Our Honeymoon Registry is a new business that aims to offer couples a convenient way to create a visually appealing registry for their honeymoon. Owned and run by Bartek Marnane, a seasoned web professional who also owns the app development company Evonet, Our Honeymoon Registry has been in operation since February 2012.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My fiancée (now wife) and I had lived together for many years prior to getting married and had most of the household items that have traditionally been wedding presents in the past. We loved the idea of having a fabulous honeymoon and came up with the idea of having a gift registry made up of the experiences and activities that we had planned for our honeymoon.
I developed the concept as a simple online honeymoon gift registry and it was a great hit with our family and friends. Over the years I’ve created several similar registries for friends and family and used the feedback to refine the process into a self-sufficient online business, Our Honeymoon Registry.
How long have you been online?
Just launched in February 2012!
What made you choose to start-up as an online only business?
Wedding registries have traditionally been run by department stores, but with the shift towards couples living together before marriage, most of the items found in traditional wedding registries have become irrelevant. Having wedding guests contribute to a couple’s honeymoon allows a couple to enjoy a fantastic holiday, and guests know their gift will form part of the wedding memories the couple will have for the rest of their lives. Offering this service online allows a couple to have full control over the design and gifts in their registry, while also allowing the business to scale and service different geographical markets.
How much did your online presence cost to establish?
There was very little cost involved as I did most the design and development myself. The site took nine months to build and I used outside help for some elements of the design and wording. I was fortunate to be accepted into the Microsoft BizSpark program which provided most of the software that I need to develop and launch the site.
The fantastic photos of possible honeymoon activities are a great drawcard for your website. Where do you get your images from?
The images on the site itself are all purchased stock photos. In addition, when creating a registry, the site can ‘suggest an image’ for an event or activity (eg, Tour of the pyramids) which will bring back a corresponding image. These images are from public sources such as Flickr Creative Commons, which are available for commercial use.
What kinds of marketing efforts are you conducting to publicise your new business?
The biggest challenge with an online business is getting the word out to potential customers. There are many niche sites catering to wedding needs that have built up large communities of brides and grooms looking for wedding related vendors, so my online advertising is primarily to these sites. I also have a print advertisement going out in a wedding magazine specialising in honeymoons, as many engaged couples use print media for inspiration.
How much time and resources do you expect to spend promoting your website online?
Online promotion is very important and will be the bulk of my marketing time and energy, as links from the right sites can increase search engine ranking, and improve a site’s ability to show up on the first page of relevant keyword searches. In addition, Google provides several free tools to manage an online presence, such as Google Analytics and Google webmaster tools which provide a wealth of data to assist in online promotion. I expect to spend at least 12-16 hours per week promoting the site online.
How much time and resources do you expect to spend promoting your website offline?
Offline advertising is not as effective for this type of business as it’s difficult to target as accurately – a properly targeted online advertisement has a higher change of having a prospective customer visiting the site and taking immediate action. Offline marketing on the other hand, requires the customer to take the step to an online environment and then specifically type in the site name to visit it. Having said that though, it’s certainly not being neglected as wedding magazines are a great source of inspiration to many engaged couples.
Finally, one of the advantages of an online registry is that each wedding couple spreads the word to their guests, so word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool that requires little management from my side.
What’s been the most difficult thing about starting a new business online? The easiest? Do you have any advice for newcomers thanks to your experiences?
The most difficult part of starting a business online is getting the word out! There are a staggering number of sites out there, and having yours show up anywhere in the search results is a challenge. My advice is don’t neglect traditional marketing, focus on having great, relevant content, and make sure your site has a clear message and call to action. On the flip side though, one of the easiest parts of setting up an online business is the fact that with a little work you *can* stand out and be on an equal footing with competitors many times your size.