So, you have finally taken the plunge and now have your own event planning business. Or maybe you are curious how to get the edge on the competition, learning how to market your business before you even open your doors. Either way, there is no better time than now to promote your event business and establish a client base.
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 comes 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. Keyword researching your name will go a long way in getting you noticed in the search engines.
Many are free or are available for a low monthly service charge. 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 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, and Snapchat are all valuable platforms for promoting your event planning business, and they are all free to join. Depending on 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.
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 of events and share information regarding upcoming events and guest speakers. You can also pay for your posts and content to be sponsored or boosted.
Become an Expert in the Blogosphere
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. 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. This is called "backlinking," and is a powerful way to expand your online reach effortlessly.
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 do not need. However, 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.
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 a DJ who would be perfect for a wedding.
Volunteer Your Services
While working for free probably should not be 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.