Typically, the wedding industry is typically set up for a busy Q1 full of marketing campaigns targeted at newly engaged couples after a slew of holiday proposals. However, 2021 will look different—after all, COVID-19 impacted virtually every corner of the market in 2020 and the wedding industry is still in its early stages of rebuilding.
So, what does the engagement season look like for wedding professionals in 2021? How can they connect and market to engaged couples ready to kick off their planning?
The truth is that there is no crystal ball with a definitive answer of what next year, next month, or even next week may look like. However, you can still harness the power of marketing to remain agile and adaptable to whatever the market brings.
Here are a few things to expect in early 2021 and how you can adjust your marketing plans accordingly.
Booking may take place later than usual.
Normally, newly engaged couples are antsy to dive into wedding planning and start ironing out details soon after the proposal. They start researching vendors within weeks and begin making their booking decisions before their ideal date gets filled up. However, with COVID-19 rates expected to spike over the holidays and many questions still surrounding the vaccine timeline, couples may not be ready to commit straight out of the gate in 2021. They will start planning and researching, but many will delay booking until there is more certainty to hang their hats on.
In response to this shift in timing, vendors will be best served by an inbound content marketing and social media strategy that keeps potential clients engaged in their brand until they’re ready to make a booking decision. Develop valuable content to share with your target audience and draw them into your brand experience through email marketing, social media, blogging, and other effective lead gen strategies.
Prepare to market smaller events.
With the COVID timeline still uncertain, many couples will continue the trend of hosting smaller weddings with close friends and family with a larger, more traditional celebration at a later time. Smart vendors will plan to adjust their services and pricing to accommodate these couples, with requests for micro-wedding packages continuing to flood in from couples.
You will also need to adjust your marketing communications to get the message out. For example, you may consider offering a future discount for couples who book a smaller event with plans to have a larger one later. Let them know about this deal upfront so they can plan accordingly, then use your marketing funnel to stay in touch and keep them interested until they’re ready to book.
Quality content is a must.
One of the most important things to consider is whether you have ample content and messaging designed to hit the middle and top of your marketing and sales funnel, not just the bottom where people book. Simply put, it will be essential to prioritize messaging that builds awareness and interest rather than focusing solely on encouraging a purchasing decision.
If you have free time on your hands in Q1, start building your content empire. Create a lead magnet and experiment with social media ads that drive traffic to your blog, where they can be Facebook Pixel’d and retargeted with ads later. It will be a slower journey from brand awareness to booking, but the best caterers will prepare their businesses to play along with the long game in marketing to ensure success well into the future.
Running a business will look different in many aspects in 2021. Fortunately, event professionals are versatile and adaptable so it will be a matter of channeling that creative energy into smart marketing strategies that attract and influence the right people.