Event Marketing has been popular for years - it was HUGE in the 80s - but as with everything it's evolved. We will walk you through the major changes such as "live tweeting" and event promotion (and the aftermath) in this week's Thrive blog post.
We LOVE Event Marketing, you may have met us at a few of our most recent events or are planning on coming to one of ours being held in the New Year. If you have, you'll know we have one of our lovely social media and content team on hand to "live tweet", we also have the old stuff though, like flip charts and cups of tea.
Event Marketing is very much about merging what we know works with the more experimental, modern methods and this merge all starts from the moment you plan your event.
You have to get people to notice and care, sign up online, turn their attention to the benefits of attending, hit targets by management and most importantly fill those seats and get smiley faces in feedback to your event!
How? We believe that inbound marketing can play a part in this traditional form of "getting the word out" about your company, services, ethos and knowledge, just as much as inbound is seeping into other areas.
Please, put the kettle on and settle into our guide to Event Marketing...
What is Inbound Marketing?
Our regular readers and customers will know all about inbound thanks to Johnny and Rachel's keenness to "spread the word", however for newbie readers - "Hello, welcome!" - here is a brief rundown:
Inbound marketing has grown in popularity over the pond in the USA for the last few years. In 2014 it started to make baby waves in the UK, we expect it to be HUGE in 2015. It is the process of aligning your content to your customers' interests - naturally attracting them, not interrupting them as you did with billboard ads, radio ads and junk mail!
We want to turn strangers into leads with inbound marketing and nurturing them with content that suits their purpose and needs as a potential customer. The full Inbound Marketing Methodology explanation is available here.
Essentially, inbound methods focus on high quality content that appeal at the precise right time to the right people (using buyer persona practices) as they follow the sales funnel down to becoming customers that spread the word about YOU.
Introduction to Combining Inbound with Event Marketing
Inbound cuts through noise and unnecessary interruptions, helping you to get noticed and engaged with by your audience.
Event Marketing requires your event and company to be seen. Most event planners will dedicate time to researching industry trends and finding influential, relevant speakers to lead on specific topics at your event. Use this data and knowledge to create content that nurtures your leads, customers and strangers alike.
Produce SlideShares, blog posts, social media updates and even offline materials, to attract sign-ups in the same inbound way that you would anything else.
Create buyer personas for the types of people you want to attend your event to exercise control over who turns up - nobody wants people who are just there to network - you want the right people at the right time. This is inbound methodology at work!
Buyer personas work for events - know who you want to show up
Before you start, know who you want to see, by using the buyer process that we previously mentioned. These should be contacts who are genuinely interested in your event, company and / or services. Inviting / targeting people out of this realm means you're wasting money and resources.
Related content: Using Buyer Personas to Perfect Event Marketing
Driving quality sign-ups and building up excitement around your event
Targeted content will nurture your target event personas to attend and engage with you in the run-up. Create various types of marketing materials surrounding your event, including traditional - i.e. press releases and ads plus blog posts, social media updates and even multimedia! Attract the right people to your registration page with ease.
Related content: Marketing Your Event To Increase The Right Kind Of Registrations
Make registration efficient and optimise registration follow-ups
Ensure that your main event page and registration process is optimised with information that they're looking for. This can include pricing, refund policies and details about parking etc.
When it comes to follow ups, have a tested process that provides information they require - don't "hound them" with follow-up emails, but they will expect reminders and further details about speakers close to the event.
Related content: How To Make Your Event Registration Page Work For Itself
Be social and increase engagement and "buzz"
Keep things "social" with updates on your public-facing social media profiles and consider engagement with attendees before, during and after the event. Twitter can be fantastic for social media event engagement. Encourage sign-ups to share information about the event with share buttons on your registration confirmation page.
It's not over until it's over > post event engagement
Keep momentum going and use your content marketing methods to create more materials on the back of the event:
- A review of the event
- Interview with speakers
- Video coverage
- SlideShare of your presentation
- Photography uploaded to your appropriate social media accounts
Event Marketing is a HUGE topic to cover, which is why we will be adding to this introductory guide in the coming months. For now, get in touch for information about our Event Marketing services and connect with us on Facebook for updates about OUR events!