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Planning an Event to Promote Your Business

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

When it comes to promoting your business, it may behoove you to wine and dine clients, prospective clients, and even the press if you want to get your name out there and increase your earning potential.  But you probably have a couple of competing goals in mind.  While you certainly want to impress your guests and make the evening unforgettable, you don’t want to blow your entire marketing budget on just one night.  So you need to try to get the most bang for your buck.  Here are just a few areas you’ll have to cover, and how to get a lot of value out of the money you do end up spending.

1. Invitations.  You could spend the money to print up fancy paper invitations, but these days it seems like everything in business is done online, including party invites.  So open an account with Evite and put together an electronic invitation (if you’re a business trying to go green, this is a great way to show it).  Send it out six weeks in advance (especially if your event is during a busy holiday or summer travel season) and then send a reminder 1-2 weeks out.  This will net you instant replies and a quick headcount.

2. Decorations. When it comes to your décor, you’ll want to mix sophisticated design elements with targeted marketing materials.  This is, after all, an event to promote your business.  You may be hosting an event for any number of reasons, from announcing new products or services, to celebrating a major success or expansion, to simply drumming up business.  Whatever your goals for having an event, you should strive to keep the décor in line with the sensibilities of your business and your clients while subtly ensuring that guests are aware of the whatever information you’re trying to impart.

3. Food.  Now that you’ve got the guest list set and preparations for the venue underway, it’s time to think about the dining portion of your event.  And there are several ways you could go at a variety of price points.  A fancy, 5-course menu is great if you’ve got money to burn and clients that expect you to pull out all the stops.  But smaller companies may want to consider hors d’oeuvres, a dessert bar, or even finger sandwiches, scones, and English tea (like a traditional tea party).  Pretty much anything goes these days.

4. Alcohol.  Whether you want guests to imbibe during your event is entirely up to you, but there are some guidelines to consider.  If you want to host a cocktail party, then you’ll necessarily have to provide alcohol (whereas a high tea would include none).  If you’re throwing an evening event, alcohol may be expected, while it would be less conspicuous to find it absent at a daytime event.  But if you simply don’t want the expense (or the fallout), forget about the open bar.  Provide vouchers for each guest to have one or two drinks on you (and offer only beer and wine) and then make them pay for further alcoholic beverages.

5. Entertainment.  Aside from the food, the event entertainment you choose may be the most important feature of the night, and it can be used to highlight your business.  If you are one of the many businesses that operate internationally these days, you could go with a global theme and hire belly dancers, Taiko drummers, and even Carnivale face-painters.  Or if you are in the business of solving problems, perhaps you could hire magicians (they make objects disappear just like you make your client’s problems go away).  Of course, you could just hire a rockin’ band for the evening.  As long as you put some thought into the event and arrange for entertainment that can be used to highlight an aspect of your business, your event is sure to be a success.

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