Whether it’s a holiday luncheon for your best customers, a workshop for business owners at your accounting firm, an in-store reading by a beloved local author at your children’s bookstore or just a way to thank customers at the end of Financial Year, hosting an event is always a great way to help attract new customers, nurture your relationships with existing customers and build hype and relevancy around your business.
We know that the idea of hosting an event can intimidate many small-business owners. We also know that your staff are already working on their responsibilities and sourcing an Event Manager is usually the last thing in a businesses ‘to-do’ list! That’s why MCO Events is here! Yes, there can be lots of moving parts involved in pulling an event together, but when you place an event in the hands of event experts, then, well, you’re in good hands.
Here are our 12 Hot Tips that we use to help you plan and execute your next event with us:
1. Setting Clear Goals
The most important first step of any event planning is finding out what your intent for the event is. We communicate with you to really get an understanding of what you want to achieve with a live event. Do you want to attract local media? Create awareness of your business? Build a mailing list of potential customers? Or sell slow-moving products? Set goals first, then determine the type of event that will best achieve them.
2. Figure out the scope of the event.
Will you have refreshments, entertainment, workshops or speakers? Scale the event’s scope to your level of experience. If you’ve never held an event before, don’t start by trying to host a day-long business conference for hundreds of attendees in a hotel ballroom. A one-hour workshop at your office will achieve many of the same goals. We help you identify strengths and weaknesses and put this as part of your event strategy.
3. Time it right.
Timing is crucial to the success of your event. Consider key dates, such as holidays or annual events in the community, that might compete with yours, or choose a theme to highlight. Also consider how much time attendees will need in order to plan ahead to attend, and how much time you’ll need to prepare for the event. A lot of corporate companies under-estimate just how much work goes into running a corporate event and getting people to show up. There is a lot in the planning including operational management, marketing, visual merchandising and booking in talent.
4. Choose your team.
Who will be in charge of the event? Whether it’s you or us at MCO, you need one person to take ownership and manage all the details, then others to help with the rest of the moving parts (we can do all this for you!). Making sure responsibilities are clear-cut ensures you don’t end up without chairs at your conference or glasses at your wine tasting.
5. Let’s put all the pieces together!
Sit down with your team and mentally walk through every step of the event. Imagine your event as the full puzzle completed and now let’s look at each individual puzzle piece. Here at MCO Events, our team work with you to envision it all happening, and picture everything we will need — from chairs and a PA system to napkins and clipboards – you have to have run sheets, my gosh, please have a good run sheet! Also we will consider how much manpower you’ll need at the event itself, what could possibly go wrong and what (and who) you’ll need to have on hand to handle those hiccups.
6. Set a budget.
As you envision your event, you may find the costs are adding up to a price beyond your means. This is where good budgets need to be set in place. When you outsource to an events company, we are responsible to stick to your numbers. We will advise with you where budgets may need to increase for the success of your event or where we can reduce costs and get good deals through our event partners. Depending on the type of event, you might consider seeking a sponsor for the event (perhaps one of your vendors or suppliers). Selling tickets in advance or partnering with a complementary business to share the costs and provide brand exposure and other rewards to companies.
7. Create a marketing plan.
We allow plenty of time to get the word out. Depending on the type of event you’re planning, we create a marketing plan for you which could include email outreach, direct mail, in-store signage, and radio, print, online and cable advertising.
8. Alert the media.
Local media are critical to building awareness of your event in the community. Here at MCO Events, we can assist you in sending local reporters and bloggers a press release about your upcoming event, invite them to cover the event and send them a follow-up press release after the event. The publicity can help spread the word about your business even to those who can’t attend. The purpose is to create lasting memories of your event for a long time to come post-event.
9. Build buzz, let’s get social.
Our favourite step in events! Use social media to get your target audience excited about the event. We can tease the event well in advance, post pictures of and news about the event preparations and even invite customers to the event. Keep the social media energy high during the event by having an employee live tweet and post pictures and video from the event as it’s going on (or to make it one step easier for you, an MCO representative can do this for you!).
10. Develop promotions.
Figure out how you’ll market to customers when they’re at your event, whether with business cards and brochures, discount coupons or gift cards, or product giveaways and contests. Be sure to capture attendees’ contact information—this can be as simple as having them write their email addresses on a form or put business cards in a fishbowl for a drawing to win a free prize.
11. Be positive.
On the day of the event, be positive because your MCO events team has your back! If mistakes happen, your team’s attitude is what matters most. We understand that on the day, things don’t always go to plan – however, MCO staff are professional trained and well-equipped to problem solve and handle any surprises on the day. We formulate risk assessments and roles of responsibilities so you can do what you do best – host and mingle with your crowd! If you stay positive, keep a sense of humour and make your customers feel welcome and happy they came, it won’t matter so much that there aren’t enough chairs. There is always room for improvement and everything is a learning experience for a greater, and more successful event!
12. Follow up.
Your work isn’t done when the event is over—in fact, that’s when it really starts. Follow up with customers who attended the event to thank them and offer them something special, such as a discount, free trial or invitation to your next event. Ask them to rate the event so you can learn for your next one. Assess how well your event achieved your goals. How many new customers showed up? How many returning customers? How many units did you sell? How many attendees make purchases in the months following the event? Developing your own metrics and tracking them will help ensure your events pay off in more than just good feelings.
Please get in touch with a member of our Events Team and book in a FREE initial consultation with us so we can determine how to plan your next corporate event! Our success is your success!