Once you’ve decided you’re hosting an event, presenting at a conference or exhibiting at a trade show, there’s a lot of work to do. Don’t let this scare you, we’re here to help, giving you a marketing checklist for your next event or conference to follow! The work involved includes planning pre-event, the work during/at the event, and post-event. An event is a great marketing opportunity for your business if done successfully. To make the most of your event, or presence at a conference or trade show, we have a few tips and tricks.
Planning before your event
Depending on the timeline, how far away the event is, and what your resources are to promote the event, this will differ slightly. However, there are some universal tips we can give you to consider when planning your event.
When planning your event, you need to consider what you want to achieve from it. Are you wanting to build brand awareness, promote a new product or service, increase your contact list…? Think about what you want to achieve from this event or conference and you can then begin to set SMART goals which can help narrow your focus. Setting goals can help monitor your return on investment as well as tracking your budget and outlining your limits when it comes to marketing so you don’t throw money at marketing materials without a strategy in place.
Setting goals allows you to consider the true purpose of your event. When setting goals for your next event, they need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Wanting to host a successful event is not a specific goal. How do you distinguish the difference between a successful and unsuccessful event? While your intuition can help in determining that, we all know what a successful event feels like to attend or run, for your marketing efforts not to be wasted, you need to set a specific goal, such as host a one-day event with 200+ attendees to increase brand awareness.
How will you measure your goal? To measure brand awareness, you might monitor key metrics in this area such as direct traffic to your website (monitored in Google Analytics), earned media (mentions of your business from another source such as coverage of the event in the local newspaper), blog reach, social media engagement, and community reach. Consider your current data and set measurable, specific goals before your event that you hope to achieve.
While you’ll want to dream big, your goals need to be attainable. If your goals are out of reach, it may dishearten you to see the results.
Along the lines of attainable, your goals need to be realistic.
Set a time limit. Goals with no time limits are useless, there’s no incentive to achieve, or deadline to measure your progress. Make sure you always have a timeline for your goals.
Preparing for your event
Before the event, there are a few practical steps to take. You’ve worked out your goals, and now you can begin working on the tactics that move you closer to achieving them.
Hype up your audience before your event on social media. Create a Facebook event, do a series of Instagram stories, distribute a promotional video on your social media channels. There are various tactics you can adopt to promote your event or presence at a conference on social media before the event.
If you’re promoting the event on social media, you also want this marketing message to be clearly displayed on your website (and if you don’t have a website, you can create a simple landing page before the event to ensure you capture leads from the event). Add a banner/notice or blog post on your website to promote the event.
If you have an email newsletter list, keep your audience up-to-date! Let them know about the event through a promotional email, giving details and perhaps an exclusive offer in the lead up to the event.
Flyers and brochures
Flyers and brochures advertising your business and your event/presence at a conference is a great way to market the event. It gives the audience a tangible reminder to hold onto, giving them information about the event. The flyers and brochures can be at your physical store or distributed in public areas and notice boards, if you don’t have a physical location.
Effective display material
How will your event or stand at a conference look? You need to consider your display material and how effective it will be. Flyers and brochures won’t be enough if you are 1 marquee in a trade show of 300 businesses. You will need to consider pull-up banners, posters and different types of promotional material to promote your brand and share your message. You need to stand out from your competitors. Quality printed marketing material will help you do just that.
Ensure staff are aware of the key messages that align with your brand
Train your staff to ensure there is consistency in the messages being delivered to customers or potential customers in the lead up to the event and also during and post the event. Your brand needs to have consistency, from the tone of voice on your website, through to the interactions between staff and potential customers. Consider branded t-shirts for your staff to wear on the event day.
During your event
Your marketing efforts should continue on the actual event day. Ways to keep the momentum building on the event day:
- Interesting activities to engage the audience
- Live product demos
- ‘Drop your business card in the bowl’ to grow your contact list (following Australian Privacy Laws)
- Promotional material/merchandise to give away
- Lucky door prizes
- Hold a major competition, announcing the winner on social media after the event
- Live stream from the event on your social media (have you got a hashtag for the event day? You should use this in the lead up to the event, during,and also after the event. The hashtag needs to be simple, relevant and memorable)
Don’t forget about your online audience
Not everyone who follows you on social media will be at your event. It’s important that you engage and include the audience online, throughout the event. To ensure this happens, delegate people on the day to update your social media, so you aren’t swept up in the event and forget to capture and share it. Depending on the type of event, there’s also the chance for user-generated content, meaning content shared by other people about your event or business, which you can share or repost (with their permission). Creating a hashtag unique to the event can help you discover this user-generated content.
After your event
- Follow up with new prospects and update your contact list based on the responses on the day from email newsletter sign-ups/business cards in the bowl.
- Post social media updates to keep the momentum going.
- Send follow up email newsletters with an exclusive offer for those that were at the event.
- Prepare and distribute company information packs.
For quality, printed marketing materials, Jennings Print are Newcastle’s No.1 printing team, servicing Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Hunter Valley and the Central Coast. We design and print quality flyers and brochures, corporate stationery and promotional products for businesses. We can provide all your promotional marketing needs in one place! Give us a call on 02 4933 5735 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our printing and graphic design services.