No matter what this year brings, event marketing is an effective marketing tool for brands to have in their arsenal. Brands are finding innovative ways to reach their target audiences. Online events, hybrid events, and in-person events are the perfect way to do this.
What is Event Marketing?
- Event marketing is where brands use a conference, webinar, trade show, or exhibition to connect with their audience.
- Event marketing should not be confused with event management, which is the designing, implementing, and promoting of an event. Instead, it is an inspired marketing strategy where brands use events to speak directly with an audience.
- Known as a promotional strategy or experiential marketing strategy, event marketing allows potential customers, current customers, clients, partners, and brand loyalists the opportunity to connect with a brand in a face-to-face manner.
Why is Event Marketing Important?
If your brand is not in the business of holding regular events, you may be wondering why event marketing is important or necessary at all?
The bottom line is that an overwhelming majority of marketers (95%) agree that holding a live event would provide value to those who attend. Especially in the increasingly digital world, live events and in-person events offer networking, grow social connections, and fuel community.
Implemented as part of a broader marketing strategy, events can:
- Grow brand awareness
- Create positive opinions about a company, brand, service, or product
- Increase the number of references and partners
- Be an active form of revenue generation
- Perform powerful lead generation
- Growth acceleration
- Promote an offering, sale, or newsworthy item
When done right, events are valuable and can be an extremely effective marketing channel.
5 Key Event Marketing Strategies for Event Success
How you implement the following strategies will depend on how you host your event (whether online, in-person or a mixture of both) and what you hope to achieve. If you have no prior experience holding events, it can be useful to consult a professional marketer or an event marketer for guidance.
Be sure to start your event marketing plan well ahead of time so that you can implement all of your event promotion tactics and work through potential contingencies.
1. Map Out Event Marketing Goals and Event Plan
You should have a primary event goal (or two) for every event your brand hosts. This way, your marketing plan is directed at that goal. This also helps you to find event planning tools that make sense for that goal.
For example, if the goal of your next event is to get more leads, you would need to implement a lead capture strategy. Hosting your event on a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter, or a video streaming platform like Youtube might make this more difficult, especially if you use those leads for an email marketing campaign.
However, if increasing leads is the goal, you can find a virtual event planning platform with lead capture tools and integrations. A platform like Accelevents comes with a ticketing/registration system so you can easily collect and organize lead names and emails. You can then export that data into a CRM like Salesforce or Hubspot or an email marketing client like MailChimp.
2. Drive Event Website and Email Nurture Campaigns
- Market your website online or locally and drive potential attendees to your registration landing page. A webpage can also help you start planting seeds and increasing value as soon as visitors land on the site.
- You’ll need to consider email marketing nurture campaigns to get your registered event attendees to attend.
3. Provide Value to Each Attendee
To have a successful event, attendees must get value from the event experience. With this added value, attendees will remember your brand, remember aspects of your event, learn from the event, and find inspiration through different sessions.
- The value provided will be based on the event’s goal, your attendee demographics, and the types of sessions you host.
- Consider implementing event gamification to elevate the attendee experience, create memorable experiences, and drive engagement with both the content and other attendees.
Make sure your conference or event makes sense for your industry. Bring in relevant speakers, provide added value that is competitive with other events, and implement different engagement techniques, like gamification, one on one networking, polls and Q&As, and fun technologies.
4. Inspiring Stakeholders
Bring on sponsors and brand partners to boost revenue but don’t forget to also include them as part of your event marketing strategy.
Sponsors to trade show exhibitors and presenters should be engaged in the process of marketing your event. As an event organizer, you should make this as easy for them as possible. Provide assets like personalized event posters or web copy so they can easily include these items in their own digital marketing campaigns.
It is highly likely that these individuals will have a similar audience and by involving them in the process, you can reach a greater number of people.
5. Using a Powerful Event Planning Software
Event planning software is needed for your event to be successful, especially if running hybrid or virtual events. Event planning software can host pre-recorded videos, live videos, live chats, networking sessions, and gamification features to boost online engagement.
Even if your event is in-person, take advantage of the benefits of event management software for lead generation, ticketing, and keeping the attendees connected long after the event is over.
Adding Growth Acceleration to Your Event Marketing in 2021
Events should be more than simply putting on an event and hoping that your attendees show up and get something out of it.
- By modeling your event marketing strategy for growth acceleration, you can secure high-quality and robust leads and capitalize on these leads for revenue generation and customer growth.
- Growth acceleration involves using tools to capture leads, categorize those leads based on the event and use them in the future.
Be sure to come into your event with growth acceleration in mind. By failing to use these techniques, you lose out on critical tools and mechanisms for capturing leads and harnessing their buying interest.
Accelevents’ Growth Acceleration Framework is a multi-stage process that will inform your planning strategy.
The five-step process involves:
- Planning: Develop your goals, attendee personas, and get granular on what challenges and solutions to expect when looking for an event environment. Plan your goals, themes, and topics.
- Promoting: Once you’ve got your themes and topics lined up, secure your speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors. These must be people that your attendees will value. Confirm your stakeholders, and then create digital assets that inform your speakers on promoting the event.
- Profiling: As attendees start to sign up, begin to organize them based on profiles or segments. Then you can adequately segment attendees and provide persona categories. You can even provide these personas to your exhibitors and sponsors as part of a lead gen package.
- Delighting: Now it’s time to shine on the event itself. Provide a fantastic event that connects to speakers. Make sure to provide networking and use persona segmentation to build shared business interests.
- Growing: You can then analyze your event success by collecting data and monitoring engagement activities. Collect insightful session metrics so that you know what went down. You can provide this information for the exhibitors at your next event or learn how to better communicate with your audience.
Tapping into the growth acceleration mindset is simple with Accelevents’ Growth Acceleration Framework. Using these techniques, you can utilize event marketing as you’ve never done before.