If you own an event planning business, you’re a part of one the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. According to Eventbrite’s projection, there will be around 25 million annual planned events by the year 2020. Given the massive growth of this industry, it is paramount that you establish your business quickly, through effective and well-planned marketing. But where do you begin? Marketing usually takes a slight deviation from routine channels when it comes to event planning businesses, as you’ll get to know further along in this article. In order to help you with marketing your event planning business, we’ve put together a list of 10 effective methods that have had proven results in this realm.Take a look!

#1 Networking

As you might have probably heard before, networking is one of the most basic and essential marketing methods for event planners, and there’s a reason for this. Socialising at events that host a substantial number of potential clients is simple, yet utterly effective.How so, you ask? Well, it boils down to one very effective reason: Direct Interaction. From a business owner’s standpoint, interacting directly with potential clients gives them the chance to present their business in a personalized manner, something that just cannot be achieved through print material. From a potential client’s standpoint, they get a much clearer understanding of the kind of services your business offers, and what you specialize in.They also get to resolve any queries that they might have immediately, and walk away with a good impression of not just your business, but you as an owner too. Aside from marketing your business to potential clients, networking at various events can also help you collect ideas and inspiration from the event itself. This could come in very handy when you’re planning your next event. In case you’re still wondering about the other positive impacts of networking, check out this blog post.

#2 Print Advertising

There are two main advantages to print advertising – It reaches a sizable number of households, and it can fit within almost any budget range. This makes it a great marketing option for event planners who are just starting out, or those who operate within a certain locality. Local newspapers, magazines, and even the Yellow Pages are great places to start advertising your business. Apart from these sources, brochures are also effective when it comes to print advertising. You could also get in touch with other businesses or vendors who are closely related to your industry and request to leave a bunch of your brochures at their offices.For example, someone ordering bouquets from a florist or renting out furniture from a rental agency for an event could turn out to be potential clients, if they see your business’ brochures displayed at the vendor’s office. Here’s an example of a well-made brochure for an event planning business.

Take a look at some more brochure templates like this one to get a sense of what might suit your business.

#3 Online & Local Listings

With search engines like Google playing an ever-evolving part in our daily lives, one cannot stress enough on the importance of having your business listed on all the major online listings sites. This includes sites such as Google, Bing, Yelp, Foursquare, etc., so that when people search for event planners in their locality, your business shows up. In fact, the phrase ‘Event planners near me’ has a monthly search volume of around 2900, according to Ubersuggest. This makes it plain and clear that listing your business online is essential, and can drive a lot of traffic towards your website. One thing that you need to keep in mind when listing your business in online directories is that the information that you provide needs to be consistent. If your NAP details vary across different directories, you might end up competing against yourself and losing out on your local search rankings. Listing your business on all the major online directories can take a lot of time and effort, so we recommend using a tool like Synup that can take care of your online listings for you.

#4 Business Cards

At first glance, business cards as marketing material might seem a little outdated, but they can be quite effective, especially when it comes to businesses that garner innovation, such as event planning. This is because more than providing your business information, they give you a chance to create a great first impression by way of presentation. Your business card propagates your brand’s image, and it pays to be attentive towards every aspect of it, starting with the design. Use it as a means to portray your business’ taste and creative direction. A well-designed business card will immediately give potential customers a glimpse of your aesthetic sensibilities, and how involved you are in every aspect of your business. This is important, as it can be the difference between a signed contract and an unused business card in someone’s wallet. Check out this Pinterest board for some great examples of innovative business cards!

#5 Social Media

Maintaining an active online presence on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter has become more of a necessity than an option, when it comes to marketing your business. People are spending an increasing amount of time on social media sites, and using these sites to market your business gives you a huge amount of reach that is hard to achieve through other channels. That being said, social media marketing is not just about creating a business page and hoping for engagement from your target market. You need to have a specific content plan, and post regularly. Make sure that the content that you post is not just about your business, but also about facts and happenings in your industry that your audience might find interesting. Here are some ways through which you can keep your audience engaged online:

  • Live tweet an event, and use it to create your own hashtag. Check out this post for more ideas on live tweeting.
  • Hold fun online contests for the attendees at an event you’re organizing. For example, you could create a collage post with pictures of all the attendees and their online handles, and let people vote for the best dressed. Take a look at these contest ideas that you can use.
  • Join associations/forums and actively participate in their online discussions. Eventective is a great forum for event planners, and here’s a list of associations that you could join.
  • You could even run sponsored ads on sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Pro-tip

You can also look into the workings of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm for displaying relevant content in people’s newsfeed, and optimize your posts accordingly.

#6 Post Event Video Clips

Perhaps the best way to get potential clients to trust your work is to show them exactly that. Pictures are great, but videos help spread the vibe of your events, and get people excited about hiring you. A great way to start would be to create your own YouTube channel, and keep posting short video clips of your events. You could even do series videos of all your events, such as ‘Before & After’, ‘Behind The Scenes’, ‘The Making Of’, etc. Take a look at CountDown Events’ YouTube channel to get an overview of how you can create event video posts that are engaging and marketing-oriented. Do make sure to share these videos across all your social media pages, and also on your own website for maximum reach.

#7 Email Marketing

Marketing via email has long been a proven method to generate quality leads, and as the owner of an event planning business, you need to make the most of it. And just like any other marketing technique, you need a proper strategy in place that aligns with your business goals. Here are some key points that you need to keep in mind before you start sending out your emails:

  • Put together a robust mailing list. This should ideally be segmented into past clients, current clients, and prospective clients. This helps determine the type of content that you want to include in each mail, and the ideal end goal. You can also reach out to any industry-related associations that your business is a part of, in order to expand your mailing list.
  • Prepare tailored content for each segment of your mailing list. For example, you would want to send emails with promotional content to prospective clients, whereas you can send informational content to people who have already used your services. To make this process easier, we recommend using a tool like Autopilot to automate your mails.
  • Keep the content short and informative, and the subject line engaging. For instance, you could mention ‘We tried this out, and it works like a charm!’ in your subject line instead of a plain ‘Try this party planning method’.
  • Make sure you don’t bombard your audience with multiple mails everyday. You can, however, send a follow-up mail a couple of days later if someone hasn’t opened your previous mail.
  • Be sure to send a balanced mix of promotional, informative, and experiential content in your mails to avoid monotony.

There are also a host of online tools that you can employ to take care of all your email marketing for you, and save you precious time and effort. Here’s a list of 7 such tools that you can use.

#8 Go Live

When we talk about ‘going live’, we’re referring to two things – live streaming your events, and incorporating live acts every now and then in the events that you organize. Take a look at these Bizzabo survey stats:

  • 80% of marketers believe that live events are critical to their company’s (and the event’s) success.
  • 30% of marketers believe that live streaming will impact events the most.

This is a substantial step when it comes to tech-based marketing, one that you need to take advantage of. First, let’s talk about the advantages of live streaming. Not only does this showcase your investment and confidence in your work, it is also a huge benefit for people who were unable to make it to the event for whatever reason. For example, if you’re organizing a bridal shower, live streaming it would be a great help for any family members who might not have been able to make it to the event. Additionally, the effort will be greatly appreciated by your clients. You can use your YouTube channel and website to live stream and promote your events. Moving on to live acts, they are always a charming addition to upscale events. Not only are they entertaining, they also showcase sophistication. More often than not, live acts are also an icebreaker at large gatherings where not everyone is familiar with each other. This can make your guests feel at ease, and as blunt as this may seem, they also help alleviate any awkward silences.  As an added bonus, it also gives people something to talk about after the event, which can definitely promote word-of-mouth marketing.

#9 Referrals

Referrals are often one of the best sources of warm leads. People are generally more open to employing a person or business that they’ve worked with before, so feel free to reach out to your friends, family, and former clients and request for possible references. You can also incentivize them by offering a discount or free service for every referral that they make. Getting referrals to your business is something that takes time, especially if you’re someone who’s just starting out. Hence, patience and perseverance are key. Once you establish yourself in the industry, there’s a good chance you’ll get an increasing number of referrals as time passes.

#10 Do Trade-Offs

This is a marketing trick that is more focused towards event planners who are just starting out, and those on a low marketing budget. Trade-offs are essentially just offering your services in return for someone else’s. For example, if you don’t have the budget to hire a photographer, you could approach a photographer friend or an acquaintance and offer to organize any event that they might have in the cards, in return for a photoshoot of your event. This saves you money, and more importantly, almost always leads to word-of-mouth marketing courtesy your trade-off partner. And there you go! These are 10 of the most effective marketing methods for any event planning business.

As an added bonus for new-on-the-block event planners, here’s an explainer video by EventPlanning.com that you can check out to get an idea of how to bill your clients for your event planning services.

Spend More Time Running Your Business

And, less time obsessing about your local presence.