Many businesses don’t have the capacity inhouse to maximise an event to its fullest potential. I’m not saying that you and/or your team aren’t capable of pulling off an event, but many companies investing time and money aren’t delivering the return they had expected or hoped for.
Hosting a corporate affair will allow you to strengthen bonds with current clients and partners, whilst developing genuine connections and attracting the right future clients.
So, why should I run an event?
Visibility – An event is a great opportunity to get in front of potential clients/customers in a much more engaging way and increase brand awareness. It’s a chance to let your personality shine through whilst still publicising your brand. Let your audience get to know you!
Lead Generation – By running an event of your own, it allows you to capture contact details of guests and plus ones. Not only is it a data capture opportunity, but it gives you a chance to get closer to those who are actively looking for/interested in your services/products.
Marketing Opportunities – Pre-marketing creates opportunities to create anticipation of what is to follow (eg “Look out for your invite to our next event – you won’t want to miss it!”), and I find post-event opportunities are best delivered with a ‘thanks’ plus an ‘offer’ such as a promotional code. This code could give guests a discount or access to online content from the event such as photos and videos. Or how about the chance to register in advance for the next event? Give guests an incentive to stay in touch!
Where do I start when planning an event?
I follow ten steps for all my clients’ events regardless of how big or small the function is. If you follow each step carefully, you will be able to turn your event into a real business opportunity. Alternatively, you may decide to hire a professional to help you plan and deliver a successful event, but either way you’ll know and understand why these steps are so important.
- Understand the purpose of your event
Start by asking yourself why you are hosting the event and what you expect from it. Think about it like you’re delivering an interactive brand experience – you want it to be meaningful and engaging.
- Know your intended audience
Also think about potential complementary partners that already have a large customer base of like-minded consumers. Every person attending the event is a potential brand ambassador or word-of-mouth spokesperson for … Your Business!
- Set a realistic budget
You need to know how much money you have to work with. Things are always changing and you should have a cushion for added and unexpected expenses. Personally, I love a good spreadsheet! Start by listing everything you need with columns such as ITEM (eg venue), DESCRIPTION (eg 200 capacity), then you’ve got your ESTIMATED COST and ACTUAL COST.
- Choose a theme and format
You can still have fun with a formal event – you’ll just need to tweak ideas where necessary. If you’re struggling to come up with a good corporate event theme, a tagline can help, and you can even turn it into a hashtag to build hype on social media before the event.
- Establish a timeline
Break down the task list to help you and/or your team foresee the schedule of milestones to be achieved. Remember, if you have a team – delegate! Help them feel motivated and a part of something special.
- Determine a location
Finding the right venue will allow you to bring your vision to life. Remember – location is key to attendance. Book a venue in a convenient area with a vibrant atmosphere so that attendees feel comfortable and willing to make the commute.
- Develop the agenda for the day
This may include liaising with multiple suppliers, such as the venue regarding menus, dietary requirements and the various timings. Make sure everyone on your team knows what aspects of the day they are responsible for managing.
- Promote your event
It’s imperative to find creative ways to get the word out. You can start by emailing your database, placing ads in industry newsletters, adding to event industry listings and directories. Treat the promotion of your corporate event as if you are making a marketing plan.
- Finalise details
This could be as simple as sending reminders and engaging with attendees on email, and finding creative ways on social media to tease folk with what they can expect. Remember to design a back-up plan and keep attendees and suppliers updated on any change in plans.
- Celebrate & evaluate
Take a moment to celebrate with your team and give yourselves a pat on the back – or a glass of bubbles! But, you are not done yet… conduct a post-event debrief with your team. What worked? What didn’t work? Gathering feedback from your guests is important and any lessons you learn will help you refine your planning for your next event.
Just remember…your event isn’t over until people stop talking about it!
Written by Katy Osborne from KOVA Support
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