Whether you’re selling online, in person or both, events are a great way to grow your business. At first, hosting a successful event may sound like it requires a lot of work and a big budget. But thanks to the latest technology innovations, event marketing is now one of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to attract customers.
This fact hasn’t gone unnoticed when you consider that more than 40 percent of small businesses are hosting 13 to 14 events per year, on average. These include in-person and virtual seminars, networking events and social gatherings. So if you’re not including events in your marketing mix, odds are that your competition is using them to strengthen ties to their customers -- and possibly yours.
To help you drive awareness and fill all of your physical and/or virtual seats, here are four tools and tips that will help you make your next event a big success.
Looking at your subscriber base, determine which customers would most benefit from the content and focus of the event. Based on the interests of that audience, create personalized email invitations.
To generate more excitement leading up to the event, send weekly updates highlighting what attendees will see and learn at the event. In your messages, include a social-sharing bar so readers can pass along the details of the event on social media sites.
Online Event Tools
Online event marketing tools can help you automate, and thus simplify, so much of the logistics work, freeing you up to focus on giving attendees the best experience possible. Whether it’s setting the vibe through an event homepage, automating registration and payment, or seamlessly checking in attendees through a mobile app, you can save yourself a lot of legwork, and focus on the real reason you are hosting the in the first place: to build strong, lasting relationships with attendees.
Create a dedicated Facebook event page and regularly update it. You can also use it to engage attendees by asking questions or posting a short poll. And let’s not forget about letting attendees know about the event’s Twitter hashtag and encouraging them to tweet before and during the event.
Offer a deal to existing customers when they bring a friend to your event so you can engage existing and new customers upon arrival.
With events gaining in popularity and payoff, it may be time to amplify your efforts in this area while reducing investments in less fruitful marketing activities.
Steve Robinson is Constant Contact’s small business expert in Illinois and Wisconsin. A knowledgeable marketing expert with 30 years of experience, Steve has helped thousands of small businesses, associations, and nonprofits develop and implement effective email marketing, social media and online survey strategies. A popular speaker and educator, Steve gives small businesses and nonprofits the tools, techniques, and strategies they need to grow and expand their business and to maximize the power of relationship marketing. Steve’s experience in small business ownership, business development, sales, and fundraising help associations, small businesses and nonprofits achieve success.