Tis the season for events! Events are a powerful way for businesses to interact with their target audience. From open houses and customer appreciation events to product launches, new store openings and holiday celebrations, these are opportunities for businesses to invite customers and prospects into their “homes,” get to know them better and show them what the brand is really about.
But from invitations to hors d’oeuvres to décor, these events take a lot of thought, preparation and investment of time and money. Below, we’ve put together a short guide to some of the key ingredients of a successful business event. So, before you start planning, take a look.
Before you put pen to paper outlining the program, delegating tasks or writing promotional copy, it’s important to nail down your event strategy so you can ensure every decision you make is in service of your ultimate event goals.
- What is the purpose of the event? Are you launching a new product? Celebrating your customers? Opening a new store? It’s important to be sure the purpose is distinct so you can keep your messaging focused and on point.
- Who should you invite? For a store opening, you’ll want to invite customers and prospects alike, so you can cast a fairly wide net, keeping your target audience in mind. But for a customer appreciation party, you’ll likely want to limit invitations to current customers.
- How will you know the event was a success?This is where you set outcome goals that will help you “keep your eye on the prize” and determine whether the party was worth the investment. Maybe your goals are awareness-based, and you want 150 attendees to sign up for your mailing list. Perhaps you’re inviting an audience who is already familiar with your brand, so your goals are more about sales: you want 30 people to renew their subscriptions or 75 to preorder an item from your newest product line.
- What is your budget? Understanding exactly how much you have to spend from the get-go will minimize ugly surprises down the road, like realizing you can’t afford food because you spent too much money on the speakers.
Thorough answers to these questions will guide every decision in the event-planning process and ensure you stay on track for a smash success.
Now, let’s take a look at two of the most important key event ingredients — the ingredients the team here at OneTouchPoint gets most excited about.
Announcements & Promotions
While digital platforms will be important for spreading the word, especially if you’re hoping to get brand new prospects in the door, personalized postcards and mailings will go a long way in getting attendees on board — even those who haven’t met you yet. (After all, research from the Data and Marketing Association shows that the average response rate to direct mail is higher than all digital channels combined.) If you want to target the broader community or a specific area around your location, an EDDM (every door direct mail) postcard would be a great way to introduce prospective customers to your business, increasing awareness of your brand as well as your upcoming event.
Your event promotion designs should complement your brand’s style, using colors, fonts, and language appropriate to your business, but it should also clue readers into the tone of the event. A “backyard bash” to celebrate a store opening could use brand colors liberally for a fun design, while a swankier event like a customer appreciation soiree might call for a minimalist design. The event promotions might also include additional material about your business or your event, including a localized map to make it easier to find or even an incentive for attending, such as a discount or a giveaway.
And above all, they should be personalized. The addresses should include invitees’ names, and materials inside should make it clear whyyou’ve chosen your invitees. After all, we know that 52 percent of customers are likely to switch brands if communications aren’t personalized to them, and we know that 79 percent of customers are more likely to engage with an offer (like an event announcement) if it’s been personalized to reflect their previous interactions with the brand.
You may also want to consider additional advertising, depending on the type of event. Sharing approved social posts and ads, leveraging community news with localized ads, sending reminder postcards and setting out in-store flyers, POS reminders and signage are all great ways to promote your event in the weeks leading up to it, building buzz and keeping your brand top of mind.
You got customers and prospects through the door with your beautifully printed and packaged promotions. Now it’s time to wow them — and educate them on your brand value while you’re at it.
Access and use corporate approved designs to create printed signage and décor to create the atmosphere you’re after. Directional signage will ensure attendees know where to go, and outdoor welcome signs will set the tone for the event and your brand before attendees even walk through the door. For seasonal events, branded in-store holiday signage demonstrates your value while getting attendees into the holiday spirit. It’s easy to transform event spaces with printed décor items like these that are high impact and easy to install and remove.
But there’s more to it than just transforming the space. Now that you’ve got your audience all in one place, you’ve got a golden opportunity to show off what your brand is really about. And for franchises or national brands hosting events in multiple locations, branded event kits (for store launches, holidays, etc.) make it easy to ensure each location has everything it needs. By adding eye-catching banners to your product displays, you’ll drive more attendees to take a look at what you’ve got on offer. By posting signage thanking any cash or in-kind sponsors, you’ll build a little extra credibility by highlighting your community involvement. You may use wall graphics to illustrate your business’ values, floor stickers to show off upcoming promotions or pop-up banners to tout recent accomplishments.
The more attendees learn about your brand during the event, the more lasting their memories will be — and the more inclined they’ll be to continue (or start!) doing business with your company in the future.
And finally, don’t forget the branded party favors! Wrap up the night by giving attendees a token to take home and remember your brand by, and don’t forget to include printed materials — like discount flyers, brochures or business cards — designed to keep them coming back for more.
Here at OneTouchPoint, we’re dedicated to helping our clients grow their brands through high-impact print materials for every campaign, including all kinds of corporate events. To learn more about our printing and distribution services — and how we can help make your company’s next event one to remember — contact us or request a quote. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.