Event Marketing and Management Tips For Fall 2022
As concerns about the pandemic begin to wane, there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses to return to event marketing as a large part of their overall marketing efforts. At the same time, the event space has shifted, and the types of events that customers and clients are looking for have expanded. Nowadays what works for your target audience may be different from previous years; trade shows and in-person events are still valid, but the interest in and demand for hybrid events, webinars, live streaming options, and fully virtual events has grown exponentially.
Knowing your audience and what will work for their needs is a big part of the picture, but there’s much more advice available for everything from developing your event marketing strategy to what your next event should look like. That’s why we consulted with several of our partners and contributors here at UpCity. We have extensive experience in event management, event planning, and event marketing, both before and during the pandemic. No matter your industry or your audience, they offered a wide range of advice that applies to any small business looking to host successful events that create a valuable, experiential touchpoint for customers and employees alike.
Take a look at some of their top tips for event marketing and management that will apply not only to the remainder of 2022 but will be especially valuable as you look ahead and develop an event marketing plan and event promotions for 2023.
Event Marketing Rule No. 1: Get the Word Out
Not surprisingly, our experts all had advice on getting the word out about your event. After all, no one can attend your live events if they don’t know that it’s happening. Beyond the basics, however, they were quick to remind small business owners and event planners that marketing tools like social media, email marketing, event websites, and even old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing all have value depending on your audience and your needs.
“Small businesses that want to improve their event marketing should start by using every social media platform available to them. Marketing events to your followers allows for faster social sharing across all networks, increasing your reach without increasing your labor. It’s also worth investigating innovative ways to promote events, such as guest posting on blogs, collaborating with an influential brand on YouTube or TikTok, guesting on a podcast, or even talking at a local community event.” – Asad Kausar, CEO of Dabaran Inc.
All of your marketing efforts require a solid plan, and event marketing is no different. From gauging interest to driving registration to choosing what marketing channels to use for your marketing campaign, your best efforts will always start with a solid communications plan that helps you reach your target demographics and prospective event attendees most effectively and efficiently possible.
“A solid communications plan from pre-registration to follow-up is not only necessary but can be very impactful. No matter how smart your guests are, do not assume they know exactly how to engage with your event and you. Send multiple email instructions and create a simple clear web page to make it feel easy as pie. Also, as you register for and attend other events, pay attention to the experience you have as an attendee. How easy was it to understand what you registered for? How quickly did you receive instructions? Did you get any post-event follow-up emails? Did they drop the ball and make you miss a calendar date? Keeping these things in mind as you develop your marketing plan will increase the likelihood that your target audience will attend and participate.” – Jacqueline Sinex, Managing Director at WEBii
Another key piece of advice–your event marketing efforts should not be heavily manual. There is an entire event industry that has created countless pieces you can borrow from and be inspired by. Utilizing available digital tools and social media marketing suites, reusing design templates and event landing pages, and other time-saving measures should be a big part of your plan. That way you can focus your time and energy on creating a great event that people are excited about.
“Marketing automation is key for driving awareness of your upcoming event. Using tools like HubSpot and Hootsuite, you can set up automated email marketing and social media posts to keep your audience engaged before, during, and after the event. Just remember not to bombard your audience! Posting once per week in the month ahead of your event, plus a few more times in the week of the event is plenty to bolster your brand awareness and keep your brand top of mind. Avoid spamming your audience with information about the event. Flooding your subscribers’ inboxes or social media feeds with information about the same event over and over is a surefire way to get unsubscribes/unfollow.” – Lauren Devens, Digital Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Creative MMS
Another important piece of advice we heard several times were the reminder to not lose sight of your business, and not overcomplicate things. It’s easy to get lost in the millions of options for event planning and marketing, and all the various content marketing outlets, giveaways, influencers, sponsorship deals, and much more. But the core of your event’s success, and what should be at the heart of your marketing efforts, is your brand and why people are interested in it.
“My biggest tip is simple but often overlooked: Don’t make assumptions, and stick to the basic principles of solid event marketing. And one more thing … get creative and BE AUTHENTIC. Don’t fall victim to algorithm changes. Jumping around pointing and acting like a fool is not going to sell tickets if that approach isn’t aligned with your brand. If you have a solid program it may take a minute but your audience will find you. Keep your program tight and fresh, don’t be afraid to reimagine tired formats, and remember that just because you CAN do all of the things doesn’t mean you should.” – Melissa Park, Global Event Producer at Melissa Park Events
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Advice for Successful Event Management
While there is a great deal more advice to be had when it comes to marketing your event (including SEO considerations, Facebook Live and other outlets, event registration options, and so on), our panel of experts also had tips to help you plan and execute your event as well.
“Listen closely and think carefully about the benefits of attending your event from the attendee’s perspective. How will it bring value to the customer? Simply listing speaker names and features for your event is not effectively communicating a reason to attend. There are more complex motivations for people attending an event, some of which they’ll happily share and some of which they want to keep private. Consider how to appeal to different overt and covert motivations people have for attending an event, effectively communicate the benefits of attending, and focus on the value proposition.” – LeBron Grimes, Founder/Owner of Eden Marketing Group
And just like with our event marketing advice above, our experts also reminded us that efficiency in executing your event is critical to your success. Whether you’re hosting a series of real-time seminars or industry networking opportunities or anything else, finding ways to save time in the execution of your event is especially important for small businesses that have limited time and resources.
“Especially as a small business, being efficient is key. You want to spend your time growing your business, not dealing with the nitty gritty of event planning. That’s where a repeatable process comes in handy. A process streamlines your workflow so you aren’t starting from scratch for each event, letting you get faster every time. I recommend spending 20% of your time and energy on the actual event and 80% of your energy repurposing your content. Turn the recordings into audiograms or soundbites. Turn the transcript into a blog post, etc. You can do a lot fewer events if you leverage them well and get more visibility.” – Michelle Tresemer Marketing Execution Strategist at Foundations First Marketing
Additional Takeaways for Event Marketing Success in 2022
This is just a sampling of the advice and tips that our experts offered for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are looking to host impactful events in the coming year. There is much more to cover, including ideas for leveraging user-generated content, hosting pop-ups and other surprise events, soliciting content and even attendance from thought leaders in your industry, and much more.
Fortunately, the experts quoted here and many, many more are a part of our UpCity network and have extensive backgrounds in event planning, event marketing, and executing successful events that people talk about long after they have attended. Reach out to our team to be connected to one or more of the contributors, and you’re sure to find a partner who can help you create and host an impactful, enjoyable, and powerful event that results in conversions with your target audience.