There’s no sugar-coating it: 2020 has been a hard year for everyone, but especially for wedding and event venues. With operations paused for several months, and most events postponed, the future may look bleak.
However, there’s a silver lining that you may not be anticipating: 2021 is going to be one of the biggest years for weddings and events in recent history. But, if your wedding venue website and event marketing strategy aren’t ready for the influx of inquiries, you’re going to miss out. In fact, you may already be more behind the ball than you realize.
Supporting Stats & Trends
Now, this may seem like a bold claim, but we have the stats to back it up. According to Google Trends, searches for wedding-related terms have declined in recent months. So, it’s no surprise that you’ve probably seen a drop in your website’s organic traffic. However, in recent weeks these keywords have been slowly picking up speed and interest.
Even more promising are the trends we’ve seen among our clients in the paid search and social arenas. The Vine had their best month ever in paid search in April and doubled their leads over March numbers. Twenty Mile House also saw an outstanding performance in paid social in April and May with an ultimate lead increase of over 300%. You read that right, over 300%.
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Why These Results?
Obviously, we were thrilled (and a little surprised) by these results, so we dug deeper. Aside from being our clients, these venues have some other key factors in common. The first is that, despite decreased revenue and uncertain times, they did not pause their paid marketing campaigns during the pandemic.
On the flip side, venues that were seeing great numbers pre-COVID, but suspended their marketing once stay-at-home orders hit, saw more than a 50% decrease in inquiries in May. While not all businesses may be in an economic position to continue their paid spends, it’s proving increasingly powerful for those that do.
The second, and perhaps even more important factor is their website content, functionality, and design. We launched an amazing Squarespace website for The Vine back in November and that alone drove more conversions than they had ever seen previously. So, when it came to their paid search, we knew we were sending traffic to a site that was designed with lead generation in mind.
Similarly, by offering their Hawthorn-created event and wedding brochure on their website, Twenty Mile House enabled couples to safely learn more about the venue despite the “stay-at-home” order in California.
Also, by “gating” the brochure – requiring visitors to submit contact information in order to access it – Twenty Mile House continued to generate new leads to reach out to via email and other marketing efforts. Spoiler alert: We will be launching a new Squarespace site for them in the coming months, so we anticipate even more success for Twenty Mile House in the near future!
What Does This Mean for Your Venue?
It means it’s your time to shine. Competition in the paid space is low right now, which means you get more bang for your buck and higher visibility. Now is also the time to take advantage of the bandwidth that’s become available.
Over the next few months, when you would normally be overwhelmed with events, you should be revamping your website, creating content marketing pieces that speak to the “new normal” and address COVID concerns, engaging with prospects, launching paid search and social campaigns, and finding the right partner to help you drive success.
As event and travel restrictions begin to lessen, the marketplace is only going to get more competitive. Take action now and ensure that 2021 is your best year ever.