What tools and techniques can you use to promote your events and business online more effectively? Get more bang for your buck and start creating your best campaigns yet by replicating these 10 traits of an event marketing pro.
The web offers the opportunity to reach the highest amount of customers ever – in some cases for free – and all without leaving your desk. But online marketing can also be a big, expensive bet. And it’s a bet that comes down to one question: how do you earn attention and ignite the interest of the right people without wasting time and money? Here are 10 things which set amazing event marketers apart from the competition.
Let’s get started..
1. They Design Their Marketing For The Right Audience
Who is my audience? This is the first and most important question you need to be asking yourself. No matter what campaign ideas you have to generate coverage or shares, it’s important to recognise who your audience is and take the right steps to target their needs.
Grouping your audience can prove to be really beneficial. But instead of grouping them solely by age, gender, job role etc – try grouping them by common interests, pain points or even answers they may have provided on the phone/surveys. If you don’t have enough data, you can mine your social media followers and competitor accounts, dig through data on Google Analytics, investigate the activity of online communities, and use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Suggest, and UberSuggest to help describe your audience. This will be a much more effective way of getting to know them, what their needs are and how you can help to focus future marketing activities.
2. They Stay Focused On Their Goals
Planning an event tends to have a lot of moving parts, so it can be easy to lose track of what you’re actually trying to achieve, especially when it comes to marketing. Write down your goals, not just for your company or event, but for your personal performance as well. These can include attendance figures, financial goals, high level of customer service, forming relationships with certain sponsors or organisations, publications you would like to be featured in, and other metrics. Look at these goals every time you start a new marketing project, and several times during a campaign. Then, every time you start a new campaign, think about whether your marketing efforts are helping you to achieve these goals. Sometimes, it is easy to get carried away with numbers and forget what you’re really trying to do.
3. They Are Always Brainstorming, Validating, and Planning
Whether it’s a white wall filled with Post-it notes, a shared Google Doc, a project management tool like Trello, a social intranet like Hipchat or a private board on Pinterest – create a space for everybody to dump ideas, inspiration, and recommendations. Make a list of all the things you can possibly do, and include the team and any external parties.
Validate each option by evaluating the range of value the task will provide over time (or, have you stumbled across a quick win that should be implemented immediately)? Think about which external teams will be needed to accomplish this work, and what are their costs?
4. They Recognise Their Competition and Learn From Them
It’s important to realise the difference between those you consider to be direct rivals, and those who are making the most noise in the places you want to be instead. If you notice a company earning coverage in publications your audience reads or making waves in the search results, then investigate and deconstruct what they’re doing differently. Always think, “how can I apply their successes to my own work – what is our better version of this?”.
5. They Start with Metrics
The beauty of online marketing is that, unlike traditional marketing channels, most things can be measured. Whenever you are working on a campaign, decide which metrics you need to set up immediately to track your success. I always select easy to access metrics that don’t take a ton of time to collect and report. This helps both at the end of successful campaigns, and when deciding which efforts aren’t worth the time and money.
6. They Test Everything First
When developing a new marketing campaign, don’t just guess whether it will work: test your idea. From conducting online consumer surveys, to setting up A/B testing software on a new event website to see which version converts better, plenty of methods are at your disposal. I also like talking to real people by getting out on the streets and explaining my marketing idea to see how people will react. We often find and talk to six journalists, bloggers, or influencers that we think will care about our idea, and ask them if they are interested before we spend a penny.
7. They Manage Campaigns with Concrete Action Plans
Planning is vital when it comes to a new marketing campaign. Without it, you may find yourself losing control, unsure of who is doing what and having to watch your campaign slowly fall apart. From the outset, ensure that everything is broken down into smaller, manageable tasks, and assign everyone in your team an accountable part. If you are running multiple campaigns at once, I recommend using a project management tool like Wrike, Smartsheet or Basecamp – it will only make your life easier. If you create a solid action-plan with all steps properly outlined, you’ll have a great foundation to begin your event campaign, ultimately leading to a smoothly-run operation.Whenever you’re creating an action plan, don’t stop at high-level, vague solutions – outline the steps it will take to complete the plan, and make sure each one has an action assigned to it.
8. They Conduct Pre-mortems
A pre-mortem is exactly what you are probably assuming it is: a hypothetical opposite of a post-mortem. With regard to marketing, it involves yourself and your team imagining that your campaign was a complete disaster, requiring you all to identify what went so horribly wrong. Now, this might initially sound terribly negative, but hear me out. By doing this, everybody involved in the campaign is generating valid reasons for why the project failed, and consequently looking for ways in which these problems can be prevented and the plan can be strengthened. I have even dropped campaigns in the past if risk was too high and a solution was unable to be found during a pre-mortem, so it really is an essential thing to do as it properly tests the viable strength and stability of your campaign, leading you to ask that all important question: is it really worth it?
9. They Future-Proof Their Event Marketing
When initially planning a campaign, think a couple of years ahead: where will this campaign take you? Is there any longevity for it? I often give preference to particular projects over others if they involve building tools and assets that can be reused again and difficult to replicate.
For example, imagine your cider festival was a runaway success, and you plan on doing the same again next year. Unfortunately, this year, you registered the domain ciderfestival2016.com, londonciderfestival.com or [sponsor’s name]ciderfestival.com, meaning that it’s all but useless in 2017, if the next one takes place in another city or with a different lead sponsor. I would strongly suggest avoiding domains with locations, years or sponsors in, as these will limit your future usage if you are planning to reuse the website again in another year or a different place. Ciderfestival.com is far better.
Just by making these few initial leading thoughts into the future, it will only add to your campaign confidence if you know you will be able to build upon it later on down the line.
10. They Run After-Action Reports
After your campaign is done, it’s very important to evaluate it. Analyze everything from the successes to the failures, and identify why they may have happened so that future projects can be improved accordingly. Begin with the main list of goals you will have written down when developing the campaign, and see whether or not they were achieved.
If not, why? Discuss with your team why this could have occurred and come up with a solution to ensure the same mistakes aren’t repeated. The same goes for successes: what succeeded and why? Identify the reasons and make sure to have a plan in place to repeat the same successes next time around.
Sounds difficult? Of course it does, if it were easy then every event marketer in the world would be amazing and getting it right. By applying these 10 traits you’ll be able to identify and implement the campaigns that will really move the needle, get a return on investment, and reach the right people for your events.