Tips for Throwing an Event to Bolster your Brand
No matter what you do or where you work, odds are your company could benefit from throwing an event. Sara Steele-Rogers – Eventbrite’s Boston Marketing Manager and self-proclaimed serial event attendee -certainly thinks so. In a recent Lunch and Learn at Workbar, Sara shared her thoughts, tips, and tricks for throwing a successful event. Some businesses might wonder why they should bother throwing an event. They can be expensive, time consuming, and they are a lot of hard work. What a lot of companies don’t realize, however, is that events can have a major positive impact on your brand and business goals. Events bring in an audience that wouldn’t normally be exposed to your brand and provide a venue for people to learn about your company in a way that will be more memorable to them than browsing your website or having a routine face-to-face meeting. Events are also essential for growing your fan base and exposing people to your business in a fun, non-invasive way. Finally, events can be used for fundraising and finding financial backers for your business. What better way to get people interested in your business than to enjoy a party with them? In her class, Sara covered everything from venues to sponsorships. Though the audience came from various industries and walks of life, each attendee left the Lunch and Learn with valuable tools to host an event that would effectively promote their brand. Here are just a few of the tips and tricks we learned from Sara:
The time and place count
Mondays through Thursdays are the best days to hold evening events, but breakfast events can be held any day. Event attendees typically have trouble giving up their weekends for evening events that are not already part of their personal social calendar. Breakfast events, however, are an exception to this rule because people are more willing to give up that morning time than they are to move around their busy schedules for an evening event.
Though your event may be perfectly timed, always remember your target demographic when choosing the event location. Sara gave an example of a time she planned an event targeting working mothers living in suburbs outside of Boston. When picking her event location, she didn’t take into account that most of the attendees would be driving in. The event ended up having abnormally low attendance, which could have been remedied by choosing a more car-friendly venue.
Always work for sponsors to cover the expense of food and beverages, and avoid being charged a venue rental fee. Show the food and room providers the benefits of your event by preparing well in advance information on your event demographics, expected attendance, and stories and statistics on past event successes. Always make sure to highlight that your event attendees are potential future customers for these vendors to help alleviate the expense of what you’re asking. If done right, you should rarely have to pay for anything to throw your event.
It’s all in the details
As the event planner, it is your job to stay one step ahead and anticipate all of your guests’ needs. This means being aware of things they might not know to ask for in advance, such as room temperature, parking, and extra ice for keeping beverages cold. This could also mean providing small, yet thoughtful gifts and gestures, such as branded cupcakes or specialty cocktails. These small touches will truly set your event apart and make the moment more memorable for your guests. If you can’t handle it all yourself, ask for volunteers from the community – students in particular are a great resource and generally eager to help out.
Track your digital marketing
Tweet before, during, and after your event to drum up enthusiasm, and while you’re doing it, make sure to track your efforts. Shares on social media directly correlate to dollars, so make sure to track click-throughs with a Twitter tracking link. Another, more qualitative way to track your social media success is to use Storify – a website that uses hashtags to accumulate all the posts about your event hashtags in one place. These tools provide valuable insights for planning future events and gauging the success of your marketing efforts. They also provide valuable information and insight for reporting back to your event sponsors. Online registration tools, such as Eventbrite, are also incredibly valuable when promoting and tracking your event. Having a branded registration page allows you to track registrants and collect data on guests. According to Sara, the majority of event attendees do not RSVP until three days before the event. By using online registration, especially if tickets cost money, you can encourage more advanced RSVPs and have better control over your event attendance.
Have fun and enjoy yourself
The point of hosting an event, in most cases at least, is for everyone to have a nice time –including you! If you are stressed, your guests will notice. Likewise, if you enjoy yourself, your guests will see your enthusiasm and appreciate you and your brand that much more. Passion for your brand is contagious, especially in a social environment, so start planning your next event and start building a greater presence! For more tips and tricks on how to throw a successful event for your business, follow Sara on Twitter at @BriteBoston. To attend a Lunch & Learn at Workbar, view the event schedule to see up upcoming topics.
About the Authors:
Alexa Lightner is the Space & Community Managers of Workbar Cambridge. Abby Taylor is the Digital Media & Events Manager at Workbar. Contact them via email