When you’re ready to spark a buzz and bring in new customers to your local business, hosting a local event presents a perfect opportunity to do so. Whether it is a grand opening or an introduction to a new product or service, a successful event can drive foot traffic, increase brand awareness, and solidify customer loyalty.
However, it can be daunting trying to figure out where to start, how to get people to your event, and making it a valuable experience for them when they get there. Read our local event marketing playbook below to make your next event a success.
- Gaining an Audience
The best audience for your event are people who are invested and loyal to your brand, as well as influential potential customers or business partners. Having the right audience not only fosters deeper engagement, but also provides the potential for attendees to become devoted advocates for your brand.
First, gain support from other businesses or agencies because support from them usually means support from their customers. This is where your list of contacts comes in. Scouring your mailing list for relevant, industry-specific groups that can become engaged partners associated with your event attracts loyal customers and adds legitimacy to your event.
- Engaging Your Audience
Attendee engagement is an oft-overlooked component that has just as much importance as the location or product being marketed. Whether your event has 100 or 1,000 attendees, there are solid ways to engage your audience to ensure your guests have a memorable experience.
Get to know the individual members of your audience – for example, simply conducting a survey before, during or after the event can give them the chance to provide their interests and perspective. You can then use this data to delve into the characteristics and preferences of your audience so you can tailor the way you deliver information to them.
- Include Giveaways and Promotions With Your Product Pitch
Along with making your attendees happy, a well-conceived giveaway also subtly promotes your brand. Flyers and brochures only provide short-term uses, but promotional giveaways and deals remind your attendees of the incredible event you hosted every time they use or see the products.
Pens and caps may still be useful, but they’re a little outdated. If you wish to stand out from the ordinary, plan a fraction of your budget to invest in these giveaways. Don’t view them as freebies; instead, see them as promotional investments that’ll spread your brand awareness long after the event is over.
- Don’t Forget To Be Social
There are many opportunities to leverage social media during and after your event. Before an event, you can promote the use of the event hashtag by incorporating it into your tweets. Creating buzz around the elements of the event theme and happenings in your social media posts is key in spreading the word before and during the event.
During an event, the easiest way to keep engagement up is to live tweet. Posts can range from takeaways from product pitched, photos of the event, or a guide to your location in order to meet other event attendees. When you incorporate the event hashtag into a live tweet, it makes it much easier for other attendees to join the conversation.
- Staying Connected After Event
You will spend weeks, even months, drumming up the perfect audience; don’t let those connections fizzle. Here are a few ideas to stay connected with your new audience after the event.
Ask for feedback about the event.
- Create a social media page/account for your audience to build a community around your event.
- Increase your social monitoring – Make sure your alerts are set and keep your social media/online community ears open. Respond to mentions even if they aren’t asking a question.
- Post pictures – Send out a thank you email with a link to where they can view the pictures and remind them on ways they can stay in touch, such as your online event community.
According to the Event Marketing Institute (EMI), 87% of consumers said they purchased the brand's product or service after an event at a later date. So it pays to till the fields and nurture seeds you’ve sown at an event. If you are diligent about your local event marketing planning and follow-up, you’ll receive the best possible results when it comes to creating new customers.
At SproutLoud, we have helped many brands intensify their local event marketing efforts with our through-channel marketing automation platform. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to distributed local marketing through events.
About the Author
Gary Ritkes oversees all Business Development and Marketing at SproutLoud. He has been a pioneer in the emerging vertical of Distributed Marketing Technology and is an industry leader and innovator with 20+ years experience in graphic communications and marketing strategy. Gary has been involved with SproutLoud since the inception of the company. Prior to joining SproutLoud, Gary was VP of Marketing for Rex Three, Inc., SproutLoud’s first and largest vendor among its network of providers. He has served many Fortune 1000 clients and worldwide advertising agencies in providing marketing technology direction and optimization. He was an original founder of U.S. based Earth Color Group and a co-founder of Advanced Digital Services (ADS) which was sold in 1996 to publicly traded Katz Digital Technologies. He is a current board member of the local Advertising Federation chapter and has served as a member for other national industry associations including the DMA, AGA, and the CMO council.More Content by Gary Ritkes