Events are a winning marketing investment for your business. They provide an environment where you can educate your audiences and spend time face-to-face with customers – and future ones. They also give your audiences that first-hand brand experience.
It’s been so exciting to see how events have helped my clients’ businesses, from how Glug Reading has strengthened ConnectTVT’s creative community to a select client roundtable run by Risk Decisions. Launching my own event specialism is a natural next step to this. Here’s some tips I’ve picked up on how events can boost your brand.
Be clear on your desired outcome
So obvious, so often overlooked. Be 100% clear on your event objectives. What do you want to create for your audience? Why? What action do you want attendees to take post-event? Do you want them to get in touch regarding a new service or are you looking to create a shift in perspective as an employer brand? Be clear on this from the outset.
Content, content, content
Events are like a double espresso for your content marketing. You have something of value to share and reason to connect with your audiences across the event lifecycle. For B2B particularly, they are a real asset, promoting new speakers, topics, sharing sponsor content. Make sure you leverage your planned events within your content marketing plan.
Sponsorship and brand association
Sponsorship gives your brand exposure to a wider network of people and aligns it with other relevant, respected businesses. Some companies worry that sponsorship dilutes their event value; set clear parameters with sponsors that this isn’t about sales but the opportunity to connect with your audience in an authentic way. I’m really proud of the great sponsors we’ve attracted to Glug Reading and certainly the guys have strengthened the community we’re building.
Get buzzy with PR
The ultimate PR party, this points needs a blog post of its own. Start with which journalists might get something helpful from attending. If it’s a thought led discussion, specialist trade media may be interested. Or a small business journalist might be keen to come along and meet a group of local SMEs. Don’t be pulled into the press release trap; personal, media-friendly invitations will work better here. Media partnerships are great for events too.
Create a Twitter hashtag for your event to engage your audience. Encourage attendees to use this throughout the event. You may want to invite event-related questions beforehand to start those conversations.
A nice touch is to get people to “say hi” if they’re attending the event. It means people can connect online ahead of the event and is a great ice-breaker once they’re in the room. Janet Murray does this really well for her events.
Don’t forget post-event communications.
Events are time-consuming so if someone’s taken that time out to attend, make sure you follow up with a thank you. Make the most of that warm post-event feeling to develop a stronger dialogue. Leverage and nurture those new connections and invite feedback so attendees have a stake in your brand. You can drive that strong brand narrative and word-of-mouth after your attendees leave the room.
Networking breakfast or industry conference, events can build your brand’s visibility and credibility. They help cultivate a more trusted, emotional and personal connection. Thinking about putting one in your calendar? I’d love to help.