Did you know that event marketing was ranked as the #1 most effective local marketing tactic by local dealers, agents, franchisees and retailers?Despite the ‘rise of digital advertising’, local events are still one of the most powerful tools local businesses use to grow their businesses, according to our State of Local Marketing Report that surveyed more than 2,100 local businesses.
The benefits of event marketing are somewhat obvious: building trust with customers, engaging in face-to-face conversations, establishing brand recognition and ultimately driving on-site sales. As for local businesses, it’s even more important to be out in the community attending or hosting events, building rapport and engaging with potential customers. Local marketing and event marketing go hand in hand.
However, as the consumer path to purchase changes, brands need to adjust their marketing to make sure they are connected along the way. And it needs to be more than simply hosting or attending an event. Having multiple, consistent touchpoints that will reach your customer before, during and after an event on several media channels is crucial to bridging the gap between the customer's online and offline experience.
To maximize the results of local event marketing and to generate leads and increase sales, brands need to consider using an integrated marketing approach to connect with customers throughout their journey. Here’s how you can use both traditional and digital media to maximize your local event marketing:
Geofencing, a virtual border that can be set up around any location on a map such as a building, conference center, retail store, etc., uses technology to determine when someone enters or exits the area. This tool can be helpful when executing a local event by:
- Capturing those who enter the zone and targeting them with your advertising messages over a period of time afterward to stay top-of-mind
- Geofencing a given location to count “conversion” events (ex: store visits) for those who were exposed to an ad impression
- Geofencing tight areas that would contain a condensed group of target consumers for your brand. For example, targeting music stores to identify potential concert attendees.
With a tailored message and an engaging call-to-action to the right audience, geo-fencing at events is a great new method to interact with current or future event attendees.
In this day in age, any business that neglect to incorporate social media into their event planning are totally missing the mark. Using social media before, during and after an event allows local businesses to connect even further with customers on a personal level.Make sure your local business partners leverage their social media channels to invite followers to the event, promote giveaways and contests, and provide behind the scenes content to get followers excited for the event. Use advertising to target and invite potential customers who may not follow the business yet and create the desired pre-event buzz.
Encourage affiliates to continue engaging with their followers via social media during and after the event, sharing pictures, videos, testimonials and other visuals to convey to followers what happened at the event and why they should attend the next one.
Using social media pre and post event gives your brand the opportunity to make connections, follow up with attendees and showcase your event to the rest of the social media world. With the right strategy, social media can be a powerful supplement for cultivating engagement and value at your local business partners' next event.
Combining events with email marketing seem like a no-brainer, right? Pre and post event emails can be overlooked by many local businesses, and the results could be detrimental. After creating an email plan, use the personal connectedness that email provides to build excitement for connecting at the event. Local affiliates should refer to attendees by name and make the message as relevant as possible to each recipient.
If your local business partners are using email to invite attendees to the event, use a strong and creative call-to-action that will drive them to register or attend the event. Make the call to action button easily identifiable and clear while also building excitement and curiosity. Include shareable content in your emails to encourage recipients to forward the email to a friend, post to their social channels, etc. Once the recipients have registered, don’t forget to send follow-up reminders up until the day of the event.
Collecting emails and building a list of leads from an event is arguably the most important part of hosting or attending an event. Make sure your local business partners follow up with leads after the event to stay connected, maintain an engaging relationship and keep a positive buzz around your brand.
Digital media and event marketing work well together when you’re targeting a specific audience. If you’re looking to target a wider audience (which in event marketing sometimes makes sense), try broadcasting it through radio spots or print advertising.
Forming a relationship with a radio station is critical to promoting your local event. When helping your local business partners plan their radio spots, be sure to research and then choose a radio station with your ideal customer as a listener. If your local business partner is hosting an event, plan a radio remote. Radio remotes, while extremely useful, can be difficult to coordinate and schedule. Having the proper vendor, like Brandmuscle, is critical to a successful promotion and, in turn, a successful event.
Print marketing materials are essential to local event marketing. Catch the attention of the customers who come into your location with store-front posters, banners, and flyers as takeaways inviting them to the event. Direct mail is still as relevant as ever, with our State of Local Marketing Report confirming that direct mail is the most used traditional tactic with 53% of local business partners using it. Direct mail can be used as invites and are an easy way to help reinforce your brand and your event to those who might not hear about it otherwise.
Reach a broader audience by promoting your local business partner's events in the local newspaper. Whether it’s listing it in a Calendar of Events section or paying to run an ad with event details, newspapers are still an efficient tactic to include in your integrated event marketing plan.
As the popularity of local event marketing grows, be sure your local business partners are maximizing the most effective channels to promote the event and reach their ideal customer by using an integrated mix of tactics. Digital and traditional tactics, when combined with a local event, create a powerful campaign. Powerful enough to see the results you desire – turning the event attendee into a customer.