What are the primary goals for your event marketing? To sell tickets and fill a venue? And what about after your event, what happens next? Audiences increasingly expect more than just hard sell; I don’t think that merely promoting your event through conventional means is enough. Instead a multi-platform, multi-directional approach is needed that starts way before your event and continues after the last delegates have gone home.
Engaging Delegates Before Your Event
“Engagement” is one of those buzz words that few of us can have missed in recent years. So what does it mean in terms of your pre-event marketing? Surely all you require is for your delegates to engage with your online ecommerce site and buy a ticket? Not so, whilst a percentage of your target audience will automatically sign up based on what they already know about your organisation and event, the majority will need converting. Yet few of us have time to digest large amounts of information (and let’s face it there is a surfeit of information out there) and therefore your event programme is not the tool for conversion.
Instead, “bite-sized” packages of targeted information can deliver the engagement you require to promote your event not only to your email lists, social media followers and other targeted audiences, but also virally to a wider audience through those already engaged.
Take, for example, the AltFi Summit we organised earlier this year. As part of this conference we produced ten films featuring headline speakers. These films work both individually and collectively; individual films engaged different segments of the target audience for the event, but collectively they built the bigger picture of what the event was about.
As you can see this is not just about event promotion, it’s also about providing useful, easily digestible information for your target audience; information they will want to share and engage with.
Of course your pre-event engagement is not just about video, it’s also about all your communication, marketing and advertising efforts; online and offline. From your event website, your social media channels, your email communications to developing apps specifically for your event, there are multiple tools that you can use to engage your audience.
Post Event Engagement
When the cleaners have moved in and your delegates have left, it’s time to cement the relationships you have built with attendees throughout the pre-event process and the event itself. I’ll be looking at how to use social media to create discussion around your event in a later post, but social media is certainly the place to start when creating a post event legacy.
Storytelling applications like Storify allow you to curate information from across the web, including images, videos, links and social media updates. For example if you have used a hashtag for your event you could curate Twitter updates using that #; this would include not only your own tweets but delegates too.
Your post event goals will shape how you wish to engage with your audience, whether it’s driving them to the next event in your calendar or helping them through a sales funnel to your product or services. Whatever that goal is, engagement is likely to form the core of your communications.