The Ultimate Guide to Event Marketing

In today’s day and age when everything under the sun is accessible online, it’s easy to disregard more traditional mediums for marketing your business. As a small business owner, you might not have the resources, the time or the money, to talk with your customers and learn more about them.

It’s wise to remember that event marketing, despite being a long-drawn, tiresome process, definitely holds a lot of value. It is the perfect way to showcase your business in a real-life setting.

Online or offline, event marketing provides you with a unique way to reach out to your customers, talk personally, get first-hand feedback, see what event attendees think of your business, and share ideas in real-time.

Your event marketing strategy

If you’ve ever hosted an event, then you know the process of planning, managing, marketing, and promoting one can be quite involved. That’s why we partnered with HubSpot to create the Event Marketing from A to Z infographic, which covers everything from start to finish in the process of running a successful event marketing campaign, and includes lots of helpful hints too. It’s like a handy cheat sheet to help you go from idea, to event, to evaluation.

The above infographic lays it all out: from setting up your event, to promotion to your target audience, to tracking your progress, and even what you should do post-event.

Fold event marketing into your overall marketing strategy

When you first start planning your event, it’s important to know your goals. Incorporating your event marketing plan into your marketing strategy helps to budget both your time and money more efficiently.

According to research done by Regalix, 46% marketers allocate 10-25% of their overall marketing budgets to events. Additionally, 64% believe event marketing budgets will increase in the next 12 months.

That’s a lot of people who believe in event marketing.

If we still haven’t convinced you, here are a few advantages of incorporating event marketing campaigns into your overall marketing plan:

1. Cut through the clutter

86% of consumers search online before making a purchase decision.

When a potential customer is searching for something online, they have many options from which to choose. How can you guarantee they’ll end up on your website and buy from you?

Event marketing allows you to bridge that sales gap by facilitating face-to-face marketing discussions with potential customers – which in turn helps both of you. For your business, a personal relationship helps generate trust which is otherwise difficult to create online. Potential customers get to match a face to the brand they’ve been checking out online, and talk to you as a real person who cares, not just an event website.

2. Generate brand recognition

When customers or potential customers interact with your business at an event, they’re more likely to remember you. An amazing booth, a fantastic giveaway, or a simple face-to-face talk sticks out in their minds better than an online ad.

Pay close attention to other local events and note the attending promotional media representatives. If possible get names and contact information for your own event. The bigger and more unusual your event, the better you’ll stand out in the media coverage. Send a newsletter and put posters around town to draw people to your event.

3. Make valuable connections

Events are the best way to connect and reconnect with customers. If you’re hosting the event you’re bound to make a slew of valuable connections from news media contacts, to caterers, to neighboring business owners. Your virtual Rolodex will swell with important people about town.

The right contacts can benefit your business in a number of ways. For example, if you decide to move your business, or open at a new location, contacts from the new area can help you learn the market and even connect you with others.

4. Reach your target audience

A successful event is also a great opportunity for lead generation. Especially if your business has a specific set of products or services, the event attendees are likely to be potential customers interested in what you have to offer.

For instance, if you’re a florist who attends a wedding event, your beautiful display of wedding decorations would attract anyone interested in making a purchase in the near future.

Be quick to answer questions, offer suggestions, listen to what your potential customers are saying, and ask them to fill out a short form to get in touch after the event.

5. Get positive reviews

Live events help you generate feedback about your product or service quickly. You could even use the event as test-bed to launch a new feature or product and get customers to try it out right then.

When potential customers try out your product before purchasing, it’s easier for them to decide if that’s what they want, and for you to better understand their pain-points and needs. Instant feedback allows you to address questions and issues right away, thus creating happier, more informed customers.

You could encourage people to fill out a satisfaction survey, especially some of your established, highly valued customers. Posting reviews online can add a definite boost to your credibility.

6. Partner with other brands

Two heads are better than one. Partnering with other brands allows you to tap into their network (online and offline) and each of you can leverage the strengths of the other.

Collaborating with the right partner can also change the outcome of an event: it can help attract new audiences, decrease costs, and boost brand authority.

7. Social media is your best friend

Social media plays a crucial role before, during and even after your event. In fact, 40% of businesses use social media for event promotion.

Encourage attendees to check in at your event, take photos, and post them to Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Instagram. Create a hashtag for your event and promote it well in advance, then post it prominently on the day of so customers remember to use it.

You could even Live Stream your event and invite people to attend online if they can’t make it in person. Give your followers a peek into what they’re missing. This will not only help you promote your event, but also help you expand events into other areas beyond your backyard, if you generate enough interest online.

Event marketing is powerful

You want people to love your brand, and the first thing they need to do is to interact with you on a personal level. Brand experiences can be fun, unique and memorable, so plan to provide an engaging experience to your customers. This will turn them into more than just loyal customers – they will become brand ambassadors and an extension of your marketing team.

Loyalty is built or lost with every interaction. Event marketing provides an opportunity for your business to show your best side, establish connections with customers and fuel brand loyalty. It’s time to start planning your next event.

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