One of the best ways to build awareness of your brand, to engage your existing customers and to attract new business partners is through event marketing.

The modern consumers want more and more when they evaluate solutions or make purchasing decisions. Events are one of these unique opportunities that interact customers in order to receive more information about company`s personality and focus at first hand.

 

And the question is why event marketing is useful to small businesses?

First, it is a good way to build a brand. Small business leaders have the advantage to start their business that they probably had started because of a passion or a great opportunity they saw on the market that is not being solved for. The events give you the chance to express your ideas and plans in the exact way you want to present them. There is no other marketing tool that can do it. To organize a promotion event or just an event in your office, store or small pub is more engaging than any other marketing tool. Because it is just the exact way to generate new leads.

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As an example, I will tell you the story about my close friend Sandra. She opened a small candy store straight after our university graduation. Being a marketing student, Sandra did the right segmentation, the right research about competitors, the location of the store and etc. She made a grand opening and invited the exact target audience. Sandra had attracted some customers, but it wasn`t enough to achieve the goals. After a few conversations about different strategies for generating leads, she has decided to organize small events. First, she organized a celebration of a Frozen Day, if you have children or a younger brother or sister you know what Frozen is. For those who are unlighted, Frozen is a very popular Disney`s movie.

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It was great, the atmosphere was the same as in the movie: the same castle, Sandra had hired costumes for children and two ladies to play Elsa and Anna for a few hours. By this way, Sandra has popularized her store and has generated more leads. As a result she engaged the customers on an entirely new level. After this event parents start to ask her if there is a chance to organize small birthday parties there. In the period of one year the candy store of my friend Sandra has become the most popular place for children` parties in the town.

Second, a good tip is to use event marketing in case of launching new product or service. If you launch a new product or service, it will be a perfect start to make a demonstration. For example, a small business for cupcakes launches a new type of healthy cupcake. It will be right as a first step to show the development process, how it is made and what its taste is. So do not simply present a product, you tell a story and explain the magic of what you do. Moreover, it is a good approach to engage customers for a long period of time. Those customers will know something more about the process and will feel more special and closer to your company.

During the events it is very important to make quality contacts and to meet people, who are difficult to connect with by other marketing channels. Remember that you are the person who can develop your business to develop your business to a new level and you are the person who can destroy it for a lifetime. Be confident and with the perfect outfit. During the event do your best to greet all guests and thank them for coming. A good tip is to research the attendances before the event. If you have registered list with emails of the people, it will be very kind of you to send a thanks email straight after the start of the event. Ask someone to help you, it is not so easy! By this way you engage your leads and there is one more trace for you in their lives.

It depends on the business, but it is essential to be well-informed about people` hobbies, families and friends. Before the event think what important information you can gather and how to use it effectively.

Events are one of the best ways to educate your audience. The right step is to impart knowledge that the audience will value and that sets your company apart.

 

How to use event marketing for the development of your small business?

The following steps are very important in order to create a successful event.

First, it is of great importance to set good and realistic goals. Do not limit the goals to a number of registrations. The main aim is to develop your pipeline and to increase the revenue.

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Furthermore, it is important to make a plan. A successful event cannot be prepared for 1 or 2 days. Project management is central to the event planning. Being organized enables strong communication and helps to achieve your goals in time. You should think about so many things, like internal and external communication, measurement tools, promoting materials, sponsors etc. So be prepared and set deadlines in order to create a great event. My advice is to make a detailed plan with all steps and to choose a responsible person for each particular step in excel.

Be creative and set a topic for the event. Do a brainstorming with your team or your friends to gather various and creative ideas. Do not forget to think about the visual elements on the scene, team`s uniforms, materials etc. Moreover, to be successful the theme must be out of the ordinary to the larger part of the audience with the aim to attract bloggers or media (it depends on the type of the event).

What is more, you should be sure that you use the right promotion channels. In order to generate more leads or in other words more registrations you should pick up the right promotion tool. It will be perfect if you use 3 or 4 different channels. For example, for the last event organized by me I did social media campaign, cold calling, PR articles and email marketing. The aim of the event was to promote new CRM system, but the budget was limited. That is why I chose those 4 marketing tools. By social media campaign I introduced the company and its brand.  I used PR articles because it was free. When you introduce a new product or service on the market, the online or offline media are more willing to write something about the event for free. A nice approach is to prepare a PR message in advance and send it to reporters in order to save their time. The email marketing is aimed to attract existing customer of the company. I had a database of all customers so it was easy to segment the information and to send emails to the right ones. The cold calling was used to invite new customers. It will be good if you have time to prepare scripts with different scenarios.

And one more thing, the general question is when different marketing communication can be used? My advice is not to use all marketing tools at the same time. Make a media schedule and discuss it with the team.

As I mentioned above, it is essential to invite the right audience. It does not matter what communication channel you will use or when if the segmentation is not done correctly. You can segment the audience by age, location, company etc.

To be one step ahead of the competitors and to make a good impression send an email with additional information in your prospects to attendances and “what you missed” email to non-attendances. These emails should be prepared before the begging of the event.

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And last but not the least, evaluate your success after the event and write down the mistakes you have made in order to avoid them next time.

I hope this article will help you in organizing your business events and will inspire you to achieve your goals in an entirely new way.

 

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