Event marketing strategy needs focus. Your guests will have the best experience, and you’ll reach your business goals if you’ve planned out the theme and focus. Whatever the size of your gathering.
Now, I don’t mean themes like Underwater Odyssey or Galactic Rollerhockey or whatever. Though that does sort of come into play a little bit. I’m talking about a laser-like aim at reaching your business goals.
Event marketing for small business is pointless without knowing exactly why you’re going to all that effort. So that’s what we’re going to look at. Because the first rule of event marketing strategy is to have a strategy.
Decide On Your Business Goals
Before you can plan an event, you need to decide and commit to your business goals. Are you hoping to gain new leads? Or are you looking to upsell a new service to existing customers? Perhaps your company’s cashflow requires a firesale of old inventory.
Each of these goals and indeed, any others, will inform your event marketing strategy down to your staffing, decor, catering, and even if you need to rent a venue.
Let’s look at it another way. What are you hoping to achieve with your event? Once you have that answer, you can begin crafting an effective event marketing strategy.
People Need To Know Why They’re Attending Your Event
The second side of the focus coin is the value to your customers. You’ll need to explain to attendees why they should spend their precious time with you.
Will they learn new information? Are they signing up for the free drinks? Whatever it is, the theme of the event should align with your business goals.
For example, if an accounting firm is trying to sell an audit package, it makes sense to focus the event on the benefits of the audit before the IRS gets its claws out. If a garden supply store is hoping to sell more fertilizer, you’ll have to talk about the joy of a flowering backyard.
Note how the benefit for the customer is derived from the business goal?
Plan Around Your Event Marketing Goals
Once you’ve committed to a goal and mapped out why people should care, you’ll want to plan the event around the focus. The focus will make planning more manageable because you know what is needed.
You don’t need a slip and slide for a workshop. In fact, for a seminar, you don’t need anything more than a whiteboard and some chairs. Maybe a projector. So you won’t need to fuss about balloons, lavish catering, and florals. But you will need to ensure you know how to work a projector and have the necessary adaptors.
Well, you’ll know. Because you considered your strategy first. Way to go.
Event Marketing Strategy And Sales
And don’t forget about sales (or lead gen, or whatever). If all goes well, and you’ve got full attendance, have you thought of what your sales process will be?
If you’re schmoozing with the guests, you can’t be the one giving product demos. A boutique I know in Honolulu hosts monthly events along with the other retail businesses in the area. The boutique owner always roped in her mom and dad to help out with snacks and the point of sale system. This freed her up to sell, style, and hang out with customers.
At a conference I once put on, I realized that I’d need two additional team members there. While I participated on a panel for over an hour, the extra staff handled signing in guests and collecting leads.
One trick I use is to decide on what a conversion is at the event. Then I map out a funnel. And then I plan around that. So consider what your event’s conversion is. And then decide on the manpower and materials you’ll need to make the event a success.
Event Marketing Strategy And, Um, Marketing
Similar to the sales section above, knowing your focus allows you to prep the right marketing materials. Will you need to print specific brochures or handouts? Which media is the right place to advertise your event? Do you need a video presentation?
A friend of mine who owns an IT firm hosts regular security workshops. He always has printed materials defining the top security risks and the solutions he provides. Each person leaves his event with one of these flyers in hand. So as they mull over the lessons they learned, he’s equipped them with his contact details, pricing, and suggested solutions.
It All Starts With A Focused Event Marketing Strategy
A robust sales process, a hook, the ticket sales, the marketing paraphernalia, and happy attendees can only exist if you’ve defined the focus of your event.
So don’t be vague or fluffy. Pick a business goal and let it define the event planning process.