How much did you really spend on marketing for your last event? It’s easy to lose track of the actual ROI when you’re using various marketing vehicles — advertising, email, direct mail, social media, etc. Another hidden cost that quickly adds up: the extra hours spent cross-checking attendee lists with payments, crafting last-minute marketing emails to fill seats and closing the loop on all those logistical details.
Still, determining an event’s ROI shouldn’t make you master complex financial formulas either. The simplest way to measure is to look at which marketing vehicles enabled you to fill seats in the fastest most cost-efficient way possible.
To save you a step in trying to figure that out, know that out of all the digital marketing channels available, email marketing has been proven to generate the highest return. Social media also ranks as one of the most cost-effective channels for engaging your audience.
Together, email and social media marketing can be a powerful combination that quickly fills a room and creates buzz. But, sometimes they don’t. When this happens, last-ditch marketing efforts attempt to fill seats. More emails are sent. More posts appear on social media. As those extra efforts cut into your ROI, they also drain your team and diminish your brand. What went wrong? It often boils down to three issues:
The contact list
In an effort to reach as many people as possible, lists are cobbled together. Previous attendees’ names are added. So are social media followers, website visitors and, in some cases, purchased lists. Cull your list before your next event, and forget about sending to purchased lists, which essentially means sending email spam. Focus on engaging previous attendees and social media followers. This enables you to fill the room more easily because you’re engaging highly qualified contacts who are more likely to respond and drive word-of-mouth.
Effectively engaging customers in email and on social media
Know that a top reason attendees go to events is to learn something new. Apply that thinking to your email and social media marketing efforts. When developing your newsletter, strive for a 70/30 balance. That means 70 percent of your content provides helpful information — what attendees will learn, what insights keynote speakers will share, for example. Use the other 30 percent to promote your event.
When it comes to social media, one in every five posts should be about your event while the rest focus on engaging your audience by asking and responding to provocative questions and sharing relevant industry news. This way, when your event invitation arrives in their inboxes, they’re more likely to open and share it.
Personalizing your messages
When you’re regularly engaging your audience, you’re continuously learning about their interests and needs. Use this information to develop personalized emails, and you’ll see higher open and sharing rates.
For example, instead of sending a one-size-fits-all newsletter, segment your audience by previous events, location and interests. Then, set aside space in your overarching newsletter to include content that speaks to each particular segment.
To further boost the ROI, consider using such time-saving technologies as an all-in-one event planning dashboard. They centralize marketing activities, including email, social media outreach, registrations and payments. They also eliminate duplicate efforts and streamline administrative activities so your team can focus on engaging your audience.
What makes event marketing click for you? Please share in the comment box below.
Note: This article originally appeared in Plan Your Meetings Magazine.
Click here to read it on that site.