Event Marketing Grows Up

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Dear House Rules,

One of our healthcare clients has an annual event to promote its new and existing products and tout its involvement in the community (via health fairs, a speaker series, and a number of charitable initiatives.) We design an exhibit for one of the company’s products, but we’d love to get more involved as well, particularly in the marketing of the event. We’ve done lots of event marketing for other clients, but when drafting a proposal for this one, what should we be sure to include? One thing is for sure: event marketing has changed as rapidly as technology has!

 

Signed,

The Modern Megaphone

Dear Megaphone,

We couldn’t agree more that event marketing can be a daunting task. It requires a wide variety of disciplines to work as a seamless team, for one thing, which is no small feat. However, there are some proven tools and strategies that you can use to generate “buzz” around your current event and increase attendance at your next one as well.

Pre-event marketing

  • Determine your goals, both tangible and intangible, for the event. For some, it may be driving sales. For others, it may be creating a buzz. For most, it will be both. Event marketing requires you to set goals in advance. Make sure they’re clear across every team involved in promotion
  • Decidewhat you want to measure and how you’ll do so. The only way to know if your approach is working is to measure performance and make changes accordingly. You can measure everything from click-through rates on emails to social media impressions, engagement, paid ad performance and more
  • Finally, you need to know who you are targetingin your promotion efforts. Aside from promoting to existing clients, you may also want to invite future influencers, prescribers, and even potential brand partners. Using specialized analytics software, you can find the right people to direct your social promotions to. This way, you’ll know you have the exact group you’re looking for and won’t waste resources or budget on the wrong audience

Multichannel event marketing

Once your goals and measurement tools are in place, it’s time to kick off your event marketing plan. The best way to do this is with a multi-faceted approach, promoting the event using various marketing disciplines:

  • Email Marketing: Develop your communications plan for emails well in advance. Different types of emails will be needed for different audiences. If you establish your email plan and messaging strategy ahead of time, you’ll be better set up for success in the long run
  • Social Media:Make sure you set a dedicated hashtag for your event for all your social media promotion, checking first to ensure it’s not already in use. Use engaging visuals, videos and animations to draw attention to your tweets promoting the event
  • Direct Mail: In an era where digital is king, it’s easy to forget to power of physical marketing tactics like direct mail. In addition to email invites and social promotion, consider employing direct mail tactics for your VIPs by sending a physical invite to the event
  • Website: A compelling websiteis a crucial component of event marketing. In fact, it should be the home base for all related information. This should be where you’re driving all your promotional work, so make sure your event site includes all the necessary information to encourage ticket purchases. This includes, but is not limited to, detailed agenda, speakers, hotel and transport information, and all other activities

Promotion during the event

The big day is here, and your event marketing has worked – you’ve got a venue full of eager attendees, but your work doesn’t stop here. It’s crucial you continue promoting the event throughout its duration if you want to maintain buzz. For as many people you have attending your event, you have just as many who likely couldn’t make it but are still interested in what’s happening, and it’s important to keep them engaged. If you engage them now, they’ll be more inclined to attend the next conference. There are a number of ways to do this, but the major one is, of course:

  • Live tweet: Have marketing staffers dedicated to tweeting the goings-on of the event on a continual basis. They should act as the eyes and ears on the ground and report back using social media. Use pictures and videos of the event to amplify your presence even further and engage your audience by encouraging them to share on their social channels using the dedicated hashtag. You could even hold a Twitter contest and award the top customer tweets at the event with trophies

Post-event marketing

The event might be over, but your work still isn’t done. It’s important to take all your promotional efforts and close out the event in a way that can be used for future events. You’ve likely collected a host of photos, videos, feedback, testimonials and more during your event – these are all valuable elements you can compile into a promotional tool for your next event. Take stock of what you have and find ways to market it. Create a compelling recap video to use in future promotions. Collate relevant tweets and blog comments and use them for future testimonials.

Promoting an event or conference can be an enormous job, crossing multiple disciplines and requiring a good amount of foresight and strategic thinking. But if you follow the steps above, you’ll be quite a bit closer to a successful event. At Xavier Creative House, we’ve promoted many events and would love to share our experiences with you. Feel free to reach out via email, phone, or social media.

 

Reference: 1. https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/event-marketing-how-to-promote-an-event/. Accessed August 20, 2018.

Sincerely,
House Rules

Sunny Beth White

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