In some ways, creating a spectacular event is the easy part. With the right budget and a talented event producer, amazing results are a simple matter of careful planning and execution. However, getting people to show up can be the real challenge. Without an effective marketing effort it can be difficult to build the ‘buzz’ before the event that ensures a full guest list and lots of positive comments after it’s over. But, don’t despair. There are proven techniques to ensure you optimize the return on your event budget – by maximizing attendance and making it easy to follow up. Here’s what you can do:
Theme events continue to be one of the most popular ways to engage and entertain guests. But to get the most from your theme, it must be reflected in every aspect of the event. As an example, Bright Ideas created themed invitations for our Groovy BBQ theme event. From the outset the invited guests could see that creativity and fun were going to be a big part of the event.
The event was well-attended, guests really got into the fun, and our client was delighted with the results. Skip the boring invites. Set the stage for fun and your guests will arrive ready to embrace the theme.
Create a Buzz with Social Media
During your event, create ways for participants to share pictures and comments, with options such as a fun photo booth and wireless Internet capability, so guests can tweet and post their comments and pictures to their favourite social media channels. Also, create a ‘hashtag’ (example: #yourevent) so others can find information about the event on Twitter. This is particularly effective for public events such as product launches and customer appreciation events. All it takes is a prominent guest with lots of followers to tweet or post a picture and you’ve really expanded the reach of your event. It might even get them to check it out in person. Cheap, easy, and effective!
Follow Up the Fun with a Contest
An effective way to cement the memory of an event in someone’s mind is through post-event follow-up. It can be as simple as a short email thanking guests for their attendance and inviting constructive feedback, something more personal such as a hard-copy photo of the guest during the event, or even a contest, where the winner is announced in the days following the event. The winners in the pictures above participated in a gardening planting competition at the event. They decorated their basket, shopped for plants and then they potted their plants. The best basket in each category won a prize and what a prize it was; a complete gardening set!
Top Three Last Minute Spring and Summer Events
Most events require lots of lead time to organize, but even if you’ve put off arranging a spring or summer event until now, there are still ways to host an event that looks like it was months in the planning! Call us to see how we make last-minute magic!
Chances are the annual barbeque is a time-honoured tradition at your organization. This year, jazz it up with a theme. Simple décor elements and activities turn the usual burgers and shop-talk into something a little more fun for employees AND their families.
Race to the Tropics A car rally features elements of a scavenger hunt, along with some easy navigation challenges. It’s a fun way to incorporate team-building into your summer event. Guests congregate at the finish line to enjoy a catered tropical theme BBQ and awards for the winning teams.
Fun That Floats A sunset cruise is a great spring or summer activity, especially if you are hosting out of town guests. Go a step further with a Maritime Pub Crawl. Hit a few of the local seaside watering holes and dress up the vessel with a Cruise Ship theme.
Social Media and Special Events
Social Media is now an integral part of the special event landscape. We’ve asked social media specialist Michelle Bucher to tell us how you can use it to build buzz around your event, both before the big day, and during the event itself. Here are 5 tips to help you build buzz around your event, both before the big day, and during the event itself.
Michelle Bucher is the founder of MBucher Consulting (www.mbucherconsulting.com), an interactive marketing agency with a focus on social media management. She is passionate about social media marketing, and has turned that passion into a business — assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs to make a strong social media impression.
Five Tips for Social Media Event Success
Create a short, memorable hashtag for people to use at your upcoming event (ie #summerfest). That makes it easy for attendees to see each other’s tweets and have online conversations about the event.
2. Display your Twitter handle
Publish your Twitter handle and event hashtag throughout your print material. This will encourage people to get social and talk about your upcoming event.
Creating a countdown on your social channels is a great way to help build hype online for your upcoming event. This also serves as reminder advertising with “mark your calendar,” and “3 days until the event.” From personal experience, we see this as an opportunity to encourage fans to talk about what they are looking forward to seeing, expressing excitement for the upcoming event.
4. Branded Photo Opps
Photo booths and other “photo moments” are a great opportunity to get your corporate brand featured in event pictures that will last for years to come. Make sure to utilize branding opportunities during your event.
5. Social Customer Service
This is becoming increasingly important for any event. Social customer service essentially gives you the ability to monitor what others are saying about your event, before, during and after your event. Don’t forget to reach out to those people, engage with them, ask questions and share information.
Ask Sharon: Getting Started in the Industry
Sharon Bonner has made Bright Ideas Event Coordinators one of Canada’s top corporate event production companies. With decades of experience in the industry, her knowledge, contacts, and creativity are the key ingredients in Bright Ideas Events’ outstanding corporate events.
How do I get started if I have no experience?
The best advice I can give to you is to get your feet wet as soon as possible. Volunteer for any and every kind of event so that you can gain all sorts of experience. Try volunteering in an event office preparing for the event. Then volunteer for set up, event and tear down as each shift offers different exposure. Don’t be frightened to try anything. I suggest that you experience all kinds of events from weddings to conferences to corporate events so that you can get a real feel for the type of event best suited to your style.
Do you think formal event planning education is critical?
I think it is good to get some basic education so that you are able to converse with other event professionals. Learning about production schedules, risk assessment plans, waivers, insurance, etc. is always good knowledge to have in your back pocket. If I had to choose an employee with event education or event experience, I would choose the candidate who had worked the trenches. Experience is key!
Are event planning internships valuable and how do I find one?
Most certainly! I think internships are by far the best way to take a “crash course” in this field. It gives you great hands on experience and looks impressive on your resume. Plus you get a great letter of reference at the end of the internship!
I would suggest that you start searching early on in the year for a position before you graduate. Take time to meet with prospective companies to see what they offer and if they might have an opening for you. Internships terms are usually 3 – 6 months and are most often unpaid to begin with.
What’s the most interesting venue you have experienced? Picnic on a mountaintop? Cops and Robbers theme at the Police Museum? Tell us the unique venue you’re still talking about and you could win a $150 gift certificate to enjoy some of BC’s finest sustainable seafood, from the Fish House in Stanley Park. Submit your photo and comments and we’ll enter you in the contest. Plus, vote on your favourite entry and you could win some Bright Ideas apparel. Tell your friends. The most votes wins!
Staff Pick of the Month – Fanny Ly
My favourite event was the Great Gatsby Gala. The ladies looked great in flapper dresses, pearls, and feather boas, as did the men in suave suits and fedora hats. From the décor to the casino games, the era came to life. Low lights, swing music, and classic food and drink finished the illusion. And, if guests showed up without a costume, it was taken care of with pearl beads, silky feather boas, sharp bowler hats, and feather headbands!
The Proven Solution for Great Events
Don’t leave your important corporate events to chance. A great event requires superior planning, preparation, and experience. At Bright Ideas, our award-winning corporate events and satisfied clients are proof we can deliver. Call us or request a quote to find out how Bright Ideas can create an exceptional event for your company.
Want to see more great images from the events mentioned in this newsletter? Visit our portfolio or click a link below:
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