As I work with small and medium businesses, many are using events to help drive business. The events vary in type, size and purpose. Some events are designed to introduce new products or staff, while others are designed to increase awareness of the company’s capabilities. Once you know your desired outcome, follow the recommendations below and you can host a results producing event for your organization.
For the event to be successful at producing results, use the three C’s: Content, Cocktails & Connections
Content, as in Social Media, is the primary driver of results. What will your guests hear, see or do at your event? The more your guests are involved, the greater likelihood that your event will create a lasting impression. Some examples of content: a noteworthy speaker, not necessarily the CEO, such as a customer or a professional presenter who can talk about you and your company so you don’t hype yourself. Have entertainment such as a musical combo playing quietly, or a comedian warming up the crowd before your speaker. Remember you want to inform and entertain the audience.
Cocktails or unique beverages such as flavored tea will help ease people into conversation. When your audience is freely talking they are usually enjoying themselves. Warning – Make sure you have a good sound system for your presentation as people often continue their discussion during your presentation. No one enjoys or learns from a presentation they cannot hear.
Connections are the second driver of results. The people we meet impacts our business and personal lives. Think of inviting “noteworthy” people for your guests to meet or connect people who should meet one another. Then tell them in advance you would like to introduce them at the event.
Once you have planned your event, the next task is to fill the room and to do this use the letters “ALV” or Awareness, Location and Value.
Awareness can best be understood by asking yourself “How many people know about my event.” How will you make others aware? A few suggestions to consider: Mail an invitation. Yes, “snail mail” still works. Email, 2 to 3 times leading up to the event. Send the first one at least 3 weeks out so people can “save the date.” Online tools such as Websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and MeetUp are good tools to get the word out. If your event is on a larger scale you may consider advertising in local journals or trade publications that your target audience reads.
Location in itself can be a deciding factor in your audience choosing to attend your event. A new venue such as a hotel, restaurant or bar can be a big draw. Many business people don’t get to the hot clubs unless there is a special event. Plus, clubs and bars often have very light or no traffic in the hours at the end of the workday.
Value, as perceived by the invited guests, is critical to saying yes to the invitation. Value is often seen as being entertained, being held in esteem to or honored, or a feeling of being special. Another way value is viewed is “how will this help me or my business.” If the invited guests see value in attending your event, then they are more likely to go. Value can be created via the program, other guests and your presence.
Lastly, a few comments about “How To” and cost. If you are new to event planning, get help! You can find event planners that cost you nothing and others that charge a substantial fee and deliver startling results. Look online for best practices in event planning, write out the details with a time line, involve your staff and for peace of mind, give yourself plenty of time.
I look forward to hearing and reading your comments on using events to drive business results. You can share them by email, blog, or phone at 214-707-1705.
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07-20-13 5th Annual Little Black Dress Event
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07-30-13 Last Tues Happy Hr @ The Ritz