It seems strange to be talking about event marketing again. Usually “events” mean face-to-face moments between companies and their customers at places like conferences and exhibitions – something which the pandemic has largely taken off our marketing plans for the last 12 months.
It’s likely that as we move back to hosting and attending business events they will be smaller, or remain online, or a hybrid event with some online and some in a venue. That does not mean that event marketing cannot and should not be on your marketing agenda for 2021.
Event marketing is sometimes called ‘experiential marketing’ and can give you visions of something reserved for big brands with big budgets. We need to remember that the range of event marketing interactions is as unlimited as the numbers of companies in the world, and the audience, content and style will change every time.
From London Fashion Week launches, to a local florist holding a wreath making demonstration, events are strategies for all sizes of businesses. They can be online too – for instance an HR firm may have a webinar to present on how to apply for furlough, or a software company may hold an online forum to trial their new release. The ideas are endless, even if the methods of hosting events are not right now.
Essentially, you can tell how successful an event marketing campaign is by the amount of attendees at your events. As with all marketing campaigns, you need to first understand your goals, target audience and budget – but since those are all so individual, we will focus on the general strategies for marketing an event in 2021:
1. Start with your website
When you are working so hard to create interest in your event, it’s important to have somewhere firm to send people, no matter where they hear about it. Create a landing page (or pages) with plenty of information on your website, and don’t forget to explain how to sign up or RSVP.
2. Get Social
As well as advertising to those who already know and follow you, social media is a great strategy for reaching others who are influential in the industry, and have a big following themselves. In this way, social media acts like ‘word of mouth’ marketing and your message is passed around without appearing ‘salesy’ or ‘pushy’.
3. Go Live
Tools like Instagram, Facebook and Clubhouse have improved the ease of going ‘live’ and talking directly to your audience. It is an impactful way to drive interest in an event and can help to show you and your business as authentic and approachable – two things which are incredibly important whatever industry you are in.
4. Media is Relevant
You don’t have to be a PR expert to drum up some media interest (although it never hurts to speak to an expert if you don’t know where to start!). To create interest from Local and Industry media, you can simply create and send out a press release, or you can go to the next level and invite the media to attend – it’s certainly a way to guarantee someone talking about the event after it happens!
5. Don’t forget email
Not all of your customers will use social media so it’s important to reach out to them in the way that suits them, and that means not underestimating the importance of email campaigns to promote your events.
Online or offline, remote or in person – whatever events you are planning this year, don’t neglect your event marketing. Success depends on attendees, so start early and finish strong.
If you’d like some support kick-starting your event marketing get in touch for a free consultation.