Market your event planning business if you want it to survive and grow, but just deciding to market when the mood strikes you is not enough. Effective marketing is an everyday task, particularly for event planners. Your business is need-driven and you never know what company, organization or family will need your services to plan a business event or a family celebration. Organizing your marketing activities with goals and benchmarks gives a better chance of success because it provides a direction to follow. That is why you write a marketing plan.
Decide on your marketing objectives. Two main objectives are to increase profits and expand your customer base. As an event planner, other objectives might be to educate potential customers about your services and the quality of the events you have planned in the past. Marketing also helps to enhance your brand image as the savvy source of the best events. Your marketing objectives will dictate both the direction of your marketing and the type of marketing you do.
Identify the type of customer who hires event planners -- particularly those who specialize in your type of event. This is your target customer. The more you understand why these people come to you to plan their events, rather than your competition, the better able you will be to gear your marketing message to attract more of these customers and potentially add new customers seeking a different style of event that you may be developing. Also look at what other party planners are doing in your area. Don't be afraid to adopt tactics that work for them.
Create a marketing message. "The lowest price in town" is one message that can serve to limit your profit margin and potentially damage your brand reputation. "The most elegant weddings" may not be compatible with a budget-conscious target market. "Award-winning customer service" is always an attractive message. Your own message doesn't need to be short, but it must tell your prospective customers something they want to hear about what they can expect if they hire you to plan an important event for them. Your marketing message must directly address their anxiety over how the event will be perceived by the guests.
Write your marketing plan to include a detailed description of your event-planning services, the objectives of your marketing activities, a description of your target audience, your marketing message, an action plan to spread that message, an analysis of your plan and financial projections detailing both cost and benefit expected from your marketing activities. Include descriptions of the individual kinds of events you plan, the locations, food, service, guest presents and price lists. The more clearly you identify the key points and benefits of your event planning service, the easier it will be to identify your target customer and how that person can be persuaded to hire you.
Set a time period for your marketing campaign, for example, six months. When it is finished, compare sales from the previous year during that time period to see if your marketing has fulfilled your goals. If not, either reset your goals or alter your marketing message. Events can be economy-sensitive, so adjust for any differences in the economy.
Don't take the time and expend the effort to write a marketing plan and then forget to implement it. If you know in the first few weeks that your plan is off-base, try revising it and test the performance of the changes. Your best customers can be valuable advisers, so ask them how they would market your services.