By Tim Raybould
To grow your business, you’ll need to develop relationships with new customers and form stronger ties with your existing client base. Effective marketing initiatives are designed with this purpose in mind. They help you reach out to prospects and customers with a personalized message that resonates with the target audience. But no matter how skillfully designed your marketing materials are, nothing is as effective in building relationships as a face-to-face meeting. That’s why every growing business should consider an event marketing strategy.
Events are a great marketing channel that many successful businesses currently use to create one-on-one relationships. If your marketing team is focused solely on developing collateral, an event marketing strategy is an excellent way to give them the opportunity to meet customers and prospects, deepen connections and learn first-hand about customer pain-points — knowledge that can make the entire group more effective at virtually every aspect of their jobs.
You don’t need any special expertise to host an event, and no matter what type of business you’re in, you can create an event that will educate prospects about your industry and get the word out about your company’s products and services. Just remember that the focus should remain on building relationships rather than applying a hard sell. Here are three reasons you should use an event marketing strategy at your company:
- Event marketing creates communities: There’s nothing like putting a face with a name to build a stronger relationship with a customer or prospect. With event marketing, you can create shared experiences with customers that can generate true friendships — and business ties. One great way to kick off an event marketing strategy is to partner with a company that has a similar target audience and jointly host an event. You and your partner will both have an opportunity to deepen customer relationships and meet new prospects.
- Event marketing helps you generate rich, targeted content: For marketing teams that focus primarily on generating content, events can serve as an excellent source of fresh material. You can use video recordings of event speakers or educational sessions to post online or link for social media outreach. You can send links to content such as white papers or articles to generate excitement prior to an event. Also, events provide exceptional insights into demographics that can be used to more accurately target your audience across all platforms.
- Event marketing fuels social media activity: Events can get people talking online about your company, and it’s smart to harness social media to generate tweets, likes and posts before, during and after your event. When my company held a small event recently, we generated twice as many social media shares than we had guests, and a follow-up blog post drove 10 times as many likes as we had attendees. With advance promotion and a good follow-up plan, you can fuel social media activity around your event to keep the excitement going.
Some business leaders are hesitant to start using event marketing because they are concerned about the time commitment or worried about the logistics involved in setting up an event site, publicizing the occasion and managing attendance. If that’s you, the best advice is to start out with a smaller event — 20 people or fewer — and take advantage of digital platforms that make it easy to build a page, run a social media campaign, distribute tickets and manage attendance. Once you see how easy it is, you’ll gain the confidence to move up to larger events.
An event marketing strategy is a great way to expand marketing’s influence beyond a supporting role. With an effective event strategy, you can create a stronger community, use your events as a springboard for multichannel messaging and drive social media activity far beyond your event attendance list. But most importantly, you’ll make one-on-one connections that can develop into long-term business relationships.