Branding Business Ideas Content Marketing Insights Marketing & Sales

Event management tips for small businesses

Written by Eyob Yesus

Hosting an event for a small business should be approached as part of a long-term strategy rather than a short-term lead-generation exercise. Events offer numerous opportunities to host, sponsor, and grow your business.

However, challenges such as budget constraints, resource limitations, and effective event promotion can make this difficult for small business owners. As such, it’s crucial to build your community or target market through a consistent, long-term strategy that yields a clear return on investment.

Events play a crucial role in small business marketing strategy, helping to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and foster customer relationships. According to Freeman Trend Reports, 80 per cent of attendees say in-person events are the most trusted way to discover new products and services. Similarly, Globetrender is forecasting a 78 per cent increase in the number of small and medium-sized meetings.

For product-based businesses, live events have a significant impact on purchasing decisions. First Event found that 93 per cent of event attendees say that live events influence them more than watching ads on TV. For service-based businesses, attending events, sponsoring industry-targeted events, and hosting informative and value-driven events are critical for growth.

Nine steps for event management success

Service-based businesses need to build trust and relationships, and events facilitate these goals by offering networking opportunities and establishing authority in the marketplace. So where do you start? Here are nine surefire steps for event management success for small business owners.

#1: Define your goals and objectives

Like any business initiative, start by outlining what you’d like to achieve. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or build customer loyalty? Clear objectives will guide your planning process.

#2: Identify your target market

Knowing who your audience is will help you to tailor your event to meet their needs and preferences. This will enhance engagement and ensure your event is well-received.

#3: Set a clear purpose

Define the purpose of your event and what you want it to deliver for your business. Whether it’s launching a new product, educating your audience, or networking, having a clear purpose will shape your event’s content and structure.

#4: Budget wisely

Start small and build your community over time. Allocate a budget that covers all aspects of the event, including venue, AV, catering, and any additional resources. It’s critical to keep expenses in check to avoid financial strain.

#5: Marketing strategy

How will market your event? What social media channels will you be using? All these questions need to be answered and strategised to ensure your message reaches your target audience. Set a marketing budget and look for partners to leverage cross-promotion. Aligning with partners who share your target audience can significantly extend your reach and enhance your promotional efforts without overwhelming your budget.

#6: Detailed planning

Plan every detail of the event, from how attendees will be greeted at the door to how they will exit. Attention to detail ensures a smooth experience and leaves a lasting impression on your attendees.

#7: Seek Assistance

Don’t try to manage everything on your own. Enlist help from your team or hire a professional event management company to ensure all aspects of your event are covered efficiently.

#8: Engage on event day

Remember that attendees are there for the content, but they also want to connect with the team behind the product or service. Make yourself known and accessible to build personal connections.

#9: Measure your results

After the event, measure your return on investment by analysing metrics such as the number of attendees, engagement via social media, conversion rates, and overall feedback. This will help you to understand what worked and what needs improvement for future events.

Five event management trends for small business owners

#1: The rise of virtual and hybrid events

Due to the pandemic, virtual and hybrid events have become more popular. These formats allow small businesses to reach broader audiences and overcome geographical barriers. Virtual events can be cost-effective and accessible, while hybrid events combine the best of both in-person and online experiences.

#2: Personalisation and attendee experience

Small businesses are focusing on creating personalised experiences to enhance engagement and satisfaction. Personalisation can range from customised content and interactive sessions to tailored communication before, during, and after the event.

#3: Sustainability

There is a growing trend towards making events more sustainable. This includes reducing waste, choosing eco-friendly venues, and promoting digital alternatives to printed materials. Sustainable practices can also resonate well with attendees who value environmental responsibility.

#4: Technology integration

The use of technology in event management is on the rise. This includes using event apps for real-time updates, integrating social media for broader engagement, and utilising data analytics to measure event performance and attendee behaviour.

#5: Experiential Marketing

Creating immersive and memorable experiences is becoming a key focus. This can involve interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and creative themes that captivate attendees and leave a lasting impression.

Closing thoughts

By staying abreast of these trends and adopting a strategic approach to event management, small business owners can effectively leverage events to build brand awareness, generate leads, and foster lasting relationships. The key is to plan thoroughly, stay adaptable, and always keep the attendee experience at the forefront of your efforts.

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Eyob Yesus

Eyob Yesus is Chief Events Officer at The Experience Index (trading as Icon Corporate Events. Based in Sydney, his favourite topics are marketing, sales and events.