If you own a venue that hosts weddings, you have an obligation to put yourself in the minds of potential customers. Due to the fact that getting married is an occasion that only comes around once in a person's life, many will spend an inordinate amount of time comparing and examining various wedding locations. Although couples typically consider many venues they don't actually contact that many. Naturally, there are a lot of things that you can do to guarantee that your business looks up to par; but, in order to differentiate yourself from the competition, you might need to take some further steps. In particular to not only get eyeballs on your venue but to be among those select venues who get contacted as a result. This is where marketing comes into play.
Marketing is crucial to a venue's success.
When the pricing and service offerings of competing venues are not that different, marketing becomes the differentiator in how much attention each venue commands. However, putting a coherent marketing strategy into action is not always a straightforward process. If you don't have the right knowledge or are unable to execute, this could hurt both your reputation and the number of bookings.
Why, then, should we leave it up to chance? If you want to increase the number of bookings for your venue and need a professional marketing agency to help you, look for ones that are specifically geared toward wedding venues.
How a wedding venue marketing agency can help you
Before we dive any deeper, let's examine the key areas where an agency can help and how this could benefit you:
● Social media: Most venues have no shortage of high quality photography and video in various formats. If you do, ask permission from couples and/or photographers to repurpose their media of recent events at your venue. Having good strong assets is only half the story though. Transforming them into dynamic, high performing social ads or organic content across multiple channels is not an easy task. Keeping things on brand and accurately portraying the values of your business while delivering on ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) goals is even harder. The rewards, however, are plentiful. With the right wedding venue marketing agency by your side you can unleash the true potential of your venue and bring in those couples straight from Pinterest, Instagram & TikTok.
● Web Design: Having a website is one thing. Having one that delivers an inspirational experience which converts traffic into leads while meeting technical and brand requirements is quite another. Think of your site as the front door to your venue and consider whether you are getting the most out of it. Is it fully responsive? Is it fast enough? Does it match your brand identity? Is the user experience and interface following best practice? Do you have the right marketing features such as venue booking forms and lead inquiry widgets? This is where a wedding venue marketing agency can help you create and sign off on a high-performing website with a professional finish.
● PR & reputation management: Before couples even get in touch they will have "googled" you. Your reviews will be compared to those of a large number of other local venues; hence, it is essential for you or your wedding venue marketing agency to safeguard and improve your digital reputation. From Googlemaps to Instagram, happy and not so happy couples will be leaving their reviews and according to the latest report by Bridebook, the number of reviews read by couples continues to increase rapidly. In addition to user-generated content, regularly appearing in local or regional press can help cement your position as the leading wedding venue in your area. In some cases it can also position you as an elite destination and allow you to charge higher rates.
● SEM & SEO: Whether and how often you get found on Google is not a question of luck. In highly competitive sectors such as the UK wedding industry it can pay off to hire marketing experts to manage your paid and organic search results. While SEM may bring you instant results you may find SEO to be even more profitable in the long term although it requires both patience and competence. Many businesses choose both but from keyword research, to bidding mechanisms and technical audits it can be a little overwhelming if marketing is not your main focus.
Marketing agency or a freelancer?
If you are not handling the marketing of your wedding venue in-house, you have two options: hiring a marketing agency or using a freelancer.
Both have their advantages, depending on the goals of your wedding venue and what you are hoping to achieve as well as your budget, of course.
● Structure is already in place: In a marketing agency, there is a "project manager" who is in charge of everyone and who will be your primary point of contact. Their responsibility will be to delegate the work, monitor the progress of the project, and provide you with updates at regular intervals with their findings. In addition, your PM will be in charge of communicating your requirements and representing your needs to the members of the team. They will be responsible for ensuring that the deadlines and instructions are adhered to. In other words, you won't need to coach or hold any hands.
● Consistency: When you work with an agency, all of the experts will confer with one another in order to come to a consensus on the optimal plan for your company. The various profiles get together on a regular basis to talk about the development of your marketing plan and it is therefore easier for them to manage an omnichannel strategy. Not only that, picking a specialised marketing venue agency means they have staff that have worked with many similar venues in the past and know how to execute a joined up strategy for a wedding venue.
● Smooth processes: An agency is usually better able to manage any absences or personnel gaps not only due to the resources it possesses in the form of employees but also because of the way it conducts its business. Agencies work in a standardised way across clients. Even if the person in charge of the project is replaced, the new team member will still be able to pick things up seamlessly.
● Lower costs: When searching for a dependable digital marketing agency, you probably have the idea of building a long-term connection at the forefront of your mind. Doing so will not only dent your budget but may lock you into a long term contract you live to regret. Freelancers on the other and are often willing to negotiate rates with you and are rarely insistent on minimum contract duration or early termination penalties. This means you don't have to keep working with them if you no longer need their services or if you realise that your goals are different from theirs. It also means, pound for pound, they are generally cheaper than agencies.
● Loyalty: You loved your agency project manager but she's gone! You were getting charged a high rate but she found a better salary elsewhere. Marketing agencies are renowned for high employee churn and this kind of scenario is all too common and can lead to disappointment. Even when your team stays in place you are never quite sure how dedicated they are to your account versus the many others they manage in parallel. Fortunately, freelancers operate in a completely different way. Unlike agencies, they rarely work for more than a handful of clients and are often dedicated to only one or two. This means they value you as a client, depend on you for income and are unlikely to leave you stranded from one day to the next.
● Flexibility: In most cases, a freelancer will not work for many venues at the same time, which means that they will be able to give more of their attention to you as a client. They may even be willing to come in to your venue and work a day or two a week by your side. This means you can build a close working relationship and use them as an extension of your team. Although you are not getting as large a pool of expertise and their knowledge might be more weighted towards one marketing area, you will get a more flexible service than you would with an agency.
As you can see, there are benefits to both choosing a freelancer and a venue marketing agency. Which one you go for depends on your budget, the needs of your business, and the degree to which you want to be involved with your marketing strategy. Other considerations might include the use of software. If you use wedding venue management software or other specific tools you might want to choose an agency or freelancer that is already familiar with those. If you have multiple venues in different parts of the country you might even want to hire an agency and a couple of freelancer too!