Do you need more customers? Are traditional ways of increasing revenue not working for you?
That may be because today’s customers want to get to know you as a business. One way to help make that happen is by participating in social media. Another way is by hosting an in-person event.
Whether you host a business event in partnership with a charity to help them raise money or simply have a sidewalk sale, a special business event can help bring people in and show them a new side to your business.
But it does take some organization. Here are the steps to ensuring a successful business event.
1. Know Your Goal
In addition to revenue or building a relationship with customers, why are you hosting the event? Are you raising money for a charity that’s important to you? Are you looking to differentiate yourself in a tight market? Are you launching a new offering? Whatever the reason, figure it out so you can match your event to what you are trying to do.
2. Decide on an Event Type that Fits Your Audience and Branding
Once you know your “why” think about what your ideal audience would enjoy. For instance, if you’re a bait business, a fishing tournament for kids might be fun…unless your market is purely commercial fishermen. Make sure the event you select fits your market or a market you want to expand. Again, that fishing idea is a good one if you want to reach families and recreational fishermen as well as your commercial crew.
3. Check the Calendar and Decide on a Date
Check the community calendar to see what else is going on during the time you wanted to host your event. Just because a large community event is going on at the same time is not necessarily a reason to look at another time. If your event would fit the other one, and people can do both, you could piggy-back onto it. If they will require choosing one instead of the other, you may want to look for a time that isn’t associated with a large event.
4. Find a Location
If your place of business is not the ideal spot to host the kind of event you have in mind, figure out the venue. If it’s an outdoor spot, check with the city to make sure you have all the permits needed to host an event. If you select another business as your venue, be clear on what they will handle and what you will have to provide for yourself. It’s always best to have a couple of dates in mind in case your first option is booked.
5. Line Up Help
From staff to volunteers, make sure you have enough people to help out with the event. You can even pay them in store credit if you’re having a hard time getting people to commit.
6. Give Them a Reason to Come
You need to give the average person a reason to come to your event. This could be free food, entertainment, a contest/giveaway, discounts or a number of other things. But if you want someone to give up free time to spend it with you, you need a reason and you need to advertise it.
7. Get the Word Out
Social media is one of the least expensive ways to reach the largest audience. However, don’t think of it as free. If you want a crowd at your event, you should consider running paid ads on some of the platforms. Most of them allow you to target your exact audience so you won’t be paying for people who will never come (due to a distant location or disinterest in your type of business) to see your event. While you’re at it, don’t forget to interact with local influencers or the media who may have an interest in your type of event.
Send invites to your mailing list and slip invites into bags at your business.
8. Contact the Chamber
Your chamber is also a great source of traffic for your event. They are able to spread the information about your event to a very large, but localized, audience.
An event is a sizeable undertaking but it shows a side of your business that most of your customers don’t get to see. It helps forge that relationship with you that will keep them coming back and that makes it all worth it.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.