Planning is the key to running successful marketing events and promotions. It will enhance your event’s “game plan,” it will build your confidence, and it will set you up for a successful event. If you want to drive traffic into your store, simply putting a storewide discount on your products isn’t the way to do it anymore. There is a better way and it starts with planning.
Here are some event types to consider: free demonstrations, a guest vendor doing a pop-up inside your shop, girls’ nights out, community building events, hosting local real estate/interior design vendors, holiday themed shopping events, etc. Planning these events ideally should take place quarterly – and at least 4-8 weeks in advance of the event.
Step One: Reverse engineer the event itself.
What is the objective of holding this event? This question should have a specific answer: say, “I want to bring in xx in revenue during this event” or “I want everyone to know about xx product.”
“Let’s think about the purpose. What is the objective? What is the reason we are doing this event?” – Wendy Batten
Step Two: Know how you will measure the success of the event.
When you look back at your objective (say, to bring xx people for a demo), how many people came? How many people took promotional literature about the demo? If it was sales driven, did you meet your sales goal? If the objective was for 12 people from the media to show up, how many did? Did they talk about you to others? What wins can you track/celebrate?
Step Three: Write down all of the details of the event keeping the objective in mind.
How will you “wow” our customers during this event? Can you add something unexpected to make them smile?
Step Four: Set a sales goal and budget for the event.
When setting the budget, remember to count in staff hours including prep/set-up and clean up. You must be aware of what the event is going to cost you. It’s easy for creatives and shop owners to go overboard with decor, food, and discounts and throw a great event; but once the costs to have the event are backed out, will your event still be the addition to the bottom-line you hoped for? Visibility events are different but should still have a budget and a clear objective.
Step 5: Plan a clear weekly timeline starting 6-8 weeks out from the event.
Identify what you need to do specifically and who can help. Some things to add to the timeline: make your vendors/wholesalers aware of the event so they can be prepared as well, market the event, invite the right people, invite people from your community who might want to be involved that will add value.
BONUS TIP: Take good notes as you plan so you can easily debrief after the event and even next year when you are looking into planning another similar event. The truth is in the numbers. Sit down and debrief the event, maybe even with your team. What feedback can they provide?
A few great questions to ask during the debrief:
- What drove sales during the event?
- What are the reason(s) customers told you they came in?
- How did the customers feel? How did your team feel?
- What went well? What didn’t go well?
- Did you meet your objective? If not, why?
“Sometimes we have to sit down and ask ourselves, okay, is this true? And looking at our numbers and pulling things out, we have to ask ourselves, what’s driving the sales?” -Wendy Batten
Future podcast episodes will cover marketing your events, getting the right people in your door, and strategies for engaging your community and/or the media.
Five Steps to planning successful events/promotions in your shop:
- Reverse engineer the event itself.
- Know how you will measure the success of the event.
- Write down all of the details of the event keeping the objective in mind.
- Set a sales goal and budget for the event.
- Plan a clear timeline 6-8 weeks out from the event.
After the event, plan a debrief session to understand how the event went.
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Related podcasts we think you’ll like:
Episode 141 – Are you Running the Store of Your Dreams?
Episode 102– Three Ways to Effortlessly and Easily Increase Sales After Events
Episode 47 – The Secret to Getting Your Customers to Choose You Over Your Competition
Episode 69 – Become a Destination Shop
For more support from Wendy