The holidays are prime time for couples to get engaged, which means an influx of new leads for wedding venues in the months that follow. If you’re a venue with a long list of potential new customers, how do you make sure that each one gets the attention it deserves?
First, it’s essential to understand the level of importance couples place on their wedding venue. On average, they’ll spend half of their entire budget on the perfect place to tie the knot, making it one of the most important decisions of the entire process – and the central focus for everything else, from the decor to the menu selection.
With that in mind, your job is to show prospective couples that not only are you their dream venue, but they’re your perfect customer. It’s a nurturing process that requires attention, timing, TLC, and getting to know each other. And if that sounds a little bit like dating, it is! Here are a few ways to turn interested potential customers into raving fans.
1. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Whether you’ve been married yourself, attended the weddings of friends/family, or even dreamed of the perfect party weekend, one of the best ways to ensure that you’re giving potential customers the experience they’re craving is to think about it from their point of view.
First, imagine the ideal customer in your head, because you’ll want to examine these questions through that lens. (If you’re a pet-friendly, rustic outdoor location, for example, the qualified leads who seek you out aren’t going to be interested in the glitz and glam of a club-style party.)
Ask yourself questions like What are their top priorities right now? What are their worries? What do they want to see and feel when they tour a venue? The better prepared you are with the answers, the easier it will be to overcome objections and ease concerns.
2. Stay on top of trends.
This is an extension of the first point, because what couples are looking for today is quite different from what they might have sought pre-pandemic. When you’re aware of the latest wedding trends, you can use follow-up communication to let qualified leads know that you have what they’re looking for.
One trend that’s hot in 2023 is an emphasis on the party over the ceremony, which gives you the perfect opportunity to show off your dance floor. Couples are also turning away from anything seen as wasteful, so be sure to highlight your sustainability efforts. Finally, charcuterie is all the rage this year. Be sure to include the selection in your venue’s menu options.
3. Get your entire sales team on the same page.
It’s important that everyone is working from the same playbook so that potential leads aren’t accidentally contacted twice – or worse, not contacted at all. The use of a good customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help keep everyone on track and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
In the same vein, it’s equally important that your sales and marketing teams are working together. Those trends we talked about earlier? It’s your marketing team’s job to know those like the backs of their hands. They can help the sales team hone their follow-up communications to speak to what’s relevant and trending. And in return, the sales team has a better read of what customers are responding to. Reciprocity can streamline your entire funnel.
4. Use a lead-scoring system.
Not all leads are created equal. In fact, you can generate a score for each lead based on the quality of interactions a lead has already made with your website, social media posts, emails, or other marketing materials – the higher the score, the better. Ideally, you’ll expend most of your effort going after the leads who look like your ideal client.
Check out our blog post on how to calculate the value of a site visit inquiry, which includes the questions you need to ask yourself and how to run the numbers based on your answers. Going after more-qualified leads is likely to bring in a better ROI than casting a wide net.
5. Be excited…but not too excited.
Back to that dating analogy – even if things feel pretty favorable with a lead, it’s probably not a good idea to push too hard in the beginning. We’ve found that the best practice is to stay top-of-mind for 30 days after the initial inquiry, but avoid reaching out every day.
When you do send a follow-up email, be sure that it’s filled with new and valuable information each time. Remember those questions that you know your ideal customers have? Use these emails as an opportunity to answer them, and to paint a picture of what getting married at your venue will be like.
6. Make sure your website is inviting and valuable.
Planning a wedding has a lot of moving parts, and couples are often overwhelmed. The easier you can make the process for them, the more likely they are to want to work with you. If you don’t have one already, gather your team and come up with a thorough FAQ that answers all the questions you’ve heard, then make it readily available online.
In addition, provide value-add resources that show them all the reasons to choose your location over those of your competitors. Put today’s trends front and center to show that you’re in tune with what couples are looking for from a venue like yours, and avoid making these 10 mistakes.
7. Help them imagine the perfect wedding.
Turning shoppers into buyers (as the saying goes in retail) is about more than just providing information. For wedding venues, it’s about creating a feeling of “home.” It’s that feeling a couple shares when they walk into the space where they would tie the knot, look at each other, and say, “This is it.”
This is where high-quality, stunning photography that showcases your venue comes in. Whether you point them to your Insta account, Pinterest page, or share via your website, imagery plays a key role in the story you build for potential customers.