5 Cheap Marketing Tips to Boost Your Event Planning Business
Being a competitive event planner takes a lot of creative energy. Having the expertise to put together a gorgeous event is only the first step to building a solid reputation. After you develop industry know-how, you still have to get your event planning business out into the world for clients to see!
Luckily, you don’t need a huge budget to create some serious marketing buzz. We’ve come up with some innovative ways you can boost your brand visibility. These cheap marketing tips will soon have your event planning business getting all the attention it deserves!
1. Customer referral program
Sometimes going back to basics is the best way to refresh your marketing strategy. Learn to think like a potential client! As simple as it may sound, having a referral program in place is a fantastic way to stay in touch with old clients and connect with new ones.
Your customer referral program doesn’t need to break the bank. Offer clients a discount on a future service, and put together a file where you can keep track of which clients have passed along a name (or two, or three) to you. Everyone loves to share a good experience. So while clients won’t be booking an event every other weekend, many others in their inner circle will be looking to plan a baby shower, engagement party, or wedding. Consistent referrals means consistent work! Consider giving something extra to clients to clients who provide a testimonial. A little incentive goes a long way.
2. Flash sales
This marketing strategy can be a really fun one to try out. If you can figure out when your audience is most likely to be interested in a service, try offering a flash sale—essentially a limited time offer without the tacky marketing.
A flash offer is something that you will plan in advance but offer spontaneously in order to generate the most excitement. If you have the time or resources, experiment with a monthly flash sale. The point is NOT to devalue your work, but to make your offer a little more special than your everyday bundle. On a Saturday morning, offer an extra service for a limited number of clients who book with you during the month. Instead of a discount offer something along the lines of an additional visit to the venue.
You may want to experiment with the timing of your flash sale: the idea is to sway clients who may be on the fence about paying for your services. There are some times during the year that flash sales for an event planning business might really well. For example, many people host events that are more formal during holiday, graduation, and wedding season. You know never, you may just reach out to the client who has always contemplated hiring a professional. Do some research and think of what your target audience might be interested in.
3. Get on Snapchat
If you can work a smartphone, this is low-cost and quite fun. But in order to build your event planning business, you need to start thinking of yourself as a brand. That means knowing what makes you an exceptional even planner. Once you’ve pinned this down, you can figure out who your target audience is and start thinking of how to connect with followers in ways that will lead to sales.
A lot of major brands are using Snapchat to build a loyal fan base. It is definitely the latest marketing tactic in event planning. A major reason for this is that Snapchat provides a more relaxed approach to marketing. If someone is following a brand, it’s because they like it enough to want to stay connected. But think about how turned off you get by a forced sales pitch! Give a relaxed ‘behind-the-scenes’ look of an event you are in the middle of planning, and later follow up with a flash-sale offer only available to your Snapchat followers.
While Snaps may seem impulsive, they should actually be calculated. Have fun with your content, but remember that you are putting a spotlight on your event planning business.If Snapchat isn’t where your target audience hangs out, keep your focus on Twitter or Facebook.
4. Host a tutorial
In order to generate some buzz around your services, create a mini-event that will introduce potential client to your event planning style. If you have the space, put together some mock floral arrangements or place settings for people to see up-close and personal.
This may sound like a grassroots approach, but it’s a 100% great way to reach out to clients. A tutorial is a great way to build some followers. For example, maybe women in your area want to learn more about floral arrangements. Or maybe they just want to learn what hiring an event planner is about. Host a DIY “Create Your Own Centerpiece” event and advertise a free glass of wine or champagne to go along with your tutorial. Or team up with a local makeup artist and look into offering an event for bridal makeup.
You may be able to charge a small fee to help subsidize the cost of supplies. Once again, socializing means the opportunity to network—so make sure you have some fresh business cards to hand out. Do some research and get creative with what kind of event clients will love. The demand is out there!
5. Team up with local businesses
This is a little more of an old-school way of finding new clients, but it’s definitely still worthwhile. Think about what kind of niche your event planning business caters to. Find out where your clients are going for other services and try to network your way to more visibility. While this is probably going to be difficult to do with large retailers, local business owners know the value of word-of-mouth marketing.
Even if you don’t have fancy business cards, a business owner that likes and respects you will recommend your services, especially if you are willing to the same. Scope out bridal boutiques and spas, and see what happens. Reaching out can go hand-in-hand with a tutorial event. Consider volunteering your services pro bono for a local non-profit. Not only is helping to plan a fundraiser a generous thing to do, it is also a great opportunity to network while your showcase your services.
Remember, take the opportunity to pick the brain of anyone who shows interest in event planning services: What do they like, what kind of events do they attend, and what would they be interested in? The more you know about your client, the more effectively you will be able to market your event planning business!