Marketing for venues is about reaching out and showing up. It is about making your venue visible to the people you want to see it. It is also fundamentally about building relationships with your customers. It’s about making your venue stand out from the competition and be memorable (for the right reasons!). It’s about telling a story that creates an emotional response. It’s about showing your audience that you understand them and their needs. It’s about giving them an experience. It is about persuading an audience that your venue is so desirable that they have to book it.
Marketing for venues is about reaching out to your customers.
I moved to Devon from Australia nearly five years ago. I didn’t know anyone in the small village we settled in. I could have stayed not knowing anyone, remained invisible and made little effort to make any acquaintances. But this would not have fulfilled me or helped my family settle into our new home. For my sake and theirs, I knew I would have to make the effort to make some friends, so I set about finding ways to meet people and introduce myself. Gradually I got to know a few people, talked to them, listened to them, found some likeminded individuals and we became friends. I have spent lots of time with these people over the past five years and now count them as some of my best friends. They know me, I know them, we hang out and enjoy each other’s company. We have a transformational relationship. Each fundamentally benefitting from the other.
I have told this story to demonstrate how by reaching out and making your venue visible (marketing) you can form relationships with people. Not everybody you reach out to will become your friends (customers) but unless you make some effort, you won’t find those worthwhile relationships. If you simply sit and wait for the phone to ring, chances are it won’t. If your ideal customers don’t know your venue exists then how will they find it? You need to go out into the world and introduce your venue. Once you find those ideal customers then you need to maintain the relationship. Don’t just turn up once and expect a call back. You need to keep showing-up regularly and consistently to make a lasting impression. Then the party invitations arrive and you know you’ve made it into the inner circle!
Marketing for venues requires forming transformational relationships.
In business, relationships can be purely transactional. I need something, you’ve got something, you’re willing to sell it to me for a price, I am willing to buy it at that price, I pay you, you give me, we each go our separate ways, happy that we each got what we wanted from the relationship (eg. Tesco).
However, venue sales relationships can be a lot more complex. Understanding your ideal customer; what they want, what they need, who they are, where they come from, what they like, what they dislike; helps you develop a stronger relationship with them and ultimately wins you their business. Many business transactions are made on trust. How do you build trust? You show up regularly and on time, you deliver consistently and to a high standard, you are responsive and flexible. You build a transformational relationship which ultimately becomes much deeper than the basic transaction (eg. Apple). Your customers are convinced that by booking your venue their wedding is going to be the best wedding ever!
Methods of marketing.
The world of marketing has changed massively in the last twenty years. When I started in my career, the world wide web was still in its infancy. We were using email but a lot of business was still done over the phone and by snail mail. Businesses were beginning to recognise the importance of websites but social media was unheard of. Most of our advertising was in print. We invested much more heavily in PR, networking, exhibitions, word of mouth and brazen sales calls. My clients knew little about me personally but trusted my business services based on my reputation and consistency.
Now in a digital era of social media, reality TV, blogging, vlogging influencers, our potential reach is infinite and affordable. You don’t need a multi-million pound marketing budget to gain traction. Marketing for venues can be highly effective with a basic understanding of social media platforms and website optimisation.
The fundamentals of marketing for venues hasn’t changed. It’s still about reaching your ideal customer, developing a relationship and persuading them to buy from you. It’s just been made a lot easier thanks to complex algorithms that help you target more accurately the people you want to meet. You still need to show-up consistently and frequently but it is now much quicker to find your ideal customer. No more blanket wedding magazine advertising in the hope of finding that perfect customer. You can hone your venue marketing strategy to target the demographic who you know your venue will appeal to.
Online content and social media give venues the opportunity to get in front of their ideal customer and build relationships even if they’re in another part of the world. You can show your customers that you are like-minded, you understand them, you can meet their needs, you will exceed their expectations and that you are trustworthy. Just keep showing up!
I have over twenty years’ experience managing venues in London and Sydney and have transformed venues from good to great. If you need help reaching your ideal customers, maximising sales opportunities, increasing profitability, establishing an effective team or streamlining your venue operations then I would love to hear from you. My vision is to use my expertise to support you to success. If you would like to find out more about how I can help with your marketing, or any other aspect of your venue business, then please follow this link for further information.