Questions To Ask Your Party Planner Before Making The Hire

How do event planners get clients?

When starting out in the field, gaining clients is of the utmost importance to establish a solid foundation for your new business. That aspect is also one of the most difficult challenges with an event planning business. Consider the following options to help build your client base:

Volunteer

The best way to start building a portfolio is to volunteer your services to family and friends. You will feel more confident in working with the general public, once you have organized several events for people you know. Be sure to take photos and put them in a binder to show potential clients in the future. You can also use your photos for a digital portfolio to place on your website. To learn more about volunteering as an event planner, read this article: How to Volunteer as an Event Planner.

Launch A Website

You don’t have to be a computer wiz to build a website. Something as simple as WordPress and your own domain name is a great way to build authority. You can buy a domain and launch a WordPress site with a free template for less than $100 at HostGator. List your contact information, along with the services you offer, so you have a place to direct your clients when you receive inquiries. Post photos of the events you have done so your work is visible. Be sure to use keywords in your site description, such as all of the locations you service, as well as the services you provide.

Add A Blog To Your Website

Your basic website will have a few pages. You can direct people you meet to your website, but to get traffic in the long-term you’ll need more content. A blog is a great way to add regular content to your site. For topics, focus on the questions your target clients have. Brainstorm 12 ideas and you’ll have enough for one blog post each month for a year.

Become An Expert In Your Niche

When it’s time for people to organize events they usually search around for articles and tips; and if you can position yourself as an expert in your specialty there will be a lot of eyeballs on you. For example, when a corporate event opportunity comes up and they need to hire an event planner – the decision maker will most likely go online and read information about their type of event. If your specialty is in this category and you have information online about your expertise with freely available advice potential clients are much more likely to reach out to you. You can become an expert in a niche by:

  • Writing articles on your own site
  • Writing articles on popular sites that take user submitted content like About.com, eHow, Huffington Post, etc
  • Posting Youtube short videos of you or your employees giving advice

Create A Facebook Page

Facebook Pages are very simple to create. Invite all of your friends to “like” it and ask them to “share” with their friends. You can also create ads inexpensively to grow your audience and give exposure to your services. Post photos, links to your blog and website along with any specials you are running. We will post additional articles in the coming weeks with tips on building your Facebook following in much more detail.

Business Cards

For event planners, business cards are a must. Hand them out to anyone that inquires or leave them in places where potential clients may gather, such as coffee shops or banquet halls. Give some to your friends and family to pass out to others that may be interested. Be sure to list your website, blog and Facebook links along with the description of your services and other contact information on the card.

 

Get Private Testimonials Or Endorsements From Your Targets’ Peers.

Sometimes your dream clients are hard to reach. But if you’d like to bust through their secretary’s keen defense mechanisms, the best way to do it is by infiltrating their network through other professional means. Build your network while simultaneously closing the degree of separation between you and your targeted accounts.

Some of the best ways to do this are to attend industry related events at which one of your prospect’s peers will be presenting or giving a speech. Because they’ll be a featured attendee, they know they’ll be meeting new people and networking a lot throughout the day. Which means they’ll be more open and receptive to you when you approach them to introduce yourself. There are also plenty of industry meetups, seminars, and happy hours you can attend in your city that may get you closer to your goals.

You can even do this online. There are plenty of avid LinkedIn users, personal brand developers, and social media content creators in the corporate world who make a point to be very knowledge and well followed. If you see that your dream clients like, comment, and share their material, make sure you’re doing the same. Because you’ve demonstrated interest in someone they love, you’ll also be showing your prospects that you share their values too.

 

Event Planner Marketing Strategies

In a perfect world, your event planning services should be mentioned in the first stages of a client’s event dialogue. To make this happen you need to be an effective marketer. Follow the strategies below to position your service in the minds of potential clients at the very moment they discuss hosting an event.

Build Your Online Network

The internet provides the largest network for generating sales leads, so it should come as no surprise you’ll need an attractive website and active profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Each one of these online assets has the capability to drive unique prospects, but none of them are passive outlets. To reap the benefits of each one you need to participate in discussions, share your expertise, and join groups where you can leverage the assets of others.

Engagement is the key, and this is where those who try to “do it alone” often fail.

Go Public, Target and Advertise

Even the most qualified planner will struggle to land new clients without live exposure. This includes public participation at industry events and media appearances.

You might think it is difficult to land a spot on a television or radio show but often times it is as easy as submitting a great story idea to the producers in the form of a press release. It is not an easy job to fill a show with content every single day, and if you can approach the right person with a unique angle then you will have no problem getting your foot in the door.

Design your messages specifically for the consumer audience you are targeting. If you manage to find media spots, see if you can get yourself included in the times that are best to reach your market.

Help Those in Need

Donating your time to a worthy cause can open several new opportunities to gain new clients. A lot of non-profit events would appreciate having the expertise of an event planner available.

Even if you can’t commit to running their event, there are plenty of other ways to participate. Perhaps you can be in charge of the floral arrangements or marketing materials? Little tasks like this can bring exposure and allow you to network with others.

Non-profit advisors and committees are typically staffed by local dignitaries and business leaders, all of whom have the connections to drive large quantities of leads to your business.

Refresh Existing Customers

Sometimes we get so focused on landing new customers that we forget about the existing assets sitting dormant in our contact lists. Go through your contact lists, email, LinkedIn and Facebook contacts and ask yourself: Does each person on this list know what I do for a living?

Obviously, you want to reach out to those who are unaware to update them on your career, but you should also reach out to everyone you haven’t talked to in over a year. Let them know what projects you have been working on and give them the necessary information to refer business your way.

 

Savvy Ways to Promote Your Event Planning Business

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.

 

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.

Informative brochures. Like your business card, a well-designed, professional brochure can help cement your image as a professional planner. Prospective clients will make judgments about your company based on your brochure, so make sure it’s conceived and produced at the highest level possible.

The brochure should include all the information listed on your tri-fold business card and allow you to expand upon this information, in particular, by adding photographs. The photos should be of successful events you’ve designed. You may also want to include a photo of yourself.

Maximize your chances of success by making sure your company brochure matches the type of business you have. All materials should look professional, but if you are marketing to a budget-conscious group, a too-glamorous brochure can send the wrong message—and send potential budget-conscious clients running in the opposite direction.

As with your business cards, leave your brochure with caterers, florists, photographers, and other vendors with whom you’ve worked.

Direct mail. You may choose to distribute your brochure via direct mail. If you do, make sure your mailing list is well chosen. Event planner David Granger says that while word of mouth is his most effective advertising, he uses mailing lists of the organizations his company belongs to (International Special Events Society, Meeting Professionals International, National Association for Catering and Events, and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau).

The Process Of Hiring A Wedding Dj

How to Choose Your Wedding DJ

It’s time to add another key player to your supplier squad! You may have chosen your wedding’s key songs, but now you’re going to need to hire someone to play them. Your wedding DJ will be responsible for making sure the energy stays up from dawn ‘til dusk (and probably long after), so you’ll want to find one with awesome emcee skills and a killer tracklist.

Sort out the important stuff

Step one is taking the time to write out any wedding details that may affect your decision. Knowing things like your venue size, venue style, budge and wedding theme will help you figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a DJ. You should also note the genres of music you love, your favourite artists and your most played songs – those will come in handy when you start interviewing potential candidates

Do your research

Now it’s time to do a little bit of homework (it may not sound fun, but it is!). Scroll through our wedding supplier listings, check out Instagram and ask your recently married friends and/or relatives for recommendations – you’re sure to find a handful of amazing options by the time you’re finished. Pay close attention to their reviews and ratings – comments from couples who have used their services in the past are super insightful.

Get in touch

Once you’ve selected your faves, start reaching out. If you’re using WeddingWire, simply click the blue “Request more information” button at the top of a listing and it’ll connect you right away. If you’re using another method, reaching out via their website or through email is your best bet (no sliding into DMs – Those are easy to miss!). Remember to ask key questions like, “are you available on my wedding date?”, “what is your rate?” and “can I see a copy of your standard contract?”. If you’re satisfied with their answers, book a meeting with them IRL or schedule a Skype call.

Sample their work

When you’re meeting with your candidates, you’ll want to do a deeper dive into their work. Yes, you’ve probably already sampled a playlist or two, but at this stage you’ll want to get a bit more. Ask your potential DJs about their music repertoire and give them a bit of insight into the types of songs you love. You’ll also want to let them know exactly what you’ll be needing music and emceeing for (i.e. the ceremony, the reception, dinner, the after party). This will help them customize a tracklist just for your event.

 

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Wedding DJ

Depending on where you come from, the things you take into consideration when choosing the music for your wedding are dramatically different. Back when I got married, I would NEVER have used a DJ in a million years, having coming from the school of thought that a DJ is a loud obnoxious creature who incites your guests to do dances you would prefer never be a part of your biggest day (Macarena, ChaCha, Slide, YMCA… I could go on forever). While my guests had fun dancing to the bands I selected both in Vieques and Washington, DC, now that I know more, I certainly wonder if we might have had a much, much better time if we’d had a good DJ with a good playlist instead.

Establish up front that you are the CLIENT and you are in charge. Let him know if you don’t like a talker. Tell him if he has absolutely no room for independent judgment. If you don’t want to hear a single song that isn’t on your personal playlist, let him know. Lay out the ground rules and don’t be afraid to be a little bit aggressive and put it writing, asking him to acknowledge your requests. Many DJs prefer you be upfront and direct. Just don’t be rude about it. There’s a way to be demanding without being Bridezilla. Be a little nicer if he’s your only option at the venue

Be very specific about your playlist and, if he doesn’t give you a good form to work with

Decide whether you’re going to let the DJ take requests or not, and make sure you’re clear on the system with the DJ. If you’d prefer he not take requests, you can ask him to tell people that he doesn’t have the music being requested up to a certain point. If somebody gets aggressive, he might have to explain that the bride and groom have requested no spontaneous requests.

Be VERY SPECIFIC about your “Do Not Play” list. Those are the songs you really, really don’t want to hear at your wedding. You never know what your friends may request, and you’re better off making sure the DJ knows at the outset exactly how you feel about that. Trust me, “We are Family” can be a very awkward music selection in many groups

 

How to Find the Right Wedding DJ for You

So you’ve decided on a wedding DJ…we love that! But, how do you choose the right one? It all starts by knowing what you’re looking for on your wedding day. Do you want a DJ that will create an all-night dance party with everybody’s favorite hits? Or maybe you’re looking for a DJ who can play more obscure songs that you and your spouse love? Whatever it is, the good news is there a wedding DJ out there that will have the same tastes as you (or at least close to it!). But first you have to know the right questions to ask! These will help get you started

Finding the DJ: Seek out Recommendations

Whether your venue provides a list of recommended wedding DJ’s, or your friends’ brothers’ cousin used the DJ at their wedding, we always suggest meeting with prospective wedding DJ’s that come highly recommended from sources you know and trust. The next step? See if the DJ has an upcoming gig in your area, or vet DJ’s on YouTube by searching for performances. Like what you see? Then, set up a meeting.

Are you a full-time DJ, or is this a side gig? You want to make sure you have his or her full attention the week of your wedding.

Do you have examples of your work? This is the time where he or she will attempt to impress you with what they’ve done. Make sure to keep your ears open to see how songs are transitioned from one to another. You want to ensure there’s no break in music between tracks and that one song goes smoothly into the other one

Have you played at our venue before? It’s best to choose vendors that have worked at your venue before (this goes for everything). If the wedding DJ has, they’ll know how to work around the room’s acoustics, and your sound will be perfect on your wedding day. If the DJ hasn’t worked the venue before, see if they wouldn’t mind doing a site visit prior to your wedding so they’re prepared the day of.

 

Questions to Ask Wedding DJs and Bands

every wedding day has a soundtrack of its own—from the walk down the aisle to the first dance, the bouquet toss to your final farewell, music helps set the tone for the entire day… which is why your DJ or band has such an important role. To help you better vet the candidates, we’ve compiled this master list of questions to ask wedding DJs and band before booking. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make the right decision and find the one for your wedding.

How long have you been doing this professionally? Why you need to know this: Obviously, there’s a difference between volunteer gigs and legit, paid performances. Make sure your candidates are seasoned so there are no hiccups on the most important day of your life.

How many weddings do you do on an average weekend? Why you need to know this: If the band or DJ is playing ’round the clock all weekend, their performance might suffer. If they’re running on empty, you might want to rethink booking them.

Will you be the DJ/bandleader personally playing at our wedding? Which band members should we expect? Why you need to know this: Bands usually have a roster of performers and might alternate who’s playing based on their availability.

The Music

You probably already know a little about the wedding band or DJ since you were interested enough to interview them. Learn more about them and their style so there are no surprises on the big day

 

Everything Your Wedding DJ Wants You to Know

you’re getting married—and that calls for celebration that has everyone on their feet from cocktail hour until last call! The best way to do that? Craft a catchy playlist so people can’t help but spring out of their seats! From your first dance to the final steps, music sets the tone for the reception and has a heavy hand in determining your guests’ experience.

If you and your fiancé opt for a DJ instead of or in addition to a band, you’re putting the responsibility in their hands to ensure your wedding reception hits the right notes—literally! Along with finding an entertainment company that falls within your budget and has your wedding date available, you want them to be able to fluent in your favorite ‘90s boy band hits, understand what’s going to go down on the dance floor when your family does the Hora, or know that you’ll be expecting a heavy rotation of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra to keep great aunt Jane happy. No matter what you’re looking for, a DJ and their team should be able to work with you and your partner to make your wedding night special.

Know how to spot a fraud

We all know a guy who considers himself a DJ because he played top 40 hits at his frat’s parties in college. And the one who thinks being a DJ means only playing EDM and house music. “Technology now has enabled everybody to call themselves a DJ,”says Scott Siegel of Purple Parrot Entertainment. “Don’t just find somebody on Craigslist or some social media site and go by pricing. If it’s too good a price, you have to hope the person’s going to show up.”

Don’t rely on WiFi

Siegel also cautions against letting your party playlist live on the internet. “Nowadays a lot of DJs are starting to say, ‘I’ve got 50,000 songs and they’re on the cloud,’” he says. “You know very well how many times have you gone to make a phone call somewhere and you can’t get a signal. There’s a chance you’re not going to be able to get a signal at that barn, the vineyard, or a catering hall. Or if you go to a catering hall and the venue says, ‘I can’t give you our password.’” Instead, go with a DJ who not only has all of their songs downloaded, but also has a backup drive in case of emergency

Figure out your DJ’s preferred form of communication

Can’t get that Justin Bieber remix you just heard on Pandora out of your head? Siegel wants you shoot him an email right then and there if you want to add it to your wedding rotation. “I‘ve always told prospective brides, my phone’s always open. Call me, email me. If you heard a song on the radio and love that song, call right now,” he says. “For me to write it down in my notes is no big deal, but you could forget about it in five hours. I like to keep the line of communication open.”

The Best Tips To Be Event Videographer

Keys to Successful Event Video

Remember, Have Fun, but It’s Their Party

Often, there will be receptions and parties that go along with special events. If you are invited, it’s important to make an appearance. It’s a good idea to be grateful for the opportunity the client presents. Just keep in mind that it’s their party – be polite, don’t eat the food unless invited to do so, don’t overstay your welcome, and keep that lampshade off your head.

Rest Up!

No matter how straightforward your role at an event may be, a long day of standing still and staying alert can be draining. Even at simple shoots you might run into camera issues, fluctuating audio levels, mysterious sinking tripods and last-minute changes from clients.

Park as Close as Possible

Figure out parking before the event rolls around. Don’t get caught circling a full parking lot when you’re supposed to be setting up. Ask where you can unload your vehicle and see if there is special parking for event staff. Having a nice, close spot will save time and stress in case you need to make any last minute errands.

Look the Part

Looking professional is an important part in making a client happy. You want him or her to see that you take this work seriously. Appearing neat, well-groomed and well-mannered will confirm that your client made the right decision in hiring you.

Make Friends with the On-site AV Person

Do you need an XLR audio feed from the soundboard? Maybe an SDI hookup so your camera feed can appear on screen? Take a wedding photographer for example, both audio/video (AV) and photo folks will have supporting media that you will want access to, so be willing to share and cooperate. Regardless of what you need from the AV staff, it never hurts to be on somebody’s good side, when you’re depending on them to be the A to your V.

 

Tips for Shooting Event Video and Photography at the Same Time

Edit Photos First, Video Second

Once the event has concluded, it’s best to dive into the photos first — sometimes immediately after the event. Editing photos, to most, will be the quicker of the two edits, and it will help you get the ball rolling on your deliverables.

Communicate and Be Vocal

When taking on the challenge of shooting both video and photos, communication is key. If you have a team with you, dividing and conquering is a great approach. However, the key is communication and planning.

Photography Appreciates Static

Meanwhile, for photography, I’d look for more static situations. Obviously, shooting event photography requires singling out groups of people and getting them to turn, smile, and pause — photography is simple and elegant. There’s no need to record people awkwardly waiting for a flash.

Video Loves Motion

Also, when deciding when to shoot video over photography, a general rule is to decide what looks good in motion versus static. Video loves motion. Yes, it may be a little harder to set the focus and adjust on the fly. However, consider the situation. If there is something interesting going on that is in motion, say a first dance or a popping champagne bottle, always go for video.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Personally, I feel like I’ve always been an unusual photographer/videographer because I feel stronger shooting video than photos. Often, photographers are looking to add video to their coverage. In which case, this is a great resource.

 

What to Look for in an Event Videographer

Technical Know-How

Of course, if you want a high-quality video, you need to hire someone (or a team) that knows how to hit that quality level. This means paying attention to technical aspects such as.

Editing Skills

Editing and post-production in general are huge parts of the overall effect. Of course, you need to take care when you are doing the actual filming. But, even if you don’t get everything you need, it is possible to add depth through editing. If done correctly, you can create a feeling that might not even have been as intense at the live event itself.

Artistic Flair with a Marketing Mind-Set

Of course, video is an art form. So, when hiring a videographer, you want an artistic spirit. But, be sure this is kept in check with a marketing mind-set.

 

Videography Tips for More Professional-Looking Videos

Have Good Lighting

One of the biggest secrets to achieving professional-looking videos is to use lighting for your storytelling. During conceptualization, try to be intentional about your lighting. Determine the types of lights that you need and where you will place them to achieve the effect that you want. Or if you’re on a budget and are working with existing lights (like lamps and the sun), think of how you can make it work for your particular scene.

Keep the Background Simple

Don’t just film anywhere. Make an effort to use a simple background or improve it by removing as much clutter as you can. Many use solid-colored backgrounds — be it a wall, a bedsheet, or backdrop paper — and place themselves (or their subjects) a few feet away from it to avoid casting a shadow.

Improve Your Composition

A true pro may be able to spot the work of an amateur during the first few seconds of a video project, even if high-end camera equipment was used. So what gives them away? It’s their lack of proper framing and composition.

Observe Proper Camera Placement

A common mistake that beginners make is not minding how the lens’ focal length and the camera’s relative distance from the subject are affecting the look of the scene. For close-up shots, never place your camera close to your subject as this can create unattractive facial distortions and make it more challenging for you to crop out the edges of the scene. It’s much easier to place your camera a couple of feet away and carefully zoom in with your camera lens.

Use Manual Focus

While the autofocus feature on your camera can be very handy, it can ruin your recording when it goes in and out of focus while trying to locate your subject in dimly lit scenes. The key is to use the exposure/focus lock on your smartphone or switch to manual focus on your standalone camera, so you can use your own eyes and set the focus yourself.

 

You Need to Capture for Your Event Videos

Close-up shots that capture emotion

Events are emotional experiences — and whatever emotional experience your event promises is a big draw for potential fans, whether they’re swaying to their favorite music or enthralled in a really great educational talk. This type of shot captures attendees’ faces expressing that emotion, which is invaluable proof that your event delivers on what it says it will.

Shots spanning a crowd or showing your venue/environment

Like #1, you’re looking for images that capture the feeling of your event, while also creating a fear of missing out. A shot that shows the scale of your event, including the venue and environment, is enticing and helps people imagine what it’d be like to attend.

Shots of performers, speakers, and presenters on stage

Of course, people also want to know what kinds of things they’ll learn or experience at your event, which is why it’s important to capture speakers or performers on stage. Moments with strong quotes and applause or laughter from the audience will make the most impact on viewers.

Short video clips and soundbites from attendees

92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising, which is one of the reasons why testimonials are so powerful. People are usually more than happy to say a few words about why they love something, so make sure to interview attendees about your event.

Shots from the stage

Along the same lines as #4, getting footage filmed from the stage looking out into the audience shows how many people are at your event and enjoying themselves.