As you start to plan for your events business in 2020, it’s time to take a good look at your marketing activity and make some crucial changes that will help you drive more business.

If you’re not doing marketing, you’re not going to get found by new customers or your repeat customers because it’s how they either find you in the first place or how you stay top of mind with them. The time has come to ramp up your activities if you want to drive new or repeat business. We’ve created the following plan that will help you become a marketing master in 2020.

Step 1: Use the right marketing tools

Let’s start with the types of tools you should be using, beginning with those included in your Tripleseat account.

  • Lead form link: You can use the link to your lead form just about everywhere — put it on your website and emails and social media posts about private dining. Create different lead forms for each marketing tool so you can track which source sends you the most inquiries.
  • Lead form link on Facebook: You can add a button that says Book Now right below your Facebook cover photo and link it to your lead form. Check out these instructions on how to customize the button, and use your Tripleseat lead form link as the website link you want the button to promote.
  • VENUES by Tripleseat: Our venue directory is a great way to promote your private event space, and we’ve made recent updates to the site to make it even easier for prospects to find information and for your venue to spotlight your space and amenities.

Email is a very effective marketing tool to drive new or repeat event business to your venue. And it’s a primary way to reach customers. Tripleseat provides integrations with three email service providers: Constant Contact, Fishbowl, and MailChimp. Your Tripleseat contact list will sync with these tools, allowing you to easily market to your event customers. You can find details about those integrations and other marketing partners at tripleseat.com/marketplace.

Social media isn’t going away. It plays an important role in driving customers to your venue. The hospitality industry and its customers use Facebook and Instagram the most, so that’s where your business needs to be. Facebook is the place for news, updates, videos, photos — any business that shares a good mix of information about their venue plus interesting posts that will delight their customers will thrive there. Instagram is where you show your creative side with photos, graphics, and videos that tell the visual story of how you do what you do, and give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your journey.

Step 2: Send, post, and promote

Now that you’ve selected the tools you’re going to use for marketing, take some time to plan the types of content you’re going to create for each tool.

The key with Tripleseat’s tools is to use the links and promote them regularly:

  • Lead form link: Start by adding the lead form link to your website, and then create a private events page with a link to your lead form. Send emails and create social media posts that talk about private events and include the lead form link.
  • VENUES by Tripleseat: Make your profile stand out by including high-resolution photos. Don’t forget to include a description of what your venue offers for private events, add your website link, and fill out all of the categories and amenities that your venue provides. Post links to your profile in emails and social media posts.

When it comes to email marketing, it may be a relief to know that less is more. You don’t have to write a long email when promoting your events business. The formula for a great email is simple:

  • Compelling subject line
  • 1-3 pieces of content
  • Use images
  • Link to your lead form or private events page
  • Send at least once or twice a month

The content you share on Facebook and Instagram should be informative and entertaining without being too salesy. It’s easier than you think — all you have to do is consider how your post can provide value to the customer. Here are a few ideas:

  • Go live on Facebook or Instagram and give a tour, interview an employee, or show how your chefs create your food
  • Use photos or video to highlight items on your menu, the decor of your private dining rooms, or your staff
  • Share text and visuals about holidays, graduations, corporate events and what your venue provides for clients
  • Post at least once a day but don’t flood the feed

Step 3: Measure, track, and improve

This last step is crucial to the success of your marketing initiatives. If you don’t check in to see what kind of results you’re getting, you’re wasting your time trying every last trick in the book, throwing it out there to an unknown audience, and hoping it brings in some revenue. Start by creating a spreadsheet and track your results monthly. As you move through the year, you’ll have a better idea of the progress you’re making with your marketing initiatives.

Creating a lead form for each marketing tool or campaign is an easy way to track how your marketing efforts are doing in Tripleseat. When you create a form, put the marketing tool in the name of the form (Email Lead Form) and the lead source (Email Lead) so you can tell right away which tools are getting you the best results.

Then, pull the following Tripleseat reports to give you the full picture of what’s driving leads:

  • Leads by source — Leads dashboard graph that shows the number of leads per source
  • Lead details report — track lead source and lead form
  • Lead conversions report — which lead sources converted and how much revenue they brought in

Every email service provider has a core set of email marketing metrics. These are the metrics you should be focused on:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Bounces
  • Unsubscribes

Here’s a set of statistics you can analyze to know where you stand with on social:

  • Follows
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Clicks

Get more out of your marketing this year

As soon as the holiday season slows down, go through these three steps to get your marketing plan in place for 2020. If you have time, start reviewing the last quarter of 2019 to determine what you accomplished with your marketing, and what got the best results so you have a starting place to grow from. Pick the tools that will work best for your venue and reach your audience, create the content that appeals to them, and review your work so you know what’s actually happening with your marketing efforts. You won’t just be sending emails or posting on social media into the void. You’ll create a solid plan, focus on what’s working, and drive more event bookings in the next year.

Need more marketing help? Watch our marketing webinar, How to Use Marketing Tools to Boost Triplseseat Leads; download our events industry handbook, 4 Tips on How to Market Your Venue to Corporate Event Planners; or read our previous blog posts on marketing for the hospitality industry.

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