Do you need more bookings to keep your venue filled with people and events? Here are 7 tips, ideas, and strategies that will help you keep your venue full for all types of events in your area.
Venue Marketing Idea #1: Design A Professional, Conversion-Based Website Design
Your website design is the focal point of your marketing campaigns. The majority of your prospective clients will get their first experience with your venue through your website, and many of them will do so on their phones.
Your website needs a number of things effectively.
First, it needs to orient visitors so they understand you have the services they need and that you’re located in the area where they’re planning their event. Included brief but descriptive content on your family/wedding/corporate events, and be crystal clear about your location. The best thing is to include the city/region you’re in within a headline, and also to embed a map on both your homepage and contact page.
Next, you need to design your website so it showcases your venue visually. This means high quality, professional photos of the facility and of events in action. Use these images on your homepage and in a gallery. Most visitors will want get a look at your venue, and great photos will entice them contact you. It is unacceptable to use stock photos on a venue website.
Third, your website needs to be conversion-based. This means that the content funnels people towards a call to action to contact you. Make sure your call to action is clear and enticing. It should be visible above the fold and repeated throughout the site. The primary goal you’ll judge your site’s performance on is conversions, so make sure you’re directing people towards that action
Here’s a mockup example from our UXI® website templates:
It’s vital that the platform you use be mobile responsive, meaning it automatically formats for phone screens. In fact, the mobile version of your site is now the main one Google indexes for search results.
Venue Marketing Idea #2: Master Search Marketing
For event planning and venues – and particularly for wedding venues that target larger geographic regions – search marketing is vitally important. Many potential clients will start their research on Google, comparing venues.
To drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to show up for searches on all types of venue events you cater to. There are three ways to dominate the search results.
The first is pay-per-click advertising. These ads are run through auction-based systems like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. The main advantage here is that you show in the top positions (reserved for paid ads) and that you can control the ad copy and landing page. For example, you might want to run an advertisement for annual corporate events. Your ad and the page it goes to on your website can match that offer.
Next, you need to set-up and rank for Google My Business. This is the maps listing and review platform Google uses for geo-targeted searches. It’s a free listing you can optimize with your descriptions and by getting customer reviews.
Then you have the organic website listings. These are also free clicks, with ranking gained by optimizing your website for keywords, gaining links, getting social media traffic, and adding content to your blog.
If you do it right, you can show up in three spots on page one:
Pro Tip: Retargeting Ads
Many people who visit your website won’t act right away. It’s just the nature of how people behave online.
You can keep your brand top of mind and stay with these leads using retargeting ads. These are ads that display to people online and on social media after they’ve visited your website or Facebook page. They’re just a simple, branded banner ad with a clear call to action. For example:
Retargeting is a tactic that tends to get a strong return, both with direct conversions and because it keeps your brand name in front of people so they look you up by name when they’re ready to book.
Venue Marketing Idea #3: Reviews and Reputation Management
Your website and marketing material will make a strong case for the delights of having an event at your venue. But the clincher is not what you say about yourself, but what your previous clients say about you.
Online reviews are now a major component of your venue marketing strategy. You need to develop a positive review profile on multiple platforms (including Top Rated Local, Google, and Facebook) as well as any venue directories you’re listed on that include reviews.
The cornerstone of a strong review profile is the experience you provide. Make sure your venue and all associated services you provide for the event exceed people’s expectations. When you wow your clients, a positive review will follow.
It also helps to ask for reviews, particularly if you need to get more content on a particular platform. Use email follow ups to request reviews, making sure to link to the platform you’d like to get content on.
Also, put testimonials on your website and into videos so this “social proof” content is right on your site.
Venue Marketing Idea #4: Create a Promotional Video
If you have an event venue, then video is a must. Basically, you can give people a quick visual tour so they can get a sense of your atmosphere, amenities, and services.
This is particularly valuable for wedding event planning, where prospects will want to see your venue firsthand.
Because event venues are themselves the product, videos are really valuable for communicating what you offer.
If you offer catering services, you can show dining arrangements and plate presentations.
Don’t forget to include a call to action with contact information at the end of your video.
Optimize the video for search on YouTube, where it’s easy to rank at the top.
Venue Marketing Idea #5: Get On Social Media
Venues have a strong opportunity to get brand exposure via social media, and they can even do some direct lead generation.
A huge bonus for venues is that the events themselves generate shareable content from your clients. Encourage people to take selfies and tag the venue in them. These images get shared across their personal networks.
You’ll want to get set up on Instagram to post images of events and updates to your venue. Keep this fresh and post attractive or interesting images. This is pretty much another gallery for your venue.
Likewise, create a Facebook business page that’s set up with reviews and messenger. Keep this fresh and updated with content about your venue and curated content on how to host events, plan weddings, hire caterers, or anything else related to what you do.
You’ll also want to create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting with other local business people. This can be a great way to get in front of office managers or other business owners that plan events.
Venue Marketing Idea #6: Network
When you run a venue, proactive networking isn’t an option. It’s a necessity.
Make connections with everyone who you might partner up with who isn’t a competitor, including event planners, caterers, DJ’s, florists, ministers, and local bands. Become known at your chamber of commerce, office co-ops, and Meetup groups.
Host open houses. Team up with local micro-breweries and restaurants and show off your wares.
Don’t just wait for the internet to deliver you leads. You should be on a first name basis with as many potential clients and referral partners (particularly business owners) as possible.
Venue Marketing Idea #7: Use Marketing Software
To market effectively across channels, use marketing software that includes CRM and email marketing software.
These tools will allow you to manage all the marketing channels we’ve discussed and tie in to your customer relationship management (CRM) and email campaigns.
Software like Marketing 360® tracks all your search, website, and social media campaigns so you can track results. Leads from these channels are saved in the CRM where you can personalize further touches and email messages.
It’s a digital world, so it only makes sense to use those types of tools to manage your marketing.