The importance of events as a marketing tool
If you want to build connections and drive brand engagement (and let’s face it, what small business doesn’t?), there are a variety of ways to reach out to others and achieve your goals, especially in this age of social media and smartphones. But while the online world has become a valuable addition to the marketer’s toolkit, it will never fully replace those all-important face-to-face encounters with contacts and clients. And that’s why we believe in events as a marketing tool of real value; they are an effective way to network, build brand awareness, and ultimately, grow your business.
Planning your event
Whether you are inviting your contacts to a glitzy launch party or holding a seminar to present research findings, the key to a successful marketing event is to be prepared. Make sure you have a strategy, so you know what outcomes you want to achieve from your event (such as greater product awareness or a boost in sales) and how you’ll measure your success. This guide to event planning has some great tips. In essence, if you’ve thought carefully about your aims, logistics and budget, and publicised your event well, you should be on track to meet your marketing goals.
Face to face networking
Face to face networking isn’t just a business buzzword. Holding an event where the goal is specifically for entrepreneurs to mingle and meet can pay off in unexpected ways. Whether it’s a speedy breakfast meeting or a seminar that is of interest to likeminded individuals, playing host to a room full of driven and talented people will provide you with valuable and long-lasting contacts of your own. Do it on a regular basis and you’ll be associated with enterprise and networking, and people will recognise your brand as a business leader in the community.
The soft sell
If you are organising a product launch party, then of course your guests will be aware that your event is a marketing device to push your merchandise. But even in this environment, most of the ‘selling’ that you do will be of the ‘soft’ variety. Instead of pouncing on people to pressure them into a sale, you’ll be doing your utmost to charm them, softening them up with food, drinks and a great party atmosphere. More valuable than a quick sale, they’ll leave you with great memories, perhaps a freebie or two, and hopefully a receptive frame of mind so they’ll be eager to hear more about what you have to offer.
Wow your guests
Your event is your big chance to get across to your guests just what your business is all about. And it’s the little details that count here; the venue, ambience, refreshments and entertainment will all up to give clients (or potential clients) a real “feel” for who you are, communicating more about your brand, and more memorably, than words or images on a screen ever could. If you want your guests to take away great memories and a positive association with your brand, pay close attention to the fine detail. This article on how to wow your customers at a launch party is worth a read.
And there you have it. If planned and executed well, events are an invaluable marketing tool in your arsenal. So, why not get out there and start planning your guest list?