Many companies use marketing events to engage with their current and potential customers. Creating a fun and memorable event isn’t hard if you follow a few simple rules.
Start with a Budget
Before you can even begin to plan your event, the first thing you need is a budget. Not only do you need the total dollar amount that can be spent, but also have it broken down into categories and spend amounts so whoever is in charge of that portion of the event knows exactly how much they have to work with. It’s also a good idea to include some kind of contingency dollars in case a problem arises and you need to spend more than you have in your initial budget. You don’t want to be left scrambling for additional funds should something unexpected happen.
Choose a Date that gives Plenty of Notice
You first need to consider planning your event far enough in advance for proper promotion. You need to be able to have plenty of time for promotion and give people enough time to plan to be there. Everyone has a busy schedule, and people need to be able to put your event on their calendars. If you don’t give enough notice, they won’t be able to attend.
Select an Appropriate Venue
Choosing a venue is very important. You want to select somewhere that is suited to accommodate your anticipated turnout while leaving enough room for the various activities you intend to have.
Be sure there is plenty of seating available, especially if it is to be an all-day event. People will get tired of standing, and if you want them to stay to enjoy the entire event you will need places for guests to rest.
Create a Unique and Clever Theme
You want people to be interested in your event, so be sure and strategize to come up with a great theme. Pick something that will peak the interests of both current and potential customers. You don’t want anything too ostentatious or outlandish that might put people off. Choose something fun and interesting, without being annoying. Use banners, tents, etc. with your personalized branding to stand out from the crowd to be sure there is no mistake about who you are and what you have to offer.
Know Your Target Audience
While you want a lot of people at your event, you don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that it is something it is not. If you are a technology business or company that is targeting a specific sector, stick to contacting current customers and others within your industry. If you are aiming for the general public, ensure that it is clear that everyone is welcome. And if it is an adult-only event, make sure that is stated in your event marketing materials.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!
One of the best ways to entice customers to come to your event is by creating marketing emails and/or mail flyers. At a minimum, your flyers should contain the information needed for people to decide if your event is worth attending. Provide the date, time, location, and details about the event. Be creative! If your flyer or mailout looks lackluster and boring, people will not be interested and your turnout will be minimal.
Use your social media accounts to promote your event. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are always good ways to let people know that you are holding an event. Be sure to include the date, time, and location, as well as a link for registration if needed. You can also include a link to an online page that provides detailed information about the event and what to expect.
You can even create a Facebook page strictly for your event, offering all the information people need to decide if they are interested in attending, including links to your registration site, if applicable.
Make it Easy to Register
Unless you are doing a walk-in event, you will want to make sure that it is easy to register. The simplest way to do that is by having an informational website where people can quickly register to attend. Don’t ask for too much information – just the basics like their name, company name if applicable, email, and phone number. If there is an entry fee, make sure that you have a good system set up to accept payment. Nothing is more frustrating than fighting with a site that won’t accept your credit card information.
One way to entice people to register early is by offering “early bird” discounts. Create a discount code with a dollar or percentage off that can be used up until a certain point – maybe a week or two before the event.
Keep It Interesting
Do something to stand out from the competition! Plan fun activities like games, treasure hunts, and other interesting things for guests to participate in. Make them specific to your business if possible. For technology-based events – place QR codes around the events for people to obtain more information or win prizes on their own time. Hold drawings for company swag or other items as it pertains to your business. Events are better when there are interesting booths or activities that guests can participate in.
Serve Food and Drinks
Set up an area with food and drinks so guests will stick around longer. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate catered event, but be sure and offer something so people don’t get hungry and thirsty and leave the event to get a bite to eat. Something as simple as grilling hot dogs and hamburgers if you are outdoors, or a nice spread of sandwiches and fruit. For evening adult-oriented events, set up a bar and offer beer, and wine, and even create a specialty drink that ties in with your theme.
Depending on the size and length of your event, consider hiring a DJ or local band to play throughout the day or night. Create a small dance area so guests can show off their moves! The more enjoyable your event is, the more people will remember your brand and think of your services or products long after it’s over.
Create Swag Bags
Everyone loves free swag! The easiest way to hand out promotional gifts is by creating a “Swag Bag” for each guest. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on each bag and its contents, but include custom promotional items people can actually use, that showcase your company logo or event graphics. Don’t opt for gimmicky or one-use items that won’t hold people’s attention.
Include booklets, flyers, and business cards in your swag bags for people to take home with them to review after the event. It’s hard to remember everything you need to know after an event is over, so be sure guests have materials to take home to remind them of your services and/or products. Be sure to include business cards and contact information so they can easily get a hold of someone if they need more information or want to purchase your services or products.
If you decide to use “buzz words” in your marketing materials, don’t use anything that has become a cliché, or overused. Don’t use words like “synergy”, “new normal”, and other words that make people cringe. Come up with unique and interesting phrases to use during your event and marketing. You don’t want to drive people away by using buzzwords that should have been put to bed long ago! You may even want to avoid them altogether, and simply provide the information needed to entice new customers or clients.
The more you can do to make your event interesting and memorable, the longer people will think of your services when they are needed. It’s not just about attracting new customers and clients, but also about retaining your existing ones. The more fun and memorable your event is, the more people will remember your brand!