Event marketing essentials

Event marketing essentials: an "if you build it they will come" strategy won't cut it

March 28, 2016 | by Anna Svensson, Marketing Manager, Seventhwave

You’ve got an educational event to market. It's focused on a technical topic that’s not in your wheelhouse. Everyone on the team is counting on you to meet budget goals and fill the seats. After all, no attendees means no energy savings. Where do you start? How do you energize a technical message to cut through the noise and inspire someone to register? I’ve broken down what I consider to be the three bare bones essentials of an effective event marketing campaign in the energy efficiency world.

Turn gobbledygook into people-friendly content

The initial read of raw content from a presenter can be a daunting task. Understandably, presenters outline what they will teach versus why the audience should care about what they will teach. It’s their job to be the subject matter expert; it’s our job to understand what motivates the target audience to hit the register now button.

After an initial read, research the course topic and answer the following questions:

1 What are the challenges to adoption?
2 How can this event solve the target audience’s problem?
3 What are the benefits?

Develop a headline and body copy that encompasses the answers to these questions. Then, join forces with a talented graphic designer to create complimentary, unpredictable graphics. Poof, a marketing campaign is born! Use the campaign across all marketing platforms including email blasts, website, electronic flyers, social media, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

Examples:

Inform thousands with just three clicks

"28–39 character subject lines get the most opens." Email Marketing Metrics Report, MailerMailer

Of course, if you have a developed database, there is no better way to reach a potential attendee than through their inbox. The big debate is how often you should hit people up to attend your event. Typically three email blasts per campaign works for Seventhwave. Space them out roughly 6, 4 and 2 weeks from the event. However, stay nimble. Become a religious number watcher. If open rates and/or attendee numbers are running low, you must adjust the plan. Perhaps a personalized message will help? Maybe a resend of the email blast to those who did not open it the first time? How about some cold calling? Whatever it takes. Be creative.

Spin a web of influence

"The most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust." Global Trust in Advertising, Nielsen

From a laundry association to an architecture association, don’t be afraid to connect with as many outreach partners as you can conjure up. These partners broaden your reach and increase your visibility and credibility. And, by all means, make the relationship personal. Yes, this means picking up the phone on occasion, sending thoughtful email messages, reciprocating when these partners ask for help and never forgetting to say thank you.

Final word

Sure there is a time and place for social media, blogging and even direct mail; but use caution before you spend gobs of time chasing the newest, shiniest marketing platform or dusting off old marketing tactics from the past. Focus your energy on making the three event marketing essentials listed above work first. After all, they’ve been proven to make attendees appear—check out results from our 2015 academic year.