Looking for tips, ideas, and strategies to help you market and advertise your event planner business or venue? Here are 10 essentials that will help you market online and advertise your services locally.
Event planning, local venues, and wedding venue businesses cannot get by with mediocre marketing material. Presentation is an important aspect of this business, so a dated website, hokie ads, and neglected social media accounts won’t get it done.
In many ways, your marketing needs to be so effective it all but sells your services before you even meet the client.
Likewise, event planners or venue owners need to be networking gurus. From planning business parties to bar mitzvahs, you need to be connecting with the right people locally.
Here are event planner and venue marketing ideas that will make sure you are the go-to resources for events in your community.
#1. Develop an Elegant, Effective Website
Your event planning – as it pertains to potential clients – starts on your website. You need to hit them with strong visual elements of events you’ve organized. If you have a venue or wedding venue business, your imagery should tantalize visitors, getting them to think this is the place for their event.
At the same time, you want a simple elegance to your design. Sites that overwhelm visitors with too much content don’t motivate people to act. In the end, the goal of your website is to convert the visitor. They must contact you so you have a chance to sell your services.
Here is an example wedding event venue website mockup on our UXI® template:
This design gives you a sense of the place and services, but also has the vital contact and location information.
It’s also important that your website be mobile responsive so it formats correctly on people’s phones.
An antiquated website is a killer for event planners and venue operators. In most cases, your website will be your first impression – make it a great one.
#2. Master Local Search Marketing
For event planning – and particularly for wedding venues that target larger geographic regions – search marketing is vitally important. Many potential clients will start their research on Google, comparing venues.
To drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to show up for wedding and event planning related searches in your area. There are three ways to dominate the search results.
The first is pay-per-click advertising. These ads are run through auction-based systems like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. The main advantage here is that you show in the top positions (reserved for paid ads) and that you can control the ad copy and landing page. For example, you might want to run an advertisement for office Christmas parties. Your ad and the page it goes to on your website can match that offer.
Next, you need to set-up and rank for Google My Business. This is the maps listing and review platform Google uses for geo-targeted searches. It’s a free listing you can optimize with your descriptions and by getting customer reviews.
Then you have the organic website listings. These are also free clicks, with ranking gained by optimizing your website for keywords, gaining links, getting social media traffic, and adding content to your blog.
If you do it right, you can show up in three spots on page one:
People planning events research. Many (like brides to be) research exhaustively. The more you show up in searches, the better.
Pro Tip: Retargeting
Chances are most people who visit your website researching their event won’t convert on their first visit. Some may take months before they make a decision.
This is why retargeting ads are so valuable. These ads display to people on Google or YouTube after they’ve visited your website.
So mom starts to research birthday party ideas a month in advance and occasionally sees your ad. It keeps the idea top of mind so when she decides to book, there you are.
#3. Reputation Management
You know your local reputation and word of mouth marketing are invaluable.
Just as valuable in the digital age are your online reviews. In fact, it’s safe to assume that just about everyone who is seriously considering you for their event will check your reviews, most likely on Google, Facebook, Top Rated Local, or Yelp.
The impact these reviews will have is considerable. Today, people trust online reviews more than ads, so what people say about your services online carries a lot of weight.
The best thing you can do to ensure a strong reputation is to earn it. Consider that every way you treat guests and clients impacts your marketing.
It’s also wise to follow up with clients and ask them to leave you a review. We’ve found an email follow up using this type of template works best:
If they like you, it links to a review profile; if not, it opens a feedback form.
Keep an eye on your review profiles to watch for negative feedback you need to deal with. Ask for reviews to make sure all your profiles have something fairly recent.
You can also add testimonials to your website to put customer comments front and center in your content.
Reputation is a big factor in marketing today. Make sure yours is working for you.
#4. Create a Marketing Video
If you have an event venue, then video is a must. Basically, you can give people a quick visual tour so they can get a sense of your atmosphere, amenities, and services.
This is particularly valuable for wedding event planning, where prospects will want to see your venue first hand.
Because event venues are themselves the product, videos are really valuable for communicating what you offer.
If you offer catering services, you can show dining arrangements and plate presentations.
Don’t forget to include a call to action with contact information at the end of your video.
Optimize the video for search on YouTube, where it’s easy to rank at the top.
#5. Social Media Marketing
Some businesses struggle to make use of social media marketing. Event planning is not one of them.
Events – by their nature – are appealing for social media. People take selfies, share posts, tell Instagram/Snapchat stories, and they can tag your business in all of it.
Likewise, you can share updates, event planning ideas, and any material that connects to events on your social media channels.
Don’t forget to ask people to check-in and tag your business in posts during the event. This gets your name out to their networks.
You’ll also want to create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting with other local business people. This can be a great way to get in front of office managers or other business owners that plan events.
If there is any business that calls for strong local networking, it’s event planning. It’s the nature of the business.
A great place to start is to host your own event. Invite local catering companies, florists, DJs, bands, bartenders, restaurant owners, and Chamber of Commerce staff. Also reach out to office managers, dressmakers, pastors, and anyone else who might be connected to events you’ll host.
Show your stuff. Host a fun event with great food and atmosphere. Your goal is to create referral relationships so people in your network will refer you when they hear of someone planning an event. You return the favor by recommending their services when you can.
As an event planner or venue owner, you should be well-known in your community.
If you’re struggling to nail down a marketing strategy for your event planning business or if you don’t have the time or skill to do the work yourself, give us a call.
We offer free marketing consultations to answer your questions, and we’ll include a free software demo and free website mockup if you’re interested.