In a competitive industry, marketing venues is anything but easy. To get your venue known, build your brand, demonstrate value and remain profitable, you need a solid marketing strategy, a strong digital presence, and offline techniques for getting the word out about your business.
In this article we’ll explain how to craft your strategy, and provide seven easy best practices that will help you build your online presence and then market your venue locally using events and partnerships.
In this article:
- Building your venue marketing strategy
- Online venue marketing best practices
- Offline venue marketing best practices
Building Your Venue Marketing Strategy
Marketing your venue is hard work. It will require time, dedication, and a budget. Before you get started, take the time to formulate a clear strategy that will guide your efforts. Follow the steps below and create a working document with your findings and realizations.
- Audience: Who is your venue intended for? What types of events do you want to market?
- Unique Value Proposition: What is special about your venue? What do you offer that other venues cannot?
- Product: What do you offer as part of your package? It can be just the venue, the venue plus added services like catering or content, or even live events you host yourself.
- Price: How do you price your services relative to competition? Are you on the high end or the low end? How do you justify your pricing and ensure profitability?
- Promotion: What methods do you intend to use to promote your venue - networking, word of mouth, traditional advertising, your website, online advertising?
- Goals and KPIs: What are your goals, and which simple Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can you define, and measure to evaluate your success? For example, your goal might be to close 30 events with at least 100 attendants each in the next financial year.
Best Practices for Venue Marketing: Online
Make Your Venue Easily Discoverable
The easier it will be for people to find your venue online, the more business you will get:
- The first stage is ensuring your website appears on Google, at least for your venue name and very specific local searches you are highly relevant for.
- Set up your Google Business account and learn about local search best practices.
- List yourself on event listing sites like EventUp, PeerSpace and VenueBook (or other sites applicable to your industry or location).
- List yourself on local aggregator sites such as Yelp and TrueLocal.
- Ensure you have a working phone book listing, and define your venue as a destination on Waze and other navigation apps used by your audience.
- Let people book their rides straight on your website! You can integrate our web widget so attendees can book (or pre-book) their rides as they RSVP for the event. From taxis, to public transport and more, they'll be able to choose the option that meets their needs in a few clicks.
Build a Proper Website
- Attractively conveys your brand, Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and product features
- Has professional, compelling photography of your venue.
- Is updated with the latest details of your services, location and pricing (if relevant).
- Is compatible with SEO—check similar websites built with the same platform and see if they are indexed and appear on Google for their own brand and basic local search terms.
Mobile apps are a simple and effective way for engaging guests from the moment they search for a hotel until after their stay. This can help reinforce the organization’s loyalty or rewards program. Moreover, the app can collect useful information such as type of request, usage frequency or even popular menu items for management to leverage on this information to improve their guest service.
Do Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The following best practices will give you at least basic visibility on Google and other search engines:
- Ensure you have a separate page with a separate URL for each one of your products, offerings or events.
- Use a tool to perform keyword research and find one highly relevant keyword for each of your pages.
- Ensure each page contains the keyword, both in SEO metadata and actual page content.
- Provide a crystal clear answer to the question searchers are asking for - for example, if the search is “venue for business events”, explain why you’re a great place for business events. Don’t talk about other things on that page.
Build links to your site from event listing websites and do some basic PR to get mentions and links from local and event publications.
Best Practices for Venue Marketing: Offline
Host your own events
A great way to market your venue, especially when starting out, is to host your own events. Depending on the nature of your offering, you can host an event with live music, a networking event for your current customers and partners, or a VIP party for decision makers at organizations you want to target. The event will spread the word about your venue and allow people to experience your offering.
Partner with event industry vendors, ticket providers and event planners
Create relationships with businesses who are on the lookout for venues, or whose services are highly complementary to yours. These can be caterers, suppliers of AV equipment, photographers, MCs, or DJs. Become a viable option for event organizers who sell tickets and need a place to host their events, as well as event planners in your industry.
Co-host a well known event
Offer your space at low or no cost to an event creator who has an existing audience. Hosting a great, well-known event in your space can shed a positive light on your brand and expose it to a new audience, which you otherwise would not have access to. As you build your brand, try to attract popular events and share revenue, leveraging your own audience.
It’s not always easy to be seen, especially when there is so much competition out there. However, the best practices above are a good start to get you on your way to a successful venue marketing strategy. The key is to be active and provide as many opportunities as possible for potential customers to sample what you have to offer. We’re confident that if you follow these best practices and invest time and creativity, you’ll carve out a market share for your venue in the local economy and beyond.