If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers, spread brand awareness and gain a larger following in your community, you need to get involved in event marketing.
WHAT IS EVENT MARKETING?
Event marketing is developing an exhibit, display, or presentation to promote a product, service or organization at offline or online events. Most businesses get involved with event marketing for four primary reasons:
- Branding and Awareness – Events allow companies to cultivate and express its identity firsthand while also inviting customers to experience that identity in a very tangible way.
- Lead Generation – The right event connects your business with a group of prospects that already have an interest in who you are and what you have to offer making it easier to generate quality leads and sales.
- Customer Engagement & Upsell – Events create an unparalleled opportunity for meaningful, personal engagement. In addition, events are an excellent venue for introducing customers to new products and services that could address their needs. At the very least, positive, personal interactions are a sure way to cement a customer relationship and ensure their life-long loyalty.
- Education – Most people attend events to get educated and network. At events, companies can establish themselves as thought leaders by providing the information and connections that their prospects and customers are looking for.
Now that we know why events are important for businesses, how do they actually get involved with event marketing?
6 TIPS FOR GETTING INVOLVED IN EVENT MARKETING
1. FIND THE RIGHT EVENT
When it comes to events, you have a lot of options. The most common types of events include:
- Breakfasts, lunches and dinners
- Social Media Chats
- Local Markets
- Professional Organizations & Clubs
With all of these options, the process of deciding which events to be a part of can get overwhelming. The key to selecting the right event for your business is following your target audience. Where are the people you’re trying to reach going? If they like going to trade shows, then that’s where you should be. If you can find them at the local farmer’s market, snatch some space at the next gathering. If they are hard to reach in-person but love hanging out on social media, host a Twitter chat or do a live-stream. Although events always provide good exposure, be strategic about which events to be a part of.
It’s also a good idea to start on your home turf, especially for small businesses. Go to Google Alerts and set up alerts for festivals, tradeshows, fairs etc. in your area. For example, if you sell pottery in Denver, set up an alert for “Craft shows in Denver,” “Farmer’s Markets, Denver, CO,” “Spring events in Denver,” and notifications about when and where events like this are taking place will come directly to you. Another best practice is joining a local association like your Chamber of Commerce, which will help you stay better connected with your community and make you privy to upcoming events. Finally, follow the right people and organizations on social media. Facebook especially is a hotbed of information about events that are taking place near you.
2. MAKE IT MEMORABLE
Once you’ve selected the events you want to be a part of, think about the experience you want to create. What do you want your guests to take away from their interaction with your brand at this event? Simply showing up with a table cloth and a few flyers won’t be enough to differentiate you from the crowd. Pick a theme, ask people who are knowledgeable and passionate about your products or organization to man your booth, and hold nothing back. Most importantly, have fun. If you’re having a good time, your guests will too.
3. SET REALISTIC GOALS
If you want event marketing to work for you, you need to establish early on what you want to accomplish. Do you want to get more leads? Do you want to move some products or collect resumes for potential employees or sign people up for your email list? No matter what you want to accomplish, set a goal and make it quantifiable. For instance, saying that you want to get more leads isn’t enough. Quantify how many leads you need to make the costs and effort you put into your event worth it. This will help you in two main ways. First, it will help you plan your involvement at an event around that goal and craft specific calls to actions for your guests to complete. Second, it will allow you to assess if your involvement in an event was successful after it’s over, which will then give you the information you need to decide whether or not to continue participating in similar events in the future.
4. INCLUDE SOCIAL MEDIA
Events are excellent content for social media. Be sure to promote your presence at an event before, during and after the event. Include pictures, videos and information about what you’re doing there and why guests should come visit you. And don’t forget to use event hashtags and tag other event attendees, sponsors and businesses in your posts. You’ll get more exposure that way.
5. PREPARE FOR ON-SITE TRANSACTIONS
If you’re going to have products at your event, you absolutely need to have a way for guests to make a purchase. If you don’t, you’ll be missing opportunities to add sales to your revenue stream. The best way to do this is having a mobile POS device. There are several options available to you, from card swipers that connect to a smart phone or tablet, to full-fledged, wireless terminals. If you don’t already have one of these devices handy, checkout our mobile offerings here.
6. FOLLOW-UP WITH ATTENDEES
The final step of successful event marketing happens after the event is over. During the event, find a way to get guests’ contact information. If you think they’ll need an incentive, sponsor a drawing for which guests have to submit contact information to enter. Afterwards, follow-up with customers. Send them a short survey asking for feedback or asking how they liked a product they purchased. Give some prospects a call to move them along in the sales process. Send those that signed up for your email list a welcome letter. Post pictures and videos from the event on social media and tag your visitors. Whatever type of follow-up you do, make sure it aligns with your event marketing goals and provides a natural segue into creating a deeper relationship with your event attendees.
Now that you know how to get involved in event marketing, we can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. If you plan on using any of these tips at your next event, let us know by commenting on this post on our Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Happy event planning!