Attracting business through ads, commercials, and discount programs are key elements in the equation for shaping a successful promotional campaign. But once a client arrives at your door, it is vital to a establish a strong relationship with them. One way to do this is by providing a positive and memorable experience for each person who visits your office, storefront, and/or website...AND through special events at commercial sites, event venues, and even the boss's home. The following list can help you review the effectiveness of your daily operation, as well as your strategic planning for success in branding and promotion.
Regardless of whether you are working alone, or with an expansive team, the planning for any event can be advanced by asking positive, non-judgmental questions.
~ Is the event in harmony with your work toward your overall goals? Beyond potential revenue, what is its overall value?
~ Could the event be designed as a neighborhood or inter-organizational project?
~ Are there any conflicts with larger events or those with parallel themes? [Check local event calendars.]
~ Paid or volunteer, do you have adequate personnel to operate the event?
~ What appropriate facilities, equipment, and materials are available to you?
~ Can you afford the event's up-front and overall expenses? [Remember to allow for unexpected expenses when setting your budget.]
~ Do you have appropriate insurance coverage? Would temporary coverage for the event itself be more cost-effective than a change in your comprehensive policy?
~ Set the date and prepare an Event Planning Calendar with deadlines.
~ Consult with an attorney regarding facility rental, insurance, and contracts with venders and other contractors.
~ Review and/or design operational forms, including staff/volunteer scheduling.
Schedule advertising and other promotional activity yearly. Annual planning helps you design a program that is both harmonious and effective! Allow for unexpected promotional opportunities in your annual budget.
~ Seek optimal event times and venues to yield measurable results from your advertising investments.
~ Choose promotional programs to attract new clients while offering reward incentives for established clientele.
~ Add a new promo element yearly that will enhance your community and/or non-profit interaction.
To maximize the effectiveness of your promotion, consider realistic investments of time and funding.
~ Research and design promotional materials referencing other events you may be planning. This includes, but is not limited to fliers, posters, and letters/emails to neighbors, industry colleagues, community leaders.
~ Research and design promotional materials and outreach referencing other events you may be planning. This includes, but is not limited to fliers, posters, and letters/emails to neighbors, industry colleagues, community leaders and local, regional, and national media outlets...as appropriate.
~ Analyze past advertising programs to determine successful content and design elements.
Harmonize your promotional material.
~ Consistently use the same version of your logo for all signage, communication, and promotion.
~ Harmonize tones and shades of colors throughout all types of signage and promotional materials.
~ Encourage all staff, volunteers, and supporters to employ the same language when describing your organization, your daily operation, and special events.
Synchronize internal and external promotion.
~ Remember to excite your base by promoting internally with staff/volunteers, clients/members and other supporters. Offer them discounts for advance enrollment or purchase of tickets and other items...provided this will not undermine interaction with the public.
~ Invite local, regional, national, or even international celebrity involvement.
~ Evaluate your event's newsworthiness for each possible media outlet. Verify their event calendars, editorial and advertising protocols and deadlines. Generate timely media releases...see samples at Media Release Samples.
The facility you will utilize may offer equipment and other materials that will lessen the strain on your budget and personnel. BUT, never assume that the equipment and supplies you see on a walk-through will be present at the time of your event...Create lists/forms to track each area of operational need.
~ Examine entrances/exits, parking, overall spaces; signage, electrical and sound systems.
~ Consider aspects of the following, which you may need to augment: restrooms, waste disposal, food preparations spaces, appliances, equipment, etc.
~ List even operational supplies ranging from minor items like pens, tape, and name badges to sound and lighting equipment, linens, tables and dishes.
~ Contact potential vendors, entertainers, special guests about their special needs.
P R E - E V E N T
You've planned and reviewed many aspects of your event...which may be a repeat of past affairs, or something wholly new. One thing that many organizers overlook is designing the event's layout...let alone attempting some form of dry run. You can actually conduct a practice drill on a large format diagram of the event layout, or at least utilize a dry erase board. This can even become a fun exercise, utilizing chess pieces, or paper cutouts to represent people, equipment, etc. Such a practice will allow you to determine points for: check-in for vendors, staff, performs, and special events; reception area for last-minute gifts, donations, auction items.
No matter how well you plan for an event, unexpected things will occur. Some are positive, like the unexpected attendance of of members of the media or the world of entertainment. Others, such as medical emergencies are not so pleasant, but must be planned for. One of the easiest items to overlook is taking photos and making videos. These images, with or without sound, can provide wonderful material for concurrent or future promotion. I think most of you may be aware that many book fairs provide live streaming images of their days' events!
P O S T - E V E N T
Surveys and expressions of gratitude are key to leaving your organization...and community...pleased with the possibility of a future event!
~ Use a survey with a 5-point scale to solicit response from: vendors, performers, staff, media. Remember to include a general comments section to encourage suggestions for an encore!
~ Call or send personalized notes to thank key donors, staff, volunteers, and guests for their participation. Mail general thank you cards to vendors, volunteer core, survey respondents.
~ Consider special recognition of some participants at future events!
This is a book event tablescape...at the end of a very long day...
THANK YOU FOR DROPPING IN!
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