Dear Donna Maria:

How do I attract high end clients for my event planning business?

Courtney Young
Events by Red Label Productions

Dear Courtney,

First, let me complement you on a warm and inviting website and Facebook business page.

I see from both that you are targeting luxury and high end clients.

I also noticed on your website’s About Page that you have a lovely smile. Your approach to sharing glitz and glam on your Facebook business page, along with your million dollar smile, allow me to conclude quickly that you are fully capable of attracting more of the high end clients you seek.

Here are some suggestions to help you leverage your approach and your look, so you can attract more high end clients to your event planning business.

1. Consider focusing on a single target niche

Your Facebook page seems to reach out specifically to brides, so I will answer your question with the idea that your target market is brides. Your website, however, targets brides, corporate event planners and arts events. These are very different markets, and I believe that focusing exclusively on one high end niche will give you a better chance at getting the high end clients.

Have you heard the saying, “The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.” Attributed to Confucius, this saying captures the essence of my point. If you spread your message across multiple target audiences, it is more likely to be diffused, and may even create confusion.

If I were a bride with a big budget, I would not be overly impressed with an event planner who also planned corporate and arts events. But I would be immediately attracted to an event planner who focused exclusively on delivering top level service to brides like me.

I would be more likely to trust my event to you if I knew quickly, just by looking at your website, that the kind of event I wanted to host was also the kind of event you specialized in.

Consider focusing on one target market. Once you establish a strong brand presence in one sector, you can then leverage that success to expand into other areas.

2. Put your dazzling smile front and center

You have a million dollar smile, but it’s buried below the fold on your About page.

I would consider including a full figure shot of you in an incredible suit with an appropriate amount of bling, flashing that smile. If you can add to the page a few photos of you putting the finishing touches on a bridal table at a luxury hotel or an altar on a beach in the Caribbean, all the better. If I am considering hiring you for an event, I want to see pictures of you in action delivering amazing events that make me say, “Wow, that’s gorgeous! If he could do that for her, he could do it for me too!”

Consider asking the photographers and the brides from your most successful events to allow you to use some of their photos at your site, with credit to them of course. Allow them to choose how they want their business or event described, and if they want to include a link to a website.

Use these photos as the top images on your pages. The stock photos there now are lovely, but as a prospective customer, I want to see your event planning exprtise in action, not stock photography.

3. Use client testimonials

Nothing sells a service like a recommendation from a satisfied customer!

Ask your happiest brides if they would allow you to use a picture of them on their special day, along with a testimonial of the great job you did helping them have the event of a lifetime. What results did they get working with you that they could not get anywhere else? Did you save them time? Did you find the hard-to-source flowers that everyone else said were out of season? Did you take on all of the stress so they could really enjoy their special day? Did you save them money? Did you come in under budget? Did you and your team return phone calls quickly so the bride and her family felt taken care of?

Tell their stories so future brides can see themselves within the pages of your website.

4. Build your mailing list

Consider using a webinar service like Webinar Jam to create complimentary online training classes to help high end brides plan every detail of their wedding. Pack it full of tips and tricks they won’t think about (but need), and which you provide as a standard part of your service. Use the webinar as a tool to build an email list that allows you to stay in touch with brides by email, and keep them informed of how you can service them on their special day.

You can also build your list by offering a tip booklet or “special report” on the hottest bridal trends of the year. Use a service like Optin Monster to create a pop up on your home page that allows people to submit their email address in order to get your exclusive booklet or report.

5. Go where the clients are

Hang out where the high end brides hang out. Where is that? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing high end bridal shows, charitable organizations, local women’s CEO clubs and organizations, etc. Volunteer to speak at some of their events so you can hand out your business cards and make a great impression.

Make sure you take pictures with the ladies at these events, and write blog posts (with links to their websites) about what a great time you had. Share them on social media and tag them in the posts so they can share them too.

You’ll also want to find out where the wealthy parents of the bride and groom can be found, and put yourself there if possible. Country clubs maybe? Do local clubs offer opportunities for people like you to speak at their events about what it takes to produce a high end wedding? If so, make it happen!

Make friends with photographers, bakers, florists, and venue owners who serve high end brides. Where are they? What magazines do they advertise in?

Become a part of the network that servers your target customer. Make friends and refer people to them. Interview them for your blog and build relationships with them. Some of them may turn into successful collaborations over time. Either way, you’ll be building your local network of potential referrals and that always leads to new business. They will almost always return the favor.

Good luck, Courtney! I look forward to seeing more of that smile around town!

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Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a nationwide trade organization offering classes, training resources, and product liability insurance to small business owners. Click...