A targeted event marketing strategy will ensure you get your event invitation and message out to your audience whilst maximising exposure and attendance.
A good event marketing strategy is like a good book – it should have a beginning, a middle and an end. It will fill your guests with enthusiasm, build excitement and anticipation pre-event, bring important messages alive throughout, and reflect memories post-event.
The Event Website
The event website plays a special part in the story, in that it will create the first impression your potential guests make of your event. As such, it should embody the essence of your event in its look and feel, and introduce the theme or message you wish to portray.
It should consist of a handful of pages, which hold all the event information in a one-stop-shop. Each page should feature a banner image, specifically designed for the event or series of events, as well as company branding and images relevant to business goals or the destination. It’s also really important to maximise the use of social media – create a catchy, succinct event hashtag and use it everywhere! Include sharing buttons to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linked In accounts, and of course a link to your company or brand website.
Typically, your event website will comprise the following:
- A Home page (sometimes called a ‘landing page’)
- Include your event vision, overview and event objectives in an inspiring way
- Introduce key speakers and/or industry or opinion leaders to build program credibility
- An inspiring message from the leadership team
- A “Register Now” button
- A Program page
- This can be a summary or a detailed program, including information on format, business sessions, social or networking events and any optional or mandatory team or leisure activities,
- Sponsors’ logos and sponsored sessions
- Speaker bios and abstracts
- Program inclusions and personal cost items
- A Travel and Accommodation page
- Here you can include flight schedules and options
- Accommodation overview and booking options
- Information relating to airport transfers
Pre-event email communications
The aim here is to build excitement and secure a commitment to attend from your guests. Pre-event email campaigns may serve one or more of the following purposes:
- Announce the destination, dates, location and theme of your event or conference
- Announce registration dates and options/invitation to register
- Pre-event survey, i.e. questions to speakers, session selection overview
- Present speakers and topic profiling
- Reminder to register or special offers (e.g. early bird rates)
- Sponsor recognition and profiling
However, with over 144 billion emails sent every day, how do you ensure your email is actually read by the person you want to reach? Some key pointers to take into consideration for a successful email marketing campaign are:
- Use a focused message and a simple design
- Make sure your recipient list is qualified, clean and targeted
- Create an inspiring subject line to entice them to find out more – e.g. a question immediately sparks a sense of curiosity in the reader
- Timing is everything – don’t send on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon
- Create a sense of urgency – e.g. Early Bird closing in 3 days! – people don’t like missing out!
- Use personalisation to open the conversation – studies have shown that using the recipient’s first name in the subject line increases the chance of the email being read by up to 15%
- Maximise your event drawcards – include video interviews with guest speakers or share photos of the event set up to build anticipation.
It’s equally important to continue the strategy throughout the event. Incorporating your theme and brand messages into merchandising and event collateral adds visual reference points to keep the message top of mind. There is a plethora of opportunities when it comes to targeted messaging during the event itself:
- Welcome – registration bags, information packs or gift, lanyards, name badges, registration desk
- Venue – screen presentations, signage and banners, printed materials such as notebooks, pens, tabletop displays, etc
- Session interaction – participation giveaways around product awareness, sponsor products, etc
- Gifts – personalised and unique; possibly destination or theme focused; hand-written cards by host
- Attire – event staff uniforms, sporting and leisure activities, casual dinner dress-up items
- Awards ceremony or gala dinner – décor designed to reinforce the theme or message, leaving your guests with a lasting positive impression
- Social media – showcase the event experience through live blogging, encourage guests to share with friends and collagues via the event hashtag, share photos and videos from the event
Keeping the theme alive post-event
This is often an area where opportunities to continue the dialogue with your guests. Consider:
- Ongoing post-event communications – thank guests for attending, summarise key learnings or action points, share photos of the event reflecting great memories and shared experience
- Encourage guests to respond and share their experience with others
- A guest survey gathers important feedback and reflection for ROI as well as providing the guest with a sense of contribution and value
- Utilise any media coverage or peer recognition in industry publications to provide further recognition of the event, award winners, etc.
For more information please contact Ruth Hirst at Synergy Events on +61 2 9977 5546. I look forward to hearing from you.