Today, events and experiential marketing are extremely useful to marketers because they allow marketers to have face-to-face, direct contact with their potential and current customers. Furthermore, events are a useful technique for developing stronger inbound connections. So many companies have learned that these types of offline events allow them to reach potential customers through a more traditional platform. Holding events or taking to the streets makes it easier for marketers to directly connect their brands with their prospects and customers.
That said, making sure you connect these offline events with your inbound, online platforms is crucial. Using online channels can not only help you promote your event in advance, but it can also motivate attendees to engage more deeply with your event during and after it takes place.
Here are some helpful techniques you can use to connect an offline event online before, during, and after the event actually takes place.
Connecting Before an Event
Be sure to have your event(s) displayed clearly on your own website. For WordPress sites, using a plugin like The Events Calendar or Event Tickets is a perfect way to showcase all of your upcoming events.
1. Facebook Events
Making your target attendees aware of your event is obviously key. Creating Facebook events makes it easy for you to let your connections know when and where they should be to take part and also let them know what kind of activities they should expect and be excited about. Make sure you have more information than less that clearly indicated the value of attending. If you don’t give your prospects and customers a good reason to be there and get in on the action, they probably won’t.
2. Twitter Updates
Twitter is an amazing way for you to let your followers know about upcoming events taking place offline and is an easy way to give them little reminders leading up to the event without being too intrusive. Use Twitter to share links to your sign-up page if attendees need to register for your event. Twitter can also serve as a great platform for people to quickly ask questions about the event and give people a reason to attend. It’s a great way to build momentum and anticipation for the event as the time comes closer.
Connecting During an Event
3. Live Tweeting
Often times, many of your prospects or customers may not be able to attend your event. But that doesn’t mean they should miss out. Live tweeting during events allows companies to engage their audience and make them feel like they are a part of the live event. In addition, if offers an added level of engagement for those who are in attendance. Even if they are at the event, taking part in an online discussion will allow your business to interact with your target audience on multiple levels. It also shows them you care that they took the time to attend your even. Create a unique hashtag for each event you host and publicize it to both attendees and people following online so everyone can easily follow and take part in the action.
While of course it would be great if all your followers and customers were able to attend the event you have put so much time and effort into planning and hosting, as we know, that’s not always the reality. Just because your customers or prospects can’t make the trip across the country, doesn't mean they should miss out on the experience. Consider live-streaming the various speaker presentations throughout your event. This is also a great tactic when you are expecting a lot of people or if there are a limited number of tickets available. It encourages people to still participate and can help to reach a larger audience of people who were unable to attend but may still be interested in the content.
Connecting After the Event
5. Photo Streams
Whether it's through Facebook, Flickr, or Instagram, posting pictures from your event to photo sharing sites allows your attendees to relive the event and enables those who missed your event to get an inside look at all the amazing stuff that happened during the event. The goal is to make people feel like they missed out on an amazing event that, maybe next time around, they will attend. Encourage attendees to upload their own photos, too. Photos give people a chance to share their personal experiences with the event, creating an amazing connection between attendees, your event, and your brand.
6. Blog Retrospectives
Writing blog post retrospectives not only gives you a chance to thank all of the people who took the time to attend your event, but it also gives you a chance to highlight what you accomplished by hosting the event. How successful was it? How many attendees did you attract? Describing what you learned by meeting prospects and customers face-to-face will convey how much these interactions actually mean to your company and how important they are you.
7. Recorded Video Content
Remember those live-streams you offered during your live event? Offer those videos after the event as recordings for people to view or download. This enables you to reach those weren't able to attend the live event or watch the live-stream. Hopefully, if you've generated enough buzz about the event and kept that buzz going afterward through creating a successful event and generating positive testimonials from attendees, people who felt like they missed out on an awesome event will want to access the content they missed.
Analyzing Offline Success With Online Tools
Offline events are an amazing technique to reach prospects and connect with current customers, but without generating some sort of online connection, it is can be difficult to analyze the success of your event. By incorporating online tactics, you can gain a lot of insight into how your event performed. Are people talking about it? How many followers used our hashtag? How many Likes of your Facebook page did you generate? How many visits and leads did you generate from people visiting your landing page of archived event content? You can use all this information to better judge the success or failure of your offline engagement techniques, and use it to improve future events!
What are some techniques you use to connect your offline events online?