How to craft a winning event strategy: A 7-step framework
Here's how to craft a solid strategy for attracting and engaging qualified attendees to ensure your virtual event's success.
While virtual events are a great way to connect with your customers and prospects, getting qualified attendees is often a challenge.
Events have become more accessible in today’s digital world, with multiple channels and platforms available to promote and attract attendees. It’s important to have a solid strategy in place for attracting and engaging qualified attendees to ensure that your virtual event is a success.
Whether you’re hosting a webinar, podcast, metaverse event or a web-based meeting, events provide a unique opportunity to engage with potential leads. However, each type of event also requires a different approach when it comes to generating and following up on those leads.
Webinars and podcasts, for example, are great for delivering thought leadership and establishing your brand as an authority in your space. While metaverse and web-based events offer more interactive engagement opportunities, they may require a more strategic approach to lead generation and follow-up.
To truly make the most of your events, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of each event type. By doing so, you can tailor your lead-generation activities and follow-up strategies to maximize their effectiveness and drive better results for your company.
Planning any type of event takes a lot of effort, time and resources, especially when it comes to acquiring the right attendees. The following seven-layer approach dips into the framework for crafting your strategy.
1. Clarify your goals and purpose
Before you start planning your event, ensure you clearly understand your goals and purpose. What do you want to achieve with your event? Do you want to generate leads, build brand awareness or provide valuable insights to your attendees?
Having a clear goal will help you determine the type of attendees you want to attract and the messaging you need to use to reach them.
2. Get your sales team engaged upfront
Involving your sales team early in the planning cycle can bring several benefits to your company. As sales are the primary customer-facing representatives, they deeply understand the customers’ needs, preferences and behaviors.
As such, they can provide valuable insights into the target audience and help tailor the event to meet their expectations. They can also assist in developing the event’s messaging and positioning, ensuring that it resonates with the target audience and aligns with the company’s sales goals.
Involving the sales team during this early phase helps create a sense of ownership and investment in the program’s success, translating into increased motivation and commitment to achieving the event’s goals. And, on a side note, tap into your salespeople for their experience in generating leads and closing deals, so they can contribute ideas for marketing activities that promote networking and lead generation.
3. Focus on audience and attendee profile
Once you have clarified your goals and purpose, it’s time to focus on the attendee profile. Who is your target audience? What are their job titles, industries and interests?
Leveling is also important, so mix attendees with the right backgrounds and skills. For example, mixing a developer with an executive probably wouldn’t be the right fit.
Once you have identified your ideal attendee profile, you can start targeting them with personalized messaging.
Knowing your audience is critical when it comes to event planning. What are their interests, pain points and challenges? What companies and industries are they in? What topics and content do they care about?
Understanding your audience will help you create a program that is relevant and valuable to them and help you create targeted messaging that resonates with them.
Dig deeper: How to mine data from digital events
4. Double down with partners and media outlets
Collaborate with your partners and media outlets in your industry to tap into their existing networks and expand your reach. Work with them to invest in high-profile speakers to make the event more engaging and credible.
Negotiating partnerships and sponsorship and purchasing or bartering for a targeted list with them helps you double down on attracting the right audience.
5. Leverage all channels
From CRM to social media, ensure that all existing customer and prospect lists are scrubbed for accurate and up-to-date attendee information from at least the past three years.
Be tactical by promoting it on your website, email blasts and using email signature space to increase visibility. While the tools are fundamental, it helps amplify your message and streamline the registration process.
6. Consider key metrics
Re-evaluate your key metrics and work with sales to align to pipeline opportunities. This helps with your ROI. In addition, look at the number of touchpoints and post-event activity that occurred, including how many attendees engaged with you online before the event, visited your website after the event, scheduled a meeting, watched a video or downloaded a thought leadership piece.
Tracking these metrics will help you measure the success of your event and improve your strategy for the next one.
7. Follow through
Rethink following up into following through as it is crucial to keep the funnel moving. Using your data to move things forward and keep your attendees engaged elevates your program dynamics.
From sending post-event thank you email to providing them with additional resources or asking for feedback sets you up with the opportunity to invite them to future events.
Clarifying your goals, getting sales engaged early, focusing on the attendee, working with partners, leveraging channels, identifying metrics and following through will give you a way to take the lead.
Dig deeper: What is a digital events platform and how can it help you?
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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