All events that you attend / organise should be viewed as an investment to be maximised, and form part of your marketing budget.
Being seen is key and being seen by the right people is beyond important, and events are a fantastic way to get yourself ‘out there’!
Preparing to attend an event takes a lot of time, effort and money, but that’s not all, you have to then ensure that people are actually going to come. Of course, the organiser is key in this element and it’s essential to select an event where the organiser has strong links with your target audience AND is proven to put on an event that your potential client actually wants to attend.
Before confirming your attendance at the event, check to see if anything big is happening on the same / similar day as the one of your choosing. Also check that a similar event topic / theme hasn’t happened recently in the vicinity – basically ensure that your chosen event won’t be diluted by another.
Ask yourself what enticed you, and do you believe it will entice your potential client?
Is there an enviable list of speakers on the schedule of events that you would struggle to find anywhere else?
Are there invaluable workshops taking place?
Is there a food / drink offering that will entice the audience to stay longer than normal?
Is there free parking?
Is the event easily accessible?
Is the price to attend realistic for a visitor?
Will their visit add value to their job role?
If all of the above is a ‘yes’, then you have a great basis in which to form a strong marketing strategy and encourage your target audience along!
Next, ensure that strong and well-designed marketing material is offered by the organiser for your use, and use it. Use any related hashtags and weblinks and sell the fact that you are part of something important and valuable.
Is there an opportunity for you to head a workshop or be an expert speaker? If so, grab it! This will be a perfect addition to your marketing strategy, and if the workshop / talk is filmed or photographed then you can reach out using the imagery / videos after the event too – perfect social media update fodder!
Consider an early-bird or discount related offer that is exclusive to the event that you’re attending. A potential client may be sitting on the fence as to whether to use your services, but by inviting them to a superbly organised event that you’re proud to be part of AND offering them something that they want will be like gold and will give you a big chance of winning over your potential client! The organiser will also be delighted, as it will add to the gravitas of their event and can be used in their marketing campaign too – another method of getting yourself ‘out there’ even further!
Consider writing a series of carefully thought out blogs on the event’s subject and publish them on your website and social media platforms – and most importantly, request the event organiser to showcase them on their platforms too – this will add integrity to your attendance and encourage visitors to come and look you out on their arrival.
Make sure you know your event stand number and location as early as possible and add it to all relevant social media posts and blogs on the lead-up to your event.
Don’t forget to personally invite your potential clients along – chat about the event and showcase how it could help their business or role; share your blogs and the event’s marketing material too. Ensure that you send them invitations in good time so that they can plan accordingly, and not as a last-minute panic – and don’t be afraid to remind them too as the first e-mail sent could have arrived at a busy time when it was not a priority – but don’t spam them.
Make your potential clients feel worthwhile and that the event will be a valuable event to attend…and don’t be put off inviting your existing clients to the event too – there’s nothing more enticing to a potential client than hearing an existing one enthuse about your services in their earshot! …just make sure you have plenty of team members to chat to all possible visitors on the day.
On everything that you put out there, remember your ‘call to action’. Whether it be via information, blogs or your event offer incentives, get them to confirm their attendance or certainly sign up to your newsletter to hear more about it!
Above all, ensure that you maximise your investment by drumming up as much interest in both the event itself and your attendance at it. Not only will you have done everything you can to promote your business, but the organiser will think incredibly highly of you and will be very likely to invite you along and offer you additional showcasing opportunities next time too.
Natalie Lovett is managing director of The Whitewed directory