Business Advice for Event Planners (Part 3)
Marketing to Clients
As an event/wedding planner, you’ll be involved on both sides of the marketing fence: Business to Customer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B). The first is your traditional marketing to clients. The second is marketing yourself to other businesses who can help you succeed (vendors, etc.)
Let’s start with marketing to clients.
B2C Marketing relies on knowing your target customers, inside and out. Once you understand who your target is and where he/she spends her time, you can start developing a marketing strategy. For example, most newspaper ads are obsolete… unless you’re trying to reach an audience who still goes to print for their primary source of information and entertainment. And the same can be said for the flip side: promoting yourself on social media is great, but make sure to focus on the websites where your clients will see your efforts!
As you go through this list of potential marketing mediums, ask yourself if they are right for your customers.
Paid Search (Digital)
This one is a no brainer. If your clients use the Internet, they probably use Google. Using Google Paid Advertising is an easy way to ensure your website shows up at the top of the list when a customer searches for your business name or the services you offer. You can easily set up a google AdWords account for free, and set a modest daily budget, targeting a few industry keywords to get the ball rolling.
Pros: You can get to the top of search listings without spending tons of time getting links to your website
Cons: Depending on which keywords you’re bidding on, Google can get pretty expensive.
Advertising in Newspapers or Magazines (Traditional)
You can buy ad space for your business in Newspapers or other print mediums. These spaces come in a variety of sizes and you can design your own ad to fit within the allotted space.
Pros: Most print ads have a high reach and can be relatively inexpensive
Cons: It is very difficult to gauge the effectiveness of print advertising; most readers have developed “ad blindness” and might not pay attention to your ads.
Printing out flyers or brochures to be sent to potential clients as promotional mail is a way to get many impressions. A well thought out campaign (you have to think outside the box) has potential to get noticed.
Pros: Reach thousands of people in one fell swoop; target individuals, businesses, or both.
Cons: In order for direct mail to work, it can be very expensive and take a fair amount of your time to get it right. It’s also very difficult to track results, outside of sending out discount offers which can end up cheapening your brand.
Get a writer’s attention
Probably a more effective way of getting your name into a newspaper, magazine, or influential blog is to attract the attention of a writer who’s interested in your business. This can be done in a few ways:
- Reach out to reporters or bloggers to feature a special event or aspect of your business (are you planning a unique event? Do you have a funny story to share? Another piece of content that could be useful to their readers?). Just make sure it’s not self-promoting. No reporter will write about a discount or sale, for example, but they might write about an event you’ve organized.
- Offer your services as an industry expert. There are many reporters or bloggers who are looking for reliable sources to feature in articles they’re already developing. Resources like “HelpAReporter.com” are great ways to get your name and your business featured in leading industry publications.
Pros: Doesn’t cost anything but your time; you can end up being featured in very prestigious publications (especially with option 2)
Cons: It does take a lot of time and you’ll face a lot of rejection. That’s part of the challenge.
Using your Social Media Channels
If you’ve been following this series, you now have a website and a few social media accounts that are ready to roll. Facebook and Twitter are the overlords of the Social Media industry. Instagram is also a great medium for wedding/event planners, since the business tends to yield plenty of gorgeous pictures.
A few tips to succeed at Social Media Marketing:
- Post regularly and consistently. Have a “social media schedule” and stick to it. There are many types of software out there that can help you schedule posts in advance. A few examples are buffer and hootsuite.
- Treat your social media like a time bomb. Be ready to quickly respond to comments on your posts or direct messages from potential clients. Social Media users aren’t patient. Taking too long to respond to a comment, question, or inquiry is a recipe for disaster.
- Don’t ask without giving back: follow your followers and participate on their social pages as well. They’ll return the favor.
- Ask your satisfied clients to post their event pictures and tag your business. Word-of-mouth from a happy customer is the best advertising you can ever ask for.
Here’s a social media secret not many small businesses understand: Your followers don’t care about you, they care about themselves. Posting a message about how great your business is, is sure to fail. Posting content that is useful to your follower will be liked and shared, thus promoting your brand. (“useful” can mean anything from funny to inspiring to solving a specific problem.)
Once you’ve set up your website and have a decent following on social media, consider launching a blog on your site. You can blog about anything related to your business, as long as you’re sensitive to your clients’ privacy.
A critical aspect of a blog is to keep updating it regularly: daily is best, but at a minimum once a week. Writing blog articles that are useful to your readers can attract new clients and help forge relationships with other industry professionals.
Which brings us to the final part of this series. Stay tuned for the upcoming fourth and final piece: Marketing yourself to Vendors.