In the wedding business, online marketing is crucial. Many younger people are now getting married, and with millennials representing a sizeable chunk of potential clients—millennials are poised to take over from baby boomers as the largest U.S. adult generation sometime in 2019—wedding vendors must find ways to appeal to the generation that came of age alongside smartphones and social media.
Marketing strategies for wedding venues
If wedding venues neglect the internet and social media platforms, they will miss out on many potential clients altogether. With that said, though, venues must balance their strategies and also use traditional media for the best results.
1. Invest in a website and SEO
It's essential for a website to rank high in Google search rankings so that it's easy to find. Using keywords to optimize your website for SEO is an effective practice to enhance page rankings and boost click-throughs.
A well-designed website should also be user-friendly, breaking up blocks of skimmable content with compelling images. Aim to create a website that lays out useful information intuitively, with pages tailored to specific content, such as a photo gallery or a price list for different add-ons and vendors. Including a blog that posts regular, substantial content is a bonus both for SEO and for providing helpful information for clients.
2. Make your website interactive
Investing in your website is a smart start, but creating ways for potential clients to become invested in your website — and in your venue — goes one step further. Consider including a way to sign up for email notifications, or a page where users can make a profile to receive information or register to receive discounts.
3. Use online advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, through which a company places ads on other websites and then pays a small fee to those websites for each user who clicks on an ad, is an affordable way to get your venue in front of thousands of eyes that might not otherwise have sought it out.
Rely on Facebook ads as well. They are affordable and easy to create, so you can target users with them— and for a small fee, you can promote them in newsfeeds for enhanced visibility. You can also analyze the data you receive from the site to determine which users see the ads and click through to your site.
4. Create content for social media
This step is critical in reaching out to younger couples as potential clients. Research shows 88% of Americans aged 18 to 29 use some form of social media, with the median American using three major social media platforms and a majority of Facebook and Instagram users visiting those sites daily. These facts mean Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are crucial platforms on which to establish a presence.
5. Have an interactive online presence
It's not enough to have a static online presence across social media platforms — you need to engage in conversations online, too. Re-share photos on Instagram, and respond to comments on Facebook. Hold photo contests that result in small prizes for the winners and expanded brand awareness for you.
Responding to potential clients quickly and professionally online lets others know they can trust you to be straightforward and responsive. These conversations also help you gather vital information about what engaged couples are looking for. You can then use those details to inform your ongoing marketing strategies.
6. Keep up with former clients
Keeping in touch with former clients on social media is a helpful strategy for garnering recommendations and helping spread the word about your unbeatable venue. Clients who see reminders about your venue on social media will be more likely to leave a review or testimonial online about their fantastic wedding experience.
You can also share or retweet the wedding photos past clients post — some couples will tag you or offer words of thanks and praise, which are also beneficial for your brand. User-generated content like personal photos from previous clients is invaluable. It gives potential clients the security of knowing others thought highly of the services your wedding venue team offers.
7. Give virtual tours
Most couples make in-person visits to a short list of potential wedding spaces, but how can you entice them to put your venue on that short list in the first place? One way is to use video technology to let couples to take a virtual tour of your site. The availability of a virtual tour showcases your dedication to going the extra mile for clients, and it's also a natural way to showcase your space and bring to life all the features it has to offer. This small item in the budget will reap considerable rewards in client interest.
8. Send email blasts
For all this talk of social media and virtual technology, don't forget about tried-and-true techniques like email campaigns. Email blasts are cheap and easy to generate, they don't annoy people the way telemarketing calls can—and you can craft a specific, targeted list of recipients to increase the effectiveness of your campaign. Make it easy for interested couples to sign up for email notifications on your website, send out special offers to entice them as clients and you'll be off to an excellent start.
9. Invest in professionally designed brochures
Don't forget old-fashioned, glossy paper brochures provide a visual impact that resonates with many brides' wedding hopes and desires. For a lot of brides-to-be, light and beauty are paramount to the perfect wedding, and the uplit photographs of a glossy brochure will showcase those qualities with style and polish.
10. Step into your clients' shoes
It's beneficial to know how a bride and groom approach the process of planning one of the most important days of their lives. To this end, invest a little time in online research. Sites like The Knot and WeddingWire can provide valuable insight — the articles and blog posts disseminated there about visiting and choosing a wedding venue will help you better understand what couples want and need, from packages to privacy to an on-site wedding planner. Incorporate your finds into your marketing strategy by addressing these features directly in your website and materials.
Tips for marketing pre-construction wedding venues
Using your social and traditional media to showcase your wedding venue is terrific, but what if you don't have a constructed space yet? If that's the case, it's even more critical to get your concept in front of an audience.
Many venues won't engage in serious marketing until they are almost ready for business, so if you can jump in months ahead by using the resources that make pre-construction marketing possible, you'll surge ahead in the game. Don't think all you can offer interested couples is a set of dull, hard-to-visualize 2D floor plans — new technology has blessed the marketing industry with revolutionary new tools to bring ideas to visual life.
1. Provide 3D architectural renderings
The tool of 3D architectural renderings is invaluable for making your plans and specifications into something that couples can visualize as a real space. 3D architectural renderings give life to your planned venue by using sophisticated computer technology to create a holistic interpretation of its final appearance. Couples can visualize the look and feel of their wedding in a more realistic way than a blueprint or artist's drawing would allow. Giving potential clients as close to a real feeling for your venue as possible provides a valuable, honest preview of what you can offer.
2. Commission a CGI virtual tour
Use computer-aided modeling to take your visuals one step further. Virtual animation, which is less expensive than real 3D architectural models, uses 3D rendering to let couples do a virtual walkthrough of your venue. Couples will gain a feel for the experience of moving through the space, both exterior and interior, even before that space exists in real life. For an added touch, you can stage a virtual wedding ceremony or reception to give couples an idea of the potential of the space and how you could personalize it for them.
3. Emphasize the highlights
Perhaps your venue will have beautifully crafted chandeliers, a vast dancing space or heavy-duty electrical circuitry and plenty of outlets for lights, microphones and amplifiers. Maybe there's a picturesque mountain view you can photograph and display on your website now. Whatever your selling points, be sure to highlight them to generate excitement among prospective clients.
4. Be straightforward
Though you may not be able to provide physical tours or real photographs, you can and should provide specifics and answer questions to the best of your ability. Specifics about capacity and layout, for example, will be available ahead of time. Work to be sure the details of pricing and package deals, if applicable, are available as well. Younger generations, especially, are accustomed to shopping and having answers provided for them online. If they cannot do so with your venue, they will likely seek out greater transparency elsewhere.
5. Create advanced buzz
Capitalize on the human desire for novelty by emphasizing that your venue is the newest, brightest, shiniest thing on the block. People who choose your venue for their weddings will create an experience their guests have never had before, and the thrill of that novelty creates a powerful draw. You can also create a sense of urgency by emphasizing the certainty that specific dates and seasons will fill up fast and that couples should book now to be sure they secure their first choice for the perfect wedding.
How to create a marketing plan for a wedding venue
Creating a marketing plan for your wedding venue is imperative for sparking interest and ensuring a high rate of conversion for couples who use your website and online profiles. Fortunately, it's easy to develop a high-quality plan by meeting a few goals.
1. Target demographics wisely
Though people get married at all stages of life, practically speaking, targeting specific demographics will result in more interest and conversions than others. Cast a wide net with your advertisements and campaign, but do your research as well, and tailor your marketing to the clients who are most likely to respond.
2. Sell an experience
For weddings, the details are key. It's not necessary to offer package deals, but if you do, capitalize on the enhanced experience these packages will deliver to the happy couple and their wedding guests. Research has shown 74% of millennials, for example, prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things, so emphasize the best of what you have to offer.
3. Stand out
Above all, define the genuine selling points of your venue. How is your space unique, and how can your marketing goals reflect that? Consider how you can develop a unique angle of approach. For example, using social media to market to millennials is a great start — but many other wedding venues will be doing just that. It can be smart to scope out your competitors by analyzing their website and social media presence and using those to discover what niches you can carve out within the industry.
4. Use multiple platforms
If you plan to reach a broad target audience, naturally, it's wise to use many platforms. A wedding venue website is invaluable for showcasing everything your space provides. An accompanying blog containing quality, informative content is even better. Various forms of social media allow you to target different user groups and spread your message widely, and PPC advertising can help you reach those who wouldn't necessarily find you. Don't forget about different forms of traditional media, too, like business cards, email lists and attractive brochures.
5. Work with a professional design team
Hiring a professional design team incurs an upfront cost, it's true, but the benefits will accrue as the team's work streamlines your marketing, working with your wedding venue's team to optimize your finished products. In turn, this will lead to a polished image and enormous appeal to potential wedding clients. A professional design team has in-depth knowledge and powerful tools at its disposal to give your venue's marketing tactics an additional results-oriented boost.