Event marketing has always been critical to hosting a successful event, but the ways in which we advertise to our customers are ever-changing. What does a successful event marketing strategy look like in 2022?
There are a variety of ways to generate leads, educate prospects and customers, build brand awareness, upsell customers, and increase event attendance. In the technological age, you can’t put all of your focus on one platform – it’s important to diversify your digital marketing campaign across social media, email, press releases, and more in order to optimize your event marketing strategy. So no matter where your potential attendees look up keywords involving your event – Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – your event comes up high on the list, or even first.
Since placing high up on Google search results, building brand awareness, and selling more tickets go hand in hand, let’s explore exactly how to incentivize your target audience to visit your site, engage with your brand, and eventually attend your upcoming event. Follow these tips to build a successful event marketing strategy:
Identify your audience
In order to build an effective marketing plan, first, you need to understand your audience. After all, the better you target your marketing efforts, the better your event marketing campaign will perform. Here’s what you should know about your target audience:
- Demographics – Age, gender, marital status, religion, race, and education
- Geographic – Area code, state or province, ZIP code or city
- Behavioral – Spending habits and interactions with your brand
- Motivation and goals
You likely already have an idea about who your customers are and why they would buy from you, but you can use CRM tools to gain a further understanding of their motivations. CRM, or Customer Relation Management, tools are an organized approach to developing, managing, and maintaining a profitable relationship with your customers.
This can be accomplished by tracking and examining every interaction and communication your organization has with customers and clients. By choosing the right CRM tool for your company, you’ll be provided with a central pool, which assures simplicity, security, and scaling of any customer interactions. The right CRM tool will allow you to register all of your customers onto the database with various notes about their market segmentation group that can be used to connect with them at the appropriate time.
CRM Tools should be chosen on the basis of customer requirements, with types ranging from Operational CRM, Analytical CRM, and Collaborative CRM – depending on what type of goods and services your organization provides. Choosing the correct CRM helps achieve better contact management, lead management, sales forecasting, employee synergy, email tracking and integration, content sharing, and dashboard analytics. Some of the most popular CRM tools are Salesforce CRM, SAP CRM, ZOHO CRM, Oracle CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Nimble CRM, Hub spot CRM, Pipedrive CRM, and CRM Creatio.
To put it simply, CRM tools provide a range of benefits like:
- Supplementing a better client-customer relationship
- Supporting improved team collaboration
- Offering better efficiency in serving clients leads to more employee satisfaction
- Reducing costs
- Saving time researching customer market segmentation manually
On the other hand, without the right CRM tool you’ll have drawbacks like:
- Difficulty managing customer contacts in spreadsheets like Excel
- Navigating between various tools without a central dashboard
- Manual marketing efforts will be more time consuming
- Lack of scalability could lead to losing track of important information
- Less accessibility to important data leads to lower customer satisfaction
- You may be guessing about your audience demographic instead of using tools that track their shopping and spending patterns
To sum it up, CRM tools help you understand things about your customers like job titles, which products and services they’re most interested in, and how they landed on your page from another site. For example, did they navigate to your page by clicking on a paid ad or did they search Google and find your page organically? These types of insights are vitally important to a successful marketing strategy.
Once you have a basic understanding of your target audience, you can leverage this information to gain even more marketing insights. By reviewing free tools like Google Analytics and Search Console, you can gain an even better understanding of which search terms potential customers are using to find your organization. With Google Analytics, you’ll have access to Google’s unique data points that tell you about the performance of your website like:
- The number of site visitors
- Where visitors are coming from
- The amount of time they spent on your website
- The reason for visiting your website
- Bounce rate – the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page
- Customer acquisition
Google Analytics collects data from the User’s HTTP request, browser and system information, and first-party cookies. On the other hand, Google Search Console is used to improve and optimize your website by providing information like:
- Which websites are linking to your site
- Any technical site errors
- Intel keyword queries
- Click-through rate and other metrics
- User clicks and impressions
Once you’ve figured out your target audience, you should decide on the desired outcome that you want from this audience, for example, filling out a quote, registration form, or viewing a product or service. This will help you measure your success rate and ensure your marketing efforts encourage your target audience’s interactions will coincide with your end goal.
By identifying your audience and acting on that information you’ll notice an uptick in the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. To sum it up, Google Analytics tracks anonymous website visits, clicks, and goals while CRM software leverages contact information, opportunity, and revenue activity. Perhaps one of the most important tips regarding Google Analytics and CRM would be to use CRM software that can work well with Google Analytics. With the right choice, once a lead is won, it will automatically send CRM data to Google Analytics to gain valuable end-to-end visibility of the customer experience and optimize performance based on revenue, not just goal completions.
Create a landing page
If you’re already ready to use CRM Tools, chances are you already have a landing page. If that’s the case, you can probably skip this section – or just review the key points to improve your current landing page. If you haven’t already created a landing page, this will explain why you should definitely develop one.
A landing page, in the marketing realm, is a standalone page that serves a single and focused purpose – usually distinct from your homepage or any other webpage on your site.
For event marketing, a landing page generally serves two purposes:
- It allows you to openly communicate with users who land on your page – giving you an opportunity to give your event’s unique sales pitch to anyone who finds your event.
- It also encourages users to go to your registration page – include an attractively worded link to motivate people to sign up for your event.
Guide your web designer to spruce up your landing page with an interesting design that reflects your brand. Make sure you communicate with them on important points like branding designs, your message, and any key talking points that you want to communicate to potential attendees on your landing page. At the end of the day, it’s your event and you need to make sure your voice is reflected properly on the webpage.
For any type of event, it is ideal for your landing page to have the following components:
- A compelling headline
- The date and time of your event
- Event agenda
- A brief overview of your event
- A list of exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers
- FAQs about your event
- Content and design that supports your overall message
- An engaging video to attract traffic and convert views into registrations
In addition to these components, it is always a good strategy to link or embed your social media feeds onto your landing page. Of course, that means you need to stay active in promoting your brand and event on social media as well, but that’s a topic for another day.
Create and leverage an email list
Did you know that email marketing offers the highest and most measurable return on investment (ROI) of all types of online marketing? According to one study, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $36. That means your ROI can easily be over 3600 percent.
If you have already used your CRM software to build a lead list, have a subscription base on one of your blogs, or a database of potential participants’ emails, you already have low-hanging fruit to focus on. Needless to say, just because they have already interacted with your brand doesn’t mean they will again in the future – make sure you craft your email marketing campaign carefully.
Each campaign should include:
- A list of target recipients
- The number of emails to send each target and how long the delay is in between
- A compelling subject line that encourages readers to read your message
- Body text that describes your event, product, or service in an interesting way
- A call-to-action
It’s important not to spam your potential attendees with dozens of emails that may just cause irritation, instead focus on crafting 2-3 well-thought-out emails prior to your event to invite, inform, and remind your audience of your upcoming event.
Create a press release
A great way to inform the masses about your event is to focus on content marketing. Firstly, create a press release and have it published on one of the many event marketing platforms available today. Remember to “educate first” and “ask later,” meaning you want to create interesting content that informs people about the value of your event, rather than begging them to attend.
Some of the most popular and useful event marketing sites that can be used to promote your event are:
- Facebook Events
- Google Events
- Bandsintown (music)
- Local sites popular in the area of your event
When composing your press release, keep in mind this is meant to be read as an educational article, not a marketing proposal. Let your viewers know the value of your event, tell them who the intended audience might be, inform them of the date and time of your event, and highlight any speakers or sponsors worth mentioning. Of course, this is a great place to link to your newly-crafted or updated landing page in order to drive referral traffic.
Beyond potential massive coverage from whichever PR website you choose, online press releases are also commonly shared by readers and journalists on social media channels – giving you even more potential exposure. Try publishing a press release on SMBNow.com to gain more exposure for your small to medium business — this online magazine also promotes its publications on social media at no additional charge.
Promote your event on social media
Now that you have an attractive and interesting press release to link to, it’s important to promote it on social media. You can use a combination of organic and paid promotions to maximize your post’s reach.
Tell your followers on social media a little bit about your event each day, while linking to relevant sources like your landing page and signup page depending on the topic of conversation in your social media post. Remember to keep your posts engaging, as it’s not enough for your followers to just see your updates – you want to convert those views into clicks and ticket conversions.
Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter can be used to share event updates, engage followers, and create event pages. These platforms also offer paid promotions that can target your audience by their key demographics (decided by your input). Inform your users about your event, then include a link to your landing page, registration page, or blog article that continues to drive interest towards your event.
You can also use platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to share snapshots of your upcoming event, the venue, the speakers, and anything else you want to show them. If you have hosted events in the past, now is a great time to reflect on past success and show your potential attendees how much fun they could have if they attended this year.
Youtube is also great for publishing videos or attractive slideshows of your past events, or upcoming features. TikTok is also becoming more and more popular – you can experiment with some of the new features for businesses. Depending on your target demographic, you can also leverage Snapchat to appeal to younger audiences or Spotify to promote musical events.
Create an event hashtag – which can be used on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and TikTok. Keep in mind these hashtags don’t work cross-platform, so you’ll have to promote these hashtags on each individual platform you choose. Hashtags are a perfect way for people to follow along with your event through a simple search on their social media platform. Make sure your hashtag is short, easy to remember, and relevant to your event for maximum success.
To start a hashtag trending, share an interesting image with the official hashtag for your event so attendees can follow along with event updates. Make sure to inform your audience of #YourEventHashtag on your landing page, social media sites, blog articles, and anywhere else it may be relevant.
Now that your hashtag is out there, engage with people who use your tag and tell them how excited you are that they are attending your event – a priceless asset as many people love getting special attention from the brands that they follow.
Incentivize people to attend your event and interact with your brand
While your target audience should already be somewhat interested in your event since that’s how you found many of them, an additional nudge is always a good idea. Provide an extra incentive for people to attend your events like promotion giveaways, raffles, and discounts. These incentives can help make those attendees that are on the fence about coming to your event more excited to join.
Remember, the goal should be to get your audience excited about your event – not just the raffle or prize you’re giving away. Make sure you choose incentives that compliment your event rather than distract from your core message.
Some good ideas may be:
- Offering discounts – If most of your target audience is existing or potential customers, or past event attendees, a discount could be a useful way to incentivize attendance.
- Give away products related to your brand – Not only does this serve as free promotion for your future endeavors, but a branded product is also a great way to get your audience excited about your event.
Summing it up
Now that you’ve identified your audience and targeted them with CRM, created a landing page, leveraged an email list, created a press release, promoted your event on social media, and incentivized people to attend your event, you’re on your way to having a successful event marketing strategy.
Don’t forget that a well-thought-out event marketing plan will not only strengthen your branding, but also get your event across more screens, and increase the chances for a successful event.
Remember to define your goals, choose the proper channels, carefully design your email marketing campaigns, ask partners and local businesses to contribute, closely monitor the marketing performance on each channel, and adjust your plan as necessary.
Events Are Back
After a long break due to pandemic-related cancellations and closures, there is no doubt that people are looking to get back to events, meetings, and travel.
Now that everyone is familiar with health and safety protocols after living through the pandemic, the public is finally ready to go back to attending events in full swing. Some people haven’t been able to gather for in-person events for nearly three years, creating a pent-up need for networking. After all, the ability to connect face-to-face, share experiences, discuss coping strategies, and talk about future predictions is one of the most important facets of in-person nonprofit gatherings.
If you’re planning an upcoming event, make sure you provide plenty of social and networking opportunities for your attendees.
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