COVID-19 has been great challenge for event companies and live events. It’s why now more than ever learning to generate event planning leads is important for every business in the hospitality industry. Even though things are slowly starting to get back to some sort of norm, the way people use to find event planners have changed.
As of October of 2021, many people trying to organize and plan events, regardless of COVID. Big companies and planners are the ones getting the most attention. But typically the ones who’ve already built a brand. New companies coming intot this space? Ehhhh there’s the battle. So how can your new event planning business stand out and get the leads and clients it needs?
Lead generation is the key, and planning strategies around it and every detail will be crucial depending on the methods you decide to use for your company.
That being said, we are here to help you with this, but first, we need to leave some terms and concepts clear for you to be aware of what it takes and how it works.
What is Lead Generation?
Like many business concepts, it is all about getting the clients you need and establishing strategies that can help you generate the “leads” you need, who are basically prospects from visitors or users that reach your channels.
For lead generation, understanding your sales funnel is the first step. Next, you need to lead potential clients through your funnel, filter out the bad leads, and focus on sales-qualified leads. Finally, close the sale or hiring process in this case.
To make it a bit simpler, lead generation is the process of getting your prospects and potential clients in your sales funnel.
Now, there are two ways to generate leads first: online and offline.
Event planners will find that generating leads offline is just as productive, if not better, than online since it all comes down to who you are serving and potential core clients.
There are many ways to generate offline leads. Two of the best ones we can mention are advertising at venues and establishing relationships with other service providers.
However, moving to the online lead generation process will look easier than ever because you can target potential clients directly with keyword-based ads campaigns, specific landing pages on websites, and segmented emails campaigns.
But, while it is possible to run broad campaigns online, it can sometimes be difficult to find qualified leads.
So, based on this, which strategies should you use? We will be diving into the next.
Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising Never Gets Old
PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising can be one of the most effective ways to help your event planning company reach new customers. If you aren’t familiar with them or more like their name, these ads appear at the top search results and above organic listings.
These ads are able to attract qualified leads who are ready and willing to convert since PPC visitors are 50% more likely to convert than organic visitors.
These leads are able to identify exactly what they are looking for and will only need to find the right company to meet their needs.
PPC ads can be a valuable asset to your event planning company.
You must choose keywords before you can start to use PPC ads. Keyword selection will determine if your ad appears in the relevant search results, and knowing the right keywords to get your ad in front of the relevant leads will be crucial.
Keyword research can help you identify the best keywords for your campaign. When you do it, focus on long-tail keywords. These keywords contain at least three words and are less competitive than regular short-tail keywords with one or two words.
Leads that are specifically interested in your event planning business will be attracted to you with the use of long-tail more than anything else.
A long-tail keyword could be “event planning services at [CITY].” This is a keyword that specifies what the user is looking for, and, in addition, you cover the local SEO aspect.
Keywords such as “event planners,” “planners,” and similar phrases aren’t very specific and don’t necessarily indicate what the searcher is looking for.
After you’ve selected your long-tail keywords, you can bid for your ad placement. Your maximum bid is the price you are willing to pay for each click on your ad, and you change this amount at any time.
Your maximum bid and quality score will determine your ad’s placement. After you have received your placement, launch your advertising campaign.
Content Marketing Is Vital for Event Planners
Content marketing can help you get leads who are looking for information since it provides valuable information to your audience about your company, industry, and services.
This strategy will help drive traffic to your site, and after they have read the information, they spend time getting to know you and your brand in most cases.
Keyword research is essential in order to start content marketing as well, just like with PPC.
Keyword research can help you identify topics for your content and drive to your site when you look for popular terms and create content about them.
Sticking to industry-related topics is a good idea. Although it’s tempting to write content about trending topics, this will not help your business attract the most leads to your website. People will care more about the topic and hire your event planning company if it is entirely related to what you do and, of course, informational.
You have many options for content to provide information. These include videos, blogs, infographics, e-books, and regular books. To keep your audience engaged and interested in your content, you’ll need to use several of these forms.
A tip we can give you is to keep your audience in mind when you create content.
Your audience deserves the best possible answers. Consider the user’s search intent and what they would expect to find when they click on your site.
You’ll get more leads if you follow results and how the content is performing over the weeks.
Optimized and valuable content will be a turning point for more event planning leads since they will be engaged and encouraged to learn more about your business.
Marketing Via Social Media: Choose Your Platforms
Social media marketing allows you to connect with people who are interested in your event-planning business. When you choose those platforms, you are more exposed since people tend to spend more time on this media than any other.
According to statistics, over 71% of users spend about 4 hours on social media, and many of them hire services or buy products based on what they find there.
To reach your audience on social media, you can use many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Depending on the time your audience spends and the type of content you are going to share, you will choose your platform.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, you can start posting content.
Remember that the platform will determine the type of content you can post. Social platforms offer more content options, while others have a greater focus on specific types or the usual text.
This strategy will be a great way to engage since your audience can share your content to their profile, and you will be exposed to all of their friends on this social platform. This opens up new opportunities for leads to your business.
You can also get new leads by paying social ads. Every social media platform has a paid advertising option.
Social media is full of potential prospects or clients. But you need to know how to compete and stand out from other planners on the platforms.
Following the option of paid ads, those integrate seamlessly into the user’s timeline. These ads look just like regular social media posts, so your audience will be more inclined to engage with them.
It’s just another social media post that is relevant to their needs and interests.
Learn About Your Perfect Client
Imagine your ideal client and make sure you have a good idea of who it is.
This exercise will cover everything, from their age and interests to the hobbies they enjoy, and the answers or details you come up with will be the perfect profile for your client.
If you don’t know how to do this, consider:
- You can always find out what the person looks like even if you aren’t sure.
- To see what clients your competitors have worked with, take a look at their portfolios, and you might find clients from there or have a good idea of their ideal clients that should be similar.
- Search engines can help you find profiles and have a better idea of the ideal clients.
- Take a look at past clients or those who have shown interest in your services so far.
Create Your Sales Funnel or ‘Lead’ Funnel
A lead funnel describes the steps that potential customers will follow.
Your lead funnel guides, persuade and win new business from the first contact until sale. This can be complicated when you consider all of the ways that a person can find out about a company (word-of-mouth, online, etc.). But for the most part, you can concentrate your sales efforts on just 1-3 major customer paths.
After you create a lead funnel, which may take some trial and error at the beginning, all you need to do is be consistent with it so new leads are coming in on a regular schedule.
Your funnel might look like this: You call potential clients and tell them your elevator pitch. To learn more, they schedule an in-person meeting with you. You provide additional documents to support the vision and build trust after the meeting. They reply positively and send you a contract for the event.
There are many examples of sales funnels that have been successful, but everything that matters is to create a tailored one for your business.
You Want Quality, Not Quantity
When it comes to securing event planning clients, targeting well-researched and vetted prospects will be your best option because you aren’t aiming for a large number of leads but rather guaranteeing they are qualified ones.
Most event planners believe that the more leads they generate, the better their companies will get, but if none of these leads are high-quality ones, there won’t be any value added to your services and business.
Although focusing on quality means, you will have fewer responses or “touch” fewer possible clients; you already know that they will be more open to working with you because the ones falling into your funnel are truly interested and aren’t just a bunch of people trying to find something else.
Overall, you might find that you have fewer options but higher payouts. This is what it means to work smarter and not harder.
You will need to build your ideal customer profile before you can choose who to pitch to. Thus, we are back to the previous step, and here, we will be adding some questions you can ask yourself to determine this profile:
- What types of events do most clients hold?
- How many events will they need in a short and long period of time? Every quarter? How many events do they need help planning per month? Always wonder about them being a one-time deal or a long relationship that can be built.
- How many people do they usually invite to the events?
- What is the client’s annual revenue, and how much does he/she plan to spend in one event?
Set Your Customer Referrals Program
If you want to find high-quality leads and get more without that much effort, you should do what many event planners are doing: Betting on referrals.
Referrals are key to bringing people with the traditional yet effective word-of-mouth strategy that is basically people recommending your services to others.
However, clients don’t usually recommend your services ad company out of goodwill. Instead, you will need a referrals program that incentives them to do so.
Referral marketing programs for small businesses can be automated and help to incentivize strong, relationship-based sales lead to your funnel.
You will need to survey your leads internally before you can get started. What are their origins? What is the reason they responded positively to your request?
These answers will help you choose the right program structure.
Referral programs should be as easy and seamless as possible for participants. It is easy and efficient to forward an email with a link to a referral program or reshare a Facebook post.
Anything that is compatible with your existing lucrative sources of lead generation will work.
It is important to clearly explain what it means for them. You can offer a complimentary mini-service or a substantial discount to the referrer if you are just starting out.
You could offer cash rewards, gift cards, or a fee for referring people. You can set the payout, but make sure it is motivating enough for people to take action.
Don’t forget to add a referral analytics program to your campaign. This will allow you to see the number of clicks and shares per link and other useful insights that you can use to improve your program.
Endorsements & Private Testimonials
Sometimes it can be difficult to reach your dream clients. If you want to break through the secretary’s defense mechanisms and get to your dream clients, it’s best to infiltrate their network using other professional methods.
You can build your network and close the gap between you and your target accounts.
Attending industry events where one of your prospects will present or give a speech is a great way to do this.
They’ll know that they’ll be networking and meeting new people throughout the day because they’ll have been a featured attendee.
They will be more open to your approach to introducing yourself, which means that they’ll be more receptive and willing to meet you. You can also attend many industry events, seminars, and happy hours in your area that could help you get closer to your goals.
This can be done online. Many LinkedIn users are avid, including personal brand developers and social media content creators. They make it a point to stay informed and well-followed.
You should be doing the same if you notice that your dream clients comment on, like, or share their content. You’ll show your prospects that you are interested in the same person by showing interest.
Don’t be afraid to ask them for feedback after you have met these people. You can offer your services for free to the organization, even if you have never worked with them, or to one of the individuals to gain something that will bring more leads.
If you view them more as mentor figures than professionals, let them know. They may be open to sharing some information about your potential event planning abilities based on past interactions.
It doesn’t matter what you do; it will help to have names and respect that your prospects associate with your resume.
Another thing is that once you have these testimonials, it’s important to be thoughtful about how you use them.
You may have been encouraged to post great reviews on LinkedIn or add some happy customer quotes on your event planning site. These are great things, but you’d be amazed at how many people will never read them. This is why it’s important to add these quotes to other strategic locations.
A pitch email, for example, would not be complete without an endorsement from a brand that organized a similar event.
To give yourself some credibility, you might add a few testimonial lines to your cold email campaign. These tools can be used in any type of sales interaction.
Freelancers even use one sheet marketing collateral. As you may have guessed, a one-sheet is a single-page document.
A one-page document should be well designed and have a catchy title. It should also include a story about a happy client or impressive referrals. This can be attached to introduction emails and sent with quotes.
Use the Power of Suggestion
To tap into this psychological phenomenon, you will need to modify the way that you communicate with potential clients.
Studies show that you can subconsciously influence the recipient’s behavior by simply suggesting a specific outcome in an email or telephone conversation. This is why the power to suggestion term was created.
Although it may seem far-fetched, it is actually quite powerful. It is used by many entities, including government agencies, criminal investigators, child-rearing experts, and medical professionals, psychologists, criminal investigators, and clinical psychologists.
How can you, an event planner, use the power and influence of suggestions to attract new clients? You can simply flip the scripts that you use.
You don’t have to leave a voicemail with “Please let me know” or send an email asking for their opinion. Instead, use the power of suggestion and persuade them to achieve your desired outcome.
Don’t let your interactions go to the side. This psychology-based sales trick will help you engage and persuade prospects by changing how you communicate with them every day.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Are Key
Make sure you set S.M.A.R.T. goals during your kick-off meeting for the upcoming successful event or just a simple base of what you want to achieve for your lead generation strategies.
If you aren’t familiar with this term for goals, the letters stand for:
- Specific: What is the primary purpose of the event or strategy? Do you want to promote a business? Establish a partnership with another company? What are the details about ANYTHING you do in your business?
- Measurable: What metrics will you use for success? How will you measure registrations or sign-ups from clients and potential leads that contacted you? Get to know how you can register everything.
- Actionable: What actions should the sales team and everyone on your business take in order to achieve your stated goals?
- Realistic: What are the outcomes you can realistically expect from the strategies and events or anything you’re organizing?
- Time-based: How long will it take you to achieve the goal?
Marketing and sales should work together to agree on a common goal for the event you plan or the strategy you have set for your lead generation.
Finally, remember to work around your clients’ event budget and how you will handle the event management process to guarantee its success.
After all, this is your main goal: High-quality leads + the event’s success.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Event Planning Leads
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My Event Planning Leads Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic Event Planning Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.