The top three goals for event marketing, according to an Event Marketing Institute survey, are to increase sales (83%); increase brand awareness (73%); and increase product knowledge (53%). 80% of respondents agreed that event marketing is important...but just 29% of companies say their event marketing initiatives are very integrated with their other marketing campaigns.
Given that multichannel marketing vastly increases your reach, it's a good idea to integrate your on- and offline events with as many of your other initiatives as possible. Here are nine steps to take:
1. Establish your event marketing goals. You could choose specific, measurable goals such as generating qualified leads, or less-measurable goals such as brand awareness.
2. Decide how, where and when to distribute invitations. Your choices include email marketing, social media, and direct mail. You can also advertise. Wherever possible, track invitations against your database.
3. Set up registration pages that integrate with your database. Use custom landing pages and tracking codes so you can track the source of each registration. Be sure to use a system that allows you to close the registration process automatically.
4. Send event confirmations and reminders. These help raise attendance levels and reinforce your brand. You can also customize communications to each attendee and extend other offers. Marketing automation can manage this for you, so your team isn't overwhelmed by tracking and sending reminders.
5. Establish your lead capture process. Event registrations and on-site activity can be a source of accurate lead data – or a colossal waste of time. Move quickly; this lead data should enter a marketing automation or CRM system in hours or minutes, not weeks or days.
6. Score leads. Use automation to evaluate leads based on key criteria and prioritize them for follow up. If your system can compare incoming leads against an existing database and identify other relevant behavior (such as content downloads), it can route the truly hot leads to sales right away.
7. Nurture the leads you get with appropriate content and well-timed touches. A webinar attendee, for example, could be offered additional webinars or white papers in a follow-up email; a CEO could receive an invitation to an exclusive event.
8. Leverage social marketing. Run a "save the date" social campaign before you launch your detailed outreach. Supply a Twitter hashtag for each event, and monitor social media before and after your events. You'll get real-time feedback, and have the opportunity to respond to questions.
9. Analyze your results. If your goal was to generate marketing qualified leads, track how many of these leads convert in the sales pipeline, how long they take to convert and how much revenue they generate – all key metrics for establishing ROI for your live events.
The more you do to integrate all of your marketing activities – and to employ closed-loop reporting with your sales team – the more visibility you'll have into your ROI, and the more success you'll have with your events. For additional tips, download Act-On's "Introduction to Integrated Marketing: Online and In-Person Events."