Sharon Foster: Plan for a big event in 2017

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If you’re looking to use events to promote and grow your business in 2017, make sure you plan far enough ahead to make the most of the opportunity.

Have you thought properly about where the promotional activity around events and exhibitions sits in your 2017 marketing plan?

Planning for an event can be challenging, but whether you’re organising an open day or attending a networking meeting they can provide a wealth of opportunities to promote your business, not just on the day, but in the lead-up too.

Consider this: rather than leaving all your preparation to the last minute, spend an hour thinking about what you want to achieve by hosting or going to an event, who you’d like to invite or meet and what you’re going to do to make those things happen. You’ll be amazed at how achievable things will seem once you’ve made a start on planning!

Planning – No matter how organised you intend to be, sometimes with the best will in the world, the day-to-day running of your business comes first. Take the time to get it down on paper and commit to making it happen.

Stand out from the crowd – Don’t be afraid to do something a little different. It’s very easy to always do what’s worked in the past or what you have the time and budget to do. Sometimes stepping outside your comfort zone can pay dividends.

Get in there early – Don’t be afraid to start promoting your event or your attendance at an exhibition well in advance. If you are the organiser, set up an Eventbrite page to help manage attendance and post links to your page on social media. If you’re exhibiting at someone else’s event remember to promote your stand number and location!

Go social – Set up an event hashtag and get involved in conversations. Engage with people and maybe even arrange to meet up with them on the day; you never know what may come of it.

Goodies – Give people a reason to attend or visit your stand, give them something to take away and remember to find out who they are! You don’t have to spend a fortune and if you tell people about it well enough in advance, you can be sure to come along on the day – everyone loves a freebie!

And finally, follow up – it’s probably one of the most frequent mistakes to make after an event, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t contact the people they meet on the day. Even a polite tweet or follow up email will suffice; you never know when they may need your services or pass on your card.

Keep your eyes peeled for some of our pre-event activity over the coming weeks as we’ll be attending the Lincolnshire Business Expo in January.

Don’t forget: create a buzz before, during and after your event!

Sharon Foster is Marketing Manager at Shooting Star, a creative and friendly PR and marketing agency. Sharon graduated from the University of Northampton in 2000, brings a wealth of experience to the team and is on hand to ensure innovative and exciting marketing campaigns are delivered for clients.