3 Steps to Developing a Successful Wedding Marketing Plan
When it comes to developing a successful marketing plan for your wedding business, there are lots of ways to approach this, but we like to break it down into three core components. Asset creation, awareness and lead generation, in that order. All too often we see wedding venues and hotels eager to drive leads for their weddings, without due consideration of the assets like wedding brochures, websites and imagery. This three-step plan will help you to prioritise where resources and budget is needed to make the year ahead a successful one.
Step 1 – Asset Creation
The term asset in this case is used to describe digital and physical marketing collateral that your couples can read, browse and watch to give them a sense of what your venue can offer them. These assets influence not only what you can offer your couples, but also the perception your brides and grooms make about the quality, price, size and a multitude of other factors about your business.
Whilst a complete website design might not be within budget, nor necessary, subtle changes to the copy of the wedding pages can make a significant difference to the quantity and quality of leads your business receives. Ensuring the copy is tailored to your ideal customer avatar, so that when your perfect-fit couples read your website, they feel like you are talking directly to them.
It should go without saying how important your photography is in helping your couples visualise what they can expect for their big dig by choosing your venue. This should be a regular process of refreshing imagery so you have a healthy mix of seasonal imagery that are changed across your digital assets regularly. You may also consider asking your recently married couples if they’d share some of their snaps from their big day as genuine images almost always look better and more authentic than using models for shoots (not to mention a great deal cheaper!)
One of the best things your venue can do to encourage your initial enquiries to move to the next stage and book a showaround appointment, is to have you and your team get in front of the camera and answer the most common questions you get from brides and grooms.
- Social posts
This area deserves a whole book on the subject matter, but one of the most important aspects of your social media marketing is to ensure the content is suitable for its intended channel. Far too often we see links within instagram posts (Instagram doesn’t allow you to click) and the same post pushed across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with poorly sized images.
Arguably the most important asset of all is the wedding brochure. This is the first real touchpoint with your couples and a chance to convey what choosing your venue will be like. One not to scrimp on!
Step Two – Awareness
Now your killer assets are in place, before you can start generating leads, you need to be found by the right people. There’s three key ways we would recommend increasing awareness of your venue:
Search engine optimisation is the process of improving your website’s ranking for specific keywords (search terms) on search engines like Google. Whilst this is often seen as something outside of the traditional remit of a weddings team, coordinator or events manager, the ability for your business to appear on page one for search terms like ‘wedding venue [location]’ can have a profound impact on not only your volume of leads but also your brand perception. Moreover, an investment in SEO is generally a long-term lasting one, so much so that once you have moved up the ranks on Google, you’ll tend to stay there. It should be noted that this won’t be a quick fix though as it generally takes 6-12 months to see meaningful results.
B: Wedding Fairs
Running your own wedding fairs continue to be a great way of building awareness for your venue, provided they are marketed correctly both online (email, social media and your website) as well as offline using outdoor signage, in-room collateral etc. It’s worth looking as to when your competitors are running their wedding fairs as it could be worth doing on the same day or a day either side. Couples may plan to travel some way to visit venues so if they can visit a 2 or 3 wedding fairs in one day, it would certainly be advantageous for them, and increase footfall at your own wedding fairs. Finally, think about hosting these around key engagement dates such as in January after Christmas and New Years, in March after Valentine’s Day and in the Autumn after the summer months.
- Local Advertising
Whilst DHM is a digital marketing agency, we’re still big advocates of local advertising done well. The use of traditional platforms such as local radio, magazines and newspapers is often relatively cheap to grow awareness of your brand in the local area and can mean you also target the close family of the engaged couple (e.g. parents or grandparents) who may encourage them to view your venue.
Step Three – Lead Generation
Now that you have crafted your assets to perfection, and built awareness of your brand and product, you can now start thinking about generating leads. You can define leads in a multitude of ways, but we generally refer to a lead as someone who has taken a small proactive action that demonstrates they are keen to know more about your venue. This is most often characterised by a brochure request, and rarely as a viewing appointment without any prior correspondence. The key is to take your leads through the journey and let them go at their own pace. Once you have their request for a brochure, provide them with the thing they asked for, as well as more information and a call to action to go to the next stage e.g. book a showaround. Here’s our top tips for generating greater quality and quantity of leads.
Pay–per-click advertising through advertising platforms like Google, Facebook (Meta) and Bing can help you to get in front of your clearly defined audience instantly. If you’re starting out with PPC advertising, we highly recommend you choose Google Search, rather than Facebook. Whilst the latter can be effective, and allows you to drill right down to the highly specific level of targeting, the former allows you to appear in front of couples that have shown greater intent. Would you rather show your ad to someone who has been engaged for 5 days and not ready to make a decision for several months, or to someone who has actively searched for ‘wedding venues [location]’? The latter generally has a much better chance of converting into a lead.
B: Use Two-Step Enquiry Forms
If you make an enquiry with competitor venues, you’ll likely find that most of them ask anywhere between five and ten pieces of information on their enquiry form. This is shortsighted and off putting because the couple who are at the early stage of their venue hunt will unlikely be ready to part with so much of their data, especially before they know a little more about the venue and its offering. That’s why as a general rule of thumb, we use two-step enquiry forms for all our clients. It works by asking only basic information to download the wedding brochure – this is typically no more than name and email address. Then as the lead presses the submit button, the form cleverly flips and asks for a little bit more information, usually in exchange for little something extra such as a physical brochure posted to them. This slight change in approach can have a profound effect on the volume of leads your business generates.