The best event planners know that the success of an event depends on much more than what happens within the four walls of the venue. There are several aspects of marketing that directly affect how engaged attendees will be with your brand, and these marketing elements happen at various points before, during and after the event itself.
In order to make the most of your event marketing efforts, be sure to take the following tips into consideration:
Focus on inbound marketing techniques
According to Hubspot, inbound marketing is the proven methodology for the digital age (they invented the term, but this approach has proven to be an incredible success). Inbound marketing focuses on the creation and distribution of personalized content via multiple channels. In this way, marketers can earn the interest of their audience, rather than buying it.
Buying ad space and email lists are pricey, and often times ineffective. Creating content that aligns naturally with the pain point of your audience is one of the best and most organic ways to have a successful marketing campaign.
In addition, live events are an amazing way to garner consumer generated content. This is a great way to keep your brand and client relevant in the minds of attendees long after the date of the event has passed.
Create a team
Event profs are busy people who wear way too many hats all of the time. There is no reason why your marketing campaign should be a one person show. Assemble a group of trusted writers, designers, tech people, social media gurus, and PR professionals to help take point on getting your message out to your target audience. Novice planners especially need to recognize the value in having a dedicated team of people that you can trust and delegate tasks to.
Utilize innovative tech
Technology has completely revamped the event planning industry. Making sure that you are using the right technology can make it so that attendees can have an extremely unique and personalized experience. It is also important for planners to mix up the tech that they use, to keep each new event feeling fun and personalized. Be always aiming to produce something innovative. Combine old technology with new, and keep in mind what technologies have been used in the past.
Attendees need not be present to take part in your event. GPS and real-time tracking have made it so that events can be simultaneously local and global. The use of QR codes, project mapping, and augmented reality are all aspects of technology that are almost invisible at events today that would have seemed “a lot more awkward, forced, and generally very Minority Report” a few years ago, according to Liz Bigham, senior vice president and director of marketing for Jack Morton Worldwide. Pay attention to what tech you’re implementing at your event, be sure it fits in with your audience and pushes the boundaries of past events.
Remember social media
I think we can safely stop referring to social media as a “trend” now. Social media is a tool, and a powerful one at that. There are many channels that event marketers have to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Pinterest – the list goes on and on, and can be pretty exhaustive. The key with social media, as with all elements of your marketing campaign, is to have a firm grasp on the pain of your attendees (I really cannot repeat this enough), so that you will be better suited to align your marketing message with the right social media platform.
Tell a good story
According to my business cards, I am a storyteller. Telling stories is an important way to create an immersive experience for your attendees. Events are just stories that your attendees get to experience live, and more and more often, write parts of themselves. Your brand, your client’s brand, and your event are, at their core, stories that you are telling. Be sure that you have taken the time at the outset to cultivate your story, and that you know how you will tell it.
End as strong as you start
Attracting the right audience, converting leads, and even selling event tickets is only a part of your event marketing battle. Measuring and analyzing the data you’ve gleaned from all your marketing efforts is the turning point in the marketing cycle. These measurements and analyses are the answers to “What could I do better next time?”. Surveys, CRM and email marketing are great ways to keep up with your audience. Having detailed information about your attendees, and a channel committed to hearing and addressing attendee feedback is a crucial element to event marketing success. Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Don’t be afraid of the brutal honesty of your attendees.
Planning a memorable event is all about engaging attendees. Figure out their pain, and use inbound marketing techniques, a solid story and innovative technology to keep them happy and engaged. Remember to surround yourself with good people, utilize social media the right way, and pay just as much attention to the analysis of your event as you do the event itself.