When it comes to creating a long-term marketing strategy for your brand as an event organizer, audience attention and engagement should be on the top of your list of priorities. But engagement isn’t a one-time event, nor is it a one-dimensional task.
True engagement, the kind that reaches out to people and keeps their attention through extended periods of time, requires a sophisticated strategy that encompasses multiple touch-points.
Fortunately, there are several digital tools just waiting to be leveraged in order for you to better connect with your potential event attendees. And despite the availability of these solutions, it’s surprising just how many brands aren’t taking advantage of them at all. Below are 4 tools and solutions that any event planner can integrate into their long-term marketing strategy.
1. Build Communities On Social Media
It’s no secret that human beings are hardwired to crave connection with other people. Grounding your event engagement efforts on the inherent desire of people to connect, allows you to create a community of individuals who can create shared experiences. In turn, these meaningful experiences can nurture engagement and loyalty to your brand.
The simplest way to do just that is with social media. If you encourage your potential attendees to interact not just with your brand, but also with other people with similar interests and needs early on, you get to create a community where feedback is shared between you and your audience.
You can learn a thing or two from SXSW and their PanelPicker platform, which draws user-generated feedback from potential attendees to help program the event.
2. Engage Audiences Through Webinars Or Live-chats With Speakers Or Thought Leaders
Thought leaders are a powerful draw in the world of events planning. You generate audience interest each time you associate your event or brand with a relevant authority figure in your industry. It’s why much of the hype around many events is built on having a notable guest speaker.
But you shouldn’t limit yourself to this traditional approach, not when you can generate interest between events by hosting webinars and/or live-chats with thought leaders in your niche. Webinars are especially great because they give potential attendees a taste of what to expect from your events. And by associating yourself with a thought leader, you establish your brand as a leader of similar stature.
Alternatively, you can get your speakers to create teaser content before and even after events. Videos, infographics, blog posts, and podcasts among others are great tools for bridging the gap between attendee and resource speaker.
3. Creating Long-term Online Content Strategies
Many event organizers already recognize the importance of an online content strategy and its ability to offer value to potential attendees. Most organizers, however, only engage in content marketing before and during the event. But a content strategy can be just as useful when you think in the long term. You could have several events throughout the year or plan for just one, either way, the question you need to ask yourself is, “How can I create valuable content for my potential attendees consistently?”
The process can be split into a 2-step approach. First, ask yourself the following questions:
· What impact do I expect to make with my event/s?
· What value do I want to give to my attendees?
· What do I want my attendees to feel and learn by attending my event/s?
Afterwards, you can proceed to ask yourself about your differentiators, or the things that set your events apart.
· Where would you place yourself and your events in your industry?
· How do your audience and potential attendees perceive your brand as an event organizer?
· What makes you unique? What is something you can say that only you and your events offer?
The answers to these questions should serve as the foundation of our online content marketing strategy. The next phase will be the ideation of content topics—this brings us to the next tip.
4. Research What Makes Your Audience Tick
How well do you know your potential event attendees? Do you know what their needs are? Do you know what makes them tick, or what will motivate them to join your events?
Before you even think of accepting submissions from potential speakers, your selection should match the topics, ideas, and concepts your audience wants to learn more about. The simplest way to do this is by simply asking your attendees what they want from you. You can conduct case studies or distribute survey questionnaires to capture audience preferences and opinions. Either way, what it’s important is to have a system for acquiring feedback from potential attendees.
In terms of tech, you can use tools like Crowd Campaign, which lets you crowdsource event ideas from your audience and allow other to vote for their top picks. A simpler strategy is to use Twtpoll or PollDaddy—both platforms let you create social media surveys.
The key to using technology to successfully market your brand as an event organizer is to make your audience feels that they are a part of something. You don’t just want your attendees to attend your events and think, “Hey, that was a pretty good speaker.”
While that in itself is certainly a laudable feat, I would suggest something else. Why not try to make your attendees feel that they contributed to your event’s success?
Encouraging audience involvement doesn’t just help ensure that attendees will rave about your event, it also makes these event experience—from the speakers, to the featured products and brands—more memorable.
Using technology to organize and market your events isn’t a new trend by any means, but it still gives you a plethora of options for trying something you and your competitors won’t have thought of before—something that just might resonate with your audience and stick around in their memory longer.
Written by: Tabitha Naylor
Want to see how we're creating year-round engagement for our annual MUG Conference? Follow our #EventConquerors posts as we build a community of passionate event pros, and feel free to use the hashtag to share what inspires you at events!