With so many new online platforms available for brands and businesses to get their name out there, some entrepreneurs might forget about the importance of stepping away from these to build communities, find new clients, and keep their name top of mind. One way to do this? Include exciting branded events in your marketing strategy.
Yes, trends are fun. Yes, they work for a reason. But while the new might fade with time, events are here to stay. And, as we navigate through the online world, events are also getting virtual!
Branded events & getting your name out there
Here’s the thing: events are fun! They’re a great way for people (and biz owners) to break out of their routine and find new ways to learn, connect, and enjoy their time away from their day-to-day life.
What is a branded event?
Today, with the help of technology, events have evolved from the simple meet and greet to a social networking extravaganza. Depending on your budget and business type, branded events go from conferences and seminars to creative workshops, store openings and product launches, ceremonies, and VIP occasions.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to event marketing, which means you need to be very clear on what you’re hoping to get out of hosting a branded event before you even start to plan for one.
Then, once you’ve figured out what you want to achieve, hosting one (or more) of these events can be a great way to grow your business!
Why branded events matter in a marketing strategy
According to marketing specialists, event marketing is one of the most effective ways to achieve business goals. Why? Because it helps build stronger relationships with potential and current customers.
With branded events, you’re stepping outside of a classic “social media post” to directly engage with people. You get to look into their eyes, answer important questions on the spot, and connect in ways that might not seem possible through a single caption.
Plus, for entrepreneurs who sell physical products, events are also a great way for clients to test their creations firsthand and fall in love with it on the spot.
How to incorporate branded events into your marketing strategy
Organizing a branded event to include in your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be as stressful as you might think. Although there is a lot of planning involved, it helps to have a checklist of must-dos and a guide to follow in order to make sure things go as planned as possible.
If you’re thinking about including branded events in your marketing strategy soon, read on and make note of what you need to keep in mind.
Step 1: Understand what you’re hoping to achieve by hosting a branded event
The most important part of any branded event in a marketing strategy is to understand your audience from the get-go. Are you planning this event as a way to connect with other businesses and establish possible partnerships? Are you looking to teach current and potential clients about a new service or product you’re launching?
Before choosing an event to plan, it’s important to write down a clear list of benchmarks and return on investments (ROIs).
These will guide the decision-making process in the right direction, make planning less of a mess, and give you the satisfaction (once it’s all over) that you chose the right path.
Let’s say you’re hosting an event to get more people familiar with your brand. You want to capitalize on all the possible leads at the event, right? A goal could be gathering X number of names and email addresses to include in your next email blast.
Or maybe you’re looking for
- A 2-3% increase in sales of a recently launched product or service
- Gaining at least 500 new followers on a specific social media platform
- Securing a minimum of 4 press mentions
- Signing at least 2 new clients to form a partnership after the event has ended
Studies have shown that 3 in 4 millennials would much rather pay for an experience than spend money on a physical item. With the right planning and programming, it’s fair to say that, if what you’re hoping for is attracting younger audiences, some people will do whatever it takes to be a part of your event.
Once you’ve decided on your branded event’s audience, the next step is the big one: you need to start planning.
Step 2: Plan, plan, plan…even for the worst
Event planning is an art. That’s why there are businesses out there who specialize in designing the perfect event to meet expectations and leave attendees wanting more. However, if your budget doesn’t necessarily vibe with the idea of hiring someone else to do this for you, it’s absolutely possible to plan a five-star branded event with some basic knowledge and a lot of drive.
First things first, if you’ll be hosting an in-person event, you need to figure out a venue and list of attendees. Venues come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets, so it shouldn’t be hard to choose a space that fits your ideal location. When hosting an in-person event, it’s also important to always consider accessibility when choosing a space that considers inclusivity for all possible guests.
Once you’ve settled on the space, draft out an interior design plan with everything you need: from booths and tables to screens and wiring, entrance and exit signage, food & beverage stands (if applicable), and anything else you might have thought about including.
On the other hand, although hosting a virtual event doesn’t need an actual venue, you still need to find a digital space to host everyone under “one (metaphorical) roof”. Whether you choose a generic platform like Zoom or a specialized platform like Demio or WebinarNinja, make sure it has the capacity to host everyone without a major, and definitely uninvited, tech issue hops on to ruin the fun.
Fast forward a few weeks and you can start marketing online to get people excited. From creating an optimized event-specific website to harnessing the power of social media to attract more potential attendees, head online to promote the offline. Depending on your budget, you can go as big or small as you’d like.
Some ways to get the word out about your event are:
- Find sponsors
- Host a giveaway
- Send out a few emails encouraging people to RSVP
- Create a trailer
- Show off behind the scenes planning moments…
- The list goes on.
Finally, one last thing to keep in mind when organizing a branded event is to take stock of what’s been before and figure out ways to make it even better.
- Did you recently attend a product launch, but wish they’d actually let you test the product instead of just hearing about it? Make a note and include that in your planning!
- Did you pay for a conference that didn’t leave much room for Q&A sessions with the experts? Include them in your event!
Taking inspiration from previous events you have attended helps put your own personal twist on the experience, which, in the end, helps keep it on-brand and true to your business beliefs.
On paper, this sounds relatively easy…right? However, omitting any detail could derail the branded event completely. Keep a checklist of things you need to get done and stick to it no matter the when, what, or where. An organized event planner is a successful event planner – and you want to make sure that’s you!
Bonus: Grab a drink and enjoy the show!
What kind of event would it be if you couldn’t even take a few minutes to enjoy the show? In between the planning, talking, and madness, make sure you take a moment out of the day (or days!) to enjoy the event as an attendee and not just an organizer.
Diving into the experience yourself is a great way to understand what could have been done differently, what’s working well, and what can be added to make the experience even better for participants.
Chin, chin! You’ve almost made it through!
Step 4: Review feedback, benchmarks & ROI
Once the glasses have been cleaned and the last bits of virtual confetti have been swept away, it’s time to sit down with your results and measure the success of your branded event. Did people leave behind feedback? Read through it carefully and use every comment as a learning experience for the future.
Some questions you can ask for feedback are:
- What did they like the most?
- What didn’t they like?
- Is there something they wish they’d seen more of?
Firsthand feedback is a great way to learn more about your audience and start to create a space that suits their needs.
Now, onto your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). Did you meet the goals you had set for yourself? What went wrong if you didn’t? Whatever the results, don’t beat yourself up or tear your work to pieces. Sometimes goals can’t be measured. Sometimes it takes longer than a few days to see the results. Some people might complain that including a branded event in their marketing strategy doesn’t bring any returns – but that’s not true. The ROI will always be there in the shape of lead generation, awareness, sales, and loyalty.
Just want all the tips? To wrap-up…
When it comes to event marketing and organizing branded events, some business owners might think the investment is way too high in regards to what they get back.
But that’s because they’re looking at one side of things. Branded events are a great way to create human connections that simply don’t exist through social media or email marketing, to name a few.
Put yourself out there, let people see a different side of your business, and test the waters of event planning! Who knows? You might end up surprising yourself.
And to recap, these are our steps to incorporate more branded events in your marketing strategy:
- Identify your audience: who they are, what they like, and what you’re hoping to get from them
- Write down the goals and KPIs you hope to achieve before, during, and after the event
- Find a venue – or online platform – to host all of your attendees under one roof
- Create a calendar or outline of possible activities that’ll take place within the event
- Get the word out about the event on social media, through email campaigns, or any other creative ways you can think of!
- Review feedback and measure your goals to figure out the ROI of your branded event
Have you ever hosted a branded event? What did you take away from the experience? Share your thoughts with us below!
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