Career Tips: Marketing your business

DecisionsShould I specialize or generalize?

It depends on your skills and interests. I have developed a broad scope of services for my company, which has allowed me to ride through economic and seasonal changes. It also provides variety in events and clients and keeps me fresh with my ideas and concepts. The downside of variety is being diluted in your approach or confusing to clients that really want that “wedding planner” or “meeting planner.” I have tried to keep my Web site organized and easy to search for clients that only want to see my new social events or learn more about nonprofit work I am doing. If you are passionate about weddings, be a wedding planner. If you love to work with kids, be the best children’s party planner around. Don’t be afraid to throw all your event eggs in one basket. But if you like variety, make sure you are up on the differences between event markets and can switch hats easily.

Do I need to take advertisements out in local papers?

It’s not a bad idea to advertise if you know that the ad will reach the people who will buy your services. There are other ways to get your name out there, including sponsorship, trade show attendance, networking, and volunteering in your community. Word of mouth goes a long way in passing your name to the right potential client. Build your reputation event by event by delivering the kind of service you are proud of. Don’t underestimate nontraditional ways of advertising. All of these marketing tactics can help get your name out to those who may need your services.

Should I join a professional organization?

Joining a professional group will benefit you through networking with vendors, potential clients, and potential staff; provide education and resource information; and give you a chance to perfect your skills while serving as a leader in the industry. There are plenty of opportunities to assist with monthly meetings and industry events and try your event skills out as a volunteer. You will also develop a reputation in the industry and make contacts that can generate business. Don’t expect to get a lead at every meeting or justify your expenses at a conference with direct business. Sometimes it takes months or years for your name to be recognized and for business to come your way. But in the meantime, you build your event skills and people skills by being active in the industry.

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