The first step in effective marketing is simply knowing who your target market is and understanding as much about them as you can. Are they male or female? What is their age range? What income bracket are they in? Where do they live? What work do they do? What do they have in common? What are their hobbies? What keeps them awake at night? The more you know about your target market the better result your marketing campaign will achieve. What you’re aiming for here is a general picture; of course, no two people will be the same.
One of the best ways to sell to your target market is through targeted events. The type of event will be determined by what you sell and what will interest your potential buyers. For example, seminars work well for the financial industry; showcase events for vehicle sales etc. You may be able to offer a double-whammy, for example adding a special opportunity to a networking event.
Once you have decided on the type of event, you need to get as many people along as possible to make it worthwhile. Your invitation needs to be interesting and engaging. If you’re inviting people by email, you’ll need to send repeat invitations and reminders. Automate this and link it up to a RSVP system so your manual work is kept to a minimum.
If you’re holding the event at an outside venue, make sure it’s easy to get to, include a map on the invitation and explain where to park.
Have a clear plan about how to welcome your prospects with a smile, a name tag and refreshments. At the end, give them a goodie bag to take home or, at the very least, professionally produced marketing material.
The event itself needs some pace. Don’t leave people sitting or standing around without something happening. Keep to time. Stick to the agenda. Avoid boring PowerPoint presentations. Offer prizes for mini competitions. Invite audience participation. Do everything you can think of to keep people entertained but send them away more informed about your business than when they arrived.
Next day, follow up. This is the most important aspect of the entire event. Send a warmly worded email thanking them for coming and offering your assistance should they need it. Repeat your offer, if you made one. Press your advantage – they made the effort to come to your event, so try taking the relationship to the next level. If they’re not yet buyers, offer something else – a regular update perhaps. You want their permission to stay in contact because while they may not be buyers yet, they may be in the future. As well, you don’t know who they may refer to you if you’ve done a good job.
The key to great events is detail. Write checklists, tick off every aspect and you’ll have a successful and memorable event.