Today's post is from Gary Bradshaw, CEO and owner of AttendStar.
There’s nothing more deflating than throwing a dinner party that no one attends. Even more daunting is the prospect of hosting a large corporate event designed to promote your company and having dismally low turnout. Yet, staging an in-person event is one of the most effective ways to generate interest in your products or services and maximize the impact of your marketing budget.
How can you cast a net wide enough to get the word out to all of your prospective attendees? What strategies can you use to create an electric buzz around your event that drives ticket sales and compels people to show?
Here are five surefire ways to successfully execute your event marketing and drive awareness to your business:
1. Launch a Digital-Promotion Blitz
You don’t need a huge budget to get the word out, thanks to our multichannel, hyper-connected virtual world. It all starts with a professional-looking website dedicated to the event. Whether you create a new site or host it on your existing one, make this your one-stop resource on which your target audience can find answers to every question. Keep it simple, direct, engaging and factual.
- Remember to add all of your social share buttons so readers can help you promote:
- Include a blog, and update it frequently with breaking news, speaker lists, giveaways and behind-the-scenes photos of your event-planning progress.
- Establish a Facebook page, and create a dedicated hashtag on Twitter for your event.
- Use a digital newsletter and an email signature to spread the word to all of your email subscribers.
2. Don’t Forget Traditional Promotion Methods
While it might be trendy to call event marketing “engagement marketing” or “experiential marketing,” it still refers to the time-honored practice of inspiring loyalty to your brand through face-to-face interactions with your customers.
Many of yesterday’s pre-digital methods are still worth your time:
- Drive awareness to your event through soliciting interviews from local media outlets. Publish press releases and list your event in the calendar section of relevant newspapers or business journals.
- Physical marketing materials — including direct mail, brochures, postcards, flyers and rack cards — all provide strong visual reinforcement for your brand and your event. This is especially true if you choose a design layout that keeps your logo front and center.
- Send your VIPs a physical invite to the event. It's far more intimate and memorable.
3. Keep Promoting While the Event’s in Progress
It’s show time and go-time, and your event is underway. Attendees are engaged and enthusiastic, but what about the people who couldn’t make it in-person? Keep their interest high, so they're inspired to attend your next event by:
- Live blogging: You’ve got your blog — now use it. Task a point-person on your team to provide a blow-by-blow of the important goings-on.
- Live tweeting: Put that dedicated hashtag to work by using pictures and videos of the event to promote your message even further. Encourage your followers to share on their social channels.
- Live streaming: Why not give people who couldn’t attend the chance to be involved by live streaming some of the most powerful content? It provides an authentic taste of what you’re all about and whets their appetite for your next event.
4. Make a Lasting Impression With Swag
Imprint that eye-catching logo on pens, candy, water bottles, wine glasses or mouse pads, and be generous with the handouts. Customized promotional giveaways are pure fun, and they help generate goodwill for your brand. Most importantly, they keep your name in front of prospective clients long after your event’s over, so the ROI can be quite high.
Did you know that promo products have a recall rate of 76.1 percent?
5. Leverage Your Post-Event Recap
Assemble your team within days of your event for a “What worked, what didn’t work?” debriefing. Take copious notes or film the meeting, so it stays fresh in your mind when you’re planning future events. Use the photos and videos from your just-concluded event to craft a promotional tool that generates even more excitement and higher attendance numbers for the next one you stage.
Follow these five event marketing tips, and you’ll be well on your way to boosting and generating interest in your business.