Everyone who works in event marketing knows the basic math: more advertising means more tickets sold. More tickets means more money. More money means more advertising. So, the more time you spend marketing your events and investing in smart advertising, the more cash those events will bring you. But instead of spending thousands of dollars a week and wasting your time chasing down every marketing opportunity, It’s important to make sure you are marketing your brand and your event in a way that works. After years working in the event industry, Mike Schwarz, CEO of myZone media, knows all the best strategies for effective event marketing, and all of the pitfalls you should avoid. We decided to ask him about his experience, and compiled a great guide to basic event marketing in a few easy steps.
1) Have a Clear Event Marketing Strategy. Work on your business, not for your business.
As a chief marketer or CEO, it can be easy to spend all of your time working on things your business needs: handing out flyers, catching up on your facebook marketing or drowning in your email inbox. Unfortunately, getting caught up on details can often prevent you from focusing on big picture ideas, and can stop you from growing your business. A simple way to avoid this is to create a long-term strategy, and make sure the tasks you accomplish each day align with your goals in the long run.
Start by creating strategic plans for the next 5 years, 3 years, year, month, and finally every day. Figure out where you would like your company to be in those timeframes and what your goals are, and make sure you are working towards those goals each day. As Mike explains, “quite often people will get inundated with requests or spend too much time marketing on Facebook, when their main priority might actually be securing a new venue or artist.” If you know what your priorities are, it’s easier to get rid of distractions or assign them to someone else so that you can focus on what’s truly important.
As part of your long-term strategic plan, assign yourself five top priorities to achieve each month, and hold yourself accountable. If at the end of the month you realize you haven’t spent enough time working on those priorities, you should probably think about adjusting your work habits accordingly.
Pro Tip: If you want to learn more about effective long-term strategizing, read Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish.
2) Niche Yourself. Know your audience, and focus on
keeping their interest.
Unless you are already an event industry giant, it’s important to find new customers and build your customer base while keeping your existing customers interested. The best way to do this is to target a specific slice of the market and stay focused on that slice. If you try to target too many different markets at once, you could end up alienating your existing client base, and will have a harder time selling tickets to each event.
There are a few simple ways to avoid this. For example, focus your events on a specific age group, with specific tastes: let’s say 18 to 24 year olds who like dubstep. Let’s imagine that after hosting a few dubstep-themed shows and building a following you suddenly organize a country music festival. Even if you reach 10,000 people on Facebook and have 800 daily visits on your website, the chances are that very few of the people following you (18 to 24 year olds who like dubstep), will also be interested in buying tickets to a country music festival. If your demographics aren’t in alignment, you will end up having different communities interested in your events, and won’t be able to sell your tickets effectively. This is why it’s best to be super focused when you start out, and gradually grow your niche.
To follow our earlier example, let’s say you’ve cornered the market on dubstep shows and events in your area and want to expand. Your best option is to expand to a related niche with lots of probable overlaps, such as trance or general house music. That way, your existing customers will remain happy, and you’ll gain new ones too!
3) Be Committed and Stay Committed.
One hard lesson that event organizers learn early is pretty basic. Organizing events, marketing events, selling tickets, and actually making money is hard, and it won’t happen overnight. In addition to all of the tricks there are to learn, you need to take the time to build the right relationships, as well as creating and growing your brand. Starting out can also be expensive; building a good website costs money, as does marketing and covering your expenses. Chances are you will have to prove yourself with smaller acts and more low-key events before you get to work with international names in gigantic venues.
You need to love what you do and be committed to doing it for the long run. If you’re looking for a quick way to make a buck and party while you’re at it, this business is probably not for you. But if you are looking to build a strong, recognizable brand, throw amazing events that people will love, and work with some incredibly interesting people, then you might have found your calling.
4) Build Your Community.
Building your community means that you have a loyal, regular customer base and know how to reach them. There are tons of ways to build your community, both online and offline. First, there are the people who reach out to you, by following your Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram, as well as by joining your mailing list or contacting you in person.
The easiest way to keep these people in your community interested is to post relevant, interesting content on all of these platforms regularly. When you post news about an event, your goal is for the people you target to be excited and to respond, essentially creating free publicity for your brand and your event.
Then there are the people who visit your website but haven’t bought their tickets yet. These people are interested in your event, but either haven’t made up their minds or want to see what their friends are doing first. You want to make sure they don’t forget about your event and come back to buy tickets. The easiest way to do this is called remarketing. By purchasing a snippet of code to place on your website, any visitors will automatically see advertisements for your events regularly as they surf the web.
Studies suggest that of the visitors who don’t make a purchase on their first visit, 67% end up buying if they return to the website, which means getting your customers to come back is vital. Remarketing is a cheap, easy and effective way to do this and convert clicks into sales.
5) Plan Your Finances Carefully.
Finally, you want to make sure to plan your finances very precisely. This may seem obvious, but it can be easy for someone just starting out in the event business to forget an expense or miscalculate the price of tickets, leaving them short for the next event. Each event should have its own detailed financial plan. As Mike says, “a good goal is to break even at 50 to 60% of ticket sales. That gives you plenty of margin in case things don’t go as planned, and you’ll have money to plan your next event.”
Next, it is important to remember that marketing is the surest–and often only–way to guarantee that customers will learn about your event, get excited, and buy tickets. Marketing can be expensive and needs to be done in advance, so saving money from your last event to market your next one is the surest way to grow your sales.
Once you’ve budgeted and have money set aside for your marketing efforts, it’s time to work on spending your marketing money wisely, so that each dollar spent brings you the maximum return on investment. Here are some strategies that have proved effective in the past:
See which channels are most effective for you by tracking everything through tools like Google Analytics. Keeping track of where your sales come from is the surest way to maximize your revenue. You can calculate your cost of acquisition per customer (known as cost per acquisition, or CPA). Once you know the cost per acquisition of each marketing channel you use, you can compare which ones bring you the most money for the lowest cost and focus on those.
Here are some ballpark figures, to give you an idea of what the CPA for some different popular marketing channels can be:
A paid ad on Facebook: $50 to $150 CPA
A paid ad on Google search: $20 to $75 CPA
A remarketing campaign: $2 to $20 CPA
As you can see, remarketing is usually cheapest, and often the most overlooked.
Once you know where most of your visitors are coming from and what your CPA is, you can focus on tracking conversions.
Here’s an example: Let’s say your CPA using a google ad is $50. If your conversion rate is 2%, and increases to 4%, then the cost of acquiring a customer drops to $25, cutting the cost of acquiring a customer in half.
It’s important to track where your sales are coming from, so that you can adjust your marketing strategies regularly in order to limit your costs and maximize your profits.
Another key way to impact conversion is to have an attractive, fast, and easy to use website. No one enjoys using a website that takes forever to load, and if your potential customers are clicking around looking to purchase tickets they are likely to use the site that loads fastest. In the same way, websites that look old or cheap can inspire mistrust, and customers are likely to choose the most professional-looking option.
Finally, older customers are not always tech-savvy, and will have a hard time figuring out a website that is impractical or difficult to navigate. The best way to make sure your website aligns with customer expectations online is to check out the sites of internet giants like Google or Amazon, and poke around the websites of your competitors to see what’s out there.
Some Final Thoughts
Hopefully these 5 simple event marketing strategies will shed some light on how to become a successful event organizer, and help you expand your business in a fun, lucrative way. Remember that it’s important to have a clear strategy so you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed or distracted. Knowing who your customers are will help you maximize your marketing efforts, and building a community of those customers with social media, targeted marketing and great events is the best way to keep them coming back for more. Finally, careful financial planning will guarantee that you get the most of of your event marketing.
Don’t forget, myZone is here to help! Get in touch if you are looking for more information or want help developing your marketing strategy.