So you have an amazing idea for an event, you have found the perfect venue and sourced fantastic speakers, now you need to get the right people signed up and through the door. This is often easier said than done, however a well thought out and planned event marketing strategy will give you a structure and dramatically increase your chance of success.
The first consideration is the event brand, is it stand alone? Is it in line with your existing brand? Does it need its own identity? Are there multiple brands and organisations involved? What is the theme? All these considerations will guide you, but fundamentally it needs to be clear and consistent across all materials to be easily understood by the potential attendees.
Many factors will affect which platforms and deliverables you use, including whether the event is invite only or open to all, however like all forms of marketing you need to ensure you go where your audience is and speak to them how they like to be spoken to.
We know that one-off marketing pieces are less likely to work so an integrated campaign is preferable, using a mix of digital and traditional methods. Perhaps start with a save the date or teaser, but don’t give everything away too early, at this stage it should be about generating intrigue and interest. You want to create a buzz and a sense of anticipation.
Make sure you harness the power of digital and social, from simply developing an event hashtag and sharing of bespoke content, through to considerations around highly targeted adverts and sponsored posts, there are many ways to amplify your event communications.
The official invite is where more details start to be shared, and in today’s increasingly crowded marketplace you need to develop and communicate a compelling reason why someone would want to take the time out of their busy schedule let alone part with any money, explain the benefits of attending and offer incentives to book.
Make sure the invite stands out and fits within the theme of the event, whilst emails are a great way to reach people, don’t forget the impact of print and the additional value that a physical piece can add. Think beyond a simple leaflet and explore different shapes, sizes, folds, personalisation and special finishes to help raise your event above your competition.
But it doesn’t stop there, consider the follow up, you need to keep the momentum going. Emails are effective and offer a low-cost solution to reach large volumes of people, but also please don’t forget about the benefits of picking up the phone and having a one to one conversation with those you really want to attend.
Throughout all the marketing make sure you give a clear call to action (what do you want them to do?) and then ensure the booking process is clear and easy, utilise your website or make the most of the digital platforms out there such as Eventbrite that offer user friendly but customisable booking systems.
Once you have identified all the different communication methods then a timing plan is critical to the execution of the plan, you need to start with the event date and work backwards to allocate exactly when the different elements will be undertaken, giving yourself enough time to implement everything to a high standard. Take into consideration external factors such as school holidays and other events to maximise results.
We work with many clients across different sectors on their event marketing, including exhibitions, awards dinners, fundraising events and conferences, so if you’re planning an event and would like to chat in more detail about how we can help with your communications then please get in contact.