How to Build an Events Strategy for Your Small Business
This post was written by Rachel Grate, Content Marketing Manager at Eventbrite.
Whether you’re a traditional bricks-and-mortar store or an online business, you know that your brand is about much more than just a logo. It’s the feeling your products evoke and the ideas people associate with your company.
This is why events are such a powerful way to build your brand. Events get you in front of customers and create engaging, positive experiences they’ll remember. In fact, an EventTrack global study revealed that 74% of people develop better opinions about a brand after attending an event in-person.
Here are a few pointers on how to build an events strategy that amplifies your small business brand:
Set specific goals and measure your success
Before you start producing your event, you need to define what success looks like. Your goals should be more specific than just ‘improve the brand’. They should have specific metrics such as:
- Increasing your email list by a specific number.
- Getting articles released in a number of local newspapers.
- Generating a specific profit from ticketing and on-site sales.
Once you’ve decided on your metrics, gear your event to achieve them. If one of your goals is to collect email addresses, using an online ticketing platform like Eventbrite can help you obtain and import them right into your email marketing software. If your goal is to generate profit, use technology that accepts all payment types. (Eventbrite research shows that attendees using RFID payment technology spend twice as much as those using cash or card).
Integrate your events strategy with your business strategy
For your events strategy to contribute to your broader business strategy, any technology used on the day of the event should work seamlessly with the technology your business is already built on. Eventbrite’s The Future of Event Spending eBook details the steps you can take now to ensure your events strategy delivers the results you want.
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Decide whether to join in or DIY
Whether as a vendor, speaker or sponsor, there are plenty of ways your small business can get involved at existing and well-established events. These partnerships enable you to take advantage of organisers’ reputations — without all the effort of organising your own event.
Taking part in someone else’s event can remove some of the hard work and get you in front of a bigger audience. But if you want to make a splash and take charge of how your brand is presented, the best way is to organise your own event. There’s nothing wrong with starting small, such as hosting a simple grand opening or an open house.
If you have experience already, pop-ups are a great option to add to your event marketing strategy. At Eventbrite, we’ve seen more and more small businesses hosting pop-ups, from restaurants facilitating intimate dinners with the chef, to craft shops holding painting classes or succulent-planting nights. It’s a format that creates buzz and anticipation for just about any type of business, because of its ‘limited time only’ nature.
Create an event brand
When designing your own events, it’s important they have their own brand focus. Everyone knows about British Fashion Week, and even though the British Fashion Council acts as the host, the event has taken on a life of its own.
You might not have the prestige of the British Fashion Council (yet), but you can still create an event with its own memorable appeal. Here’s how:
- Make it unique: offer something other events don’t. That could be a compelling celebrity guest, like a local chef or industry expert. Or it might simply mean an experience your audience can’t get anywhere else.
- Make it meaningful: consider what your target customer base wants from an event. You can do this by researching a relevant demographics, running a survey or looking at existing sales data to profile return customers.
- Make it authentic: you’re doing this to build your brand, so throw an event that speaks from the heart of your business. You want people to have a good time, of course, but you also want them to become loyal customers.
The design stage of your event is critical, but the importance of your brand doesn’t stop there. Once the event is set up, it’s equally important to ensure that the experience delivers on the day.
Make the experience easy for attendees
You’ve done all the legwork to design a fabulous event. But now, your attendees — who were so excited by your promotion — are stuck queuing instead of enjoying themselves.
Poor logistical planning is one of the easiest ways to derail your brand. From the get-go, make it easy for attendees to do things like:
- Buy tickets: team up with an event ticketing platform (like Eventbrite) that has a simple, mobile-friendly ticket purchase process.
- Beat the queues: instead of relying on pen and paper, use a mobile check-in app to scan attendees’ tickets.
- Purchase merchandise, food and drinks: don’t force attendees to wait in line at a cash machine. Instead, use point of sale technology that accepts card and mobile payments.
By now, you’ve pinned down a great experience — but how will you measure your success?
Eventbrite is the world’s largest ticketing and event technology platform. The company, which has processed over £7 billion in gross ticket sales since inception, powered millions of events in 180 countries and territories in 2017. The same year, the Eventbrite platform enabled hundreds of thousands of event creators to bring a variety of live experiences to life for more than 50 million fans with cost-effective and impactful tools, technology and services.