Did you know that the guy who built the “world’s biggest hotel casino” 3 separate times dropped out of school in 8th grade? Kirk Kerkorian, Las Vegas mega-resort owner, was born to a poor family and began working at the age of 9 just to put food on the table. He tried his hand at boxing & flew suicide missions in WW2 before becoming a billionaire hotelier.
Kekorian’s “rag to riches” story proves that you don’t need to be an expert from the get-go to be successful. This also holds true for marketing an event. All that’s needed is the willingness to learn from mistakes and some hard work. In this post, we’ll show you a 3 part process that gives event newbies a foundation to build and execute a successful event marketing strategy.
Know Your Attendee
Before even thinking about a marketing strategy, you need to sit down and do something we like to call Customer Profiling. An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is the ideal person that would buy tickets to your event. It’s the people you’ll want to dedicate marketing resources towards reaching.
Greg Ciotti of HelpScout best describes why building an ICP is so important:
“A useful customer profile (aka a persona) is akin to a comprehensive how-to guide on reaching your ideal customers. It gives you a structured look at their goals in trying your product, the features and content that matters most to them, and the messaging that will help them find you in the first place.”
Replace product with event in the quote above and the message should click: Customer profiling unlocks the ability to easily find potential attendees & market to them effectively.
How to get started with building an ICP? To give you a head start, here’s a couple questions to answer:
- Where are these people living on the web?
- What are some common demographics?
- What sort of content appeals to them?
- What are their goals & aspirations?
You can create as many ICP’s as needed. Events bring in a mix of people so this is expected. In addition to these questions, here’s an example template for a NYE party. Feel free to copy and build from it for your own event!
Marketing Strategy = A Series of Experiments
Remember science class in high school? You and a lab partner would formulate a hypothesis based on some research. The hypothesis is then tested in whatever experiment you’re running. Event Marketing (especially for new events) should mimic this process.
Think of building an ICP as doing the research. It enables you to make some solid assumptions on what marketing initiatives could work. Using these assumptions, you can start testing out different marketing channels. We call these experiments.
Experiments allow you to quickly test ideas you and your team come up with. The key is to make these experiments bite-sized. They shouldn’t take longer than a week to implement and complete. Here’s an example of an experiment objective and hypothesis geared towards
Objective: Create a targeted Facebook campaign to generate ticket sales within our Ideal Customer Profile.
Hypothesis: If this experiment is successful, I predict that we will sell at least 15 tickets in the next week as a result of a highly targeted campaign utilizing Facebook’s advertising demographics.
Sticking to this format gives you enough time to see what’s working. This strategy also prevents you from dumping your budget into a marketing channel that clearly isn’t bringing results.
Double Down & Build Momentum
Hopefully you’re planning committee came up with some great marketing experiments that worked. To determine if an experiment is successful, simply compare your results to what you originally hypothesized. If the results exceeded expectations, double down immediately. You found a channel that brings in ticket sales so maximize the return!
Not every event marketing initiative is a huge success. The reality is that most of your experiments fail. Don’t let this get you down. Build momentum from these failures and correct mistakes you made along the way. Understanding why an experiment didn’t work makes you a smarter event marketer going forward. The 80/20 principle definitely applies here.
If you’re interested in seeing some event marketing experiments in action, check out this great webinar, 8 Social Media Tactics to Ignite Ticket Sales which dives into social media marketing and reviews past successes.
This post was originally published by Social Tables for the Social Tables Insider Blog. For more insight into the event planner and hospitality world, have a look at blog.socialtables.com
About Social Tables:
Social Tables is a meetings and events company that just happens to do software. The #1 software for planners and properties to work together online, we are the industry leading provider of cloud-based hospitality software that positions venues to work more collaboratively and efficiently with their event and meeting customers.
Over 100,000 unique users rely on the desktop and mobile product line, planning over 1,000,000 events within the company’s 1 billion+ square foot Venue Library.
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