How to Get Clients For Your Event Planning Business
The event planning industry was worth over $4 billion in 2022 and starting a business in this sector can be both exciting and challenging. Exciting because you have the opportunity to bring your creative ideas to life. Challenging because you have to find clients to make your business a success.
It’s not a case of simply finding clients, either. You need to convince them that you have the experience and knowledge to meet their needs. As a startup in a competitive market, this can be tough. In this article, we discuss how to get clients for your event planning business. Then we’ll share our advice for closing deals and retaining business.
How to get clients for your event planning business
When you’re building a business from scratch, there’s a lot to do. You need everything from the basics, like accounting software, to the specific tools for your industry. Having the right solutions for your admin and accounting will help you operate more efficiently in the long term.
But that’s advice that any new business can benefit from. When it comes to event planning, the first thing you need to know as a startup is how to attract clients. Here are seven of our best tips on how to get clients for your event planning business.
Target a specific niche
One way to differentiate your startup event planning business is to target a specific niche. This could be weddings, corporate events, or social events like birthday parties and anniversaries. By targeting a niche, you can tailor your services to meet the specific needs of your audience. This will help you stand out in the crowded event planning market.
You’ll also want to consider the growing world of digital events. Interactive digital content, remote webinars, and even live events are being streamed and hosted online in ever greater numbers. Corporate clients in particular are looking for ways to effectively promote their digital events.
Launch your event website
A professional-looking website is a must for any business, including event planners. Your website should provide potential clients with all the information they need about your services. Include your portfolio of past events and testimonials from your previous clients if you can.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. If you’re new to website design, consider using a third-party website builder for that professional look. If you’d rather build your website yourself, here’s a quick checklist to get you on the right track.
- Use high-quality images to showcase your previous events and services.
- Make sure your contact information is clearly visible and easy to find.
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to increase your visibility.
- Add testimonials and reviews from previous clients to build trust.
- Offer free resources such as e-books, webinars, or blog posts related to event planning.
Be present on social media
Social media is an excellent way to reach potential clients and showcase your event planning skills. Choose the social media platforms that are most relevant to your target audience and post regularly.
Determining your target audience is essential. For example, social sharing sites like Instagram will work if you’re targeting weddings and social events. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn would be better if you’re targeting corporate events.
Posts don’t have to be overt marketing, you can simply share pictures and videos from your past events. Either way, don’t forget to engage with your followers. Respond to comments, like related posts, and join in on industry-relevant discussions.
Nonprofits are often in need of event planning services for fundraising events, charity galas, and other events. By offering your services to nonprofits, you can build your reputation and gain exposure to potential customers.
To get started, research non-profits in your local area. Grassroots community charities will be grateful for the help if you can offer affordable services. Try and choose organizations that align with your company values. This will help you gain visibility and build social credit at the same time.
Hold event pop-ups
Event pop-ups are a great way to showcase your event planning skills. If you don’t have an event on the calendar, choose a location and set up a mock event. Invite potential clients to attend and experience the event firsthand.
Make sure to include interactive elements like food and drinks, live entertainment, and opportunities for attendees to engage with each other. As well as showing off your skills, this can be a great way to network with new clients.
If this is your first event, here are some ideas to get you up and running:
- Choose a unique and eye-catching theme for your event.
- Offer a variety of food and drinks, and include games or photo booths.
- Use social media to promote your event and reach a wider audience.
- Offer special promotions or discounts to customers who attend the event.
- Encourage attendees to follow your social media accounts.
Utilize word-of-mouth marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing can be a cost-effective way of promoting your startup. If you have a limited marketing budget, then this is your best way of increasing your visibility. This is especially true given that 88% of consumers trust their friends’ recommendations over other marketing techniques.
If you want customers to recommend your business, then you need to start by providing great service. Satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend your business to friends or family. It doesn’t hurt to politely request reviews, either.
A popular strategy is to include a respectful review request when you invoice your clients. Most small business invoicing software will allow you to do this by customizing your invoices. You can request a review and add a personal touch to your service that could give you an edge over your competitors.
One way of building word of mouth marketing buzz when you’re still looking for your initial clients is through networking. Joining a trade organization and attending other local events can be a good way to meet compatible business leaders. You can use this to find both clients and marketing partners.
Don’t be shy to ask for referrals
To build on that word-of-mouth marketing reach, referrals and testimonials from high-profile clients can go a long way. This can be achieved simply by sending a follow-up email after an event and asking if they know anyone who might be in need of your event planning services.
If you’re just launching your business, you can always ask friends and family if they know of anyone who might need your services. Just don’t forget to ask for that all important testimonial to add to your website and social media channels.
What to discuss with potential event clients to secure deals
Now you know how to get clients for your event planning business, but that’s only the first step. Once you’ve got their attention you still need to demonstrate that you have the skills to pull off the perfect event. Each client will have unique requirements, so be prepared to offer bespoke solutions.
Having said that, there are some common factors that all clients will want to discuss. To show that you’re up to the task, make sure you prepare various options for the following criteria.
Event budget and cost planning
Discussing the client’s budget will give you an idea of what kind of event is feasible, and what kind of services you can provide. Make sure you clearly communicate any costs, including vendor fees, decoration costs, and any other expenses that may arise.
Choosing the right accounting software for sole traders can help with this. You’ll be able to send professional, customizable, quotes and personalize them for each client’s individual needs. You’ll also be able to make adjustments on the go from an app on your phone.
Before finalizing a deal with a client, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what their event goals are. This can help you plan the event effectively and avoid any misunderstandings down the line.
Ask about what kind of message they want to communicate, what kind of atmosphere they want to create, and what kind of results they hope to achieve. This is all down to the client and what they need so be prepared for detailed discussions.
Event property rental
If your client is interested in renting a property for the event, it’s important to discuss all the details. That includes the size of the space, the number of attendees, and any specific requirements they may have.
Make sure you have all the details of the rental agreement, and that you understand all the costs and clauses involved. The last thing you want is to have your event canceled at the last minute because you exceeded the safe venue capacity.
As a startup, it’s up to you to put your best foot forward and bring clients on board. You don’t have the advantages of an established brand, so you’ll need to work twice as hard at networking and impressing clients.
Following the tips above will get you started. Event planning doesn’t end with closing deals though. You still have to deliver the event and develop your relationship with the client. That’s how you’ll start building a satisfied customer base.
Even as a sole trader or a small business, you don’t have to do it all alone. Choosing the right event management software can help you with everything from planning to execution. Set things up the right way to make sure you can deliver great events, then focus on how to get clients for your event planning business.