Recall the last occasion you went to. Was it a trade expo or a conference? a small-scale seminar or online launch event for a startup? Why not sign up for a friendly 5K or golf outing?
Although these events were all extremely different from one another, the brands or organizations who put them on shared a common objective: to engage and amuse participants, often known as potential buyers.
All types of businesses, from those in technology and education to those in non-profit, medicine, and retail, can benefit greatly from event marketing.
Events not only help the hosts and sponsors, but they also improve the lives of everyone who attends. Events, in contrast to most other marketing initiatives, inspire, educate, intrigue, entertain, and bring people together.
What is Event Marketing?
Planning, organizing, and carrying out an event with the intention of promoting a company, good, or service is known as event marketing. Companies can either host an event, attend as an exhibitor, or take part as a sponsor. Events can take place offline or online.
Such events are referred to as event marketing. You could host one of these online, partners with another business to sponsor a 5K, set up an exhibit at a significant trade event, or conduct a small roundtable with seven to ten attendees.
You might organize a multi-day conference like INBOUND that draws thousands of people, sponsors, and speakers. For instance, INBOUND 2022 will have sessions both online and in person and draw thousands of attendees from all around the world.
As long as you’re providing value to your consumers, potential customers, and brand, it doesn’t really matter how big or where your event is taking place. Below, we’ll go into more detail on how to create an event marketing plan.
Types of Event Marketing
Let’s discuss some of the various event marketing strategies your business may use while we wait—either as a host, sponsor, or participant. Keep in mind that all of these things might happen virtually as well.
Conferences are significant gatherings that are often planned and hosted by one major firm with sponsorship from a large number of smaller brands and companies. Both B2C and B2B brands can benefit from attending conferences. The most interesting schedules, including speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities, are usually provided by these events.
Trade Shows and Expositions
Expos, also known as trade fairs or expositions, are sizable gatherings focused on a particular sector of the economy or category of goods, such as sales technology or medical devices. Trade exhibitions give businesses a chance to showcase their goods and services, and they frequently generate the most qualified leads. Unlike trade shows, which are primarily attended by qualified buyers, company representatives, and salespeople, conferences are open to the general public.
A tiny number of individuals attend seminars, which are worthwhile educational sessions that are frequently referred to as webinars when held online. These include lectures, talks, and private networking events.
When compared to seminars, roundtables typically contain even fewer participants who are on the same “level,” such as CEOs, doctors, or professors. Both occasions normally only last one day.
Pop-up stores are transient retail locations that provide businesses with the chance to sell their goods in a regulated setting. They are often run by e-commerce companies without permanent brick-and-mortar locations. Pop-up stores also give otherwise digital firms the chance to interact with customers in a real-world situation.
Launch Parties and Celebrations
Small, intimate gatherings known as launch parties or celebrations are conducted to mark the beginning of a new company, a significant announcement, or simply mark a success or milestone. Some businesses throw an annual event to welcome and amuse visitors or clients. Even while these kinds of events shouldn’t be focused on a specific brand or product, a short speech or presentation might help connect the event with a business and remind participants of its purpose.
Similar to roundtables and seminars, workshops are centered on knowledge sharing and teaching participants. Yet, unlike seminars and roundtables, they are frequently public events. While workshops aren’t often promotional, they are typically focused on a topic relevant to the business, which increases a company’s credibility in its sector. Workshops can be conducted both physically and digitally.
Job fairs, conferences just for customers, networking opportunities, VIP experiences, sponsorships, award ceremonies, and competitions are some other forms of event marketing (like 5Ks or golf outings).
Events are effective because they differ from all other forms of marketing. They are memorable, engaging, and immersive. They are beneficial to companies in every sector as well.
Event Marketing Advantages
The success of businesses is aided by event marketing, as we have shown above.
But particularly how do they do that? Why should you finance this company strategy? Here are a few clear advantages of event marketing.
Marketing for events brings in revenue.
Because events naturally provide new business and revenue prospects, companies prefer to invest in event marketing. According to 95% of marketers, in-person events can significantly affect the achievement of their company’s main business objectives.
As the event organizer, you can compile a list of attendees who are already interested in your service, sector, or at the very least belong to your target audience, only from the registration process. If you’re taking part in or supporting an event, you can gather leads by creating an email list, making a demo offer, or holding a contest.
Event Marketing Offers Direct Client Interaction.
Many modern software and e-commerce companies never actually get to meet their consumers or clients. Event marketing is useful in this situation.
According to a 2020 Bizzabo study, 93% of marketers think in-person events give guests a great chance to network in the increasingly digital environment.
At events, engaging consumers and potential customers start conversations with people. These one-on-one, intimate exchanges foster consumer loyalty and assist in humanizing your business. Events also give attendees a break from the stresses of everyday jobs, which makes it easier to engage a client’s attention than during a phone call or in-person pitch. You have the opportunity to sell — or upsell — your goods and services with that focus.
Brand Awareness Will be Increased Through Event Marketing.
One of the most effective ways for businesses to build and expand their brand is to host or take part in events. The main motivation for holding events, according to 64% of event marketers, is to raise brand recognition for their business or products.
By using event marketing, you can give an otherwise digital business a tangible identity and appearance. Similar to pop-up stores, events offer a completely immersive experience that allows visitors to get a true sense of your brand and how it appears in person.
What is the finest aspect of using events to increase brand awareness? People discuss happenings. Events are a terrific way to inform and notify people of your brand and products because attendees, consumers, reporters, bystanders, influencers, and everyone else talks about them in person, on social media, in the press, and more.
Event Marketing Promotes Consumer and Business Education.
Whichever kind of event your business sponsors or takes part in, it almost always has an educational component. The fact that event marketing doesn’t concentrate simply on a brand or product is what makes it so effective.
Instead, they concentrate on instructing and amusing a certain audience or sector of the population, and on the side, they advertise goods and services. (In fact, this is excellent marketing in general.)
Event Marketing Plan
Let’s now discuss how you can carry out your upcoming event. A marketing strategy for your events should be distinct from other business-related activities.
It’s a good idea to outline your event marketing as a stand-alone campaign strategy, however, you can cross-promote (i.e., publish event information on company social media and vice versa).
Here are some questions to consider as you develop your subsequent event marketing plan.
What are your SMART goals? What’s your Budget?
SMART objectives are defined as being precise, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. You can avoid running with ambiguous goals like “bring in leads” by keeping your goals SMART.
SMART goals serve two purposes: to lead the preparation and execution of your event and to aid in determining whether or not your event was successful (and, if not, to identify areas for improvement).
To “increase our potential leads list for our new product by 100 names by the end of the event,” as an example of a SMART event marketing goal.
Assuming the event is pertinent and there are more than enough attendees to acquire 100 names, this goal is explicit (prospective leads for only the new product), measurable (100 names), doable, and timely (by the end of the event).
Don’t restrict your event to a single objective. SMART goals should be used as a guide for making creative and financial decisions, but you should also include intangible goals like “strengthen relationships” and “engage potential customers.”
Finally, give your event marketing budget some thought. This is important because it’ll probably affect everything, including the venue, the entertainment, and the website.
What’s your event’s theme, brand, and schedule?
You need to know what information and material to market in order to promote your event. Establish your event’s name, topic, brand, and purpose before continuing. Why should attendees go? How will they benefit? Is your event a division of your business or a separate entity?
Decide where and when your event will be held next. These are probably going to be the participants’ top queries.
The itinerary for your event, including the keynote speakers, workshop sessions, entertainment, and networking periods, should then be researched and outlined.
When you begin marketing your event, you don’t have to have all of these things in place, but you should at the very least have an idea of who will be attending and what you’ll be providing for guests.
To whom are you advertising? How will you reach them?
Decide who your target market is. Who would gain the most by going to your event? Who would benefit from your workshops, gain knowledge from your speakers, and interact with your sponsors?
Identifying your audience will enable you to invest in and target the appropriate marketing channels. In today’s digitally saturated market, outlets like social media and your event website are available. Print advertisements could be appropriate if your event is local. To reach a wider audience, think about listing your event on a website that lists events, such as Eventful, Hey Event, and 10 times.
Event marketing with email
Another well-liked and successful method of event promotion is email. According to 39% of marketers, email marketing tools were the main factor in an event’s success.
Attendees check their email, making it simple to acquire their information upon registration. As a result, changes and confirmations will be readily visible to them.
In order to keep communication and promotion separate from other marketing activities, businesses frequently develop unique email addresses and newsletters for their events.
This helps your attendees as well because they presumably don’t want their inboxes to be overloaded.
What is your strategy for managing and creating content?
A lot of information is required when promoting your event, including the what, when, where, why, who, and how. You need to develop and regulate this information according to a workable plan in order to manage it effectively.
Since it’s unlikely that all the information about your event will be available at once, you’ll have to release, modify, and change information over the months leading up to it. Will you send out a newsletter for this? Who will be responsible for keeping the website current? Will you spend money on an event app so that guests always have access to this information?
What’s your event marketing timeline?
It is vital to advertise your event throughout the weeks and months preceding it in order to engage your audience. A promotion schedule can help you plan when and what to release. As you reveal new names or information at various periods, a timeline like this also aids in sparking attendees’ interest.
Putting together a multi-touch promotion is also a good idea. To contact as many people as possible, use a variety of channels (such as email, social media, direct mail, phone calls, print ads, and sponsored advertisements).
Your registration numbers could significantly change just by spreading the information.
How will you market and promote the event?
The promotion of your event shouldn’t end when it starts. Spend some money marketing your event while it takes place. Participants might pick up fresh information on the offerings, and those who didn’t sign up will be interested in what they’re missing.
Most businesses utilize social media to interact with customers during an event. 55% of firms use social media to share images, 35% to magnify product announcements, and 73% use it to advertise specific events and features during the event.
Think about live tweeting or recording videos on Facebook, Instagram, or both during your event.
How will you measure your event’s success?
It’s simple to look around during a busy event and feel satisfied with your attendance and engagement. Is that, however, the most effective approach to determine whether your event was a success? Most likely not.
Setting some key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor your event against and assess its performance is a good idea, just like with any other marketing effort.
Below are some typical KPIs used in event marketing.
Registrations and check-ins
Not everyone who signs up to attend your event actually does. A few people who registered but didn’t check in may be among them; compare your registrations to your actual attendance and think about contacting them. If you provided different ticket packages or options, check your registration data to determine when the most and fewest tickets were purchased as well as what sorts of tickets were bought.
Revenue and cost-to-revenue ratio
How much money was made at your event? Gross revenue is a key indicator of success if you sold tickets for your event. How much did you spend on the event compared to that sum? You will gain a better understanding of the worth of your event and the resources provided thanks to this comparison. Even though events are pricey, they are not worth piling up debt for.
Did your event’s attendees have fun? What were they most involved with and enjoyed? Although the term “satisfaction” may seem esoteric, learning the perspectives of your event’s participants can help you better understand where your event was successful and where you could make improvements. To determine your event’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) and to gather feedback from your participants, think about creating a survey.
This is a direct statement from Mike Piddock of Glisser, who spoke at INBOUND and was another expert who offered some marketing guidance in a recent article of ours:
“Hard measurements must be used to evaluate events rather than relying just on subjective judgments and questionnaires to gauge the quality of the coffee. Assess attendee engagement rather than just counting people who registered and showed up because this is an excellent indicator of how well the event went”
Social media mentions/engagement
How often were posts about your event made on social media? What was the prevailing opinion of the incident? Did your attendees spread information that interested visitors? (It’s very plausible; a 2016 research indicated that 98% of attendees generate digital content at events, and it’s likely that this percentage has increased since then.) Social media is a wonderful indicator of an event’s performance and reach in today’s digital age. Search for mentions of your event on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To make it simple to monitor posts, think about adding a hashtag.
Lead acquisition and customer conversion
One of the key advantages of event marketing is lead generation, thus it makes sense to track these as KPIs for your event. Record the number of qualified leads you receive from your event, and then keep tabs on how many of those leads end up becoming paying clients. This can provide you the direct ROI of your event and show you the lead generation and conversion strategies that were most effective.
Start Event Marketing Today
An event’s planning and execution are difficult tasks. Yet, if you approach it with a “snackable” method, you’ll soon be organizing your first event.
Event marketing could be the answer for you — and the most enjoyable for your customers — whether your goal is to amuse potential customers, expand your contact list, or raise money for your nonprofit organization.