Ah, event planning. There’s a reason some people make an entire career out of it. From choosing a date to finding a location, to selecting just the right invitations and decorations, hosting an event is a major undertaking. In our personal lives we throw parties simply for the joy of it, but in the business world, we expect something more. So how do you ensure that your next business event is a success and that it brings a return that makes your investment worthwhile? Here are a few simple tips to help you get started.
Set a Goal
The best way to start is to establish your goals – before you even begin to plan. Are you looking to increase your visibility and build positive publicity for your brand? Or are you hoping to build brand loyalty? Other events are created with specific sales goals in mind, or to help a business build its customer database. While all of those goals probably sound great to you, the best plan is to pick one or two primary goals to help you measure the success of your event – and if you achieve several along the way, so much the better.
Setting a specific goal up front helps you determine the success of your event, as well as plan for future events. Try to be as specific as you can; for example, identify the number of attendees you’d like to attract, the number of contact names and data you’d like to collect, or the type and volume of engagement you’d like to have on social media. The same holds true for setting sales goals. Do you have a specific volume of product you’d like to move? Know that from the start, and let it help you determine everything from the event space to how many staff members you’ll need on premise.
Be Smart About Social
Just a decade ago, most businesses thought of Twitter and Facebook as just a fad. Today they’re an integral part of nearly every marketing campaign. That’s just as true of event promotion. Like any marketing initiative, it needs a strategic approach. A few questions to ask yourself when planning social media promotion of your event include:
- Which team members will handle posting and responses?
You’ll want to designate point people to both create and respond to content so you can ensure your messaging is clear, on point, and brand consistent. Make sure every team member knows who will officially cover the event, as well as how to approach posting or reposting content on their personal accounts (and whether that is acceptable).
- Who will represent your brand at the event?
When promoters, competitors, customers or press look for statements or information to share on social, who is authorized to give it? No one else should be speaking on your brand’s behalf.
- What boundaries will you set?
How much detail should go into your social posting? Will you name competitors, sponsors or stakeholders? And how much of the event do you want to give away before its conclusion – versus giving attendees the incentive to show up in person?
Once your team is in place, it’s time to implement some best practices, starting with optimizing your social accounts. Take a look at our recent posts on how to optimize your Twitter profile for 2018 and beyond, and how to optimize your LinkedIn company page.
The next piece is a solid content strategy. Eventbrite looked at over 25 million social media event posts to see just how people tweet, snap, and share about events online. Here were their top takeaways:
- Nearly as many people are talking about an event before the event as they are during.
- The largest amount of social media updates were quotes and multimedia shared during the event (36% of all updates).
- Top strategies included: teasing the speaker lineup, providing a photo booth, creating quotes as multimedia.
- Use social to promote the event ahead of time – not just to engage with audiences during the event. Part of your planning process should include developing a hashtag, and using it both before and during the event. Be sure that your social team is encouraging event attendees to use the hashtag as well.
- Hint at what is to come. Social promotion can (and should) include dropping teasers ahead of the actual event. Consider your incentive – an intriguing guest speaker, promotions you’ll be offering or products you’ll be unveiling – and start hinting at it on social ahead of the event to build interest.
For the full breakdown of their research, and their recommendations on how to approach social for your next event, read the entire post here.
Maximize Your Marketing Efforts
Social media marketing is an important piece of your strategy, but it isn’t the only one. Print is an essential part of any business event – it’s what lets people know who you are (and where you are), and gives them something tangible that will stay with them long after the event is over.
Printing your own marketing materials rather than outsourcing can help you reduce your event costs and give you more bang for your marketing buck. It also gives you greater creative control over the end result. If you’re confident in your understanding of your company’s brand guidelines and requirements, there are only a few simple steps between you and a stack of freshly printed marketing materials just waiting to reach the hands of your customers.
- Start with high-resolution files and an experienced designer.
A professional graphic designer can do the back end work under your direction to give you exactly what you want, in formats that you can print yourself – over, and over, and over again.
- Take care with your ink and paper.
High-quality paper and ink will produce a better end result, which can leave a much more favorable impression on your customers, and help differentiate you from the competition. A heavyweight cardstock on your business card, or bright, bold, high-quality color in your leave behinds, can speak volumes about your business.
Using different paper and inks for different materials will create a visually appealing, dynamic display that shows your business in its best light. In fact, color can even help give your business brand a boost. Get the most from your color printing by using genuine supplies from your printer’s original equipment manufacturer.
20 Ways to Share Color Knowledge – Research has proven that using color in business documents can have measurable results. These 20 facts demonstrate the power your black-and-white documents can achieve when produced in color.
- Invest in a quality printer.
Xerox printers and multifunction printers are always a reliable choice for office printing, and that includes printing your own brochures, flyers, menus, business cards and other event materials. If your business is on the larger side, or you plan to print high volumes of professional marketing collateral, consider investing in a digital press or continuous feed printer.
And of course, let’s not forget your banners, posters, and specialty items like folders or display boxes. Trusting these to a print shop makes the most sense for small and medium-sized businesses, but it’s still up to you to choose designs and finishes that maximize their impact. Study after study has found that color is more memorable, and can help set you apart from the competition. The same is true of metallic inks.
Xerox® Specialty Dry Inks
Xerox® Metallic Dry Inks offer stunning effects and unique value by helping you replace traditional foil stamping, offset metallic inks, and metallic papers with a cost-effective, digital alternative.
By setting a measurable goal and maximizing both your social and print marketing efforts, you can help ensure the maximum return on your event investment.
For more tips on networking, hosting and planning events, or printing your own marketing materials, subscribe to the Small Business Solutions blog in the box below.
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