To be successful in the events industry, you need to have a constant inflow of enquires that you convert into paid shows.
Unfortunately, being good at your craft isn’t enough. You need to be proactive, to actively generate leads and have a robust sales process for converting them into paid clients, and understand basic marketing techniques.
Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know to get started.
Let’s dive in.
Who are you targeting?
The first step is to have a clear audience in mind. Who do you want as clients?
Very simply: If you want to work at weddings, you’ll promote yourself differently than if you want to work at children’s parties.
You want to carefully target only the people who you provide your services too. It’ll be cheaper and a lot more effective.
Fortunately, in the events industry, understanding who you want to target is fairly easy:
- Define which events you want to work at (example: birthday parties).
- Establish who books these events (example: The kids’ parents).
- Match your branding/messaging to this audience (example: “The show is ideal for 6 to 10 year olds”).
If you want to target multiple audiences (for example corporate events & private events) you need to have a specific message for each group.
Have a sales process
Once you’ve established who you’re going to be targeting, you need to establish a clear sales process (or funnel). Otherwise, you’ll find yourself trying a bit of everything and not generating any results.
People who have never worked in sales are often surprised to discover how much research and published content there is on this topic.
We recommend keeping it simple by sticking to the following steps:
- Generate leads (i.e get the phone to ring)
- Qualify the leads (i.e are they suitable for my service)
- Convert the lead into a customer/client (i.e make the sale)
You need to have a way to easily track where a contact is in the sales process. Are they a lead? are they a qualified lead? And so on.
For example, on the PartyWizz platform. potential customers arrive in the “enquires” tab. Those who book, are then automatically added to the “bookings” tab. This makes managing the sales process really easy to keep track of.
Note: Steps 2 & 3 might be achieved in a single customer interaction… or not. It all depends on the service you offer.
You’ve established a sales process. Now it’s time to start promoting yourself online.
The good news is that it’s a lot easier to build a website than it used to be. You’ll probably do it yourself.
We recommend using WordPress or Squarespace (in fact, our blog is hosted on WordPress). You can find countless tutorials for these two platforms online.
When building a website, a few of the key points are:
- Make sure it’s mobile-friendly. i.e is easy to navigate on phones
- Install an SSL certificate to make it secure
- Describe clearly the services you provide
- Make your contact information easy to find (phone and email).
As an example, you can check out Yvan Zim’s website (the author). He’s a magician based in Dublin.
Another low-hanging fruit is to be active on social media.
Building a significant following online takes a lot of time. But just by being active, you’ll see some results.
The platforms you target will be different depending on your target audience & the services you offer.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to clearly explain what you do & that you can be hired for your services. Creating content is great but your goal is to generate bookings.
If you’re based in Ireland, consider registering on PartyWizz. A booking platform, built specifically for entertainers and event service providers.
It’s an all-in-one platform that takes care of everything:
- Generating leads
- Taking deposits
- Processing payments
- And much much more.
The best part is that it’s completely free to register.
You can build your profile in just a couple of minutes, set your prices and, once you’ve been approved, start accepting bookings.
The platform only takes a commission on gigs that get booked. There are no monthly fees or hidden costs. If you don’t get any bookings, it won’t cost you anything.
Digital advertising is a massive industry and one that’s constantly changing. But digital ads can broadly be broken down into three categories:
- Display ads: These are banners and pop-ups that appear on websites.
- Search ads: These are ads that appear in search results (mostly google)
- Social ads: These are the ads that appear in social media feeds.
Going into detail about each ad category falls outside the scope of this article. But here are a few recommendations to get you started:
- Stay away from display ads. It’s a lot easier to get positive results with search & social ads.
- Stick to the “big players” when starting (Google, Facebook, Instagram…).
- Keep a close eye on your cost-per-lead. Otherwise, you might end up spending more than what you gain.
- Make sure the information you read/research about advertising is up to date. The industry is constantly changing.
All in all, we feel that it’s a tactic that’s well worth testing. Just don’t jump in blindly. Do your research first.
Digital marketing is all the rave at the moment. However, don’t overlook in-person marketing. It can be time-consuming but is very rewarding.
Printed promotional martial comes in all shapes and sizes. Although it’s not as valuable as it used to be, we recommend you still tackle the basics:
- Business cards
- Popup banner
You never know when you’ll need them. But the day you do, it’s too late to get them printed. So, get started today.
Just like web design, graphic design is a lot more accessible than it used to be. We always recommend Canva. A free graphic-design tool.
If you want something with a bit more functionality, check out Gimp. It’s a free alternative to Photoshop.
Pro-tip: Don’t print too many business cards! Print shops always incentivise people to print large patches. But then you’re stuck with that design/copy for a long while. Printing small batches allows you to refresh your design.
Depending on the type of events you’re hoping to target, fairs might be something to consider. These are especially popular for weddings.
The large fairs are expensive to attend. For example, in Ireland, expect to spend over €1000 to exhibit.
This initial upfront cost might be well worth it if it generates enough bookings for you. You just need to budget carefully before signing up.
On the other hand, the smaller events are very cheap to attend (some are even free!). But they’re also less attended so expect to generate fewer bookings from these.
All in all, it’s a balancing game. Both small fairs & big fairs are worth trying out.
When it comes to promoting oneself, there is obviously a lot more that can be done. But hopefully, this article has given you everything you need to get started.
If you have any questions or comments about the content, please get in touch!
If you aren’t a PartyWizz member, you can learn about us on our website. We’re an end-to-end booking platform created ‘for entertainers by entertainers’.