Any entrepreneur will tell you that it takes persistence and hard workPut together some freebies and make sure you talk about your goodie bags when marketing your trade show. to be successful. Aside from loving what you do, you need to continuously learn from others and build a great team of employees. One of the most important things you can do is to build your brand reputation through PR strategies.

PR is all about reputation. And reputation is everything to a business. In addition to shaping how your target customers perceive you and your brand, PR also allows you to share your vision with consumers while building influence. And although press releases and testimonials are some great strategies, there is one path you might need to take – hosting a business event.

Hosting a corporate business event is a daunting task. Making it successful, even more so. However, these kinds of events are crucial since they offer endless possibilities to grow your business, be known to the industry and widen your network. So, how do you do it?

Comprehensive Guide to Creating and Hosting Business Events

1. Select The Right Type of Event

The best way to know what type of event you should host is to ask your customers.

Who is your audience? What kinds of activities do they like? Address these questions and you will get a general idea of what type of event you should go for. You can also do some research on your competitors and see if they have thrown any events recently. This will help you figure out what made them successful so you can incorporate those elements into your own function.

Also, consider the season or time of the year when you are planning to run an event. If you are throwing it later in the year, consider a holiday theme. If it’s in November, you may want to incorporate a Halloween theme.

2. Sort Out Your Finances

The last thing you want is to run out of funds when you are about to launch your the event.

Think about what services you’ll need including marketing materials, professional fixtures such as exhibition stands, staff, inventory and more. Take note of the prices of the required services and products and add at least 10 – 20 percent to the figure to give the budget some room.

3. Marketing

An event is nothing without the participants. It’s never too early to start promoting your event since you want the slots to be filled as soon as possible. This should help you focus on the program and the event itself.

Before the event, you can leverage social media networks to promote it and build hype. You can also send e-mail invitations or postcard invitations, create a Facebook event with invitations, hand out flyers, phone clients directly or put out a banner in front of your store. Make sure you invite guest speakers and influential people to your event.

During the event, delegate someone to use Instagram Stories and Facebook Live for all your followers to see. After the event, you can post photos and videos to show your followers and audience how successful your event was. Don’t forget to tag all major speakers, players, and VIP guests.

4. During the Big Day

You can set the mood with the right selection of music and it should be present throughout the whole event. Another detail to consider is serving alcohol. Once people are drinking, they tend to relax and become more open to start shopping.

You might also want to go easy on the sales pitches or try to avoid them altogether. It may be a common practice to showcase your merchandise, however, your goal here is to deliver a great experience without stuffing your products and services down anyone’s throat.

Lastly, nothing grabs people’s attention instantly like free stuff. So, make sure to make room in your budget and prepare some goodie bags for your event. Put together some freebies and make sure you talk about your goodie bags when marketing your trade show. But you may not want to fill them with product samples only. You could invest in promotional products that they would use everyday. Just make sure they’re not generic, they’re related to your brand and of decent quality. For example, a weight-loss app could offer fitness bracelets, custom sweatbands or promotional stainless sports bottles.

5. Second Chance Promotions and Follow Ups

Extending special opportunities to people who couldn’t make it will make you look good and appealing in the eyes of your audience. So, if it makes sense for your business, see if you can do something along those lines.

After the event, round up your employees and discuss the whole event. What went wrong? What went right? Let everyone have their say. Take note of learning and insights so you can apply them in your next small business event.