If you’re a small business owner planning a special event, you want to make sure you get the word out in a way that compels people to attend. Here are some ideas on what works.
A lot depends on the type of event you’re planning. Is it a low-key networking event for casual business associates? Is it an annual fund-raiser for your nonprofit’s primary cause? Or is it more of a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of a major milestone or occasion?
An upscale party for a worthy cause may have enough juice on its own to attract guests, clients, and customers. But most small businesses are orchestrating more everyday affairs such as open houses, promotions, trade shows, holiday parties, and conferences. Regardless, you have to capture people’s attention, and you need to fill the room. There’s nothing worse than hosting an event that is barely attended.
Collateral such as save-the-date postcards, invitations, RSVP cards, posters, ads, brochures, fliers, billboards, and Web banners are important pieces of marketing an event. The key with collateral is to apply a consistent look to all the elements to build a unified marketing campaign. The look and feel of this collateral should reflect your company brand.
Give some thought to playing around with the size of some of your collateral, particularly invitations, which usually create a first impression about your event. Unusual sizes, something super tiny or greatly oversized, might be a conversation piece and move your event up on the must-attend list.
Once you have an overall strategy, use it throughout your marketing campaign, from the initial announcement of the event to the invitation and RSVP card and all points in between. Choose easy-to-read fonts. Pick a simple, uncluttered design scheme, one that marries text and graphics in a comprehensible way. Don’t cram too much information on your selected medium; less is more in this case.
All material should incorporate your company logo and similar or complementary colors so they work in tandem; and these choices should reflect your unique corporate culture and the nature of the event.
Many companies these days do their inviting via e-mail, electronic invitations, or social networking sites. While these are great resources for getting the word out quickly and to a large number of people, they are also impersonal. And there’s no reminder hanging on their bulletin boards. A hard copy invitation is still a necessary part of an event.
To be certain your announcement does not get overlooked in a pile of mail, you should consider using a messenger service to hand deliver at least a portion of the invitations; especially to those people who are your best customers or those who would raise the profile of your event.
Your unified marketing collateral campaign shouldn’t stop once the event begins. If you create signs, tabletop displays, name tags, bags, or badges, continue to use the same design scheme. Sending people home with your company’s logo will help to keep your company top of mind.