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There are so many benefits to serving couples, whether they book with you or not, in this way because it is a form of lead-capturing. Your venue may not be the best fit for every couple that walks through your doors or lands on your website for various reasons – maybe you are outside of their budget or they want modern and your venue offers rustic chic? Even if your venue is not who they book for their wedding day, serving them well will create a lasting impression on them.
If your venue hosts other events like for instance a date night, you can send them an invite because you captured their email address when they downloaded your free offering. So even though they didn’t book a wedding, they can still purchase a ticket to different events at your venue. Also, they can suggest you to their friends who may be a perfect fit for your venue simply because you treated them incredibly well and served them regardless of booking with you or not.
You will have two basic types of follow-up sequences that you will run depending on the type of email you receive whether it’s an initial inquiry or after a tour. Each one will be a series of personalized emails designed to help the couple in their planning process, and also show your expertise in the wedding industry. I walk through the wording of how I structure my emails step by step in the podcast episode linked below.
If you have an initial inquiry come in, the welcome sequence you built should kick in immediately. This sequence is a further extension of the journey your website has already taken the couple on before they got to the actual act of sending you a request for more information. If you are not sure what I am referring to here, this episode will walk you through step by step how to build your own welcome sequence.
After you have given your couple a tour of your venue, you will want to trigger the follow-up email sequence you built for tours. This sequence will look very similar to the welcome sequence above, however, the wording will be more tailored to building up the tour you just gave them.
For either type of follow-up, you will want to build out your funnel to contain at least 3-5 follow-up emails with valuable content. Anything less than this is not truly serving your couple. Your goal should be to provide them with excellent content and service via email whether they book with you or not. Because down the road, you may have other opportunities to share with them, and their experience with you in the beginning matters.
Within this follow-up sequence, in email 2 or 3, you want to start asking for the sale. I see quite often that clients of mine are afraid to ask for the sale, and this is simply dropping the ball and won’t help your venue grow! Asking for the sale is critical to booking more couples, and there are ways to do it that don’t sound pushy or salesy. You can actually build in a sense of urgency when you follow up with couples who have toured your place with language such as:
“Hi _______, it was really great meeting you in person and spending time with you during the tour. I know we talked about July 26th being your wedding date, and I have three tours this weekend who are all looking for summer bookings. Because I have been working with you first I just wanted to reach out and see if you were still interested in that date? As you know, we do not hold any dates without a deposit and signed contract, so please let me know as soon as possible if you want to book July 26th and I’ll get the paperwork sent to you right away.”
Also, asking for the sale doesn’t have to mean asking them to book with you. You can ask for the sale by asking them to book a tour. If you are a boutique venue that only has 10 weddings per year and you need to vet your couples to make sure they are a good fit for you and you for them, then make sure you ask for the booking of a tour to see who is serious and who isn’t.
Not everyone has the time to build out a follow-up sequence, and I get that! There are amazing professionals who do this type of thing for a living and they are so much faster and accurate at it than if we were to fumble our way through learning along the way. So if this is something you can afford and free you up to spend your time on things that are more important to you, then outsource. However, if you are just getting started and want to do more hands-on learning of the various areas of running your venue business, then I would wait to outsource until you are open for a while.
There are benefits to both so it really depends on the season you are in as a business and how much you know already. However you implement it, just make sure you have a solid follow-up process in place and watch the impact it will have on your business!
For more helpful tips on growing your venue business, check out more episodes of The Venue Podcast!