Hosting your own event is a great marketing strategy that in my experience, always generates new business opportunities. Here are my top 7 reasons to host one:
- Reinforces Your Market Position – since it’s your event, you control how everything is done from catering to signage to welcoming guests and any product samples or information provided. The style of the event and how you run it will reinforce your brand and your position in the market. The guests you invite will have an experience and associate your brand/product/company with that good experience.
- Add Value to Guests – if the format of the event includes a guest speaker, or a topic of real interest to the people you’ve invited, or a panel of experts or entertainment of some sort, it will be easy for people to accept your invitation as they perceive high value in attending.
- Extend Prospective Customer List – always encourage your guests to bring people similar to them. If they are a partner in a professional services firm, and that’s your target market, they may elect to bring another partner from their firm if you ask them. When we have events, my best clients always bring new potential clients who could gain value from working with me.
- It’s Not ‘Salesy’ – when you invite clients and prospects to an event they would genuinely be interested in attending, it’s not a ‘salesy’ approach and they are likely to be very open and willing to accept your offer. It’s a win-win for everyone.
- Provides Several Opportunities to Follow Up – when you invite people to an event there’s the invitation which is the first point of contact. You may follow up by phone (or email or text) to confirm if they will be attending. After the event you can follow up and thank them for attending. After that you may follow up with some photos that were taken of your client or prospect at the event – as long as it’s a good photo most people will be delighted to receive that and like the personal touch. After that, if the person is not a client but you’d like to have a meeting with them, you will both be comfortable about an invitation to meet and discuss potential opportunities. You’ve taken them from a cold contact to a warm lead.
- Potential for PR Coverage – you can potentially use the event for online or offline PR. If there’s a ‘news-worthy’ element to it, you could draft a press release and send it out to various media. It could result in coverage for your business, it could drive visitors to your site, it could reinforce your positioning in the market, or it could result in you being interviewed or profiled in some way.
- Potential to Repeat & Extend Your Reach – if you hold an event that your guests love, you have an opportunity to make it a regular event. Many years ago my company took selected clients sailing on Sydney Harbour (all the boats with a mix of clients and staff were racing against each other) and this was followed by a barbecue lunch at the Yacht Club. Everyone had so much fun they asked if we would make it an annual event. Your clients become your PR team and will bring more prospective clients to the next event.
Hosting your own events and giving clients a personal experience that is fun or meaningful or memorable in a good way, is a really excellent marketing strategy that will always pay dividends if done properly.