Today, events are the go to business promotion, networking, and customer engagement options for small businesses on account of their high ROI.
Small business events enjoy greater flexibility and access to a much more targeted audience. But, these events also have their own set of limitations - in terms of budgets, manpower, and time. These restrictions mean that small businesses often cannot afford trial and errors. But, they need not necessarily cripple the event’s potential.
In light of these facts here are a few pointers that will help you plan and execute a successful small business event
1. Start with a clear cut objective
A focused objective will help the small businesses in designing an efficient framework and plan an event that fits into their budget and timelines. Some examples of small business event purpose are - networking, lead generation, product launch, sales, B2B connections, industry positioning, creating visibility in the community etc. Clarity of objective goes a long way in zeroing in on the target audience profile, budget, venue size, partners, marketing strategy, team commitments, calculation of ROI etc.
2. Leverage Sponsorship
Budgeting for expenses is a particular pain point and often restrict the scope of the event for small business. Finding sponsors can be an effective solution not only in terms of financial support but also for increasing the footfall.
To begin with, small businesses will benefit greatly by getting local sponsors onboard and boost their presence in the community. Local sponsors can even contribute in services and logistical support instead of cash. Secondly, they can search on sponsorship platforms like Onspon.com and approach relevant brands and companies to pitch their event. Online platforms are also a good option for listing your event and ensuring that your event draws the attention of bigger brands.
3. Low cost - high impact marketing strategies
Getting the target audience to your event is crucial for event success irrespective of the size. The small businesses need to create a marketing message that speaks to the expectations of target audience and compelled them to attend their event. Options like social media, emails, and event apps are some of the marketing strategies that provide maximum returns with minimal cost and time outlay. Connecting with the members of professional communities allied with your business is also an excellent idea to optimize your marketing and promotion.
4. Ensure engagement
Designing and executing powerful audience engagement is central for achieving small business event objectives. Tech options like event apps help to make the interactions live, dynamic, and extended. They also help to accurately measure audience engagement in real time. Design incentives like free samples, discounts, or product trials so that the audience is excited to interact with you. Businesses should also pay attention to providing adequate access and engagement opportunities between the audience and sponsors/partners and not make it all about themselves.
5. Don't forget to follow-up
Majority of small businesses fail to capitalise on their event because they falter in this crucial post event strategy. For this, businesses need mechanisms to collect audience details and connect with them later personally. Collecting the info can be made organic by options like signing up on event/company website, using event app, following on social media etc. The follow up communication should reinforce the business message and add value. For instance, adding a discount code or sales promotion will ensure that follow up is not spammy.
Small events stand to gain a lot in terms of exposure, customer loyalty, and lead generation through events. Starting out with clear cut business goal and execution strategy will be the key in ensuring that event delivers maximum benefits.