Business events come in all shapes and sizes. As part of the marketing mix, you have large conferences, seminars and trade shows, as well as corporate dinners, incentive programmes and client meetings. With a slowdown in the global economy and prolonged uncertainty over Brexit, it has become necessary for companies to implement belt-tightening measures, which extends to their event marketing budget. As a result, a trade-off is required between the larger events and the smaller ones.
Live events remain a priority for event marketers as experiential encounters enable them to better engage attendees and capture quality leads. With a bigger slice of the event marketing budget going towards larger events, small business events get the rough end of the stick and have to manage with limited finances.
But does it have to be this way?
The simple answer is…no!
There are plenty of low-cost marketing ideas you can use to promote small business events. These ideas are practical, easy to implement and won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Here are some of the most popular ones!
Small business events are mainly used to raise awareness about your brand or educate the audience about the services you offer. You could go the traditional way and set up a business presentation at a venue. But an even better way that will save you many pounds (and eliminate venue sourcing headaches) is a webinar.
You can set up a webinar in a matter of minutes. You just need an online conferencing tool and a good internet connection. When you are promoting your webinar through email or social media, make it clear to potential participants that they will learn about something that will be a huge benefit in their professional lives.
Also, you don’t have to worry about fewer attendees turning up than you expected. At least you didn’t book a high-priced mid-sized conference room to accommodate a healthy crowd, only to be let down by the no shows. In addition, you can let the people who didn’t attend know that the webinar is available on-demand. 36% of webinar attendees only consume on-demand so it’s highly beneficial to offer this version of your live event.
Infographics are powerful marketing tools that offer snackable content in a visually pleasing layout. You can pique the curiosity of attendees by depicting different aspects of your organisation in a unique, creative manner.
For example, you could create a narrative timeline that details the ideation of your product or service including how you adapted to the changing technological landscape and where you stand today. Since infographics are fun to look at and super shareable, they also provide you with a decent social lift.
#4 Creative content creation
“Content is king.” ~ Bill Gates
Most companies have a dedicated content marketing strategy that focuses on aligning the interests of potential attendees instead of simply advertising to them. The more they can relate to and see the benefit of your event content, the more interest they will take in attending your event. You can promote small business events through different content assets – white papers, infographics, eBooks, and blogs.
The pertinent question – how will you generate this content and how much time and investment will it require?
Consider hiring interns for short-term content projects. It’s a great opportunity for them to get relevant industry experience and work on new, creative projects while you get your required deliverables at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time content creator.
#3 Invest in low-budget merchandise
Allocate a part of your budget in promotional swag such as pens, magnets, stickers, card cases, window decals, or calendars. These low-cost gift items can be distributed at public places and exhibitions and will undoubtedly boost your event’s visibility to a broader audience.
Remember: invest in high-quality swag only for delegates and hosted attendees.
#2 Email marketing
Email marketing is one of the most preferred ways to get new visitors interested in your business, as well as build relationships with existing customers. New website users can get a bonus content piece (preferably an eBook) on subscribing to your newsletter. You can slowly nurture your subscribers until they show an active interest in attending your events, as well as work on developing long-term associations with current customers.
#1 Leverage the power of social media
Social media is one of the most effective tools for event marketers to promote their events. It takes on even more importance for small business events, as you can focus on different ways to engage with your prospects.
For example, you can organise an industry Twitter chat for a corporate event using a hashtag and mention of your brand. Attendees can join in from around the world and participate in giveaways.
Similarly, Facebook and Instagram can be leveraged to promote your event and maximise your reach. Actionable steps include:
- Sponsored posts that highlight a particularly interesting aspect of your event
- Online contests where users can participate in a quiz and tag more friends to your post
- Community groups that discuss the content they consumed and benefits of attending the events
- Regular giveaways
Be it a small business event or a large one, if you are smart with your finances and have done some research on what works for events and what doesn’t, you will always find an efficient, scalable solution to market and promote your event. It doesn’t always have to be glitzy hoardings and giant advertisements!
A major part of your event marketing strategy should revolve around creating a gorgeous event website. Learn how you can build, design and manage your event website and provide attendees an experience they will love with Cvent’s ‘Event Website Design 101’