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General Tips, Your Event Career

How to Get Clients as an Event Planner

So, you’ve decided to pursue your dreams of becoming a professional planner. Congratulations! Now, one of the first things you might be wondering is how to get clients as an event planner.

No need to look any further, because you’ve come to the right place!

Today, we’re going to break down 6 business-savvy ways for you to market yourself. In turn, this will help you find clients and get your career off the ground.

So, let’s get started!

How Do You Market Yourself as an Event Planner?

If you’re serious about pursuing this as a legitimate career, you’re likely researching how to grow as an event planner. Furthermore, you’re probably exploring the various opportunities at your disposal. The good news is that in today’s day and age, there are all sorts of ways for you to get your name out there and gain exposure!

Firstly, there’s the tried-and-true method of word-of-mouth. For as far back as we can remember, referrals have been a staple networking strategy… and with good reason! If someone recommends your services to their personal connections, those people may then be more inclined to look into your event planning business and give you a try.

Secondly, there’s also the online world to consider, too. We all live online nowadays, so a large portion of your marketing efforts will need to be tailored to the digital platform. Between business websites, paid advertisements, and social media platforms, there’s a LOT of competition out there in the events industry!

This means that if you want to stand out as an event planner and get noticed, you’ll NEED to maximize your online presence and plan out your game plan wisely.

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The Stats Don’t Lie!

HubSpot’s “Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2021” provides the following data which supports the efficacy of online marketing:

  • “70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. (HubSpot, 2020)”
  • “About 64% of marketers actively invest time in search engine optimization (SEO). (HubSpot, 2020)”
  • “51% of shoppers surveyed say they use Google to research a purchase they plan to make online. (Think with Google, 2019)”
  • “59% of shoppers surveyed say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from. (Think with Google, 2019)”
  • “‘Where to buy’ and ‘near me’ mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years. (Think with Google, 2019)”
  • “60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the search results such as the ‘click to call’ option. (Think with Google, 2019)”
  • “There are 8 million active advertisers on Facebook, the vast majority of which are small and medium-sized businesses. (Facebook Insights, 2020)”
  • “Facebook is the primary content distribution channel for marketers today. (HubSpot, 2020)”
  • “As of January 2021, Pinterest has 459 million global active users every month. (Pinterest, 2021)”
  • “Instagram is the social channel with the second-highest ROI [return on investment] among marketers. (HubSpot, 2020)”
  • “Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter lead the pack as the most common social media platforms used by marketers. (HubSpot, 2020)”
  • “Increased exposure is the most commonly cited advantage of using social media for marketing purposes among global industry professionals. (Statista, 2019)”

6 Ways to Get Clients as an Event Planner

So, now that you better understand the need for proper marketing, let’s break down 6 possible ways you can attract new clients to your business!

1. Carve out a niche for yourself in the event industry

Out of all the event planners in your area, why should prospective clients hire YOU? What makes you special? How do you stand out?

In order to avoid getting lost in the crowd, you’re going to want to know how to answer these questions – and be confident about it!

The best place to start is to iron out your brand. In a nutshell, your brand will be your business’s unique fingerprint; the personality and identity that only YOU have as an event planner. When building your brand, think about specific colors, emotions, messages, images, and/or beliefs you’d like to be inherently tied to your business.

After this step, it’ll be time to figure out whether or not you want to hone in on a particular niche (or more than one). While you don’t need to have a niche in order to have a successful career, it definitely WILL help you stand out as an event planner! After all, the whole idea behind a niche is to be able to offer clients something they can’t find anywhere else.

What Makes You Unique? written in a notebook

In an article written for Forbesauthor Roger David says: “Finding your niche is about determining the focus of your business and then working to hone your skillset or product. This helps you refine your offerings and build the expertise that gives you the legs to withstand the test of time.”

Not sure how to go about finding your OWN niche?

Here are some examples of niche services your event planning business can offer clients:

  • Virtual and/or hybrid planning
  • Destination planning
  • Luxury planning
  • Party planning
  • Strictly wedding planning, or strictly private event planning
  • Corporate planning
  • Funeral planning
  • Milestone planning
  • Engagement planning
  • Floral design
  • Event decor
  • Promotional planning
  • Festival and live event planning
  • Travel and tourism
  • And SO much more!

Do any of these specialties particularly interest you? If so, you may have found your niche(s)!

Did you know that QC Event School can get you professionally trained AND internationally-certified in all of the above areas of the event industry? It’s true! Learn more about our self-paced, online courses here!

2. Build up a solid portfolio of clients

Ahh, the old Catch-22… At the beginning of your career, you’ll need clients in order to gain real-world experience, build your portfolio, and gather positive testimonials. However, in order to get these clients, you’ll need… clients already under your belt?

How does that work? If you need past clients in order to get new clients, but you’re brand-new to the industry and don’t have prior clients yet, how exactly are you supposed to achieve the desired result?

Don’t worry, there ARE options at your disposal!

Idea #1: Your Personal Network

Before you start trying to book legitimate, paying clients, turn first to your inner circle. Utilize the resources you already have by offering your event planning expertise to friends and family. This offers a pretty easy way (and often, with a lot less pressure on your shoulders) for you to dip your toes into the professional world of planning.

Idea #2: Stylized Photoshoots

Another possibility is to get involved in a stylized photoshoot. Do some research online for photographers, models, and other relevant vendors, such as:

  • Pastry chefs and/or cake artists
  • Event decorators
  • Floral designers
  • Venues
  • Stationery experts and/or calligraphers
  • Bridal gown retailers, etc.

How to get clients as an event planner in-post image, stylized bridal photoshoot

Once you find people to collaborate with, you can put your knowledge to use by organizing the photoshoot. Sure, you probably won’t get paid for this work. Chances are, no one participating will be. However, styled shoots are an excellent way for everyone involved to mutually benefit from the experience.

For instance, in exchange for your planning service, you’ll likely get some high-quality photos from the shoot. In turn, you can then use these in your professional portfolio, on your website and social media channels, etc. Plus, everyone you worked with will now be people you can add to your network!

3. Start your own website

If you want to get clients as an event planner, a professional business website will be critical. Without your own site, you’ll be missing out on so many booking opportunities. Plus, and I cannot stress this enough, you’ll wind up coming across as unprofessional.

You can always hire a professional website developer to create one for you, if your budget allows it. That said, if you don’t have money for this, that’s okay, too. There are all sorts of free website builders/hosts out there that offer simple, user-friendly templates for you to work off of.

One way or another, it’s key that your website contains the following information:

  • An “About Me” page where people can get to know you and your planning experience, certification(s), qualifications, etc.;
  • A full list of all planning (and other relevant) services you currently offer;
  • Service rates, should you wish to disclose this information upfront;
  • Testimonials/reviews from past clients;
  • Working links to your social media channels;
  • Accurate contact information;
  • Your professional portfolio;
  • An option for online booking.

4. Advertise on social media

As we already established earlier, social media marketing will be one of your BEST friends! After all, literally everyone uses social media these days. It’s undoubtedly one of the single best ways to meet others in the industry and get clients as an event planner.

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest are all examples of extremely popular platforms that you can establish a solid presence on.

Table set for wedding or another catered event dinner in pink color

When the time comes that you’re ready to set up your social media accounts, keep these useful tips in mind:

  • Your social media handles should be the same as your registered business name.
  • Always link viewers back to your website (e.g. through your bio links, written content, etc.).
  • The aesthetic of your social media platforms (such as what you post, the colors you use, how you speak, etc.) should always reflect your brand.
  • Post original content – and post on a regular basis.
    • Pro Tip: If you’re busy, you can utilize scheduling apps (e.g. Later or Hootsuite) to post ahead of time and/or in bulk.
  • Always be fresh and innovative in your posts. You don’t want to be the same as all the other event planners out there. Otherwise, your channel(s) might be easily forgettable!
  • Follow others in the industry that you’d like to connect with, and regularly leave encouraging comments on their posts. Chances will be better that they’ll then do the same with you!
  • Whenever someone takes the time to engage with your posts and/or send you a private message, make sure YOU take the time to acknowledge and reply to them.
  • Use your social media channels as yet another way to showcase your portfolio and promote your business!
  • Make sure to target your ideal clientele through your posts, paid advertising, etc.
  • Also, don’t forget to showcase your niche (if you choose to have one).

5. Build up a local buzz

Local markets have less competition than if you try to compete with other event planners on a global scale. So, start close to home!

At the beginning of your career, put more focus into getting your name out there in your own city or town. For instance, you can advertise your business in local newspapers and other print media. You can also get to know other industry-related businesses in your area and see if they’d be willing to help give you some exposure (such as having one of your fliers in their office, giving your business a shout-out on social media, etc.).

Furthermore, you can even create pop-up shops around town, get involved in local events, and have your business mentioned on the local radio station(s).

When advertising online, start by keeping your target demographic local as well. For example, if you’re paying for an ad, tailor it so that it specifically gets shown only to people living in your city/town. You can even take this one step further by targeting people within the specific age range your ideal client would be, as well as those who have interests in things relating to the event/wedding industry.

Our point is: make sure you walk before you try running. Biting off more than you can chew at the start of your career isn’t always the smartest choice. Instead, corner the market in your own area first.

Then you can move onto bigger aspirations and focus on taking the WORLD by storm!

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6. Network with nonprofits

There are all sorts of wonderful charities and not-for-profits out there who represent a good cause, but don’t necessarily have the funds to hire a professional planner for their upcoming event. As a result, you’re provided with a great opportunity. You can assist them while gaining experience and expanding your professional network at the same time!

Again, you probably won’t get financially compensated for this kind of work. But that’s okay! In the world of professional event planning, in-field experience can be just as beneficial as money – particularly at the start of your career.

Can YOU think of other ways to get clients as an event planner? Let us know in the comments below!

Attract even MORE clients by adding a professional, internationally-recognized event planning certification to your resume! Enroll with QC Event School today and graduate in as little as 3-6 months!

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