As an event planner, you make a career out of hosting events for other people. You often handle everything from the planning phase through the culmination of an event to include marketing whatever event you are currently hosting. But what about marketing your own business? Here are some tips to apply to your brand in order to grow your client base and keep your event planning business flourishing.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks offer affordable and targeted ways to reach potential clients. Take advantage of the visual nature of these platforms to highlight examples of amazing events you’ve hosted. Don’t forget to include a concise call to action along with the other ad content. Also, claim your business with Google and other search engines and make sure information matches exactly what is on your website so all of your listings are recognized as the same business.
Print advertising is not dead and covers a broad range of options from a free listing in the Yellow Pages to an expensive, multi-colored ad in a national publication. Regional magazines and local newspapers offer another opportunity to feature aesthetically pleasing images of your talents. Advertising through these channels extends your reach throughout a given area. Look for sources that are geared towards topics related to your services such as floral design, gourmet food, etc. If you cater to corporate clients, consider advertising in a regional business magazine.
While a blog is not necessarily an advertisement for your business, it does showcase your expertise and positions you as a leader in your niche. Blogs are a channel that helps you establish trust with potential clients and, due to their shareable nature, are also a way to gain referral customers.
In your blogs, offer planning advice, the latest trends in your field, and talk about upcoming sponsorships, speakers, and events. You can also use your blog to recap any of those happenings. Focus your blog posts on the goals and educational aspects behind event planning to provide informative and useful content to readers. Include in your blog a link to your website and connect the blog posts to your social media profiles, too.
Brochures are often a prospective client’s first exposure to your company so it is important that you offer a professional brochure designed to showcase images of your best work. All of your contact information, to include your social media profiles should be featured somewhere on your brochure. Don’t feel you have to include minor details on the brochure – invite potential clients to visit your website or to contact you directly for more information. As with all digital and print material, your brochures should follow all established branding guidelines.
Your business card should also follow all branding guidelines and should prominently feature your name, logo, and contact information. Use both sides of the card to create a miniature version of your brochure. Include your website and social media profiles as well.
Donating your time and talents to a worthy cause not only lets you help those in need it also provides opportunities to reach new clients. If you find a non-profit that really speaks to you, consider offering to run one of their events. If that is too big a time commitment, offer other talents such as preparing marketing materials, giveaways, help with scheduling from start to finish, etc. Any involvement in community events will bring your brand exposure and provide networking opportunities for you.
Retaining customers to gain repeat business is just as important as finding new clients. A fabulous way to retain clients is to provide amazing customer service and to be open to feedback if there are aspects you can improve.
Send regular emails and newsletters to prior clients to keep in touch and provide updates on what you are doing. Consider sending holiday and birthday messages. Be sure to connect with all clients via your social media profiles and interact with them as much as possible on those platforms.
There are other ways to make sure your customer service is at its best. Consider taking a course in event management whether as a refresher or first time. Utilize an industry consultant, attend other events and take note of the little details, or join any available organizations geared towards your industry. You might also consider subscribing to a professional newsletter or journal to stay on top of the happenings in your niche.
Your brochure can make a fabulous mailing piece if you keep the center back panel formatted for that task. Postcards are another inexpensive way to utilize direct mail. Send these things to former clients or send multiples and encourage your clients to share with their friends and colleagues. Some professional organizations also provide mailing lists as part of a membership.
Networking is not only important to gain new clients, but it can also help you maintain strong relationships with talented vendors that are useful for your events. Schedule meetings with people who run event spaces, caterers, party rental companies, and any other industries you utilize. Provide them with your marketing materials and offer to take some of theirs.
When you positively interact with people in relevant industries, they may refer others to you or even take advantage of your services themselves. Don’t forget that such referrals should work both ways so look to form working relationships with high-quality businesses that you would trust at your own event and would be comfortable recommending to other people.
Joining local business associations or organizations like the Chamber of Commerce are also an excellent way to network. You will make connections simply by attending monthly meetings, breakfasts, casual events and whatever else the organization hosts.
Establish profiles on the social media networks that make sense for your business. The important thing is to not over commit. Once you’ve established your profile, it is essential that you keep it update, post regularly, and engage with your following. Social media is less about advertising and more about making connections with current and former clients while making your brand available to potential clients as well.
Try different ways to engage your audience and encourage them to invite their friends. Be sure to avoid a hard sales pitch. People share posts that provide value or that speak to them on some emotional level. Post some behind the scenes looks at events, interesting details about event spaces, or images about upcoming events. Be engaging, provide value.
Your website is your 24/7 storefront and often the first part of your brand a consumer is exposed to. That first impression is how people establish an opinion of you and start contemplating whether or not they want to do business with you. User experience is of utmost importance as it can inspire consumers to delve further into your website or move on to the next one. Your website has three responsibilities – to attract people, to engage and retain them, and to convince them to convert or take some sort of specified action. Make sure your website is up to par.
Whether you are new to the event planning scene or a seasoned pro, we know you are always looking for ways to improve what you do and looking to connect with potential clients. The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing have you covered – we design user-friendly, mobile responsive websites, marketing materials with high-quality content, and much more. We’d love to help you take your business to the next level. Contact us today.