Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Last week we looked at basic things you needed to cover if starting your own event management firm. Today, we’re moving to the next stage – marketing your new firm. You’ve chosen your niche, your firm is fully insured and up and running, and you’ve started networking with all the right people. It’s a great start, but now you need to gather clients – the more people hear about you the more likely they are to become paying clients! In other words, it’s time to market your new business.
So…what’s involved in making your new firm known?
Well, the first thing to do is develop a clear and consistent message. It’s extremely important you know your target demographic – and what branding materials will resonate with them most effectively. You’re going to nail down the look and feel of your logo, business cards, social media platforms and website layout, and create a simple, concise slogan that says who you are. Brand assets are as unique as there are companies, but this is how you express the market research done and your vision for your firm and your future clients.
Branding is just the tip of the iceberg when presenting your firm to the public. The next level involves sharing your portfolio of work in a way that helps your potential clients understand what value your firm offers. It’s actually pretty similar to what you developed when landing a job as an event manager. Now you need to adjust your personal portfolio, and translate this information to represent your firm’s potential. Of course, as you nail down your first clients update all your platforms with new, current assets – photos, testaments, new services provided, etc.
I’d recommend staying away from traditional, often expensive marketing tactics, at least at first. You’re far more likely to land your first clients by leveraging connections you’ve already made than you are by targeting the general public. In past posts we’ve talked a good deal about networking, connecting with industry resources and keeping people informed about your intentions to go it alone. Those closest to you – both professionally and personally – have followed your progress and are most likely to send a client or two your way. Tap this resource before shelling out the big marketing dollars.
So you have your brand assets established and you’ve leveraged your industry connections to get the ball rolling. Now, you’re obviously going to do more than set up a website and rely on your network. This is where the hustle really kicks in! In order to maximize your exposure, you need to tap into every channel available to you. In particular, social media is one advertising avenue you can’t afford to ignore.
We assume you’ve established several social media platforms, most likely starting with a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. Another good start, but now you need to stay active! Depending on the industry you’re working in, LinkedIn, Google + and Reddit may also prove valuable – do research on each and pick a few that best connect with your audience. Maybe you’re a wedding planner and creating visually appealing events is paramount to your success; Pinterest is a great tool for sharing the look and feel of your firm’s events and showcasing creativity. Test your assumptions about the different platforms early and then commit, you can’t do them all and do it well.
This is crucial. Remember something we’ve said before: don’t treat social media as simply a marketing tool. Your objective can be to secure new clients, but social media has proven to be most effective when users engage in an authentic and natural way. While you need to remain professional and properly represent your firm, you should treat social media more as a hobby, an engaging conversation, than as a job or task. Remain active, sharing and discussing things relevant to your firm, your industry as a whole, and your specific client base.
It’s your prerogative whether or not you set up a budget for a more traditional marketing approach, whether running your own advertising campaigns or hiring an agency, but have a clear strategy around where your spending your money and for what expected outcome. Just as in social media, be certain you’re operating in a medium where your desired demographic can be reached – a print campaign, to use an over simplified example, wouldn’t do much good if you’re running events for people who generally don’t read magazines or newspapers.
Last, but certainly not least, be creative, think outside the box and watch what others are doing well. Brainstorm a few unique ways to draw in clients and test out your ideas. Some might flop, but keep iterating and discover what works.
We’ll wrap up here, but we’ll continue next week and discuss some of the most common mistake made by event managers when they’re just starting up – and how you can avoid making the same mistakes!
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