December 15, 2022
If the pandemic proved anything, it’s that some people were ready for a jump to digital events, and others weren’t as ready. While in-person events can be a great way to market your brand, it’s not the only way and the jump to virtual events proved that.
Consumers expect brands to engage with them and provide positive experiences. When a company fails to do that, it can impact trust and drive consumers to the competition. The American Customer Satisfaction Index shows a rating of almost 74% in 2021, but this dropped to 73.2 in 2022. It’s down a lot since 2018 when it was at 77%. Consumers are not happy, and it’s important to address this going into 2023.
All marketing experts know that there is value in creating a marketing plan that embraces the best of both. When you’re planning your 2023 marketing campaign, follow these marketing planning tips that cover both in-person and virtual events.
Digital Participation Is Important
You may be ready to return to in-person events, but that doesn’t mean others are. Pew Research asked people about their views on their health in 2022. Three out of ten reported health being a priority. For some, increasing exercise or diet was enough but others plan to practice social distancing. Almost 10% reported they avoid going out into crowded social settings.
If one out of ten of your customers is uncomfortable attending in-person events, it’s important to meet them in their comfort zone. Hold in-person events, but make sure you’re also making virtual events an option for them. It’s not hard. You could do a live broadcast of your event and have experts available to answer questions or chat with those who attend digitally.
Don’t Forget Pre-Planning Measures
Before your event, pre-planning is everything. No one will come to your event if they only learn about it at the last minute or, worse, on the day of or after it happens. You’d be surprised how often this happens.
You sent out emails or mailed invitations a month before the event and took no other action. A month later, few people show up. You’re wondering what went wrong. It’s a good idea to send out a reminder a month in advance and again a few days before. Don’t overload people with reminders, a couple will do.
Make Your Event Entertaining, Informative, and Relevant
When creating your event’s schedule, make sure it remains informative, relevant to your brand, and entertaining. If consumers are bored, they’re going to leave early. Giveaways are one way to hold their interest, but that’s just a small part of it.
You could use QR codes on interactive displays to enter contests or sign up for more information and discounts. You can also use the QR codes to collect names, emails, and phone numbers for your mailing lists.
Host a Pre-Event
A pre-event is a great way to test that your virtual event is going to go well. Consider making it a VIP-only event where your dearest customers are invited to learn more about what’s up ahead. It gives you a chance to make sure that audio and video are working well and to warm up your presenters.
You can offer a giveaway that’s only for your VIPs, so they’ll feel rewarded. If anything does go wrong, you have time to fix it before the main event. The other benefit to this is that any event, no matter if it’s in-person or virtual, can run into technical issues. It’s stressful, and a pre-event helps ease the stress so you start strong when all of the attendees arrive.
Welcome First-Timers to Entice Them to Return
Pay special attention to first-time attendees. If they’ve never attended an event or interacted with you until now, you have the perfect opportunity to connect with them. Do something special, even if it’s just to welcome them by name and help them feel welcomed.
You could offer a first-time discount if they purchase your service or product after attending your event. Hand out a card or send a welcome email with a code that’s only for first-timers. You might even offer a free gift with a purchase.
Saving Money Is Great, But Don’t Cheap Out
When you’re starting out, you might have an extremely tight budget. Don’t cheap out on your event. Find other areas to slash your budget, but don’t do it during an in-person or virtual event. If you do, people will notice.
Find areas where you can save. Instead of handing everyone a flyer, you could have a QR code where consumers can download a virtual flyer. It cuts your printing costs.
Consider Strategic Partnerships
Partnering with others can be a great tool for a virtual or in-person event. You end up spending less because you’re splitting the costs. Invite influencers to draw attention. People are more likely to trust a product that someone they know and admire uses. If you have influencers using your brand regularly, it can help create.
Think about some of the strategic partnerships that have worked well. If you’ve ever been in a Barnes and Noble store, there’s usually a Starbucks in the center. Books and coffee go well together, and that partnership has been strong since 1993. You want to find a strategic alliance like that.
Never Miss Out on Post-Event Follow-Up
Now that you’ve held your event, it’s time for a follow-up. Use social media to get feedback. Share photos or video presentations, see what others are saying, and use any constructive criticism for future events. The follow-up you get helps you know where there’s room for improvement and what went well.
As you have negative feedback, take time to address it graciously. Don’t ignore or dismiss it unless it’s clearly inaccurate.
For example, someone leaves feedback saying the lines were too long at the hot dog stand. You didn’t have a hot dog stand at your event, so it’s false feedback. Ignore it. But, if someone said they wished there had been refillable water bottles and stations available, thank them for the suggestion and look at adding that at future events.
Think of the Entire Year for Engagement
This year’s event is over, but that doesn’t mean your marketing campaign should end. Think of ways to keep engaging with new and established customers throughout the year. Send out holiday cards. If you have birthday information, send a birthday card with a customized discount code. Send out video messages on social media and through other means. Remember that not everyone uses social media, so you want to reach out through multiple channels.
Hire a Professional for a Multifaceted Marketing Campaign
Most importantly, don’t feel that you have to do it all. You may have some strengths when it comes to marketing but feel less confident in other areas. Factory 360 has a team that is skilled in all aspects of social media marketing, content marketing, experiential marketing, in-person and virtual events, pop-ups, and more.
Talk to Factory 360 about your goals for your 2023 marketing plans. Our award-winning team will take your budget, help you decide on the best approaches to your marketing plans, and either take the reins and build your marketing strategies for you or help where it is needed and let you do your thing in the areas of marketing you specialize in.