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Better event marketing: the basics

January 19, 2015

party lasers

Photo: Kevin Cortopassi (CC) 

Your company may be putting on events in 2015 as part of its marketing strategy. It’s an opportunity to meet customers, share your products and services, offer hospitality and collect data about your audience.

Or your company may be sponsoring workshops, conferences, parties and open houses to reach well-established groups without the fuss of event planning.

What ensures a great event? What do you need to look for in your own events or ones you sponsor?

I’ve put on professional events for more than 10 years. It is a lot of work with no guarantees of success.

Follow these suggestions to ensure the biggest and best audience for your efforts …

Focus on the attendees at all times. Seems simple enough, right? Have I given them enough information? Will this event make their lives better? Am I doing this for me or for them?

I have seen many events flounder because ego gets in the way. Even fancy catering sometimes gives the impression of “Look at how great we are” instead of “We want to take care of you.”

• A checklist of required information.

At the very least:

  • Date,
  • Time,
  • Organizer (I hate trying to guess who is putting on an event, but sometimes it’s omitted.),
  • Cost (never a fan of when organizers try to “hide” the cost on another page),
  • Location, including street address, map and parking.

Including more information on this second list helps shoppers decide on buying tickets, even free ones:

  • Agenda/schedule,
  • Speaker bio: Who is this person and why is he qualified to take an hour out of my busy day?
  • Topic (Please, please make sure you have a tightly focused topic and that the speaker sticks to it.),
  • Topic summary: What am I getting for my time and money?
  • Activities,
  • Prizes,
  • Sponsors,
  • Food and drink (and if it’s free or not).

Make it easy to register. Put the ticket form on the event page to collect the name, quantity, contact info and payment info.

I like to think I’m a bright guy, but I have been utterly defeated occasionally when trying to register for an event. Instead of getting a ticket, I walk away with frustration at the organizer.

• Show off your attendees. One of my favorite features in using the Eventbrite ticketing system is showing who has already bought tickets. Many organizers don’t know about this free option, but it gives additional encouragement for fence-sitters to go for it.

Charge more for your tickets. You should provide true value to your attendees. And the ticket price should reflect that value. Don’t worry: Someone will complain about the cost no matter what you charge. I’ve put on events where tickets for similar events would cost 10 times more in other cities, and yet, it’s too expensive!!!

I make sure to show the value of attending and give limited opportunities for discounts and sales.

Undervaluing your event in ticket pricing shows a lack of commitment to your cause, and that can be fatal.

• Send a reminder email to your guests. First, you must nudge your busy audience to go. Not everyone keeps a calendar. Some people overbook their days. You absolutely must call attention to your event, especially if your guests bought their ticket weeks ago.

Second, you are building anticipation for your event. You want people excited about going. Just because they bought a ticket doesn’t mean they’ll use it — even Super Bowl tickets sit at home unused. Tell them what to expect and announce door prizes and last-minute additions.

Many details go into putting on great events. Proper marketing gives you a sizable advantage in a crowded marketplace.

Give your event every reason to succeed with these tips. They’ll bring the right audience and the maximum ROI for your efforts.

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