Loud Biz: How To Plan Events to Promote Your Business

Dear Pennies & Pens,

As you hopefully know, I am Co-Owner of 8515, a multicultural creative agency. We offer branding, marketing, public relations, event planning, and styling. Recently, we decided to focus on event planning since that’s what my business partner Cacha` Lopez and I love to do. We both love planning events because it’s creative and it takes time, energy, patience, skill, and yes – prayer to get the job done.

Since 2010, we’ve produced over 15 events including #MP3, Pensgiving, Pen’s Flicks, and Flavor’s Night Out. Each of these events had their own unique concept and theme but the main purpose was to promote 8515 and our sister company, ISLP. We believe that events offer an opportunity to invite social media savvy consumers, influencers, and tastemakers to experience a brand as well as its products and services. Furthermore, we understand that events bring people together.

8515 (Logo by Cacha` Lopez)

8515 (Logo by Cacha` Lopez)

Therefore our goal is to help event attendees cultivate new friendships, network to gain new business connections, and reunite with their peers. Simultaneously, our mission with each event is to highlight what makes the brand special and give attendees an exclusive experience. In essence, we focus on creating unique events to maximize engagement, media coverage, and social media buzz. Since 2010, we have produced over 15 events including Pensgiving and Flavor’s Night Out.

Over the years, we’ve learned the ins and outs of what it takes to make an event successful. Events are a great way to promote your business, products, and services because you can increase brand awareness, generate revenue, and land press mentions. However, there are certain things you must do to make sure this happens. That said, in this post, we’re going to offer you some tips on how to plan events to promote your business.

#MP3 Invite (Designed by 8515)

#MP3 Invite (Designed by 8515)

Steps to Planning a Successful Event

  1. Decide what type of event you are planning. There are a variety of different types of events such as social events (dinner parties, brunches), creative events (fashion shows, art exhibitions), business events (networking events), educational events (workshops, seminars, conferences). In essence, are you looking to do a pop-up shop, a book signing event, a social event, a media/blogger event, or a business networking event? Once you know that, you can move on to the next step.
  2. Decide on the concept of your event. Now that you know what type of event you’re planning, it’s time to determine the concept. The concept of the event is basically a one sentence description of the event. Example: Pensgiving is a social event + dinner party for multicultural millennials. Do you see how in one brief sentence, you learn what Pensgiving is and who it’s for? That’s what you need to do for your event, write that one concept sentence so you can quickly describe to attendees what the event is about so they know what to expect.
Pensgiving (Logo by 8515)

Pensgiving (Logo by 8515)

3. Determine the theme of your event. The theme of your event is basically the main focus of the event. Example: our #MP3 event was a social event + book signing dedicated to celebrating the 3rd anniversary of #MakeUrPenLoud: How To Be A Lifestyle Blogger. The theme of the event was comedy. During the event, I did standup comedy by telling funny stories about things that have happened since starting 8515 + ISLP.

Milana Davis & moi (LoudPen) Photo by DeMarcus Mitchell

Milana Davis & moi (LoudPen) Photo by DeMarcus Mitchell

4. Create a name for your event. The event name needs to be something that is cute, catchy, and memorable. Also make sure it’s original. There’s nothing wrong with doing a “Cupcakes and Cocktails” event but keep in mind that general names like that have already been used meaning your event won’t stand out from others. Creating an original event name makes your event seem exclusive and unique. Also, you can brand your business and brand within the event name which makes it a truly original brand creation.

5. Write the event description. The event description should be 3-5 paragraphs that describe what will happen during your event. Include details on the food, drinks, and entertainment. You can also include info on why you’re doing the event. Most importantly, make sure the event description includes important details like the date, time, and location.

Michelle Nelson at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

Michelle Nelson at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

6. Set a date & time for your event. The date and time of the event should first work for your personal schedule (so be sure that you’re available to do the event on the chosen day/time). Next, your event should fit the schedule of your target audience. In essence, you need to set a date and time that doesn’t conflict with your attendees schedule or you’ll have a low turnout. Also, try not to plan an event that conflicts with another major event.

7. Start planning your event. Now that’s you’ve got the details, it’s time to start the planning process.

DeMarcus Mitchell, Chef Chris, De'Ondra Turner, Jennifer Dickinson, Michelle Nelson, Ashli C'Mone, Chunte Foster, and Trey at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

DeMarcus Mitchell, Chef Chris, De’Ondra Turner, Jennifer Dickinson, Michelle Nelson, Ashli C’Mone, Chunte Foster, and Trey at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

8. Since you have a date, time, and event description, you should first find a venue/location for the event. There are variety of places where you can host an event, it just depends on your budget and how many people will be attending. You can rent a private venue, a restaurant (the whole restaurant or their event space), an apartment complex (some apartment complexes have clubhouses that are available to rent), a museum, a library, you can even host an event in your home. Again, the location depends on how many people you need to accommodate and your budget. My advice is that you do what’s best for you.

9. After that, you need to figure out food & drinks. ALWAYS have some type of food or drinks at your event. Even if it’s just appetizers and water, have something for people to snack and nibble on. There’s nothing worse as an event attendee than not having something to eat or drink…you never know if someone is coming from work or hasn’t eaten that day. If you have a bigger budget, you can hire a caterer to make the food. However, catering should really only be pursued for larger events (50+ people) otherwise it’s a waste of money. If your event is smaller than 50 people, then just go to Sam’s Club, Walmart, Kroger, or Cotsco and buy party platters, water, and drinks. Or you can cook the food yourself. It depends on your skill level and motivation when it comes to cooking.

Ashli C'Mone and Milana Davis at #MP3

Ashli C’Mone and Milana Davis at #MP3

10. Next, it’s time to get the décor items. The concept and theme of your event determines how you should decorate. Just make sure your event is pretty and photogenic. That’s what’s going to make people want to take pictures and share your event on social media. Since this is a business event, it’s a must that you create a unique experience so that you get social media shares.

11. Create the event graphic and/or invite. The event graphic promotes the event and includes event details like the date, time, and location. The invite is technically the same thing so you can create a special graphic just for social media and then the official invite that will be sent to attendees. So it’s up to you if you want to create both or just one.

Chef Chris, De'Ondra Turner, and TaRae at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

Chef Chris, De’Ondra Turner, and TaRae at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

12. Create event registration or sales page. I recommend using Eventbrite to sell tickets to your event or collect RSVPs. Eventbrite is the most popular event platform and it’s extremely easy to use. All you have to do is add the event name, date, time, location, and a description. Then you add tickets (free or paid) to the event. How much you charge for the event (or if you charge at all) is up to you. Just make sure that the cost is affordable for your audience. Note, you will need to add the event graphic or event invite to your Eventbrite page.

13. Send out the invites. Now it’s time to send out the invites to your potential attendees. Hopefully, you created a guest list in Excel or Google Sheets so you have everyone’s email in the same place.

DeMarcus Mitchell and Chef Chris at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

DeMarcus Mitchell and Chef Chris at #MP3 Photo by LoudPen

14. Promote the event. Use social media, your email newsletter, as well as your website and blog to promote your event. Promoting the event helps you reach new people and increases your chances of having a well-attended event. It also reminds invited guests to go ahead and purchase their tickets or RSVP for the event.

15. Finalize all details. Check in with the venue to finalize the booking, purchase the food & drinks, purchase the décor items, check in with invited guests and finalize the actual guest list so you know who is coming to the event. Also, if you have any entertainment for the event such as a DJ or live performance, make sure all those details are worked out.

Pensgiving (Tablescape and Photo by LoudPen)

Pensgiving (Tablescape and Photo by LoudPen)

16. Set up the event. On the day of the event, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to set up and get ready. I have made this mistake idk how many times. It takes at least 2-3 hours to set up for an event, so arrive at the venue early and get set up. Being set up before guests arrive will give you a chance to relax and enjoy the event you’ve spent so much time planning.

17. Execute the event. On the day of the event, stay positive and understand that no matter what…something will go wrong. This is OKAY. Just stay calm and focused because there’s always a plan b. During your event, be the ultimate hostess by making sure your guests have plenty to eat & drink and are having a good time. Don’t let anyone hover in the corner on their phone, help your guests have fun by introducing them to other event attendees. We all spend enough time on our phones as it is, there’s no need to do that at a live event. Live events are for connecting with people in real life.

Pensgiving (Tablescape and Photo by LoudPen)

Pensgiving (Tablescape and Photo by LoudPen)

18. After the event, thank guests by attending with a verbal thank you and if you can afford it, give out goodie bags or handwritten thank you cards. Putting some type of goodie bag or handwritten note in your guests’ hands is more memorable because people remember receiving a physical product. Also, you can place your business cards or flyers in the goodie bag which means you can continue to promote your business after the event.

As you can see, planning an event is a lot of work but it’s definitely worth it! When you sell your products, get social media shares and mentions, plus press mentions, it makes all the effort you put into the project worthwhile. As an entrepreneur, you need to do everything possible to increase sales so events are the best way to do that.

Pensgiving Serving Table (Image by LoudPen)

Pensgiving Serving Table (Image by LoudPen)

Taylor Mosley (@Whattaylorlikes) at Pensgiving (Image by LoudPen)

Taylor Mosley (@Whattaylorlikes) at Pensgiving (Image by LoudPen)

Milana Davis (@LoveWithLana) at Pensgiving (Image by LoudPen)

Milana Davis (@LoveWithLana) at Pensgiving (Image by LoudPen)

Michelle Nelson (@OurWordsHavePower) at Pensgiving 2018 (Image by LoudPen)

Michelle Nelson (@OurWordsHavePower) at Pensgiving 2018 (Image by LoudPen)

Events are the best way to let your audience experience your products and services in person so it’s absolutely a project worth pursuing.

If you need help or advice with planning your next event, please feel free to contact us at 8515agency@gmail.com and we can set up a consultation.

And there it is. de la Pen…All Pen Everything. With us, keeping it real never goes wrong.

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LoudPen
LoudPen is a Lifestyle Entrepreneur with two different businesses, 8515 + ISLP. That said, Penny has many different titles that she uses for each company. As far as ISLP, Pen is a Lifestyle Blogger, Influencer, Writer, Editor, Photographer, Designer, Producer, and Director. In regards to 8515, Pen is a Publicist, Event Planner, Creative Director, Casting Director, Stylist, and Makeup Artist. Basically, LoudPen has many different pens and loves to ink the page. On a day to day basis, Pen is usually writing content, developing products, producing, directing, creating a marketing or PR campaign, meeting with clients, planning events, posting on social media, etc. Follow Penny's Ink on Instagram & Twitter: @LoudPen @ISLPDTX @8515Agency @PenniesandPens

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