When you first created an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) for your business, you probably felt excited to have so much clarity around your marketing. Despite all the work you put into thinking about your ICA, you may be feeling a bit lost when it comes to actually attracting this imaginary person.
An easy way to get into your ICA’s head and start attracting more of them is to have your marketing meet them where they are at each phase of their special-event planning journey.
1. Start with inspiration.
Your ICAs start out hoping to find fresh ideas for their event. In this phase, they aren’t looking to book or buy. They’re dreaming about what their event can be like for themselves and their guests.
At this phase, they are likely on Pinterest and Instagram and also Googling things like “Elegant 50th anniversary party ideas” or “Modern wedding inspiration.”
Your best bet for getting in front of them is to be in those places with your best ideas and inspiration. This will grab their attention and build trust even before they are ready to book.
Use Pinterest to drive traffic back to your website and blog where they can find even more of your brilliant ideas. Use a tool like Linktr.ee to create a bio link for Instagram that showcases your portfolio. The best part is by producing content and blog posts regularly, you not only have regular opportunities to drive traffic back to your website where they can view your portfolio or inquire about your services when they are ready, but Google will also start to love you too.
Pro tip: Remember that special events take place in a specific location. Be sure to include local information and inspiration that are specific to your local city or area. Include venue names and your city name in your titles and descriptions to tell both potential clients and Google what geographic location you serve.
2. Be the first to answer all of their questions.
At some point in your ICAs’ special event planning journey, they will enter the research phase.
Before they start reviewing vendors, their research will be general. For some, they’ve never planned an event this large (or special). They need answers to such questions like: “How much should I budget for my event?” “What are local in-season menu options?” And, “Do I really need to rent a tent for an outdoor event?”
At this phase, if you are the first with the questions for all of their answers, you have the opportunity to continue to build trust. You become the go-to authority in your region for all of their initial questions.
Think about it. Anybody can list their services and prices and try to sell and book clients at the booking phase. But if you are on the Internet, getting in front of and serving potential clients before they are even thinking of booking, you will generate goodwill, build trust, and stay top-of-mind months before your competition is even on their radar.
Pro Tip: Think of all the Frequently Asked Questions you get during client consults and sales calls. Not the questions about pricing and services, but the other ones--questions about other vendor recommendations, venue details, and other questions not related directly to your services. Each question can be answered with a blog post so you can drive traffic back to your website and beat your competition on Google.
3. Be transparent about their two biggest questions.
At some point, the golden opportunity arrives. Your ICAs are ready to book vendors and they start researching potential candidates. If you have followed the first two steps, you are ahead of your competition for brand recognition, trust and likeability. Now, it’s time to win that inquiry.
This is where you provide more focused and concrete information about your product or service. The two biggest questions ICAs have at this point are: “How much are your services?” and “Are you available for my event?” It’s time to answer those questions fully and transparently.
The old days of “getting them on the phone so you can prove your value” are gone. Younger Gen-Xers and millennials want to pre-qualify vendors based on their budget, and, frankly, do you really want to spend hours talking to people who will never be able to afford you?
Besides, if you’ve done your job well in the first two steps, they already understand your value and how you are different from the competition, so relax and be as transparent as you can be. List your price ranges, what’s included and how your services will transform their experience and be perfect for their event.
Pro Tip: In addition to listing your price ranges on your website, offer a comprehensive price list they can download and review in exchange for an email address. This allows you to continue to contact them to warm them up and win that inquiry.
With an early start on reaching your ICA, you will secure your role as a thought leader and expert in your field, which spreads brand recognition and will stick with potential clients until the moment they’re ready to book.
Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA and the ABC Conference.