If you’re looking for exciting ways to get your business back in front of customers after a difficult 2020, holding a high-profile event is a great way to attract attention and set yourself apart from the competition.
If you’re thinking that pulling off an event that will create a ‘wow factor’ for your target attendees might be too complicated or risky, no need to worry. Follow these 14 simple steps and create an experience to remember!
Step 1: Define your goal
First, take some time to consider what it is you’re trying to achieve. Strengthen and re-establish relationships with existing contacts? Attract new clients? Launch a new product? Sell your products at the event itself?
Once you’re clear about your aim, decide how you’re going to measure your success. The number of attendees? The number of contact details of potential clients? The volume of units sold on the day? You can choose more than one measure, but keep it limited so that you stay clearly focused on what you want to achieve.
Step 2: Scope it out
What kind of event do you have in mind? Daytime or evening? Indoor or outdoor? A couple of hours or the full day? What is going to attract people to attend? Will you provide guest speakers, entertainment, demonstrations? Do you want to offer snacks or even a meal to encourage people to come along? Will it be strictly business-focused or family-focussed?
Describe what your perfect event will look and feel like.
Step 3: Timing is everything
Next, pick a date. Avoid days that fall close to public holidays or local celebrations. Also, avoid periods when many of your attendees may be on vacation. If it’s a daytime event, consider offering breakfast. People can come to you first, then head to the office, rather than leaving their work mid-morning to attend your event. Likewise, if it’s in the afternoon, run it close to the end of the working day so people can attend before heading home.
Also, consider the lead time people will need. If they’re busy, diaries are likely to fill up for a few weeks ahead, so allow time to give everyone plenty of notice and ensure maximum participation.
Step 4: Gather your resources
To pull off a great event, you’ll need a team around you. Select the people who can best help, and then allocate each one a clear and specific role within the team. Put it in writing so in case of any uncertainty, there’s a reference.
Step 5: Kick it off
Now, it’s time for the kick-off meeting. Gather the whole team, and then communicate your vision of what the event will achieve and what it will look like. Walk them through the whole experience, from start to finish, and from the point of view of the attendees. Encourage questions and requests for clarification. Let each person explain their role in the project team to their colleagues. Establish your project plan and a schedule for progress meetings. Set deadlines for the first tasks to be completed.
Step 6: Allocate your budget
As with any project, it’s important to allocate the budget so you’ll be able to prevent costs from running out of control.
Step 7: Create your marketing plan
How are you going to let people know about your event? Who are you aiming to attract? What channels are you going to use? Are you going to need to create new brochures and flyers? Are you going to use your current contacts or will external advertising be needed?
Step 8: Use local media
The best option is to promote your event with free publicity. Create press releases to generate interest from local media. At the same time, if your audience is strictly local, consider posters or leaflet drops to create awareness.
By using a variety of media, you’ll have more chance of attracting the attention you want for your event. It’s also a great idea to invite local journalists and presenters to attend the event itself.
Step 9: Use social media
A good part of your event marketing plan should, of course, focus on social media. This is beneficial because advertising your event via Facebook or Google will need much less investment than newspaper ads while speaking to the exact demographic you want to attract.
Step 10: Dress rehearsal
No matter what kind of event you’ve planned, it’s essential to gather the team for a detailed run-through, ideally the day before. This will ensure that any last-minute snags can be put right and that everyone is clear about their role during the event itself.
Make sure that the layout will work for the audience. For outdoor events, check if the temporary fence signage with your logo is already in place.
Step 11: Rally the troops
Just before the event starts, gather your team and congratulate them on their great efforts in bringing the event together. Remind them of the aim (see Step 1), and encourage them to enjoy themselves and go for it!
Step 12: Grace under pressure
If some details don’t go exactly according to plan, the most important thing to realize is that probably no-one will care or even notice. Keep your sense of humour activated at all times. Relax, take any hiccups in your stride, and you’ll make a much better impression than if you are seen to sweat the small stuff.
Step 13: Celebrate success!
Once the event is over, it’s time for the team to celebrate their success.
However, do get everyone together within a day or so and make sure any lessons are learned. Did you achieve your aim? What went really well? What was the feedback from the attendees? What will you do differently next time?
Step 14: Thank attendees
Now is the time to leverage the interest created by your event, so stay in contact and make the most of your exciting new business opportunities.
We hope these steps will get you on the road to create a memorable event that will engage your customers and help your business thrive and grow.