The kids’ party industry in Australia is a lucrative one for event planners. Each year, families spend anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars to create the perfect event for their children. Enter a brilliant business idea: curating events for kids.
A Family Values Survey by Real Insurance found that “72% of parents think social media and celebrities have put more pressure on parents to throw visually impressive parties they can share with others online”. From birthdays and Christmas events to school holiday entertainment, there is a huge market for events designed for kids.
If you’re thinking of starting an events business in this booming industry, don’t be dazzled by the magical decorations and cute kids smiling ear to ear. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to bring a children’s party to life and meet the high expectation of Millennial parents.
To get some insider tips on starting or growing a kids’ party business, we spoke to Jodi Polasky, the creator of Pretty Princess Parties. Polasky has a thriving business that has hosted events such as a ticketed ‘Fairytale Ball’ for children in 36 cities across the US. But launching her events business didn’t start at happily ever after. When her business grew quickly, Polasky was quickly overwhelmed by the manual logistics involved. “It was a complete mess,” Polasky said. “I knew there must be a better way.”
Check out these three children’s party planning essentials she learned growing her business to create a magical experience of your own.
Tip #1: Use tech that makes your planning less manual
Jodi Polasky was — and still is — the only full-time employee at Pretty Princess Parties. In the early days, Polasky was managing all ticketing on her own, without an event management platform. Not only was she juggling marketing, bookkeeping, and performers, she was mailing each customer paper tickets after receiving their cheques. Overwhelmed with bouncing cheques and ticketing issues, Polasky knew it was time for a change.
She modernised her ticketing by signing up for Eventbrite — and she’s never looked back. Eventbrite removed the hassles associated with booking, payments, and different state taxes for Polasky, reducing unexpected expenses and keeping her in line with local laws.
With the time she’s saved, Polasky is able to focus more on the attendee experience, training performers and making sure her event is running smoothly before the first attendee steps through the door.
“None of this would be possible without a good ticketing platform,” Polasky advises.
Tip #2: Build partnerships with relevant influencers
The first step to growing your kids’ party business is to find your parent audience. That’s where influencers come in. Influencers are highly active people on social media who have very loyal and engaged followers, making it easy for the most relevant potential attendees to get wind of your party.
“Influencers have been incredibly powerful for growing our brand,” says Polasky. “Being able to partner with people who already are trusted (for us, it’s mostly mums) helps us to connect with potential attendees because those influencers give your event credibility.”
While you might not be able to afford the type of influencer who has millions of followers, micro-influencers like local parenting bloggers are actually more useful partnerships for a princess party.
Here’s how to find the right influencers for your event:
- Look at Instagram’s Explore tab for posts tagged locally or with relevant hashtags to find people who have followings and may be interested in your event
- Make sure their following is engaged by checking how many likes and comments they get per post compared to their number of followers
- Investigate their background in events by looking at what kind of content they’ve created in the past and whether it’s in line with what you want to communicate about your event
- Engage with them on social media and show interest in their content
- Hook the influencers with photos and videos of your event, and explain how a relationship can be mutually beneficial
Once you get your influencers on board, it’s time to build your partnership. For example, offer them free tickets in exchange for sharing posts and stories at your event and tagging you.
“We typically send our influencers two sets of free tickets — one set for them to use and one set for them to give away,” says Polasky. “Once they’re on board and they start spreading the word, it really helps grow the event.”
Tip #3: Share professional visuals that show attendees exactly what to expect
When you sell tickets to an event, you’re asking attendees for two of the most precious things they have to give: their money and their time. Before they make that investment, they are going to want to make sure that they won’t be disappointed. Make them confident in their purchase by sharing photos and videos that bring the experience to life.
“Professional video and photo content is the most important thing to get people clicking,” Polasky says. Here are three strategies to hook new attendees with photos and video:
- Share YouTube videos or Instagram photos of your event in action. Even without a professional videographer, smartphones can more than adequately provide you with some Insta-worthy shots. But before you post any photos of children, make sure to get signed releases from parents!
- Showcase photos from the perspective of your attendees by reposting great shots you see on the Instagram tag of your event. Don’t forget to ask permission first.
- Let people get behind the scenes by snapping some photos of the decked out room and your performers before people arrive. Sharing these on your social account can create buzz before your event starts.
- Add attendee testimonials highlighting their enjoyment Many customers refer to social proof before making purchases, so curate a collection of quotes from past attendees to sway future attendees to buy. You can make these visual by creating some compelling text-based graphics to post testimonials on your social feeds without burying the quote in the description.
Make your fairytale come true
Looking for more tips to make your party business stand out? Check out this ebook on marketing for niche events.