When it comes to promoting products and services, organizing events offers opportunities for companies to effectively raise the level of public attention and generate interest around their brand. While the means by which companies have capitalized on such events differ, at inSegment we have discovered that integrating a strategic digital marketing campaign throughout each step of the planning process—before, during, and after—will result in the overall reduction of costs and a substantial increase in the marketing ROI of the event.
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Plan at every stage of the event to create a memorable experience for your existing and potential customers. This includes the pre-planning and the final evaluation stage, which should help you assess the overall success. Carefully approaching the campaign from every angle and understand that setting up KPIs increases the likelihood of having a productive and rewarding event for your business.
Before the Event
Supplementing your event with effective online marketing tactics boosts chances of increased attendance, interest, and overall success. Tactics as simple as promoting upcoming events via social media are being used by marketers for optimized lead generation, with 59% of marketers using social media for 6 hours or more each week.
Here are some tips for approaching your strategy:
- Setup a private company event at the tradeshow or conference. Rent a suite and do a special seminar, insider’s group event or a party. You can even sell (or comp) tickets for this event by using a ticketing program, such as Eventzilla, to accept payments and issue tickets. Eventzilla has tools to promote your events through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. It also allows you to send email blasts to people who signed up, letting them know about logistical changes. How Event Marketing Should Fit Into Your Online Marketing Strategy
- Give bonuses for those who promote your event postings on social media. Many brands will give out free parking at the event or merchandise when fans prove they are following the group dedicated to event on Facebook. If you have any participating sponsors, invite your followers to like their pages as well, for a possible discount or to enter a raffle.
- Tailor content to the needs of your audience. Writing event predictions, reviews, schedule previews, opinion pieces, advice columns, and member achievement reports are great ways to promote your event (and also to build an online community).
- If your company executives give a keynote speech or a master class at the industry event, display an event countdown. Include a speaker’s bio and links to their personal website and/or social media profiles. Get people excited and show them how they will benefit from the attending the presentation.
- Create a landing page, microsite, or app dedicated to the event. Landing pages can act as a hub for important event information. These pages will act as vehicles to promote any upcoming events, as well as services and products. Here is an example of a landing page created for one of our clients before the event:
- Research conducted by Hubspot indicates that 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each marketing campaign, and 68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to amass new sales leads for future conversion.
- Use social media software, such as HootSuite or Buffer, to schedule and organize your posts during the weeks leading up to the event. This will help you keep track of what to post and when, and you can easily discover trends within your most successful posts. Be adaptable – if certain posts aren’t performing great, explore different methods. Find out which one works most effectively with analytics tools offered by these platforms.
During the Event
Events provide a unique opportunity to network as well as reinforcing identity, image, and reputation of the company – they are your chance to impress. By adding some personality, you are also giving the clients a better understanding of what your company stands for. Here are some of the ideas to make a lasting impression:
- Set up a live feed during the event that exhibits all the social media content, posted by you and generated by the attendees. Making this content public will help cultivate the atmosphere of the event and encourage participants to post their own content to generate conversation topics. The feed will be a valuable post-event resource.
- Invite attendees to use the hashtag that you create specifically for the event. This is an excellent way to get people talking, and collect all the videos and photos taken by the guests. Take it a step further and provide a prize for the most creative photo using your hashtag.
- Plan time to organize face-to-face meetings for your customers, partners and journalists with your company executives during lunch breaks, after-hours cocktail or reception. Not only will they feel appreciated, but networking at your event can be the catalyst towards future business opportunities or getting favorable press coverage.
After the Event
Even after the last guest leaves, you are still far from finished. Go the extra mile and leave a lasting impression on your guests by assuring every one of them that they were vital to the event’s success. Here are a few tactics to really wow your attendees:
- Send follow up emails to each guest. Remind them that the event would not have been possible without them. Keeping in contact with your guests long after the event is finished is a great way to make them remember you. Use a separate nurturing stream utilizing your marketing automation system, such as Marketo, Eloqua or Pardot.
- Thank the guest speakers you invited, even if they couldn’t make it. This will show them that you still value their expertise and will be grateful if they participate in your next event.
- Don’t forget to update your event app or microsite with the recap of the event and give an opportunity for them to sign up for a newsletter to get future events updates.
To Wrap Up…
A great supplement to any company’s event marketing, online tools can reap big rewards when done with purpose. An extensive understanding of your company’s selling points, relentless planning, and killer online marketing campaign is key to success.