In parts one and two of our series on event planning for advisory practices, we suggested ideas for events – both big and small – that can help boost your business’s local profile, engage potential clients and nurture your current client relationships. But putting on a successful event requires more than just having a good idea; you need a structure in place to execute on that idea.
Here are four logistical tips for putting together a night to remember:
Pick a lead planner.
Executing on your events program can be overwhelming, but if you have your marketing strategy clearly defined, take a look internally to see if anyone on your staff has a passion or hidden talent for planning events. You may be pleasantly surprised when an existing staff member rises to the occasion and begins to flourish in the role. For more complicated events, you can also hire an event planner to assist.
Find an ideal location for each individual event.
Depending on the size of the event you’re hosting, locations and price will vary greatly.
If you’re just starting out or planning a small event, consider using your office space, which will allow you to control costs and welcome clients into your work environment. Other cost-effective venues can include intimate eateries or public spaces with catering.
For larger events, you have a wide range of options such as country clubs, hotels, restaurants, loft spaces, barns or museums. Know your audience, and when things start feeling stale, try an exciting new venue to give your clients a sense of adventure and excitement.
● Your office
● A public space in your office complex
● Art gallery
● Botanical garden
● Loft or Warehouse
● Banquet hall
● Country club
When working with a venue that provides food and beverages, ask the catering manager to suggest their most popular fare. Make sure to reach out to guests before the event to ask about dietary preferences and allergies so you can be sure you’re picking food that your clients can enjoy.
Build the guest list.
When inviting clients and prospects, share the event information in-person during client meetings or on the phone, and send out an online invitation or evite. Make invitations easy to forward so clients can pass the invite on to family and friends as appropriate.
Schedule planning meetings before (and after!) the event.
Schedule a pre-event meeting for every person at your firm who is attending the event. Familiarize everyone with the attendee list so that during the event, your employees already know a bit about who’s who and can make them feel welcome.
As detailed above, post-event work is also critical to helping ensure you achieve ROI from your program. Schedule an internal post-event meeting to go over what worked and needs to be changed. Use this information to discuss how to improve for the next event. Remember to record, score and assign your leads, and follow up with them. And of course, thank clients for coming and for making referrals!
Client appreciation events can help to build stronger relationships and increase community awareness of you and your business. Whether you plan to host a small or large event, the goal is to make your clients and prospects feel welcomed, special and connected.
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