As an Event Planner, one of the biggest challenges when starting out is finding event planning clients who will pay for your services. You might have started out planning events for your friends and family for free and making that transition to paid can be a little rocky.
Also being new means that not everyone knows about your services as yet, so you will need to do some extra legwork to get the word out and start bringing in those clients. So how do you go about doing that? In this post, I will be sharing with you some tried and tested methods for finding clients offline.
1. Host a Business Launch Party
If you are a new to the industry a launch party is the perfect way to get your name and services out there to potential clients. Host a party and invite your friends, family and acquaintances. A launch party will not only get your name out there but you will also be able to use the photos from your launch to build your event planning portfolio.
2. Word of Mouth Marketing
Ever notice how gossip can spread like wildfire without any formal advertising? Well word of mouth marketing is a cheap method of driving clients to your business. Go ahead and give your friends and family members copies of your business cards and ask them to give them out whenever the opportunity arises.
Do what you do so well, that people can't resist telling others about you (Walt Disney). @event_u #eventprofs
3. Collaborate with local wedding and event venues
Contact wedding and event venues in your area and discuss how you could get them to recommend your services to their clients. Maybe it is posting your business information on a bulletin board or placing your business cards at their front-desk. Whatever the final option is, work with them to highlight the benefits of recommending your services to their clients.
4. Partner with related businesses (such as a florist)
Industry partnerships can benefit your business tremendously if leveraged correctly. Think about the vendors that you often work with when planning events and evaluate the benefit of partnering with one of them. This could be florists, photographers, makeup artists to name a few. Partnerships can generate new clients for your respective business if you both have a mutual recommendation model in place.
For example: New clients to your business could get 15% off their floral order from your florist in a partnership and vice versa.
5. Pound the pavement!
Sometimes the best way to book new clients is to get out and get in front of them.
Try visiting potential clients and provide them with a copy of your client welcome kit or marketing package. For example, If you are interested in working with real estate clients, try looking up real estate businesses in your area and dropping off a copy of your welcome kit at their offices. This is a great way to showcase your services, connect with your potential clients directly and if you include a freebie in the package you could be booking new clients very soon!
Learn how to create a Client Welcome Kit for your event planning business:
6. Take part in Tradeshows and Expos to feature your business
Trade shows and Exhibitions are another great venue for promoting your business and getting in front of a large number of potential clients. Though if not used correctly, these types of events can end up being costly with little return on investment. The key to success at trade shows is to ensure that your brand standout in a sea of other vendors, that potential clients are provided with information on the value of using your services, and most importantly that you have a method for capturing clients contact information for following up.
7. Network with other business owners.
Networking is an often undervalued option for finding new clients. New business owners will approach networking just as a way to speak about their own business, which is not always effective. Networking is two folds: The first is to use it as a way to generate new clients through your network and contacts, and the second is to connect with other business owners in your industry. Join an association or local business group, attend a conference or workshop. This is one of the best ways to connect with other event planners and learn what strategies work in their business for finding clients and explore if these can be used in your business as well.
Resource: Meeting Planners International
8. Look for free advertising offered by your city.
What could be better than free advertising? Now is the time to explore what options are available in your own city. Check out local business associations, your Chamber of Commerce and even non-profit organizations. They will at times have directory listings, membership lists or other venues you can use to list your business with no charge.
Free publicity and word of mouth is probably the best and cheapest form of advertising. Learn to use it to your advantage. @Event_U
9. Direct mail and Flyers.
Direct mail and flyers are fairly old school in today's technology enhanced world. But many industries such as real estate swear by these methods for advertising to clients. Place a flyer in your local supermarket, church or community center notice boards for example and get in front of potential clients eyes. If your clients are not super tech savvy then they might still be responsive to mailed advertisements and bulletin board flyers.
10. Host a free workshop.
Would you believe that you can land new clients by giving away your knowledge for free?! Think of it showcasing your expertise to potential clients. You are showing them what is possible if they hire you, while also teaching them a valuable skill.
Visit your local community center and see if they have free event space available and host a workshop on a "how to create a floral bouquet for your wedding", for example. People are always searching for activities to fill their time; you provide them with a service, they learn something new and you now have access to (and contact information for...) a group of people who might be interested in booking your service in the future.
Resource: Organizing and Running a Successful Workshop
11. Ask for referrals.
One of the easiest ways to book new clients is to ask for referrals. Don’t be shy to ask your past/current clients to refer your business to their friends. This way the client does the marketing for you, especially if they are pleased with your services. You can also offer an incentive to sweeten the deal such as a discount on future services for each referral. Get creative with this!
The greatest form of flattery is a referral. @Event_U #eventprofs