8 Savvy Ways to Promote Your Event Planning Business

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In Start Your Own Event Planning Business, the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. and writer Cheryl Kimball explain how you can get started in the event planning industry, whether you want to work part- or full-time planning anything from a first-birthday party, bar mitzvah or wedding to political fundraisers and product launches. In this edited excerpt, the authors discusses eight different ways you can promote your event planning business to the right audiences.

As you develop your event planning business, it’s impor­tant to market in order to grow your client base. Following are eight ideas for advertising and promoting your event planning business:

Networking. For most planners, networking is at the top of the list in terms of developing a strong client base. Networking can help your business in two ways. If people have met you and know what services you offer, they may refer business to you or use your service themselves. Furthermore, networking with hotels, caterers and so on will give you a chance to meet some of the people whose services you may need as you plan events.

Advertising. Print advertising covers a broad range, from a free—or inexpensive—Yellow Pages advertisement to an ad in a glossy national publication costing tens of thousands of dollars. Most planners agree that an ad in the Yellow Pages makes good business sense. A line advertisement, simply listing your business name, is often provided free of charge when you connect your phone (if you have a landline). You can also opt for a display advertisement — the bigger, bordered ads in the Yellow Pages — but there’s a charge for these.

You may also want to consider advertising in your local newspaper or in a regional magazine, if you plan both corporate and social occasions. Because the market area for this kind of event planner can extend throughout a given county, a magazine focusing on that county can be an excellent one in which to advertise. These magazines can be geared to topics related to your service (e.g., gourmet food, floral design) or aimed at readers in a certain region. An ad in a regional magazine might be a good tool for reaching upscale consumers. A regional business magazine ad would also reach prospective corporate clients.

Business card. Don’t underestimate the power of this small but mighty marketing tool. Even in the computer age, a succinct, professionally printed business card is still critical. Consider it a diminutive brochure, especially if you opt for a tri-fold business card. Many planners opt for this business-card format because more information can be included than on a traditional business card, while the card remains small enough to be tucked inside a wallet or purse.

Include the name of your business, contact information (e-mail, phone and website address, for instance), your name, specialization, your logo, and some testimonials from past clients. Always carry business cards. You never know when you’ll run into a potential client. Ask vendors with whom you work (florists, caterers and photographers, for instance) if you can leave a stack of business cards in their places of business.

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