Within the marketing industry, event promoters face unique challenges. You sell an experience rather than a product, you ask for physical attendance, you battle to stand out from the crowd, and you fight against the clock as the event date approaches. At the same time, you wrangle the expectations of attendees, exhibitors and speakers. Sound familiar? That’s where industry expert Michael Doane steps in. The marketing manager at event technology firm CadmiumCD shared his time-tested best practices during a recent Visit Alexandria webinar. Keep reading for Michael’s tips for engaging your three primary stakeholders: attendees, exhibitors and event speakers.
1. Attendees: Drive Action and Engagement
- Employ multi-channel marketing: Use each of your communications channels to meet prospects where they already are, tailoring your outreach to audiences via social media, paid search, email, website advertising and even on-site physical branding. Streamline consistent messaging across every channel to boost visibility and results.
- Use strategy, not trickery: Offer authentic promises to pique attendees’ interest, such as the accolades attendees can receive by bringing back cutting-edge knowledge to their office. For example, many events send real-time push notifications to entice attendees to the trade floor. Instead of an indirect lure (“Come have lunch in the expo hall!”), try a direct invitation (“The expo hall is now open!”). You can even call out high profile exhibitors or leverage push notifications as a revenue source by selling sponsored shout-outs. Create a sense of urgency by explaining how attendees can get ahead of the curve with exclusive intel.
- Offer solutions, not products: “Give attendees useful information that will inspire them to take action, and you’ll get better results,” Michael shared. CadmiumCD regularly develops apps for events, a marketing tactic for the event producers and a “solution” for attendees, answering their questions and giving them a high-value conference experience.
- Make it about them, not you: Consider how you can increase response rate to post-event surveys, evaluations and quizzes by offering a benefit to attendees. For educational events, Michael suggested offering accreditation after attendees take the post-session survey.
2. Exhibitors: Increase Return on Investment
- Leverage their expertise: To increase the perceived value of sponsorship, offer exhibitors a sponsored symposium amidst the educational programming. These industry professionals then have an exclusive platform to promote both their expertise and their brand. Depending on where the symposium takes place, situate the company logo prominently, either physically on-site or virtually in the app or online.
- Make the expo hall educational: Foster a sense of fun and competition without sacrificing content. In CadmiumCD’s upgraded “knowledge hunts,” attendees scan QR codes around the expo hall and answer questions submitted by exhibitors, often relating to a new product or development.
- Go beyond banner ads: Give exhibitors prime access to attendee engagement rather than simply exposure. Consider curating a digital grab bag, which can include giveaways, E-books and other content while driving both digital and in-person foot traffic to exhibitors.
3. Event Speakers: Curate a Symbiotic Relationship
- Content promotion: Before, during and after the event, make speakers your marketing allies by sending them email templates and tagging them in social media posts for easy reposting. This is a simple way to boost your visibility through influencers without alienating your audience by inundating them with your own communications.
- Mitigate content rot: Avoid post-event “content rot” by repurposing the educational material from your sessions into other forms and contexts, such as blog posts or webinars. You can even offer accreditation or put the materials behind a paywall.
Insider Tip: Need help laying out a marketing battle plan for your event? Look for part two of this post, 7 Steps to Event Marketing Magic, for key questions to tackle with your team.
Header Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria