There are many ways to market your small business, and hosting an event is one of them. Events can help you attract new customers, keep existing customers engaged, and grow your business contacts network.
However, for an event to be successful it has to hit the mark and make a good impression on those in attendance. But, don’t worry, here are some tips that will help you ensure your event goes to plan.
# 1 Be clear on what you want to achieve
Like any marketing strategy, your event should bring value to your business. But, to do this, you first need a clear idea of what that value is from the outset: Do you want to increase awareness of your brand? Introduce people to new products? Or make new connections? Whatever the business value, you need to be crystal clear on what you want to achieve. This will help you organize and create your event to meet these goals.
# 2 Define how you will measure success
How will you measure success? You might host an event, and lots of people arrive, but that is not a metric of success. Lots of people don’t translate into business value.
Depending on the aim, there are different ways to measure the success of your event. For example, if your goal is to make new contacts, a metric to measure might be the amount of new phone numbers or business cards you have by the end of the night.
If the goal is to increase brand awareness, a measurement of success might be the number of new leads or sales you get in the days after the event.
# 3 Take stock of what you need
It a good idea to do a mental walkthrough of your event and take stock of everything you will need to make it happen. This might include chairs, tables, projectors, logistics considerations, 3rd part vendors, etc. When you have a list in hand, it will be easier to organize and stay on top of everything. Check-off all the different items on the list after each is takin care of, and ready.
# 4 Assess your budget
Once you know what you need to turn your event idea into a reality, assess your finances, and ensure you have the budget to pull it off. If you intend to put on an event that pushes your available funds, you want to be sure it returns the business value you expect.
Budget items might include:
- Guest speaker costs
- Marketing costs
- Venue hire
- Production costs
- Branding materials
- Giveaways and freebies
#5 Find the right venue
Every event takes place in a venue. It might be a hotel conference center, a restaurant or park. Wherever it is, the venue is the most crucial element of your event. It sets the tone!
When choosing a venue, there are a few things to consider:
- Can you afford it?
- Is the venue aligned with your brand image?
- Does it have the vibe and mood you want to convey?
- Are the amenities and facilities you require in place?
- Can people travel there easily, either by private or public transport?
- Is it the right size – perfect, too small, or too big?
- Does it meet the regulations for safety and accessibility?
# 6 Get some help to bring it all together
There is a lot involved in hosting an event such as venue rental, organizing the guest list, booking speakers, hiring caterers – that’s a lot to take on for a busy business owner. And while you might think you can do it all yourself, you can’t. You need help.
If you have employees, you can ask for their help and delegate some tasks to them. You could also consider hiring a professional event planner. If neither of these is an option, maybe a friend with excellent organization and planning skills could help you out.
Now it’s your turn
Events, when done properly, are great marketing tools. They work for businesses of all sizes, both big and small. However, if you are going to host one, then it has to be a roaring success. If it’s not, it might harm your business. When planning your event, use the above tips to ensure it goes smoothly.