Why You Should Have a Marketing Plan for Your Next Event
For every board meeting, in addition to the seating plan, the notepads, and pens, the menu for luncheon, you also have an agenda. For every conference, besides rooms blocks and A/V rentals, you have a schedule.
Do you have a marketing plan for every event your business participates in?
To evaluate your results, your team needs a way to measure participation. Otherwise, you have no way of knowing whether that participation is effective. Here are a couple of tips for making an event marketing plan.
Start with the End: What are Your Goals?
Your goals can be abstract — increase brand awareness — or concrete — the number of sales meetings generated. An event marketing plan should list them all. Give yourself percentages to meet or better, absolute numbers to achieve, testimonials to collect.
Pre and post-show surveys and exit polls can fill in the blanks on audience response, visitor interaction and message retention. You’ll also need to know the value the event represented with a detailed expense report. This information is key to evaluating whether or not an event was impactful and cost-effective.
Everyone on the team should have access to the plan. Consider uploading the plan to a cloud-based system so that each person has access and editing capabilities throughout the event planning and the actual event.
An Action Plan for Your Marketing Goals
Even if you are doing mail or email marketing for pre-show awareness, you should be including social media. Start by identifying the marketing channels you want to pursue. Where you choose to go depends on where you can reach your target audience the easiest. Ideally, this will gain visibility for your brand and generate visitors to your booth.
Create pre-event content — the kind of content you would send out as guest blog posts to bloggers or online news sites. This is not blatant advertising. Instead, this content offers value to the reader, such as advice on a product or issue related to your brand or niche. Don’t forget the hashtag for the show or booth number in your guest bio! This helps you create marketing lists while gauging interest in participation in your event. It also spreads the word about your event online, which can bring attendees to your exhibit at the show.
Read more about event marketing and planning here at eConnections for exhibit and event professionals.