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  • Writer's pictureJustin Hanover

How Much Should You Be Spending On Marketing?

This is often a big question for wedding venue owners, how much should I be spending on marketing?

Oftentimes this is a question because there is this desire to think you can spend $0 and grow your business. Or owners look at their marketing spend as an expense forgetting about the fact that it is bringing in more businesses that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

If you are an owner that is focused on growth then the question isn’t how much should you be spending, it is more about how much do I NEED to spend to get the venue where I want it to be.

One way or another you are paying to bring in new customers. It is either your time or your money that is going into boosting your bookings. Time is usually the first place most start, but quickly realize that only takes you so far especially when you have other tasks to focus on within the venue. That is when money comes into play.

So let’s walk through this process together to help you arrive at where you need to be when it comes to your marketing goals and growth expectations.

First Adjust Your Marketing Mindset

This is a crucial first step if you are looking to really grow and build a business that consistently produces and doesn’t revolve around you.

Marketing is the lifeblood of your business. Without marketing you are destined to be out of business, it is just a matter of time.

So, to make sure that isn’t your reality we need to break the mental loop that spending money on marketing is bad. Let’s be super clear about this if you want to make sure your venue is fully booked and think you can do it without spending money then your marketing mindset is off.

That shouldn’t be the goal. The goal should be to spend as much money as you can. When you spend money on marketing it comes back to you. So, let’s say you are spending $1,000 a month and it is bringing in $2,000. Then push that $2,000 back into your marketing budget to bump it up to $3,000 to bring back in $6,000.

When it comes to stages of business building your marketing machine is one of the first two steps in building your business foundation. Without having a marketing machine there is nothing happening to support the growth of your venue.

So, if you are afraid to invest in your business marketing and growth, that is an area to dive into a little more. Ask yourself why you are afraid? Where is this fear stemming from? Is this fear backed up by truth or facts?

Becoming really aware of your thoughts and habits is important to breaking bottlenecks in your business. At the end of the day your business will only grow to the level you are at personally. So, if you stay hung up on spending more on your marketing then your business will also stay stuck there. It is impossible for your business to exceed your mindset.

What You Should Have In Place Before Diving Into Paid Ads

We have established the importance of increasing your marketing spend to actually be able to grow your business. With that said there are key data points you would want to know before diving head first into the paid ads realm.

Some business foundations you should have pretty close to figured out are:

-Who you are targeting

-Having a website or landing page set up to sell

-Having a strategy to obtain emails to remarket to them

Who you are targeting:

This is a big one! It affects a lot in the marketing process. It controls the types of words you use, the images you show, and where you show up for them to engage with you. The worst thing you can do is just think you are for anyone that is slightly interested in weddings. It will drive down your results and that is when marketing becomes too expensive. You are wasting your budget on people that would never book with you to begin with.

This is why we focus on building organic traction first for our clients through Pinterest. This way we can really dial in the type of person we want to attract, what keywords matter most, and the call to actions that will lead to bookings. When you are flying blind it is really hard to land.

Having a properly done website or landing page:

The next part of this process once you know who you are speaking to and how to speak to them is making sure where you are directing them is set up to guide them to taking the next step. Just running an ad to your website hoping they see what they need to see and click where they should is leaving way too much to chance. Which again leads to higher ad costs and lower conversions.

This is why we work with our clients to make sure no matter if it is a website or a landing page it feels like turning a page in a book for the potential customer. They go from ad to website and it feels good, builds trust with them, and makes it super clear on what they need to do next.

Having s strategy to re-market the people that come to your site

The third part to this marketing equation is making sure you are not paying twice for a lead you already got to your website once. What I mean by that is if you are spending money to get traffic to your site and have no way to grab an email to be able to continue the conversation you now have to keep relying on your ad to bring that person back.

You guessed it, it leads to higher ad costs.

You already paid to get that person there so make the most of it and get an email to be able to keep talking to them. Very few people will land on your website and be ready to go.

This is where we work with our clients to build out a lead magnet to obtain the person's email in exchange for providing them with some kind of value like the price sheet.

Then it doesn’t stop there. We then build out an email campaign to keep strategically showing the person exactly what they need to see to help them come to a place where booking a tour makes sense.

How To Set Your Marketing Budget

Now the fun part! When it comes to setting the initial budget you have to take into consideration where you are in business, where you want to go and what information you currently have available to you.

The rule of thumb for most businesses is to spend between 5%-10% of your total revenue on your marketing budget.

So for an example let’s say your venue is currently doing $200,000 in revenue. Your marketing budget range should be somewhere between $10,000 - $20,000 a year. Now let’s keep in mind if your goal is to maintain (which should never be the goal) then going closer to the $10,000 spend would be fine. But if you have your eyes set on scaling your business then you want to be pushing that $20,000 spend with the intention of going past that.

If you want to go from a $200,000 to a $400,000 business then you would want to be spending closer to what you would have to spend to maintain at the $400,000 level.

Making sense now?

So, how about a venue that is just getting started and lets say pre revenue. Well, there is no clear answer because you don’t have data to go by. One thing I can tell you is if you think NOT spending just because you are new is the solution you will stall your growth.

At the early stages you are spending with the intentions of getting your baseline. This could mean spending a little more in the beginning to get those results quickly and then adjust.

What I mean by that is you need to know where things shake out. So, let’s say you commit to spending $2000 your first month and from that $2000 it brings in 150 leads, 35 email opt-ins, 10 tours booked and 3 people booking your venue. If you can duplicate that response for months 2 and 3 then you have a baseline. Now you know if you reinvest and bump up your spend to $4000 it should result in 6 bookings instead of 3.

Wrapping this up

When it comes to your marketing it is important to remember that this is not gambling. Of course NOTHING is guaranteed in business. But, we know when we have the right data and follow proven strategies it stacks the chips in our favor.

You have to start seeing marketing as the lifeblood and source of your business. When you lack an actual marketing strategy and sufficient resources to back it and allow it to work you are making it near impossible to grow.

When you control your marketing you control your business.

Thinking you can maintain and grow a business like a venue that has high overhead by just posting on Instagram or Facebook is a dangerous place to be playing. That to me is a massive gamble then spending the appropriate amount needed to achieve the level of success desired for your venue.

On that note if you are a venue that is looking to bring your business to the next level and implement proven marketing strategies to boost your bookings and profit we could be a match made in heaven.

We dial in your marketing strategy to make sure everything is working together to be as efficient and profitable as possible.

Let’s take the first step in this relationship and have you complete our application below. This is simply to provide a few details about your venue to see if we would be a good fit. If everything looks good and we have your location available we will reach out to book your marketing strategy call.

Venue Marketing Application

Your Marketing Team,

Justin & Lindsay

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