Let's talk about events. Not attending them, but planning them. Event planning can be a real beast, no matter how large or small your business is. But with a small business or startup, it can almost be more work to get the event off the ground. Unless you're an event planning business, you might need a little guidance as to how to produce the perfect event. It's important to start putting effort and investments into your events so you can come into trade show season with a bang.
We're here to teach you why event planning is important for your small business or tech start up and give you a step by step guide of everything you need to know to logistically approach event planning.
What is event planning
Great events don't just appear out of thin air, though we wish they did. Instead, they take lots of planning. Event management is essentially project management for the creation of a corporate event, hybrid event, live event, virtual event, or any sort of in person event whether it be a party, wedding, festival, and the list goes on.
Why is event planning important for small businesses
If you're a small business owner or tech startup CEO, putting together your own event complete with the perfect venue, logistics, and everything lined up to a 'T' takes a lot of work, but it's achievable and will be extremely beneficial for your business. Hosting events is important to build brand trust and brand awareness for your organization. The goal is to get attendees to want to purchase your product or service.
Once you've got one under your belt, you're going to want to attend as many trade shows and host as many live events as you can, within budget of course.
How to tackle event planning
1. Know exactly what type of event you want
The first step is to figure out exactly what you want your event to look like. Host a little Q&A with yourself and ask yourself some of the following questions: How much money do you want to spend? Where do you want the event to take place? What's the purpose of the event? Will you be serving food and beverages? Do you need help from an event planner, event organizer, or special event management software? We understand that as a small business, chances are the event budget doesn't include room to hire event organizers and that's totally alright - that's what this guide is for.
2. Start planning everything
Once all of your event questions have been answered, create a checklist for yourself to make the planning process more manageable. Congratulations, you are now your company's very own corporate event planner. Now, before you go on to start your own event planning business, let's make sure you have everything with this first event squared away. If you're going to need staff help at the event, rather than utilizing a corporate event planning company to attend, be sure to account for the number of staff you’ll need present as well as responsibilities they're assigned to during the event such as greeting guests at check-in or handing out hors-d'oeuvres or beverages. You're going to want to put everything on the checklist that you'll need for the before, during, and after of the event.
3. Put together the guest list
Now's the time where you hone in on who you want to be present at the event. Your attendees will vary based on the purpose of the event, so if you're having a hard time knowing who your target audience is, definitely take a moment to revisit step 1.
If you don't have much of a niche target audience for this particular event and are looking to target the general public, this is where you're going to want to utilize an event app, website, or any sort of event technology to set up a registration page. Here, you'll want to establish pricing for the event, whether it's free of charge or a dollar amount per registration. Ideally, you'll want to make registration as easy as possible so as to not lose a potential attendee in the process.
4. Create an event marketing plan
Having marketing strategies for your events will help draw more eyes to it, thus bringing in a larger crowd. Putting out marketing content via social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, in your email marketing, or on your company website are all good ways to start a buzz around your event. Creating an event specific logo is a great way to boost your small business or start up's brand awareness. The right marketing efforts will pay off in the long run. After the event, check out the analytics to know what worked well to implement for future events.
What to do during the event
Now that you've done all the planning and crossed everything off the checklist, it's time to figure out what to do during the event. This is where the magic happens. During the event is the perfect opportunity for networking. Maybe you invited some key stakeholders who you'd like to get to know or a member of your target audience you'd like to network with. Whatever it may be, during the event is the perfect time to talk with people in real-time (and maybe hand out some business cards).
During the event your priority should be to showcase your brand and show some hospitality. If you're a tech startup focused on creating innovative solutions, now's the time to showcase the project to your stakeholders - whether it may be the latest virtual reality prototype or a new product launch. Doing so can really help with attendee engagement and proves to the attendee that the trip to your event was valuable! If you're lucky, some attendees might even put out tweets in real time tagging you and telling everyone how great the event is (make sure your Twitter and other social media accounts are active and managed during your event)!
If you're hosting a virtual event, things are going to be a little bit different. But, we'd need a whole other blog for that.
What to do following the event
Once everything goes smoothly and the event is over, be sure to send out an email communication to thank each attendee for coming, post some highlights from the event on your social media channels, or utilize your CRM software to send out specific messages depending on the attendees. If you don't yet have a CRM platform, Zoho, Salesforce, and Hubspot are some we'd recommend. As hard as you worked to make this event happen, it wouldn't have been possible without your attendees.
Now that you have the event strategy checklist to build the best event for your small business or start up, it's time to get active and get brainstorming. We have no doubt that you'll be able to produce an event your guests will never forget resulting in success for the future of your organization. But, if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed or are just looking for a good starting point, that's where we come in. As an industry expert, we can provide you with insights tailored to your business to build your next event. If you'd like to learn more about this, set up your discovery call with us today.