Business Events

5 Virtual Events to Grow Your Business

Posted on October 27, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Events, Event Marketing, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , |

5 Virtual Events to Grow Your Business

I’ve mentioned in several of my blog posts that having consistent events for your business is a great marketing strategy.  Events give people an opportunity to learn more about you, more about the business, and more about your product or service.  Over the last decade or so, Virtual Events have become very popular.  I define virtual events as any type of event that does not take place in person.

Here are some examples of types of virtual events you can have to market your business:

  1. Tele-Seminars–  Tele-Seminars have become very popular because they are easy to execute.  All you need is a telephone and a conference line, and you will be able to conduct an event over the phone.  Many companies are using this strategy to introduce prospects to their business, product, service, program, etc.  Although teleseminars are a great strategy, the down side is the lack of visuals.  A company has to rely solely on audio and many people need to see visuals.  That is why most tele-seminars encourage listeners to go to a website to get more information and to sign-up.
  2. Webinars-  Similar to tele-seminars, webinars have become super popular with the increased popularity of the use of the Internet.  Webinars are seminars conducted via the web and participants are able to both hear the speakers and see the visuals.  Webinars are also very easy to put together, all you need to do is use a webinar software that either has VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or you can also use a conference line for people to be able to hear the webinar.  Including a consistent webinar in your marketing strategy can be helpful to growing your business.
  3. Videos  Videos are a great way to conduct virtual events.  Whether it’s a demo video, interview video, etc. videos allow you to create events and post them online to create a virtual event.  You can pre-record the video or stream it live.
  4. Livecasts  Livecasts have also become popular because you are able to actually conduct a live training or seminar which includes a live audience and then stream it over the Internet so that it can be viewed by others online.  This strategy is not totally virtual seeing that you may or may not have a live audience when taping the livecast.
  5. Livestreams–  Similar to Livecasts, Livestreams are not totally virtual because a live stream usually occurs during an actual in-person event like a conference or seminar.  The added ability to record it live and have people view the event via the Internet makes the Livestream a virtual event.

Are you including events in your marketing strategy?  If so, are you also using Virtual Events to grow your business?

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Three Steps to Successful Event Marketing

Posted on October 14, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Events, Event Marketing, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Three Steps to Successful Event Marketing
Having consistent events for your business is a great marketing strategy.  Events are a great way for people to get to know you, like you, and trust you, which we all know is the key to getting more business.   However, putting on events is not always an easy task.  The hardest thing about events is getting people to attend, so this article goes through the 3 steps to successfully market your next event.

Step 1-  Pre-Event

Pre-event is the planning phase which involves all the activities that go into planning an event up until the day that the event occurs.  The planning phase should include the following key elements:

  1. Audience–  who is the event intended for?  Just like all marketing strategies, the first step is to understand who you are trying to reach which includes the usual demographics and the even more important psychographics of your audience.  The demographics covers the age, gender, income level, etc. while the psychographics is going to cover lifestyle, beliefs, attitudes, etc.
  2. Purpose–  What is the goal of the event?  Is the event mainly to get your name and brand out there so you can create brand awareness,  is it to get sales,  is it to grow your prospect list, is it to show appreciate to your customers, is it to educate the market on your industry, etc.  There are so many reasons to have an event, and it is important that you are clear on the specific reason you are having the event.
  3. Promotion–  How are you going to get the word out about your event?  Are you going to use traditional advertising channels like radio, TV, newspaper, etc., or are you going to use new media like social media, blogs, email, etc., or a combination of both forms of media?  List all the ways you are going to promote the event and how often you are going promote it up until the day of the event.
  4. Budget–  It is important to establish a budget for the event.  How much are you willing to spend on the promotion of the event and the actual event itself?  No matter how big or small of an event you are planning, it is important for you to set an overall budget for the event.

Step 2-  During the Event

The marketing of the event does not end while the event is taking place, in fact, some of the best promotion can be done at the event.  Some ways that you can promote during the event include:

  1. Live Stream–  This has become popular for larger events.  With the technology available to be able to broadcast the event around the world, many people are offering free or paid livestreams for people to be able to have access to the event virtually.  This helps to amplify your event goal, because not only will you be reaching the people who attend your event in person, but you can also reach people anywhere in the world.  It goes back to the purpose of your event.  If a livestream will help you reach your overall goal and it is in your event budget, then it may be something to consider.
  2. Social Media–  Social Media and Social Networks like Twitter and Instagram are great to promote not only before the event, but also during the event because it is a way for people who are at the event to connect, and also people who are not at the event to get some of the information presented, and to see some of the activity.  The best way to be effective on social networks is to create a specific hashtag (#) that can be used throughout the event.  This allows for easy grouping and visibility on the network when it comes to conversations and pictures about the event.  Again it is another way to amplify the event to other people who may not be in attendance.

Step 3-  Post-Event

The marketing of the event does not end after the event.  Depending on how often you will be having the event or having other events for your business, the end of the event is a great way to market the next event.

  1. Sign-ups–  Be sure to promote the next event, and whenever possible even encourage individuals to sign-up for the next event on the spot.  That helps you to secure your audience for your next event.
  2. Feedback–  Getting feedback after an event is not only great research on how you can improve your next event, but it also shows your attendees that you care about the events and their feedback is valuable.  Event surveys are a great way to get this type of feedback and the information that you receive from the attendees can help you with the creation and promotion of the next event
  3. Appreciation–  Showing your attendees that you appreciated their attendance is also a great post-event activity.  This could be in the form of an email or a thank you card.  Depending on the size and scope of your event, you would need to decide what is the most appropriate way for you to show your attendees appreciation.

Do you have consistent events to promote your business?  If so, what do you include in your pre-event, during event, and post event planning?

 

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How to Grow Your Business with Relationship Marketing

Posted on September 10, 2014. Filed under: Blog, Business, Business Development, Business Events, Email Marketing, Event Marketing, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Blog Image- September 2014
Dictionary.com defines a relationship as a connection, association, or involvement.  It also defines marketing as the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer.  

My definition of Relationship Marketing is the activities involved in building a greater connection with your clients, prospects and partners.  This strong connection often leads to the sale of products or services, and also increases loyalty to your brand or company.

With that said, Relationship Marketing is a key part of your overall marketing strategy, and should occur both online and offline.

In this blog post I will mention a few activities that you should include in your Relationship Marketing:

ONLINE

In order to build a connection online with your clients, prospects, and partners, it is important to have an online presence.  Included in your online presence should be the following activities:

  • A Company Blog–  In addition to having a company website, a company blog can help to build the relationship that you have with your audience, because a blog allows you to show your expertise, knowledge and personality in ways that a website alone does not accomplish.  The key to a successful business blog is:
    1. It should be updated frequently
    2. It should contain valuable content relevant to your audience
    3. It should showcase the personality of your brand
  • A Social Media Presence–  It’s not necessary to be on all the popular social networks out there, but it is beneficially for your company to be on social networks that have a high percentage of your target market, and networks that will showcase your business well.  Social Networks are a great way to strength your connection with your clients, prospects, and partners because it allows you to create a conversation around your company, industry, products, services, values, beliefs, etc.  The key to a successful social media presence is:
    1. Know your audience
    2. Post content that is interesting to your audience
    3. Create conversations
  • An E-Newsletter or EZine–  An email publication that your company produces is a great way to strengthen the connection that you have with customers, prospects and partners.  It is a great way for your audience to get to know you and get to know what your company stands for.  The key to a successful E-Newletter is:
    1. Know your audience
    2. Give valuable information in each ezine
    3. Provide 80% valuable content and only 20% company promotions

OFFLINE

  • Events–  Plan events to show appreciation for your customers and partners.  Taking the time to host these events can build a strong connection with you and your customers and partners.  It also helps to solidify their loyalty to your company.  You can also have events to introduce your prospects to your business or your brand.  Grand Openings, Launch Parties, etc. are all great ways for people to get to know more about you, your company, and your brand.
  • One-on-One Meetings–  When possible, schedule one-on-one meetings with your clients, prospects and partners.  This is a great way to build a strong connection, and for people to get to know, like and trust you.
  • Send Cards–  It is important to send your customers, prospects and partners cards on various occasions.  This could include birthdays, anniversary, Thank You for Your Business, Thank You for Your Time, Happy Holiday cards and more.   Taking the time out to send your customers, prospects and partners cards really helps to create loyalty and build trust.

These are just a few ways you can use Relationship Marketing to GROW your business.  What other ways can you think of in which you can use Relationship Marketing to grow your business?

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7 Ways to Successfully Promote Your Next Business Event

Posted on May 22, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Events, Email Marketing, Event Marketing, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

7 Ways to Successfully Promote Your Next Business EventIf you have consistent events to promote your business, you know that it can be challenging to get people to attend.  Here are some tips on how you can successfully promote your next business event:

  1. Create an online Event Page–  this page will be the central hub for the information about your event.  The event page will include the details of the event including date, time, location, RSVP ability, etc.  A great tool to use to create an event landing page is Constant Constant’s Essential Toolkit which includes the online event creation tool (used to be EventSpot).  Learn more…
  2. Send an event email to your email list-  Evites are great because they are easy and convenient.  You should send between 3 to 4 emails before the actual event.  The first email should be a “save the date” email, the second email should be the actually event invitation, the third should be a reminder email, and the fourth one should be a “don’t miss out email”. I recommend starting this series of emails four weeks before the event.  You can also use the Constant Constant’s Essential Toolkit to send event emails to your email list.
  3. Send an old-fashioned invitation in the mail–  People receive so many emails that sometimes an e-vite can get lost in the shuffle.  Sending an actual invitation in the mail can be more costly (card, envelope, stamp, etc), but it is almost a guaranteed way to make sure people actually see your invitation.  A great tool to automate the sending of cards is SendOutCards.  SendOutCards is an online greeting card and gifts company.  The system allows you to upload the information for your contacts, select an invitation from their card gallery, customize and even personalize the card, and then it will be printed, stuffed, and mailed out to your contacts for you.  Learn more…
  4. Create an event on Facebook–  Facebook is a great social network to promote events.  When you create an event within Facebook, it makes it easy to invite people via Facebook, and also makes it easy to promote the event via Facebook.  You can include a link to your actual event page on the Facebook page, so everyone is directed to one event page.
  5. Create an event hashtag (#Event)–  Using an event hashtag helps to create a buzz for your event.  This especially works on social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, but can also work well on other social networks like Facebook.  It makes it easy for people to search for comments or pictures regarding the event, and is also a great way for people to start conversations about the event and make connections before, during, and after the event.
  6. Promote your event on several social networks–  Although Facebook is one of the largest social networks, you can get a lot of success by promoting your event on various social networks where your target audience may exist like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc.  A great tool to use to automate your social media posts is hootsuite.  You can load all your event posts in the system and schedule them to go out over an extended period of time on various social networks.  Learn more….
  7. Offer special event promotions-  another great way to get more people to your event is to offer a special incentive.  This incentive could be anything from a swag bag, to a special drawing, to a discount, etc.  People always like to know that they are getting something for FREE or they are getting a great deal.

What techniques do you use to promote your business events?  What other tools would you suggest that helps to promote events?

 

 

 

 

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Top 7 Types of Events That Can Grow Your Business!

Posted on May 8, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Events, Event Marketing, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , |

EventsWhen it comes to growing your business, it is important to have consistent events to showcase your product or service.  There are many types of events that you can have to increase brand awareness both online and offline.  Here are 7 types of events that can help to grow your business:

  1. Tele-seminars–  Tele-seminars may not be considered a typical business event, but it is a great way to grow your business and your email list.  The great thing about tele-seminars is that they are fairly easy to implement.  All you really need is a telephone and a conference line!  There are tons of conference call companies that can host hundreds of people on the line at one time.  Tele-seminars give you an opportunity to educate individuals on your particular product, service, or industry.  They are also a great way for you to introduce your program, product or service as a solution within the marketplace.  Some conference call tools include:
  2. Webinars–  Webinars are online events that are great to increase your brand awareness and provide value to your community.  Webinars are a little more technical than tele-seminars because of the need to show the visuals via a website, but with so many easy to use webinar tools it’s not difficult to host a webinar for your business.  Webinars are a great way to educate your community and provide value while promoting your business, service or product.  Some webinar tools include:
  3. Grand Opening Events–  If you have a physical store front, or an office that is open to the public, having a grand opening event is a great way to announce yourself to your local community.  Most chambers of commerce offer grand opening ceremonies for local businesses that are new to the area and are members of the chamber.  The grand opening event is a great opportunity to showcase your business, products, or services to the local community.
  4. Launch Parties–  If you are launching a new website or new product line, why not have a party to let everyone know about your new product or service?  Launch parties are a great way for people to learn more about your product or service and also create a buzz about your business.
  5. Customer Appreciation Events–  Showing your customers how much you appreciate their business by having a special event to thank your customers is a great way to get repeat and referral business.
  6. Workshops/Seminars  No matter what type of industry your business may be in, hosting an educational workshop or seminar and giving good tips, tools, and techniques on how people can use your product or service can be very beneficial for a company.
  7. Conferences/Expos–  Hosting a large conference can be a lot of work, but it is definitely a way for you to grow your business.  Every industry has annual conferences and expos, and people are always looking for ways to learn more and to network within their industry, so creating a conference or expo is a great way to grow your business.

Are you consistently having events to promote your business?  If so, what events are you having?  What other types of events would you add to the list?

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7 Surprising Ways to Get Repeat and Referral Business

Posted on April 7, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Events, Event Marketing, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

It is a fact that one of the best ways to grow your business is by building the relationship that you have with your current customers.  Most small businesses overlook this fact and concentrate on new customers and new business, but don’t neglect your existing customers because they can really help you grow your business.

In this blog post, I will cover 7 surprising ways you can get repeat and referral business from your current customers:

  1. SendOutCards-HappyBirthdaySend your customers a birthday card.  Yes, I am talking the old fashioned in the snail mail birthday card.  Now a days, so few people take the time to send family, friends and customers physical cards that it would be a welcome surprise for your customer to receive a card from you.  Depending on the size of your customer database, this could be an expensive undertaking, so I suggest if you cannot send a birthday card to every customer, make sure that you send one to your most loyal and repeat customers.  It’s a great way to show that you care about your customers, and it’s a great opportunity to add a special offer for additional products or services.  I get a birthday card and a $10 off gift card from a popular women’s apparel store every year, and most of the time I go in the store to use my gift card.  I am pretty sure this strategy is working for this retail store because I continue to get a card every year.
  2. Send your customers an anniversary card.  You should have the date that your client started using your services on file, so wouldn’t it be great if you sent an anniversary card close to the anniversary date?  It is a great way to stay top of mind, and to stand out in your client’s mind.  An auto dealership used this strategy and sent out anniversary cards to all customers who had purchased a vehicle from the dealership each month.  The card included a discount to use their auto parts & service department.  It was a great way to strengthen the relationship with the customer and get them to come in for additional services.
  3. SendOutCards-ThankYouSend your customer a “Thank You for Your Business” card.  Whenever you close a deal or get a new account, it is the start of a new business relationship.  Why not show your customers how much you appreciate this new relationship and send a thank you for your business card.  You will be surprised how this can make you stand out as a business and strengthen the new business relationship.  Paying attention to the little details also makes customers more encouraged to send referral business to you because they know you will treat the person who they refer with as much care as you have treated them.
  4. Send your potential customer a “Thank You for Your Time” card. Sometimes you may not get the business on the first appointment.  That’s why it is important to follow-up with the prospect with a card thanking her for her time.  This will allow you to stand out and when the customer is ready to make a purchase because you took this additional step, your chances of being the one to get the business is much higher.
  5. SendOutCardsSend your customers holiday cards.  Whether it is one of the popular holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Independence Day, or one of those less popular holidays like President’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, etc.  take the time to send your customers a holiday card for the holidays that you feel would be appropriate.  I know I have said this before, but people just don’t get a lot of cards anymore, so receiving a card from your company on a special holiday can really make your company shine!
  6. Send a customer a life milestone card.  Sometimes you may know of a special event that occurred in your customer’s life, like the birth of a grandchild, or the graduation of a child, or an engagement or marriage.  Whatever the special occasion may be, sending a nice card to your customer to recognize the milestone is  great way to build the business relationship and for you to stand out as someone who cares about your customers.
  7. Send your customers a special invitation to an upcoming promotional event.  Having consistent events to promote your business is always a smart thing to do, but making sure you send a special invitation to your VIPs, loyal, or repeat customers is sometimes overlooked.  Receiving an email about an event can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, so sending an invitation via the mail can help your event to stand out and will keep your company and the event top of mind for your customers.

You will notice that the common element for each one of these tips is to send a card!  A great system to use to automate the sending of cards and gifts for your clients is SendOutCards.  SendOutCards is an online system that allows you to select a card, customize the card, add the contact information for the recipient or upload a list of contacts, and hit send.  The card will then be printed, stuffed, and mailed to the recipient(s) all by the click of your mouse.  In addition, you’re able to keep track of all the cards and gifts that you send because the system keeps a record of everything for you.

For more information go to www.SendOutCards.com  If you decide that you want to use the system to send your cards and gifts, you can use id#155454 to join.

 

 

 

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The best kept secret to using social networking to grow your business (Part 2)

Posted on September 24, 2013. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Events, Event Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Meetup Logo

In my last post, The best kept secret to using social networking to grow your business, I talked about a popular social networking site that doesn’t get as much attention as the other major sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, but is a very effective tool to grow your business, and that social network is Meetup.com.  As I mentioned in Part 1, there are two ways that you can use Meetup to grow your business, joining a meetup group or organizing a meetup group.  For the sake of this post, I will talk about how to organize a meetup.  Here are five ways to grow your business by organizing a meetup group:

1.  Start a Meetup specifically for your target market.  Once you know your target market, it is easy to start a group that caters to your target market.  Your goal is to create a community of individuals who are in your target market and provide them with valuable information and fun events.  The goal of the Meetup should never be to sell your product or service, but to offer some value to your community and in turn that should lead to business for you.

Tip:  Make sure the name of the group and/or the description of your group is very clear so that you are attracting the right people to join your Meetup group.  Adding the specific area (i.e. Women Business Owners of Atlanta, Foodies in Chicago, etc.) gives the feel of a large group designed specifically for the people in that area.

2.  Create more than one Meetup Group.  Meetup allows you to create up to three Meetup groups for one quarterly fee.  As of now, the quarterly fee is just $45/per quarter, which amounts to $15/month.  If you have three Meetup groups that amounts to just $5/month per Meetup group and you can create very specific niches of your target market and tailor your meetups to this specific niche (i.e. women who are vegetarians, men who are in finance, etc.).  The more specific your niche the more specific you can make your Meetup, but keep in mind a broad category will attract more people and a specific category will attract a smaller group.

3.  Have consistent Meetups for your Group.  The most effective Meetup groups I have seen have been groups that have consistent events that are planned out well in advance.  For example having a meetup every first Monday of the month or every other Tuesday, helps to show that your group is consistent in the events that they offer.  Even being consistent with the type of event you are having can help to build up your Meetup having a monthly or bi-weekly outing,  breakfast, luncheon, workshop, networking, etc.

4.  Create a leadership team.  It always helps if more than one person is assisting with the organizing of the group and running of the Meetups, so having a co-organizer or other members of the Meetup as your Leadership team is very helpful.

5.  List your business as a sponsor of your Meetup Group.  This is nice subtle way to put your business name out to the group without feeling like you are hard selling your products or services, you can even offer a discount to individuals from the Meetup who decide to purchase your products or services.

Have you created a meetup group to help grow your business?  If so, share what has or hasn’t been working for your meetup group.

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4 ways to make sure your next business event is a hit

Posted on September 4, 2013. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Events, Event Marketing, Marketing | Tags: , , |

Successful Business Events

People want to get to know you and your business.  The best way to accomplish this is by having events.  Events are a great way to showcase your business and let people know about your products and services.  When planning an event it doesn’t have to be a large event sometimes the smaller more intimate events are a better way for you to get to know your clients and your prospects, and for them to get to know you and your business.  Here are four main things to consider when having an event to promote your business:

  1. Create a theme for your event–  Is this event a workshop, seminar, product or service launch party, etc.?  Use a creative name to draw attention to your event and to keep it fun for the attendees (i.e. Cards & Cocktails, Women Investing Wisely, Bling Bash, etc.).  You can even create a special event logo that you can use on all your event promotional material to keep the look and feel of the event consistent.
  2. Select a nice venue–  the look and feel of the place where you have your business event leaves an impression on your prospects and clients, so be sure to pick a nice venue and create a very professional atmosphere.  Consider hiring an event planner to take care of the details of the event the day of the event, so you have more time to relax, present your product or service and enjoy your guests.
  3. Promote your event online–  Of course now a days this kind of goes without saying that you have to promote your event online.  This includes on your website, social media, and e-mails.  Emails are a great way to get the word out about your event to your existing customers and clients, and social media channels are a great way to  get the word out about your event and reach new prospects.  You can even create a hashtag for your event (i.e. #MyFunEvent) so people can follow that hashtag on popular social media sites that use the hashtag as a search criteria.  Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all allow users to search for posts grouped by a hashtag.
  4. Send special invitations to your VIP customers–  As old fashioned as this may sound, sending an invitation to your special clients via old fashioned snail mail is a great way for you and your event to stand out in the mind of your client, so take the time to mail out invitations to your event.

Are you consistently having events to showcase your services or products?  If so, what types of events do you have, and how do you make sure your events are successful?

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