Event marketing involves using a one-off, online or live presence to engage a specific group and remains one of the most effective tools to serve your marketing functions. There are ten key components to any effective and efficient event marketing system to gain maximum ROI.
The purpose of event marketing is to meet one of four key aims, including:
a. Lead generation
b. Course/programme delivery
c. Awareness of brand
d. Sales and upsell to existing buyers.
This broad category of strategies includes online events such as webinars and live streaming or events with a physical presence such as workshops or seminars, tradeshows and expos, and various types of networking events.
Each of these requires an individual set of skills and systems to deliver the event to maximise identified return on investment. However, there are common general practices that run across all events.
These essential ten checklist components include:
a. Having clear definition of purpose
Resist the temptation to get distracted from what your event is all about e.g. If it is an educational event with ‘no-sell’ function make sure it stays that way. If it is a sales webinar although offering great content is important the way you relate to the audience during the event should be structured towards the sell point.
b. Having clear messages and compelling content
Stick with a set number of key messages and make sure these have a logical structured flow. There are few things that will switch off prospects than cluttered ramblings. These messages should be developed aimed specifically towards your target audience in your promotional material and seen to be followed through in the event itself. If it is a trade show type of event have two or three key messages maximum that you think will be most compelling to encourage people to take action.
c. Be congruent with brand and messages with all material
Brand is important and everything you do and the way you do it should reflect brand. This makes you more memorable so even if there is no action taken at the time you are easily recognisable with follow up.
d. Segmentation of target market to ensure the right people are invited and the promotional material is made relevant.
There are few elements that are more important in recruitment than to ensure the right people are targeted. Let us be brutal about this, a scattergun approach rarely produces participants that are MOST likely to buy because the promotional material nor content is geared towards their needs. This is one of the most crucial components of conversion of prospective leads into clients.
e. Multiple touch promotion system
As a general rule, the more complex the event, the more touches will be required. Issues of venue, content, pre-course preparation, and of course regular reminders should all be laid out and developed before the event, written down, and scheduled using the communication technology you are using. Enrolling people automatically into your emailing software with scheduled posts rather than just putting their details on a spreadsheet will facilitate this. Finally, make sure your enrolment process is easy (usually using a landing page), looks great and sells attendance at the event well.
f. Engagement and mobilisation of any other cross promotion and joint venture partners
Congratulations if you have partner in place as this is one of the keys to success of event marketing. However, unless you give them the right “bullets to fire” to their list(s) then the result is likely to fall short of what is possible.
g. Inclusion of structured and targeted social media channels and audiences.
As with everything we have discussed so far, your social media promotion should be planned and actioned accordingly. Think not only, about a single event but if you are running multiple events in multiple locations, posting during events including testimonials will do no harm with a “next event in Perth link”. It is one of those occasions where “tagging” people in posts is not only OK, but will contribute to future event interest.
h. Systemised and engaging follow up systems
As an example, it is estimated that on sales webinars that around 30% of what is possible at the event itself the remainder can be gained in effective and meaningful follow up. This staggering number just shows how much you will potentially ‘leave on the table’ without this and yet it appears to be common. Whatever the event type then again. Having the opportunity to automatically add onto a database with emailing system will facilitate both immediate follow up but subsequent nurturing until your lead is in a place of readiness to take action.
i. Planning of event resources including, equipment, set-up supporting material and not forgetting having the right people to help.
In an online context, it may include webinar or video set up, including polls to be run and any downloads as well as links to any sell pages. With an event with a physical presence it will include having and checking the right equipment is there, room set up, preparation of any worksheets and take-ways and catering. On the people side of things, another person fielding questions on a webinar may be useful and a physical event enough people to cope with sooth registration and any sales processes you need to implement. There is nothing that is likely to turn possible buyers away than having to wait to buy. Making it easy as possible to purchase is a standard across any event type.
All those enrolled to help should have clarity of responsibilities at all stages of the event (and don’t forget to give them a break!).
j. Measurement of systems at all stages i.e. pre-event, during the event and post-event.
This goes way beyond the “happy sheet” that seems to be the major type (and sometimes the only type) of measurement that many employ.
Measuring all stages of the process form recruitment to attendance to sales figures are all useful indicators as to how to improve ROI next time as well as how smoothly things went generally including how challenges were managed. Closing the circle through altering systems is the final stage of this, one of the most important components of the system as a whole.
Use the above as a checklist to ensure you have the right systems in place.
Good luck with your next event!!
Online Marketing IQ
PS Are more leads important to your business? Check this out…