Wedding Venue Marketing Plan To Increase Your Revenue
If you are looking to increase your revenue, then each year you should be reviewing your marketing and creating a plan and budget for the next 12 months. It is important to understand what has worked, what didn’t and what can be done to to increase bookings and revenue for the coming year.
We look at what you should be reviewing, thinking about and considering when making your venue marketing plan.
Wedding Venue Marketing Plan
Firstly it is imperative that you think about your goals and what you are aiming to achieve when marketing your wedding venue, this will result in a focused marketing plan. For example do you want to:
- Gain more leads
- Convert more couples
- Increase the overall package sale
- Attract specific couples (for example you may want to target same sex weddings)
- Promote a new area or venue feature (Outdoor ceremonies for example)
- Sell more midweek weddings
- Become one of the top wedding venues in the area
Once you have identified your main goal you can then consider a variety of steps and areas to promote your venue, we have outlined the most valuable below.
At the end of the year it is always good to review what you have done over the last 12 months. Think about what has worked, what hasn’t, where you could spend more time and what you could improve on.
Look at how many enquiries you have had compared to last year, where they come from and how many are turning into bookings. Do you need to increase your leads or perhaps your sales process needs reviewing to convert more.
Make sure you are monitoring and tracking all the data you can not just the amount of events you have held. Record the amount of;
- Enquiries: where they came from, how they found you and type of enquiry (Question, brochure, quote, viewing)
- Quotes or brochures
- Viewing bookings (evaluation/intent)
- Viewing attendances
- Events at your venue (purchase)
Every marketing plan is different, you need to review where you currently are and how you are performing, then look for areas to improve. This could range from a new website, an increased budget for Facebook ads or even investment in wedding venue directories.
Invest in Photography
Wedding couples invest in a wedding photographer, and so should you. Quality photos can instantly grab couples attention and sell the venue without them even reading a word.
Hiring a professional photographer is a must for achieving some stunning shots, ideally set up your venue for a wedding, hire some models and do a styled shoot to get some gorgeous photos that you can use across your venue marketing.
Think about the main selling points of your venue and really focus on these, for instance do you have a gorgeous outside ceremony area or a large vaulted ceiling to show off. Focus on your main goal and ensure your imagery will display this, for example if you are trying to appeal to same sex couples choose your models that represent well.
Styled shoots can eat away into your marketing budget therefore ensure you put a lot of thought into your imagery and communicate this effectively with your hired photographer beforehand. Obviously take into account the time of year for the shoot, you know your venue best, you know when your roses are in full bloom and everything looks its finest, work around this to get the best imagery and don’t just fit it around a random date in your calendar. This way you will obtain the best imagery to market your venue.
An easy way to obtain professional photographs is from an actual wedding at your venue. Most couples will hire a wedding photographer on their big day, work with them, introduce yourself and swap contact details. If their work exhibits your venue to its full potential ask for their permission to use images on your website. Photographers will generally view this as a compliment and as long as they are credited will happily grant their permission. Natural shots of real weddings taking place at your venue are a huge selling point and can be more effective than styled shoots.
Your venue could be found online via Google, a wedding directory or even social media but chances are couples will be navigated back to your website to find out more and hopefully make contact which is why routinely reviewing your website is crucial.
With that in mind, how does your venue website look to a bride or groom looking to find out more? Is it easy to navigate, can they quickly find information such as capacity for a ceremony or evening reception, do you have a gallery showing more photos such as indoor and outdoor ceremonies and most importantly is there an obvious call to action for them to get in touch, book a viewing or to enquire.
Without clear call to action buttons on the most relevant pages, enquiries will be limited and couples may quickly lose interest and move onto a competitor.
Do you have recent weddings displayed on your website? Recent photographs and reviews from couples that held their wedding at your venue are extremely appealing to researching couples.
Review your copy and provide information as to why you are different and how you make every wedding unique and special, this could be your amazing food, your unique sea-view terrace or your outstanding gardens.
From time to time your website may need a redesign, ensuring that it is modern, easy to use and achieves a great first impression. You want to make sure your website is mobile friendly for users viewing it on their phone, as well as reviewing the site SEO. Is your venue being found on Google, for example if you search ‘wedding venues in (location)’ are you appearing and if so how high up the page.
For an un-biased opinion, ask someone you don’t know to review your site, that way they won’t feel obliged to be too nice. Make sure you investigate correctly and ask; how easy do you find it to use, is it easy to get in touch, do you find information asked of you and importantly would they want to get in touch?
You may think it is great, but if potential clients cannot use it or don’t agree then you are not marketing your venue to its full potential.
With a great website and amazing photography you still need to be found. Promoting your wedding venue on wedding blogs and venue directories is a great way to get in-front of the right audience.
It is important to decide and know who your audience is, what their style and budget is and what sort of things they generally want from their venue. Your target audience isn’t going to be couples on a limited budget who are looking for a tipi wedding venue if you are an all inclusive wedding venue barn with your own caterers and bar for example.
When you know who your audience is, you can then create a strategy around this by targeting the types of blogs, magazines and directories which appeal to them and match your brand and style.
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing, couples shouting about how amazing your venue was for them is perfect for your wedding venue reputation. It is crucial you follow up with your couples to ensure you receive such reviews and testimonials.
Reviews can be left on your Facebook page, many wedding venue directory sites as well as being shown on your own website.
A great review from 2 years ago is good, but a review from a wedding just a month a go at your venue is much better and more useful as an assurance to engaged couples looking at booking your venue.
Social media should not be overlooked and it is important to review this as part of your marketing plan, are you using this the best you can? Do you have an account and page on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? Are you using them? Are you posting content to these on a consistent basis?
Using them is free and a great way to reach new couples, something as simple as a quick photo of a wedding set up at your venue will provide you with some content to share on Facebook and Instagram.
Sharing posts by wedding photographers that have uploaded images of a wedding at your venue is another good way to share content with your audience as well as promoting your venue.
Read our guide on ‘How to Use Social Media to Market your Wedding Venue’ here, it includes information on how to get the best from social media and how to use each of the platforms.
Fairs and Open Days
A wedding fair or open day is the perfect way to showcase your venue. Not only does this advertise your venue to couples looking to book but it’s also a great way for couples who have booked your venue to meet and hire suppliers.
Make sure your venue is ready to showcase in all its glory, set up for a wedding with all areas accessible to them. Allow a mixture of exciting suppliers to be present as this will allow couples to visualise their wedding day but it also entices couples to your open day. Remember to do some research on suppliers prior to booking them, poor quality suppliers could result in disappointed couples and try to arrange a healthy mixture such as dress makers, invitation designers and jewellers.
Don’t overlook couples who have booked your venue at your wedding fair or open day as this a great opportunity to upsell, such as décor, furniture, extra food or other items you have to offer they may not have thought about.
With an open day set up and organised, use your social media accounts to share this, add it to your profiles on wedding directories and maximise the channels you have available.
When developing your marketing plan it is crucial to review what has worked and what hasn’t over the last 12 months, review bookings, enquiries, your conversion rate and where your bookings are coming from. With this data it makes it easier to develop a plan and also a basis to improve things, you can easily have a plan to gain more enquiries, but perhaps your conversation rate could be improved by making changes there. If you are looking to increase your enquiries then look at where they are coming from at the moment and where are missed opportunities. Could your website be ranking higher on google, or perhaps you are missing out on bookings to competitors who are listed on certain directories.
Every plan is different for every venue, but the first step is always the same, review where you are and decide where you want to be and what your aims and goals are, you can then decide on your marketing plan from there.