In today’s cluttered digital landscape with endless marketing solutions, it can be difficult to discern which strategy is right for you. Ironically, offline marketing, and especially event marketing, has become a central part of the strategies of many organizations that want to build lasting relationships with their customers.
According to The 2018 Event Marketing Report which surveyed nearly 500 senior marketing executives, the majority believe live events are the most effective marketing channel for achieving business goals.
The majority of event marketers (63%) plan to invest more in live events, both in terms of budget and number of events. In terms of event technology, 86% believe that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events. All the signs point to A marketing event is a long-term strategy for many brands and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Running a successful live event has many components, but there are a few fundamental elements common to all events. Here are five best practices for any event marketing campaign:
1) Determine the objectives of your event
The first step in an event marketing campaign is to establish your goals and how you will measure success. Here are four common event goals and a sample KPI that can be used to track success:
– Build the sales pipeline: Live events provide a great opportunity to meet prospects, nurture them, and even close deals. (Example KPI: time to close sales cycle)
– Amplify brand awareness: By grabbing the attention of prospects, sponsors and the press, an event can amplify your brand in ways that other marketing channels cannot. (Example of KPI: social media mentions)
– Generate event revenue: Maximizing registrations and increasing the bottom line are common goals for most large-scale events. (Example of KPI: total number of registrations)
– Stimulate the return on investment of partners: measuring audience engagement and suggesting leads to your partners are good ways to increase their return on investment. (Example KPI: Audience Engagement with Sponsors)
2) Assemble your event tech stack
Once you’ve established your event goals, the next step is choosing the right technology to help you get the job done. The most successful organizations invest in CRMs, marketing automation software and event management software for their event strategy. Separately, these platforms can get the job done, but when integrated into an all-in-one solution, it can help gain deeper insights.
To get the most out of your event strategy, you’ll want to invest in other technology tools behind the scenes. A link management platform like Bitly, for example, tracks all your links, normalizes UTM Parametersand organizes them by campaign to measure your promotional efforts as well as overall attendee engagement and analytics.
3) Unify your event brand
From your event website to your event emails to your event Brand links, you’re going to want to create a unified brand. When selecting software for your event tech stack, make sure these tools provide the ability to put your brand front and center.
MozCon, the annual conference hosted by Moz, does an outstanding job of keeping a unified aesthetic when it comes to marketing their event. You can see that their email and website have a similar visual language.
Another important touchpoint to keep on brand is the URL. Having all event links reflect branding provides a consistent and unified user experience. For example, the Webby Awards used Bitly to generate and track wbby.co/vote to measure the number of votes. Using a branded URL as opposed to a generic link helps maintain brand integrity.
4) Partner up
Partners can be an invaluable asset in your event marketing campaign. An event partnership has many advantages. These benefits include:
– Offset the cost of the event
– Bring additional registrations to events
– Provide great speakers and other event content
– Educate your customers on how your organization can work collaboratively with other organizations
In order to find the right partner to team up with, reframe the event goals and think about how a partner can help achieve those goals while meeting their own KPIs. Defining the value proposition for both your business and the potential partner is a good way to start attracting the right people. Leverage your industry to build relationships and consider organizations you have worked with in the past.
5) Measure everything
Whatever your event goals, it’s worth having data on everything and analyzing it later. Be diligent and consistent with your data collection methods, as the post-analysis process will be much smoother if all relevant datasets are organized in the same way. Here are some important steps to follow:
– Registrations by Ticket Type: Knowing which ticket types were most/least popular will help create the pricing strategy for next year.
– Event community engagement rate: Being able to demonstrate high levels of engagement within the event community on the event app will be something sponsors and stakeholders will want to see.
– NPS of participants: At the end of the day, the event is for attendees. Send NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys after the event to accurately measure their level of satisfaction
– Customers acquired: Knowing how many customers have been closed as a result of attending your event is a significant ROI indicator that you will want to use for your future event strategy.
– Clicks per channel: With all the different channels you’ll be using to promote the event, you’ll want to know which ones worked best. Platforms like Bitly provide insight into which campaigns generated the highest CTR.
Developing your event marketing plan
Getting on the path to event marketing success may seem unfamiliar to some, but the best practices surrounding this strategy aren’t much different than other channels. To set yourself up for success:
– Set specific event goals to help guide your event strategy
– Find an event technology provider that helps you better manage, market and measure your events
– Refine your event brand and use it to increase awareness
– Use partners to help you produce and promote your event
– Review your event data to make it even better next time
Ultimately, the most successful marketing campaigns are those that are able to pull together resources and focus to put attendee experience first.