Businesses pour a lot of resources into digital marketing these days, and that sometimes means that they miss out on some of the effective offline strategies. Nobody can deny that digital marketing is essential and it’s a great way to reach a lot of people. However, online communication is not a substitute for face to face interaction and it’s important that you set some of your marketing budget aside for offline marketing.
Business events are a very effective way to build interest in your company and meet a lot of potential customers. They are particularly effective for any business that has a physical location because getting people through the door is half the battle. If you host a charity event or a networking event at your business location, it puts you on the radar of potential customers and helps you to strengthen your brand. If you have never hosted a business event before, you should definitely consider it.
However, hosting a business event is expensive and it takes a lot of organization, so it’s important that you get it right and you see some tangible returns from the event. If you don’t, all of the money that you spend on the event goes down the drain. If you are planning to host your own business event, here are a few important tips to help you make it a success.
The aim of this event is to connect with new customers that are likely to be interested in your products or services, so it’s important that you appeal to your target audience and come up with an event that will entice them. For example, if you sell business software, your customers are all likely to be business leaders. If you host an event and get some keynote speakers to talk about leadership and business, you will attract a lot of people. If you sell kitchen equipment, you could get a catering company in and put on a tasting menu, or even put on a cooking demonstration. Don’t just see your event as a way to market your products, think of it as a way to get customers through the door and give them something of value, so you can start building a relationship with them.
In some cases, you can use business events to target new demographics. For example, if you sell sports equipment and most of your customers are men, you could run a small training event for women to get them interested in the sport as well.
In some cases, you can boost the number of people that attend the event if you partner with another business. For example, if you sell running trainers, why not partner with a gym and host an event together? They can bring some equipment down and then customers can try out your shoes on the equipment. There is a lot of crossover between the target audience, so you will both get new customers and the event will be better with input from both of you. However, when running any kind of marketing collaboration with another business, it is important to make sure that you are not in direct competition with one another.
When people go to a business event, they usually expect some free gifts of some kind. This is a great branding opportunity for you, and in some cases, it’s a great way to give out free samples of your product. If you run a food or drink business, you should always give out samples to gather interest in your product, but other businesses will have to think outside the box a bit and find items that their customers will enjoy. For example, if you sell car parts, why not get some custom air fresheners made with your logo on them? It’s a handy thing to have in the car and they will see your logo every time they drive. If you run a sports equipment business, branded water bottles are a great option. Whatever you decide to give out, it’s important that you choose something that is actually useful to your target audience. If you just give out a few branded pens and bags, they will go straight in the bin.
If you pick the wrong day and time for your event, nobody will show up. You also need to consider how it is going to affect your own trade. If you host your event on a day when you are typically very busy, you could lose your normal business. It’s best to choose a day when you would ordinarily be quite slow, so you can get more people through the door.
Think about your target audience’s schedule as well, and pick a time that is convenient for them. Many people think that weekends are the obvious choice, but that isn’t actually the case. Most people have plans over the weekend and they don’t want to attend a business event, so midweek is best. If you are trying to target working professionals, go for lunchtime or just after work. But if you are trying to target families with young children, mid morning would be more effective.
It’s important that you focus on the big picture and create a great concept for the event, but you need to make sure that you consider the logistics as well. How many people are going to be at the event, and do they all need a chair? If you are hosting an event with speakers, you will need enough space for everybody to sit. You also need to make sure that you have enough toilets for people so they are not queuing for ages. It’s also very important that you serve plenty of good quality food because people will not stay at the event if they are getting hungry and you haven’t provided enough to eat.
If you want to pack your event out, you need to start promoting it early. If you don’t give people enough notice, they will already have plans and they will not be able to make it. It’s important that you start building hype around the event early on, and trying to connect with people on social media. Make regular posts about the event, especially in the weeks and days leading up to it. You should also make use of your email list to contact all of your existing customers and let them know about the event.
When the event is on, you should make sure to take plenty of photos and videos. You can put these on social media to show anybody that couldn’t make it how amazing it was. This will help you to get even more people along the next time you host an event.
This is the most important part of running a business event because you need to make sure that you come away with some new contacts and potential customers. Make sure to use your networking skills to start building relationships with people, and get their contact details. Most importantly, you need to follow up in the next few days after the event has finished. If you wait a month and then start sending out emails, people will have forgotten all about you and they are a lot less likely to respond.
If you can get all of these aspects right, your business event will be a huge hit and you will get lots of new customers.