EVENT MARKETING STRATEGIES Whether your next event is a fundraiser or a friend-raiser, developing an event marketing plan is key to making it a success. Every possible opportunity to connect with your guests needs to be considered. Today’s customers are more empowered than ever, and there are so many variables when it comes to events. There is no one-size-fits-all approach; however, whether your objective is to generate leads, build a brand, educate the audience on a product, or raise funds for a good cause, there are proven event marketing tactics for all stages of the event that will make yours stand out.
Before the Event Let’s start with the basics: the invite list, the save-the-date, the invitation and RSVP’s. Event marketing is dual purpose when it comes to the planning stages. It’s great advertising to invite people to events; events expose people to your brand and gets them interested, talking and sharing about it. At the same time, being on top of tracking registrations helps you plan for the number of guests. Using a software program that tracks attendees and handles ticket sales is a must. There are many low-cost cloud-based options out there, and a lot of them have built-in integration to connect with your email marketing and social media marketing.
Depending on the event and target market, invitations and RSVP’s may be physical paper mailers or online registrations. Many times, the sweet spot of an event is a combination of both. If physical marketing pieces are being sent out, this will be one of your higher event marketing expenses unless you are able to print in-house. In order to get the most bang for your buck, make sure your team is organizing the mail data. When there’s no link to click, tracking data can be tricky. Some trusted ways to capture response rates from physical marketing pieces are by printing a unique phone number or email address for the event. If applicable, include a coupon, raffle ticket or contest entry that you can collect at the event. Making these strategic event marketing choices can save you time and money for next time, showing you what’s really working to bring in guests.
If you have an email list, now’s the time to put it to use. Just like traditional mail, save-the-dates should be sent out months in advance, followed by an official invitation. Reminders for registering should be sent out on a weekly basis, then some final notices 2-days and 1-day before the event. Find creative ways to switch up the emails each time so they aren’t repetitive. If there are guest speakers, add content with their biographies. If there’s a key topic for the event, include different photos and videos in each email. Answer frequently asked questions and provide new tidbits of information. You’ll get a better turnout by communicating with your audience early and often leading up to the event.
Another approach to event marketing is taking advantage of local press. Almost every newspaper or city-based website has an event calendar, and most are free to post event listings on. This works best for in-person events, but also has great SEO value by providing a lot of external links to your website. Keep a list of local journalists and send a press release to them. If a member of the press responds with interest in your event, offer them a free invite. Keep a list online calendars, their login information, and posting deadlines.