How to Promote Your Event Planning Business
You’ve taken the plunge and now have your own event planning business. Congratulations! After spending all that time getting things up and running, now is the time to promote your event business and establish a client base.
Not sure where to begin? The following five steps will help you get started.
Create a Website
What good is providing services and expertise if no one knows you are out there? If a potential customer searches online for “wedding planners” in your area, your business better come up first.
Otherwise, you have missed an opportunity. This is essential to promote your event planning business. Use your business name as your domain name if possible and check out one of the many website services that are offered online. Many are free or are available for a low monthly service charge. So do some research and decide what type of website hosting services (we recommend Go Daddy) you may or may not need, your budget, and then begin. No website design experience is necessary and you don’t even need to have a good eye for color or graphics. There are templates and color schemes to choose from (like wix.com) and even suggested images, so much of the hard work of website design has already been done for you. Once you have chosen a domain name, be sure to add the website to your event business cards and social media profiles.
Get on Social Media
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat….these are all valuable platforms for promoting your event planning business and…they are free (sort of)!
Depending upon what services you provide, these platforms can all be used in different ways for advertising your event planning services.
LinkedIn is a professional network and is a great place to market your event planning business. LinkedIn is based on professional connections and provides the opportunity to establish leads that are valuable during the event planning stage.
Connections made through LinkedIn may help you find event sponsors, event vendors as well as potential attendees.
Create a Facebook page for your business and link it to your personal Facebook page. That way you are connecting your personal contacts with your event business and those personal “friends” may like or share posts from your professional page. You can include pictures from events and share information regarding upcoming events and guest speakers. You can also pay for your posts and content to be sponsored or boosted.
Twitter’s 140 character limit is perfect for sending and receiving short messages concerning your events, from sharing your excitement about an upcoming featured guest or an update on parking details.
Become an Expert…and Blog About It
Blogging continues to grow in popularity and is a valuable social media tool. Starting an event planning blog is simple, it’s free, and it is an easy way to generate an audience. So, if event planning is your area of expertise or if you have a niche within the realm of event planning – wedding planning or kid birthday parties or the like – then a blog is the place to provide in-depth information in this area. Do not view a blog as a written advertisement for your business.
It is a way to establish you and your event business as knowledgeable and experienced in this area and as a source for trusted, valuable information. Customers purchase or hire those businesses that they trust so think of hosting a blog as a way to connect with others and lay the groundwork for that relationship. You can discuss the latest trends in your niche, offer planning advice, provide details about upcoming events and sponsorships, use it to announce speakers and topics or provide a recap of an event. Include a link to your blog from your website and connect it to your Facebook account as well.
The word “networking” may bring with it a negative connotation and the image of someone who is always shaking hands, trying to sell strangers something they don’t need. Or a professional who always has a business card at the ready and a pitch about what services they provide.
It is a turnoff. But there is another kind of networking and that is what you should be focusing on.
Set up meetings with hotels, caterers, party rental companies and so on. Explain your event planning business, the services you provide and leave them with your marketing material and contact information. Once they have met you face-to-face and learned what services you offer, they may refer business to you or hire you themselves for one of their upcoming events. This is also an opportunity for you to meet others in the industry, as you may need to hire them for their services when you plan events.
When you are new as a business owner, you join a whole family of people who operate their own businesses. Many of the challenges and frustrations of running your own business are shared by others in different industries who have also chosen this career path. Think of them as your support group. Join local industry associations for small business owners as well as any groups for those in event planning. These organizations often host monthly meetings, regular breakfasts, guest speakers or casual events where you are encouraged to get to know one another and the products or services you provide. You may meet a local caterer who is a good fit for one of your upcoming events. Or learn of a restaurant owner who wants to rent out their space for hosting parties and events. In addition, these fellow business owners can tell you how they handle payroll or where they rent office equipment or how they market their business.
Volunteer Your Services
While working for free probably isn’t on your event business to-do list, it is a great opportunity to showcase your talents and services and add another experience to your roster. Many charitable organizations do not have the budgets to hire an event planner so whatever services you can provide will be greatly appreciated. You will meet many people involved in the planning of fundraisers and events and this is a valuable network for potential future business.