Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Large companies like Apple, Microsoft and Sony can plan events and have millions of people attend without having to send a single invitation or tell anyone other than the nearest tech reporter about it. However, for small businesses or those who are relatively unknown the success of a business event or activity mainly depends on how many people know about it. It all boils down to first planning a great event and then marketing it effectively without creating too much hype.

How to promote your event?

The success of your event will start with an effective promotion campaign. Many business owners believe that the best time to start promotion is when you’ve decided to host the event. This gives you enough time to lay the groundwork for the promotion and answer important business questions. Below are the steps you should take to start promoting your event:

  • Start by asking who is the event for? You need to start with knowing exactly who the event is geared towards. Then figure out the most cost effective yet best way to reach your target audience i.e. print ads, social media promotions, email etc. Think of what value you’re going to offer people who will be at the event.
  • Chart out a set of milestones for each segment of the event: Once the date for your event has been decided you then have to work backwards from there to decide when will be the best time to send out reminders and invitations. You also have to consider what will be the best time to order things like giveaways and sample products.
  • Sending invitations: You should send invitations using an array of methods i.e. electronic and physical invitations. Generally speaking people under 40 should be sent electronic invitations and those over should be sent a physical card or invitation letter.

Other promotion ideas

A few other things you can do to market your business event is to piggyback off other larger events that are taking place near you. This will help you establish quite a bit of traction for your event. For instance, if you’re having a business event in San Francisco you can piggyback off Business Week, with a bit of extra marketing you can get customers to attend your event too.

Cohost a larger event

Another probably more time consuming yet conventional way to market your event is to co-host a larger event. This will help you gain more attendees for the event which improves your prospect for more business. However, the downside to this is that a larger brand or even a competing larger brand may pull away people from your business. There is always this risk that even diehard fans of your products and services will give someone else a shot. So this needs to be thought through properly.

Get business donations

You can also gather donations from other businesses whom you think will benefit the most from the event you’re planning. These businesses can be offered a chance to sponsor various aspects of the event in the form of giveaways, music, swag etc.

Hand out invitations to everyone

Events in Sydney are usually a big deal but it does not hurt to hand out invitations to everyone you think will benefit from the event or be interested in it. Have a few invitations in your office and the majority fo them over to the receptionist and brief her on whom to hand the invitations to.

Start a social media page and start promoting online

Social media is free and if you can create an event page that links to your main business page you can engage a whole host of people you’ve already interacting with. You can probably run an extra promotion for people who share the event and invite with friends by offering them something extra.

Always follow the first rule of business

The first rule of business is that your investment should yield a profit. While you cannot expect most small business events to turn a profit immediately, the idea should be to gear the event towards one goal instead of several. Staging Connections suggests that small business owners shouldn’t go overboard with calculating how much food and drink may cost them but rather plan for more people than they think will come. Also have extra food and drink on standby just in case people turn up during the second half. 
Featured images:
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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:,_Pequannock,_NJ.jpg
  •  License: Image author owned 
Mark is a small business owner who currently runs three very successful small businesses around Australia. One of his businesses is running promotional events in Sydney for small and medium sized businesses. His years of experience as a business owner himself is what helps many startups succeed by running successful events. Staging Connections in Facebook, Twitter and Google+

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