Tolu Michaels: 4 Expensive Mistakes Event Planners Make Online

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Sometime last year, an old friend from school days sent a DM about her event planning business. She wanted me to know about it so I could send referrals her way.

You probably get such messages too, and there’ll be more. I’ve not been able to refer clients to everyone who asks, but I often snoop around to observe, encourage and sometimes give unsolicited advice.

My conclusion is that some entrepreneurs are the ones doing themselves and making it hard for people to remember them for business. Inspired by that DM, this one is for you event planners – the 4 common mistakes that are costing you clients and money.

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Not seeing yourself as an online entrepreneur
Because there’s a lot of physical hustle involved in events planning, when people talk about digital opportunities, it’s like they’re talking over your head and you don’t see how it concerns you.

Here’s the thing: In the year 2000, about 361 million people were online worldwide. In 2014, there were over 3 billion – a growth rate of 764%! Today, more than half the world is online, and that means loads of opportunities for your business. You can:

  • Reach out to new customers and build better relationships with your existing customers.
  • Become known as an expert, get recognition, and attract global opportunities by monetizing your knowledge and event planning skills.
  • Get found by random people who never heard of you before in places you’ve never been before by creating content to showcase your work and experience.

Not using your personal brand to market your business
A business is worth more than physical assets. Goodwill, brand recognition and other intangible assets can increase its worth and credibility. One of such assets is the owner/CEO’s personal brand.

Yes, your business is a separate legal entity, but identify with it. Even in the corporate world, global executives estimate that 44% of a company’s market value is linked to the CEO’s reputation.

When you put your face behind your business, people feel like they know you and can trust you. They get a sense of security that you can’t run away with their money because they know where to find you and you have a name to protect.

In the events industry, names like Yewande Zaccheus, Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, and Ibidunni Ighodalo come to mind, before the names of their companies. People know their faces, admire their values, can relate with them.

The combination of your personality, skills and attitude is more influential than a company name on paper. In fact, some people will patronize your business only because they want to work with you.

The naming mistake
One look at the brand names of some event planners and you can tell they’ll struggle to become a household name. According to Nielson’s Global Trust in Advertising report, 74% of people say word of mouth is a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. So, before choosing a name, think about making it easy for people to talk about you. There are three things to consider:

  • Memorability: The event planning industry thrives on referrals. People need to remember you. For example, Zapphaire is a memorable word. Mention it once and the person will never forget.
  • Searchability: If someone told me about Eventful Nigeria and I decide to Google it, I’ll have no trouble finding it because Eventful is spelled as it sounds. In fact, if I type a mistake, Google will correct me

Many people are guilty of unsearchable names. Their usernames have underscores and characters that make it hard to type. Countless times, I’ve had to write a username somewhere before typing it on Instagram.

Don’t make people waste brain calories to find or follow you. What should you instead? Assuming your business name is “Eventified” and the handle Eventified is taken, try: Beeventified, EventifiedLagos, ThisIsEventified, etc. If you must use underscores, put them at the end so that when someone types your handle, from the smart suggestions, they can tell which one is you.

  • Repeatability: Let’s say you’ve wowed your clients. They are raving about you to all their friends but whenever they talk about you, they have to spell your name because there’s an awkward “h” somewhere or a double “y” that nobody could have guessed. Don’t complicate matters, choose a repeatable name.

Maybe you’ve registered your business in a name you like that doesn’t meet any of these criteria and that’s fine. You can change the name you do business as. If you’ll like to do business as a different name, talk to a seasoned small business lawyer to guide you.

You can’t be found online
You can’t keep depending on your family members and village people to refer clients to you. Last month, a friend in Port Harcourt told me she found a school in Lagos via Google Search. You need to use all your online real estate so that you can be found too.

Start with little steps

  • List your business on Google My Business so that a simple search of “Event Planner in Benin” will give you more exposure than you dreamed of. It’s simple and it’s free. Do it today.
  • Use visual platforms like Instagram & Pinterest to start conversations, showcase the quality of your events and engage with potential clients.
  • Look for relevant online business directories you can list on.
  • Make little changes. For instance, updating your personal email signature to “Event Planner, Eventified, Benin City, Nigeria” can go a long way.

Learn From Your Mistakes
If you’ve done any of these in the past, it’s fine. They’re called common mistakes for a reason. I’ve made some, other people will, too. What we want, though, is for fewer entrepreneurs to make them. So, please, share this article with your entrepreneur friends.

Can you think of any more mistakes that event planners (or entrepreneurs in general) make online today? Will love to read your thoughts in the comments.

 

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