The 2021 engagement season is different from previous years. So how do you market your event business amid uncertainty, political upheaval, and change?
Winter is when most engagements happen. According to Brides.com, well over 30% of all engagements occur between December and March. In fact, 28% of all engagements occur on a holiday. WeddingWire says that a massive 19% of all engagements happen in December alone. The next most popular dates are New Years Day (7%) and Valentine’s Day (8%).
This Year Is Different
If it feels a little bit odd to call 2021 different after the whirlwind of 2020, it’s because we’re all ready for some stability to return to our lives. Vaccines are rolling out, live events are coming back big, and we’ve just finished with elections. So shouldn’t 2021 feel most like a return to normal? Why should it be different?
If the prognosticators are even mildly correct, there are likely to be lingering concerns when it comes to live events like weddings. At the very least, many guests will be mindful of social distancing, prefer outdoor events, and hybrid events will be a thing.
Related: Pandemic Event Trends That Will Likely Stick Around
Uncertainty During The 2021 Engagement Season
Marketing is all about understanding your clients, and this engagement season, uncertainty abounds. As of writing, people are worried about further lockdowns, vaccines’ efficacy, new strains of COVID out of the UK and South Africa, the economy, jobs, politics, and more. And this uncertainty impacts how people make big decisions, including about their wedding.
Uncertainty impacts decision making in the following ways:
- People make smaller decisions.
- They learn as much as possible before making the decision.
- They avoid unnecessary risk.
- People seel to clarify uncertainty.
- They want to keep their options open.
With a little bit of tweaking, your marketing efforts can address these client concerns.
Why You Need To Update Your Marketing For The 2021 Engagement Season
Despite all this uncertainty, most of your marketing strategies will work just fine. Listings websites, SEO, social media Google My Business and blogging will all still be perfectly fine. You won’t need to learn new strategies (unless you want to).
When I say the 2021 engagement season will need new marketing updates, I mean the what, not the how. The client journey will be different this year. COVID weddings are top of mind for everyone! The search term for “CDC Guidelines” as they pertain to weddings is up over 2000% of Google. Your potential clients are concerned, and you’re able to set their minds at ease, at least when it comes to weddings.
Marketing Is About Understanding The Client’s Concerns
Marketing is an exciting art form. And it’s more than just letting people know you exist. Marketing is really about understanding who your potential client is and what their needs are. It’s about positioning yourself as the answer to their questions.
And during the 2021 engagement season, newly engaged couples have a lot of questions. These mostly new questions are about health, CDC regulations, price, rescheduling, insurance, and timing.
Let’s talk about updating your marketing so you stay on top of what’s top-of-mind for your couples.
Update The Messaging In Your Marketing
Look, you can’t pretend that everything is normal. For many people, it’s barely fine. Now, I’m not suggesting to switch your positive messaging to one of doom and gloom. I’m recommending you acknowledge the current state of affairs and let couples know you get it.
So when it comes to your marketing message in 2021, try and weave in a gentle statement of assurance. Let couples know upfront of any changes you’ve made to accommodate the “new normal.” They’ll feel reassured. After all, you’re the expert on what the new normal means when it comes to the biggest day of their lives.
Note, I’m talking about a sentence or two – don’t rework everything. Customers gravitate to event professionals that showcase their expertise. And that includes expertise in post-COVID event trends.
This doesn’t need to be said, I’m sure, but I’ll say it anyway. Be positive. Be the answer to their wedding stress like you always are. People want to know you understand their tribulations (you have the same struggles too). However, you’re still the optimist telling them their wedding will be phenomenal whether it’s a backyard wedding, micro-wedding, hybrid, or just a good ol’ fashioned 300 person party.
Share Post-COVID Event Design Ideas
Things are changing, and pandemic event trends will stick around for a while. For those potential clients that seem concerned, maybe create a page on your website with specific event design trends for 2021.
For example, guests are going to be concerned about food safety. Showcase these catering trends, or add a backyard wedding package to your lists. Considering having information on incorporating virtual elements into events for people who can’t travel. Whether your clients go for it or not, you’ll still highlight your up-to-the-minute expertise. And that goes a long way in building client confidence.
What To Add To Your Marketing Materials
Whether it’s on your website or in proposals, consider adding a one-page COVID plan. You can include the basic local guidelines, social distancing measures, mask policies, and other requisite details on this page.
Now, don’t make it a disclaimer-style page filled with grumpy legalese. Instead, incorporate it into your marketing. You could even turn it into a beautifully designed infographic style page (or find an artist to help with this).
Transparency Will Win In Engagement Season 2021
Insurance and rescheduling are newly touchy subjects after many venues (and vendors) enforced their contracts aggressively, leaving couples out of pocket. Let clients know how you’ll handle rescheduling and what might happen in the event of new lockdowns. Transparency is critical in these tumultuous times, and sharing policies clearly removes uncertainty from your clients. It’ll help them make quicker decisions.
Plus, adding a rescheduling section into your packages, even if you think it won’t be needed, might go a long way with some nervous couples – especially those who felt burned in 2020.
Small Changes Can Lead To Closed Deals
If you update your marketing for the 2021 engagement season, even just by adding a few elements, you’ll lose nothing and gain a lot of client confidence. This season, be prepared to turn scared clients into confident newlyweds.
And if you didn’t know, ThymeBase’s client portals are an excellent way to share info with your clients.