Whether you are a well-established business, association, or university, events are your way into the world. Known as a powerful marketing tool, running an event (if flawlessly executed only) is a “play-to-win” strategy. It doesn’t matter if your intention is to raise brand awareness, attract new clients, or promote your products (ideas, services, etc.), planning events must be at the top of your marketing priorities list.
As statistics show, “75% of B-to-B marketers say that in-person events are the most effective tactic. Events have been rated the highest for effectiveness since 2010.”
According to Marketo, on the other hand, “When done well, events have the power to create a lasting and powerful impression of all that your company can deliver. By allowing people to experience and interact with your company, product, or service while participating in an event, you are connecting with potential buyers.”
However, when engaged in the event logistics, you may lose sight from your bigger goals and end up with a time- and money-consuming endeavor that will generate a negative ROI. After all, you can transform your event into a powerful marketing tool, but only if planned carefully and strategically.
To help you carry on this task, we put together a list of tips you may want to consider when designing your event marketing strategy:
Narrow down your marketing goals
Why are you planning an event in the first place? Are you doing it only because other associations, businesses, or universities are following this path? When it comes to events, people have different reasons and intentions. Some want to increase their revenues by selling tickets; others want to build their social proof, etc. Yet, if you want to transform your event into a powerful marketing tool, you must narrow down the goals to one clear end objective, which is to shape your event attendees’ beliefs and behaviors regarding your brand.
Attract high-qualified attendees
If you want to upgrade your event to the status of a powerful marketing tool, think about the attendee profiles you want to attract. For whom will you run the event? Moreover, what exactly do you want to achieve by inviting a specific target group? If you’re trying to promote your business brand or attract more customers, obviously, your attendee profiles should match your buyer persona profiles. You can’t invite someone who has no interest or affinity toward your products or services. Considering your exact goals, your event will only become a powerful marketing tool if you can attract those people who have a purchasing power and are interested in becoming your clients or customers.
Deliver your message and strengthen your authority
As Marketo highlights, “Event marketing allows your company to cultivate and express its identity firsthand. Through events, you gain the perfect venue to share your ideas, thoughts, and name in the exact manner you want to present them.” That’s why, before running the event, you must define the messages you want to transmit and the ways you want to educate your attendees regarding your business, association, or university. Be it commercial or environmental, the messages you’ll deliver during the event have the potential to strengthen your authority and position your brand as a thought leader.
Find ways to make people talk about your brand
If you want to explore the full potential of your event and harness its potential as a powerful marketing tool, motivate your attendees to talk about your value proposition. You can do it in multiple ways.
First, you can incentivize your attendees. For example, you can offer them a discount in exchange for social media shares of your event page or an article about your event on their blog or webpage.
Second (and this is a little more difficult), you can focus on giving your guests a memorable event experience. For example, you could plan a surprise performance (imagine inviting a few performers from Cirque du Soleil) or a memorable activity, such as board games.
Extraordinary experiences during events will motivate your attendees not only to talk about your brand, but also to share their thoughts (and photos) on their social media accounts, tagging your brand. In other words, when designing the event marketing strategy, reflect upon the ways in which you could nudge your attendees to share their experience at your event.
Post-event content promotion
What will you do after the event ends? Send you a “thank-you” email and forget about it? And how about all the content you generated during the event? All the round table videos and the speakers’ presentations? What will you do with them? Instead of secretly sharing them with the attendees, use the material as a content marketing resource. This way, you’ll have enough meaningful information to aliment both your blog and social media accounts. Moreover, you may intrigue those people who weren’t able to attend, and convince them to come to your next event.
You can run multiple events, yet be far from accomplishing your marketing goals. To understand and grasp the real potential of an event as a powerful promotion tool, you must understand the mechanisms in which you can “harvest” the hearts of your attendees. That’s why, when designing your event marketing strategy, always think about your goals, your attendees’ desired profiles, and the messages you want to deliver. Apart from that, find ways in which you could motivate your audience to talk about your brand and set up a smart post-event content marketing strategy.