each other anything vaguely critical. So if you’re listening to this and people share their websites, go and look at their websites and if you find something that’s wrong, tell them it’s wrong.
Is there a way on your website that you can find out whether the buttons are. working rather than just going through every page and clicking on all the buttons.
Katy: There is stuff that you can use depending on what platform you’re using and how sort of advanced it is. I know on, I use WordPress for all of my websites and there, you know, there is It’s kind of tech that you can plug into it to say where are the broken links and things.
With Squarespace and other platforms, I’m not 100 percent sure, but there are definitely things out there. You can run your site through a kind of like user experience checker and you can, you can check for all of these things. But I would say it’s important to kind of have a real human doing stuff on the site as well.
Because actually… You know, with SEO, one of the most important things now to Google and how it’s ranking sites is all about user experience. It’s all about, like, websites being human and speaking as a human and being relatable and being easy to navigate. So there’s nothing quite like having a real human going through it and just checking it out.
Becca: One thing that jumped out to me that you shared earlier was that sometimes people are embarrassed to show you their websites. And I have this all the time. So I’m teaching people marketing and they say, Oh, don’t look at my Instagram. Don’t look at my website. I hate my branding, all of these kinds of things.
And often I say to them, well, maybe it’s time to change your branding or change your website. So how do we know as wedding business owners when it’s time for us to dive in and go for a rebrand or go for a website change? How do we know that we need to evolve in that direction?
Katy: Yeah, that’s awesome.
That’s a really good one because
I think as a business owner, you can tend to be like, Oh, okay, well, things don’t, you know, feel aligned. So it’s probably time for a rebrand and all of that. It’s not always time for, I would say a visual rebrand as we sort of think of branding. And this is something I’m. I feel really strongly about is that a lot of people think of branding and they think of a logo and a color palette and, and that’s where things begin and things end.
But actually, the process of working on branding and
certainly how I work with branding is a lot more strategic. So actually what we do is start right from the beginning and we really dig deep on what the business goals, values and vision are first before we even look at the visuals. So we look at going through, I hopefully essentially help my clients fall back in love with their business and remember why they’re doing things in the first place.
So, you know, it might not need. a new logo. It might not need a new bunch of colors and that sort of things. You might need to rediscover what’s going on with your business and remember what those values are. Remember what the reason why you started your business in the first place and if those things are no longer working for you, then reassess them.
And then if you kind of look at the visual brand and you go, hey, do you know what those values and that brand no longer align, then perhaps it’s time for, it could even be a brand refresh. It could be sort of not completely overhauling the brand, but some aspects of it. But as I said before, it’s so important just to be thinking of it from an ideal client point of view.
So What kind of thing will they want to see and what kind of thing will they be attracted to? So I think it’s, it’s a, it’s a, sort of an easy go to if you like. Like, oh, it, you know, it must be the visual brand or the website that need updating. But often, it’s about rediscovering… the very basics of the business and making sure that all parts of it are then aligned as well.
Becca: Yeah, and I think that’s a good exercise for us all to do actually every single year because each and every one of us evolve, our offerings evolve, our talents evolve, what we’re doing, our ideal clients evolve and actually I think particularly towards the end of the year. calendar year is a really good time to start thinking, right?
What, where am I at now? What are my values? Where do I want to go next year? And as you said, does my brand and my website still align with that? So if people are doing that exercise at the end of this year and they’re thinking, okay, I can see that my brand isn’t quite aligning anymore with my values. Do you have any quick fixes that they can do to try and uplevel their brand, get it back to where they want to be?
Katy: Yeah. So I would. You know, I would essentially think about firstly making sure that their goals and their values and their vision is all as they want it to be. And then from that really start to think about, okay, is what I’m doing really going to be attracting the ideal clients that I’m hoping to speak to?
Because if not, then yes, potentially it’s time for a bit of a visual rebrand. And you can look at what you’re doing visually and perhaps think, well, What, what aspects of what I’ve got here are working, what perhaps are not. There are really simple things that you can do. You can kind of go back and create a mood board, perhaps.
Mood boards, I create mood boards with every single project that I create. And sometimes just going, and don’t go too far down a Pinterest hole here. Big tip. So do that. But simply just go and kind of research visuals and really think about the kind of the visuals that your ideal client would potentially want to see.
Really get inside their heads as much as you can and then look at what you have and see if those two things are aligned or if the mood board kind of then leads you on to Something different in terms of the brand
Becca: visuals. I love a mood board. I love a Pinterest mood board as well. But you’re right, you can end up down a massive rabbit hole and we don’t want that.
Okay, so we’ve talked about quick fixes to up level our brand. What about if we’re happy with our brand, but we feel like our website is a mess? So maybe our contact information isn’t very clear. Maybe our customer journey experience is poor. Do you have any thoughts or must haves for our website quick fixes that you can help us with?
Katy: Absolutely. And this is a classic situation. So a lot of people are kind of happy with their brand, their visual brand and all of that side of things, but the website can be seriously lacking in, you know, you might not be getting leads. You might not be getting people doing what you want them to do on the site.
So I’d say the most important thing is to make sure that firstly, your brand is reflected on the website. And if it’s not, you can, you know, make some updates visually. You can do some things to bring the website to life by adding, you know, more kind of. stylized Aspects to the website and there are loads and loads of amazing templates out there that you can use that are already You know, they look incredible.
And all you need to do is then Your spin on them and your brand and your copy, but you can also go beyond that and really think about you know making sure you Consider what your business needs really are and make sure you consider that Navigational journey of your ideal clients through your site as well but I would say in general some top tips for your website are You know, sometimes a lot of people don’t realize the importance of a homepage, so your homepage is probably one of the most important pages of your site, so I want to give you some homepage tips.
So, think about your homepage, people land probably the first Place they land on your site will be your home page and that top section of your site is called your home page hero section And it essentially is called that because it is designed to grab people’s attention super quickly pull them in and And then tell them to take action.
So, in that section, you really need to concisely, and clearly say exactly who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. And that can be in the form of a header, a little bit of text, and a call to action. And that call to action should consider your… Overall website goal for, as I said, for a service based business, that is probably to get in touch with you or to go via your services to get in touch with you.
And it also includes some super on brand visuals there as well. So if you’ve got some epic visuals from weddings you’ve done to make sure that that top section of your site is. It’s like super, super on brand and really working hard to pull people in because people also, they make a decision to stay or leave your website super, super quickly.
We’re talking within like 2. 6 seconds or something like that is the current stat. So this is a really important part of the site to get really right, completely right.
Becca: And do you think there’s a perfect place to have that kind of contact us button or the inquiry form on your homepage? Should it be in a certain place or, or is it up for interpretation?
Katy: It’s, it depends. It depends on what your goals are. I mean, I would say see your homepage as a kind of like, it’s almost like
the hallway of a house or an index. So your homepage should set the tone for the rest of your site. And so let’s say on the homepage hero section. So that top section, if people don’t take action there, what can they learn next?
So here’s an introduction to your services. Then here’s an introduction to you, for example. And then I would always though make sure that there is another opportunity for them to get in touch with you, whether that is. Right at the bottom of the page or potentially in your footer. Make sure that there is always an opportunity on screen for people to get in touch with you.
You can also have on a website, you can have a header navigation that Kind of scrolls down with you. Now that’s one option. There are lots of people that love that, other people that don’t. But you can also have side buttons and things that mean that you’ve always got a contact button on the screen. So another tip as well is to make sure that you don’t have any
website dead ends.
So what I mean is once they get to the bottom of the page, there then needs to be something for them to do. So if they run out of things to do and you don’t tell people what to do, there’s every chance that they will get bored, get distracted by their sandwich or whatever and leave. So you’ve got to make sure that there’s always an opportunity for them to do something, to take an action.
Becca: I love that. We need to get people stuck in the rabbit hole of our website, going round and round and round and round until they know everything there is to know about us. So lots of my wedding pros say to me, yeah, I’m ready to get a new website or I’m ready to get a new brand, but I don’t even know where to start looking for that.
I don’t know how much it’s going to cost me. I’m worried it’s going to be expensive. I don’t know how to find the right person that fits with what I do. So obviously you have your own business, but if you were to give an outside perspective and someone was coming to you with the same questions. What would you suggest to them?
How would you help them go about finding the right person with the right prices for their situation?
Katy: Absolutely. I think it’s so important to find the right person. That can mean, like, you somehow have a personal connection with that person. You feel like they’re right for you. Because a website redesign is…
It can be quite a long process, so you’re essentially going to be working with that person for quite a long time. Other things that I would look for is perhaps that they’ve got experience helping people like you. Check out their portfolio. It’s not always about the kind of the style of websites they, they create.
It’s also, I would say, it’s important that they’re actually considering you as a business and that, you know, I think there are a lot of website designers out there who will just go and throw together a website for you in a couple of weeks. And I think that works to a point. But I would say… to have a, you know, a really successful website that really reflects your business vision and your goals and your, your ideal clients, et cetera.
It’s so, so important to look for someone who considers strategy in what they do as well. But it’s also important to consider what stage you’re at in your business, because obviously that affects, you know, how much budget you’re going to have. How much you’re going to be able to spend and and often a lot of website designers will have different packages that cater to those different things as well So for example, they might have an entry level where it might just be the standard sort of four or five page website That will help you get online versus It’s a kind of all singing, all dancing, 15 page website, which is for someone who’s already online.
They’ve already got all of that content, but it needs to be recreated in a bigger website essentially. So questions to ask a potential web designer would be things like, have you worked with business owners like me before? And make sure you can find evidence of that and then yeah, just make sure that you kind of.
Get each other, have a call with them, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions about your specific business and how they think they can really, you know, tailor their service to help your business.
Becca: That’s incredibly helpful. Thank you for sharing that. Now, I always end my podcast with the same question and that’s this.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known sooner in your own business?
Katy: Wow. Yes. So I’ve been through this process a few times in my business and that is about reframing things and making sure that I’m doing things. From a kind of, I like to say from a kind of CEO point of view. So there’s lots of chat out there at the moment from, you know, people online who are saying have a CEO mentality.
And I’ve always been like, I don’t really know what that means. I don’t want to be a CEO. I don’t work for a big corporation. What? I don’t understand. And now it’s making a lot of sense to me. So obviously when you work running your own business, you wear a lot of hats. And that’s, it’s tricky, it’s tricky to be wearing all of those hats, but it’s also so important to kind of eject yourself from that personal, Oh, this business is me and kind of really see it from an outsider perspective and be that, you know, CEO or big boss or whatever you want to call it and be really running your business as a business.
So one thing I really learn, and I think. I would say to myself at the beginning of this business would be Okay You’re actually winging it here. You’re winging it here in terms of If you get to the end of the year and you don’t know how to set out your goals for next year or they feel a bit arbitrary it’s because you don’t have a plan on how to execute them, how to actually make them happen.
So, and I’m going through this business, this process again with my business at the moment which is literally going back to basics. reframing everything and creating an actual business strategy so that I feel more confident and more, I feel more clarity around what I’m doing rather than say, getting to a Monday morning going, Oh my God, I don’t know what I’m posting on social media.
I don’t know what I’m doing in any. given day, week, month, and I don’t know how to project how much I’m gonna make next year, next month, et cetera. So, it’s kind of about seeing things from a CEO point of view, rather than, Oh, I’ve got some inquiries through, thank God for that. It’s not the winging it side of things, I actually feel like now I’m running a proper business, rather than just waiting for business to come to me, if that makes sense.
So that’s been a massive learning curve for me.
Becca: That makes total sense. And I know a lot of my wedding pros will be feeling exactly the same and therefore they need to get that CEO mindset as. Well, Katie, it’s been such a pleasure chatting with you, hearing about all your different ideas for my pros to up level their brand and their websites.
If people want to find out more about you and your business, where’s the best place for them to go?
Katy: Well, I have to say, they can go to my website, studiolagodesign. com, but I’m also over on Instagram, studiolagodesign and LinkedIn as well. I’ve got quite active on LinkedIn recently. So it’s Katie Lake over on LinkedIn.
Becca: Fabulous. And I will be sure to add all of those details to the show notes. Katie, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks for being here.
Katy: Thank you.
Becca: I love that conversation. I know so many of you need help with your websites, with your branding. So if you have been inspired to take action as we get towards the end of the year, set out your goals and intentions for next year, have a revisit of those values and take another look at your web.
site and brand and ask yourself, am I still aligned? And if you’re not, it’s time to do something about it. I’ll see you next time.