Becoming an Event Planner in a Competitive Market
Becoming an event planner is not without its challenges. One of them being that you aren’t going to be the only planner available! You’re going to have to fight for clients. This is especially difficult when you are just starting out. You’ll be competing with well-established businesses and planners, as well as people that are just entering the industry for the first time. But don’t be discouraged. You can still become a successful event planner, and we’re here to give you some tips!
Read on to find out how you can compete with all the other event planners out there.
Setting yourself apart from the crowd is how you’re going to land clients. A great way to do this is to get an event planning certification! And better still, to continue learning even after receiving your original certification. Show clients that even though you might not have too much practical experience, you know exactly what you’re doing. This is the easiest way to set you apart from other newbies.
Continuing your education after you graduate is a great way to stay up-to-date on trends. And, other specialized event planning courses will expand your potential clientele. Taking multiple event planning courses will help you to get repeat clients who need different types of event planning. You don’t want to get in a planner rut! Clients are often looking for the new cutting-edge event elements. If you don’t evolve with the market, you’ll be kicked out of it.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: You need to stand out! There are many ways to separate yourself from competition, so here are a few:
If you’re an expert in a specific and unusual type of event, it will be easier for you to draw in those specialty clients. After all, if you want a Halloween-themed wedding, you’ll probably be more inclined to go with the planner who has a portfolio full of different Halloween parties. They have experience over that of a traditional wedding planner who hasn’t even touched this theme before. However, be careful with how specialized you get! If you market yourself as only doing Halloween weddings, you might only ever get business for October!
Another method to stand out is to become a very well connected individual. Spend your time networking and building strong vendor relationships. If you’re seen as the planner who will be able to get their client whatever they need through their vast network, you’ll be in demand. This can also work the other way. Vendors might bring you referrals if they’ve been contacted by people don’t have a planner.
You might want to have special offers when you start out! People love getting a deal, and it’s a good way to take some attention away from bigger planners. You shouldn’t always be selling your services at discounted prices, but having deals to create an initial demand can work very well. Your client might come back for future events at full price or a guest might be so impressed that they approach you for their next party. Getting your name out there is vital!
Get References and Reviews
People want to know that they are getting the best services available. What better way to prove your quality than through references and reviews? Studies have shown that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as their friends and that 91% of people read reviews before buying products or services!
Even if you don’t have a variety of events in your portfolio, you should try to have your former clients or associates comment on the quality of your work. These can be caterers, clients, photographers, etc. Don’t worry if you’ve only planned smaller gatherings, they still hold a lot of weight. You will be able to establish trust with potential clients and get more business! However, never push anyone into giving you a review or becoming a reference. You can damage your relationship with them!
Promote Your Business
People need to know about you to hire you. It’s as simple as that. You absolutely need to generate some type of online presence. This can be done through a website, social media, or both! It’s the easiest way to spread the word about who you are and what you’re offering. Even if your plan is to use word of mouth, you need to have something for people to take a look at. In this day and age, if you’re not online people assume you don’t exist.
Another important way to promote your business is to network. Ask friends, family, vendors, etc. if they need your services or know anyone else they can refer you to. Get familiar with your local community and local businesses, and make your brand known. That way, when someone needs a planner, you’re the first name that comes to mind.
Lastly, back up your business with a high-quality portfolio. Have good photos, event descriptions, and service packages so that people will be able to see what they are going to get. Even if you haven’t planned an event professionally yet, be proactive! Stage your own style shoot to take photos and showcase your talents to draw in clients. Sitting back and waiting for people to knock on your door is a risky strategy when you’re entering the competitive event planning market. It is certainly not one we recommend.
Overall, the best thing you can do for yourself is to find out what your brand will be and then communicate that to others in the best way you can. Don’t let the landscape intimidate you! If you work hard and distinguish yourself, you’ll have a fair shot at success!
Did we miss any important strategies? Tell us in a comment!