Q&A: Event Marketing

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“QueenOfQue” writes:

So, event marketing (going out in person to meet people at a festival, fair or business expo) has been called the most effective form of advertising (1), because prospective customers can put a face to a business, and they can get immediate feedback through a two-way conversation.(2) Yet, so many businesses, especially in the Wiregrass, have never heard about event marketing, and are unwilling to give it a try. How can we help change the mindset of these businesses and show them that event marketing should have a place in every business’s advertising portfolio?

(1) http://www.smallfuel.com/blog/entry/9-effective-ways-to-advertise-a-small-business/
(2) http://youtu.be/XgmSpOjQT5

I am not extremely familiar with Event Marketing, perhaps I should give ‘er a go more often, but I am very familiar with the problem you face. In the Internet Marketing world we call it the problem of conversion. In conversion problems your prospect is met face-to-face with your marketing material. You have made your case, but will they bite? The answer for most prospects is “no.” The reason is because what most people do for a living, like me and you, is hard work. If it wasn’t that hard then then everyone would be doing it.

But let’s look at the conversion problem again. Most prospects break down into 4 categories:

  1. Those that will always buy from you.
  2. Those that might buy from you and do.
  3. Those that might buy from you but don’t.
  4. Those that will never buy from you.

Let’s quickly look at each category:

1. Those that will always buy from you

This would be your mother, husband, son, daughter, etc. These are the people that buy from you because they care about your success and want to do everything they can to see you succeed.

2. Those that might buy from you and do

These would be the people that listen to your pitch, seriously consider your offer, and sign up because they think marketing themselves or their business at the event will benefit them.

3. Those that might buy from you but don’t

These are the people that listen to your pitch but, for whatever reason, don’t sign up. This could be because they don’t think it will be worth the time or money they are required to invest or it could be as simple as you were wearing a pink shirt when you met with them and they detest people who wear pink. The point is they listen but refuse to sign up for whatever reason, weather it is reasonable or not.

4. Those that will never sign up for the event

These could be people that listen to your pitch but secretly plan to go into business and be a competitor of yours, someone sent to you on behalf of a competitor, someone that never does event marketing but is too nice to say “no” to your face, etc.

Getting back to your question, what you are really asking is how you move more people from category #3 to category #2 (you should never spend any time on categories 1 & 4). In the web world we do this in a number of ways that perhaps you can draw inspiration from:

Rely on other people’s trust and authority

For example, you might have never heard about Strategy6 but if we had Alabama Power, Regions Bank, and AL.com as customers (we do not) and trotted them out on our home page you would instantly think more highly of us. So try showcasing your client companies that are well-known for their success in your marketing material.

Showcase powerful testimonials

Few things are more beneficial than having a photo of a very successful business person with a quote such as, “Event marketing is directly responsible for 35% of our new business development on a yearly basis.”

But remember to always optimize for revenue

Sure, you can increase your conversion rate if you offer a spot at an event for $5. But you’ll make more money if you have 10 event marketing clients paying $100/ea than if you had 100 event marketing clients paying $5/ea.

Anywho, I hope that helps.


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