How to Use Event Marketing to Build Your Business
Event marketing is one of the foundational tools in any skilled marketer’s toolkit. And today there are more avenues than ever before to host events – online as well as offline. As well, event marketing costs have done a sharp nosedive with the advent of the online event, while the number of such events has increased correspondingly.
If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, this post will highlight why it is well worth your time to incorporate event marketing into your overall marketing plan.
Check Out These Event Marketing Statistics!
Event marketing can take a lot of pre-planning and strategizing. If you feel like you are already wearing far too many diverse hats, you may be tempted to put off including event marketing in your greater marketing strategy.
But then again, there are these statistics….and they may just change your mind about taking the time to learn the art of event marketing!
As a further incentive, a recent joint survey by Inc. and the UPS Store revealed that 42 percent of small businesses routinely allocate a portion of their annual marketing budget to event marketing.
1. Main Categories of Event Marketing
Having said that, there are 2 main categories of events in use today for marketing purposes:
Conference booths, networking breakfasts, lunch-and-learns, happy hour meet-and-greets, sponsored shows or charitable events, hands-on workshops and other types of personal face-to-face events create ready pathways to begin building a relationship that can lead to sales.
Webinars, podcasts, Tweet parties, Facebook groups, Instagram meet-ups, sponsored contests or giveaways and other online and social media-based virtual events can be just as effective at building customer and brand loyalty, attracting new prospects to learn more and begin building relationships that lead to future sales.
Choosing Your Marketing Event Types
The type of event marketing your company pursues will naturally be driven by your sales outlets.
For instance, if your business comes primarily through local customers visiting your brick-and-mortar stores, you will certainly benefit by hosting in-person events.
If, however, you make most of your sales via e-commerce regionally, nationally or internationally, online events may be the better approach to take.
Many businesses plan for a combination of in-person and virtual online events to gain traction with local and web-based prospects and customers.
For any marketing-based event, there are typically 3 main goals.
- Goal #1: The primary goal for all event marketing (no matter what any marketer may claim) is to make more sales. Whether the sales happen right then and there or later on isn’t necessarily an issue. As long as the future sales can somehow be traced back in whole or in part to attending the event, the marketing effort can be considered a success.
- Goal #2: A strong secondary goal set for most companies is to build brand awareness. Even if your company sells niche or specialty products or services that are only needed in certain specific situations, by making a good first impression and reinforcing the relationship over time, you can position your brand to make a future sale.
- Goal #3: Strengthening customer loyalty is a key goal for any company, but especially for companies that sell products that are household staples (think toilet paper, light bulbs) or services that are entirely relationship-based (think massage or hair styling).
3. Expert Tips for Using Event Marketing to Achieve Your Goals
These tips can help you translate your overarching goals into their “how-to’s” – in other words, how are you going to achieve what you want to achieve through event marketing?
Tip #1: Incorporate a virtual aspect to in-person events.
Even if you are hosting a local event for customers in a certain city, you can extend a virtual invitation for social media followers to attend virtually by way of live streaming, Tweets and Instagram photos and video clips of the event-in-progress, giveaways on Facebook or how-to recaps of live workshops on Pinterest. At the same time, you can be collecting new followers at your live event to add to your social networks.
In this way, you get twice the reach for essentially the same marketing cost.
Tip #2: Focus virtual events on only one social media channel.
If you have a goal to build your network on Twitter, you can host a virtual event that is exclusive to your Twitter network of followers. But you can also promote that the Twitter event is occurring on your other social feeds, which can bring your followers from other platforms over to Twitter to follow you there as well.
Marketing pros call this “exclusivity” of event marketing – when the event is happening only on one social channel, and attendees must follow you on that channel to get in on the action.
Tip #3: Be sure you are ready for your own event results!
This can be a tricky one. From ensuring you have enough supplies and products on hand for local events to boosting your bandwidth in anticipation of an online crush, you want to make sure you and your business are ready to handle seeing your marketing event turn into a runaway success!
Planning your first event will definitely include a learning curve. By keeping your goals simple and leaving sufficient time to plan and prepare, you can look forward to a successful event outcome every time!