Seasoned event marketers know the many advantages of participating in conferences or staging their own special events to reach their top goals: increase brand awareness, improve product knowledge through hands-on demonstrations and drive more sales.
If that isn’t incentive enough for you to consider events as part of your marketing mix, add one more: competitive pressure. A 2014 study by the Event Marketing Institute and Mosaic reports that more dollars are being devoted to experiential marketing, an average 5% budget increase for survey respondents.
Events are now the number one channel for product launches. So, it’s increasingly likely your rivals are reaching out via events for prospects – and sales – you’d like to call your own. Whether you are new to the game or a veteran event marketer, here are a few tips to maximize your opportunities with your next outing:
- Promote your event every which way you can. Feature it prominently on your website or create a splash page especially for the event. Notify everyone on your mailing list and/or email list. Distribute press releases to target media outlets, if the goal is to reach a broader audience.
- Reach out via social media. On Facebook and elsewhere, promote your event and encourage your targets to register, attend . . . and share the news with their like-minded colleagues. The EMI/Mosaic survey shows 77% connect with consumers via social media before an event.
- Remember to remind your invitees. Postcard mailings are an inexpensive way to reach out with save-the-date communications and event reminders. E-cards are another cost-effective option.
- Embrace the latest technology. Use flat-screen monitors to present looped videos or even interactive touchscreens to take your display to a new level. Limited budget? Opt instead for free-standing posters or roll-up banner stands to reinforce key messages or promote special demonstrations and offers.
- Give your gifts some serious thought. The best ones not only serve as conversation-starters but also help you stand out. Useful logoed gifts including wearables, bags and flash drives are most valued, according to research by the Advertising Specialty Institute.
- Whoa there! Hold back some handouts. Distributing flyers is smart but keeping more costly materials in reserve for those who express genuine interest is smarter. Better yet, mail or deliver them in person to help cement your new relationships.
- Go all out to get the order. For those who have expressed interest, implement an aggressive plan for sales lead follow-up. Be sure to assign responsibility, establish a timeline and closely monitor your results.
- “Great to meet you; thanks for attending!” Send follow-up mailings or emails to everyone you meet at the event. Remind them of your key sales messages and re-state your offer or a new incentive.
- Find out what works – and what doesn’t. Fine tune your future efforts through follow-up surveys by mail, email or phone to evaluate the effectiveness of your participation and marketing messages.
Be sure to let us know if you need help with the communications, promotional products or signage that can make any event more special.