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A Good Marketing Plan is at the Heart of Every Successful Event
The venue, décor, entertainment, and all your hard work won’t matter a bit if no one shows up. Here’s how to plan your marketing to ensure a great event:
Sprocket wants our clients to have the most positive experience and when called upon, we’ll do all we can to help with their event marketing. Since we’ve been around this block a number of times before, we know it can be hard to pull off a win without a well-thought-out plan. Even organizers with long To-Do lists can miss a few important details, so check out these real-life examples we have encountered and learn from their missteps:
Not setting enough lead time
We had a client who decided to throw a big party at their new shop. They had some terrific – and pricey – ideas for food, décor, and special guests, but threw it all together at the last minute. They missed all the deadlines for local print publications and didn’t even advertise at the store until a few days before the event. They had to rely solely on their still-developing social media reach over a very short period. With little time to build excitement or extend their reach, let’s just say there was a lot of cake left over. Always give yourself enough lead time to market your event to the fullest.
Not inviting the right guests
As a business owner or manager, you have no doubt seen emails, social media posts, and news releases about how to become an exhibitor at a local business expo. Links in that marketing lead you back to a website with details about exhibiting and online forms for taking part. But how often do you see a web page specific to the general public with details such as hours of operation and where to park?
If your business is setting up a booth, you want to get in front of the buying public, not just the other exhibitors. Rarely, however, do expo organizers provide an invitation or advertisement page that exhibitors can link to in their own marketing campaigns.
Determining the correct target market for an event is crucial to attendance, and in the case of a business expo, there are two distinct audiences that need to be engaged. After exhibitors, expo attendees are the second audience, and the marketing message they are looking for is not the cost of ten-foot skirted table.
Not assigning and following up on tasks
Some organizations run the same event annually and with that history, figure things will just happen “the way we always do it.” But Theresa retired last year and took her knowledge with her. And Sam has only been with the company a few months, so he has no clue how this came together last year. Assignments and checklists may seem like overkill, but they help catch silly mistakes such as last year’s dates on this year’s web page and invitations. People have to be confident that you are the definitive source of information or your reputation will suffer.
Not getting the message out
The word “broadcast” comes from the way a farmer scatters seeds over a wide area, a process every event marketer should take to heart. Not every seed will take root, so you have to make sure a whole lot of seeds are scattered in a variety of likely places. You can’t assume that “everybody” already knows about your event, even if your group has served pancake breakfast for thirty-five years. With all of today’s distractions, it’s necessary to remind people often without becoming an annoyance that they tune out.
Don’t just rely on your past or current supporters. Look for new groups to get in front of and groups related to your past supporters. Experiment with paid advertising in social media. Digital engagement rates and email or snail mail open rates are tiny, like 1-20%, so you need to get your message to a whole lot of people to insure a good turn-out.
No one is perfect and there are always unfortunate surprises, but learning from someone else’s experience can help you avoid making the same mistakes. You know your business or organization best, but we know website marketing. Together, we can create the perfect marketing plan for your next event, so give us a call today to talk about it.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto
This article is an update to “How to: A Successful Event Marketing Plan” dated 2/2/2015.
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