Top 4 Essential Digital Marketing Tactics for Event Planners
Events are a crucial way for organisations to make contacts and generate new business. 64% of marketers use tradeshows and events to source new prospects (Marketing Charts) and a huge 83% of brands cite that their number one reason for event participation is increasing sales (Live Marketing).
Face to face events are so important for making and building customer relationships, encouraging repeat business and ultimately, giving a ROI long after the event. One survey shows that 84% of consumers will repurchase a product promoted at the event, after their first purchase (EventTrack Study).
So as an event planner, you will want to maximise the potential of your event by getting the right attendees in volumes, that will generate new leads and sales. In case you needed convincing, numerous studies have shown that up to 93% of people search online before purchasing, so undoubtedly that Digital marketing should form a large part of your strategy in targeting attendees to generate ticket sales.
Before you Start Marketing
Running a successful event, will come down to the ground work you do BEFORE you start any of your marketing. The first things you need to define early on are the basics – WHO the attendees are, WHERE they are and WHY they should go to your event. Think about it logically… if you base all your marketing communication tactics around these three vital statistics then you will reach the right target market, on the right channels with a compelling message.
Most event planners will know WHO the audience is immediately – it’s brides and grooms for a wedding showcase like The Wedding Journal Show, farmers and agricultural suppliers for The National Ploughing Championship and hospitality and event professionals for Connect16. However, consider getting to know your ideal attendee a little better by creating a “Persona”, a semi-fictional representation which helps keep you focused on who you are marketing to. If you are organising a corporate event, this blog entitled “Buyer Persona’s for B2B events” will give some detailed tips on creating a Persona of your ideal attendee.
So we know the WHO. It’s the WHERE and WHY that are a little more tricky. The following tactics are a guideline to help you reach your ideal event attendee with a message that resonates and compels them to engage and act by attending your event.
4 Essential Tactics for Marketing Events
This highly effective tactic reaches right into the pocket of prospective attendees. Start building your email marketing database as early as possible, or even better use one that you have from last year’s event (once you are sure you have permission from users). 74% of marketers say that email is their most commonly used tool for event promotion (Marketing Charts). And you can use it to relay so many varied pieces of relevant information, all the while aiming to engage your prospective attendee.
- Bios on Sponsers and Speakers: Many event organisers you speak to will tell you it’s the personal stories of the speakers that draw them to an event. So don’t underestimate the importance of high quality speakers.
- Video: embed video into your email correspondence. As we know by now, video is proven to be highly engaging, emotive and easily sharable – great reasons to include in in your email marketing.
- Testimonials and social proofs: if you have these from previous events, customer endorsements can be highly effective coupled with a sign-up call to action.
Social media for event promotion is here to stay, in fact 78% of event professionals plan to increase their use of social media to promote events (Brandon Gaille). The array of social media tactics available could take up another three blogs so let’s focus on the basics of how to leverage social media for your event. Social Media is so prominent – 77% of event marketers use it to promote before and during their event (EventTrack Study).
- Create a unique hashtag. This will allow you to track all social mentions of your event. It also allows you to easily find and retweet or share mentions from others which creates a buzz and adds credibility.
- Reach out to influencers on Twitter and ask them to share the event. Your speakers can also do this for you as they are likely to have a base of followers which could be interested in attending your event.
- 89% of event marketers use Facebook as their #1 social media tool (Marketing Charts), so be on Facebook! Create an event in Facebook and share it in groups and on other pages, asking people to “join” or show they are “interested”. This is a great tactic for keeping your event front of mind for attendes Add bios of your speakers to the event to add credibility and interest. Like Twitter, ask speakers to share it on their Facebook pages.
- Facebook events are a great way to target warm leads or “interested” followers. They will receive all the updates you add to the event so ensure you are adding content and teasers with those people in mind.
- On your registration landing page ensure you have prominent social share buttons – people love to tweet that they are going to an event so make it easy for them.
- Again as people register you will gather their email address to send them confirmation. Use this initial email as a chance to share your Twitter link and Facebook event.
- Tweet all the time, 10 times a day if you can with a slightly tweaked message.
We all know blogs are a great way to get found through search and they are also an essential way to add value to your marketing activities. There are a couple of tactics you can use here.
- Guest Bloggers. Reach out to industry experts relevant to the theme of your event and ask them to write a short blog. This cuts down on the content you need to produce while also adding an additional layer of credibility to your event by having well know experts associated with it.
- Consider asking the same guest blogger to do a live video on Facebook to increase reach for your event.
- Don’t forget SEO on your blogs – do your keyword research, include tags and link out to other blogs and your website where possible.
Press & Media:
Although digital marketing is crucial for your events’ success, don’t neglect the traditional platforms. The amount of media coverage you generate will be a key success factor of your event and according to a Marketing Profs) survey, 70% of marketers say it’s the most common metric to judge event ROI.
- Email regular press releases to online and offline newspapers and radio stations.
- Submit your event to industry associations and chamber of commerce.
- Share out all of your content on all of your social platforms. This includes any mentions, re-tweets, comments and press coverage you receive. All will add credabiltiy and momentum to your marketing efforts.
In the next blog, I’ll be talking about how to leverage social media during and after your event.
About the Author: Allison Ryder, (MSc.Digital Marketing/ BSc. Tourism Marketing) is founder of eConsult Ireland. Allison has worked in sales, marketing and event management in the hospitality industry for over 15 years.