Yesterday we talked about the different steps you need to take to get exposure for your event presence. Today, lets focus on how you can build a pre-show marketing campaign to build a strong event presence.
Why a marketing campaign?
You need attendees to know you are going to be at an event. Beyond that, you probably even want them to know booth numbers, breakout session rooms, and etc. But you may be wondering how you can inform attendees of this information and keep it top of mind.
The best way to ensure your audience is well informed is to create a multi-channel marketing campaign and utilize several touch points.
What should the campaign look like?
Your campaign should look a little different according to what type of event you are sponsoring. If it is a smaller, more intimate event like the CCJ Symposium series, not every channel will be applicable. However, for larger trade show events like GATS, which have a national reach, you need to use multiple channels to create several touch points with your audience.
The first thing you should do is determine your campaign objective. You want people to know you are at an event, but you still need them to take some kind of action. For instance, you may want attendees to come to your seminar or breakout session. You may just want them to come visit your booth.
Understanding your objective will determine the call-to-action you utilize on your advertising.
Print is still an effective medium in many industries. In many cases it can provide you with thousands of industry specific impressions. In this case, it is beneficial to direct your audience to follow your social media pages or event registration pages (if you have a strategic partnership with the event). Remember, your call-to-action should be dependant on your objectives.
Print advertising should be incorporated into the larger scale of your campaign and not be considered a one-off.
Digital advertising, like SEM and banner display, is a great way to get your event messaging in front of audiences. While you can’t filter out all non-attendees, you can use advanced targeting options such as geo-targeting and tagged audiences to display your ads to highly targeted audiences of attendees.
According to your objectives and any strategic sponsorships, there are a number of ways you can use your digital advertising.
For instance, you might redirect them to one of your landing pages where they could sign up for an event newsletter or request additional information about your event presence. You also have opportunities to send your audience to landing pages built around event specific content or directly to an event registration page.
Your digital advertising should be designed to funnel your audience deeper into your pre-event marketing campaign.
Some social media has become more restrictive for real time advertising. (Thanks Facebook algorithm changes!) However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great way to get information out to your audience in a timely manner.
You can get information about your event presence, seminars, breakout sessions, and promotions to your audience through frequent posts. But don’t limit yourself to this. There are a number of paid campaigns you can run on social media to increase the reach of your posts and advertising.
Some events will provide you with actionable attendee data, such as email addresses. If the event you have chosen to sponsor does supply data, you can use this information to create an email list to market your event presence to.
If you do not have access to attendee data, there are opportunities to build lists throughout your campaign. Here are a few ideas to build your event email lists:
- One option might be to include an event update email opt-in button on your landing pages, blog, or social media pages.
- You can create a newsletter which updates subscribers on the events you are sponsoring either currently or in the future. A custom landing page would allow audiences to sign up.
- You can create event specific content and require email submissions on your custom landing pages.
Once you have collected emails you can begin to update your audience about event information, promotions, and etc.
Direct mail can play an important role in your pre-event marketing campaign. While you probably don’t want to use it as a mass communication method to get your brand in front of broad audiences, it can be useful as a more intimate part of your campaign. A nice card with a handwritten note can be an influential part of your marketing campaign, especially when sent to your biggest customers and prospects.
Personalized invitations can be a great way to get your event presence noticed by customers and prospects with the highest buying potential.
Events don’t happen in a vacuum. To fulfill your goals you need your audience to be aware of your coming event presence. By creating a pre-event marketing campaign with multiple touch-points, you can ensure your event presence will be top of mind for your audience.