Why host or attend events?

Events provide a forum for prospects and customers to learn about your products or services and are useful for uncovering valuable information about a prospect’s needs and expectations. Depending upon the type of event you sponsor or initiate, you may be able to turn a prospect’s interest into a sale.

There are different types of events, and each has its advantages.  For instance, online and offline events each have different target audiences, but can be used effectively for internal and external customers. (Internal customers are a company’s employees or stakeholders.) Below are examples of the types of events to consider.

Online events Offline events
  • Webinar
  • Auction
  • Training
  • Game/Virtual Event
  • Contest
  • Trade Shows/Conferences
  • Seminar
  • Sporting Event (games, fundraisers for a cause, etc.)
  • Non-profit Sponsored Events (school carnival, festival, science fair, etc.)
  • Fundraisers (car wash, recycle day, silent auction, etc.)
  • Company Event (training, guest speaker)
  • Executive Briefings
  • Weddings, and Other Special Religious Events
  • Music or Dance Performances or Art Showings

Once you know the type of event you want to host or sponsor, follow these steps:

When deciding to sponsor or host an event, identify objectives, needs, and available resources by addressing:

  • What you want to achieve.
  • What your proposed budget is.
  • Which type of event(s) your customers are likely to attend.
  • When, where and under what circumstances it is convenient for customers and prospects to attend.  You may want to consider hosting a complementary event (example: executive briefing) around another anchor event (example: industry trade show) that attracts a large following.
  • Customer or prospect motivations to attend your event.
  • The necessary lead time for the event type, taking into account logistics (equipment, food and beverages, people, etc.), give-aways or thank you gifts for attending, and any special follow-up required.
  • How you will promote the event.
  • How many prospects you want to attend the event.
  • What type of follow-up or post-event activities are required to track success and improve future event offerings.

With these ideas in mind, follow basic planning guidelines to help you be successful in reaching your objectives.

You will likely need to advertise the event or at least your company’s participation in the event if you are a sponsor.  If hosting the event, provide more lead time than if you were sponsoring an event already being promoted.  Regardless of which vehicles you use to reach your target customer – advertising, direct mail, email, flyer, website, newsletters, invitation, social media, or in person – time is needed to develop the messaging, creative aspects, and produce the deliverables required to entice people to attend your event. The recipient then needs enough time to plan for the event.  Receiving notice of an event within a day’s notice will not likely bring many attendees, so ensuring attendance is vital to success.

   

Ensuring attendance at your event isn’t easy, but following some basic planning guidelines will help.