Hosting a marketing event takes a lot of work, but when done well can be the greatest way of getting your business brand out there. Whether you’ve got a stall at a business convention or are going all out and holding your own conference/launch party, here’s how you can make a big impression and get people to remember your brand.
Choose the right venue
If you’re taking part in a convention or business fair, you’ll already have a location chosen for you. On rare occasions, you may be able to choose where your stall is positioned, but most likely it will be chosen for you. The great aspect about conventions is that you know people will be coming and your marketing doesn’t have to be quite as rigorous, as the convention venue will be doing most of the promotion (although this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any marketing).
When looking for a convention, find one that suits your trade and is most suitable to your location. A rural country convention might be better if you own a farm, than a city business convention. Other specific examples include fitness conventions, tech conventions, design conventions and food fairs.
If you’re hosting your own conference or launch party, then you’ll need to find the venue yourself, as well as decorating and organising it for its purpose. Common venues include lecture theatres, community centres and town halls. Some hotels will have conference rooms which could be perfect if you also need to accommodate your guests. Ensure that the venue is accessible by all who are likely to attend. Consider parking, local transport, centrality and whether you need to cater for any guests with disabilities.
Get creative with branding
You need to shout about your brand in every way possible. This means as many banners, posters and billboards as you can sensibly afford. Companies such as http://www.marqueesandevents.com/ can help you with choosing a marquee if you need to.
Of course, there are other creative ways to make your branding memorable. Some businesses may hire branded t-shirts to wear so that representatives are always displaying the brand. Holographic projections, inflatables, balloons, televisions and moving displays can also help you stand out by automatically drawing people’s eyes to the brand.
You can also consider branded items that can people can take away with them. If people can buy anything at your event, you may want to consider bringing branded bags so that wherever people go they will be promoting your business. Branded pens can also be good for giving away to people that may want to take notes if your conference is a more serious occasion.
Some businesses have even gone so far as to market using people’s tastebuds, offering branded m&ms or bringing a branded cake. The more imaginative you can get the more likely you are to make an impression.
Organise a talk
If you’re organising a conference, giving a talk will most likely be vital. However, many conventions will also have an area where people can give talks, which could be a great way of further promoting your business.
If you’re giving a talk at a conference, you may be able to get away with being more promotional, although many may focus it around a familiar business problem, allowing people to weigh in. You could make it informative or motivational and target it at other business owners that are just starting out. Contrastingly, you could do a live demo or come up with something interactive.
Make your talk stand out by getting inventive with it. You may wish to hire a speaking coach first (all the biggest business owners will do this) or, if the prospect scares you entirely, you may be able to hire a spokesperson or a special guest to do a speech for you.
Remember to outsource
If you’re hosting your own event for the first time, they’ll be a lot to learn and remember. It can often be worth delegating some of the hard work to professionals. Some marketing companies such as www.amworldgroup.com are able specialise in events. Alternatively, you may want to just outsource particular elements such as event staff to run a stall, or people to give out leaflets before the event.
Some outsourced services may be essential. If you’re offering food and drink and want to create a good impression, a professional catering company might be required. If you’ve got special guests attending meanwhile or have a ticketed entry system, you may need to hire security for the event too.
Make use of social media
Social media is the ultimate marketing tool in today’s digital age and should be used before and during the event.
If your event is open to the public, you can use social media to promote it with twitter hashtags or by inviting people to a community event on Facebook and encourages others to take friends/colleagues. If the event is only open to specific guests, you may be able to invite them via social media sites (use LinkedIn for inviting fellow business owners and associates).
Whilst at the event it’s then important to keep people updated in live time. You may be able to direct people to your stall if at a conference or you could record a talk using Facebook’s live feature. Some companies will use a Tweet wall that broadcasts every tweet sent at the event onto a screen (very useful for a debate).
Make it fun
Your event has to be fun for people to remember it. Having a level of interaction and not simply speaking at your guests is important. Food and drink can also make great incentives for people to come and you can even hire musical entertainment or some other form of performance. The brand has to be at the centre of it all, so just make sure that this doesn’t get overshadowed.
Spare time for networking
It’s important to also make time for networking, not just for your guests but for you yourself. Make time before the event to mingle with guests (you could have a reception area containing a buffet snack bar and then have a separate room for the conference itself). If you’re at a convention, make sure that you have staff that can man the stall for an hour or two so that you can take a browse of the other stall yourself. You may be able to make new contacts, arrange cross-promotion opportunities and get ideas as to how to beat the competition.