By Rhonda Campbell
If you’re looking for new ways to get in front of your target audience, consider organizing at least one business event each year. It’s important that you implement an effective event marketing strategy to draw the right crowd to your event. Do this right and your annual business event could become a “must attend” industry experience.
Business Event Marketing Strategies
Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to the types of business event you organize and host. For example, you can organize charity, educational, networking and/or marketing events. These include trade shows, industry specific conferences, training seminars, sports events designed to raise money for local charities (e.g. walkathons), town halls and holiday or seasonal events. Organize at least one free event that is open to the general public and you could develop a following. You could also develop a reputation for being an entrepreneur who gives back to people who support your business.
But, you’re going to have to find a way to distinguish yourself from the pack. According to Business Meetings International, firms spent about $122 billion on meetings and events in 2006.
To distinguish your event from the array of other existing events, spend a little time brainstorming. Come up with three to five key benefits attendees will receive if they attend your event (that they couldn’t get elsewhere). As a tip, your keynote speaker could be a benefit, especially if the keynote speaker is highly respected but rarely does publicly speaking events.
Event Marketing Ideas
As you perform event marketing, keep the three to five key benefits people will gain from attending your event at the core of your thoughts, as you’re going to need to highlight these benefits in each of your event marketing action steps. Next, decide if you’re going to focus your marketing efforts online or offline (I recommend a combination of both).
Event marketing ideas for you to consider include:
- Perform radio interviews, discussing your event’s key benefits or takeaways (if you have a team located in different parts of the country or world, consider assigning three or more team members to conduct interviews where they are located, especially if you’re hosting a regional, national or international business event)
- Design digital and print flyers and distribute them in areas surrounding the event location (again, use members of your team to help distribute the flyers in mass)
- Talk about your event, including event marketing actions, to clients, business partners and supporters to help generate more word-of-mouth buzz
- Post your business event details at event planning websites like myevent.com, eventplanning.com, upostevents.com, eventsnearhere.com, thereminder.com, Goodreads (for book events), etc.
- Create an ad in a newsletter, newspaper, magazine or journal (that reaches your target audience), providing details (i.e. location, date, time) and key benefits related to your event
- Contact worship centers, community and professional associations, etc., asking them to include your event in their announcements (make sure the event is related to the types of services/focus of the organizations you contact)
- Partner with college career counselors, social organizations, etc. to get the word out about your event, especially if it benefits their students or members
- Hire a professional event planner to help you organize and finish marketing events efforts (make sure the event planner has experience marketing the types of events you’re hosting)
Some tools you could use to start marketing events have already been mentioned in this article. However, there are other tools you could use to get the word out about your event, including:
- Online radio stations/shows
- Cold calling (make sure you have a “slam dunk” script loading with the event “benefits” you came up with before you start cold calling)
- Social media (just be sure you follow up with invitees, as it’s easy for folks to forget they were invited to an online event)
- Grocery store, college, etc. bulletin boards
- Local newspapers, including free community newspapers
- Car magnets (place a logo, location, date and time for an event on the magnet)
- T-shirts (against placing event details and a catchy logo or image on t-shirts)
- Direct mail (electronic and print)
You can also add information about events (especially large annual events) on mugs, mouse pads, etc. Another way you could start marketing events is to place free samples of your products in gift bags at festivals, trade shows, conventions, training seminars, etc. If you speak at schools, other businesses, in the media, etc., be sure to mention your business event. Keep brainstorming throughout the event marketing process, allowing new ideas, that you can use now or in the future, to surface.
http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/BusinessTravel/story?id=5763504&page=1 (ABC News: Business Meetings Could Get Smaller if Economy Falters)