Marketing events are a great way to cultivate purchase consideration and preference for your services. By offering experiences via an event, you can demonstrate value and build trust. You are also providing your target audience a platform to network with peers, share ideas and help build a community. This will also raise the profile of your brand and position your firm as a thought- leader.
Here are 20 things you can do to run a great marketing event:
- Decide your target audience and if you want your event to be an intimate one (15-25 participants) or with more than 100 participants. Develop a list of prospective participants accordingly.
- Start audience recruitment early. Lead time of a minimum of 60 days is ideal. It’s common to see drop-offs of up to 40% so set the target number of registrations accordingly. So if your target is 100 attendees, aim for at least 150 to 160 registrations.
- If your event agenda is still being finalised, send out 'hold the date' emails with a short description of the theme first. This will give you a head start in audience recruitment. You can always follow-up with a detailed agenda later. The invitation should be able to clearly illustrate how the event's theme is relevant to the business issues faced by your target audience and the learnings the participants will be able to take away.
- Create an event page in your website. Keep it updated with the names of topics and speakers. Visibility on these will increase interest and get you more registrations.
- Ensure that your speakers have a point of view. People are looking for insights and perspectives instead of just data or information. Along with the speakers from your organisation, get your clients to speak as well and present case studies. Participants love to hear from other practioners. Your clients will also welcome and appreciate the opportunity to increase their visibility among peers.
- Send email invites to your target list regularly. Many prospective participants tend to register only couple of weeks before the event. Best practice is not to send it more than once a week though lest it should be considered spamming.
- If you are providing food, be sensitive to dietary preferences. Be ready with vegetarian and halal options.
- Send reminder emails to registrants at least two days before the event. If mobile numbers have been shared by the registrants, send them sms reminders one day before the event. There are online applications now which can enable you to send bulk messages to a list quickly.
- Make sure that the event venue has a big screen for slides so that everyone can read the material.
- Offer a multi- sensory experience. Don’t just stop at slides. Include music and video as well. Events are ideal platforms to run videos showcasing your client case studies, testimonials and your brand's messages.
- Arrange for two laptops and a 'switcher' connected to both of them. One laptop can hold all the presentations and the other can be used to run videos and a holding slide with the event theme. Use the switcher to move from one laptop to another during breaks. This results in a much better viewing experience. Extron provides some good switchers.
- Invest in a professional videographer and record the presentations. You can then convert the recording into short 'thought leadership' clips later. These can be uploaded to your website and other social media platforms like facebook and linkedin resulting in raising the profile of your brand further. You can also run these clips during your next event.
- Conduct media outreach much before the event date. Invite journalists and have a separate media event on the sidelines of the client event. Make sure that they get time to ask questions and have one to one discussions with the speakers.
- Facilitate interaction by giving participants enough time to ask questions. You can also arrange real-time polling to conduct short surveys and increase audience engagement. Congress Rental is one such vendor that has good user friendly polling technology.
- Make sure that all participants get feedback forms and have the emcee remind them to return those back to you.
- Be generous with sharing content. Offer to email copies of speakers' slides to those participants who take the time to fill and submit their feedback forms. This also will ensure that you get many of the feedback forms back.
- In the feedback form, don’t stop at asking them if they liked the venue or food! Seek their permission to meet with them again, their preferred time for the meeting and the specific topic they would want to know more about.
- If a participant indicates interest to meet with you, flag them as a 'Lead'.
- Assign owners to each Lead and circulate the list of Leads to all the Lead-Owners and relevant business leaders immediately after the event.
- Ensure that these Leads are followed up and track them as they progress to Opportunities and Wins. Use a CRM solution. If not, just use Excel. The process is more important than the tool!
In summary, the above will help you in executing a great marketing event which will increase the awareness of your brand and generate demand for your solutions and services. It will be able to create new conversations. These could be both with existing clients and new prospects and result in new Opportunities and Wins. Great marketing events can play a key role in supporting your company's business development initiatives in increasing revenues and driving growth.