Have you ever hosted a large party? Maybe it was a wedding, a graduation party, or just an Independence Day cookout? Regardless of event type, your most successful shindigs were probably a success because of the planning and foresight you put into them.
You probably thought about which of your friends and family it felt appropriate to invite, how to make sure they had received the invites and other event details, and how you’d thank them for coming after the fact. Having a plan in place for all of those things allowed you to ensure your guests enjoyed themselves and want to come celebrate with you again and again!
Just like the best get-togethers are the ones that have a solid plan in place beforehand, the events your brand hosts require an actionable and reliable event marketing strategy to optimize ticket sales and, just as importantly, make people — and their connections — want to return next time.
So how can you develop an event marketing strategy from start to finish? Whether you’re hosting a webinar, trade show, or lecture series, check out PFL’s tips right here including nine key channels, and when to employ each.
Start things off with an event landing page people can use to get more information. But don’t worry! You don’t need to know every last detail to get this started — in fact, if you wait until you do, it’ll likely frustrate some prospects who want to get your event on their calendars right away.
Instead, fill out everything you do know — it’s important to at least have the date and time, as well as why your prospects should attend. What will they learn, see, or do? Who will speak? Are you going to announce big names or topics in the coming weeks? Tell your audience to check back weekly for exciting new announcements.
Few strategies are more beneficial to SEO than blogging. So, whether someone is looking for a fitness trade show in California, an Inbound Marketing conference near Boston, or a webinar on the miscommunication in healthcare, blogging is a great way to help them find your event.
Linking to the event page you created from the first tip, use one blog post to delve deeper into why this year’s event is particularly exciting and special. What’s your mission for the event? Why can’t people afford to miss it? Here’s your chance to stir up some real FOMO (fear of missing out).
Then, use a second blog post closer to the event to promote details like schedule, short bios of speakers (especially well-known ones!), and other fun highlights they won’t get elsewhere.
Finally, consider paying a speaker or influencer to author their own blog post about your event (you can even write it for them, and just have them publish and promote it). This tactic helps you expand your audience, and also gives a sense of social proof around your event that will help drive ticket sales.
You already knew this one was coming, right? Using social media to promote your events is one of the easiest and most crucial ways to boost attendance.
Make it simple for people to purchase tickets right from your event page on Facebook. Stir up conversations among attendees who are excited about your event. Get people to share the event with their audiences by incentivizing with free VIP upgrades, special meet-and-greets with the speakers, or other prizes relevant to your audience.
Leveraging live video on social platforms like Instagram and Facebook is also a great way to grab people’s attention who haven’t committed to your event yet, as well as drum up excitement among those who are already attending.
Give your audiences a live peek into the set-up process and behind-the-scenes chats with the thought leaders in your industry, or ask for people’s opinions and preferences on some of the details before final decisions are made. Making your audience feel included in the event planning can spread enthusiasm and boost attendance.
OH! And don’t forget to promote the landing page and blog posts from the steps above via all your social channels.
Okay, you have your landing page(s), your blogs, and your social posts. Now, it’s time to promote them to reach audiences you couldn’t otherwise using organic means.
Promote your Facebook event page to target your key audiences. Set up a Google Adwords campaign so people researching content relevant to topics covered at your event are served ads linking to your ticket sales page. Boost social posts that include your more persuasive blog posts.
Digital advertising can provide a major return on investment if you take the time to research your audience and serve them the right content.
It’s true that while we, at PFL, sometimes shy away from email campaigns, they are still a powerful tool in event marketing. People want to be kept up to date on the latest developments in the schedule, and may not be on your website or social platforms to do it.
Set up email blast campaigns, segmenting your audience out into people who have attended your events before versus those who haven’t, by lifecycle stage, or whatever other segmentations feel appropriate.
Then, make sure to include your event’s mission, links to ticket sales, and calls to stay tuned for more exciting details coming up in future mailings.
Wand to make a true impact on prospects considering your event? Of course you do. Digital marketing is crucial for any marketer to master, but too often companies forget about the lasting impact direct mail can have on prospects to help their brands truly stand out.
Here are a few examples of tactile marketing you can employ for your next event (pssst, worried about how much time direct mail marketing might take? Trigger sends automatically with PFL’s Tactile Marketing Automation software. You’re welcome.).
- Low-cost mailers that are triggered when attendees do not open email in a timely manner.
Maybe your prospects go through and mass-delete all the emails from anyone who’s not a coworker or friend each morning (*raises hand*). Maybe your email hit the dreaded spam folder. Or maybe your prospects just didn’t have time to read your email.
Sending a direct mail flyer, postcard, or invitation ensures that your information is seen, and your event will stand out in prospects’ minds more than with email.
- Thank you postcards — send these right after the event, making sure to include a CTA. These usually drive some social media action, such as following your page or uploading pictures from the event using your custom hashtag. Be sure to save the best ones to market the event again next year!
- Send something that can be part of a social campaign. It could be a piece of clothing, a fun gadget, or a funny prop. Whatever you choose, make it personalized to your event and your attendees, and then ask them to post to social media showing off their new swag. Incentivize them to do so by offering a raffle for free tickets to next year’s event, or other small prizes.
- Personalized event materials — Tactile marketing provides a great opportunity for you to send out booklets, flyers, and other valuable print resources to your attendees.
Maybe you want to write up a recap of the most valuable lessons learned from your speakers, and turn it into a handy booklet? Then, people will be much more likely to sign up for your event again next time when they physically see your guide in their desks or on their bookshelves and remember how valuable your content was to them.
Want more ideas for how to stand out from the email sinkhole we all have to navigate on a daily basis? Check out our Tactile Marketing Automation Idea eBook right here.