You don’t have to spend a small fortune for a business event to be successful
Why do I say this?
Well, ask yourself what impresses you most or makes you want to do business with someone or buy from them? Is it the free drink and gift bag or having a host(s) that personally greets you, makes you feel welcome and valued?
In a past life, I use to have a nice little side-hustle in corporate event management (£100k+ budgets). I still from time to time do MC and stage management gigs. So here are some basic tips, if you are planning an event and you are pushed for budgets.
Firstly my Golden rules - that I strongly feel can make a real difference:
Rule #1 – You are a host. Remember no matter the format or venue, plan to spend the early part of the event greeting people and working the room. Make sure guests get a refreshment and introduce them to other people. Never let a guest stand by themselves. You don't know how important they are for your business and they may leave early if made feel awkward.
Rule #2 - Make sure you and your team are noticeable, wear similar colours, badges, t-shirts, etc whatever you can afford, but make sure you appear a team and are approachable for questions. It might be an event, but you are at work.
Rule #3 – Create a hashtag for the event. Or use your company #. Either way, you want to encourage social media engagement on Twitter, Instagram etc. Set aside time the next day to like all the posts that are positive for your event. Perhaps do a small prize for the best post.
Rule #4 - Allergies! I have a nut allergy, so it’s annoying when everyone gets obsessed with gluten. There are several well-known brands of snacks which suit gluten sensitivities and are nut free. So no nuts at events:). Plus don't ignore vegetarians and vegans.
Rule #5 - Avoid childish gimmicks – Remember guests from a corporate background like to have structure and clear planning. If you say a presentation starts at 7 pm start at 7 pm, not 8 pm just because you were having a laugh with selfies sticks:).
Rule #6 – It is a business event, make sure you have a container to take business cards at the entrance or have an online way to gather valuable contact details. Make sure it is GDPR compliant.
Finally it’s not just during the event that counts-
Rule #7 – Always send a thank you email to all those that attended, afterwards. You want to continue the feeling of customer service and good CRM to boot.
The primary goal of any event is to celebrate something. Either a thank you to customers or announcing a milestone, new brand or achievement. You want to make sure you focus on the message and make sure it is clear to those attending why they are there. This can also help manage costs as you are managing expectations.
If the guests know they are going to learn something and network, they are less impressed by free food and drink, when there is no structure to the event and they are not made feel important.
It is crucial to remember, potential guest/customers are busy people, they really do not have the time to go to the opening of an envelope, unless you have a strong message and a purpose. You could spend a lot of money on an event that no one attends, or you get all the wrong sorts (freeloaders). Also, you could be competing with a few other events on the same night - very common in capital cities. Therefore be prepared to work around, i.e. start an hour earlier than another event or start a bit later and you could be the afterparty!
So do make sure you actually need the event and be prepared to do some leg work if you are on a budget. It is OK to hold off a few months to get the best deals and not clash with competitors and other key events. Be mindful of your audience and their availability.
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