You’ve got an exceptional venue, a team that operates like a well-oiled machine, but word of mouth is proving a slow burn. You need to take your bridal marketing strategy up a gear.
In short, it’s time to stop measuring success in singular bookings, and instead develop an understanding of how to woo the market. Because increasing the number of qualified leads and making your lead nurturing process as seamless as your wedding planning is critical to building a sustainable business.
So how DO YOU get booked for more weddings?
Who, what, where?
- Work out who you need to talk to – your ideal customer
- Nut out exactly what information it is that they need from you to shortlist your venue
- Find out where they hang out – local wedding fairs and directories or perhaps Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc – and get in there yourself.
Develop a digital media strategy for your wedding venue that provides proof points of your claims – images and videos of key features and deliriously happy couples. Map out key opportunities, like special dates or events, and prepare your content well in advance. And don’t just hold forth on your greatness … begin a conversation. Ask open-ended questions, share content with complementary businesses, provide useful information, debate trends, introduce your team and perhaps even run competitions.
You can also embark on Pay Per Click campaigns via Google Adwords, Facebook and Instagram to hone in on your ideal customer. It’s fabulously specific, but you do need to be very clear on who you want to target and where they’re hanging out. Critically you MUST measure return on investment. Measure, measure, measure!!
Most importantly of all though – wherever you find them, focus on how you can bring potential clients back to YOUR real estate, rather than a borrowed social media platform that can (and does) change the rules of engagement at any point.
As Rand Fishkin (co-founder of digital marketing gods, Moz) said on Kate Toon’s Recipe for SEO Successpodcast (highly recommend, by the way)….
Optimize your website
Around 4.5 million Australian relationships begin online each year – and that isn’t including the moment a prospective couple falls in love with your wedding venue…. But before any of that happens, the internet is where you’ll go head-to-head with your competitors when it comes to visibility. Yes, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and a slick user experience are absolutely crucial. You need to find the right keywords for brides and grooms looking for their dream wedding venue. Incorporate critical details such as your location (beach, vineyard, mountains), the style of weddings your venue is perfect for (boho, black-tie, wedfest) and the core offerings that will appeal (wedding venue with accommodation, child-friendly, same-sex marriage).
Don’t stuff them all on one page, but do place them in page titles, meta descriptions and, naturally, throughout the body copy. Ensure website images are appropriately named, including those all-important keywords, and not so large that they slow down your website.
Directory listings and high-quality backlinks from relevant, credible sites are a great way to boost your authority. Build relationships with relevant websites by providing great content, and with other local vendors to develop referral pathways. It essentially means you can ride the coattails of “high domain authority” sites which give you backlinks, increase your SEO and ultimately saves you from competing with five thousand other industry folk for five bucks a click in Adwords!
If you instantly want to get your hands on a high quality backlink, we are giving away a handful of exclusive VIP offers on www.findmyperfectvenue.com.au – By joining our “high domain authority” directory, WE pool the resources and YOU save the dollars, taking advantage of OUR Google adwords, social media and SEO strategy. Interested? Click here to register.
Importantly, if weddings are just one element of your business – for example if your venue is a country club or if you host corporate events – it’s really important to have a specific page on your website dedicated to the targeted services and experience you provide.
Beyond the nuts and bolts of SEO, you need make sure your digital presence does your venue justice. A user-friendly, mobile-responsive website is critical. But, more than that, it has to create an emotional connection through glorious images, evocative copy and calls to action that demand an answer. Keep your images fresh, high-quality and in-synch with your brand and ensure you spell out what sets your venue, and the service you provide, apart from your competitors. Whether or not you decide to indicate your prices, you need to give prospects a reason to get in touch, so that they can discover first-hand why you’re their perfect match. Dangle the suggestion of a special offer, a useful resource or a treat for venue hunters to ensure they hand over their contact details. Then it’s time to romance them….
Nurturing those warm leads
The reality is that, as customers, we go through a complex journey of multiple touchpoints before we make our decisions. Your challenge is to listen and respond to a prospect’s needs so that your relationship moves beyond a quick website visit, perhaps into a Facebook follow, joining a mailing list or sending off an enquiry. Create content that engages, informs and inspires – give abundantly before you ask for anything.
The critical part of this process is how you listen to and respond to the prospect’s needs. Tap into their pain points, appeal to what makes them tick and make choosing your venue easy. Above all, do it strategically – avoid death by email and the hard sell…. the whiff of desperation is not a good wedding scent…. If they haven’t taken your bait straight away and handed over their contact details or followed your page, a great way to keep genuine prospects warm is through retargeting (or remarketing). That basically means using banner ads to follow website visitors or leads around the internet. If they didn’t get in touch the first time, you can keep reminding them of just why your venue is in a league of its own with this highly precise form of advertising. It’s not just a great way of building brand awareness, but it takes a lot of the crossed-fingers out of your advertising spend, because you *know* that the people you’re reaching out to already cared enough to have a look at what you’ve got to offer.
Working in tandem with the likes of a slick CRM, content marketing and targeted advertising, retargeting can prove an important weapon in cupid’s venue matchmaking armoury.
Word of mouth is digital
Like everything else, good old word-of-mouth marketing has made the leap online. From telling our friends and work colleagues, neighbours and great-aunts about our experiences, we can now share them with anyone who cares to read. Facebook reviews, follower comments and review platforms can make or break a business…. “A business’s customer reviews as a ranking signal have increased in importance by 17 percent year over year and by 43 percent over the past three years”. 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors, Moz.
Invest your energies into ensuring a great experience at every touchpoint – position yourself as a trusted advisor and ally in the wedding wilderness, and then make sure they have a fabulous day.
A day to be remembered – and reviews to be shared – for all the right reasons.