Event marketing is a tried and tested method of generating leads. This is because it is an excellent opportunity for showcasing your product or services in your own curated environment. Other than being a direct selling exercise, hosting an event is a great way to foster relationships within your network and get those all-important referrals. It is also a fantastic brand awareness exercise, allowing you to engage with others that might not need your products and services immediately, but will remember you in the future.
How do I decide on the type of event?
The type of event will mainly depend on two things; your budget and your target audience. Think about how much revenue you’d like to earn from this event. Consider your average order/invoice value and how many leads you need to convert to reach this. Based on your industry average conversion rate you can work out how many would need to attend and in turn, how much per head you will need to spend.
Think about your target audience and who you are trying to convert and consider what is valuable to them. Would they prefer a workshop or seminar that they can take actionable information away from, or would they prefer a social event such as a drinks reception, or even a corporate away day with fun outdoor activities? The most important thing to consider is how you can best showcase your product and service without hard selling.
What about the details?
The four “Ws” are extremely important to get the details just right.
- When – give yourself plenty of time to plan the event, at least 12 weeks but the more the better.
- Where – linking into the above, think about the type of event and your target audience and pick a suitable venue, thinking about things like easy travel distances, parking, public transport, etc.
- Who – think about the businesses or individuals you want to attract, and then break this down into the job roles of the people that can make a decision on your product or service.
- What – the fine details are important. Once you have decided the overall theme of the event, think about how it will come together such as refreshments, agendas, guest speakers, etc.
Arguably the most important part of your event marketing strategy, attracting people to your event is the biggest hurdle. Make the most of as many channels as you can to get in front of your target audience.
- Social media is your best friend. Make sure you cement your event hashtag early and get as many people as possible using it. Don’t rule out targeted paid social if relevant to your event.
- Utilise as many contact lists as you are able to and send a few email campaigns in the build-up to the event.
- Send direct mail if you have address details, you’d be surprised how effective it can be.
- Maximise your PR opportunities, and this doesn’t mean just sending a press release. Reach out to what’s on listings, influencers, business hubs, and anywhere that might be willing to share your event.
- Make your promo as bespoke and personalised as possible. People love feeling special
On the big day – don’t panic!
The key thing to remember on the day of your event is to take a register. You need to know who has attended to enable effective follow-up. Remember to get loads of content, including photography, video, testimonials, and notes for later blog posts. This can be used for months to come and is invaluable. You should also use some of this content to live-post on your social media channels during the event and encourage attendees to do so as well. Having your social media accounts and event hashtags on display is imperative to get that engagement and reach online. The LinkedIn “find nearby” tool is also a great way for attendees to connect with each other. Try and remember and make note of who you talked to – are they a hot, warm, or cold lead?
Don’t delay your follow up activity! It is really important to do this as quickly as possible before your attendees move on to something else. Keep the momentum going on social media by engaging with attendees and comments about the event. Get your post-event blog up as quickly as possible and share away. Follow up appropriately based on the classifications you made, should hot leads get a phone call and a personalised mailing perhaps? All attendees should at least get an email follow-up and should be added to your newsletter mailing list going forward. Can you generate any PR activity from the outcomes of your event?
Measure your success! Conversions won’t come all at once, some can even take years to convert. Make sure you record each time an attendee, or a referral that has come from an attendee, converts in your CRM. This will help you measure the effectiveness of your event and measure ROI for future planning.
You can also measure success through other channels such as by monitoring engagement and reach on social media, PR coverage you have received, visits to your site and more.
Finally – start planning your next event off the back of your success!