Almost any size and kind of business can benefit from an event — it’s a good way to cultivate relationships with existing clients and at the same time attract new ones. Events are also a good venue to get a pulse on what customers want, which is definitely a valuable piece of business intelligence.
However, admit it or not, planning and conducting an event can become an expensive affair, which becomes a problem when you don’t have a big budget to begin with. Here are some tips from the Wristband Creation team on how to maximize a limited event-planning budget.
Do All Your Budgeting at the Beginning
When you have a limited budget, outlining all of your expenses at the start of the process will give you a clearer picture of what you can afford. One of the best things that can help you easily accomplish your budget plan is to first determine what kind of event you’re holding. Is it a whole-day conference? A simple lunch dedicated to networking? Once you’ve finalized this detail, it’s going to be much easier to determine other niceties like invitations and tickets, media kits, and giveaways, among others.
Choose Affordable, Practical Giveaways
It’s not really a requirement, per se, to give freebies to those who attend your event, but these simple tokens are admittedly a nice gesture that conveys your appreciation. Giveaways can also do double duty of promoting your brand and/or company once the event is over, which is certainly a big plus if you have a limited budget. There are a lot of affordable and practical giveaways to choose from, among them customized wristbands and lanyards, notebooks, personalized pens, and even water bottles.
Maximize Your Staff’s Potential
When you’re trying to save money, you should definitely maximize the resources you have. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to dump everything on your staff’s laps, but if they’re good at something that’s related to your event, then you should definitely consider enlisting their help. That person could be a talented artist who can design customized lapel pins for your giveaways or perhaps someone skilled with spreadsheets who can make a Gantt chart so you can monitor your progress and milestones. Remember, you need all the help you can get and where better to find it than in your own office.
Develop a Social Media Strategy
If you have some money to spare for social media ads, you can use Facebook’s targeting features to ensure that the right people will know about your event. You can also create a Facebook event page to raise awareness and keep people interested and engaged, whether or not they have already bought a ticket. And even if you don’t have the extra cash to spend on ads, various social media platforms can still help keep the buzz alive about your event, especially toward the event date itself. Just determine which platform is the most suited for the audience you are targeting.
During the event, you can encourage your attendees to post their photos on Twitter and Instagram using your event hashtag. You can also use Facebook Live to conduct Q&As, involving those who may not be able to attend personally and thus expanding the reach of your event. Twitter, meanwhile, is a good platform for posting short, “as-they-happen” updates and even notable quotes from speakers.
Hire a Professional
It may seem counterintuitive, but hiring a professional event planner may actually help you save on costs. Why? Because they already have established connections, which is definitely valuable when it comes to negotiating prices. They have also more experience, so they know how to deal with all kinds of budgets and all kinds of scenarios — especially emergency situations that you and your staff may not be as prepared to handle.
Look for Sponsors
When it comes to sponsors, it’s definitely nice to acquire the support of a huge, multinational corporation who will shoulder a huge chunk, if not all, of your expenses. However, this isn’t usually the case and you shouldn’t limit yourself to these big companies. You can try approaching smaller businesses who may need the exposure that your event may generate; in turn, their patrons may spill-over onto your brand. Of course, if you can get bigger, more established sponsors whose name can be your ticket to even bigger exposure, then go for it! The more important part is that your sponsors should be relevant to your event and are aligned with the goals that you want to achieve.
It can be a bit challenging to plan an event with a small budget, but it’s not impossible. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to hold a successful event that won’t break the bank.