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 brick-and-mortar store or an online business, you know that your brand is about much more than just your logo. It’s the feeling your products evoke and the ideas people associate with your company.

That’s 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 percent of consumers have a better opinion about a brand after attending an in-person event.

Here’s a quick primer on how to build an events strategy to amplify your small business brand.

Decide whether to join in or D.I.Y.

Whether as a vendor, speaker, or sponsor, there are plenty of ways your small business can get involved with existing events. These partnerships let you take advantage of the reputation of established events — without all the effort it takes to organize your own event.

But if you really want to make a splash with your brand, the best way is to organize your own event. You can start small: Your first event might be a simple grand opening event or an open house.

If you have experience with events, 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 hosting intimate dinners with the chef to crafts stores hosting painting or succulent planting nights. It’s a format that works for just about any type of business, and the limited-time nature of pop ups can inherently build buzz and anticipation.

Create an event brand.

As a business owner, chances are you already put a lot of thought into your marketing. When you throw events into the mix, it’s important they have their own brand focus. Everyone in the software industry knows about the annual tech event Dreamforce. Although Salesforce hosts the event, Dreamforce has taken on a life of its own.

You might not be a company the size of Salesforce, 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 might mean a compelling celebrity guest, like a local chef or visiting expert. Or it might simply mean an experience they can’t get anywhere else.
  • Make it meaningful. Consider your target customer base and what they really want. You can do this by researching the needs of a demographic. Or if you already have customer data from past events, sales, or even surveys, use the data to inspire experiences that will satisfy your audience.
  • Make it authentic. Yes, you’re doing this to build your brand. But if you’re not throwing events that speak to what your business represents, people might have a good time — but they won’t become loyal customers.

Creating events with an intentional eye on brand is critical, but once the event’s in motion, it’s equally important to ensure a smooth experience.

Make the experience easy for attendees.

You’ve done all the legwork to conduct a fabulous event. But now your attendees — who were so excited by your promotion — are stuck standing in lines instead of enjoying themselves.

One of the easiest ways to derail your brand is with poor logistical planning. 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 ticket purchase process built for screens of all sizes.
  • Get in the door. Use a mobile check-in app to scan attendees in quickly instead of relying on pen and paper.
  • Purchase merchandise, food, and drinks. Don’t force attendees to wait in line at an ATM to pay in cash. Instead, use a point-of-sale technology that enables attendees to pay with credit cards or their phone, so they can support your business as they enjoy your event.

Creating a great experience is essential — but how will you measure your success?

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Set specific goals and measure your success.

Before you start producing your event, you need to define what success means to you. Your goals should be more specific than just “improve the brand.” They should have specific numeric outcomes. For instance, you might hope to:

  • Build your customer email database: Build your email list by 200 people.
  • Get press coverage: Have articles placed in two local newspapers.
  • Turn a profit: Generate $10,000 in revenue from ticket sales and on-site sales.

Once you know how you’re going to measure success, gear your event to achieve it. If one of your goals is to collect email addresses, using an online ticketing platform like Eventbrite can help you collect addresses and import them right into your email marketing software. If your goal is to generate profit, consider using technology that allows for all types of payments, including mobile payments that make it easy for attendees to spend. Eventbrite research shows that attendees using RFID payment technology spend an average of two times more than those using cash or credit cards.

Integrate your events strategy with your business strategy.

Your events strategy should contribute to your broader business strategy, which means your events technology should work with the technology your business is already built on. Learn what The Future of Event Spending looks like and the steps you can take now to make sure your events strategy is generating revenue for your business.

About Eventbrite
Eventbrite is the world’s largest ticketing and event technology platform. The company, which has processed $10 billion in gross ticket sales since inception, powered millions of events in 180 countries and territories in 2017. 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 in 2017 with cost-effective and impactful tools, technology, and services.