Creating a Successful Event

Whether you own a retail store, a small gym or have a service to offer, half your daily battle is discovering ways to get your product or service in front of people.  Events are a great way to present your business to more potential customers or clients.  But how do you create a successful event?  I have spoken to people in dozens of industries who tell me the same story.  They created an event, spent money on food and staff only to have 1-3 people show up.

While every person who is introduced to your business has the potential to become a customer or client, we all hope our events will have more than a handful of people in attendance.  So, how do we guarantee that?

5 Steps to Creating a Successful Event

Events are important because they bring potential customers or clients through your door.  They introduce people to your product or service.  But more importantly, a well run event helps you build a community.  A well run event makes your potential customers feel like a part of your community and people want to be a part of something.

This weekend I helped facilitate an event with Fleet Feet Sports Severna Park and Xcelerated Fitness.  I believe this event is a great example of how to do everything right.


When planning an event, you have to consider the timing.  What is happening in your community right now? What are your customers most likely up to on any given day at this particular time of the year? Is your event timely to their needs?

In the case of this weekend’s event, the two businesses knew they were looking at bringing in parents who had spent the summer taking care of their kids’ needs and were ready to get back in shape now that the kids were in school.  They planned for after Labor Day to give the parents time to get their kid’s routines settled in but before the soccer season was in full swing.  And they planned for early morning to avoid the heat of the day.

But they also planned how the event would go, which employees would be there, what they would each need to bring and how to divide the duties.  This made both companies equally responsible for making this a successful event.


The cooperation between these two companies was near perfect.  That goes back to the planning stage.  When planning an event, consider the other companies who work in your industry.  But think outside of the box.  For Xcelerated Fitness, a running shoe store is a great fit for a coordinated event.  But so are mom’s running clubs, local triathlon clubs and local schools.

Think outside of the box about ways to create an event with other companies. In the case of Xcelerated Fitness, he could have just as easily teamed up with Big Bean Coffee on the B&A Trail, creating an event that took place alongside the trail and afterwards included a social.  Be creative and you may find customers you had not even considered.

Social Media and Traditional Marketing

Planning an event and cooperating with other like-minded businesses will only get your so far.  You must market your event.  You must build excitement around your event.

That does include social media.  Posting about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other social media outlets your find particularly helpful for your business.  But don’t stop there. Consider posting, with permission, to groups that may be interested in your event. In this case, Xcelerated Fitness reached out to the local small business facebook page, a moms’ running group, and their own community page.

While I am a firm believer in the power of social media, I encourage you not to ignore traditional media outlets.  Most local papers and magazines have an online calendar of local events.  Make sure you are included in each and every one of these.  In addition, send out press releases to each of your local media outlets.  Get in contact with your local radio stations and television stations. Let them decide whether your event is something they would be interested in.

Recruit Your Employees

It should go without saying, but too often it doesn’t.  Get your employees excited about your events.  Yes, they should be sharing the event with your customers or clients but if you get them excited they may also tell their friends and family.  They may share it on their Facebook or Instagram page.  Building excitement within your organization is a vital step in creating a successful event.


Don’t drop the ball on game day.  This is where all of your planning pays off.

Make sure to have enough people on hand to greet each and every person.  Make people feel welcome. Make sure your staff understands this is their opportunity to shine.  But also make sure the event is executed so well that the customers and clients want to come back to your next event and bring friends along as well.

Xcelerated Fitness and Fleet Feet did a great job with execution.  Not only did they create an event that built excitement around their brands, they collected emails through registration, created a workout that inspired people to want more, and they let participants know about upcoming events throughout the event.

A Bonus Tip

Once the event comes to a close, you still have work to do.  Make sure to post videos and photos from the event, make sure to thank participants on your social media outlets and make sure to send a short piece to each of your local news outlets with one photo about your event.  Continue to build the excitement so the next event is even bigger and better.

A successful event takes planning but when it is done well you will see a return for that effort.  You will begin to see loyalty to your brand and in turn you will add word of mouth marketing to your marketing efforts.

Ann Brennan