*This is a guest post from Mike Schiff, an accomplished product marketing professional at Eventbrite.
A couple of weeks ago my colleague, Brian Rothenberg, threw down some amazing wisdom on how to make an emotional and lasting connection with your audience through events. We heard a lot of great feedback from that blog, so we thought we’d follow it up with another one. This time our goal is to dive a little deeper into the best practices for planning and marketing a successful event. I’ll cover a few tips with supporting data that will help make you an event pro — even if you haven’t hosted one before.
Tip #1: Know your end goal
The first step of your planning process is defining your overall objective: What’s the one thing you want to accomplish with your event above all else? Your objective will act as a guiding light throughout your planning process. So no matter what your objective is, keep it in mind and let it direct you as you make key planning decisions.
1. Do you want use the event to directly generate revenue or donations?
Build in value for your attendees first, and the event will pay off for you in the end. Help them earn, learn or share:
- Earn – Offer special rewards, bonuses or savings.
- Learn – Give information that is highly valued by your target audience.
- Share – Provide an experience that your audience can’t wait to tell their friends about
2. Do you want to raise general awareness for your business or organization?
Create an event that not only appeals to your target market but also highlights and relates to you. When people think back about attending your event, they should instantly be reminded of your product, cause or anything else you were promoting. You can spend months planning a 1980s rock-themed bicycle race, but if your business sells sponges, you better come up with a connection between the two (thinking...).
3. Do you want to demonstrate your industry knowledge?
Consider formatting your event as a class, workshop or seminar to show off your expertise. You can even bring in outside help from partners or sponsors to build better relationships and ensure you’re providing balanced content.
Tip #2: Use a variety of promotion tactics
Using a variety of marketing tools and promotion tactics increases your chances of reaching your target audience.
Since this is a guest blog for Emma, let’s talk about email marketing with events. When you know your audience, email is the most effective way to invite someone to your event. Here are some performance metrics to expect when using email invitations. If your emails aren’t in these ranges, don’t worry — Emma has a ton of great tools and content to boost those numbers.
- 98-99% delivery rate
- 25-40% open rate
- 2-5% CTR
As Brian mentioned in his blog, your relationship with your event attendees shouldn’t end when the event does. Email is one way to continue that relationship online, and you’ll often see better performance with email after someone has attended one of your events. For example, we surveyed attendees of pop-up dining experiences, and 62% of them said they would join a mailing list after the event. Use your newsletter to build your following and develop a relationship with your guests after they leave. But don’t over email — only get in touch with your followers when you have something valuable to say. This trains people to know that your emails are worth opening and can significantly increase your open rates.
Social media is a major part of the live experience, before, during and after the event. Attendees start to share an event an average of 17 days before the event, or even as much as a month beforehand for big events like races or ones that require travel. This means you should be listening to your social media channels at least three weeks prior the event start date.
Eventbrite has done a lot of research on the reach of social media for events. On average, every share on Facebook leads to 15 more page views and $4.15 in future ticket sales. And each tweet can lead to 28 page views and $2.18 in future ticket sales. One share on LinkedIn drives an additional $0.92 in ticket sales and 10 visits. The exact numbers can depend on category, so here’s a complete breakdown for Facebook and Twitter:
The conversation online doesn’t stop once the event begins. At live concerts, 65% of people will post at least once to social media. And then after the event is over, a whopping 31% will post some sort of review of the event. You don’t have to be on every social media platform, but choose one or two that you think your audience is on and that will have an impact on your event.
Tip #3 :Optimize your event page
For people looking for new events to attend, online search is still king. 89% of attendees will use search engines to help make their decision. Most of your SEO value is based on having relevant keywords in your event title and and on your event page. Research the types of people that you want to attract, and then add keywords and phrases to your event page that they would search for.
As with everything else online, people are finding and accessing events from mobile devices at an astonishing rate. About 25% of event registration comes from mobile users now, and having a mobile-optimized page can increase mobile conversion by 60%.
Tip #4: Incentivize attendance
If your event is going to cost money to attend, then you should definitely consider having tiered ticket prices with discounts for purchasing early. Event registration follows a predictable pattern of high sales in the very beginning, a major lull in the middle, and then a spike in sales right before the event. One way to smooth this demand out is to offer several tiers of prices throughout the the time tickets are available. We looked at three of our biggest event categories, and what they do on average.
Also, if you have a something special to offer attendees, add a VIP tier of tickets. On average, VIP tickets account for 10% of the quantity of tickets sold but 25% of total revenue.
Event marketing can be a strong growth driver for your business or organization, and hopefully these tips will help you get started. Once you do begin the event planning process, be sure to monitor your key metrics regularly. We studied the correlation between event organizer behavior and enrollment. People that log into their event reports daily are 75% more likely to reach their registration goals. So start event planning and start tracking that growth!
Eventbrite is a global event marketplace that connects people with live experiences. From classes to wine tasting to large festivals and concerts, Eventbrite empowers anyone to create, share, find, and attend events that fuel their passions. To learn some tips and tricks to plan your next event, check out the Eventbrite Event Academy.