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Event Marketing for Small Businesses Part 2: Planning and Promoting Your Event

March 19th, 2013 ::
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Event Marketing Series

eventEvent marketing is not for just big companies with large staffs. Small businesses can host or participate in events, too – just on a smaller, more intimate scale.

In my previous post in this series, I talked about why and how to do event marketing. Now that you’ve decided whether to host a seminar, roundtable, or breakfast/lunch/dinner, it’s time to plan and promote your event.

Planning a Seminar

  • Choose your topic and invite partners to participate
  • Brainstorm with your partners on the best, most timely topics to cover and how long each person will speak
  • Nail down the agenda, location, time, and cost
  • Task your partners with organizing pieces of the event so you don’t have to do everything
  • Work with the events manager at the site on logistics – check-in, room set-up, food and beverages, audiovisual needs, etc.
  • Set up event registration and payment online using Eventbrite or Cvent

Planning a Roundtable

  • Choose your topic and invite partners to participate
  • Nail down the agenda, location, time, and cost
  • Work with the events manager at the site on logistics – room set-up, food and beverages, audiovisual needs, etc.
  • Set up event registration and payment online using Eventbrite or Cvent

Planning a Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

  • Put together an invite list; you can invite customers, prospects, partners, or a mix of all three
  • Reserve a private dining room at a favorite restaurant
  • Work with the events manager on the menu

Promotion

If you are working with partners, pool your contacts to send out email invitations and reminders from one central location; this will also make tracking responses easier.

Email Invitations

So as to not bombard people with email, send out an invitation a month ahead of time and a reminder a week or two later. Send a final reminder within a week of the event to encourage last-minute registrants, and one the day before the event to remind registrants about it.

Besides including the pertinent day/time/location/cost information, stress the benefits of attending, make it clear how to register, and give an overview of the agenda.

Leverage social networks

You and your partners (if applicable) should promote the event on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook – and on any other social media networks you use. You can also write a blog post about it and publish it on your site – it’s a great way to get more detailed information about the event out there.

Get listed on calendars

In the DC area, there are numerous online event calendars you can get a free listing on, from local papers to industry-specific sites. If you don’t know of any in your area, just do a search for “online events calendar in [your area]” or ask your network.

Send out a press release

Send a press release to local journalists and bloggers, and invite them to attend for free. In your press release, be sure to explain why your event is particularly newsworthy and worthwhile to attend.

In the final post for this series, we’ll take a look at what to do during and after your event. What are your favorite events to attend, and why?

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Series NavigationEvent Marketing for Small Businesses Part 1: Getting Started
The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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