Monday, March 05, 2012

GMG Monday Espresso: Let's Throw a Special Event.

7 Tips to Hold a Spectacular Special Event.

With the 2nd Annual Costa Farms Social Summit this week, it made me think about the importance of hosting a special event.

Special events can be just about anything, from special sales meetings to media tours to unveilings. It just takes a little imagination and some PR buzz to get more bang for your budget.

But before you do anything, ask yourself why? Why are you thinking about a special event? What do you want to accomplish? Why spend $5,000 to $150,000?

Three reasons to hold a special event: 1) Your best customers and prospects tend to come; 2) They generate free media coverage; 3) They build customer relationships and loyalty.

Add to the festivities a free "commemorative" gift, refreshments, and entertainment--clowns, mimes, school bands, local theater groups, local celebrities, politicians, etc.-- and you've got the perfect ingredients to create a memorable experience, and capture a little "share of heart" with your customers, employees and your community.

Two events a year is a good target, if you have the planning, people power and right reason for the event. Events take time to plan, often months, even years in advance.

1. SET A GOAL What do you want to achieve? What's the purpose? Customer appreciation? Boost sales? Employee appreciation? Giving something to a local cause is a key component. Who do you want to benefit?

2. HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO SPEND? Are you serving hot dogs and soda or shrimp and champagne? What you spend must relate to what you want to achieve. How much do you want to donate?

3. MAKE A BUDGET Now that you know how much you want to spend, determine just what is essential, like food and beverages. What is left over is for entertainment and maybe event advertising.

4. PLAN AROUND A THEME A theme ties everything together and gives you a polished look. The theme could be "Bodacious Birthday Bash," "A Star is Born, or "An Evening in Paris." Check the newspaper supplements for ideas.

5. GO FIRST CLASS First class is not expensive. It simply means the best event within your budget. Don't skimp. Eliminate something else instead. Balloons, without a doubt, are the most cost effective decorations. They make a great impact in very large bunches, but too few look inadequate.

6. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL If it's too much for you, hire an event planner to handle all the details. They'll take care of a theme, a budget, the planning and all the details so you can enjoy yourself and tend to your clients.

7. SPREAD THE WORD. Invite people on Facebook, Twitter and on your blog and website. Send invitations to the media to come out early and take pictures. Invite special people personally. Send an email blast to customers. Send a press release. Tell your mother.

Have fun.

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