Using Branded Events to Get Your Business More Visibility and Leads
Audiences are becoming more tuned out and distant from marketing messages than ever before. With so many distractions and brands competing for attention, businesses have to do something special to stand out and attract interest.
One way they can do that is by hosting a branded event.
Why Host a Branded Event?
A branded event is an effective and engaging way to connect with customers and increase brand awareness.
Hosting an event allows you meet new audiences and engage existing customers in a fun, interesting, and exciting way -- all while broadening your reach by getting people talking, writing, and reading about your business.
Events are a win-win for brands, guests, and sponsors too.
Events give people the experiences they crave. People are beginning to spend more money on experiences than things. They want to “do” as much as they want to “buy” -- especially millennials. According to an Eventbrite “Experience Economy” report, “88% of millennials would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable.”
Interesting experiences drive social sharing. People love to have unique and fun experiences they can post about on social media. Snapchat stories, Instagram photos, and Facebook check-ins are just a few of the ways people share moments through social media, and events provide them with opportunities to experience something worth sharing.
Events boost a brand’s social visibility. The social sharing effect of events directly benefits event hosts and sponsors. As each person captures their experience and shares it on social media, hosts and sponsors get a free promotion. Their brand is put in front of new audiences as people post about their experiences from the branded event.
Events create opportunities for business partnerships. A branded event doesn’t have to be all about the hosting business. The host can form partnerships with other non-competing yet complementary businesses to share both the cost and marketing opportunities created by the event. This approach benefits both brands while creating business introductions that can turn into lasting relationships.
Attendees turn into hot leads. Creating a guest list for an event is a great lead generation tactic. As guests register for free events or purchase tickets to paid events, they provide their contact information. Sponsors and hosting brands can then use that data to stay in touch with audiences who have already shown interest in an event related to their brand, industry, or target audience.
Events present strong remarketing and retargeting opportunities. The real value of hosting an event happens after the party has ended. Brands can use the leads they generated from the guest list to create strategic remarketing and retargeting campaigns that provide marketing potential for years to come.
As you can see, events are more than fun. They are an opportunity for you to substantially grow your brand.
But, you can only reap these benefits if you use smart event marketing strategies that work before, during, and after your big day. Let’s look at how you can launch campaigns to get the most out of your next event.
Before the Event -- Priority: Increase Attendance
The first priority for marketing your branded event is getting people to sign up, RSVP, and buy tickets. An event’s success will depend heavily on how many people come. So marketing strategies that will increase attendance should be the first goal of your planning.
Focus on lead generation. At the beginning of your event marketing, lead generation should be a primary focus. As you promote your event, always look for ways to get people to provide their contact information even if they don’t RSVP or purchase tickets. You can use that contact information to send messages through text and email marketing and move leads toward eventually accepting an invitation to your event.
Run contests. One of the best ways to collect leads before your event is running a contest which requires audiences to enter their contact information in exchange for a chance to win. The best types of contests related to events include giving away free tickets, VIP access, and coupons to use at the event.
Host ticket drops. You don’t always have to have a contest to give away free stuff. Another effective way to boost attendance for your event is to host ticket drops. A ticket drop is a set time that you release a select amount of free tickets at a location that is related to your event (i.e., at your business, at a sponsoring business, etc.). It’s a good way to get audiences interested in your event, start filling your attendee list, and to trigger sponsorship activation.
Give attendees “sharing” coupon codes. If you really want to increase your guest list, encourage your attendees to help you. Offer codes for attending guests that reward them if their friends attend or provide discounts for their friends when they buy.
Create a multi-channel marketing plan. Promoting your event across multiple channels is key to getting the attention you need to fill up your event. So design promotion plans that utilize multi-channel marketing strategies. Launch text marketing for event campaigns as well as email marketing promotions. Publish preview content, utilize social media marketing leading up to the event, and most importantly, work with local media companies like MyArea Network to get coverage.
During the Event -- Priority: Engage Attendees
Once your doors open, the marketing work is not done. When your event kicks off so does a world of opportunity for marketing both your brand and your sponsoring brands. It also presents the potential for building deeper connections with your guests. Continue to keep your event marketing in full gear the day of your event.
Focus on data collection. Lead generation is a big priority in the planning phase, and you want to continue this trend as your event starts. You may not have the contact information from all of the people at your event, so focus on strategies that will help you collect their contact information as well as other details about them. For example, you could add survey questions or polls to your lead generation strategies to gain insight into audience minds.
Run a photo promotion. A photo promotion is a perfect way to make your guests feel special while collecting data from them and priming them for remarketing campaigns. Have a professional photographer at your event capturing photos of your guests. Then present each guest with information about where they can go to access their photo. Design the process that guests follow to get their photos to include lead generation opt-ins and marketing messages.
Run more contests. Contests aren’t limited to pre-event marketing strategies. They are also an effective way to collect data from guests at your event. Run contests that promote offers that are relevant to your event during the festival or function. Some ideas include giving away coupons for items for sale at the event, VIP upgrades, tickets to next year’s event, and prizes from sponsoring and host brands.
Add fun and games. You can also make your attendees work for their prizes by offering fun and games. You can offer sponsored games like cornhole, ladder toss, tug-of-war or even pin the tail on the "your brand here" to promote brands, and require sign-ups for participation to collect leads. Make playing games even more fun by providing prizes to top performers.
After the Event -- Priority: Reconnect and Remarket
Once your event is over, it may feel like it’s time to close the book on your branded event. But this is when the real power of your event provides you with value. It’s time to create plans to reconnect and remarket to the people who came to your event.
Create future marketing campaigns. The priority when your event is over is developing strategic campaigns for reconnecting with guests and leads. Right away, you should start designing plans to segment your list and remarket based on what you learned about your audience from your event. For example, you should send different marketing campaigns to people who came to the event versus people who didn’t and to people who won tickets versus people who didn’t, etc.
Review and assess your data. The data you collected both before and during your event will be helpful as you create remarketing campaigns and attempt to segment your list. Use your business data to learn more about your audience and design strategic email and text marketing campaigns to reconnect with them.
Connect on third-party platforms. Don’t forget that the data you collected has power beyond text and email marketing. You can also use contact information to create audiences on Facebook and Instagram. This marketing strategy allows you to use data collected from your event to build targeting campaigns on third-party sites, expanding the power and performance of your leads.
Start Using Smart Event Marketing Strategies Today
To use a branded event for your full benefit, you have to think strategically at each phase of your planning. The tips outlined in this post will help you launch the type of event marketing campaigns that will serve you before, during, and after your event.
But if you want to get even more out of your special event, contact MyArea Network today.
We’ve helped numerous brands market and host events with guest lists of up to thousands of people. This post includes photos from one of our biggest events in Tampa, the Margarita Festival, and we’d love to use our knowledge to help make your event a success.
Contact us today to see how our experienced team of event marketers can help you host an event that is packed with guests and always working toward promoting and growing your brand.