Local events have always been popular thanks to their ability to add vibrancy to communities. Whether it’s a sporting event, a miniature festival with buskers, or just a business inviting people to head to a stall and sample some free merchandise, local events hosted by businesses are an essential part of what makes summer special. They give people a reason to look up from their phones, pay attention to what’s going on around them, and connect with their neighbours. In our increasingly digital world, it’s impossible to underestimate the value of opportunities like these.

3 Ways Hosting a Local Event Can Help Your Business

Just like people need to connect with one another in “real time” in order to thrive, your business can’t succeed if it exists in a digital vacuum. Most businesses rely primarily on the loyalty of local clientele to maintain their sales, and word of mouth is still one of the best ways to attract this clientele. According to a survey conducted by Alignable, 85% of small business owners report that word of mouth referrals generate the most new customers for their firms. Though hosting an event can be a lot of work, it’s without equal when it comes to generating exactly this kind of buzz; here’s why:

1. People rarely travel alone.

Events are inherently social in nature; as such, attendees usually bring their partner, children, or friends with them when attending. For event hosts, this translates into completely free, trust-enriched marketing: The person initially interested in your event will tell his or her friends what’s so special about your brand that they felt compelled to make the time to be present. Because this information is being relayed by a trusted friend or loved one, its recipients will automatically believe what’s being said. This kind of authenticity in marketing is worth its weight in gold—and more than worth the work and expense involved in event hosting.

2. Local events have a lot of visual impact.

If you have any interest in marketing, you probably already know that visual content is vitally important to brand engagement. People recognize images much more quickly than they process words, and images are far more memorable than text. This is why you’ll find images attached to professional social media marketing posts. Even on platforms like Twitter where short form content is the order of the day, including an image has been shown to increase engagement by 150%. (Digital Glue) At your event, visual content related to your brand will feature prominently: On signs, banners, posters advertising the event, flyers, etc.

3. Local events are memorable.

When you host an event, not only will signage promoting your brand be prominently displayed, you’ll be creating a space for it to be recognized. This is significant because one of the most challenging aspects of marketing is simply getting people to notice your message in order to internalize it. While images can help encourage awareness of your brand, the fact is that many casual observers are distracted (by new social media posts, by conversations happening around them, etc.) This results in a net loss of conversions when using digital advertising or physical signage. At an event, on the other hand, full focus is being placed on your brand. People are insulated from the distractions of the outside world… And you are the topic of conversation. If attendees enjoy your event, you’ll quite literally be unforgettable.

Planning Your Event

Just like any marketing strategy, events require careful planning and orchestration in order to be successful and make a lasting impact. If you’ve never hosted an event before and need some inspiration, we suggest checking out Optimy’s list of five examples of highly successful local events hosted by major businesses. This will give you a solid idea of the different forms local events can take.

Finally, if you need help with event planning or logistics, why not reach out to us here at AllinBrand? Local events in Toronto are one of the many aspects of marketing that we specialize in. Don’t be intimidated by the scope of hosting an event; we can help you understand the process from start to finish, create measurable goals, and get existing and potential customers on board.

3 Ways Events Can Supercharge Your B2B Marketing Strategy

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Marketing business to business (also referred to as B2B marketing) is in some ways more challenging than marketing to consumers (B2C marketing). According to a recent study by Act-On Software, 75 percent of small business owners say that improving B2B lead quality is their number one marketing priority. In fact, this facet of the sales process causes so much confusion for businesses that improving lead quality is a higher priority than improving new lead quantity. Just 40 percent of respondents said that the biggest issue they’re facing is attracting new clients.

This divide highlights a fundamental reality in the era of digital marketing: Today, it’s easy to superficially connect with people, but it’s harder than ever to establish a lasting relationship with them. For that, you’ll need to look outside the digital sphere—you’ll have to instead turn your attention to events. Sponsoring a B2B event (or even just participating in one) can cement the quality of your B2B leads in all of the following ways:

1. Events are the perfect place to clarify lead compatibility.

B2B relationships are all about finding the right fit. Because the vast majority of industries now rely on the use of complex technology, many small to medium sized businesses are incredibly specialized. For example, while the term “web design” covered virtually all aspects of website creation twenty years ago, today, a web design company and a web development company have very different roles. Web designers create the graphical portions and layout of a site (usually with some help from graphic designers), whereas web developers typically handle the coding side of things. In other words, if you’re a web designer and you acquire a lead that’s interested in having complex PHP code written, that relationship is probably going to fizzle out. (Unless, like AllinBrand, your company employs both web designers and web developers.)

Because events give you a place to communicate with leads in real time and actively demonstrate your products and services, they innately lend themselves to high-quality lead generation. Clients will be able to see exactly what you do and how you do it, eliminating misunderstandings and false leads. They’ll also be able to ask any questions they might have, further strengthening the relationship.

2. Sponsoring an event will lend your brand credibility and authority.

Both the best and the worst thing about small businesses is the fact that anyone can create them. This means that clients are often wary of working with a business that’s as yet unknown to them. How do they know you’re established, experienced, trustworthy, and reliable?

When you decide to sponsor an event, you show clients that you’re an established part of your industry. After all, if you’re willing to invest the amount of time and money required to sponsor an event, you’re obviously serious about what you do. You also clearly have the resources and expertise needed to carry off such a feat. Pair this with an effective presentation, and you’ll already have made a mark in your field—even if you’re still a fledgling company.

3. Attending an event will put you in touch with the needs and desires of clients.

As Godfrey Account Planner Jim Everhart so aptly put it when describing the challenges of B2B lead generation, “[You] know that you want a lead. But what do they want?” Understanding the wants and needs of customers is integral to attracting quality leads. So is generating the data you’ll need (e.g., case studies or product specifications) to convince your leads you’re ready to meet their expectations. By providing a focused, interactive environment, events give you the perfect chance to assess what you need to do to drive value. Attending events will also ensure that you stay up to date with the latest trends and innovations in your industry.

To really leverage all of the potential advantages outlined above, you’ll need to prepare thoroughly for your event of choice. You’ll need a way to collect data about potential leads (e.g., by incorporating detailed forms into your registration process) and a system for following up with them. If you’re new to B2B event planning in Toronto, we suggest working with an experienced event marketing team, like the experts at AllinBrand. We can help you design an effective event marketing strategy that’s guaranteed to yield not simply leads, but leads that actually matter.