What with the past year being full of cancellations, and downsizings, weddings are finally happening again, and in great style. These people are ready to party once more, and you as the wedding planner have to be ready for every eventuality, and every event expectation.
Because it’s naive to assume that these wedding celebrations are just going to revert back to normal – the pandemic has altered the way we head to the altar, and how weddings in the past were held, and you have to change too, as event planners, if you want to ensure your event planning business succeeds.
Some of these wedding changes are due to unavoidable technicalities: there are definitely going to be more weddings at home, for example, because a lot of wedding venues are booked solid with a backlog of rescheduled events.
‘People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou
But many of these changes are a reflection of your brides’ redefined values; there will also be more weddings at home because, over the past months, your client realized how much more meaningful it is to marry at home amongst a lifetime of their intimate memories and family stories, rather than at an impersonal hotel ballroom.
So, where do these changes leave you as a professional wedding planner who is keen to get your wedding planning business back on the road with potential clients?
To deal with the wedding industry’s changes post-pandemic is to rethink your own business strategies and marketing plans, and to create a wedding planning service that is open to change, and is, therefore, able to attract the ideal clients to your event planning business and the services you are happy to offer…
So, the key to thriving and surviving as a professional wedding planner is to get full exposure to your event business so that you attract the ideal clients.
As event planners we are usually full of fantastic ideas and different ways to hold the ideal wedding for your customer, so adapting to the market of today, shouldn’t be too difficult.
The key is to find more ways you can get your name in front of your ideal potential customers, so the more clients you will have…
Event Planning Business
Marketing Tactics for Wedding Planners
Establish your niche
When you’re trying to grow or kick-start your wedding business, your first instinct may be to attract as many new clients as possible. But, before you start marketing for a new business, take a step back and make sure you have a clear event niche.
It’s essential to remember that engaged couples have an enormous number of vendors to choose from, so you, as event planners need to set yourself apart by having a speciality or wedding niche. You need to establish what sort of weddings you’re interested in and who your ideal clients are.
So, do you prefer to plan non-traditional weddings or destination weddings? Do you prefer big, traditional weddings, or more intimate celebrations?
Whatever niche you decide to focus your efforts on, make sure your marketing reflects this…
While you have your area of ideal expertise, it’s not just what you know, and it’s also who you know. Referrals are essential in the wedding game, and not only from your satisfied clients, but from other wedding professionals as well. You’ll want to network with hairdressers, florists, caterers, etc.
So, perhaps attend local industry meetings, wedding shows, and expos, and reach out to wedding professionals you’ve liked the look of online and related posts.
And, of course, weddings themselves are a fantastic opportunity to find new business, as when you deliver your best, other wedding-goers and fellow vendors will take notice. So, always think about how you can go the extra mile.
Networking is a serious must in the wedding and events industry – it’s essential to have a marketing strategy for networking as this allows you to find the right clients without wasting your time in the wrong places.
There are a number of national and international event industry organizations that hold networking meetings in numerous cities. ABC ILEA and NACE are just a few of the biggest wedding organizations and event professionals who are brimming with ideas for you to share, so search for what’s around.
If you plan events in addition to weddings, attending your local chamber of commerce meetings puts you in front of businesses that may be hosting events – search online for the next meetings.
Another good idea is to find a Meetup group in your local area that caters to those in the event planning industry, such as venues, photographers, bakeries, etc. If there is not a local Meetup group for those in the event industry, consider taking the lead and organizing one. After all, you have the skills necessary to plan, use them to your advantage to gain more business.
When you’re networking for your wedding planning business, take it a step further and ask if you can set up one-on-one time with the people you meet. This gives you time to build a connection, go through your services, and learn more about what they offer as well. Go on – promote yourself!
Partner with Wedding Vendors
By partnering up with different venues, florists, caterers, designers, music, bands, and other wedding vendors who are also involved in the wedding planning industry, will help increase your exposure as well as help you find new clients – you need to promote your business when and wherever you can.
By linking with these other wedding business services you can establish agreements that allow you to send referrals to each other. Often this is in the form of preferred vendor lists that are passed on to potential clients, and if the clients use the preferred vendors on this list, they can be given a discount or some sort of incentive, perhaps a discount or a gift card, to strengthen the bond between your two businesses – you gain the business and the couple gets a discount. Win, win.
Perfect Your Social Media
The wedding industry is a multibillion-dollar industry, and whilst there’s loads of opportunity for entrepreneurs, the competition is stiff, which is why your social media and online presence is essential to maintain.
You should regularly update your website and social media accounts to showcase your wedding work. And it goes without saying that you should make sure it’s easy for potential clients to find you.
Perhaps you could:
- Create images specifically for Pinterest that are targeted with wedding keywords
- Use niche-specific hashtags on Instagram
- Make sure your website is easy to find through organic searches by using SEO best practices including keywords
- Post on your own Facebook page once every other week about your new business – let your friends and family know what you’re up to.
- Ensure your website is easy to navigate and has clear contact information or a booking system so that potential customers can easily schedule a consultation with you
- Join sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot – you’ll have to pay for your listing, but it will put you in front of a wide, relevant audience in your area.
Provide a Service that’s Second to None
Once your new wedding leads have found you, you need to make a good, lasting professional impression – everything about your wedding planner business from your business card to your website to your business email should communicate that you’re someone that couples can trust to do the job.
Wedding planners want to make the whole event convenient for their clients. Event planning is stressful, but you can help your clients by showing them that they’re in good hands, and that wedding planners are essential to help get the show on the road.
You’re more likely to get new clients if you show you are organised, professional and willing to listen to what your client needs and wants for their special day.
Make your costs clear
Let’s be honest, budgets are a major constraint for most wedding event decisions. We all know that weddings are usually outrageously expensive and that most of your prospective clients will be extremely budget-conscious. Not all wedding planners cater for the rich and famous! So, be upfront with your costs early on, so your clients know what to expect, and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
If you’re clear with your event planning costs from the outset, you’ll attract the clients you want, and they’ll appreciate your transparency – put together an attractive free brochure of your service, and you’ll get your first client in no time!
Write a Blog
Wedding planners who really mean business write well-thought-out free blogs as they are a great way for you to establish your event planning expertise and get your name out there. They are great free marketing tools, so create a list of relevant subjects you could write about.
When you share event planners’ inside tips and ideas via blogs, articles and photos for weddings and other events, you gain credibility. Your blog content can be also be found through Internet searches on Google and Bing, with the right keywords, which brings more traffic to your website.
To increase the effectiveness and reach of posting blogs and articles, you could share free links to all your related social media. You could also pay to boost the posts on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook so that more potential clients see them.
Make lots of new friends in the wedding business! Look for Facebook groups for local wedding professionals, and begin following the local event pros on Instagram, or identify the local wedding associations in your area and join them.
It’s a really great marketing tool to write guest posts for blogs that are already established in the wedding and events industry, as many photographers, venues, and florists would love to have a helpful guest post with photos to share on their blog without having to write it themselves. When you write a guest post, make sure you include your name, what event services you offer, and a link to your website – this is another great free marketing asset.
Go on Television
Public relations is another great way to market your services – for free. Local television show producers are always looking for unique and real-life stories that would interest their viewers – and everyone loves a wedding day story.
Think about marketing an event story idea that gets loads of event vendors on the show. You could submit a marketing proposal to your local morning show producer regarding 2021 trends in the wedding industry…
\Get involved in Wedding Shows
Get in front of potential clients by bagging a booth at a wedding show. Exhibiting can be expensive and it may make sense to share a booth with another exhibitor in a related industry.
You will want to make a big effort to engage in conversations with potential clients and have your events’ brochures ready to hand out.
With these marketing tips, you will be on the path to success in no time, by attracting more clients to your wedding planning business.