Business Advice for Event Planners (PART 2)
Part 2: Building your Brand
You have an angle, and you have registered your business name. Now it’s time to get serious. Building your own brand can be tons of fun and can attract some real attention if done right.
Before diving into building your website, business cards, marketing collateral, etc., remember this one fundamental: CONSISTENCY!
When you’re building your brand, you’ll want all aspects of the business (from your website to your business card to your advertising) to have a consistent look and feel. Think about a logo that’s easy to use in different formats, images that are easily convertible from online to print, and a specific writing tone that helps clients identify with your brand.
It’s 2014, and there’s no excuse for a business not to have a website. You might not get a lot of traffic at first, but most clients won’t trust you if you don’t have some online presence.
You can easily find online templates that help you build a professional-looking website. I personally love squarespace.com: for a very inexpensive monthly subscription fee, you can build a professional website based on numerous templates, even if you don’t have any web design experience.
A few pointers when building your website:
- As previously mentioned, make sure the URL is somewhere along the lines of [your business name].com. The closer the domain is to your business name, the better.
- Unless you’re a web designer (or you hire one), stick with a proven template. It might be useful to spend a little time researching best practices for web page design to avoid making classic mistakes (i.e. avoid flash-based websites, etc.)
- Plan your site before getting started. On paper, write down the “wireframe” for your website: how many pages you need, what content will be on these pages, what the navigation will be like. At minimum, you’ll have:
- A home page
- A “products & services” page
- An “about me/us” page
- A “contact” page
- Research basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles and stick to them. This will help users find your website when they type your business name into Google.
- Be careful with the photographs or images you use on your site. Make sure you have the rights to use them in that context. Stock photography is an option, but if you have the time and resources to use your own photographs, there’s nothing better!
A note about email addresses: having an email address for your business hosted on a personal email provider looks amateur at best. It’s very easy and inexpensive to set up a business email account that can help you look infinitely more professional.
Consider: firstname.lastname@example.org vs. email@example.com. Which one would you trust more?
Your Business Cards
Business owners spend a lot of time designing and updating their business cards. It’s an important aspect of any business that deals with clients face-to-face, but at the same time a traditional business card can miss the mark if it doesn’t link your business image.
Before you get started, establish a budget for your business cards. Figure out how much you’re willing to spend on the design and production of your cards, and also figure out how many cards you’d realistically need. You’d be amazed how many people forget this crucial step and end up spending over 20 hours and thousands of dollars on business cards that are hardly ever used.
Business Card Basics:
- All Business Cards should contain the following:
- The company name and logo
- Your name and position
- Your phone number and email address
- The company website
- Keep it simple: avoid busy photo backgrounds or fancy, illegible fonts.
- Stay within standard business card dimensions. They are easier for clients to handle.
- Keep it consistent: try to use the same terminology, font, colors as you do on your website.
- Consider alternatives to the standard paper card: Today you can find suppliers that will create business cards made of plastic, hardwood, lace… whatever you’d like! These types of cards are more expensive, but are more likely to be noticed (and used!) by customers. So if you have a healthy budget and need a limited amount of cards, this is a wonderful option to consider!
Your Social Media Pages
Along with your website, you’ll probably want to become an active presence on social media channels. This is an area to connect directly with your clients and other vendors.
We’ll discuss the intricacies of Social Media in part 3 of this series, but here are some basics you’ll want to keep in mind when building any social media business account.
- Surprise-surprise, you’ll want to keep consistent with the business image you’ve already developed on your website and business card. That means using the same colors, text and image styles, etc.
- Make sure your logo is present on all your business pages, and link back to your website on all your accounts.
- If your name is anywhere on your business’ social media accounts (and it should be), then pay attention to your personal profile as well. Make sure your own profile doesn’t contain any messages or pictures that could alienate or offend your clients.
Stay tuned for Part 3: Marketing to Clients