How do you make an event successful?
No good marketer shies away from live events. On the contrary, a professionally executed event is often a staple of the successful marketing strategy that turns heads, signs on new clients, helps forge business partnerships, and solidifies brand recognition and loyalty.
Focus On Strong, Future-Looking Content
Do not forget for a moment that your live event is part of your content marketing strategy and you will need to deliver top-quality content to your audience. Whether you are primarily looking to deepen existing relationships or create new ones, betting on strong content is always the way to go.
Placing the focus on exciting future trends is an excellent starting point on your way to great event content. Instead of solely going over what your brand has achieved or what it is doing right now, turn your gaze on what is to come and paint it in intriguing and attractive tones to insure a successful event.
Engagement Pre-, During, And Post-Event
Gone are the days when simply hosting a great live event did the trick. To truly expand your brand in the minds and hearts of your audience, be it other businesses or customers, you need to bring your engagement A-game to the table. Drum up sufficiently high levels of social media buzz before the event. Have some well-crafted social media plugs for the standard channels you use, and always tag your content with a custom hashtag, which you should encourage attendees and fans to use as well.
You probably secured great speakers, so incorporate their own name recognition into your event’s reputation: prepare blurbs from their speeches and accompany those shout outs with appropriate pictures to increase your announcements’ share or retweet potential.
Get Your Tech Levels Right
A successful event is in total sync with its audience’s needs and wants, and technology is a major component in this harmonious relationship. While it is custom to have an electronic agenda, either in mobile-friendly web or app format, how much you pack in there depends on who your audience is. Even though the vast majority of us pack a smartphone (or two) at any given time, not everyone is as happy or able to use it extensively in the context of your event. Plenty of audiences will be happy to have a basic event programme online and then spend the actual event offline, attending to the speakers and taking notes with pen and paper. Others, however, will expect the full digital buffet: interactive, customisable session plan, opportunities to directly engage the speakers via a Twitter wall or another direct communication channel, a custom exhibition stand, a private or public forum for real-time discussions with fellow attendees, and so on. Gauge your audience carefully and build the right kind and amount of tech into your live event!
Collect And Consider Feedback Serisouly
Lastly, get as much audience feedback as possible post-event and make sure it finds its way into your future event planning. Apply an equally high standard to speaker performance and your organisation alike to insure future event success.
Strategic event planning starts with identifying organizational goals and using events to reach those goals. There’s almost nothing that happens in a company that shouldn’t tie back to the company mission. Organizations have clear functions, which is why they require goals and alignment. A few common goals could be:
- Grow Revenue
- Build Brand
- Decrease Organizational Turnover
Align Company Goals and Event Strategy
You know your organization’s goals. That’s a great place to start. If you want to grow revenue, your event should be centered around your product. While a networking happy hour might be fun, it is more likely to increase leads and connections rather than securing closed deals. The type of event you choose to host should align with top company priorities.
Goals and Types of Events
- Grow Revenue: Trade Show
- Build Brand: Thought leadership conference
- Decrease Organizational Turnover: Internal Team Building Event
Promote your event
The next thing to do is to generate an awareness and buzz around the event. This may depend on the objective of the event and whether you’re putting on the event on behalf of someone else, but generally, it is up to you to spread the word and ensure that people attend.
Remember to outline the event in the most engaging way and offer attendees incentives to come (e.g. a talk from an industry expert, an appearance from a celebrity or influences, free food/drink, a goodie bag, etc.).
If your business has a strong social media presence you should leverage that to promote your event. Or, you may choose to harness email marketing or even printed marketing materials like flyers and posters. A mixture of both traditional and online marketing will be effective in garnering a wider interest.
When promoting your event, you should spread the word as early as possible. As events typically have a turn around time of only one or two months, you should give attendees notice as soon as you have a fixed date. Also, always request RSVPs so that you can gauge numbers.
Remember to remind guests about the event in the days leading up to it, either through email, social media, SMS message or an old-school invitation through their door (this depends on a budget allowance and the grandeur of your event).
Tips for How to Make an Event Successful
How do take your event marketing to the next level by generating the necessary hype? Let’s start with content as the first step in how to make an event successful.
1. Maintain a Blog
Setting up a blog is a great way to get people involved in the event before it starts. Create blog posts highlighting the performers, speakers or awardees. Keep the blog focused on the event’s purpose, goals and the benefits. Blogging helps distribute information and create an organic marketing opportunity to help with search engine results. You can promote your informative and entertaining blog content on your social media pages and keep everyone up to date in a creative way. Enlist guest bloggers to help power through the busy times and act as advocates for the event.
2. Get Social
Social media has become king when it comes to event promotion. With over a billion accounts on Facebook and more and more people entering the social media space everyday it would be unwise to ignore it. Automated social media campaigns are great for planned content. You need to keep in contact with your followers, answering questions and staying on top of comments. You can even post videos of the event and guest speakers.
3. Survey Your Guests
What makes for the best promotion is when your guests say positive things about the event. So after the event, reach out to your guests and get them to fill out a short satisfaction survey. This can be easily done through email or on your social media page. If you think your response rate may not be very high, you can include an incentive that guests will receive after completing the survey (like a contest entry or a coupon for a local business). Remember, your guests will always be your best advocates!
4. Location Location Location
Never let anyone say that location doesn’t matter. It does, and if you have a great location you will attract more guests. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the most expensive location. Instead of going for the most popular venue and paying premium prices, try a less popular venue that still offers a great space.
5. Get Organized
You don’t always have a year to plan your big event. But there are ways to help you get through the time crunch when getting your event off the ground. Create an attractive idea which will not only engage fans but also sponsors. Then put together a basic schedule for the event and what needs to be done. Get your speakers or performers selected and signed on, book your location, figure out your ticketing, get your event crisis plan together and get your marketing plan ready. Though it can seem overwhelming, especially for newcomers to the event planning world, if you can make and stick to a event planning schedule, you should have no problem pulling off a legendary event!