In this age of electronic communication and social media, we can sometimes forget the value and importance a face-to-face meeting has in the business development process. In my opinion, events are often times the greatest way to show your appreciation and create needed face time with clients and educate prospects on the benefits of working with firm. But like anything else, it’s the little things that make the difference. Here are a few small tips that can bring some very BIG results and success to your next event.
Plan a Season Ahead. From choosing the venue, crafting the communication, sending the invitation, confirming RSVPs, 2-3 month is a good benchmark for planning purposes. The best way to achieve your goal from the start is by creating a timeline listing all activities from start to finish and then and have regularly scheduled meetings or check-in calls with you event team or committee to make sure you’re on target.
Double Your Fun. Think about who your best Center of Influence (COI) partner is and consider having them to co-sponsor the event with you. You’ll cut your costs in half; double you attendance and both parties will benefit by meeting a lot more potential new clients in the process. Also, make sure that both partners participate in the planning the event. Leverage each others strengths to establish who will be responsible for the different activities along the way. Maybe, one partner is more suited to handle the venue specific items; site selection, such as, working with the caterer, while the other partner takes care of all communication, such as, sending invitations and RSVP follow-up.
High Tech and High Touch. There are so many ways to use technology to promote your event. Besides your website, email, Linkedin and Twitter, there are specific websites such as EventBrite to help you organize the event and guess what?…they’re free! That being said, know that technology can sometimes only take you so far. A good old fashioned calling campaign can be the best way to get the final headcount and also to help accommodate anyone with special requirements or answer any questions they may have.
Know Your Audience. Whether you bringing in an inspiring motivational speaker or hosting a more interactive wine tasting, make sure the event appeals and is appropriate to your target audience, representing the image you want to reflect. I like to combine a balance of providing both a networking and education opportunity. Looking for the next big and best event idea, check out the website BizBash.com for the latest trends, news and resources.
Show the Love: Make sure you have plenty of host staff on hand and assign them with specific roles to greet, help, and generally make your guests feel welcome. I always keep an eye out for the person who seems to be alone to introduce myself and make them feel welcome. Your team’s goal, and responsibility, is to ensure every guests feel like the VIP that they are. Have your team review the RSVP list--before the event--to get to know the attendees not just by name but also to know something about them personally, the firm they represent and their specific role. It’s all creating memorable experience!
Feedback is Required. The day after, you’ve had a great event and may think the job is over—it’s not! Have an email survey cued up to send the very next day after the event to thank everyone, see what they liked, what they didn’t, and what can be improved for next time. Once again, there are many low-to-cost and easy-to-use survey software programs, such as Survey Monkey or Boomerang available at the click of a mouse.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Now go out and create a great event!
Bill McGuire is principal of W.M.McGuire,LLC, an integrated marketing firm serving the independent advisor community. W.M.McGuire’s mission is to help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. For more information visit www.wmmcguire.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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