Event marketing is a task that requires dedication and enthusiasm. You can create a truly special event that will bring value to everyone in attendance, but if you don’t get the word out that message may play to a largely empty arena.
Here are five steps to ensure that attendees keep showing up year after year.
1. Start Early
This is the number one rule: Allow enough lead time.
Everyone will appreciate the advance notice. Your speakers need to plan their schedules. Your attendees need to plan their travel. And you need to establish the goals for your marketing efforts.
Are you trying to build buzz, drive ticket sales, both? Who is your audience and how will you reach them? What metrics will you use to measure you efforts?
Also, don’t forget that the good speakers go fast. So the quicker you can get them booked, the better it is for you.
Your website is the home base for all your event related information. All your other promotions need to get visitors here. So, it is essential to build a compelling website that contains a plethora of information about your event: agenda, speaker bios, nearby hotels, transportation info, and all activities. Be sure to include social share buttons so interested parties can help build buzz.
Set up a hashtag for your event and utilize it for all your social media promotion – just make sure that it’s not already in use. Utilize promoted tweets and paid Facebook ads to extend your event’s reach. Find the people who are following your speakers and focus ads toward them. Also, target locals where your event is being held. Targeted ads can drill down to very finite details, including zip codes.
Create several different emails for various recipients, and make sure your databases are up to date so the right message gets before the right audience. It’s no good sending a reminder email to people who have already bought their tickets.
Create press releases and utilize your PR team to create awareness of your event through media alerts and mentions in business journals and newsletters.
3. Establish the Best Scenario for Your Speakers
You’ve landed the dream speakers you were hoping to get. That’s great, because now you can promote their attendance and build off their established following.
However, if you make your event just as special for your speakers, they may want to return next year or, at least, share their positive experience with other potential speakers. Naturally, you’ll treat them like VIPs with a special speakers-only area, but what else would make this event stand out for them?
Would they be interested in a special booth or exhibit? How about an informal Q&A session or featuring them in a VIP networking event?
Any value you add to your speakers will translate to the audience.
4. Build a Lasting Community
By delivering an event with value, you are earning the goodwill of your attendees. Once that’s achieved your attendees will become willing ambassadors for your event. However, it is up to your promotional efforts to keep them interested throughout the year and provide them with info to share.
For example, create a Facebook group dedicated to your event and attendees and keep it updated with activities and contests that encourage b
onding. As a community grows around this group, the members will want it to grow by sharing and inviting other friends and interested parties.
5. Keep Them Interested
Your live event is not something that occurs at a single point in the year. So, not only do you need to build a community, you also need to continually reach potential attendees outside of that community.
Keep your event website active by updating it with content from the last event, videos, photos, etc. See what generates the most clicks and use that information when planning next year’s function.
Send thank you emails and post-event surveys. Again, gather this information to improve your exhibitions going forward.
Events have the potential to be your strongest brand builder by engaging and cultivating the people who will be the biggest supporters of your brand. Call 800-343-2005 to see how The Trade Group can help you use these tips – and the hundreds more in our arsenal – to keep your audience talking about your event all year long.