There is so much out there telling us entrepreneurs to build our business online and find our Dream Customer online. And that is a great idea that works for some people. But – BUT – growing a strong brand and customer base locally in your community can be a great move for your business.
As a marketing and design company, we wanted to work with clients who didn’t want to do the same old thing – place some ads and hope their message got across. We believed in engaging audiences and in providing experiences that provoked conversation and dialogue and moved people to action. So, we began to hold events that did just that. Our brand and business became known for those events, and clients would seek us out to achieve the same results for their projects.
When we launched SMRT WOMEN, we wanted help female entrepreneurs build the skills, support, and connections they need for them and their business to thrive - whatever stage that business is at. We again turned to events as a way to do this and build this community. While SMRT WOMEN is now also online, the events are still an important and super fun part of it!
Events are a great marketing tool because they provide an EXPERIENCE for your audience – something really tangible to engage with. They aren’t to replace your other marketing tactics, but to act in concert with them to round out your strategy.
My top four tips to ensure that your event is a success.
Because if you’re going to do an event, you want to do it right!
Set a goal for your event
Understand what you’re trying to achieve with your event and why you are hosting it. This is SO IMPORTANT. A lot of people have events without a clear goal, which makes it hard to plan it but also really hard to know if it was a success.
Know who your event is for
You event is not for everyone. It’s not for your Facebook Friends (seriously, stop inviting all your Facebook friends to all your events – that’s a topic for another time). Your event is for your audience. Maybe a particular segment of your audience. Get really clear on this. It will help you plan the EXPERIENCE part of your event – so that is really creates an awesome experience for your audience – and it is also a big part of marketing your event effectively.
Create an experience
Ok so I’ve mentioned an experience a couple of times – what the heck am I talking about, right?
When you’re thinking about your event, think about it as more than just the specific skills or thing you are sharing. The amazing thing about a live event is the potential to have many touch points and different things that collectively make the event memorable and that communicate your brand to your audience.
Let me tell you about one event that SMRT POP UPS did with the Yukon Transportation Museum. A blues band was coming up and there was going to be live music. That’s pretty cool in and of itself as it was a pretty cool band. Layer of an awesome unconventional space – the museum, it’s already gone from a live show to an experience. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a dance party in a museum?
But we knew we could make it even more memorable for people. So, we brought in some blues dancers to do a mini lesson before the music started so people could dance blues to the blues. And we had a scavenger hunt and a photo booth with period costumes. And then there was a pop-up donut shop for a food vendor and a specialty cocktail courtesy of the awesome Yukon Brewing.
Promote your event
Now that your awesome event is all planned and the stage is set to create a memorable brand experience for your Dream Customer, don’t forget to tell them about it! Your event needs a marketing plan – use numbers 1-3 (goals, audience, and experience features) to create an event elevator pitch and content.
- Create a consistent look for all your marketing outputs for the event – it should look like your brand but all the pieces should also clearly be connected and about this event.
- Promote it consistently and pepper it in with your other awesome brand content.
- Download my free event marketing workflow to get your audience out to your event!
So, there you have it – the why, what, and how of using events to build your brand and your business. Online is awesome, but there is something so wonderful about reaching your local audiences in person. And it’s something that will stand out for them as well. It gives you and your brand a chance to shine in a real and tangible way.