Events are an extremely powerful tool for engaging staff, channel partners and external industry members alike. They're more than just a gathering - events are the catalyst for inspirational memories that connect your organisation and delegates for life.
However, to create an event that excites and intrigues well before the big day itself, your event must utilize corporate event management and marketing strategies that engage delegates at every touch point - starting with the very moment they learn of it. Designing a solid pre-event marketing strategy helps work towards your unique objectives and overarching event goals from day one. To help you master your event marketing, let's discuss strategy creation and key touch points.
Corporate event marketing goals
Most corporate event marketing strategies employ many of the same basic objectives, but you should consider which are most applicable to your event. Some of these may include:
- Building awareness of your event.
- Creating interest and demand.
- Pushing a brand presence to attract sponsors, media and delegates.
- Satisfying sponsor promotional needs.
- Communicating event themes and messaging.
- Increasing attendance.
- Encouraging downloads of your event app.
It's important before developing your corporate event strategy to think about your goals, prioritize them and apply the SMART method. This stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. Rather than picking one of the above off-the-rack objectives, you should instead use them as no more than a starting point upon which you create your bespoke goals.
For example, rather than "increasing attendance", you might aim to achieve a 20 per cent growth in early bird registrations on the previous year's event. This takes that basic aim and makes it SMART as follows:
- Specific: You've clearly indicated the point at which the objective has been achieved.
- Measurable: Progress can be measured by registration numbers.
- Achievable: A 20 per cent increase may be ambitious, but not impossible.
- Realistic: It's within your ability to encourage early bird registrations - but actual attendance may be slightly further out of your control.
- Time-based: An early bird period clearly determines when the goal must be achieved by.
Ultimately, your marketing objectives should align with your broader event goals. Ask why you're hosting an event, whether it's to create revenue or grow brand ambassadors, and then ask if your marketing objectives sufficiently feed that goal.
Before marketing your event, ensure your goals are clear and precise.
Developing a corporate event marketing strategy
The touch points you choose to support your pre-event marketing can make or break it.
With your marketing objectives determined, you can now work on identifying key touch points for your corporate event strategy.
It's important when considering touch points for your event to personalize them according to your unique delegate personas and budget. Your personas should inform your strategy by highlighting the most appropriate channels, motivations, pain points and goals of your delegates. For example, you might see your delegates are likely to be frequently inundated with emails, so your most powerful channel may be direct mail to avoid getting lost in the inbox.
Similarly, you should look at historical data when building a budget for your marketing. Aim to correlate spend with success where possible to determine the best ways to allocate your budget. For example, if LinkedIn ads were positively attributed to a large amount of website traffic and subsequent registrations in the previous year, it's possible further investment in social will help you meet your objectives.
The touch points you choose to support your pre-event marketing can make or break it. Let's discuss just some of the potential touch points available to you.
Build a corporate event website
Your website should act as the online portal for anything related to your event. All paid marketing efforts should lead back to your event website. In addition to basic details and digitizing your event registration process, your site should work to engage and excite delegates.
As with traditional marketing, the center of your website strategy should be based on content. It's important to start thinking about online content long before doors open as delegates will look for it to inform their decisions and establish credibility in your event's brand. At the bare minimum you should be building landing pages covering event information - but there's more you can do to really capture your delegates' attention. A corporate event management agency can help you identify the best ways to engage your delegates.
When planning content for your corporate event website, consider:
- Speaker-generated blog content: Ask your speakers to produce articles relevant to their presentations. These will give delegates a taste of what to expect at your event, generate buzz around speakers' topics and symbiotically benefit your speakers by publishing their work. You might also then enjoy leveraging your speakers as influencers, having them share their content and driving potential delegates to your website.
- Content archives: If this isn't a new event, you may be able to use slides or videos from past presentations to populate your content library. Consider gating this as a reward for current delegates for registering, so as to make registration seem more valuable. You can feature a number of free videos to entice users to want more.
- Original research: Proprietary research can be an enormous tool worth leveraging. It helps to position your brand as a thought leader and can easily support your event. Promote this research on social media using simplified key takeaways, and reward registrations with a download of the full research. You might also include a panel or presentation at your event to discuss this new research.
Empower your delegates to access engaging information and share content to promote your event.
Push social media for your corporate event
Before your website can be successful, it needs to reach the right people. Incorporate paid and organic social media into your corporate event management strategy to target the right demographic.
It's important to think of your event social media as a give-and-take platform. You want to be promoting your event, but at the same time if you truly want to engage delegates you first need to attract and delight them. Sharing your website content via social media is one way to provide value to potential delegates.
To drive your social media, plan to:
- Push a branded campaign: Feature clean, consistent corporate event branding in your social communications. Reinforce your event brand wherever possible to create a lasting impression.
- Listen to your audience: On the "give" side of things, it's important to pay attention to what delegates are saying and react appropriately. One-way communications will quickly go nowhere, so you need to hold your audience's attention by responding positively to mentions. Aim to be helpful and uplifting.
- Identify influencers: Lastly, between your campaign and your audience you might notice key followers who have considerable online presence and trust. Approach these individuals with a social incentive, such as VIP access or discount codes, in exchange for valuable word-of-mouth promotion.
Send direct mail to excite corporate event delegates
Lastly, think about going beyond digital with your touch points. While online touch points offer excellent data collection opportunities and potentially simpler logistics, they do also risk becoming lost in the endless scroll of social media and email inboxes.
Create a narrow, targeted list of delegates you'd like to attract to your event. These might be previous delegates, major industry players or previously identified social influencers. Then, reach out with direct mail. This can be a powerful tool in your corporate event strategy, allowing you to circumvent the noise of digital channels.
A branded corporate gift can go a long way to making a real impression. Make it something that's useful, memorable and clearly associated with your event. A branded pen might be useful, but it can quickly become another item in the stationery draw. Keep your delegate personas front of mind when choosing corporate gifts for pre-event marketing.
Surprise and delight delegates by throwing out those everyday envelopes and sending unique branded gifts in the mail.
Work with the corporate event management experts
Your corporate event is an exciting opportunity to connect with your delegates at a deeply personal level and leave them with life-long memories - but you have to get delegates through the door first. Ensure your corporate event management strategies are designed with clear intent.
With offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and abroad, cievents is a corporate event management agency that delivers global excellence on the local stage. Reach out to the corporate event management experts at cievents to master your pre-event marketing today.