For the most part we all have events that our company plans and executes. Whether it's a trade show booth, an open house, a product demonstration or even an employee appreciation event, the need to create a custom experience will exist.
From the large scale decor to the greeting someone gets from an employee, every piece of the event comes together to create a memorable encounter with your business.
So how do you create an atmosphere where when a customer or employee attends an event of yours they know that they will be taken care of and ideally a problem of theirs will be solved by your product or service by the time they leave?
We break it down from the large initiatives to the small, below:
We discussed in last week's Client Corner, the idea of branding an event. Giving your event its own personal theme (doesn't have to be a literal theme such as luau, you could choose a theme like "Bringing IT Solutions Into the Home" or "Investing In Your Future,") not only adds an element of consistency so they know everything branded the same way leads to the same event but it also subconsciously lets your audience know that this is a custom event that you are putting on for them specifically. And when they feel important to you, you already have your foot in the door.
There are two types of people you are going to be catering to. Those who have already done business with and know about you and those who have never heard of you before. The tricky part is appealing to both. So, treat them differently.
Repeat Customers and Contacts
Keeping a running email list or even better, an address book of all of your contacts is a great tool for reaching out. When you're attending an event or hosting one, you can send out an email blast or even an individual mailer to personally invite your network. This not only calls attention to your event but also makes your customers feel that you are reaching out to them personally. Their attendance is noted and wanted.
New Customers and Contacts
So how do you reach people you've never talked to before?
Well if you're part of a bigger event such as you're hosting a cocktail party at a trade show, then there are lots of opportunities to advertise at the show itself. Invite people who stop by your booth with an event invitation or even walk the trade show floor and invite other companies to stop by your event.
If it's an event you're hosting on your own, you can look towards advertising opportunities as a way to attract a newer, larger audience.
Spend some time thinking about the ideal person that should come to your event. Is it new homeowners or people who have parents needing in home assistance? Maybe it's small business owners who need IT solutions or people who love camping.
Figure out who should be there and then figure out where those people look most often. It could be Facebook groups, it could be the local newspaper, it could be real estate journals or even local gym ad space.
Once you figure out who you want there, you'll know how to reach them. If you need any help, don't hesitate to contact us!
2. On Site Experience
There are a lot of things we know need to go well. Our projectors should work if we have a presentation, the air conditioning should be comfortable, you should probably feed people, etc. but what we tend to overlook are all of the little details that sub consciously give an event prestige.
Directions and Signage
There is nothing worse than not knowing where to go at an event. Yes, we all have Google Maps or something similar but if you're hosting your event at a large campus, your audience needs to know how to get from their car to your event. You can use branded signs that are easily recognizable or if you have the staff, station them outside to not only direct your customers but also welcome them.
We've all been to a presentation where the projector or Power Point or even the audio didn't work. We've all sat through the awkward jokes the presenter makes as someone from the IT department or even the office intern gets dirty looks from the staff as they figure out which cable isn't plugged in properly. So, obviously we all know that we should be as prepared as possible for the technological aspects of our event. Try running through your presentation a couple times before your event starts the day of. Just because it worked yesterday, doesn't mean it works today. What can go wrong, will go wrong.
Another thing to note here is the ability to wirelessly project from a tablet as well as wireless microphones. By being able to walk around a room while presenting you give more of a feeling of being talked with and not talked at. Shoot us an email if you want any pointers on how you can make hands free presenting a practice for your business.
These are the small details such as branded napkins, your company logo projected on the ground or ceiling, small gift bags with a pen and business card or even how often the food and drink table are replenished. These small details show your customer that you care enough about their experience to notice. You don't have to pour money into these final touches, you just need a coordinated effort.
This is BY FAR the most important piece to the puzzle. Your people.
To start off, people should be able to tell who works for you. I recently had a conversation with an old colleague about how he had gone to an event and he couldn't tell who worked at this vendor, who was there as a guest or even who was just passing by. This made it nearly impossible to talk about the product and most likely resulted in many missed opportunities for said vendor. It's important that your team have somewhat of a uniform that sets them apart, casual or formal.
Once someone can pick out a team member, whether it be a salesman, an administrative assistant, the photographer or the CEO, they are all equally representing your business at this event. So start with a quick meeting with your team to discuss just what experience you want your customer having had after they leave your event. If you keep everyone on the same page with the goals of a particular event, they'll know just where to lead your attendees.
Pro Tip: Depending on what your business is, your product or service may be quite complicated. So make sure you have your bases covered when it comes to information. Have a subject matter expert on hand if necessary but don't require they be on the front lines of customer interaction. Save this member of your team as a second line of defense who can answer the more difficult questions. It's such a better response to go grab someone with further knowledge than to take a business card and have them reach out again later. Don't lose your leads.
There are a lot of things to think about when you plan an event. It can be easy to get lost in all of the details but I promise you if you focus on the experience for your customer you will walk away with a lot of leads and having had a successful event.
It is not always the obvious that people remember, it is the small interactions and the moments when they felt important to you.
As always, if you have any questions, need any design work done or need someone to bounce ideas off of, you can contact us here!