Business Advice For Event Planners (PART 1)
Event and wedding planning is a tough sell. You have to get noticed in order to get clients. Many new and aspiring event/wedding planners struggle with this area of the business… even more than the actual planning itself!
In this series, we’ll look at the different requirements to building a professional brand, marketing yourself to clients, and forging beneficial relationships with vendors.
Part 1: The Basics
Before you even think of marketing yourself, there’s a lot of work to be done. You wouldn’t sell a half-baked cake, would you? Nor should you rush into marketing before having all the pieces of your business squarely in place. If you fail at this first step, you’ll probably end up leaving clients with a bad taste for your business.
Before you can start selling to clients, you have to know what they want. Too many event/wedding planners try to corner a market that doesn’t exist. For example, selling beautifully elegant, extravagant and costly weddings to low-income rural communities probably doesn’t have a great chance of succeeding.
Do you work in a busy metropolitan or in a small close-knit community? Either way, you’ll want to research what your clientele wants in a wedding and event planner.
If you’re in a large city, there are probably many options for you to choose from. Your challenge will be how to stand out from your competition. Make a list of all event and wedding planners in your area, and what their marketing angles are. You might spot a gap in the market that clients would like filled. You can then survey the community and see what they think of your ideas.
Event/Wedding planners in small towns or rural areas have a different challenge. Residents in these areas probably aren’t used to the idea of hiring a wedding/event planner. In these cases, you might want to focus on a specific passion the community shares. For example, is the community particularly proud of a local sporting team? Is there an annual festival everyone participates in? Do all residents share a similar cultural or religious background? Becoming a community expert might be a fun way to break into the market and attract some outside attention as well.
What’s in a Name?
It’s amazing how much the name of your business matters. Making a mistake at this stage can alienate your clientele before they get a chance to know you.
You have two options: Market yourself as an individual (i.e. Jane Doe, IEWP™) or come up with a name for your business. Here are a few considerations:
- If you have a name that’s difficult to pronounce, you should probably come up with a business name that’s easier on the tongue. It might be unfair, but some clients will avoid names they don’t understand, for fear of insulting you by mispronouncing it.
- If you come up with a business name, make sure it resonates with your target clientele.
- Your business name shouldn’t make people think. If you have to explain what it means, you risk confusing clients before they even walk through the door.
- If the business name is too long, shorten it. There’s nothing wrong with having different business names for legal vs. marketing use. Example: QC stands for “Quality of Course, Inc.” Which is the name of the parent company. Imagine if the school were called “Quality of Course Event Planning”. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue!
- Do your Research! Choose a business name that isn’t easily confused with a consumer product, another business, a competitor, etc. If you make a list of 10 possible business names, odds are 5-7 of them will be thrown out at this point.
- Make sure your business name can be registered, and that you can secure a domain name (website address) that makes sense. If you’re unable to buy [your business name].com (most are pretty cheap), then you’ll probably want to go back to the drawing board.
A quick note about websites: We’ll discuss “building your website” in the following section. But when choosing your business name, consider that easy and common “Keywords” in a business name (like “event planner” or “wedding planning” for example) will help clients remember you and easily find you online.
After you’ve settled on a solid business plan and a name for your business, then you’ll be ready to move on to part 2 of this series: building your brand. Tune in on Wednesday, May 21st for more business advice!