A Perfect Venue Marketing Strategy: 68 Ways to Market Your Venue

 

Venue marketing strategy plan

 

A successful venue marketing strategy plan has developed far beyond the outdated; ‘build it and they will come’. Whether you are an event space, nightclub, wedding venue or any other type of venue, if you don’t plan your venue’s marketing then you are planning to fail.

To run a successful venue marketing strategy, you need to be educated and be able to implement various technical marketing techniques involved in digital marketing as well as knowing how and when to use traditional marketing mediums.

This guide looks at how to implement a successful venue marketing strategy as well as going into detail about all the different marketing mediums you need to be confident on implementing.

Step 1: Write your venue marketing strategy plan
Step 2: Explore our digital marketing medium suggestions
Step 3: Explore our traditional marketing medium suggestions
Step 4: Implement, test and analyse results

 

Step 1: Write your venue marketing strategy plan

Writing your venue marketing strategy down is the first step of ensuring success. This plan shouldn’t be written in stone, it should be flexible and can be edited at any time in line with changes to your objectives and results.

The plan can be broken down into the following sections:

– Who will you be targeting?
– What are your goals and objectives?
– How discoverable is your venue?
– What mediums will you use for your marketing?
– Budgeting
– Analyses


Who will you be targeting when you execute your venue marketing strategy plan?

 

The first step to a successful venue marketing strategy is to know and understand exactly who you are trying to sell to. In other words, who is going to be interested in your venue.

To help find who you will be targeting ask yourself what events you’ll be hosting or do already host.

It’s also worth noting down what type of events bring in the most profits. Basing this on revenue isn’t ideal as these types of events could be more costly.

Once you know these events you can start exploring who actually attends them and create buying personas for your perfect customer.

 

Buying persona

 

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer/customer. You’ll need to create a list of what your perfect customer looks like, including:

Location
Age
Income
Interests
Job title
Interests
Wants/Needs
Goals

Targeting your perfect audience is one of the most important aspects of your venue marketing strategy. If you get this part wrong, you will end up wasting the majority of your marketing budget on people who simply aren’t interested in your offering.

 

What are your goals and objectives of your venue marketing strategy plan?

 

The next step is to write down the goals of your overall venue marketing strategy plan. Goals should be generally what you want all of your marketing efforts to achieve.

1-3 goals are best, any more than this and you could spread yourself too thin. An example of one of your venue marketing goals could be:

‘Be fully booked every night we’re open’

This is clearly what your venue marketing strategy plan will help to achieve.

After you have jotted down your goal or goals the next order of business is to think about your marketing objectives.

Objectives are different to goals as they are more specific to what you’re going to do to help achieve the overall goal.

Objectives should be SMART objectives:

Specific – what exactly is it you’re trying to achieve with this objective?
Measurable – can the objective be measured in some form?
Achievable – is it realistic you’ll be able to complete this objective?
Relevant – is your objective relevant to your business or venue
Timely – what is the time limit to achieve the objective?

 

Smart objectives

 

An example of a smart objective could be:

‘Get 50000 Instagram followers for <venue name> within 6 months’

Specific – ‘Instagram followers’ is specific to the objective. You know that’s what this objective is wanting to achieve.

Measurable – ‘50000’ makes this objective incredibly easy to measure so you can track your marketing efforts.

Within this objective you can set KPIs, which are used to track specific performance results. E.g. how much each follower is costing you.

Achievable – is 50000 realistic in 6 months? Aim high, but not so high so it’s unrealistic.

Relevant – is this objective relevant to the overall success of your venue and venue marketing strategy? In this example, 50000 Instagram followers is relevant as these are fans of your venue who are likely to attend.

Timely – It’s important to set a deadline for your objective. This way you can map out your to-do list and calendar, so you know what needs to be done to achieve this objective.

Now you have a good goal or two and some pretty specific objectives, your venue marketing strategy plan should be starting to take shape.

 

How discoverable is your venue?

 

This step doesn’t need to be included or written down as part of your venue marketing strategy plan. Instead you need to do an audit of all your current marketing activities to work out how discoverable your venue currently is.

This involves analysing their effectiveness, success rate and costs. An easy way to do this is to rate each medium out of ten, for the different sub-headings.

For example, looking at your Instagram page, ask the following questions.

How well has Instagram been implemented /10? (Are your posts beautiful? Do you have many followers? Are people engaging with your posts? Etc)

How effective is Instagram for achieving my overall goal /10? (Look at website visits via Instagram etc)

How much is Instagram costing /10? (Think about your time and any paid ads)

Ask these questions for each marketing medium you’re using and with the scores you will be able to get a better idea of your current marketing situation.

 

What mediums will you use for your venue’s marketing strategy?

 

Now you have done your audit the next step is to write down all the marketing mediums you will use to form the 3rd section of your venue marketing strategy plan.

Successful marketers trial every relevant marketing medium there is, continuously tests, has multi and cross-level campaigns running and aren’t scared to try new things and to also fail.

Having a multi-level marketing plan is important. For example, having an Instagram page is complimented by also having a website. Different marketing mediums can complement each other and help with achieving better results.

Venue marketing strategy mediums

We have listed all the different digital and traditional marketing mediums we could think of below. So, go through them and see which ones could be relevant or might work for your venue.

Don’t be afraid to trial different mediums, failing is a very important step of successful venue marketing. Once you have found the mediums that work best for your venue you can then pour more resources into them.

 

Budgeting

 

Good budgeting is a vital element of successful venue marketing. You need to make every penny count and continuously check results, so you know what’s working and what’s not.

Obviously the bigger the budget, the more successful your marketing is going to be. The saying goes, ‘you have to spend money, to make money.’ That couldn’t be truer when it comes to marketing.

That doesn’t mean you need to have millions to spend. Even a small budget can be used wisely to go along way. Then once the revenue comes in you can re-invest to increase your marketing budget even more.

The beautiful thing about marketing is that money is rarely wasted. You may have paid over the odds on something, but it would have got your brand out there and even if one person consumed it, that’s one more person who knows about your business.

As you now should have a long list of marketing mediums you are willing to use, next to each one you can set a starting budget.

This is how much you are willing to spend per month on this medium. Remain flexible on this as you might find that this will need to be updated continuously based on costs.

 

Analyses

 

The analyses section outlines how you are going to monitor your venue marketing plan and the mediums being used to build a venue marketing machine.

This may include setting a plan to check Google Analytics every two weeks. To audit your social media presence once a week and so on.

Having a plan in place to analyse your plan means you are far more likely to do it.

One mistake even a good marketer makes is to over-analyse the results which means wasting valuable time. There’s a sweet spot of how often to look. Too little and your marketing might be running incorrectly or too often and you’re simply wasting time.

 

Data analyses

 

We like two weeks. It gives the marketing enough time to gather enough data based on edits and it’s not too often that time is wasted. We can then concentrate on other elements of the business.

Once you have implemented all of those elements, you will have a robust venue marketing strategy plan that’s ready to grow your venue business. Below are some suggestions for what mediums you could use. You can use the menu to select which ones you’d like to read about.

 

Step 2: Explore our digital marketing medium suggestions

You can use the links below to jump to the section you want to read:

1. Create a perfect website
2. Become a blogger
3. Learn everything there is to know about content and inbound marketing
4. Implement online reservation tools and calendars
5. Make sure you can be found on every online listing and directory
6. Stay on top of review sites
7. Get on social media
8. Follow other venues and key people on social media
9. Respond to comments on social media
10. Only use high-quality photos across your social channels
11. Become an Instagram pro
12. Use Instagram stories and highlights
13. Twitter still has a place
14. Pin your photos on Pinterest
15. Setup snapchat marketing campaigns
16. Be ahead of the curve and try Tik Tok
17. Throw competitions on social media
18. Take advantage of hashtags on social media
19. Promote user-generated content
20. Add video marketing to your campaigns
21. Create Facebook and Instagram paid ads
22. Create geo-targeting ads
23. Become a Google AdWords expert
24. Get handy at SEO
25. Take advantage of email marketing
26. Create a better email signature
27. Liven it up on LinkedIn
28. Setup Google Alerts
29. Make virtual visualization easier

 

1. Create a perfect website as a base for your venue marketing strategy

 

Your website is the hub of all your venue marketing efforts. Most of the marketing you successfully implement will lead your customer to your website. This is why you need to make the perfect website, so you can turn website visitors into buying customers.

It’s incredibly unlikely someone is going to book or visit your venue to see it until they have seen your website. Here are some of our best tips for a perfect website for a venue:

  • Keep it simple and clean. It’s important your website is super easy to navigate.
  • High quality photos and videos are the most important elements of your website. Make sure you showcase your venue beautifully.
  • Your website needs to be friendly on every single device. These include desktops, laptops, tablets and phones.
  • Make sure all the necessary data is available on your website, think prices, location, phone numbers and so on.
  • Include a calendar/reservation tool for quick access to availability
  • Link your social media so you can build online presence and to show your visitors more information
  • Use lead magnets, landing pages and calls to action to your advantage.

Lead magnets

Using lead magnets is a clever marketing technique to grab website visitor’s information before they leave your site, so you can market to them later.

Most website visitors won’t make a buying decision on their first visit to your website. If you don’t use a lead magnet then you could lose that potential customer forever. If you do, then you can potentially turn them into a buyer later on.

An example of a good venue marketing website lead magnet is by offering your venue’s free downloadable brochure. This should be implemented on your website’s homepage (the best time is just before they leave, when they go to click back or exit). This then appears as a pop-up and to be able to download the brochure they have to input their name and email address.

 

Venue marketing strategy lead magnet

 

Not only will you then be able to email them later, but you can offer them extra material (in the form of a brochure in this example) for them to potentially become a buyer.

Landing pages

Landing pages are used to break up your website visitors to present information to them that they will be interested in.

For example, your venue might be available for weddings but also for corporate functions. On your homepage you should have buttons for each. The visitor can then visit the landing page suitable to them.

Your lead magnet for each one can then be implemented on those landing pages.

Forms

Forms are similar to lead magnets in the fact that they capture data. You can use them to ask your visitor to give you information (including your name and email). For example, they might fill out the form so you can give them a custom quotation based on their request.

 

2. Become a blogger

 

It’s no secret that websites that rank on the first pages of Google blog, and blog consistently. Blogging should certainty be considered when creating and executing your venue marketing strategy plan.

Google loves content, their whole business model relies on content, so they reward websites that continuously blog. It’s the core element of search engine optimisation (SEO).

Each blog post you write should have one or two keywords in mind. Depending on the length of the post, this keyword or keyword phrase should be included the optimum amount of times.

For example, if your venue is a music venue in Amsterdam, one blog post’s focused keyword phrase could be ‘the best music venues in Amsterdam’. Another could be ‘popular music venues in Europe’. Your venue can then be included in this article.

 

Venue marketing blogger

 

The trick is to write down a list of the realistic keyword phrases your perfect customers would search for on Google.

Blog posts can also be linked to your social media accounts so you followers can easily find your content.

Journalists use blogs to research topics and to support their findings. If you follow journalists on Twitter you can start building a relationship with them. This will be invaluable for your future SEO and PR efforts.

 

3. Learn everything there is to know about content and inbound marketing

 

When someone searches on Google for a solution to a specific problem and lands on your website or blog, this is called inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is an incredibly important term and exercise to familiarize yourself with when implementing your venue marketing strategy plan.

Rather than you marketing to them (outbound marketing) and hoping you can persuade them to visit your site, they have actively found you. This is powerful because this type of visitor is far more likely to be interested in your offering and can be turned into a paying customer.

Here’s an example:

Venue A spend £1000 marketing their venue online, using Facebook ads for example. They get 1000 website visitors via the advert, but they don’t get a single booking. This may be because none of those visitors needed their venue at that time.

Venue B spend their time curating amazing content on their blog and social media. They get 1000 visitors via Google search from visitors wanting or needing a venue to book. They get 5 bookings a month because they have placed themselves as the solution to a problem these visitors were searching.

 

Outbound venue marketing strategy

 

We’re not saying outbound marketing isn’t worth doing. But inbound marketing is incredibly powerful and usually a lot cheaper. They can also work in unison.

When you’re creating your content on your website, blog or social media, you need to make your outstanding upfront value or value proposition incredibly clear. Why is your venue the best venue and why is it different to all the others?

When you’re creating your content for your venue marketing strategy and concentrating on inbound marketing you need to think about your buyers’ journey and the keywords you want to rank for. A wedding venue should be ranking for wedding related keyword phrases for example and be on other wedding blogs and websites.

 

4. Implement online reservation tools and calendars

 

When you’re editing your website always have your customer in mind. Put yourself in their shoes.

Your visitor may absolutely love your venue but there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to see the availability immediately.

It’s very likely your visitors will be comparing many venues to book or visit. Users nowadays want instant results, instant gratification and have less time than ever.

Implementing a calendar for availability is good practice. Depending on the type of venue you have you could also implement a reservation tool.

The customer journey and experience start as soon as they land on your website. Make the experience as hassle free as possible and your customers are far more likely to recommended your venue in the future.

 

5. Make sure you can be found on every online listing and directory

 

There’s no point in building a beautiful venue and website if no one can find you.

One of the first steps you should take when implementing your venue marketing strategy plan is to make sure your venue is listed on every single online listing and directory there is.

Here are 10 places you can be included on to start with. There are hundreds, if not thousands, get listed on them all:

  1. Google
  2. Yelp
  3. TripAdvisor
  4. Bloc
  5. Tag Venue
  6. Hire Space
  7. Headbox
  8. Canvas Events
  9. Eventopedia
  10. Venue Directory

A simple Google search will mean you will be able to find more.

If you are a specialised venue like a ‘wedding venue’ you can search for all of that niche’s directories with a simple Google search.

Beyond Google you should also search for different apps you could list on by searching on the app stores.

The use of mobile for search is exploding, so more and more apps are being used to fulfill needs of finding things, such as venues to book.

The easiest step you can take when implementing your venue marketing strategy plan is to submit your venue to as many directories as possible, as it only needs to be done once and then you don’t need to worry about it.

 

6. Stay on top of review sites

 

Love them or hate them, reviews are here to stay. And you can leverage them to your advantage.

First reviews are a great way to improve your venue. Read them once or twice a month and get a feel for what your customers are saying about your venue.

Your venue should be continuously improved, and reviews are a great way of finding out what you’re doing well and what needs improvement.

The second way you can leverage reviews is turn unhappy customers into happy ones. Most sites allow you to reply to reviews so you can either thank the customer for their positive review to build rapport or set the record straight for those unhappy customers.

You should always remain positive and apologetic as reviews are public and this is good practice for protecting your brand.

 

Wedding review

 

Finally, did you know that reviews are counted towards ranking your site on sites like Google and Tripadvisor? The more positive reviews your venue gets, the higher up it will be on the search results.

Google shows the top 3 results for venues for search terms locally. This can drive a tonne of traffic.

What’s the easiest way to get positive reviews? Simply ask your loyal customers. Like anything, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

 

7. Get on social media

 

Any successful venue marketing strategies nowadays include being active on social media.

There are a huge number of benefits social media can bring your venue. Here are the accounts you need:

Facebook business page
– Instagram
– Twitter
– Pinterest
– Snapchat
– Tik Tok

Your venue is physical and these social media platforms allow you to showcase your high-quality content to their userbase that use these platforms every day.

You can build an audience on these platforms, usually in the form of followers. Consider them to be fans. And fans are incredibly important for spreading word of mouth for more future bookings.

There are two mistakes people make on social media, so make sure your venue isn’t practicing either of these.

The first is having an account and not being active on it. An unused account is worse than no account at all. It makes it appear like your venue is closed down or not in use. If you’re worried about the work load these platforms may bring for coming up with content, don’t.

 

Get on Social media

 

You can create one bit of content and easily share them across all the platforms. You can also schedule in the posts for prime times.

The second mistake a venue marketer might make is to produce low quality content. Your content is a representation of your brand and venue, low quality images and videos will make your venue appear to be sub-par. Invest in high quality equipment and potentially hire an expert to curate your content.

 

8. Follow other venues and key people on social media

 

Benchmarking is a term you should remember. It’s the process of evaluating something by comparison with a standard.

For venue marketing this is simply analysing other venues to see what they are doing on social media, their website and also inside their venue. You can then take these ideas and improve on them further.

The first step is to find all of the best venues in your area or country that are similar to your venue. You can judge their success usually based on their followers count. You can find them venues by searching for hashtags on social media or having a scan of Google.

Once you have found these venues you can follow them on social media, so they appear on your feed.

You could also take benchmarking one step further and physically visit different venues to learn from your own experiences. Customer service for example is difficult to understand from social media alone.

 

9. Respond to comments on social media

 

If you’re posting high quality and engaging content on social media, you should be building a following and also getting lots of engagement in the form of comments.

By being active on social media and responding to comments you can build relationships with your customers that could either lead to repeat business or a higher chance of a referral.

On these platforms you should also be following, liking and commenting on all the different stakeholders of your business, not just other venues. For example, your caterers or musicians. This will build trust and make people feel welcome at your venue.

There is likely to be a time where you will receive negative comments on social media. You can reply to these comments to try and turn them into a positive, at least with publicly showing how you handled such a situation.

Be careful not to get in heated discussions on social media however, as this could be damaging for your brand.

 

10. Only use high-quality photos across your social channels

 

When implementing your venue marketing strategy plan it’s vital that any content you produce is of high-quality.

Your content is a visual representation of your venue’s brand. Anything less than quality will make your venue appear sub-par.

It’s better to have less high-quality content compared to more average quality content. So, don’t worry if you haven’t posted for 4 days. It’s all about the quality.

Invest in good equipment, take your time coming up with ideas and only post once it’s been checked by more than 2 or 3 people.

Here are our tips for producing high-quality content that will increase engagement.

– Good lighting

Good lighting is the secret to high-quality content. Photos and videos love light. Try and take your photos near windows when the sun is at it’s highest.

– Involve people when producing your content

It’s quite easy to produce boring photos of a venue. What do you think will have more engagement? A photo of the inside of your venue with no one in it? Or a photo of your venue with people enjoying your venue and the staff smiling? The latter of course.

Try and include people in your images. There’s scientific evidence that suggests photos and videos that include people get far more engagement.

– Dusk and dawn

This is also known as the golden hour. If you have an outside space, try taking photos as the sun rises or the sun is setting. You can get beautiful and natural shots for your social media. This lighting is a professional’s dream.

 

Dusk castle photo

 

– Be consistent with the quality

When producing your content make sure you’re not tricking your potential customers. Social media involves a lot of misconception.

A pet hate of customers is when a venue looks amazing in photos but in person it’s incredibly disappointing.

Make sure your photos are a fair representation of your venue and keep the quality of your venue to the same standard as your photos.

 

11. Become an Instagram pro

 

Instagram is one of the most visual platforms with the most active users at the moment. It’s perfect for your venue’s marketing.

If you’re looking for free venue marketing ideas, then Instagram is one of the best ways to showcase your venue on social media.

You can upload beautiful photos and videos to your feed and also share behind the scenes on Instagram stories (that only last 24 hours).

You should build a ‘community’ of followers who are a form of fanbase for your venue.

You can also share ‘user-generated’ content on your Instagram as well so the amount of content you can get is limitless.

User-generated content is when a customer takes a photo and uploads it on their Instagram. You can then ask to use this photo on your feed. All you have to do is credit them in the caption.

This is a great way of getting ‘real’ content that can spread far and wide for future bookings for your venue.

 

Instagram venue marketing strategy

 

Instagram is the perfect tool to form a brilliant venue marketing strategy as the channel is incredibly powerful.

The most important ‘space’ on your Instagram is your bio. There’s no point in using Instagram if you don’t capture your visitors in some form or another.

The trick is to include a link in your bio. This can lead to a landing page where they can either make a booking or sign-up to receive more information. Once you have their email address you can target them later on.

 

12. Use Instagram stories and highlights

 

Instagram stories and highlights are slightly different from your feed’s photos. Instagram stories is a useful feature for keeping your followers engaged with your venue.

You can upload to your story which lasts 24 hours. It’s a way of showcasing your day.

The content here is usually different from feeds because they disappear, they don’t need to be as thought out or to the same standard in terms of quality.

Here are some ideas that you could include in your story for your venue:

  • Go behind the scenes and show your followers what goes on behind closed doors that makes your venue what it is. It’s a chance to have fun and show off a bit of personality
  • Get your staff involved. You could show your followers how the food is created in the kitchens (with the intention of showcasing how clean it is)
  • Use your stories to announce news, competition winners and other content not worthy of your feed.


If you have content within your stories that you particularly like. You can save them and add them to your ‘highlight’ reel. This can be access at any time by your followers so only save the best content here.

 

13. Twitter has become cool again

 

Twitter should definitely be included in your venue marketing strategy plan. It’s another free one.

It’s not as visual as the other platforms as the core feature is the ability to write 140 characters of text. The content is also not displayed with images or videos in mind like the other platforms (but you can still add images and photos).

Instead Twitter can be used to share news, updates and other important information your followers may be interested in. It’s a great way to interact with key stakeholders of your venue.

Journalists, bloggers and SEO experts use Twitter a lot so it’s important you follow these types of people on Twitter. It’s a great tool for outreach and asking for press, SEO links and so on.

 

14. Pin your photos on Pinterest

 

Pinterest is another social media platform your venue must be on to form your perfect venue marketing strategy.

New and popular social media platform + A bunch of businesses that are too scared to use it = Big returns for the early adopters.’ Corey Eridon (nextNightclubs.com)

You can ‘pin’ your best photos of your venue to your Pinterest board and link them to your website.

Pins are then re-pinned by other users, which creates an endless marketing cycle for your venue.

 

Pinterest venue marketing strategy

 

Pinterest is particularly powerful for venues because users use Pinterest as a comparison tool. So, if someone is looking for a venue, they are very likely to be comparing more than one venue.

If your venue is a wedding venue, then nailing down your Pinterest marketing strategy is vital. Pinterest’s userbase is mainly made up of females, and you can bet most of them have a wedding board they are pinning venues to.

 

15. Setup snapchat marketing campaigns

 

Snapchat marketing may or may not suit your venue marketing strategy, depending on the type of venue you are and what your target audience is.

Snapchat is mainly used by the younger generation, millennials and gen Z, up to the age of 24.

There are different ways of using Snapchat for your marketing efforts. You can set up Snap ads that can target your exact audience in the form of ads. These ads are shown within people’s content and can get clicks to your website.

Alternatively, you can create your own channel and produce your own content that can be viewed similarly to Instagram stories.

 

Snapchat geo-filter

 

One very unique feature is called ‘branded geo-filters’. This is included in Snapchat ads. You can set a radius around your venue and if anyone takes a snap within that radius, they can apply a filter to their photo or video with your branding. This can then reach their following, spreading your brand’s message.

Whether Snapchat is right or not for your venue, remember this age bracket is going to be the core of your customer base in years to come so it’s a good idea to target them sooner rather than later.

 

16. Be ahead of the curve and try Tik Tok

 

Tik Tok is a relatively new marketing platform that marketers can take advantage of. As its new not many people include it in their venue marketing strategies, but this can be used to your advantage as there is less competition.

What is Tik Tok?

Tik Tok is a simple concept where video creators can create videos where other people can easily scroll and watch them.

It’s kicked off due to the ‘creative filters’ that creators can play with, such as a voice over. The app has also cleverly encouraged ‘trends’ and ‘challenges’ to be at the core of the content.

How can your venue benefit from Tik Tok?

There are ads you can create but it’s too early to know if they are good value or not. Instead, you should experiment with creating your own content infront of your venue or inside your venue that follows the ‘trends’ and ‘challenges’ format of the app.

You can then share these videos across your social platforms for increased engagement and a really good way to showcase your ‘personality’ to your potential customers.

 

Tik tok venue marketing strategy

 

The platform is being used more and more by the 18-30 bracket, so you should get ahead of the curve and add it to your venue marketing plan to reach this demographic.

If your venue is family friendly, Tik Tok is wildly popular with the younger generation. By getting them involved in the challenges and trends you can help nurture future leads.

Remember to include your branding and venue’s hashtags in your posts so you can easily be found and remembered.

 

17. Throw competitions on social media

 

Throwing competitions on your social media is an effective way of gaining more followers, increasing revenue and raising awareness of your venue.

An effective competition concentrates on reach. The purpose of the competition is to reach far and wide which means you want as many people as possible to see it.

The easiest way to ensure this is by including some form of sharing tactic as part of your competition’s terms. An example of this is ‘retweet to enter’ or ‘tag two friends.’

The second most important element to any successful competition is making sure the prize is right. The prize should be really desired by the people the competition reaches and should be relevant to your venue.

Examples of good prizes for a venue competition includes:

  • Free afternoon tea at [insert venue name]
  • Free bottle of champagne at [venue name]
  • Drinks voucher
  • Dinner voucher
  • You can partner with another company and throw a joint competition. For example, if you’re a wedding venue you could give away a wedding dress fitting (supplied by your partner company) accompanied by brunch and bubbles at the venue (supplied by you).

Here are some social media competition ideas you can explore:

– Sweepstake competition – this is a simple competition where the follower has to enter their email address to enter. Remember to communicate that they are opting in to be contacted by you.

 

The Ritz competition

 

– Tag two friends – this works best on Instagram. To enter followers must tag two friends in the comments section. The idea is that these two people will see the competition and potentially tag two of their friends. This can snowball and reach thousands of people.

– Photo hashtag competition – this is a good one if you’re in need of user-generated content for your social media. To enter, users have to upload a photo in your venue and include a unique competition hashtag. Once the competition is over you can search for that hashtag and find all the content that has been submitted. You can then use this content for months to come.

– Survey – this is good competition to run if you need customer feedback. To enter, followers have to complete a short survey.

– Twitter RT – if you want to build your Twitter followers, a good competition to run is one where you ask your followers to follow your account and RT a specific competition Tweet that you wrote. This way you can tap into their followers, where a percentage will follow your Twitter as well.

Whatever the competition is, remember to think about the potential reach. One way of increasing the reach of a competition is to pay for a sponsored post. Facebook and Instagram allow posts to be sponsored so competitions can reach more people.

 

18. Take advantage of hashtags on social media

 

Hashtag marketing strategies can work well for reaching new audiences. The way they work is that users of certain platforms, like Instagram, can search for hashtags and find content that includes that particular hashtag.

First on a spreadsheet, write down 100 relevant hashtags for your venue and industry. The first set should be your hashtags, for example, the name of your venue and the name of your venue + location. For example:

#VenueA #VenueALA #VenueALosAngeles and so on.

The second set should be your industry hashtags. For example, if you’re a wedding venue:

#weddingvenue #weddingspace #weddingfood

The third set should be anything related to your venue and industry that your venue might be a good result for. For example:

#champagne #newlyweds #foodie

When you post content, you should include relevant hashtags. You should also be consistent with them, so you dominate that hashtags search results. For example, if you are a wedding venue in London, every photo of your venue should include #weddingvenuelondon. When a user searches for that hashtag your results shows up more than once, increasing the chances of being clicked.

You should also encourage your customers to use your hashtags in their posts as well. This can be done via competitions and by encouraging them within your venue (aka you could have your hashtag printed on printed material.

 

19. Promote user-generated content

 

User-generated content is an extremely clever way to build your brand, trust, credibility and social proof your venue.

This is where your customers upload content on your behalf that you can use later on.

For example, say your venue can be hired for corporate events. You should encourage the visitors to upload content using a certain hashtag or tag you in it (so you can find them later).

 

User-generated content for venue marketing

 

You can then re-post these pictures or videos on your platform (crediting the person who took it).

This gives you real and authentic content that will social proof your venue because your followers (and theirs) will see other people enjoying your venue.

 

20. Add video marketing to your campaigns

 

Demand for storytelling is increasing rapidly and there’s no better way of telling stories than with video. Video needs to be included in your venue marketing strategy plan if you want your engagement to increase.

Demand is increasing for video because people want authentic stories and videos that are captivating and interesting. We’re advertised to every single minute of every single day so to stand out from ‘boring’ ads, videos can be far more engaging.

Platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Tik Tok have allowed for video to take centre stage. They’re easy to access and accessible by mobile.

With video ads remember to keep them short, as people’s attention span is increasingly short.

 

21. Create Facebook & Instagram paid ads

 

Facebook and Instagram paid ads can be incredibly powerful and effective because the ‘targeting’ advantages on these platforms are the best in the world.

You can simply target down who the ad will appear to incredibly easily, which reduces wastage and saves on cost.

Facebook and Instagram are owned by Facebook so when you create a Facebook ad you can simply bolt on that you want to show them on Instagram as well.

Facebook and Instagram paid ads are a science, but here are some of our best practices:

Understand your target audience

The first step to Facebook and Instagram marketing is understanding who your audience is making sure the filters to your ad campaign are set correctly.

This is where the buying personas of your target audience from your venue marketing strategy plan will come in use. You can choose your audience on Facebook down to their age, interest and relationship status + a lot more.

For example, if you’re a wedding venue you could consider only targeting those people on Facebook who have set their relationship status to ‘engaged’. This could easily be your perfect target audience.

Once you have started running your campaigns you can also run a new ad using a ‘lookalike audience’. This basically creates an audience for you based on the personas of the people who have interacted with your previous ads.

Re-targeting ads

Re-targeting ads is actually the best and most powerful feature of Facebook and Instagram advert marketing.

Have you ever visited a website, left and then seen that website’s offering being advertised to you across all your social channels?

This is called re-targeting.

 

Facebook pixel

 

The way it works is that when you visit a website, you store a ‘cookie’ in the form of a pixel. Platforms such as a Facebook then use this cookie to advertise to you.

The reason they work is because when a visitor goes on your website, they may not be ready to book your venue, or they simply got distracted and left your site.

But because you have re-targeting ads set up, you can continuously advertise to this person again for a period of time (usually 30 days). At a later date that person might be in a better position to actually book your venue.

Policies have become stricter regarding re-targeting ads after numerous data leaks. One example is the introduction of GDPR. It’s good practice to ask the visitor to your website if they will allow cookies, this will avoid any mistrust and future complaints.

 

22. Create geo-targeting ads

 

Geo-targeted ads are paid advertisements that only push to people within a certain radius of your venue. This can be really effective advertising for your venue as a majority of your bookings could come from local buyers.

Bloc, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are examples of platforms that allow for geo-targeted ads.

Effective venue marketing comes down to making the most of your limited marketing budget. By spending on audiences and ads that are most likely to convert, you will make the most of your budget and see better results.

 

23. Become a Google AdWords expert

 

If you needed to book a venue where is the first place you’d look? If you were to ask 100 people that question, we bet the vast majority would probably say Google.

Google search is incredibly effective because it’s the best place for inbound marketing. Aka your customers will find you, rather than you advertising to find your customers.

Google Adwords is a form of paid advertising where you can pay to have your venue’s website as a result at the top of Google for specific keyword phrases.

For example, someone might search for ‘affordable wedding venues in England’. You can pay Google to be at the top of the search results for that search phrase and that visitor can click through to your website.

It’s really easy to set up your campaign. You simply create your ads and then choose the keywords you want to advertise for.

Google’s Keyword Planner and Uber Suggest both suggest keywords you can use and how many people search for them per month. You can also find out the prices for each keyword (the more competitive the keyword, the more it costs to advertise for it).

 

Ubersuggest for venue keywords

 

It’s really important that the keywords you want to advertise for are relevant to your venue. Aka you want your venue to be the perfect result for that keyword as Google Adwords is not that cheap.

There’s no point, for example, of paying for your venue to appear for ‘affordable wedding venues’ when you’re a premium venue that costs a lot. You might get visitors from the ad, but you won’t get many bookings as you’re not what that visitor was looking for.

There’s a lot to Google Adwords, with thousands of different settings. We advise you get your account setup and then speak to a Google sales representative to help you with the technical stuff. They’re really helpful and it’s free.


24. Get handy at SEO

 

As well as Google Adwords you can still appear on Google as a search result without paying for it. This is called SEO, which stands for search engine optimisation.

For you as a venue this comes in two forms:

  1. Normal SEO
  2. Local SEO

Google has different elements to their search results. If you search for ‘wedding venues in London’ you will see their ads at the top, with ‘Ad’ before the title  (which is Google Adwords), underneath that is 3 venues which is local SEO and then underneath that are the normal search results where normal SEO comes in.

There are amazing results to be had if you become an SEO expert in both normal SEO and local SEO. The advantages of both is that there’s a lot of credibility from your visitors if you are at the top of Google.

Normal SEO

To rank on page one of Google under the normal search results you will need to write articles for that specific keyword term and also get backlinks to your website. Backlinks are when another site links to yours giving your website credibility.

You will also need to do on-page SEO which is optimising your site. E.g. making your website mobile friendly, easy to read and quick to load.

 

Local SEO

 

Local SEO

To rank in the top 3 for a specific keyword term you need to optimize your website (for mobile especially), have a Google My Business account and have a ton of online reviews including words from the keyword you want to rank for.

SEO takes time and needs continuous work but the results can be outstanding because most of your website’s traffic will come from Google and it’s free.

 

25. Take advantage of email marketing

 

Booking your venue is unlikely to happen that regularly and most of your bookings will be one-time bookings like weddings. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for email marketing.

First you need to build your email database. Here’s how:

  1. From your WiFi connection. A lot of your visitors will want to join your WiFi, offer them this for free, but if they want to connect, they have to give you their email. Of course, give them the chance to opt in or out of your marketing emails.
  2. From competitions. You can throw competitions and as part of their entry they have to submit their email address.
  3. Create lead magnets and different landing pages on your website. A lead magnet is where you offer something for free in exchange for their contact information. For example, if you allow weddings you could offer a free glass of champagne with a tour if they submit their information.
  4. From forms and quotation forms on your website. Any visitor is likely to want a full quote for their requested booking, make sure you capture their email address in this process.

Once you have a decent email database you can think about what kind of emails you’d like to send out and when.

For example, you could have a database of corporations that could be interested in booking your venue for their Christmas party. This would usually be booked a few months in advance so you could reach out in August/September time.

 

Email venue marketing strategy

 

There are lots of different good email clients out there that can send your email marketing camapaigns, like MailChimp. Make sure you use a client that captures open rates, click rates and opt outs so you know what’s working and what’s not.

Don’t send an email unless it will add concrete value to the person, you’re sending it to. You need a good hook and subject line to engage them.

Avoid spammy emails and make sure it’s personal.

 

26. Create a better email signature

 

As a busy venue you are probably sending out lots of emails to different types of stakeholders every day. Make sure your team are taking advantage of their email signatures.

For example, you could include your new competition in your email signatures, or a request to follow one of your social media channels.

You can keep rotating the content in your email signature so you can drive traffic to different channels and to keep them interesting.


27. Be approachable on LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is a professional platform. Many of your stakeholders and potential customers will be using LinkedIn to connect with other professionals.

It’s online networking and you can leverage it to build relationships with different stakeholders for your venue.

LinkedIn also allows you to upload your blog posts and join in on discussions. So it’s a chance for you to become an expert in your industry.

 

28. Setup Google Alerts

 

Google Alerts are useful as they notify you when your venue and other keyword terms that you choose appear within a piece of content online.

It’s a way of keeping up with who is talking about you and your news.

 

29. Make virtual visualization easier

 

The Coronavirus pandemic is an example as to why it’s important to go virtual.

During this time so many venues struggled to get future bookings because people won’t usually book a venue unless they have seen it first.

 

Virtual tours for venues

 

By giving your visitors or customers the ability to get a ‘virtual tour’ of your venue could be very useful in the future. Even without a pandemic people may be wanting to book your venue from far away (sometimes the case with weddings).

There are different companies and software you can use to set up a virtual tour on your website.

 

Step 3: Explore our traditional marketing medium suggestions

You can use the links below to jump to the section you want to read:

30. Learn in-person influence techniques
31. Become a super venue
32. Develop your venue’s brand identity & culture
33. Develop an internal mantra
34. Kickstart word of mouth
35. Make your venue shine
36. Offer amazing customer service
37. Craft unique experiences
38. Serve great food
39. Show off your staff
40. Dabble in influencer marketing
41. Exchange information, without a dull business card
42. Invite key people for drinks
43. Show and tell stories
44. Network like a boss
45. Grow your referral network
46. Cherish more charities
47. Volunteer in your community
48. Donate leftover event meals to a local shelter
49. Sharing is caring
50. Host an industry workshop
51. Give a gift
52. Thank your referrals
53. Reward the repeats
54. Tackle a trade group leadership role
55. Mentor a newbie
56. Visit a college campus
57. Become friends with your local Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and Tourism Board
58. Piggy-back off 3rd party marketing
59. Offer promotions, coupons and discounts
60. Get fresh off the press
61. Go old school with newspaper ads
62. Get mentioned on the radio
63. Hand out flyers like it’s 1999
64. Put up posters like it’s 2000
65. Showcase your venue on the TV
66. Go to the skies
67. Pop up a billboard
68. Stay on top of trends, like healthy eating and drinking


30. Learn in-person influence techniques

 

As a venue owner you are going to come into contact with a lot of different types of stakeholders of your business.

As you are a venue every single person you come into contact with could be a potential customer.

The first in-person influence technique to learn is to say thank you to all of your current customers and really mean it.

By showing your appreciation you can increase the chance of getting lots of referrals. Sending tokens of appreciation like free gifts to customers is also a good way of building rapport with customers.

 

In-person influences techniques for venue marketing strategies

 

Another technique is to always support your fellow stakeholders. By granting favours and helping other people and businesses you can get future sales by just being thoughtful.

Kindness goes a long way in business and networking. If you’re kind you’re more likely to be trusted, and if you’re trusted you’re more likely to make future sales.

 

31. Become a super venue

 

By becoming a super venue, you can appeal to many different types of customers and therefore not be so reliant on one type of customer.

What’s a super venue?

A super venue is one that can host many different types of events. A super venue usually has lots of different options for spaces and use of those spaces.

For example, a super venue could have two outdoor areas, front and back for receptions and garden parties. In your main room you could create the opportunity to install a stage, this opens up your main room to be able to host award events, music gigs and so on.

It’s not just the number of spaces your venue has, but also the options available for those spaces.

The next step is to then have different landing pages on your website for each option so your visitors can easily filter their search to what they want.

 

super venue marketing

 

You should also do a profit and loss analysis as you want your venue to be booked for the most profitable events.

For example, weddings are usually in the spring and summer so your venue shouldn’t be booked in those times for non-wedding events as weddings usually bring in the most revenue.

 

32. Develop your venue’s brand identity & culture

 

Your venue is a brand and you have to have a character, identity and culture for your venue marketing strategy plan.

Your venue culture is the kind of experience you want to offer at your venue and should be built upon the customers you’re targeting.

For example, if your venue is a high-end space that targets corporate conferences and parties then your culture and brand identity should be built with a corporate, high-end appeal. This would probably include high-end glassware, staff in waistcoats and impeccable service, to name but a few.

Be consistent with your brand identity and culture, from what happens within the walls of your venue and also in all of your marketing that you do.

 

33. Develop an internal mantra

 

An internal mantra is a relatively new concept to any venue marketing strategy plan.

Your unique mantra is a sentence or paragraph that explains why your venue exists, explains what your venue does the best and frameworks what makes your venue different from your competitors.

An internal mantra refers to being internal because it’s for your business and your staff to recall, it’s not reported to the public or your customers.

You need to make the statement extremely clear as to what you want your venue to achieve. Once you know this and your staff are trained on it, you will find that your customers will want to book your venue because this is the product they want to buy.

 

Staff internal mantra

 

Here’ an example of an internal mantra for your venue marketing strategy:

‘’Venue A’ exists to deliver the best wedding receptions in London’

If this internal mantra is made clear to your staff from the start of their training that this is your mantra and the objective you need to accomplish, they can get motivated with helping make this a reality.

 

34. Kickstart word of mouth

 

Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing mediums there is.

Before you do any paid marketing, you need to ask yourself whether your venue is worthy of word of mouth. Aka are people going to refer your venue to other people because of its quality, price and overall service.

If the answer to that is no, then before spending on marketing you should invest in your venue to make sure it is. It will save you thousands in the long run and you’ll be able to decrease your marketing cost if leads and bookings are coming for free from referrals.

There is a good trick in finding out how truly worthy your venue is and that is by asking your customers who have booked your venue or attended one simple question:

Out of 10, how likely are you to recommend [insert venue]?

You could incentivise your customers in answering that question by offering something in return (such as 15% off their next booking).

Once you have the average of this score you will know whether people would recommend your venue or not. If your score is below 7 then you know you have work to do.

 

35. Make your venue shine

 

First impressions are everything and the first impression your potential customers are going to get are most likely going to be from photos online.

To make sure your venue looks amazing online you need to take high-quality photos, make sure your venue is sparkling clean and improve the overall look of your venue, especially from the outside.

You should have summer photos where the light is amazing, lawns freshly mowed and flowers blooming.

If you’re taking photos of the inside, make sure you do so with brand new furniture and amazing décor.

 

Peckforton Castle Cheshire

 

Don’t ever disappoint your customers with cleanliness when they actually visit either. Consistency is important, don’t disappoint them with amazing photos online and then be disappointing in person.

Featured walls and décor can also be very effective for getting user-generated photos and for photo ops.

Make your venue shine and you’ll see your positive reviews soar.

 

36. Offer amazing customer service

 

Customer service is as important as the walls of your venue. It’s the foundation of good marketing and customer service should always be impeccable.

Think about it. How many times have you been to the most amazing venues and the whole experience was ruined because of how long you had to wait at the bar?

For some reason customer service or lack thereof seems to stick in the minds of customers. You can look at reviews, positive or negative and in most reviews’ customer service will be mentioned.

Make sure your customer service at your venue is impeccable. Train all of your staff and drill down how important this is. Make it part of your culture to have amazing customer service.

Customer service starts from the booking request and ends after the customer has had their event.

Work out what good customer service means to your customers and check reviews as to whether yours is good enough or not.

 

37. Craft unique experiences

 

The more memorable your customer’s experience is at your venue, the more likely they are going to recommend your venue or re-book in the future.

By crafting unique experiences, you can increase the chances of your customers truly remembering their experience forever.

This is basic concept Disneyland is built on.

 

Crafting unique experiences for venue marketing

 

Building unique experiences to form part of your venue marketing strategy plan is easier said than done, as differentiating your venue from others can be difficult.

One way is partnering with different vendors that supply unique experiences. People booking your venue can then add these on as part of their package.

Use Google to find vendors in your area. Think crazy circus acts, cocktail fountains, celebrity guest appearances and so on.

 

38. Serve great food

 

The reputation of the food you serve could make or break your venue.

So many events are booked based on the quality of the food. Customers will first check your reviews to see what people are saying about the food you served, so make sure you’re getting positive reviews.

If you offer pre-event tasting, then make sure the customer service is memorable as well.

Here are the standards you need to abide to, to make sure your reviews are positive:

  1. Serve delicious tasting food
  2. Have a diverse menu, but not too broad so you lose quality
  3. Have all the necessary options available including vegan options, gluten free and child friendly food if suitable
  4. Make sure the portion sizes are fair
  5. Make sure the food is served on time (and hot)
  6. Timing is everything, if there are necessary events like speeches between courses, time the food to perfection
  7. Serve the food with a smile and make sure the service is brilliant

 

39. Show off your staff

 

Your staff are an extension of your venue and your brand. Invest in their training and make sure they fit in with the culture of your venue.

As we’ve mentioned before, customer service is vital to be able to execute a successful venue marketing strategy plan and this is where your staff come in.

Take pride in your staff and show them off to your followers on social media. Your followers want stories so get your staff involved in your marketing. Where does the chef come from and what’s his or her story? A waiter has just achieved something at university, show this off and people will appreciate you taking pride in your staff.

 

Show off your staff

 

Your staff can help with curating a positive experience for your guests which will lead to positive reviews. Hire the right people and it will pay dividends in the future.

Anyone who is customer facing i.e. waiters, bar staff and reception staff should be friendly, charismatic and kind.

 

40. Dabble in influencer marketing

 

Influencer marketing is an effective medium to use as part of your venue marketing plan. The strategy involves people with a large following promoting your venue on their channels.

There are two ways you can implement influencer marketing. The first is by reaching out to influencers and the second is by encouraging your customers to become micro-influencers.

Let’s take a look at each form of influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing outreach

Influencer marketing can work better than standard ads as influencers can be more persuading than an ad that comes from you. An influencer has curated trust with their followers.

The first step in influencer outreach is to make a long list of influencers in your niche. If you’re a wedding venue look for influencers or celebrities who have been with the partner for 2-5 years who aren’t married yet.

Once you have your list you can start thinking about what kind of deal you could make with these influencers. An example could be offering 20% off your venue in exchange for press articles and Instagram mentions.

 

Influencer venue marketing strategy

 

The final step is to reach out to these influencers when the timing is perfect. In this example the perfect time would be once they have just got engaged.

Customers into micro-influencers

This form of marketing can be super successful if leveraged correctly. Every one of your customers and guests is likely to have a following of some sort or another. Even if they only have 100 followers, that’s 100 followers you could tap into.

The easiest way to encourage your customers to post about your venue is to simply inform them that you can be found on Instagram (and your other channels) and to use your hashtags that you have suggested. You could even leave hints of the hashtags to use around your venue, if done tastefully.

 

41. Exchange information, without a dull business card

 

Business cards, although traditional, are quite outdated and to be quite frank, boring. A seriously high percentage of business cards get binned or completely forgotten about.

You want your venue marketing strategy plan to stand out from your competition so try and make things interesting where you can and business card printing is chance to do just that.

Try and make your business card interesting, whether that’s what it looks like, feels like or even smells like. Differentiate yours from the boring ones out there.

The world is also advancing at an exponential rate in terms of technology. People are moving away from business cards and using apps or websites to exchange information quickly.

There are certain types of people that love that sort of technology so be prepared and have a profile on one or two. Then you can use your judgement to differentiate those who like it old school from technologically enthusiasts and be ready to impress both types.

 

42. Invite key people for drinks

 

You have an amazing venue with a bar or two so take advantage of this setup with different stakeholders.

Inviting people to your venue will not only give you the opportunity to impress them first-hand with what your venue is all about, but you’ll also be able to show kindness by offering food and drink on the house.

Some of the best deals you’ll make will be by just simply inviting people to your venue and offering them a drink.

 

43. Tell stories

 

Whether in person or online, make sure you can tell the story of your venue, your brands story and even your own story in a compelling way that will captivate your audience.

People love stories and they are great medium for engaging your audience and actually making them connect to your brand.

 

Storytelling as a venue marketing strategy

 

Practice how you are telling your stories and continuously improve them.

 

44. Network like a boss

 

As your venue is a local establishment networking is key for a successful execution of your venue marketing strategy. You can find leads through networking, find suppliers and other types of stakeholders that could really help your business grow.

The first step is to Google any venue industry type of events, there are hundreds around the world. Make sure you’re on the guestlist and go there with an open mind.

The key to good networking is to also step outside of your comfort zone and don’t just stick to your industries events. Anyone out there could be a potential lead for your venue depending on what events you host, so try different types of networking events and you’ll never know who you’ll meet.

Make sure you get people’s contact details and always follow up with a ‘really nice to meet you’ email, even if it doesn’t lead to a booking, you never know what you might need someone for in the future.

 

45. Grow your referral network

 

As far as venue marketing strategies go, referrals are incredibly important. They are usually free and once you have a good network, your marketing will be plain sailing.

Building up a good referral network takes time so be patient. This will organically happen if you have your venue marketing strategy implemented perfectly and your service is close to perfect too.

The better your offering, the more likely people will refer your venue. It really is as simple as that. Invest in your venue and service first, and your referral network will grow organically.

You can help your referral network grow along the way by making more meaningful connections with your customers and other stakeholders. By building rapport and trust with your customers, during and after their event, you will increase the chances of referrals.

 

Grow referral network

Try giving something away as a gesture of good will and kindness. For example, if you’re a wedding venue you could always surprise the happy couple by giving them a gift yourself.

Taking the time to nurture and befriend your customers will lead to more referrals and a decrease in marketing costs in the future.

 

46. Cherish more charities

 

Many events are thrown by charities or with charities in mind, such as fundraisers.

You should partner with some of your local charities so that your venue can be used for some of their events. Charities will also have many different partners that could also use your venue with an introduction via the charity.

The easiest way to ensure bookings this way is by offering discounts for charities or fundraising events. This is also an indirect way of giving yourself, so it’s win-win.

 

47. Volunteer in your community

 

As well as cherishing more charities, you could even volunteer in your community. You never know who you might meet in your community and remember, everyone is a potential customer.

Volunteer at your kids’ school, arrange a litter pick or simply get involved with local sports teams in some format.

 

48. Donate leftover event meals to a local shelter

 

If your venue serves food, then it’s not always easy to reduce wastage to zero. It’s likely you will have left over meals at some point in your venue’s life.

By donating to your local shelter or getting on an app like Karma you can do your bit for society, the planet and also make meaningful connections as well.

Your customers will really appreciate this aspect to your business as we move in a green direction.

 

Food waste apps

 

Someone may be on the fence about booking your venue but seeing that all the food gets given to a shelter might be the kicker that makes them book. It’s worth implementing so your venue gets chosen over another.

 

49. Sharing is caring

 

The key to a successful venue marketing strategy plan is ensuring organic reach. The further your marketing reaches organically (aka free), the more leads you will get.

You need to make sure all of your content (social media and blog posts) can easily be shared by fans. You need to make sure your competitions have organic reach in mind and also make it easy for people to refer your venue.

This can be as simple as having an easy website or venue name to remember. If your customers forget the name of your venue easily then that could be a potential issue.

 

50. Host an industry workshop

 

You have the space to be able to host events, so when you have nothing on try hosting an industry workshop.

This involves hosting a talk with an expert or multiple expert in your local area. These experts should be experts in your niche e.g. the wedding industry.

The next step is to invite your customers and tap into their network as well by making sure they are invited. You can give away tickets in your competitions or offer them for free, however you want to get people there make sure it’s a full house.

 

Venue marketing strategy workshop

 

The purpose of these types of events is to build relationships and network with different people in your niche.

 

51. Give a gift

 

Giving a meaningful gift to your customers, staff or other stakeholders in your community can work really well for securing referrals or building relationships.

The trick behind gift giving is making the effort to learn about who you’re giving a gift to and working out what they would really like.

If for example, the person who has booked your venue has dropped into conversation that they are yoga enthusiasts, you could buy them a yoga course somewhere. Partnering up with a yoga studio could also open you up to a whole new client base.

 

52. Thank your referrals

 

If you received a referral from one of your previous customers, give them a call and give them a special thank you and or even give them a gift.

This will increase the chances of them referring even more people in the future.

A lot of your bookings or customers will come from word of mouth and referrals, so just like a fire, keep adding wood to it so it can keep burning brightly.

 

53. Reward the repeats with a form of loyalty programme

 

If your venue could be booked more than once in a year from the same customer, then you could consider a loyalty program to ensure just that.

This wouldn’t necessarily work if you’re a wedding venue for example, as this type of customer would hopefully only be getting married once.

A loyalty programme can be created in many forms, here are some examples:

  • Get 50% off your 3rd booking in 2020
  • Book [venue a] twice this year and receive 20% off your food bill

Be aware that loyalty programmes are a form of discount or promotion and they could eat into your profits. So only use them if you’re struggling to get booked out.

 

Influencer loyalty program

 

An alternative type of loyalty programme involves influencers and your social media. You could offer something in return for a certain number of posts from that visitor. Here is an example:

  • Mention [venue a] in an Instagram post 5 times and receive a free champagne brunch


You can find your influencers via Instagram or just simply through your customer based. Find people who have already mentioned your venue more than once and approach them on those platforms.

 

54. Take an industry leadership role

 

There are many venue industry associations, trade organisations and trade shows that you could potentially take a leadership role at.

There are usually committees and if you could place yourself on one or two of those then you could bring a lot of trust and free discoverability for your venue.

It will also allow you to tap into a whole new pool of contacts and therefore potential leads. Do a quick Google search and see what’s out there and also look locally. Study the requirements and get applying.

 

55. Mentor a newbie

 

There’s nothing more rewarding than mentoring a student or newbie in the venue and event industry.

Try taking someone under your wing so you can nurture them and train them in line with your exact culture at your venue. This will reduce staff turnover and also benefit your venue in the long wrong as you’ll have the best employees which is a huge competitive advantage.

Where to find young blood that’s willing to learn? Try university campuses.

 

56. Visit a college campus

 

Speaking in front of a lecture hall full of students can seem pretty daunting, but it’s really worth it!

 

Venue marketing strategy talk at university

 

You can teach and inspire students about entering the venue and hospitality space. This can be good for future recruitment, leads and raise the status of your venue’s profile.

 

57. Become friends with your Tourism Board, local Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors’ Bureau

 

When it comes to implementing your venue marketing strategies, you need to make sure you’ve covered absolutely everything in your local area.

This includes being in every local business directory, community calendars, local media outlets, tourism board, local chamber of commerce and the visitor’s bureau.

If you’re unsure where to find everything, try your local library.

Every city will have their own unique tools available that you could tap into. The local people in your city need to know that your venue exists, what type of events you host and what you’re all about.

 

58. Piggy-back off 3rd party marketing

 

Your venue will have a long list of stakeholders. List them all down and try and find ones where you could piggyback of their marketing.

For example, you should have a long list of suppliers who help keep your venue running. As you are buying from them, it will be in their interest to keep you sweet.

Reach out and see what marketing they do and ask if you could potentially be mentioned in some format or another.

Your alcohol suppliers will have their own list of different clients and will be marketing to them somehow. See if you can get a mention in their monthly newsletter or partner with them for social media purposes.

 

59. Offer promotions, coupons and discounts

 

When forming your venue marketing plan offering promotions and discounts should be used with caution and only be done when you have exhausted all other mediums.

It’s vital you maintain the reputation of your venue so if you constantly have ‘offers’ on you could damage your brand and make your venue appear to be cheap. Devaluing your value proposition is not the way to go.

However, we never know what’s aound the corner and Coronavirus is a testament to that. Sometimes you will need to use promotions and discounts to increase bookings in slow quarters.

If you do have to resort to them, use them strategically and here’s a few best practices for how to do just that.

Use social media

There’s no point in offering a promotion if your visitors don’t know about it. You can subtlety mention promotions on your social media. Plug the promotion across your best channels and make sure it’s super shareable.

Consider using 3rd parties

There are thousands of different discount or promotional websites you could list your venue on if there’s a discount. If you’re super desperate you could try a website like Groupon.

 

Venue on Groupon

 

The best way to use such sites is to only offer a limited number of bookings just to get the word out. Remember that such sites usually take a large percentage of the revenue so use with caution.

Create a sense of urgency

The best trick to ensuring your promotions work is by creating a sense of urgency. For example, try a “limited time special offer” around certain slow months. For example:

Special offer of 25% off [venue x] if you book in the next month (only valid for booking January-March).

The urgency is created because they have to book in the next month, and you can decide when that offer is valid for.

Competitions

Throwing contents is a great trick for offering a promotion without damaging your brand by making it appear cheap. Your ‘prices’ can remain the same keeping your reputation intact, but the promotion comes in the form of a prize.

For example, your competition’s prize could be 10% off your venue’s booking for newlyweds. To enter the competition, they have to submit their email and contact details. The T+C’s could mention this 10% can’t be used in the busy summer months.

Themes

Your promotions and discounts could be distributed around themes. You should write down every single holiday there is (for example Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s day).

In the lead up to these holidays you can create promotions based on their themes. For example, Valentine’s day you could offer a package for love birds.

 

60. Get fresh off the press

 

Some consider press as the holy grail of venue marketing. ‘Once you’ve managed to get in national press you’ve made it’, some may say. Although press can certainly help your marketing efforts it’s by no means the best medium for venue marketing in 2020.

Consumers now want their news in many different formats. Social media has changed the distribution of news for better or worse. You could get in a national newspaper for example and find that you get zero bookings because of it. You need to think about your audience and where they are consuming their news.

If you want to launch a press campaign you need to have two venue marketing strategies, one will be for national press and the other for local press.

The first step is building your press contact list and working on building relationships with different journalists. This is the easiest avenue into getting your venue mentioned in press.

You then need to come up with press releases or stories that are newsworthy. This is the tricky part, as let’s be honest, unless a grade 1 listed venue gets burned down by a royal, it’s unlikely to make front page news.

 

Press venue marketing strategy plan

 

Here are some ideas that might get you published in local and national news:

  1. Win awards. It’s easy for writers to cover award ceremonies and winners. Look for industry related competitions and try this avenue.
  2. If you have celebrities attending your venue regularly, you could work an angle where your venue gets mentioned. For example, if a celebrity is pictured arriving or leaving your venue, you could try and get a mention there.
  3. Try a marketing technique called ‘Purple cow’. The idea is that the spin is so outrageous that journalists can’t help but write about it. Imagine if there was a purple cow in a field, it stands out, you can’t ignore it. For example, your venue could buy the most expensive bottle of red wine in your country. If someone buys it you can then get the press to cover it.

If you do manage to get covered by the press, make sure you shout about it across all your social media channels so you can extend the reach even further.

 

61. Go old school with newspaper ads

 

Newspaper ads have become far cheaper now because the demand has decreased. You should explore this avenue in your local paper especially.

Think of an engaging ad and put a unique phone number or contact information in the ad so you can see if it’s working or not.

You could even explain to the publisher that you don’t trust it will work, and that you want to try it using this method. If it doesn’t work, then at least you wouldn’t have spent much, and you can explore other mediums. If it works, then you can work out the acquisition cost based on how many bookings you got vs how much you spent.

 

62. Get mentioned on the radio

 

Like newspaper ads, radio ads are becoming more affordable. Your local radio stations might be worth exploring.

Pair your radio ad with a promotion or hook so you can see how many bookings you get vs how much you spend.

 

63. Hand out flyers like it’s 1999

 

A lot of your business is going to come from local customers.

As no one really hands out leaflets anymore, if you’re handed a leaflet on the street, you’ll almost find it strange and take far more notice of it.

Back in 1999 leaflet drops and handouts were so popular they got put in the bin straight away as people received so many.

 

Hand out flyers

 

Handing out leaflets is also a good chance to connect with potential customers and show off your personality.

It might be worth a try, so don’t be shy about giving it a go. Leaflets are cheap so you have nothing to lose.

 

64. Put up posters like it’s 2000

 

Posters showing off your beautiful venue is another way of drawing in customers locally.

There are going to be hundreds of different places you could put up a poster in your city or town. Think bus stops, libraries, community centres, universities and so on.

The secret here is approaching as many different places as you can and use it as a networking opportunity. By asking people if you could put up a poster is an ice breaker for potentially finding a new pool of leads.

 

65. Showcase your venue’s marketing on the TV

 

Unfortunately, TV advertising is still incredibly expensive if you want to go down the paid advertising route and this is probably unrealistic for your venue and budget.

However, there is a clever way of getting on TV without spending a dime. Simply get in touch with film and TV studios and let them know that your space is available for hire (at a discount if you get a mention).

Reality TV shows and even films need locations, get your venue on their list of possible places.

 

66. Go to the skies

 

As we’re starting to run out of ideas, we can go slightly more farfetched.

If you have an interest in flying or have a friend who does, then an amazing way to advertise locally is with sky banners and sky writing.

 

Sky writing

 

If you can somehow arrange this (within budget) then you’re pretty much guaranteed to make the news and get people talking.

 

67. Pop up a billboard

 

Billboards are similar to posters, but they are usually much, much bigger.

A cleverly placed billboard showing off your venue could lead to hundreds of leads. Just think about location and purchase acquisition cost before you commit.

 

68. Stay on top of trends, like healthy eating and drinking

 

When you’re implementing your venue marketing strategy plan you always need to be on top of the trends. You can take advantage of them and see really strong results.

Healthy options

People care about their health more than ever now. More and more people are going vegan, gluten-free is popular and people are drinking less.

Make sure your venue has all of these types of customers in mind when marketing and within your customer service.

You need good vegan options; an alcohol-free drink selection and you need to let your customers know in your marketing that these are available.

Go Local

Another trend (and rightfully so) that’s popular at the moment is how we treat our planet. More and more people want venues to go green, and this is imperative for your venue’s brand reputation.

 

Healthy mocktails

 

By using local suppliers, you can reduce transport emissions and costs in the long run. And you will have happy customers once you advertise that you go local too.

These are all of our venue marketing strategy ideas that you can try out and see if they work 3or you. Some will work and some won’t, but you won’t know until you’ve tried.

Once you have tried a medium it’s imperative that you test and analyse the results.

 

Step 4: Implement, test and analyse results

There’s no point in spending money on your venue’s marketing unless you know exactly what’s going on with the results.

The first step is deciding upon what a conversion is to you. Is a conversion someone booking your venue? Or is a conversion a drink sale at your bar? Write all of these down for your venue as you need to use these for working out what marketing is working and what marketing is not.

If for example a conversion to you is someone booking your venue, then this is all quite straight forward. You just need to track each medium and there are some powerful tools to do just that.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is incredibly powerful. It can break down exactly where the traffic to your site has come from and let you know your conversion rates.

The easiest way to do this is to implement a booking form on your website. Once they have submitted the booking form they should land on a ‘thank you’ page. On this thank you page should be a pixel that you can use to measure conversions.

For example, if someone visits your website from the link in your Instagram bio and books your venue, Google Analytics can show you this conversion. This is because you had the conversion pixel implemented on the thank you page.

 

Google Analytics conversion

 

This is one very basic example, but you need to set up every single medium so you can track the actual conversion rate and cost.

Another example is if you have Facebook ads set up. You can measure with a pixel how successful your ads are. If you spend £100 on Facebook ads and get two bookings, then your cost per customer is £50. If you had 1000 website visitors from that £100 and got two bookings, then your conversion rate is 0.2%.

You want your conversion rate to be as high as possible and your cost per booking to be as low as possible.

You’ll find that some mediums are harder to track, like word of mouth and referrals. So, you should also have a monthly stat of marketing budget spent vs number of bookings. You’ll have some data where you know for a fact (via the pixel) that certain mediums were responsible for those conversions, and then you can take those off the total amount of conversions. You know that those were probably free conversions.

Every month you really need to dig into your data to get important stats to work out whether your marketing is working or not and most importantly that the cost of marketing is worth it.

We wish you and your venue all the success in the future. If you have any questions or just want to say hello then please email us at [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.

About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast