Event company websites are not often constructed to make money. They tend to be a hodgepodge of beautiful event imagery, flowery language, and contact forms that do not follow a structure designed to turn visitors into customers. Often, they speak to the occasions but are not specific about what they do exactly, how to work with the company, or why this business is the one the customer should choose.
The result? Potential prospects bounce to another website that more clearly articulates how they can solve their problem or design their dream event.
If your website is confusing or unintentional, you will lose out on business. The worst part is that you may not even realize the potential money that is walking away from you based on an ineffective website. You just know that your website is not making you money, and you might be at a loss for what to do about it.
Use the power of story as a sense-making device that will express your brand’s unique value in a way that doesn’t require your leads to spend too much time understanding how you will improve their lives. The copy and photos on your website should take your future clients on a transformational journey that starts with highlighting their problem and ends with what success looks like.
1. Start with the problem.
Your customer’s problem is the No. 1 marketing message that you should be using. By starting your website with a question such as, “Are you frustrated by the limited style choices available at most rental companies?” or a statement like “Stop being frustrated by trying to DIY your wedding,” you are highlighting the pain points your customer is feeling. Showing that you understand what they are going through hooks them in, because they are curious about how you will be able to solve their issue.
Highlighting the negative experiences of your potential clients also helps you weed out tire-kickers and those who would take you out of the center of your talent. You are more likely to end up getting contacted by people who resonate with you and how you like to do business. They will be grateful that you were able to highlight how they felt and that you “get” them.
2. Be specific about the value you add.
Using generic language on your website will eventually make you irrelevant. If you try to sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one.
Instead of targeting all couples who are getting married, niche down, and don’t be afraid to speak directly to whom you want to work with. For example, if you plan weddings primarily for affluent African-American couples, call out differentiators like “in-depth knowledge of African-American culture and wedding traditions” or “exclusive contracts with the top wedding vendors.” Not only will you rise above the pack, but you will find joy in working with more clients whom you consider your “favorites.”
3. Include the steps to take to work with you.
When we are an expert in a topic or field, we often suffer from the curse of knowledge. You might accidentally assume that the process of booking you or working with you is straightforward. Instead, step into the shoes of someone who is not at all familiar with you, the industry or events. Make it easy for them to understand how to engage with you, what working with you will be like, and how you will get them their desired results.
The best way to go about highlighting this is with a clear three-step plan:
The first step is what potential clients need to do to initiate the buying process. This could involve scheduling a call, getting a quote, or taking a tour.
The second step should center around what you will do to bring their vision to life. While there are many sub-steps, try to combine them into an overarching concept such as, “We take care of all of the planning details” or “We plan, prepare and serve your irresistible menu.”
The third step should future-pace success. Think of using a phrase such as “You have the wedding of your dreams” or “You become the host even your sister-in-law envies.” While there are many steps to working with you, try to keep the broad strokes to three on your website.
4. Include credibility points.
When other people sing your praises, it is much more powerful than when you do it for yourself. Include testimonials from past clients multiple times down your home page. A good testimonial talks about the problem you solved, how you solved it, and what success looked like for the client. Instead of having your clients write their own testimonials, interview them or compile their testimonial from a survey. Pass them a copy for approval before publishing.
Don’t forget to show the logos of associations, certifications and awards prominently on your website. This lets visitors know that you take your craft seriously and that you have been vouched for by other industry professionals. Don’t just add them to your footer or as an afterthought. Include text next to a credibility section that explains your dedication to your clients and why your accolades make you the best choice.
One of the most important things to do is to include strong calls-to-action to work with you throughout your website. “Contact us” or “Learn more” are not direct enough. There should be multiple buttons on your homepage that say “Schedule a call” or “Get a quote.” These are your cash registers and are one of the quickest fixes to help your website convert more visitors into customers.
To see an example of a highly converting website, click here. This is a faux wedding planner’s site homepage that includes the various sections above and might help inspire your website refresh.
Aleya Harris, an award-winning marketer and former chef and catering company owner, is the owner of Flourish Marketing, an agency that provides marketing education, strategy and tools to help wedding, catering and event professionals get and keep a consistent stream of clients. She is the current marketing committee chair for NACE and a speaker at conferences and events including The Special Event and Catersource.