How To Get More Clients For Your Event Planning Business
You’ve set up your event planning business and have some successfully run events under your belt – but how can you go about gaining more clients?
Here are five tried and tested marketing and sales methods to help keep your sales funnel full of prospects:
1. Don’t be shy to ask for referrals
Referrals from your current and past clients are vital source of new customers for any service-based business. Event planning is no exception to the rule.
You don’t need to feel self-conscious about asking. Simply ensure that you have established a solid relationship with your client and take care to reassure them that you will approach any contacts they share in a respectable, appropriate manner. Even if you’re only likely to enjoy the business of a client for a short amount of time (a wedding, for example), they will almost certainly have friends hosting similar events in the foreseeable future.
2. Define and target your ideal customer
Whether corporate or social, large or small, if you’ve got as far as successfully setting up your event planning business, you should have a good idea of the kind of events that you’re looking to specialise in and your target audience.
The next step is to discover your ideal customer’s touchpoints i.e. anywhere you can reach out and connect with them. As a first port of call, carry out some market research into the physical locations where you might find them: Do they frequent particular shops or restaurants, or belong to certain organisations or clubs? Do they attend other events and where? Put together a list and then brainstorm how you can reach out to your customer at these locales, whether that’s posting a flier or leaving behind a stack of business cards.
3. Engage your prospects online
Reaching and engaging your ideal customers online is key to a successful marketing strategy in gaining more prospects.
Social media, for example, plays a major role these days in how clients communicate on both a professional and personal level. This means there are several ways that you can harness this to your advantage from a business perspective. If market research reveals that your target audience tends to visit Instagram, ensure that you have a business Instagram page and ask your existing and potential clients to like it, as well as your industry partners and friends. By building connections online in this way, you create more mentions and links to your website, which gives prospects more ways in which to encounter you.
In addition, ask your clients and prospects what websites they frequent and find a way to connect with users of those sites, whether it be through forums and social media tools or even through some well-placed online ads.
4. Connect with industry partners
If you’ve already established yourself as a business, you will have gained strong relationships with multiple vendors catering to events. These can be great mutual sources of referrals to your business, and it could be a good idea to establish a more formal process of referring leads back and forth.
If you have a newer business and are still forming these relationships, you can still connect with industry partners, but it is advised to test the waters first until you have learned which vendors are reliable in terms of both their services and their willingness to refer clients to you.
5. Teach a local event planning class
If conducted properly, teaching an event planning class can be a win-win for both the planner and the attendees. Not only does it engage clients who might be particularly keen to learn more about the event planning process (a panicked bride or groom, for example), it’s also a great chance to showcase your expertise and position yourself as an expert in the field.
To ensure that you extract the full benefits from teaching such a class, make sure that all attendees provide you with their contact information for a later follow-up, and you should aim to cover only very basic event planning topics and techniques (rather than giving everything away!). It is also important that you emphasise the availability of your own services should they if they decide they need the assistance of an expert.
Follow these tips, and you’ll make sure to keep new prospects flowing into your event planning business.
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