The average event planner has a lot on their plate.
Between keeping up to date with the needs of every single stakeholder and corresponding with presenters about last-minute whims and fancies, it can be easy to fall into a routine and not give every task its due.
But you can’t afford to take any shortcuts if you expect your event to be successful. Or can you?
Enter event marketing automation — the marvel can help you eliminate tedious marketing chores and get things done in less time while helping you achieve more than you ever thought possible.
Sounds like a dream, right?!
Keep reading to learn how marketing automation makes event planning less of a slog.
What is marketing automation?
With all the talk about “marketing automation,” you might be wondering exactly what it is, how it works, and whether it’s something you should consider. So let’s get to the bottom of it!
For years, entrepreneurs have been using virtual assistant services to find their next hire to help them execute and manage repetitive marketing tasks. Nowadays, that’s becoming less common as marketing automation is making much of this redundant work easier to solve (and cheaper) with software.
Due to the fierce competition in today’s marketplace, it is essential for companies to find ways to streamline their marketing tasks and workflows in order to increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster. Marketing automation is one way that businesses can accomplish this. By automating repetitive and time-consuming marketing tasks, businesses can free up valuable resources that can be better used to cultivate new leads and close more sales.
Automation platforms employ artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to detect customer interactions involving your digital assets and then take action based on those interactions. For example, you could use marketing automation software to automatically send out an email whenever a user registers. The email might include a discount code or a link to a webinar that will help them learn more about what you have to offer.
Automated marketing can help with everything from driving traffic to your campaigns to converting visitors into leads, and even following up with those leads. By taking care of the small details, marketing automation lets you focus on the bigger picture of your marketing strategy.
What is event marketing automation?
Event marketing automation is a subset of marketing automation that specifically focuses on automating your marketing efforts surrounding events. It can include everything from sending reminder emails to attendees before the event to tracking who attended and generating follow-up leads after the event has ended.
Essentially, it takes most of the administrative tasks and repetitive work out of event marketing, so that you can focus on the things that really matter – like putting on a great show!
What can an event marketing automation program accomplish?
Now that we’ve established the basics of event marketing automation, let’s talk about how to get the best out of it. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the things you can do with an event automation software:
Share promotional content across multiple platforms
Copying and pasting are one of the first tricks we all learned as fledgling computer users. But if you’ve ever painstakingly copied and pasted your event details across multiple platforms, then you know how quickly this turns into a huge chore. After all, there are a few things more time-consuming or mind-numbing. Not to mention, it introduces all kinds of errors.
Event marketing automation can help you cut back on the amount of repetitive and error-prone work you need to do. For example, you can use automation to share your event on social media as soon as you’ve finalized the details. You can set up triggers to share your event on platforms like Twitter or Facebook. This trigger can be configured to run automatically whenever revisions are made to your event info. This way, updates about your next event are shared with ease, giving your poor copy-paste muscles some well-deserved rest.
And that’s not all. Automation software can help you do all sorts of things when it comes to sharing content relating to your event. From making QR codes to print on your posters and flyers to sending free drinks tokens to your loyal customers.
Deliver activity-based emails
Let’s face it. The process of manually sending out event emails is painstaking, monotonous, and time-consuming. But it is still doable, to a certain degree. To send out behavior-specific emails by hand, however, takes a special kind of masochist. The rest of us can benefit from the efficiency of automated email workflows.
With marketing automation software, you can set up rules to automatically trigger email messages based on specific actions your event attendees take (or don’t take). This allows you to tailor your messages to each individual, making sure that your communications are always relevant and on point. For example, when someone shows interest in the event through their activity, you could trigger a message that introduces yourself and gives some information about what’s next — perhaps a link to some pre-event content or ebooks.
Keep event registrants in the loop
When running an event, at some point you will have to deal with the challenge of reminding people about it. Whether it’s the day of, the week of, or a month before, you’ll need to contact those who registered and remind them that the event is coming up as well as provide all the necessary details.
As the event approaches, you can set up an automated workflow to deliver key information to registrants. This might include hotel listings and agenda details for live events, or webinar log-in information for online events. By providing this essential information ahead of time, you can help your attendees be better prepared.
Here’s an event reminder example from Sephora. The message reminds recipients that the event is only three days away and gives them a heads-up as to when, where, and when it will take place.
You can also set up a workflow to promptly send session recordings or slide decks as well as promotional material for future events following the event. This helps nurture your audience and keep them engaged with your brand. See how the Litmus Live team promises to send recordings from the event in their post-event email, encouraging attendees to review the content they learned…
Schedule your social media posts
Nothing beats the feeling of walking into an event you organized and seeing it brimming with passionate attendees. Timely, relevant posts on social media can help make that happen.
The best way to create a social media campaign is to set up an automated social media schedule that triggers a post when your audience is most active online across different social platforms. This allows you to take advantage of peak times and reach more people with your event promotions. All you have to do is upload your content calendar and set publish dates far in advance.
Be aware, though, that trigger-happy auto-publishing on social media can also backfire in a big way. If your brand carelessly shares an insensitive expression of mockery, a misjudged quip, or an improper joke, it can damage your reputation with the very potential attendees you’re trying to reach. Even if it’s outside the event promotional context.
So, as you plan your content calendar, make sure to keep tabs on current events both inside and outside your company. Sync your posts with popular, brand-relevant, and audience-related social media holidays and dates. And be prepared to adjust your plans as necessary in order to stay responsive to current trends. After all, you don’t want a PR disaster leading up to your event!
Set up chatbots
At any given event, the type of information that attendees are looking for can vary greatly. From exhibitors to keynote speakers, everybody has different needs. This often means having to juggle multiple communication channels at once, which can be quite overwhelming.
Instead of having to rely on a team of people to help sort through attendee concerns, you can have a chatbot automate much of the process. Chatbots will not only save you time, but it will also be more convenient for attendees who will be able to get the information they need without waiting or having to work through a middleman. Along with answering questions for event-goers, chatbots are also adept at keeping an event in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Garner meaningful analytics
As event attendees interact with your brand, event marketing automation will be working in the background to capture data and analyze it for you.
The automation tool can help you turn the data picked up in pre-, during- and post-event interactions into statistics that will demonstrate how different KPIs are contributing to the success of your event. This information can be used to identify which marketing tactics worked, what didn’t work, and where improvements can be made.
Getting started with event marketing automation
After you learn about how much work event marketing automation tools can take off your hands, you may be tempted to get started with using them right away. However, there are some crucial points you need to consider so your automated event marketing efforts succeed.
Pick the right software
When searching for event marketing automation tools, keep in mind these three factors:
- your budget,
- the amount of time you’ll have to spend learning a new system,
- how well your chosen tool will fit into your existing event management ecosystem
Different tools offer different benefits and features. You need to evaluate what your event marketing infrastructure is lacking and determine which vendors can fill in the gaps.
Define your marketing automation goals and strategy
Marketing automation allows for a lot of time-saving efficiencies, but to the uninitiated, it can be a confusing maze of data overload. To ensure that you reap the benefits and don’t get lost in the weeds, take care to outline your goals before you start. By taking the time to consider your audience and what you want to achieve before, during, and after your events, you can devise a strategy that will make the most of your automation platforms.
Appoint an automation admin
If you don’t have someone on your team with the right mix of technical, visual, and editorial skills to create effective automation workflows, you’ll probably need to bring in a full-stack marketer to help you set them up.
This person will also be in charge of overseeing workflow and automation implementation. It also falls on the admin of marketing automation to run training workshops and show their colleagues how to use the tools properly.
Consolidate your tools
From social media to email marketing automation, different types of CRM to analytics, there are a lot of software programs out there vying for your attention. But try to avoid signing up for too many tools as this can quickly become overwhelming. Rather, opt for an automation platform that can do most of the things you need. You’re unlikely to find a perfect solution so there will always be some form of compromise.
Even if your event materials are top-notch and your itinerary ambitious, ticket sales will fail to materialize without a solid event marketing campaign. And that is what will inevitably defeat the very point of your whole event.
For this reason, marketing automation is essential.
If you’re hosting an event in the near future, adding marketing automation into your repertoire could give you a competitive advantage over your event-hosting peers. The right event automation software will allow you to drastically broaden your reach, multiplying your potential for ticket sales, and more importantly: take the admin / marketing burden off your shoulders.