There’s no hiding the fact that the special events industry is still grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, most event professionals are coming up on six months of limited events—or maybe even none at all. Every locality has different safety guidelines, although the vast majority of the industry is still restricted to smaller guest counts and socially-distanced floor plans.
However, that’s not to say people aren’t still seeking vendors for their post-pandemic celebrations. In fact, this ‘downtime’ has become an opportunity for prospective event clients to spend their time planning without rushing to reach the finish line. Thus, it’s essential for event professionals to continue marketing their businesses to reach those who are looking to plan an event in 2021 and beyond.
Of course, this presents the unique challenge of promoting an event company without any new events. Fortunately, we’ve gathered insight from experts across the industry and they’ve shared their best insights into promoting your business despite a lack of fresh content.
Use what you have
Jennifer Borgh, owner of Borghinvilla Wedding Venue explains: “What’s old is new again. Recycle old content that is still relevant. Chances are that most couples haven’t looked at every single photo you have posted years ago. Go through old files and post photos that were never posted. Out of a wedding collection, you can always post something similar, but different, just to add to the content.”
When sharing old content, just be mindful that what you do post doesn’t come across as insensitive or tone-deaf. Skip the crowded dance floors and open buffet displays and, instead, opt for timeless shots, like notable design elements or portraits of a wedding couple.
Going behind-the-scenes in your company is always encouraged, but is especially fruitful in a time where new content is limited. Use this as an opportunity to showcase all that is great about your business—your people, your values, and your expertise.
“Our strategy with our Stories has been to narrow the focus and give a behind-the-scenes look on how the ‘new normal’ isn’t all that different from the old normal in order to reassure couples it’s okay to move forward with their plans,” explains Kimberly Morrill, owner of Your Perfect Bridesmaid. “We also did an information shoot recently with local vendor partners to help walk couples through what COVID compliance looks like in our state. Being able to establish ourselves as a subject matter expert around the new policies has helped us with new bookings.”
Share resources and information
Kristin Wilson, owner of Our DJ Rocks, shares: “We are providing tips for planning a wedding during COVID-19 from an entertainment and DJ perspective. It’s important for clients and potential clients to know that we are aware of what’s going on in the world and that we can adapt. We want to continue to make memories at their events while still staying safe.”
When sharing pandemic-related resources, be sure to confirm that the information aligns with that shared by national, state, and local health organizations. The CDC is a great place to start, as is the Department of Health for your state and locality.
Lift your network
There’s no better time than the present to use your promotional channels to support and nurture your network relationships. Everyone is in this together, so a vendor spotlight or shared post can be mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
“I’ve recently been enjoying sharing other people’s work and highlighting a business that I like and admire whether it’s someone in the events and wedding space or not,” states Jamie Chang, owner of Mango Muse Events. “It’s so much easier to talk about someone else than to talk about yourself, so writing the content is easy, but it’s also fun. Plus, it feels good to highlight and promote someone else. And in turn, while not always, they do tend to return the favor and promote you as well, which can get your brand and services out to a different audience.”
Showcase what you can
Some event professionals might already have a few low-key events on the docket and, although they look different than years past, it can still provide timely fodder for social media. In particular, it’s a great way to showcase the possibility for safe and socially-distanced celebrations.
“Keep yourself out there,” encourages JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli. “Do not stop posting no matter how bad business is—out of sight is out of mind! I have been posting smaller micro-weddings and tented weddings to show that you can socially distance and still celebrate. I have also added virtual events to my postings and events. Since I have handled corporate events in the past, we are now offering virtual parties and events.”
Marketing might feel extra difficult this year (and with good reason), but it’s important for event professionals to continue pushing forward and creating content that will resonate with their target audience. When it comes time to return to business as usual, you won’t have to face the uphill battle of fighting your way back into the market because you’ve been there with valuable content all along.