As an event planner, much of your success is based on your ability to bring in new business, organize top-notch events, and keep your customers coming back. And while you may hope that your events speak for themselves (and maybe they do!), the reality is that you need great marketing to stand out from other event planners and attract new clients. That’s where this post on event planner marketing comes in.
In this post, we explore five proven strategies, tips, and examples that every event planner should know in order to boost their marketing efforts. Competition is fierce — use this post to help you stand out from the pack.
Discover 5 event planner marketing strategies you need to know:
1. Find your niche.
No business can be successful without a clear target audience to serve. In event planning, this means determining the types of events that you can produce most successfully, as well as the clients that you can produce them for. This is the starting point for all of your marketing efforts.
Rather than focusing on demographics or catch-all terms like millennials, come up with specific ideal clients using as many details as possible. These are called customer personas, and they help shape your event planner marketing strategy in many ways. By knowing your ideal customer, you can determine the images to feature on your website, the social media channels to focus on, where to spend your advertising budget, and which event trends will be important for your business. The better you know your customer, the easier it will be to map out your marketing plan.
To figure out what your niche is, take a look at your most successful past events. Or, explore events from others that you would like to emulate. What aspects unite them? Are they all a certain size, in a certain type of location, or involving a specific topic? What about the event organizers or attendees — were they from a certain industry? How would you describe their goals?
All of these questions should help you craft an audience targeting statement. This will be a mixture of your value proposition, your event type(s), your ideal customer, and (sometimes) a venue. Here are a few examples:
- “I plan outrageous weddings for high-profile and celebrity couples who want to wow their guests.”
- “My company offers seamless, high-impact in-person and virtual conferences for nonprofit organizations.”
- “We help charities connect with passionate supporters through fundraising sports activities.”
- “I organize small-scale concerts in malls, parks, and outdoor theaters for up-and-coming local artists to gain a following.”
- “My business focuses on organizing virtual corporate events for the financial industry.”
Once you’ve created your audience targeting statement, share it with your team and discuss what it means for your marketing. Where will you find the ideal clients from your statement? How will you communicate the value proposition through your website? What branding makes sense for the type of events that you’re planning? Together with your mission statement, this statement will give you a clear path forward for your event planner marketing strategy.
2. Make your website a priority.
With your audience targeting statement in mind, it’s time to take a look at your website. Go ahead and navigate to it now, imagining that you’re seeing it for the first time. Take note of a few key things.
- What is the first thing you notice?
- Without scrolling, can you clearly see the name of the business, the logo, and what it offers?
- Using a maximum of three clicks, can you easily contact someone to speak about an event?
- Do the images on the site convey what types of events are planned? Are they high-quality, visually appealing, and compressed to load quickly?
- Is the website building credibility by letting others tell a story? Does it feature testimonials, reviews, and attendee pictures and videos?
- Do the pages load quickly, with all content displayed easily even for those with limited eyesight or images turned off?
- Does the planner’s voice come through on the about page, the copy on the homepage, and the list of services?
- Is the navigation clear and easy to use?
- Does the website include links to social media channels?
Use your answers to these questions to make sure your website is clear, compelling, and matches the style and tone of your events. If you need some inspiration, take a look at these 7 stunning examples of event planner website design.
3. Create and grow relationships, both online and off.
One of the great things about marketing your event planning business is that you don’t need to do it alone. By forming relationships in your community and industry, you can set up a network of supporters who can help you reach your goals.
Here are some simple ideas for developing and leveraging your connections.
- Partner with local vendors that offer services you use in your events. By having a go-to caterer, florist, printer, transportation provider, audio/visual company, etc., you’ll ensure high-quality services as well as referrals for future business.
- Choose one or two social media channels and commit to them. Ask questions, provide value, give advice, and get to know the people in your audience.
- Consider going offline and creating a closed or membership-based community. These communities are on the rise. They give planners a way to interact more closely with a set group of people, getting to know them and helping them solve problems along the way.
- Find ways to co-market with local organizations. You could offer restaurant gift certificates as door prizes, feature artwork from local artists in your event graphics, offer mini-massage sessions from a local spa during breaks in programming, or even ask a local food truck to cater.
- Be seen and heard in your community. You probably have lots of opinions on your industry and on local events, so make sure you share them. You never know who will hear your message and decide to learn more about you.
4. Show off your style … everywhere.
No matter what type of events you organize, you can create a reputation by having a clear point of view. Your goal here is for clients and attendees to know that it’s one of your events without knowing you’re involved. This could come through in signature welcome gifts, the way you handle breakout sessions, fun interactive elements, or the tone or theme of the event as a whole.
Once you’ve identified your style, highlight it to achieve maximum visibility. Curate the images on your website and social media to show off your style and point of view. Craft a digital portfolio that you can show to potential clients during sales meetings. Share images and videos of past events that really tell a story about you as an event planner.
Your style doesn’t have to be a specific visual element. The idea isn’t to be “the wedding planner who always uses purple.” Instead, try to find something unique that you can offer in your market. Maybe you’re known for turning blank-slate rural venues into outdoor dreamscapes. Maybe your events are sustainable and eco-conscious. You could even be known for being on-trend and understanding all the latest in event technology. Whatever your unique offering is, highlighting it for your target audience will help to bring in new customers.
5. Manage the user journey from start to finish.
Marketing can sometimes feel like it’s all about awareness. You may feel like you’re constantly searching for new clients, trying to bring in visitors to your website in a bid to increase your visibility. But while awareness is very important, it’s not the only piece of the event planner marketing puzzle.
Every potential customer will go on a journey before ultimately choosing a planner for their next event. And while that journey will differ for each customer, there are some things we can generalize. The client will generally have a period of inspiration and research while they visualize their future event. Then they’ll begin to narrow down options for planners based on concrete criteria like budget, location, and area of expertise. They’ll contact a shortlist of people and choose the one that feels right. And after the event, they will potentially share their experience with others.
This journey means that you have lots of opportunities beyond an initial web search to connect with your potential clients. Here are a few ideas for marketing throughout the entire customer journey.
- Optimize your website for search engines by choosing strategic keywords for your market. Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to strategize and go after keyword phrases.
- Create separate landing pages for each event type and audience that you cater to. This way, you can write more specific copy on each page and rank better for search terms related to those pages.
- Create an email newsletter with tips for your type of event. Draw subscribers in with a free download, such as a planning checklist or event calendar.
- Provide high-quality content to educate potential clients about events in their industry.
- Reach out periodically to customers who aren’t actively planning an event, so that you stay top-of-mind for the next one.
- Manage your reputation by responding to reviews and feedback online.
- Display testimonials and images or videos from past events on your website.
- Include answers to frequently asked questions on your website so that it’s easy for customers to choose you.
- Encourage user-generated content at your events, and share it via your social media channels.
- If appropriate, establish a loyalty program or customer appreciation events and offers for customers who book more than one event.
Remember that your customers are busy people with more going on in their lives than this single event. Show them that you can make the planning process easy, and you’re well on your way to earning their business.
Put these event planner marketing strategies to use today!
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to event planner marketing. But if you follow the strategies above and shape them to your specific business, you’ll be well on your way to reaching more potential clients.
Up next: Do you specifically focus on weddings? Head here for our marketing tips just for wedding planners.