Matt Davies, who hosts FYI Carmarthen, also runs a much loved craft beer bar and venue, The Parrot, in the town. With it being full-on event season between now and Christmas, I've picked his brains about the why and how tos of holding events. Here's what he has to say:
I think quite a lot of businesses could make more of events, especially if they've got an email list of their customers, which their customers have agreed to be on. An event doesn't need to be all dancing or singing spectacular, it can quite low-key, like a drink after work to show customers what you're featuring for Christmas for instance.
It's a cliche, but people buy from people and especially in independent shops, we're shopping for a personalized experience where chat and a social element marks the difference between shopping in a chain, for example. Independent businesses in Carmarthen realize this, I think, and I've heard lots of people comment on how warm and friendly shopkeepers are.
It's important to check that there isn't another big event happening at the same time as yours, and to plan focussed marketing. You need to feel confident that there is an audience for your event, and if you're charging, that you've evidence from other events that your ticket price is reasonable.
It's best to start letting people know early on, to build a buzz, and then intensify publicity - easy on Facebook, say - as your event gets closer.
And vary the way you invite people... flyers can be cheap and most effective, as well as online marketing. Bear in mind too that a one-off event can be experiment for something more regular - an open evening perhaps that you'd like to run once a quarter where you can invite customers to chat and get feedback.
Good luck with your events - there's a fair bit going on at the Parrot, but there's always space in my diary for those irresistible invites!