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How to find participants to join your design event?


How to find participants to join your design event?

This article explains ways and tips to find participants to join your design event.

If you are working in an association, a community or an organization, you will one day organize an event such as a fair, an exhibition, a competition or an award, and you will need participants. Any event becomes an important event with a high number of participants and events become more credible, only if, your real niche is actually present in the organization as a sponsor or participant (i.e. your event is worthy of talk if the right people join your event). I will demonstrate the issue of finding event participants from the view perspective of organizing awards, as awards are great ways to communicate your organization.
First of all, you should determine which kind of participants will join your event. For a design award, participants would be companies producing design goods, design studios, design businesses, freelancer designers, and other design related people. Lets’ start with the companies, by asking yourself: Which kind of companies should join a design award? The answer is; all companies should participate in design awards, because design awards are a cheap way to advertise your product or service and there are many awards, many of them with exceptionally high returns of investment when compared to other methods of advertising, as awards not only help you reach further people but also create a reason to communicate and also increase the authority and credibility of the companies.
Companies who have already won awards, should rejoin in order to increase their rankings or to establish or re-establish their positioning as a producer of design goods or supplier of design or high-end services. Companies who have good design products or really good services, should join in order to communicate themselves further and in order to reach a design sensitive audience by winning the award.
So, now the question is how to find these companies and how to contact them? There are three easy ways to find the companies. Before all, you will want to make a spreadsheet file to keep a track of companies you contact and invite, therefore it is important to prepare this spreadsheet file first, your spreadsheet should also include column for a follow up – second call date as you will often find that companies will be very interested at first but will later forgot to participate, so by making a follow-up, you can remind them to join your award. Now let’s assume that you have made your file, so let’s fill it.
First of all, what you would want to do is to find relevant companies and other participants to your niche. Here are three ways to do it. First of all, start with your organizations members, and continue with similar organizations members. Reach other associations member lists from their webpages. Second, if there are people who have joined similar other events, it is likely that they would join your event too, so if you are organizing a design award, contact people who had previously joined design awards, you can find the list of participants or list of winners from other awards pages. Thirdly, trade associations, interest groups and connectivity hubs will be relevant, for example conferences about design, are a way to start.
After you find your companies, you will want to make a clear presentation of what your event is, and what are the benefits to the participants, in addition to further visibility and communication, talk about prizes if any. Once your presentation is ready, you should also write an email template which you will use to contact prospective participants.
Contacting companies: After you prepare your presentation and email template, send the relevant people an email and call them as a follow-up. Relevant people are Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising department people. Talk you way to the relevant people (you will most probably have to explain yourself several times among the communication chain from the secretaries to the relevant decision makers). To practice, prepare a small sheet with facts you might want to talk, for example existing number of participants, other important participants, benefits etc, and start with smaller companies so that you learn how to communicate and pitch it better among the way. Once you call companies and talk to decision makes also make notes on how to improve your event, listen to their feedbacks as it is valuable; these people are successful people and their ideas should count in order to make a better event. You might want to prepare a survey of three questions. This can actually generate more leads as companies will understand that you are taking this event seriously.
So, that is it for companies, to find individuals who are not yet member of your organization, however, is more difficult, you will most probably need mass reach or advertisement, for example you can do targeted advertisement campaign for keywords in search engines, reach prominent blogs or magazines, and advertise at relevant locations and other events, this will require some budget. A costless way is to prepare a presentation and press release of your event and contact the editors of magazines, blogs, and other media channels. Do a professional press release distribution, some editors might pick-up your event and advertise it for free, if they do not, you should indeed contact them, repeat your survey and talk with them. It is always the best to call them, after sending them an email to do a follow-up. Do a thank-you follow up if they feature you, it is nice to be nice and takes little or no time.

This article was added on Monday, 27th of January, 2014 at 08.26 am by author Onur Cobanli Tags: design event, finding participants, event participants. Read our copyright policy here.
 
 

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