If you are going to host events as part of your sales and marketing strategy, then you need to ensure they meet your company’s goals and objectives. This is why when planning and hosting an event, you need to make sure that every step you take is in aid of achieving a predetermined outcome.
Events are a proven way of developing a robust income stream and a great way of broadening and developing relationships with customers, key influencers and stakeholders. Where carefully planned and executed, events are a highly effective way of developing and reinforcing your company’s brand message.
Here are just a few ways in which you can develop your events strategy for maximum return.
Seek out Sponsors
Sponsorship offers a myriad of benefits to all parties, which is why there has been an increasing trend in corporate sponsorship over the last few years. One of the reasons for this is an increased burden of corporate social responsibility on businesses, which means they are more likely to seek out ways to serve communities. This may take the form of sponsoring a local charity event or community initiative, or perhaps sponsoring the installation of a park or equipment for a school.
There are however opportunities that extend beyond serving the needs of the community and these largely revolve around the benefits of networking and gaining access to a highly targeted audience. In other words, access to your event’s audience is a commodity, against which you can trade with sponsors for financial assistance and/or event collateral. By securing a sponsor for your event, you will reduce the costs associated with hosting, which will ultimately lead to a more successful event when evaluating cost against return.
Attract Great Speakers
Attracting the best guest speakers for your event can influence the event’s success in a number of ways. Firstly, having great speakers lined up for your event can be a great way to attract attendees, which will mean better attendance and ticket sales for you. A high profile speaker can also help to create a buzz around your event, because people will really look forward to hearing what they have to say.
In addition to this, guest speakers add variety and a truly great guest speaker can help make your event stand out from your competitors. Particularly, if you are holding the same event year after year, they are a fantastic way to keeping things fresh. Quality guest speakers are also effective at inspiring and sparking the imaginations of your attendees, which will leave them with positive memories of your event for days or weeks to come.
Utilise Social Media
Social media is a highly effective and low cost way to reach your audience, and create a buzz. You can use social media to reach potential attendees and drive ticket sales, to allow your audience to follow event news, to host ticket giveaways, attract sponsorship, and even to monitor feedback and review the event’s success.
If you’re interested in reading a more in depth article on how to utilise social media in your events strategy, click here.
Entertain Your Guests
Corporate events are notoriously dull, and it’s very easy for attendees to become jaded and disengaged. One way to ensure that your event is on everyone’s ‘must-attend’ list, is to entertain your guests. Make sure they have fun, provide entertainment, food, drinks, a goody bag and try to think outside the box. Think about the things your attendees might enjoy and make it an experience they can’t get anywhere else.
Leverage Existing Contacts and Develop New Ones
Events are about people and this is at the fundamental core of every event strategy. It’s about developing relationships with a targeted audience. When developing your events strategy, marketing will begin with your existing contacts, but there are ways of extending this through leveraging the contacts already on your database. For example, you could send out invitations for a plus one, or set up a referral program to encourage your contacts to spread the word.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
The work doesn’t finish when the event ends! Make sure you thank your guests for attending and provide them with any follow up information, failure to do this could mean you miss out on potential sales leads!
In addition to this, you should be seeking feedback to inform your future events strategy and to build on your successes year after year.
If you are looking for help in developing an events strategy to drive your business forward, contact Wendy at Wendy Marston Events.