Building a business is no easy feat, but you’ve made it this far. Could you imagine having $10k each month to spend on client acquisition and marketing? Of course, you don’t have to actually spend that much, and there are plenty of tactics out there that are quite affordable. Since you’ve got a larger budget with your growing business, you’ll have access to more solutions than in the past, but it will still be important to choose the best ones.
When you’re looking to draw in new clients for your event planning business, you’ve got a lot of different options out there. If you want to get results, you need to get past the PR and shameless self-promotion and take a look at your tactical options for making real changes. Here are five tactics that are sure to help you grow your event planning client list.
Cost: Free, unless you pay for tickets, networking events, etc.
In the event planning industry, networking is everything. Who you know relates directly to which jobs you get and how well you rank as a professional event planner in the city or region where your business operates. Having a strong professional network is a critical part of your success and it’s one of the most affordable tactics to improve your new client acquisitions.
You should attend local trade shows, wedding showcases, and other industry events where you can find and book clients for any number of special occasions. Get creative and think about where you would look for an event planner if you needed one, and then make sure that you have a presence there. Connect with vendors and others in the industry to help build your credibility, too.
Cost: Free, unless you offer incentives in exchange for reviews
Event planning is one of the industries where word-of-mouth marketing is quite effective. Reviews have become the gold standard, for many people, when they are looking for companies to work with or products to buy. They want to see two types of reviews: those from people who have firsthand experience, such as others that you’ve planned events for in the past, and reviews from third-party services that specialize in reviewing professional services like yours.
When you provide good service, some people will naturally be inclined to share that with others. In some instances, you will get reviews just because people want to give them. In other cases, you might have to work a little harder for them, but it will always be worthwhile. If you want to increase your chances of a good review, consider giving people a discount or offering something special in exchange for a kind word.
Cost: $500-$5,000, varies, depending on what you have done
When is the last time you updated your website? Not just your blog—when did you check the sitemap, the technical SEO, and things like the navigation and ease of use of your event planning site? Often, when businesses grow, they forget to make sure that their website grows with them. Your online presence needs to reflect your new midsize business and the market of clients that you want to attract if you are going to succeed in doing so.
There are a lot of technical efforts you can undertake on your own, like checking content to make sure it’s not outdated or in need of refreshing or making sure that your XML sitemap is functional so that your site can be properly indexed. You can also pay SEO experts and website designers to handle the optimization, which has a range of costs depending on what all services you request and how much work they do.
Cost: $250-$1,000 for local marketing and SEO improvements
Event planning is typically a more localized business. Except for digital event planners who handle online events exclusively, or events in the Metaverse, most event planners work on physical events that take place in the real world, usually inside some type of brick-and-mortar building or perhaps in an outdoor space. The point is that you have a local audience and you need to market to them, directly and exclusively.
Research and refine your list of local keywords, including those that have the location in them (wedding planner in Chicago, for example) and those that come from one of the most popular searches performed online: “wedding planners near me”.
The use of “near me” has increased exponentially as people seek out local businesses for things like hosting events and helping plan different special occasions. Take advantage of that and try to work in all the local keywords that you possibly can. Also, claim and complete your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and make sure that you ask for reviews there so that your local optimization continues throughout.
Cost: $250-$5,000, varies depending on how much you outsource
The Internet has done a lot of things for business but providing even better access to outsourcing is a big win. Outsourcing makes it easy for mid-size companies to get more done without having to bring talent on board themselves. It also offers the chance to get a lot more for your money than you would by hiring a single administrative assistant or office helper to handle the things that need to be done in a day.
You can outsource everything from answering the phones to lead screening and appointment scheduling, and so much more. When you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll get a 24/7 answering service that’s ready to help with whatever you need.
Our receptionists can deliver solutions for lead screening and intake, appointment scheduling, live website chat, and even assist with your outreach campaigns to help you attract new clients in the first place. Plus, we’ll do it all with a custom strategy that is tailored to your needs.