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10 Ways to Boost Event Marketing Effectiveness
Smart giveaways, targeted messaging, and engaging social conversations make for meaningful event engagements
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For the fifth consecutive year, marketers have named trade shows and conferences the most effective way to distribute content. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 69 percent of B2B marketers find that events are best for engaging customers, surpassing research reports, white papers, newsletters, and even video. But events are expensive—depending on the scale, hosting one can cost millions, and exhibiting at or attending it can add up to thousands.

Still, year after year, vendors dish out their dollars because conferences represent more than a cost—they represent an investment. With a convention center full of qualified leads, the right marketing message could mean a new customer by next Monday morning. When it comes to event marketing, it isn’t a question of whether it works; it’s a matter of making it work better.

With the amount of money being poured into events, companies can’t afford to invest in the wrong marketing strategy. Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your next event.

1. POLISH UP THE EVENT PAGE

Before any marketing can take place, companies have to ensure that their landing page for event registration is sending the right message. "You want to conjure up a specific feeling when potential attendees come to the page," says Tim Raybould, CEO of TicketLeap, an event registration and marketing software company. Relying on stock images is an easy route, for example, but Raybould says it can be off-putting to attendees. "It's a generic photo. You don't want attendees thinking this is going to be a generic event," he explains. Instead, Raybould recommends using bright, beautiful images from past events, images of the presenters and speakers, and informative graphics.

The page should also be intuitive, and easy to navigate. "Make sign-up easy and the frequently-asked-questions section prominent," he says. And it doesn't hurt to make press registration easy to find—these are the folks who will be spreading the word about the event, so don’t make them search for a secret sign-up, says David Hlavac, group account director at Bellmont Partners, a public relations agency with event marketing experience.

Once attendees sign up, the event site should also automatically prompt them to share the news on their social networks. "It's an easy way to dissipate information, especially if the attendee is considered an influencer in his or her social community," Raybould says. Companies such as TicketLeap can help automate the social sharing.

2. HATCH THE RIGHT HASHTAG

Think of an event hashtag as its social logo—it should be visually appealing, easy to understand, and above all, memorable. Hashtags that are too long, for example, are not only an eyesore but tough to decipher. Just using the company name is not enough, however, because the resulting conversation will be too broad and won't zero in on the event.

"Just think of what iconic show hashtags have in common," Raybould says. Using the event name is typically a safe bet, unless the name is too long. The hashtag for the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit, for example, is simply #AdobeSummit. Including the year is important, but opt for using the last two digits instead of all four for the sake of succinctness. It's also safest to avoid acronyms, unless they're well established in the industry.

3. PLAN A LAST-MINUTE MARKETING PUSH

Most ticket sales start slowly and ramp up as the event date nears. Often, more than 50 percent of ticket sales take place during the last week, so increasing marketing efforts during this crucial time could make a significant difference. "We know people like to procrastinate," Raybould says. "They know they've still got time to buy, so they'll put it off until the last minute. Or perhaps they're waiting on approval to attend, or finalizing schedules," he explains. Regardless of the reason, many are making the decision to either attend or skip the event just before registration closes, so as the deadline nears, companies need to make sure that campaigns are targeted and consistent, but not excessive.

"You need to get those reminders out there, but they have to say more than 'Don't forget to register.' You have to make that event relevant and unmissable," Raybould urges. Embedding a live social feed into a marketing email is one way to show potential attendees how much excitement and buzz the show is generating. This is where the right show hashtag comes into play—if the hashtag is catchy and easy to remember, the conversation is more likely to be interesting and on-topic. Engaging brand influencers and encouraging them to give a shout-out about the event across their social networks can also draw in a few last-minute participants.

The key, experts agree, is to generate momentum and build urgency during the final sign-up days without becoming a nuisance. "You can send out those reminder emails, but be careful not to bombard," Raybould recommends. Incorporate other channels, including the call center, Web site, and other resources, for a more well-rounded final push.

or the fifth consecutive year, marketers have named trade shows and conferences the most effective way to distribute content. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 69 percent of B2B marketers find that events are best for engaging customers, surpassing research reports, white papers, newsletters, and even video. But events are expensive—depending on the scale, hosting one can cost millions, and exhibiting at or attending it can add up to thousands.

Still, year after year, vendors dish out their dollars because conferences represent more than a cost—they represent an investment. With a convention center full of qualified leads, the right marketing message could mean a new customer by next Monday morning. When it comes to event marketing, it isn’t a question of whether it works; it’s a matter of making it work better.

With the amount of money being poured into events, companies can’t afford to invest in the wrong marketing strategy. Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your next event.

Page 1 of 3 next »
To contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com
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