6 Ways To Make Your Event A ‘Bottom Line’ Success

At Cloud Nine PR we are still basking in the glory of an incredibly successful re-launch event that we planned, managed and executed for one of our clients, Gemini Brighton. It was over subscribed by the key target guests, generated unending media coverage, before and afterwards, seriously raised the profile of our client and most importantly, one month on, it has directly contributed to the client’s bottom line.

We thought we’d share 6 tips on how you can make your event successful.

1. Define your objectives
Yes, I know it’s a basic but, believe me, sometimes clients get carried away with the thought of a big bash and forget to focus on the reason for it. So think, what exactly do you want to communicate to people at the event and to your wider target market? What is your ultimate goal(s)? Write it all down, and keep your mind focused on these objectives all the time.
We always start by asking clients this question: Two weeks after the event, what would be your ideal outcome? Then we work the event around that.

2 Quality and quantity of guests
Getting the right guests and decision makers to come to your event is key. A venue full of people who will never make the decision about whether to use your goods/services is pointless. Prepare yourself for some hard work on fine-tuning the guest list. On the event day, similar to airlines and hotels, there will always be a few who drop out for one reason or another. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Allow for this by over subscription in the first place. Remember to invite your target media too.

Delighted to say that, we had 98% of the guest list materialise on the night all of whom were the clients key targets.

3 Engagement : with your guests and media
Communicate and engage with your invite list before the event in a manner that draws them in. Social media is fantastic for this. Give your audience snippets of what’s going to happen, what’s in store and who else is attending. We conducted some really impressive personalised direct mail (as this particular client is adept at this), e-marketing and social media activity to include a memorable #hashtag for the event and encouraged guests to use it.

Communicating directly with guests is great and there is even more added value by generating publicity in all local, regional and sector specific media in advance of the event. This can make your event an even hotter ticket! Feed these into twitter, include some pics of key aspects of the event and bingo you’re creating a simmering interest in your event.

All of this, executed correctly will get invitees to respond to your invitation almost immediately. This is a major time saver – cutting out a lot of time chasing up non-responders.

So now we’re at the event with our A list guests. When the guests arrive, is there something for them to engage with?…. We don’t want people arriving to the hottest ticket in town to just stand around looking lost with a drink in hand. We were invited to the corporate party once, billed as Oscar’s Night. Good theme? Yes…… but once guests entered the venue the Oscars theme was forgotten. There was nothing creative, inspiring or even engaging. No entertainment, no focus, no idea of what was going to happen, no music…and, you guessed it, no Hollywood stars! It was just drinks and poor quality canapés! Guests almost forgot why they were at the event, or the reason behind the gathering. Sure enough key people were gone within the hour!

So carry your theme through, give people something to do when the arrive, tell them what the plan for the night is: will there be speeches, by whom, fireworks, a competition, the opportunity to win something, what’s on the menu, at what time and where. People like to know what’s in store. If there’s a key speaker then they’ll most likely wait to hear that but if they don’t know then they might just hit the road. Have plenty of hosts briefed to make introductions, provide an outline of what the plan is and look after your guests.

We always provide a full brief to our team and the client’s team the day before the event. The main message being that it is all our responsibility to look after guests, just like it is when you invite people to your house. Also its very important that all representatives ‘big up’ the company, make ‘friends’ with guests (rather than just trying to sell to them) and help communicate the key objectives – Remember point 1: yes, those objectives that we outlined at the very beginning of the event planning process.

4 Keeping up the momentum
Following your event, what next? The journalists and broadcasters we invited to the event are all provided with the aspect or angle of the story that fits their agenda. Some are only interested in social pics, some are more interested in the key message from the company, others want to conduct a more in-depth one to one interview with the MD. So making sure that every media outlet gets what they want quickly and efficiently helps generate heaps of additional publicity opportunities.

Keep in touch with all the guests, share photos of the event, as well as the publicity generated following the event – people love seeing photos of themselves ….well most do. Update them on who won if you were running a competition, ask about how they’re getting on with something in their goodie bag, for example, did they like the chocolates? How are the seedlings (from the goodie bag) getting on? you get the idea. Social networks, e newsletters, your website are all great ways of continuing the story.

5 Feedback & leads generated
So what was the feedback from the client and guests at the event?
If you hear nothing, I don’t need to tell you that, its not good! However, if the quality of guests and the general mood of the event was good, then you know you’ve done well. Guests who email in and tweet about what a great time they had etc is also powerful feedback. Our client was inundated with ‘congratulations’ and ‘thank yous’ and ‘well dones’ following the event. It is also a key relationship builder and this is ultimately the key to businesses. So that’s another tick in the box.
Check on the visits to the website, has this increased? What’s the effect been on twitter? Review inbound enquiries and make sure to follow-up on leads generated.

Five weeks following our client’s event, the company’s business is almost working at full capacity. We’re not suggesting that it was all down to the success of the event and surrounding PR but it has definitely contributed. This is some of the feedback we got:

Thought I would just drop you a line and say a big thank you for making
last night a great success. The atmosphere created was spot on
and the general consensus is ‘what a great night’! Dave Britton, MD, Gemini Brighton

Thank you Cloud Nine so much for all your work on creating a fantastic well though-out and executed re-launch event. It really ticked all the boxes, it is already helping to drive the business forward and was thoroughly enjoyable. A great success. S Cropper, MD, Gemini Group

6 The Budget
I’ve seen businesses blow a lot of money on what I can only describe as ‘very average’ events, or at worst disorganised, pointless events. What’s the point in that? It’s just wasting your money and leaving your guests with a poor impression of you. You can have a super event for probably the same cost. With careful planning, creative thinking and huge attention to detail your event can come well within your budget and most importantly achieve all the key objectives, that you outlined at the beginning of the process.

Tune in next time for: 6 Ways to make your event memorable and produce a healthy ROI.

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