As you probably already know, starting a successful event business takes time, effort, and patience. However, there are a few things you can do to accelerate your progress and get your first paying clients faster.
In this post, I’ll share my personal experience as an event planner, as well as some tips and tricks to help you get your first 3 paying clients.
10 Tips to Get Your First 3 Paying Clients as an Event Planner
Tip #1: Start with Your Network
One of the easiest and most effective ways to get your first clients is to start with the people you already know. Reach out to your friends, family, and acquaintances and let them know about your new business. Ask them if they know anyone who is planning an event and might need your services. You never know who might need an event planner, and word of mouth can be a powerful tool.
Personal Experience: When I started my event planning business, I reached out to my network and got my first client within a week. It turned out that a friend had a contact at HGTV who needed a local event planner and someone to help her with a promotional event. She was thrilled with my work and recommended me to her friends, which helped me get my next few clients.
Tip #2: Attend Networking Events
Attending networking events can be a great way to meet potential clients and industry professionals. Look for local events and join groups on social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn that are geared towards event planners or professionals in the events industry. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and talk about your business.
Personal Experience: I attended a networking event for event planners and met another event planner who was looking for assistance with an event. We hit it off, and she hired me to plan the entire meeting. After the meeting, she left me a glowing review, which helped me with my marketing and getting my next client. When attending networking events, be prepared with business cards and a brief pitch about your services. It’s also a good idea to research the event beforehand so you can make the most of your time there. Try to make genuine connections with people and follow up with them after the event.
Tip #3: Offer a Free Consultation
Offering a free consultation can be a great way to attract potential clients and showcase your expertise. During the consultation, you can discuss their event and offer advice and ideas to make it even better. This is also a great opportunity to show them what sets you apart from other event planners and build a relationship with them.
Personal Experience: I offered a free consultation to a potential client who was planning a charity fundraiser. During the consultation, I shared my ideas for the event and offered suggestions to help her reach her fundraising goals. She was impressed with my ideas and hired me on the spot. After the event, she sent me a heartfelt thank-you note and recommended me to other charities in the area, which helped me get 2 more clients.
When offering a free consultation, make sure to set clear expectations and establish boundaries upfront. Let the potential client know how much time you’ll be spending with them and what they can expect from the consultation. Use this opportunity to showcase your expertise and build a relationship with the potential client.
Tip #4: Leverage Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool for event planners to showcase their work and attract potential clients. Create social media profiles for your business on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, and regularly post photos and updates about your events. Use hashtags to increase your visibility and tag vendors and clients in your posts to increase engagement.
Personal Experience: My student, Nicholas, used one of my social media tips and he got 3 new clients from the post! He was thrilled, and the clients were so happy to work with him.
When using social media, make sure to create a consistent brand image and tone, and engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages promptly. Social media can be a great way to showcase your work and attract potential clients, but it’s important to remember that it’s just one tool in your marketing toolbox. Your job isn’t to build a social media following, but to showcase your event expertise so be careful how much time and effort you put into your social channels.
Tip #5: Offer a Referral Program
A referral program can be a great way to incentivize your existing clients to refer new business to you. Offer a discount or other reward to clients who refer new clients to you, and make sure to thank them for their referrals. This can be a great way to build relationships with your clients and attract new business at the same time.
Personal Experience: I offered a referral program to my clients and was amazed at how many referrals I received. One client referred me to 20 people! Referrals can be a powerful tool and offering a referral program can help you leverage them to grow your business.
When offering a referral program, make sure to set clear guidelines and communicate them to your clients. Let them know what they can expect to receive in exchange for their referrals and how the program works. Make sure to thank them for their referrals and keep them updated on the progress of the new business.
Tip #6: Be Proactive and Persistent
Building a successful event planning business takes time and effort, and it’s important to be proactive and persistent in your marketing efforts. Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential clients or follow up with leads. Keep your website and social media profiles up-to-date and invest in advertising or other marketing strategies that work for your business.
Personal Experience: Every week, I dedicated one day to reaching out to potential clients and following up with leads by calling and emailing them. It wasn’t easy, but I knew that if I kept at it, I would eventually find success. Eventually, after I had my 10th paid client, I invested in a website, which helped me get my next few clients.
When building your event business, it’s important to remember that success takes time and effort. Don’t be afraid to be persistent in your marketing efforts and invest in strategies that work for your business. Celebrate your successes along the way and don’t give up, even when things get tough.
Tip #7: Attend Networking Events
Attending networking events can be a great way to meet potential clients and connect with other professionals in the industry. Look for local events such as trade shows, conferences, or meetups, and make sure to bring business cards and other marketing materials. Be prepared to talk about your business and what sets you apart from other event planners.
Personal Experience: I attended a local business expo and was able to meet several potential clients and vendors. I made sure to bring examples of my work and answered their questions about my services. I ended up booking a client from that event and was able to expand my network of vendors.
When attending networking events, be friendly and approachable, and try to connect with other professionals in the industry. Follow up with any potential clients or vendors after the event, and make sure to thank them for their time.
Tip #8: Leverage Local Media
Leveraging local media can be a great way to attract potential clients and increase your visibility in the community. Look for opportunities to contribute to local publications or blogs or pitch your business to local TV or radio stations. Share your expertise on event planning and provide valuable insights and tips for readers or viewers.
Personal Experience: Our community member, Addie, pitched her event business to her local TV station and they picked her up for a weekly segment of ‘what’s going on around town’! She went from zero events to 45+ events a year in just three years!
When leveraging local media, make sure to be authentic and share your expertise in a way that is useful and valuable for readers or viewers. Make sure to provide contact information or links to your website or social media profiles, so potential clients can learn more about your services.
Tip #9: Partner with Local Businesses
Partnering with local businesses can be a great way to increase your visibility in the community and attract potential clients. Look for complementary businesses such as caterers, florists, or photographers, and explore ways to collaborate on events or promotions.
Personal Experience: I partnered with a local catering company to offer a package deal for clients who booked both our services. We were able to reach a wider audience of potential clients and offer a more comprehensive service package.
When partnering with local businesses, make sure to choose partners who align with your values and target audience. Communicate clearly about your expectations and goals, and make sure to provide excellent service to your clients. This can help you build long-lasting relationships with other professionals in the industry and attract more clients to your event planning business.
Tip #10: Offer a Social Media Contest
Offering a social media contest can be a fun and engaging way to attract potential clients and increase your social media interactions. You can ask participants to share photos or stories related to events they’ve planned or attended and offer a prize such as a discount on your services or a free consultation.
Personal Experience: My student, Amanda, ran a social media contest for her event business, by asking participants to share photos of their favorite event moments. The contest generated a lot of engagement and helped increase her social media following. She also received inquiries from potential clients who discovered her business through the contest.
Starting a successful event planning business takes time and effort, but with the tips above, you can increase your chances of getting your first 3 paying clients.
Remember to focus on creating a strong brand image and being proactive and persistent in your marketing efforts. It’s also important to provide excellent service to your clients and go above and beyond their expectations.
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