Events help brands connect with their customers and community on a personal level. Personal interaction is part of what makes physical retail so special, and why it’s so fun to take that a step further by hosting an event.
Beyond just promoting your brand to boost sales, events create a feeling of community and loyalty among your customers. This is one reason why Angela Ahrendts, the SVP of retail at Apple, founded ‘Today at Apple,’ an event program for Apple stores. But before you dive into hosting an event, you need to figure out the details. Here are five steps you should take when planning an event:
Set a goal.
There’s no point in holding an event just for the sake of having one. There should be thought behind what kind of event you want to host and a reason why you’re hosting it. Your goals can be anything from raising brand awareness to attracting new customers to launching a new product. The more specific and measurable your goals, the easier it will be to track whether you’re getting a return on the investment you put into it.
Target the right audience.
Depending on your brand and business strategy, you might not want to host an event for all of your customers. Whatever audience you choose to target, just make sure it aligns with your goals. For example, you might want to host an exclusive experience for VIP customers in order to reward their loyalty and keep them engaged with your products. Try targeting a fairly specific audience at first—you can always open up invites to more people later on.
Work out the logistics in advance.
The earlier you can start planning your event, the better. Shooting for at least six months in advance will make sure you have plenty of time to work out the logistics and promote it. For some events, promotion should start six to eight weeks in advance. Tactics like “Early Bird Tickets” create a sense of urgency and make your customers want to buy sooner. Doing that can also help you get a sense of numbers long before the event, so you can plan ahead and spend the week before focused on last-minute details.
Set a budget.
If you have a marketing budget, make sure you leave room for events. Even a small amount reserved for complimentary wine at a ‘sip and shop’ can go a long way. A good plan of action is to set aside more than you actually think you’ll need. That way, if there are any late surprises, such as your caterer dropping out the night before, you know you’ll be covered.
Combining forces with other brands that have similar audiences can help with costs and outreach. However, you should make sure to communicate expectations and designate responsibilities early on, so that both you and your brand partner know who is handling what.
For more planning tips, check out The Ultimate Event Checklist to Foolproof Your Planning from our friends at Eventbrite.