How to Throw a Kickass Business Event
There’s nothing more defeating than spending weeks or months planning a business event only to have only a handful of people show up. Perhaps even more upsetting is hosting a record crowd and then getting nothing but negative feedback.
Done well, free events are an effective way to connect with customers or win over prospects. But hosting an event just for the sake of having an event is a surefire way to get disappointing results for both you and your attendees. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you should cheap out on it. Bring on the wow factor by calling on professional party planners.
Want to be certain your next free event will be a winner? Here is the secret formula for success.
Understand Your Mission
Why are you hosting an event? Without a specific and measurable goal in mind, your efforts will likely be in vain.
Whether it’s generating buzz for a new product or thanking existing customers to build brand loyalty, clearly identify an objective for your event before you do anything else. Then, let your mission statement guide every decision.
Target the Right Audience
Knowing the why behind your event makes it easier to create a winning guest list. Rather than casting a wide net, target your invites to only those who align with your goals for the event.
A great event isn’t necessarily the one with the largest turnout. Far better than a roomful of disengaged attendees is a smaller crowd of people excited to be there and for whom the agenda and messaging truly resonates.
Are you certain you know what entices your desired audience to attend one free event but skip another? The best way to find out is to ask them directly.
Send a very short survey to a representative sample of your target demographic and ask, pointedly, what they find most appealing. Are they attracted to freebies (drinks, giveaways, resource materials, etc.)? Do they expect a particular type of speaker or subject matter? Are they most interested in structured networking time?
Use the insights gleaned from the survey results to help determine your agenda.
Location, Location, Location
Even the greatest free event can be a bust if it’s held in a lousy location. Want people to show up? Host your event in a venue that appeals to your specific audience.
Do people in your industry prefer casual or formal environments? Does a classroom setting make sense or might it be more enticing to head outdoors? If you’re serving food or drinks, are the venue’s offerings satisfactory? Is there enough parking and how far must people travel to get to the venue?
Build the Hype
You know who you want to attend your event, but how do you get them there? Generating buzz is perhaps the most important step in your event-planning process.
To build anticipation, create a marketing campaign for the few weeks leading up to your event. Slowly release information about what attendees can expect via your blog, email newsletter, and social media channels.
Create an event hashtag so attendees can participate in social sharing. Come up with some creative prompts to encourage discussion, and ask past attendees or event partners to help get the conversation going.
With focus and careful planning, your next free business event is sure to be a smashing success that will boost your business to new heights.