Running an event is great for attracting new prospects and building relationships with current customers. There are all kinds of events you can run all with different advantages and focus:
Celebrating something is a great way to bring people to you and have a real party atmosphere. They’re great for building relationships with current clients but not so great for attracting new customers, so it’s important to either make it a relaxed, drop-in affair or to make sure you have a large database of customers and suppliers to invite. PR wise, you may find it hard to get coverage without the help of a professional unless you have something topical to celebrate.
Invitation Only Sale
As a retail company, an invitation only sale is a nice way of making customers feel special. In the run up you can promote the event and use it to build you contact base, you generally make quite a few sales on the day and it’s a pretty great way to show case what you do.
Training / Workshop
Sharing knowledge has become so popular that even webinars and teleseminars have taken off too. Imparting some of your expertise is great for adding credibility, you can film it if you like and share the video online. For a lot of business owners, however, talking in front of an audience is no mean feat. Make sure that what you’re talking about is relevant to the attendees and that if you’re not going to present, that the speaker who represents you will add to your reputation.
These days, networking is a major part of most businesses marketing strategy, so the target audience for this kind of event can be wide and varied or more targeted. Though it’s easy to put a networking event together, you really want to make it a great event for the delegates. These types of events usually work well if your customers are businesses. If it’s your first one, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time and that you have a strong marketing campaign with several mediums for reaching your target audiences.
There are some fantastic exhibitions around, so before you try to run one yourself, visit a few and research the market. Exhibitions are a great way for you to promote yourself and get your suppliers and strategic partners involved but if they’re paying to exhibit, they will want a good amount of people coming through the door and prestigious venue.
Charity events can take on all kinds of shapes and sizes and are my personal favourite. Whether you’re selling something with the proceeds going to charity or you’re just getting a group of people together for a nice meal – you will always get a massive benefit from the time and effort you put in. Plus you’ll feel good and your customers will feel good about you.
Tip 1 – Promotion
Promoting your event properly will make or break the event. If you’re not experienced in getting people to come to you (a different kettle of fish entirely from going to your customers), you might want to outsource the marketing or partner with another company.
Tip 2 – Minimise the Risk
You can spend fortunes on promotion and the actual day itself. If you’re looking to make money at your event be wary of committing to massive costs. Find a venue that can be flexible on numbers, don’t over estimate how many people will turn up, and don’t get too extravagant with things like champagne and canapés until you know the final numbers
Tip 3 – Price
How much do you charge for your event? Only your customers can answer that. If you’re giving them plenty of value and there is lots of benefit, then you can charge anything from £5 per person to £100 (or even more!). However, many people rely on the fact that they’re at a prestigious venue to automatically mean a sold out event. It’s not the case at all and you could find yourself paying huge sums to rent an empty conference room. Start off small, minimise your risk and build from there.
Events can help you get what you want – build your contacts or prospect lists, build relationships, encourage old customers to come back, get you media coverage and gives you something to talk about online.