Marketing for live events can be tricky, because unlike other products and services, a live event occurs once, on a specific date, and at a specific place – and because of that, most of the marketing needs occur before you get the chance to deliver.
This means your marketing will be focused on creating pre-event buzz – which is easier said, than done.
An invite alone is not enough to create the kind of pre-event buzz that makes an event an absolute knockout success.
Think about it this way: if your colleague simply asked you to come to a dinner party tonight at theirs, would you be compelled enough to not only attend – but spread the word?
Now, what if your colleague spent weeks, if not months, before their dinner party, getting you excited at the prospect of attending?
What if they pulled out the bells and whistles, brought you champagne and horderves to your desk as a ‘taster’, promised you a seat next to a celebrity if you RSVP’d straight away, and reminded you often about the upcoming date?
Would you be more likely to confirm as an attendee, and even bring along a bunch of your own mates?
You’re going to have to approach your pre-event marketing in much the same way – which is to say, you’re going to have to focus on content marketing to create the kind of pre-event buzz you want.
To really build up buzz, you have to build up anticipation. And you can’t anticipate if you haven’t got the time.
Make sure to market your event at least a month in advance. This is where teaser content will work in your favour (we go into this a bit more below).
Consider your channels
Hopefully, as part of strategising for this event, you’ve got a clear image of the exact demographic you’re wanting to target, and have attend.
Use this knowledge to figure out where and how to market your event.
Email will always be a part of the equation, but cross-channeling your content across other platforms, especially social media, will give your content that extra boost it needs.
If you’re wanting to broaden your registrant base, then you’ll need to consider other channels.
Share your marketing content across the social media platforms that most make sense for your target audience (if your event is B2B, for example, use LinkedIn and Twitter).
If you want your event to get lots of reach across different demographics, consider creating an event page on Facebook for wider reach. This also has the added benefit of reaching the networks of those registrants who mark themselves as ‘attending’; automatically sharing their attendance across their friends’ feeds.
You’ll also want to set up a ‘home’ on the internet for your event, and event marketing efforts. Centralise your content by driving intrigued traffic to an Event Landing Page.
Lastly, get your registrants to cross-channel your marketing content for you, by incorporating social sharing functionality at every step of registration, and attendance. For example, on the confirmation page of your registration form, include a share button for social media platforms, to allow your registrant to share across their profiles that they’ve registered for your event.
Content is what matters most when marketing for your event, so you’re going to have to get creative.
Here are our 3 content marketing tips for amassing pre-event buzz:
1. Teasers & Tasters
Creating teaser and taster content is all about whetting the appetite of your potential attendees. Teasers and tasters reveal just enough content in relation to an event to give your recipients a good idea of what to expect, as well as leave them wanting more.
Teasers should be short snippets of content, that give a ‘sneak peak’ into the type of content your attendees can expect from attending your event. The great thing about coming up with content for a teaser campaign, is that it doesn’t involve a large volume of content. You want to say a lot whilst revealing little.
Teaser campaigns are best started early, giving your recipients little exciting tid bits that encourage engagement for the long run.
As for what to make your teasers about – consider the most exciting elements of your event – and work back from there.
Have you got a well known speaker appearing? Allude to a ‘special guest speaker’ in a series of teasers, only unveiling who they are before sending a formal invite.
Alternatively, if your event is educational in nature, release a teaser campaign of niche tips on the event’s subject. Release tips and facts that aren’t well known, and make sure to not reveal too much. After all, you’re providing a taste, not serving up the whole meal!
2. Special Offers
Everybody loves to feel special. You can leverage that fact by using special offers in your content marketing strategy, in order to build up pre-event buzz.
One of the simplest special offers you could make is revealing a limited amount of discounted tickets via an email campaign. This has the added benefit of securing registrants.
Alternatively, you could enter registrants into a raffle for special prizes which they have the chance of winning upon arrival. Make sure the prizes suit your target demographic; and will guarantee their attendance on the day.
Other special offers include: downloadable resources that pertain to the event’s subject matter, VIP invites to event after parties to rub shoulders and network, and discount vouchers for local restaurants and cafes – or even your brand’s products and services.
3. Get Personal
Personalisation takes any marketing strategy to the next level. That’s especially the case for pre-event content marketing efforts.
Addressing people by their name is definitely important, but you should take it a step further to really get potential registrants’ attention.
For example, leverage localised content to engage your audience based on where they’re based.
If your event is being held in Sydney, then target a Sydney-based list with content about your event with an emphasis on location. You could boast about which well known local vendor is catering your event, or which well known local thought leader will be leading a workshop on the day.
Familiarise your potential attendees with your event’s location. Choose an iconic venue, or something close to everything, and push that venue across your content. Mention where to park, where to grab a coffee on the way in, and where everyone plans on grabbing drinks after.
Depending on the tone of your event, how you choose to personalise and localise your content will vary, but you’ll want to make sure your event’s content marketing strategy has a strong sense of place, and personality.
Successful Events are Anticipated Events
The volume, or lack, of pre-event buzz can make or break your live event’s success. Reaching your event management goals relies heavily on registrants, and attendants that not only show up – but spread the word.
Generating pre-event buzz is integral to your event’s goal-reaching potential, and as such, your event marketing team needs to have a strong foothold in consistent, hype-boosting content marketing strategy.
Consider any time you’ve been excited for an event, and how important that pre-event anticipation was for gearing you up for attendance. That’s the type of “I can’t wait” engagement your pre-event content needs to encourage.
And it probably goes without saying, but for your event to really take the cake, it isn’t just anticipation and hype that you need to put effort into, but it’s ensuring your event doesn’t fall flat on the day.
Make sure that whatever buzz you generate, that expectations are met, and you deliver the stellar event you promised.