The Key to a Successful Wedding Venue Sales Funnel
What every wedding venue business wants is that yes, that final signature of confirmation that you are the chosen venue to host the wedding and whilst we can agree some sales are much easier than others, couples don’t just randomly wake up one morning and state ‘there we go, that’s my wedding venue’.
When you consider the large financial investment couples make on their venue, it makes sense that they take time to gather inspiration, research, discuss and deliberate before pronouncing ‘Yes’ to their wedding venue.
How to Create a Sales Funnel for Your Wedding Business
Converting couples into this final booking stage is an art in itself which is why you need a streamlined approach in place. We take a look at the key purchasing stages and process’ of a sales funnel, why your wedding venue needs one and how you can prevent couples from not filtering down into a booking.
Firstly, what is a sales funnel & why does my wedding venue need one?
A wedding venue sales funnel is the potential journey couples will go through from discovering your venue right through to confirming a booking within your wedding business.
We call it a ‘funnel’ as the size of potential couples filter down into a much smaller number which actually proceed to book and essentially make a purchase.
Not every couple who comes across your wedding offerings or enquires with yourself will go on to book and this is completely normal however by understanding your couples typical sales journey you can begin to streamline your entire sales process, allowing you to focus, evaluate and maximise potential sales.
What are the stages of a Sales Funnel?
We have outlined four main key stages to your sales funnel:
At the widest point and the top of the funnel is awareness, which filters down to the final stages of action, where a booking is made.
The funnels stages are important, they are a part of your sales process. Couples cannot commit to having their wedding at your venue if they are not aware of you, similarly if they have no desire after an initial enquiry is made no booking will be made.
All stages have to be reviewed to reduce the amount of couples not making it all of the way down into the action stage. Let’s break these down and take a detailed look at each step.
At the very top of your funnel couples enter the awareness phase. You could own the most elite wedding space in the world but if no one in the world is aware of you, getting a booking would prove troublesome.
When distinguishing what actually falls into your awareness stage think of any way that couples could potentially come across your venue. The obvious being Google and search engines but there’s also the power of wedding publications, social media, wedding platforms, wedding fairs and even word of mouth.
Here are a few ways to build awareness:
- Social media posts and promotions
- Wedding article features
- Google ranking
- Wedding venue finder platforms (Like this one! – Wedinspire)
- Social Ads
Marketing is the most critical way to create essential awareness amongst couples actively looking to get married. You should be found and seen, so you will need to continuously review your marketing efforts. Here a venue marketing plan is important and key to increasing your awareness.
Ask yourself, could couples be looking on wedding platforms or directories where your venue doesn’t appear, are you easily found on Google, do you feature on multiple wedding sites in exciting blogs?
There are countless options on where you could feature your wedding venue online through blogs and platforms but keep in mind that they are targeted at different styles and demographics. You want your venue to be found by your ideal client so it is important you research the most suitable options for your wedding offerings specifically.
Being on multiple platforms and getting your venue seen on a collection of sites ensures you have multiple lead generating strategies in place and not relying on just one source. Make sure your branding, imagery and overall impression is consistent across all sources for a strong marketing approach.
This stage is where things change, couples have seen your venue, they are aware, for some your venue may not be for them, that is fine, but for others your venue has caught their eye, and they wish to go on to research you more, making contact as they have a keen interest in your venue.
Couples could choose a variety of ways to make contact, through your website, an online platform, social media or they could just pick up the phone and say hello.
At this point a couple has taken their time to enter contact details, fill in an enquiry form, ask for a brochure, availability, a quote, or any other question regarding their big day, you have got their interest and you have gained a lead.
This is where your sales experience has to come in to play and you need a strong sales team with the right attitude, knowledge and personality to take this to the next stage. In any wedding business leads are nothing without conversion and bookings can not be made without leads but you cannot push or force couples to the next stage and down the funnel, you need to help filter and lead them down.
This is the stage where couples are seriously considering hiring your venue for their special event and you begin to build a rapport, engaging with potential clients.
There are multiple routes you could take at this point and the most suitable sales path will vary depending on the individual client. Ideally you want to initially arrange a phone call to understand their requirements and to enable you to get across your USP’s and how you could specifically meet their needs and surpass them!
Arranging venue visits and tours would be ideal, don’t shy away from this early on in discussions but do make sure you understand a couples intentions – couples marrying abroad may want to skip this stage entirely as long as you can give them the reassurance they need to book without viewing beforehand.
This sales stage may sound simple and easy, basically it’s nuturing a couple along the funnel into a booking, however this is the part most venues struggle with- having strong enquiries but not being able to convert meaning nothing comes of it. With a set sales pipeline and follow up system that you can fine tune, it not only becomes easier but also more successful.
One of the keys to nurturing your potential clients along the sales pipeline is not just about asking the right questions and remembering the call to actions but to keep following up. Email inboxes fill up quickly, emails go into spam, people are busy, they may see your email, plan to reply and then life gets in the way, and sometimes couples are interested but just not at said time.
The important point here is there are many reasons why couples may not get back to you right away, that does not simply mean they do not wish to book your venue. Try spreading multiple emails over weeks and months by automation to leads that do not initially respond, you’ll be amazed when couples reach out after 6 months thanks to your email reminding them of your amazing venue.
You have your couple in the funnel, they are extremely interested, excited and seem ready to book. You’ve answered everything they ask, their wedding dreams align with what you can offer and they are essentially ready to book, this is the intent stage.
I’m sure you have heard the line “I just need to go away and discuss it with my….parents, neighbours, pet dog!” This is common and sometimes couples just need a helping hand to lead them into the final stage.
While there is intent, this is also the stage where couples are evaluating and making sure they are completely happy with everything you have on offer from costs to the minor details of how their day will unfold. Many will once again look at reviews, seeking final reassurance of their decision.
It is important you are aware of the desire stage, to acknowledge it as part of the process and to avoid becoming overpowering when added understanding and guidance is what is needed.
The final piece of the sales funnel is action, a couple have made it through the long journey down the funnel and you have a wedding booking.
This couple will have become aware of you through your marketing, become a lead when they enquired after showing an interest, your engagement through their consideration left them with the desire to book, and they took that final action, to book their wedding at your venue.
It is important to remember this is a funnel and it is smaller at the bottom than the top, at each stage you will lose couples, not all couples that are aware and enquire will book no matter how good your sales process, and this can be due to a whole range of reasons.
The timescale for one couple to go through the funnel will differ wildly to another, sometimes it can be weeks and for others it can be years, yes years! Remember you want couples to stay in the funnel no matter how long the process may take.
Don’t forget couples who book their wedding with yourself can help with your funnel – a positive review or word of mouth recommendation will help funnel new couples right at the top by creating organic awareness.
Why are my leads not converting?
Firstly, each and every wedding enquiry you receive will not result in a booking. You have to be realistic, not everyone that walks into a shop always buys something however if hundreds of people were to walk into a shop and nobody bought anything then something inevitably is wrong.
If you are receiving enquiries then couples are aware of you and showing interest, however with no conversions you need to evaluate your sales funnel to establish if there is something you are doing or not doing that is causing this.
Common mistakes venues make which result in couples leaving the sales funnel after an enquiry is made;
- Slow response times
- Poor responses without due attention, lacking personality and not including call to actions
- Inadequate wedding brochures
- Complicated pricing structures
- Little or no follow ups
Similarly if you are only getting a small amount of enquiries resulting in only a very small amount of bookings you may need to look at the top of your funnel increasing your awareness and marketing to help generate more leads.
What is your sales funnel? And how many people do you have at each stage?
Map out and review your sales funnel, starting with how couples are becoming aware of you right down to conversion and action. Your aim is to establish where couples are getting stuck or lost.
Are you being found and are couples actually aware of you, are you being found but it is not moving to interest and enquiries or are you getting lots of interest which doesn’t transform into sales and bookings, are you following up and are you arranging calls and viewings?
You can have huge awareness with the perfect marketing plan in process generating lots of enquiries however if the rest of the steps and stages in your funnel are not optimised or working, then all those leads generated are a waste of your time and marketing efforts. You need to lead couples down the funnel, you need to ensure couples feel you believe their wedding is the most important thing in the world and your experience and sales team needs to lead them into a booking.
By looking at your pipeline and funnel you can look at where the improvements need to be made to stop blockages preventing you from achieveing the ultimate goal of your sales funnel to attract, convert and book more weddings!
If you are struggling with conversion or in fact any stages of your wedding venue sales and marketing get in touch with the Wedinspire team for their dedicated advice.