You know what event marketing is, you know it’s for you, and now you want to get going. YES! We’ve got you. When you commit to Event Marketing, you’re taking on a new long-term strategic mindset. So let’s begin with the prep before we dive straight into Your Year in Event Marketing:
First Thing’s First: Identify Your Assets
Event Marketing is all about mobilising and expanding your assets. So start off by listing what you’ve got. Do you have:
- an audience you want to build?
- an audience you want to activate into a community?
- a community you want to expand?
- a network you want to harness?
- customer leads you want to convert?
Your answers to these questions will help you identify your focus from these four goals:
- Awareness building: Bringing attention to your brand
- Activation: Turning your audience into an engaged community
- Conversion: The point where leads buy in
- Nurture: Keeping your community engaged
One effective event will help you achieve one or two of these goals, but no single event can do all of these things at the same time.
But...you do want all of these at some point, right? That’s why you shouldn’t stop at one event! A long-term multi-event marketing strategy helps you achieve all of these 4 goals over time.
Wait a Minute, a Year? Why a Year?
Events are at their best when implemented into a strategy. Your community and brand growth need to be nurtured.
🌱 You wouldn’t pour a bucket of water over your favourite plant and never water it again, right? In the same way, you shouldn’t fling one big event at your audience and then disappear into the night .🌱
Imagining how you’ll harness events over a longer period (like a year!) is a great start for building a long-term event marketing strategy.
No two event marketing strategies are the same. Heck, no two events are the same! But consider this a template. A customizable template if you will. We’ve been referring to it as ‘the event marketing onion’ (which will make sense very soon, we promise.)
Now, we're not saying that every successful marketing strategy will have all these layers. You might have a wonderful talk series and a celebratory event every year that works perfectly for you. This talking onion is actually saying:
🧅 “Start with the inner layers and build outward” 🧅
Don’t start with a week-long summit. This is an outer-layer (It’s big! It covers lots of stuff!). Diving straight in without laying a strong foundation for awareness building, activation, conversion, and nurture might limit your event’s potential.
We’re going to go through this layer by layer. Let’s start with the first layer: the centre and foundation of your entire Event Marketing Strategy: your talk series.
🎤 Talk Series 🎤
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here: this is a simple case of inviting someone in your field to talk about their niche. Guest speakers are incredibly powerful sources of cross pollination:
Cross pollination occurs when business leaders combine their talents to extend their reach and access each other's audience. Our Speaker Guide will help you harness this potential in the most effective way.
Your episodes can be held on any schedule - bi-weekly, weekly, twice weekly, even daily - whichever works best! After a few weeks of content and speaker A/B testing (testing two options to see what your audience responds to), you’ll start seeing a picture of what your audience really wants.
If you’re early on in your awareness building, your talk series might not immediately attract hundreds and hundreds of committed viewers. That’s fine! (Actually, it’s to be expected. It’s why you planned ahead with an event marketing strategy 😎) If your attendee persona loves interaction, acknowledge the intimacy of these talk sessions and personally let your viewers know that they’re awesome.
Committing to a talk series also keeps you disciplined. If you’ve promised a new speaker every Wednesday and you don’t have one by Tuesday, you’re going to have to think on your feet. Believe it or not, that’s a good thing - don’t be scared of it! Marketing is full of challenges, and a talk series will do wonders for awareness building and network expansion. Not only will you be continually networking with guest speakers, you’ll regularly appear in front of a growing audience.
❓ Q&As ❓
Your first onion expansion. Q&As are your 2nd layer, look at you go!
If you’re diving into event marketing with an engaged community, you’ll probably get to this stage pretty early on in your year. If you’re still working on awareness building, Q&A sessions are a great call once you’ve built an engaged viewership with your talk series.
If you find that your viewers are loving that comment section or live chat, introduce a Q&A element into your event marketing mix. This can be added into your talk series, or even a separate episode depending on what your audience wants (you’ll know this from your increasingly detailed attendee persona 😉).
🤝 Networking Session 🤝
Your attendees are interacting with you and your speakers. Better yet, they’re interacting with each other! This is the perfect time to expand to your 3rd onion layer and launch a networking session.
When done well, virtual networking is one of the best forms of community activation. Check out our video on how to organise and implement great networking sessions.
⚡ Lightning Summit ⚡
So your talk series, Q&A and networking sessions are going really well. You’ve got a ton of content from some great speakers, you’ve cultivated your community, and you want to amp things up a bit. It’s time for your 4th layer: bring on the lightning!
A lightning summit is a 90 minute long event filled to the brim with talks and networking. It may be made up of three 20 minute talks with 10 minute networking sessions in between. Or perhaps you want to hold six 10 minute talks followed by a 30 minute networking session. Whatever works best for your attendee persona and your speakers. Again, you can always A/B test formats in a smaller event!
If your first lightning summit really brings the electricity, start hosting these every quarter or every month. Remember, these don’t need to be absolutely massive affairs. (In fact, if you’re having networking sessions, your attendee numbers shouldn’t be in the thousands.)
These summits will be packed with opportunities for cross-pollination, community growth, and conversion. If you haven’t already moved from awareness building to conversion by ticketing your events, this is a great place to start.
🌎 Summits 🌎
Otherwise known by their technical term, The Big Ones. Your outermost layer. Heck, the entire onion! Summits are several high-level events that are held over a few days.
These are usually held every quarter, but they can also be held every 6 months or once a year. As for going for one every month? That might be overboard - remember you need some time to build excitement!
Summits are a fantastic way to scale your reach and focus all the hard work you’ve done so far. If your aim is conversion, you’ll have a good idea of what your attendees will be willing to pay once you get to this stage. (Don’t worry - we’re not leaving you in the dark on this one! Check out our ticketing video for guidance on pricing).
When you’re starting out in event marketing, launching a full-scale summit within a year may seem far-fetched. It’s really not, trust us.
The vast majority of events we see at HeySummit are run by one person or a very small team. That’s why HeySummit exists! We’ve seen virtual events hosting up to 10,000 attendees, run by a team of 2. Yes, really! Don’t be afraid to think big. Everything’s possible with the right platform behind you.
Your Year - You’ve Got This
We’re not saying that running events is easy as pie. You can’t pull an effective marketing strategy out of a hat. But we will say that events are efficient.
The beauty of event marketing is that it builds a collaborative space. That means a lot of people will be doing a lot of the work for you. Speakers and attendees all play a role in awareness building, activation, conversion, and nurture. That’s before we even dive into the opportunities they offer for sponsorships and partners.
The bulk of your energy will be in harnessing their work into your strategy.
And remember: you’re not doing this alone. We’re here for you all year - and beyond. HeySummit streamlines your event marketing strategy every step of the way with:
- Customizable ticketing and registration
- A knowledge base of videos, live classes, podcasts, blogs, and a live team of experts.
⛰️Make this Your Year. Check out HeySummit’s 14 day trial.⛰️