Your event is a revolving ecosystem. In order to get everything to run smoothly and work together you need to have a plan in place. Thinking back to our last post on how to court a sponsor, we learned how to get sponsors to invest by showing them a mutually beneficial relationship. The same can be said for vendors.
If your event is to be a success, you need to have the correct vendors in place. Vendors are the people and companies that make your events stand out, so it’s important to have a good rapport with them. Most people never take their relationship with vendors any further than just using their goods for an event.
Have you ever considered engaging your vendors to help with the promotion for your event? After all, their products and services are on display as well so why would they not want to promote?
Here are a few tips to get the conversation started with vendors about cross promotion.
Step One: Find the Perfect Vendor
When it comes to finding the correct vendor (whether it be catering, hotel, AV, rentals, etc.) for your event, you need to know what their reputation is in the industry. Look to your industry peers for suggestions. Ask around for the best (and worst) vendors that they have used. An important question to consider is that of their availability and flexibility: ensure that vendors are willing to go above and beyond to help with last minute changes.
Once you have a list of recommended vendors, start doing your own research on companies. Going with a vendor that everyone else uses means you will have a reliable company, but what about being a little bit adventurous? Reach out to new companies that have good reviews and a great company model. Companies that are new to the industry are more willing to promote your event, as it helps them gain additional exposure and business.
Approach these companies with a list of questions and information that you need to make your decision. Include the following:
- Do they have a good track record from past clients?
- What does their service cost?
- Do they have insurance coverage?
- Have they promoted events in the past?
- What is their social reach (IE Facebook, Twitter, newsletters, etc.)
Step Two: Discuss Cross Promotion
You want your vendors to be on your team, so show them that this is not a one-way street: you are willing to promote them, if they are willing to promote your event.
Talk about using social media to get the word out for both parties. If they are hesitant, discuss how these public recommendations can lead to them receiving new business. By promoting one another on your respected social media outlets, you are making a statement to your audience that you are proud to work with them.
Consider the impact of growing your audience above and beyond social as well. Talk about putting cross-promotion on one another’s websites. Consider including the partner’s logo in email blasts. Publish a press release that shows you are now partners…the sky is the limit.
By working together to enhance your mutual exposure, you’ll be showing your commitment to one another, which will establish a trusting working relationship for the future.
Step Three: Identify Creative Opportunities for Cross Promotion
So now that you’ve talked to them about cross promotion before the event, it’s time to consider what you can be doing during the event. Consider each vendor’s needs, then find different ways for them to get the word out about what they do. Here are some ideas:
If you have an app or registration partner that you are using for check-in, give them the chance to set up a table adjacent to you. This gives attendees a trouble-shooting area, takes the pressure off of your team, and amplifies the vendor’s voice.
Think about adding high tables to your reception or lunch area where your caterer can set up information about what they do. This provides a non-invasive opportunity for attendee interaction that won’t take away from your program.
Consider allowing your vendor providers to come with branded clothing. This will allow attendees to identify, for example, who the AV company is if they have questions, who the people are that provided the great rentals, etc.
These little things will go a long way for you because if your vendors are excited about the opportunity for free promotion, they will in turn communicate your event to their followers.
Step Four: Confirm with a Contract
All this talk is great, but these days your word doesn’t mean much. Make sure to get your cross promotion plans in writing. When negotiating your contract with vendors, add in a small clause about what both parties plan to do.
Confirm how many tweets or posts that you are willing to do in a month. Specify if promotion will go on the website. Mention if you are going to allow them to do something special at your event. A binding contract makes it a little easier to spend the money knowing you are getting promotion as well.
Admittedly, creating a trusting vendor relationship through a cross-promotion plan will take some extra work on your part. That said, if you do it correctly, the mutual success for both parties will be worth the time spent. If your vendors are happy with the way your event ran, and the promotion that they received, they will undoubtedly be a great partner for your future events.
This blog was written exclusively for Social Tables by Kristen Carvalho, Content and Social Media Manager for etouches.