Why isn’t anyone going to your wedsite? Here’s a tip from an advertising pro

Guest post by UltraJonda

This is the Cocktail Hour invitation design by Minted, which we added a big ol' CALL TO ACTION to)
This is the Cocktail Hour invitation design by Minted, which we added a big ol' CALL TO ACTION to the bottom of.

I just sent out the Save the Dates and I've been watching my wedding website like a hawk for early RSVPs, Guest Book entries, song suggestions… all the good stuff.

I got a couple RSVPs and Guest Book entries from the gals I work closely with in the office since they heard me bitching about the lack of interest in the site, but that was it.

No one was going to the site! How could this have happened? I put it in a large font right there at the top of the Save the Date. It was clear, right?

While we examine what happened here, allow me to point out that I work as a Project Coordinator at an interactive ad agency. I'm looking at web banners, mailers, websites and ads ALL day long. I know what it takes to get your point across. Or at least I do most of the time.

Our CEO comes in my office to tell me how cute the Save the Date card is and I ask if she's hit the site yet. She hasn't. She picks up her card and says, “Well, it looks like you've learned an important marketing lesson, haven't you?” I sit there confused for a minute and it hits me — there's no “call to action.” Nothing that says “go here for more information,” just a website. Shit.

Definition of Call To Action: “The ‘call to action' is one of the most important concepts in marketing and promotion. Simply put, after you've established that you have something of value to offer and that you're the perfect choice to deliver it, you want to ask your prospect to take the next step. You deliver a call to action.”

So no one is going to the damn website. I mean, people are going. But not a lot. UGH. I've resorted to just TELLING people to go, which totally defeats the purpose of sending out the damn thing to begin with. Yargh!

Anyway, fellow offbeat brides, this is a chance for you to learn from my mistake. If you're putting your website on your Save the Date or your invitations, for the love of god, include a call to action!

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Comments on Why isn’t anyone going to your wedsite? Here’s a tip from an advertising pro

    • I work in advertising, and a good call to action includes both the request of what action should be taken and a REASON. So, not just “please visit our wedsite” (why? why should I? what’s in it for me?) but “please visit our wedsite to …” (even just something like: “… to find out more details”).
      I know this implies that people are selfish or busy and won’t just visit your wedsite because they are dying to read more about your wedding, but if driving traffic to your wedsite is important to you, then unfortunately a call to action also needs a strong reason as to what extra is in it for them (don’t expect them to just intuitively know what’s in it for them if they go to the URL).
      you could use messages such as:
      “for full details please visit [URL]”
      “to find out the codeword for your complimentary drink please visit [URL]”
      “Please visit our wedsite. You will find there: full details, the story of how we met, posts about our wedding planning, photos, gift registry, ways you can involved etc”

    • I sooooo wish I had read this post before I sent out my STD’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t put out a “call to action”, AND I had our website printed EXACTLY where the post office cancels the card. Big bummer. Pay attention to WHERE the website is printed on the card folks!

  1. Some of my friends set up a YahooGroup for their destination wedding–the ability to chat in threads and collaborate with other guests about hotels, etc. has really gotten folks involved.

    If you can include a bulletin board or mass emails or something on your site, it might get more attention than a site you go to, look at, and leave.

    • This inspired me to look around for something similar– separate threads for my bridesmaids to organize things would be super useful. Has anyone used/heard of GuestBoard.co? Looks like it maybe hasn’t been released yet? Seems like the same kind of deal with bulletin boards, etc.

  2. Ugh, well that might be why no one is going to my website. I made that exact same mistake on my STD. I wish this had been posted earlier! πŸ™‚
    At least I’m forcing people to RSVP there…

  3. What perfect timing! I just finished a mock-up of my invites, and I think all I have is the URL. Fixing in the final draft!

    On a side note, one of my friends posted her URL on Facebook. Tons of people are flocking to her site, but I’m not sure I want nonguests to have the date, time, directions that I’m putting up there for guests. Seems like asking for wedding crashers. Thoughts from anyone on this?!

    • I was thinking the same thing when I got a rather unfriendly post left in my guestbook after my mom posted the link on her Facebook.

      The best thing I’ve come up with is to take down the date and time and just put that info in the Save the Dates. If people don’t know when you’re going to be somewhere, they’ll probably be less likely to bother trying to get the info to crash.

      • Someone left you a mean note?! Takes a special sort of sourness to do such a thing on a wedding Web site πŸ™

        • Oh yeah. I don’t think it’s a big deal. Some people just don’t have anything better to do [I personally think it was a troll]. But as long as you’re safe and follow internet safety [and don’t let anything like a troll bother you], you shouldn’t have a problem promoting your sight through Facebook. If you don’t think a password protected sight would be too much of a hassle for older family members and whatnot, you could consider doing that. πŸ™‚

    • I would love to see someone write an article about facebook friends vs. the “invited” friends and where to draw the line about what to post and what not to post. It’s complicated for sure!

      • I’m having a small wedding and I’m afraid to share anything to FB as I don’t want to upset the people that aren’t invited, but at the same time I want to share my news.

    • I think facebook’s status updates now have the option to create groups of your friends and only show certain things to certain groups. So you could make an “invited to the wedding” group and have the update private to them.

      • I didn’t know I could do that, thanks!
        But what if a mutual friend comments on it, will they see the friends comment and find out that way or will they be blocked?

    • I have my wedsite password protected, so while I’m able to tell all my fb friends that we have a wedsite, only the invited ones can actually view it… that might help.

    • On Facebook you can create a “group” and select the people you want to be a part of it. Only select the people you invited to the wedding. Then you go to the group page to do updates or to give information and only the people in that group will see your updates. It’s the easiest way I’ve found on FB. I have a group like that for mine.

    • I put a password on my site and it will be on my save the dates.

      I don’t even talk about my wedding on FB unless someone asks. We are having a small wedding and I don’t need to advertise every decision I make. πŸ™‚

    • There’s an option on some of the wedsites where guests can only enter if you give them a password. If you decide to put it up on facebook, make sure only the people you want to see it have that code

  4. You could always send a message out on FB to only those you invited to the wedding & include the link in the message. Then they’ll see it in their FB inbox and might actually click on it!

    I’m going to send email save the dates – so the link will be clickable – I’m hoping that will help attract more people!

    • yea like an “event” on facebook inviting you to check out the wedsite. Privacy!

  5. Ouch. I just sent out the first batch of wedding invites yesterday, and hand delivered one to a friend. I didn’t add the call to action. D: I’m getting ready to field questions about ‘where in the world is this thing’ already.

  6. This could partially be a Utah thing as well. I live in Southern Utah and so many people get engaged and married so fast that RSVPs and STDs are practically unheard of. Usually a person gets a “Wedding Announcement” about 3 weeks before the wedding and everyone shows up for cake and punch. Formal, sit-down affairs with good food and entertainment aren’t typically the norm down here, unless the family is wealthy. Just a thought.

    • I know I’m a few months behind on this. lol. I’m looking up Save the Date for my little brother.
      Yes. I find that my still-Mormon friends, and now my Mormon brother, get engaged and married on a very short timeline.
      And I’ve noticed that, yes indeed, lots of people do not RSVP to the reception. I have never been to a Mormon wedding reception where there was dinner that wasn’t buffet style, or something similar.

  7. Another great idea to build on this is to have a site tracker so you can see visits…You can use Google Analytics (it’s free!) or for a simpler version, Statcounter.com.

    I’ve had no real “action” on my site (I’ve only had one person actually fill out a form!), but 85 people have visited since I sent out the save the dates! I can even guess which guests based on their location. πŸ™‚

    Also @ Chris…not much you can do when you’re posting to Facebook (like your friend!), but another idea to get rid of potential wedding crashers is to keep your site out of search engines with a robots.txt disallow feature. (http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html)

  8. OK, well, I’ll just be honest with the brides here.

    Probably no one is going, because the person that is most interested in, and excited about your wedding, is you. πŸ™‚ Sorry. For the rest of us, it’s just “another wedding”. Maybe your MOH, or your mom is super excited, but that’s going to be about it.

    The second reason is, that a STD is not a “clickable link”. Lazy I know. If I have to take your card and type in your 47 digit URL, it’s not likely it will happen.

    If you want to post it via FB, then I’d suggest setting up a temporary group for just your wedding guests and send that link to only that group. Request that people not forward it to not offend non-guests. That might increase your hits.

    And to be kinda blunt, is it really a big deal if people don’t go to your wed site? Weddings have been going on for hundreds of years, without the internet. It’s really not *required*.

    • I like the group idea better than the message idea I think. I wanted a place where a clickable link would be always available, rather than a message (which I think get buried easily).
      Not really worried about the amount of traffic, per se. There’s just some odd information that I want to be sure people have access to (not really apropos to put on the invitation).

      • To second the above, I check out wedsites when I get around to RSVPing if that’s done through the site, or the day before the wedding so I can get directions (and maybe find out the registries to pick up a last minute gift if such is expected). Otherwise, there is no reason for me to really go through them, so I don’t.

        Unless you provide a clickable link, don’t expect a lot of traffic until people *need* the information in question.

    • I also tried to solve this problem by having a my friend, a web designer, do a rad-tastic website. Not a Wed-Site, cookie cutter (to each their own) site with the same link choices as all the others. Ours is our names, not wedsite.com/123429572021011058

      AND it’s in lieu of paper invitations so YOU HAVE to go there to get the information. even my Grandma has a facebook account, i just wanted to avoid 170 people calling to tell me they were or were not coming and know where to say for the destination wedding…

      as i wrote below, people are just lazy or “too busy” to do the “legwork” sometimes. that is a part of planning a wedding I’m certainly over.

      I”m not trying to make 2011 all about me, but if you aren’t using the tools i’ve given you to make this a low impact, SUPER easy event to either RSVP “no” to or to figure out how to book your own awesome caribbean vacation, then it turns into an “all about me” fest, which i was trying to avoid…

  9. Regarding the FB event/link idea, there are a couple of options: You could create an Evite, which will go only to the people you email about it and isn’t linked to FB at all; you could create an FB event and make it “private,” so it doesn’t show up in newsfeeds et al. and can only be seen by invited guests; or you could go the yahoo/google groups route.

  10. Suggestion: As part of your “call to action” provide some extra incentive. We have a lot of extra info for our wedding. (Stuff like ‘we be outside, don’t wear spike heels, dummy’) SO we’re going to OMIT one crucial piece of info from the invitation. (either the time or the location) and tell them that to find it out, they have to visit the site.
    Don’t forget to add a phone number for the more elderly/less tech-savvy guests.

    • That would annoy me, personally. Give me all the information in the mail or on the website, not where I have to go to both to scavenger for info.

    • I like that omitting info idea. If I was wanting to do mail RSVP’s I would be less likely to, but since I want to have an easy to manage list of those attending online it does make sense to make them go to the site, or not come. I mean, if they can’t be bothered to go to a website for us I shouldn’t have invited them.

  11. The purpose of the STD isn’t to get people involved in your wedding–that’s the job of the invite. People aren’t going to be terrifically excited about your wedding until it feels real and imminent. And a wedding invitation can make that happen. But an STD is just out there to let people know that a wedding date exists. If anyone considers your wedsite, they probably assume it has a big “Under Construction” note for every detail. And, honestly, that’s probably the truth.

    If you really want people to be involved in your wedding website MAKE AN INCENTIVE. Hold a contest, invite people to upload pictures of the couple for a slideshow, promise a treat for people who RSVP before a certain date, hold polls for guests to vote on what to carry as your bouquet… you’ve got to promote!

  12. I did a call to action and people still called me to ask where to stay etc.
    People are just lazy!

    -Even if you tell them “for all travel, lodging information go to xxx.com” etc. AND omit all information like time, location etc.
    -They will still NOT RSVP (an age old problem) and they will call you asking you for information you’ve beautifully and neatly provided, with maps and links on an independently designed website….

    I love my friends but they are tech savvy and still couldn’t do it… πŸ™‚

  13. Would a call to action be:
    “For more information please visit SITE NAME!”

    Or would a more effective call to action be:
    “For menus, a quick way to contact us and to request reception songs please visit SITE NAME!”

    Is this a case where more is better?

    • The latter makes it sound like that’s ALL that’s on the site (which may or may not be true). If you aren’t RSVPing through the site (which I imagine is enough to get anyone willing to go at all to go ahead and go since it’s “required”) then I would go with something like

      “For more information (including menus and contact info) please visit …”

      Definitely highlight the most compelling reasons to go to you’re wedsite. These are usually 1)RSVP 2)find out registry info and 3) accommodations, though as a vegetarian, I do wish more thought to include menus so I’d know whether or not to eat in advance, so I think that’s a GREAT one.

      • I didn’t even think to include menus and I have quite a few vegetarians I am trying to accomodate for. What a great idea and a way to let them know that I am thinking of them–thank you! πŸ™‚

  14. I emailed my wed-site address out to everyone who is coming, as 99 % of them have internet access. I’ve gotten 142 hits so far, and we are inviting 120 people. I am also going to mention it on the wedding invitation and include a call to action like you suggested.

  15. I think the incentive idea is a good one. If you want people to go to your wedsite and get exciting about your pics, you should mention there are pictures there. If it were me getting the STD with the URL on it, I would think “oh here’s a bunch of wedding specific info I don’t need to look at til the day before.”

  16. OH NO! Just yesterday I sent out our invites. At the bottom I said: RSVP at websitename. Now Im thinking people wont RSVP. dang yo they better! or else I might #@($*@#($*@#)($*#)

  17. Argh! I’m going through the same thing right now, I wish I knew what I know now 2 weeks ago. Oh well, lesson learned!

  18. People didn’t go to our site until it was time to RSVP, which is fine with me. They don’t need to go 8 months before the wedding, forget the information, and show up misinformed. πŸ™‚

  19. We had a call to action, but people were still slow to visit it. Eventually people started asking for the link, so I just emailed it to them.

  20. Great idea about creating a private group on FB! I just did that and directed all my guests to our wedsite with a link. Already over 40 hits in half an hour (previously we had 2). People are lazy/procrastinate…at least my guests are. You just have to make it as easy as possible I guess.

  21. I did this on our reply cards, on Facebook and everywhere else, and still had to beg people to RSVP, they were even asking me to do it for them! Our registries and all wedding information is on our site, thus the reason they need to visit it!! Grrr!!! Really sucks after you have spent hours doing it and making it special…I am getting married in 10 days and it can’t be soon enough!!

  22. I don’t have a wedsite yet, but I do have an idea on how to get people to go there. As has been mentioned before the people most excited about your wedding are the people getting wed (I hope they are anyway). But I once did a special ceremony and bought a special dress for that and I now have zero pictures of myself on that day. So I think that guests would like somewhere to go to and leisurely look at the pictures afterwards (and maybe order or save them) instead of flicking through the wedding album with the happy couple looking over their shoulder. Am I crazy in thinking this?

  23. My fiance and I are doing a STD Video and I was thinking of putting it on the wedding site, then sending the link to people via email so they have to go directly to the site in order to see the STD. Would that work or am I setting myself up for a lot of issues?

  24. I made the same mistake but my friend got her wedding invitations from For the love of stationery and she said most of their cards have a call to action.. like RSVP by xx-xx-xx and your link goes underneath. Pretty clever I say! You don’t even need a RSVP card!

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