Step one in putting on a great event is preparation.
Every event planner knows this. It's what they do, right? They know how to organize, promote, and execute an event. That's why they make the big bucks!
But, you don't need to hire an event planner. In fact, you can execute an event perfectly yourself. You can increase attendance, gain authority in your industry, and make your brand memorable.
You may be thinking, "That sounds like a lot of work." The truth is, it is a lot of work. But, you can pull it off. You just need some tips to get the job done. That's where we come in. If you need to put together an event for your business, our 7 event marketing strategies will make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
1. Target Your Audience
Some experts may suggest you set your budget first. But the key to not going over budget--which can happen pretty easily--is to have a semblance of what you're trying to put on.
In other words, if you don't know who your audience is and how many will attend, it's hard to set a firm budget.
Sit down with some of your trusted leaders and kick around ideas. The first should be who you're extending an invite to. Sure, not everyone will attend, but going off your initial estimate, you'll at least know numbers to start the rest of the planning process.
Will you target a specific audience of local business owners? Will you put on a convention open to the public?
Once you know the who, the what, where, when, and how will be much easier to plan.
2. Set a Budget
After you've thought about your target audience and how many attendees you'll host, it's time to set your budget.
This may be a fluid process. But, you at least have one aspect in place: the invitees. Now, you can figure out much you can spend on the event.
Figure out the size venue you'll need, how much you can spend on a caterer, and if you can afford promotional items.
One way to lessen the financial burden is by reaching out to other companies to become event sponsors. Some companies will sponsor an event and provide giveaways for those who attend.
If you're trying to focus on promoting your brand, you may not be too keen on sharing the spotlight with sponsors. But, if you choose the right partners, there shouldn't be too much conflict.
There are many resources out there to help you sell a sponsorship. Keep in mind, a sponsorship is a business relationship. You should both get something out of it.
3. Create Your Content
What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to promote a new product or service? Figure out what your message is and how you can best present it.
Will you hire caterers--and will it be buffet style or a plated dinner?
Who would you like to speak/present at your event? Keep in mind not everyone may say "yes" for one reason or another. Think of a few extra, for this very reason.
Will you have a video presentation? What about music?
This is also where you'll want to make your first draft of the event schedule. Make sure you keep your goal in mind and think of the benefits your attendees will get out of your event.
4. Secure a Venue
At this point in your event marketing strategy, you know who your audience will be, how much you can spend, and what content you'll present.
Great! So, where will you hold your event?
Every city has tons of great venue options, but selecting the right venue isn't easy--there's a lot to take into consideration.
Of course, size is your first consideration. You want a venue that will accommodate your speakers (more on that in a minute!), presenters, and audience.
You'll also want to find a venue that has a separate room or area to act as the "brains" of the event. This is where your IT, security, staff, and others will work to make sure the event goes off without a hitch. Having one centralized area will keep you and your leaders from running all over the venue during the event.
You can also inquire about staging areas for catering and a green room for speakers.
You also want to choose a venue in a great location. This would be a downtown area close to interstates, airports, and hotels.
Another thing to consider is the amenities the venue provides.
Do you have to rent your own tables, chairs, etc.? What about staffing? Does the venue have security or will you have to outsource that too?
Finally, availability! Is the venue available when you need it? If not, can you change your event marketing plan to work around their availability?
5. Hire Speakers
Now that you have most of the details of the event, you'll have to get to work securing your speakers!
You'll be able to tell them dates, accommodations, travel info, and have an idea how much you can pay them.
Start with your keynote speaker. In most cases, this is a big industry name who may be sought-after. They may need the most advanced notice.
If you recently attended another event and made some networking connections, call on them next. You'll be fresh on their mind.
Start working your way down your speaker "wish list" until all slots are secure.
6. Consider Promotional Materials
If you have sponsors, a good amount of promotional material will come from them. But promoting an event is more than the freebies you'll hand out.
Marketing your event is a big part of the process.
Create an event website or create a separate page on your existing site. Make sure you include all the pertinent information an attendee needs to know. This includes a registration page, maps to the venue, and surrounding accommodations.
You can even create an event app if you think this is something you'll put on every year. If your budget is big enough--or you're tech-savvy--you can design an app for a one-time event too!
Make sure you update the site as soon as new information comes in. Don't forget to share the info on social media! Create a hashtag to increase engagement.
7. Staff Your Event
Who's working your event? The venue may provide some staff and your caterers may as well.
But you'll still need people for check-ins. It also benefits you to have someone oversee all the different aspects of the event. It's possible you may need parking attendants, a video crew, photographer, DJ--the list goes on.
You may be able to use your own employees for these processes. Think about if it's something you and your staff can handle.
Event Marketing Strategies for Every Business
Regardless of what industry you're in, putting on a great event ensures you gain clients and authority.
If you plan on putting on annual or semi-annual events, you may want to consider outsourcing. Event planners have the knowledge and contacts to make any corporate event a success.
They'll have innovative event marketing strategies that are always changing with the times. But they'll keep the same goal in mind: making your company stand out from the rest.
The Event Planner Expo will take place Oct. 3, 2019 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. For more information on the Expo, learn more here.