Your Complete Guide to Event Marketing

Company meeting about event marketing

There is nothing easy about event marketing. If you ever put together an event, you know the hours of hard work you invested into the event’s content, scheduling all the featured speakers you’d hoped to book, finding the perfect venue, and settling on the right date all add up to a hefty task.

You have probably put a fair amount of thought into marketing the event. You designed invitations that will generate interest, and you timed their delivery to create the most RSVPs. The problem you face is that when the day of the event arrives and you’ve got empty seats, there is nothing more that you can do, and the event turns into a loss.

We’ll explore the best ways to market your next event successfully.

Tips for Successful Event Marketing

The starting point for your event should always be the question, “why?”.

Why is your event important? Why should people attend? 

Related: Learn About Generating Leads for Your Event

Consider your attendee’s perspective, stakeholders’ motivation, and these tips for successful event marketing:

Your Event Elevator Pitch

You need to have a succinct summary about your event so that you can capture the interest of people without any knowledge about it. Determine how to communicate your event’s vision and benefits in under 60 seconds.

Social media presents an exceptional opportunity to test short messages and elevator pitches to see what resonates best with your audience. Take this growth hacking approach on social media to gain a low-cost method for experimenting with nothing to lose.

You can refine your elevator pitch through this method and, once finished, communicate it to your stakeholders to ensure that everyone sends out a consistent message.

Understand Your Stakeholders

The better understanding you have of your investors and audience, the better your events will turn out, and the easier it will be to create the right message. We recommend developing five personas to represent your stakeholders and attendees.

Personas are fictional representations of a person that depict your typical partners and customers. With these personas, you can bring to life their details, struggles, and backgrounds to gain a picture of who you want to reach. This process can help you refine your messaging and discover relevant trends and tools to implement in your event.

These personas should come from a combination of data and educated guesses. And the more data you gather, the more you can develop refined customer profiles from using analytics like surveys.

Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

Next, think about specific messaging that will likely appeal to each of the personas you created. Setting a consistent message about how to sell your event to specific stakeholders is crucial. You can also begin segmenting your audience to help you create increasingly personalized communications.

Critically analyze each social media post, email, and piece of content that you plan on sending from the view of its recipient. Also consider the outcomes you want to achieve, why your customers and attendees should care, and what reaction you can expect from them.

If your messaging is weak and generic, it’s unlikely to break through all of the clutter and noise to resonate with your audience. 

Think About the Attendee Journey

During your attendee’s journey, they’ll have numerous touchpoints with you during, before, and after your event. You can gain a better understanding of event marketing opportunities by understanding all of the touchpoints within the event. During this process, you’ll also find opportunities to increase attendee satisfaction.

Think about the various ways that stakeholders might come into contact with your brand—what steps will they take? What scenarios are possible? Where does their journey start; what are the paths of entry?

Also think about the online and offline steps, from marketing and preregistration to post-event surveys and follow ups. Include both minor and major touchpoints—every point of contact can influence partners and attendees.

Consider the Tipping Point

How does someone decide if they want to attend your event or not? Try to understand their process and behavior—what are the determining factors? Many elements play a part.

Multiple factors could tip the balance, leading to your attendees coming to the event (or not), like reviews, cost, and recommendations. Understanding these triggers can help you perfect your event marketing strategy.

Thinking about what could tip the balance can help you identify strengths, weaknesses, and gaps, enabling you to make improvements to your communication and marketing strategies. It can also help you speed up the process, making it simpler for attendees to reach that tipping point and encouraging them to engage with the event.

Map Your Process

After going over your attendee journey, you can begin identifying key elements in the process and where you hit a crossroads. Process mapping can help you decide how to influence the outcomes you want and develop an event marketing strategy to make it happen.

Throughout this process, you want to use various channels in different ways—not broadcast the same message to all platforms in a broach approach.

Process mapping involves:

  • Getting your brand discovered online for better visibility and SEO
  • Being recognized as an industry leader to build authority with your audience
  • Encouraging customers to share to reach greater visibility and get recommendations
  • Engaging attendees before the event for better buy-ins and anticipation
  • Selling early bird tickets to sell out your discount ticket allocation

Tell More People More Often

Someone hearing about your event for the first time isn’t likely to take action. Effective frequency refers to how many times someone needs to hear a message before they take action (buying a ticket, renting a booth, etc.). Many marketers swear by the number seven—however, the average touchpoints may be higher or lower depending on your industry.

It starts with conveying a strong message to build trust and familiarity with potential attendees and sponsors. Ensure that they can find information about you and send reminders to those with your event on their radar that haven’t booked their spot yet.

And if your event is paid, people need a reason to register. If they’re unsure of the value they’ll get from attending, you need to work harder, reassuring and convincing them.

Putting These Tips Together

Your stakeholder journey needs to look at your attendees’ and partners’ flow and experience before, during, and after your event. It’s a complex process—it’s about more than getting someone to commit to attending or buying a ticket.

There are many influencing factors that can impact the overall experience. However, an event planner’s primary marketing goal is typically persuading someone to register for the event, building anticipation and excitement that lead to engagement and loyalty to your brand.

By improving their overall experience, you can make it more likely for participants to recommend your event and attend again in the future, helping you build customers for life.

Man setting up cameras for a virtual event
Man setting up cameras for a virtual event

The Problems With Virtual Events (and How to Overcome Them)

Since March 2020, companies accustomed to displaying products and services in person have been forced to take their presentations online, enrolling in virtual shows. While superior to a complete cancellation, these shows have a few limitations. A survey of vendors conducted in August 2020 revealed that 43% of 343 exhibitors are unsatisfied with the level of engagement with customers and prospects these events provide. These exhibitors took it a step further, saying they do not want to do a virtual event again.

Here are a few of the reasons why:

  • Engagement and participation from attendees tend to be minimal
  • Vendors report little opportunity for networking
  • There are frustrations associated with not having enough time to develop presentations ideal for virtual formats
  • Vendors get bogged down in the number of platforms they must learn to navigate for different virtual trade shows

Related: Get Noticed With the Right Marketing Mix

Why Should You Keep Hosting and Attending Virtual Events?

The connection between sales leads and trade shows may be enough to keep vendors attending virtual events. Still, there are additional reasons why some vendors aren’t ready to give up on them and may even see untapped opportunities there:

  • Complete elimination of the risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • Virtual events are low-cost compared to a live trade show
  • The ability for attendees to participate in more shows because of the removal of geographic and travel concerns
  • Flexibility to attend at participants’ convenience, with many shows offered both live and on-demand.

New Opportunities: What some see as a poor alternative to live trade shows may offer untapped opportunities that are largely impossible with an in-person event. It requires the creative anticipation of how to take a challenge and create not just a solution but a superior outcome for marketing teams. Take a look at some of the advantages to be gained with a proactive approach to virtual trade shows:

Extended Reach: Your trade show is no longer hindered by considerations like schedules, travel costs, or budgets. You can reach a much broader audience through a virtual option. In addition, you may be able to narrow the number of trade show presentations you produce, significantly reducing the number of hours and the investment you put into trade show marketing.

Shorten Your Sales Cycle: By registering for your virtual event, you have an immediate catalog of qualified sales leads. Then, within mere minutes, you can introduce your product, conduct a demonstration and communicate any promotions that may encourage an immediate decision.

Utilize Lead Tracking Fueled by Data: Post-event reports can give useful insights into your virtual trade show. From the number of attendees to the number of interactions and downloads of corresponding content, you can gauge the success of your event and make adjustments. You can also use it to follow up on potential leads.

Overcoming Those Event Marketing Challenges

Suppose your experience doesn’t match the positive picture discussed here, and your company has struggled to connect with the leads you anticipated as a result of a Webinar or virtual trade show. In that case, you can benefit from the expertise of a specialist.

At Blue Valley Marketing, you can access specialized lead nurturing designed to make the most of the contacts from a virtual trade show. You can set up a proactive lead nurturing program that assesses whether your attendees are qualified actionable leads moving closer to a decision or if they are interested parties participating in the webinar for an educational purpose only. We can also tell if the contacts you thought were leads are your competitors spying on your marketing efforts.

Another approach involves changing how you determine your path for your virtual trade shows. For example, you may decide that a Webinar is a good place for lead generation, or you may determine that it works best to qualify leads first and then engage those qualified leads in a virtual trade show that adds value and assists them in making a purchasing decision.

Finally, you can decide to set up smaller, more intimate events or webinars with qualified leads only who are deep in the buying cycle and have a great deal in common with your brand. These people will be looking not only to be educated about your company’s products or services and solutions, but they will also be interested in engaging in the dialog as part of the virtual event.

How We Can Help

At Blue Valley, we have seen this approach work in the past. In 1999, when the business world faced another formidable challenge of the Y2K data impact, our company managed a project that set up 12 events for a business to promote their IT services. While that IT company wanted to focus on getting people in seats, Blue Valley convinced them to think more broadly.

Instead, Blue Valley convinced the company to qualify people and generate leads for the sales team separately from their attendance at the event. This assumed that there were people who were interested in the service that may be too busy to attend or not available at that time. It turned out that the largest sale resulting from this project was a $10,000,000 project from a client that did not attend.

This demonstrates the importance of qualifying a lead, no matter their level of participation in a live event.

Blue Valley Marketing can set up a customized program designed to generate and nurture leads through a proactive approach to your virtual trade show marketing. We can gather information related to budgets, decision-makers, obstacles, and factors influencing the decision, providing you with a clear picture of where each lead stands about making a purchase.

There are several clear benefits your company can realize by outsourcing virtual trade show management and support to Blue Valley Marketing:

  • Our data clean-up and confirmation services can assist with building quality lists for use in inviting potential leads to your webinar.
  • You can access our telemarketing and email support to invite and register attendees for the event.
  • After your event, receive follow-up support to qualify attendees and determine where they are in the decision-making process, ask about future plans and begin developing a lasting relationship.

Telemarketing: The Best Channel for Event Marketing

Most marketers will tell you that to get the most out of your campaign; you have to use multiple channels. Of course, your target audience will determine the channels you utilize. For example, some audiences will respond more positively to a direct mail vehicle than they will to email. If you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll know where to interact with your target. Dont forget about social media channels, either. Nail down which social channels your clients visit most often and hit those hard.

Many event marketing successes have had a reputable telemarketing agency behind them. We’ve all had the experience where your potential guests put off committing to your event until the last second. That is a stressful scenario, but telemarketers know how to entice potential guests with proactive communication skills. To get the most attendees to sign up for the event as early as possible, hire a telemarketing agency.

Related: See How Telemarketing Can Help Your Event Marketing

Telemarketing working on an event marketing campaign
Telemarketing working on an event marketing campaign

How to Find the Right Telemarketing Partner for Your Next Event

How do you find a good telemarketer? That question can be answered by doing a little planning first. First, you need to figure out who in your audience database you want to contact. How do you want the telemarketing agency to work with your strategy? For instance, will you send your potential guests a mailer first and then have the agency make follow-up calls? Ask your potential agency what they would recommend.

You have different options for how you will work with your telemarketer; you can work with a large firm or hire an individual consultant. Keep in mind that when you choose a firm, you’ll have many more tools at your disposal and a more scalable approach. Ask your peers what they’ve done and see if their options will also fit your needs.

Telemarketing firms specialize in communication, which means you should be able to convey what your goals are for your event marketing effectively. In addition, the firm should be able to tell how often they will provide you updates on your campaign and even include some monitoring opportunities that give you assurances that the campaign is being carried out as planned.

Blue Valley Telemarketing has extensive knowledge in event marketing. We can help you design your strategy and achieve a higher success rate in your event marketing.
Want to market your next event the right (and easy) way? Let us handle it—Get in touch today.

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ronen Ben-Dror

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