What is the main purpose of a marketing plan for a wedding venue?

This article was published in Wedding Business Magazine Jan 2017 EditionSee it here

The main purpose of a Marketing Plan for a wedding venue should be to outline where you want your business to go and how to best promote your products and services over the next twelve months.

My experience in producing successful Marketing Plans for wedding venue clients and vendors has been to keep the process simple and to give clients tools to help them achieve their key objectives. I accomplish this by initially asking just three questions, What, do you want to achieve in the next twelve months to help you achieve your long-term goals? What do you specifically want to promote now? And who to?

1. What do you want to achieve in the next twelve months?

I will ask a venue owner to prioritise what they want to achieve over the next year within the context of their longer-term goals. Their answers might include:

  • Attract more couples
  • Convert more couples
  • Increase the price from each booking
  • To upsell more
  • Attract specific couples; for example they might want to target same sex weddings
  • Launch a new wedding venue
  • Become one of the top wedding venues in the area
  • Extend the wedding season into the winter months
  • Sell more midweek weddings
  • Promote a new product or service
  • Sell more Christmas parties

2. What products or messages do you want to promote or get noticed in the next twelve months?

I then ask the venue owner to consider what products they are offering and what is their priority, for example, their products or services might include:

  • Civil Weddings and receptions
  • Corporate parties
  • Outdoor parties that might include Children’s parties
  • Corporate Annual General Meetings
  • Location shoots

3. Who is your target audience?

We then discuss who is the venue’s target audience for each product, as without clearly defining who you’re targeting, you can’t define how to reach out to them. We also discuss where they might be in the buying cycle, as you also shouldn’t treat each potential customer as if they were in the

same state of readiness to hire your venue. But also we discuss where there might be cross over, for example, someone coming to a wedding coincidentally might also be in the market at some point during the next twelve months, to book a corporate Christmas party.


The Marketing Plan

Any effective Marketing Plan should help build your brand in some way and is all about communicating your messages clearly and to the right target audience.

So, if you wanted to “attract more couples” in the knowledge that the clear majority of consumers hiring wedding venues now are couples who will search online, often using expressions like “wedding venue near me”, I believe having a good website, that really ’talks’ to your potential clients through good SEO content, is the cornerstone for any successful wedding venue. So, I would expect to work with the client and their web designer to see where we can improve their website to ensure it is delivering against the Marketing Plan.

Also, knowing that social media has now become one of the most important tools wedding venues have to disseminate information about their products, interact with potential clients and create year-round engagement with their target audience, I like to work with wedding venues to ensure they are getting their Marketing Plan across on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to build followers and connect with potential customers.

I personally believe in content marketing – sharing interesting information to increase your ranking within search engines – as an effective tactic to further expand a venue’s reach, while increasing the value of their social presence. By consistently publishing relevant blogs, on your own website, you can address common questions, concerns, increase awareness of a product, demonstrate your style and commitment plus increase your reputation as an industry expert – so become an influencer. The venue owner can then self-promote each piece of content and increase readership by posting each blog to their social media profiles.

Based on the answers to three simple questions, I would typically give my clients a tool; A Blog Marketing Plan; to help them curate their own websites. Typically, I would give them targeted content topics for every month that connects with the right audience, here are some examples in brief: