Private events are the bread and butter of a fashion truck. They offer a steady stream of side income and a captive shopping audience so you don't have to rely on sporadic and sometimes dismal markets as your only source of revenue.
But how do you promote your private events and encourage repeat bookings?
Promoting Private Events
Postcards & flyers
The easiest way to promote your private events is to print postcards/flyers and distribute them at events. (You can also, obviously, distribute them at private parties you've already booked.) PGPrint is a great place to get custom postcards and flyers on a quick turnaround (even next day!), and you can design your own with their software, upload a custom design or use one of their design templates.
On your website
Don't forget to include information about hosting private parties and events on your website. Include a contact form so anyone seeking information can inquire about a booking immediately. If you've already done past events, collect and publish testimonials from past party hosts about their (good!) experiences. You want to be sure your website (and your postcards) answers basic questions people have about how hosting a party works. For example: what's the cost? What's my obligation? What do I get in return? How many people do I invite? Help potential private event bookers understand how easy you make it on them.
You don't have to directly sell private events via your social accounts, but when you host them, take photos and use those photos in your social media. Especially on Facebook, with permission, tag people in pictures at private parties so your private event photos show up on their feeds where their friends can see them. This is a great way to do word-of-mouth promotion to your ripest target audience: the friends of customers who have already booked or experienced one of your private events.
Partner with another business
There are lots of different types of businesses trying to book private events in conjunction with special occasions, like bachelorette parties. Can you partner with a peer (read: non competitive) business to offer a package deal on a suite of services? For example, if you're a lingerie boutique, can you partner with a manicurist who books private parties?
Connect with event planners
Business clients are a great source of repeat business and referrals if you can find them, and event planners are key to landing those coveted corporate gigs. You may not have the time or personality to do direct sales or cold calls to local businesses, but work your network to see if you know anyone responsible for corporate party planning. Find out if there are local resources event planners use, like directories, when searching for party planning ideas. Ask other event-related business owners, like photographers and DJs, where they get listed.
Get listed on party ideas listicles
Style writers and bloggers are forever looking for new party ideas and "outside the box" consumer trends for roundups. If you operate a mobile pedicure wagon, for example, you should be on every local list of "Cool Bachelorette Party Ideas." Blogs posts that send traffic to your website based on a party planning idea can be a great source of recurring business — and you don't have to lift a finger once its published.
Booking Private Events
Try to set your bookings toward the beginning or middle of the month, and here's why: you want to time your private events, especially those booked by individuals, around the time people get their paychecks so they have disposable income. If you have the choice of booking the 28th or the 3rd, take the 3rd.
Make sure your host understands his or her obligation to promote the event to their list. You can make this easy by providing an invite template and sample language. Advise your customer to invite twice the number of attendees they think will attend, to collect RSVPs, and send reminders.
Know in advance where your truck will be parked and make sure you have clearance, level ground and permission to park at the appointed time. Visit the site in advance if you can and check for any parking restrictions or confirm with your customer. Make sure you will not need to pull any permits that are sometimes required even if you're parked on private property (depending on your level of visibility).
Repeat bookings & follow-up
Previous customers are your best chance at cultivating evergreen relationships, so after you conclude each party, follow up with the host or hostess to offer a second booking. If you can, send a thank you card or email to the list of attendees with information on how they can book their own private event.
Got ideas that have worked for you on landing private event bookings and keeping them going over time? Let us know in the comments!