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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

Top tips for marketing an event

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

Nat Sharp putting up an event poster

5 steps to promoting your event

You’ve booked the venue, finalised the programme, organised the branding and your stand. Next on your checklist is to begin the task of promoting and marketing your event.

In an ideal world, it is useful to develop a communication plan to be clear on your objectives, theme and key messages. It might take a bit of time, but in the long run, it will save you time.

Here are a few simple tips to maximise the success of your event:

1. Approach sponsors - bringing sponsors on board has so many benefits. They can add another dimension to your event. Not only can they help promote your event using their network, but a high-quality brand also provides credibility. Be creative with how they can be involved. What is the overall theme of your event and how can they integrate with this? Could they supply products or a service which would work well at your event?

2. Plan the invite - create a list of relevant customers, prospects, partners, suppliers and colleagues. Send out a personal invite - will you send out a letter, an invite which is designed or an email? Ensure you do this well in advance and include a response mechanism to make it easy for people to respond asking them to respond by a particular date. Remember to build in a reminder and you will need to follow up with people to confirm numbers. Sometimes, a phone call can be the easiest way to get an instant response from people.

3. Create a buzz – use social media to promote the event through an event hashtag and encourage those who register to share the event within their own networks. You can also do an event countdown and create blog posts to unveil behind the scenes action. This will make people feel more involved and constantly remind them about the event so they'll be more inclined to attend.

Orange, gold and white balloons hanging from a ceiling

4. Piggyback – are there other events happening close to your event that might appeal to your audience? Consider working alongside 3rd party brands to cross-promote your event with theirs so as not to directly compete with each other. You could develop a joint promotion for the day.

5. Make friends with the media – ensure you keep journalists informed about the event and form a target list of local and relevant trade media. Draft a press release and distribute it to core media along with any marketing assets. Always send hi-res photography.

Maximising the value from your event

You may have done all the publicity so people know about your event but consider how the event can help you with other elements of your marketing. I’ve given 4 tips below:

Tables set for an event

1. Market research – use the event to do some simple market research. Speak to your target audience and find out what motivates them, obtain feedback on your product/service and find out what they would like to hear about. You can design a simple survey and get them to complete it at your event. Think about the sample size and demographics to ensure you get a robust and representative sample.

2. Blog posts – the event provides the perfect opportunity to create some original content. Consider capturing behind the scenes footage, recording videos of any demos/speakers and take pictures of you mingling with your customers and partners.

3. Lead generation – always think about leads! You may have hot leads asking about your products and services. Ensure you have business cards to hand, but also a means to follow up with prospects. Remember you need to be GDPR compliant particularly if you are using the data for marketing purposes.

4. Testimonials – use the event to record testimonials from customers. You can even use a simple video to capture the sound bites.

And afterwards...

Always write up your key learnings and do this whilst it is top of mind. Even better do an event evaluation so you can identify your ROI and if it is something that worked well and you wish to repeat. Document what worked well, what didn't and what you would change if you were to repeat the activity.

I hope you've found this article helpful. For more marketing tips and practical advice, feel free to visit my blog the ‘Sharp End’.

If you would like further help with marketing your small business, then please contact me for a 30-minute free consultation.

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