SME owners should always pursue new marketing channels to ensure that their business continues to grow. As part of this, more firms are harnessing the potential of social media – as this social media infographic shows, 65 per cent of markets are using these platforms to develop loyal fans – and though traditional methods like trade press advertisements remain popular, many SMEs continue to be wary of events marketing.
Entrepreneurs are often under the impression that this form of promotion is restricted to large organisations with huge budgets and substantial manpower, but with the option to outsource promotional staff from organisations and numerous options for cost-effective events, there is no reason that SMEs should not take advantage of this strategy.
The benefits of events marketing
Running an event is one of the few ways that you can interact face-to-face with your existing customers and potential clients, and this can be extremely rewarding. As a small-business owner, you can directly gauge reactions to your message from large numbers of people and develop a comprehensive understanding of public awareness and sentiment regarding your company.
Traditional marketing channels like print and radio offer a one-way communication channel, and while consumers do have the ability to respond to your messages and advertisements on social media, you do not have the opportunity to hear everyone’s opinions. You are most likely to receive correspondence from either end of the scale – customers who are extremely pleased or dissatisfied with your service.
Events marketing can also offer value to customers and prospects, much like content marketing, which is an extremely effective marketing tool because it enables businesses to promote their brand while simultaneously providing prospects with a positive experience. By delivering value to visitors, events have a positive impact on brand perception and engage people in a meaningful way.
Getting the most out of your SME event
As highlighted above, it is extremely important to deliver value to those who interact with your SME event. This means providing some kind of positive experience; your event should not act solely as a live advertisement.
B2C companies might choose to hand out samples of their product – research shows that this strategy can enhance sales and increase online word-of-mouth, which translates into greater brand awareness and more customers.
On the other hand, B2B organisations could opt to run a seminar and provide their potential clients with relevant, useful information. This also has the advantage of building your brand’s reputation as an authoritative name within the industry.
Of course, you want the interactions to attract people who may be interested in your brand, so the event you run must be related to your enterprise and catered to your target audience. Think about the experiences that your potential customers would enjoy and base your programme around this.
Invest in branded merchandise to ensure that your name is prominent without being explicitly promoted, and avoid overtly advertising your company – tying in the image of your company with a positive event is enough. You could almost imagine you were simply a sponsor of the event.
Finally, make sure you take every opportunity to raise awareness of the event, and therefore your SME. Your other marketing channels can be used to highlight the positive things your company is doing, and you can use testimonials from your attendees to help build a positive image around your SME after the event.
The local press may even be interested in your story, meaning your SME could reach a much wider audience at no cost to you. Don’t be hesitant to get in touch with local journalists, especially if your event has a social enterprise aspect.
This article was submitted on behalf of Zest, which has a UK-wide network of professional promotional staff who can create a buzz around any event. Compensation was received for this post.