One of the biggest challenges when it comes to marketing an event business is finding new clients. It’s natural to want to push forward and connect with as many prospects as you can, but smart marketers know that you need to start a few steps back.
No two couples are alike and, thus, every event pro will naturally find a certain “type” of client that they enjoy working with most. Some may love the thrill of working with destination wedding clients, whereas others may specialize in a particular culture (i.e., South Asian, Jewish, etc.).
In order to find new clients efficiently, you need to first identify your ideal client and discover the best avenues to reach them directly. Let’s walk through the steps of finding—and booking—your dream clients in time to reopen in a post-pandemic landscape.
Dig deep into your ideal client
Perhaps you have a few qualities when you think of whom you enjoy working with, but you need to go deeper to truly get to know them on an intimate level. Ask yourself some personal questions about them: What restaurants do they love? Which magazines are they picking up in the store? Do they speak casually or formally? Where do they get their news?
Once you start to narrow your focus on a target client profile, you will see that your blog, website, social media and other marketing materials will start to home in on those people. You will better understand how they spend their time and how they best receive messaging. This detailed approach is a far more effective marketing strategy than trying to reach a general audience through scattershot messaging that fails to hit the mark with anyone.
As you connect with the clients you love to work with, you’ll see that they are also the ones who will value your opinion, love your work, and trust you to make the hard decisions on their behalf. Thus, you need to have a good understanding about what sets your business apart and why those unique aspects will attract your ideal client.
Discover your niche
It’s hard to make a strong appeal to a prospect when you’re just known as a “wedding planner.” Take a moment to search the term “wedding planner” or “event planner” on the internet. Do you see how many results come back? If you want to make the most of your marketing, you need to drown out the noise and set yourself apart from the competition. You can do this by leaning into a niche.
At first, it can be scary to niche down, as it does as though you are turning away potential clients. But it’s important to remember: You are only cutting out clients that are not a fit--and you are doing this to better amplify your voice to those whom you do want to work with. Being specific and targeted with your marketing approach will allow you to reach your ideal clients precisely and intentionally.
For example, I’m not a wedding planner; I’m a London-based wedding planner who fulfills the dreams of unconventional couples who are planning small, intimate weddings. Right here, in one sentence, I’m defining my company and my ideal client. Those who identify with my niche will be inclined to reach out and those who do not won’t, leaving me only with inquiries from clients that are a good fit.
Get to know your competitors
As you niche down, the competition will naturally become tighter--the smaller market will be less saturated, so you’ll get to know your top competitors pretty quickly. Gather some intel by researching their services, messaging styles, marketing efforts, and the like. This isn’t to copy them--rather, it will ensure you’re well-informed on what others are doing in the space and how you can differentiate yourself from them.
You’ll also be able to reveal gaps in the market that aren’t yet filled by your competitors, gaps that can be used to your advantage. If you’re not standing out from the crowd, you become a commodity--just another professional to hire to complete the job. But, you’re so much more than that! Identify your strengths and incorporate those unique selling points (USPs) into your marketing message.
Take a moment to think about all of the businesses that have won over your loyalty. What was it that appealed to you? What is the added benefit that you get as a customer or client? What do these brands do to make you feel recognized and understood? These are the feelings that your clients should feel, so it can be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer to determine how you can enhance the client experience.
Of course, neither your ideal client nor your niche is set in stone; they can absolutely grow and evolve along with your own business interests. The more you refine, the closer you’ll get to your ideal client.
Kylie Carlson is the owner of The Wedding Academy. With seven locations globally, the Academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.