In the event planning business, timing is everything. And it’s even more important in the client prospecting phase. If you connect with a decision-maker too late, you’ll miss the opportunity to plan the event. And if you connect too early, they might not be ready to commit your planning services. To help you manage this critical prospecting timeline, you can and should be using sales funnels. These are tools that help you implement a strategy for getting in front of the right people and staying in front of them until it’s time to convert them. If you’re not sure how well your funnel is working to advance leads through the buyer’s journey, keep reading. Here are some sure-fire ways to improve the efficiency of your event planning sales funnel, including a precise list of areas to re-evaluate. And your bottom line will thank you.
1. Re-Evaluate the Four Stages of the Sales Funnel
When you first set up your event planning sales funnels, you likely followed the AIDA framework. There are a few interpretations, but generally, the Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action method is solid for any funnel. However, a lot has certainly changed over the last 12+ months. And what used to generate “interest” or prompt “awareness” may no longer be the case. Additionally, maybe your services have changed to include more virtual event engagements or hybrid options that your current sales funnel doesn’t properly leverage yet. Sit down with your content, messaging, and core offerings to make sure they still align with the AIDA framework you originally established. Account for new services, changes to existing services, and event planning trends, as well.
2. Re-Evaluate Your Audience Needs and Preferences
You know what else has changed over the last year? Your audience has changed. Yes, many of your core decision-makers may still be corporate event planners, business owners, or marketing professionals. But maybe they have different preferences for how they plan corporate events these days or what they need from a corporate event planner. Additionally, there could be an entirely new audience of prospects that your current sales funnel isn’t reaching. For example, bar/bat mitzvah celebrations are huge this year. Having been on lockdown from in-person events, families are planning substantially-sized social events in droves these days. If your business provides event planning services for weddings, anniversary parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, and milestone birthdays, make sure your sales funnel targets the right messaging to those audiences.
3. Re-Evaluate Your Sales Funnel Tools
New York event planners can improve their sales funnels by re-evaluating the tools used to support them. For example, are you doing an email campaign that drives recipients to a landing page? Are you leveraging reviews as part of your customer journey content? How engaged is your social media in your sales funnel? These questions can all lead you to re-evaluate how each tool is working or not working, to highlight where you can enforce improvements. If your landing pages are no longer effective, change the content to offer something new. Create a social media strategy of posts that inspires visitors to your website. Consider repurposing your reviews or testimonials as shareable case studies or trust-building messaging throughout all your digital channels.
4. Re-Evaluate Your CTAs
Your sales funnel content and channels are all on point. Your target audience is “aware,” “interested,” and ready to make a “decision.” But then nothing happens. If your sales funnel seems healthy right up until the point of tracking conversions, your calls to action could probably use a refresh. CTAs are mission-critical to ANY campaign as they’re designed to tell prospects what you want them to do next. Sign up for the newsletter. Call for a quote. Schedule a meeting. These are actions you need them to take. And if your CTAs aren’t strong enough, your leads could fall off without converting. Re-evaluate your CTAs at every stage of your funnel to make sure you’re properly and clearly asking contacts to take the next step. If you’re not seeing verbs in your sentences, you need stronger CTAs.
5. Re-Evaluate Your Value Proposition
You can always be nurturing prospects through the various stages of your funnel by offering great value propositions. Take time to review what you’re offering, whether it’s advice, tips, or entertainment news. How are you nurturing people through to the next step? Are they engaging with your brand, your website, or your social media? Optimizing your event planning sales funnel means putting a microscope on what you’re offering just as much as you would with what you’re asking.
6. Bonus Suggestions for Improvement
Knowing that not all of your New York event planning conferences will be the same, nor will your decision-makers, is the foundation from which you build your sales funnel. Understand that everyone’s needs will be different, and your funnel of messaging and engagement should address that flow of AIDA from introduction to conversion. Consider exploring these options to help infuse your sales funnels with the engagement boost they need:
- Educational Videos or Blog Content
- Introduce Newsletters
- Paid Advertising
- Reducing Friction on Forms or CTAs
- Add More Testimonials
- Upselling and Cross-Selling
- Improve Retention
- Increase Customer Lifetime Values
The idea behind a healthy sales funnel is having a plan in place that engages your top event prospects at the various stages of need and interest. When they are ready to plan an event, your funnel will have made your brand top-of-mind and your services as a trustworthy solution. Consider these sales funnel improvement suggestions to help you re-evaluate every aspect of your strategy and identify better ways to engage.
If you need additional sales funnel development help or other branding and marketing advice related to New York event planning, follow our ongoing blog series and let us help! You can also jump-start your sales funnel by attending The Event Planner Expo this October, where you can meet and mingle with corporate decision-makers and top professionals. Take your Expo engagement even further by becoming a sponsor or trade show floor exhibitor, too. Contact us to learn more!