Hosting an event can be hugely beneficial to the growth of a small business. I want to quash the misconception that events are only for the big companies with large pockets. On the contrary, from my experience of working with a number of entrepreneurs and small business owners, the benefit of hosting your own event can bring so many rewards.
An event provides a unique platform to share information, create exclusive content and have the conversation you want to have with a select audience. The best bit is that you can choose who to invite. It’s a chance to assess who is important to your business currently and who you may wish to connect with. Get the right people in the room and they can truly feed into your sales funnel, become loyal members of your community and most importantly, become advocates of your business.
I have gathered a few great statistics that help articulate the influence an event can have.
74% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted after the event.
With 87% of consumers purchasing the brand’s product or service after an event at a later date.
Surprisingly (for some), 84% of leadership (Business Owners, CEO’s) believe in-person events are a critical component of their company’s success
Whilst digital advertising, email marketing and content marketing are always going to be key to a businesses marcoms activity, a growing 41% of marketers believe that events are the single-most effective marketing channel.
So, if you are a small business and you think an event could enhance your existing marketing and communications activity, then here is my check list of things I would recommend that you think about before you go ahead.
Create a well-defined list of objectives. There is no right or wrong number of objectives here, just make them SMART! So are you doing it to provide yourself with a platform to communicate a key message, to launch a new service or product? Are you doing it to network with a specific audience, to generate sales or to make money?
Have clarity on the audience you want in the room. Is there a profile of delegate you would like to attract? What’s the age bracket, gender bias, level of seniority, job title. From what sectors, industries, companies or location do you want delegates from?
Consider if you have access to that audience. If you don’t, how are you going to get their attention? Where can theses potential delegates be found? Physical and online? How will you reach this potential audience?
Deliberate on whether you wish to partner with another business to spread the costs, marketing effort and risk. This may help you access your desired audience, top up your event budget and open up opportunities. It may also, however, dilute your message, opportunity to engage and control over the event.
Research suppliers and create an event budget before you press the GO button! When you have a relatively small budget, every penny is important. It’s crucial that you have a full understanding of costs before you embark on moving your event plans on.
Collate a list of content you wish to capture. Events provide a huge opportunity to capture and gather great content that can feed into your marcoms plans for months. So, ensure every content opportunity to thought through from filming presentations and panel discussions, to capturing audience reaction and testimonials.
Once these areas have been considered and you feel you have defined a clear event strategy, you can then feel confident to press on with the planning and delivery.
Undertaking an event when you are a small business can be daunting, and the first event is never easy. Having said this, if you embark on the process with a clear vision and understanding of what is required, I am confident that you will , at the very least, engage with more people, have conversations you would otherwise not have had, and built your community of loyal customers.