Lisa Ellen Downs had the fashion expertise, the quaint small-town location and the willingness to go the extra mile to help clients plan for their special events. What she didn’t have for her Wabash, Indiana, bridal and formalwear salon was the big-city panache to attract clients from outside the immediate area. That is until Deluxe stepped in with a comprehensive rebranding program featuring a more compelling website design, elegant new signage, eye-catching new print marketing collateral and effective new email and social media marketing campaigns.
Attracting big-brand attention
Increasing sales was critical to the survival of Downs’ shop, especially given the industry’s low-volume, high-ticket nature. For that reason, the Deluxe team set out to elevate her brand to better compete with big city boutiques and attract more out-of-town brides.
“My biggest challenge was getting people to understand they can come to Wabash for their special dress,” she explains.
After consulting with Downs, the team determined how to best position the store as a uniquely personalized shopping experience packaged with the charm of a small town.
Designing a simple, elegant logo
It started with a fresh new logo design. The process involved choosing a color palette, better separating images from text, switching to a more legible font, creating multiple social media profile icons and ensuring the design was reproducible across mediums. The new logo was then applied to business cards, store signage, social media pages and the company website. Retail packaging was updated to a sophisticated black-and-white design, and a style guide was created to maintain consistency in all logo usage.
Creating an informative, inviting website
Taking into account the questions every small business owner should ask about their website, the Deluxe team renovated the bridal shop’s website. Deluxe drew more attention to her personal expertise and consultation style, added online reviews to lend credibility and reformatted information to appeal to different customer segments.
Guiding website visitors to action
Another improvement included installing clickable call-to-action buttons on every page of the website, making it easier for visitors to schedule an appointment. These user-friendly buttons led to five new bookings, just eight days after they were added.
Staying connected with email
Downs’ new email strategy involved establishing a bigger customer address list before initiating a promotion that immediately gleaned 35 percent open rates and 11 percent click-through rates. To keep customer relationships strong, the shop will email subscribers at least twice a month regarding specials, events and fashion news.
Reaching more customers with social media
Downs’ social media strategy was refocused, partly to appeal to the millennial brides who have sought dress inspiration through social media. In one initial success, a $200 Facebook promotion for a bridal expo reached more than 18,000 people, drew 791 event page viewers, gleaned 50 positive RSVPs and yielded 20 dress sales.
Planning print ad promotions
Downs’ will cross promote with other local wedding-related businesses (a flower shop, nail salon, boutique hotel, bakery, etc.) in projects aimed at positioning Wabash as a bridal destination.
Revamped website translates to record sales
With a website that conveys ‘big city’ and an in-shop experience that is personal and warm, Downs’ has already started to see solid results. Compared to the prior year, Downs’ sales in the month of January nearly tripled. In the first quarter of 2017, she sold twice as many bridal dresses as she had in the first quarter of 2016. She has been featured in bridal magazines, has added a wedding planning service to her business model and feels like a more confident leader to her team. Most importantly, after four years in business, Downs finally took home her very first paycheck.
“I have a renewed commitment to being a success,” Downs now notes of her business, Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique. “I just think we’re a real store now, we are legit. We know what we’re doing, and we can give a really awesome service to these brides.”