Marketing channels: Events
When you run events as part of your growth marketing, keep in mind that offline activities offer less of the two-way flow of data that naturally characterizes r online campaigns (e.g., such as search or digital advertising). Nevertheless, you can harness some of this data flow (and resulting metrics) by using online mechanisms to drive activities or traffic offline.
Other simple metrics you can use to help measure the success of your offline event include the number of event attendees and subsequent lead generation. Later, you can move to capturing metrics through more advanced means, such as coded links, promo offers and a coded logo on the event website.
With offline events, ensure you do track all available metrics so that you can quantify your ROI.
Key tactics and strategies
- Get out there. Attend and/or sponsor two to three events each month.
- Hosting a party or a meet-up doesn’t have to be expensive. Be creative.
- Collect contact information and make sure you follow up!
- MaRS video: Trade Show Marketing 101
- Entrepreneur blog: Hire Professional Moderators So Your Event Panels Don’t Suck
- Entrepreneur blog: 6 Steps to Planning a Free Startup Event and Making a Splash
- Hubspot blogs: Event Marketing Blog Posts
- Quora: How can I track UTM codes in Google Analytics?
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Example: Measuring the performance of event marketing
If you are marketing an event for your startup, likely some of your marketing will take place through online channels such as emails, newsletters, blogs, social media event listings and digital ads.
During the event itself, you can post videos of your presentation or booth and ask attendees to ping you on social media with questions or feedback.
These complementary channels will all deliver metrics you can use.
For instance, with email marketing (through programs such as MailChimp), you can track how many email invitations you’ve sent, how were many opened, how many were forwarded, how many had links that got clicked, and so on.
A/B split testing can used to test the success of email campaigns for your event (and otherwise). Keep in mind that the subject heading is a key variable in whether recipients open an email or not.
Note: A large sample group may be needed for A/B testing in order to be effective—if roughly 10% of emails are opened, you may need to send a total of 10,000 emails in order to gain useful data.
What are some of the pros and the cons with event marketing?
- In addition from your marketing goals, events are a great way to build your networks and source talent.
- Metrics in this channel can be harder to capture than in online channels such as content marketing and social. Make sure you track all the ones that are available to you so you can measure your ROI.
Can you reach your target customers with event marketing?
Think about what you already know about your target customer:
- How and where you are most likely to reach them?
- What kind of industry events are they likely to attend?
- What demographic are you trying to reach?
- What do they like or dislike? Think about their interests and challenges and how you can appeal to them.
- What value (educational, networking, etc.) would your customer look for in an event—and can you deliver it?
- If you’re not targeting a local audience, could you host an inexpensive event (e.g., involving coffee or lunch) in different cities?
- Can you livestream the event to reach a broader geographical audience?
- If you’re thinking about presenting at a conference, will your potential customers be attending? (Will the presentations go online afterwards? This could mean greater reach.)