The event planning industry is a bastion of opportunity . . . and it’s getting bigger. According to recent research conducted by Dr. Joe Goldblatt, CSEP (certified special events professional), spending for special events worldwide is $500 billion annually. This means, the demand for your expertise abounds – but so does the competition. How do you transition your business from being one of many to one of a kind?
Your brand is your business’s persona. It represents professionalism, commitment, taste, style and story. Its carefully curated palette, fonts, slogans and logo say a lot about the quality business it represents.
Invest in a professional logo designer. Your logo is the lighthouse that will stand out among the sea of competition. Make sure your designer delivers a full digital and print-ready package including high resolution versions for letterhead, business cards, your website and Social Media platforms.
Build brand awareness anywhere you can. While you’re hosting your ‘free event planning tips booth’ at a community festival you are also branding. Sun visors or sweat bands with your logo and contact info are great brand building opportunities. Consider ordering private label water bottles and keep them on ice. Have a stash of custom-printed umbrellas handy in case it starts to rain. Have a stack of literature, a sign-up sheet, and your warm and welcoming personality ready.
Think about handing out items that have a residual branding impact. i.e Magnetic business cards often get stuck on fridges and pens can be used and seen daily.
If you already love how your brand is presented and how your logo looks, get them out there. If you don’t, then start fresh with a new one and make a big announcement! It’s a great opportunity to make contact with and update past and potential clients.
It’s time to jump on the content marketing bandwagon and include an active blog on your site. Update your blog with a new post 2-4 times a month but always go for quality over quantity. Make posts relevant to your audience, full of valuable content and include multi media to ensure postings present well.
For blog topic ideas you can browse competitor articles, use BuzzSumo and conduct keyword research. Utilize Google’s Keyword Planner, Google’s Autocomplete, Keywrod.io and “Google’s searches related to” in order to identify what your customers are searching. Then come up with a a bunch of topics that naturally incorporate those keywords. A few hours of keyword research will ensure you are blogging with purpose instead of writing about topics that are of no or little interest to your clients and prospective clients.
Ask visitors to sign up for your super-cool and not-too-annoying email updates. Make updates informative, promotional and interesting. Create subject lines that arouse curiosity. This should get people reading. A deluge of daily ‘junk’ mail will get them to unsubscribe.
To encourage new opt ins, consider adding a WordPress plugin like Sumo. A plugin like Sumo will likely increase the email opt in rate to your newsletter and help you build your list. From there, you will need to routinely send content to your list to ensure you remain top of mind to your subscriber base.
As an added benefit to your clients, offer to host clients events on your site and server. Setting up a website or leveraging a third party tool could be determined as a hassle by your client. This extra benefit could help persuade them to do business with you.
Offer to host your clients’ interactive event sites at no charge, provided they don’t mind it being under the umbrella of your branded site (keep any branding on their dedicated page very subtle or remove it if you choose). It should handle logistics, hotel discounts, suggestions for great local breakfasts, top rated car services and so on. There are add-on programs already designed for this too.
Both Facebook and Instagram are conducive to displaying pictures and videos. If you just finished up an event that turned out to look stunning, you’ll want to show off the work on Social Media. There’s no shame in a little self promotion on these platforms and your Facebook & Instagram accounts ultimately end up being an online showcase of your past work.
Since you’ve decided to roll out a blog and write content about keywords you researched, why not share the article on Facebook. This process is simple, just add the link with a short compelling intro, add a few hashtags and hit publish. Your posting will mostly be seen by people who have liked your page and/or follow your page. For more exposure consider boosting your post. When you boost a post you can incorporate detailed targeting parameters like age, gender, interest, demographics and online behaviors in order to increase exposure and deliver your boost to potential future customers.
Keep in mind that the days of materially growing a business account on Facebook Organically, are long gone. So, people who found your website or you referred to your Facebook account might be the only visitors unless you decide to boost postings and run paid advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and 3rd most visited site on the internet. Having a strong presence on YouTube can increase your credibility, demonstrate your expertise and open up an additional traffic source to your website.
Launch your branded YouTube channel and put together a calendar of topics you will speak about. The trick to a successful channel is investing the time upfront to plan out your topics, write scripts and memorize your scripts.
There are so many great tools out there today that you won’t need any expensive equipment to get started. Many smart phones record in 4k. Simply place your phone on a stand, connect a lapel mic from Amazon and record. Typically video quality is the not the problem, it’s audio that can be an issue. I highly recommend a lapel mic that connects to your phone or computer. If you are recording from your computer, I recommend a free Chrome extension called loom.
Decide on your topics ahead of time, write out the scripts and decide when you will film yourself and publish the videos. Hold yourself accountable to the schedule so you never fall behind.
You can talk about vendors you love, events you’re proud of, venues you recommend, furniture collections that were a smashing hit and other relevant topics that will engage your followers.
Sincerely make an effort to provide valuable content and help people. Keep your videos short, high energy and include a call to action at the end.
Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to growing a substantial following on YouTube!
Enjoy local radio station events, craft fairs, art exhibitions, food festivals and local networking events. If you make an effort, you can meet potential clients as well as vendors to add to your supply chain.
Volunteer and offer what you can; from free tips to planning a charitable event au gratis. Whomever advised you to never ‘give it away for free’ knows nothing about building customer relationships. Don’t offer more than you’re able to follow through on whole-heartedly. Treat a volunteer job with the same class and care as any other top-priority job. People will appreciate your warm heart, knowledge and professionalism. When the need arises for a event planning, guess who they will call!?
Last year’s newlywed might be next year’s guy-in-charge-of planning-the-company-holiday-bash. Send a thank you card to show gratitude and to subtly remind them of your services.
Invite clients for a follow-up lunch and don’t be shy about asking for reviews and referrals.
In a service industry, there really is no better marketing tool than that of providing excellent customer service. Keep your work fresh. Continue to learn and evolve. Whether you’re on a job or not, you can always be learning about the venues, designers, suppliers, caterers, florists, furniture rentals . . . and then some . . . in your locale.
Introduce yourself. Keep detailed notes, photos and contact names. Become knowledgeable in visual and culinary arts; go to galleries, eat out. Watch period films. Look at scenery. Visit shops and showrooms. Update your idea book often. Recreate a version of it on your Pinterest page. Keep your brainstorms flexible and fluid. Be an original, as each of your clients are. When you’re creating for them, think beyond basic party themes. Follow through on executing all the details. Don’t over promise. Do over deliver. Come in slightly under budget, whenever possible. Customers are likely to mention this in reviews.
Continue to learn and grow. Be sincere in everything you do.
If we can be of help, or to talk to one of our event furniture rental experts, please visit one of our showrooms, located in San Diego and LA, or call us at 888-229-9990.