“If you build it, will they come?”
If you’ve ever attended a networking event, you’ve participated in someone else’s Event Marketing offering. But is Event Marketing the right strategy for you?
An Event Marketing strategy is one of the most effective uses of time, energy, and money for local, highly-relational, professional service entrepreneurs and firms. Notice the descriptive words that I’ve used: local, highly-relational, professional service, entrepreneurs, firms.
It’s one of the highest marketing Returns on Time Investment (ROTI) when it’s done well. If your natural style highly-values relationship building, then it also places you in your sweet spot: an opportunity to relate with people. Because you’re the focus of attention as the host or by providing featured content, your visibility and credibility reach exponentially more people with one effort than by simply networking.
And, if you believe in the Law of Attraction, this approach clearly signals your intentions to the universe.
I’m of the ‘Keep It Super Simple’ (KISS) camp when it comes to Event Marketing: start with something that is a win-win-win for you, the location, and the attendees. In a local business marketplace, that’s pretty easy to accomplish because you likely already have kindred spirits in your network who are happy to work with you. It doesn’t have to be expensive or burdensome, just focused, intentional, and valuable to others.
But in order to do it well, it’s the planning, execution, and follow up that ensures the outcome is successful for you. It’s the system of activities behind the event that can easily spring board fruitful business development results of leads and connections with this approach.
In my new NC community, Joe Novara uses Event Marketing as his primary business development strategy… and he is certainly an example of someone who implements it well. His events draw from 75-100 attendees each and every time – very impressive!
If you’ve been to one of Joe’s events and you’re nodding your head, I want you to consider this: what YOU see as an attendee is only about 10% of his effort that went into the event. It’s the system behind the event that is the business development generator for Joe.
A couple years ago, one of my clients started a network marketing business and we chose Event Marketing as her initial strategy. Because she loved to teach and was a subject matter expert on the topic, we featured her as the speaker/teacher at the event.
At the end of her event, she converted 50% of the attendees into new customers, almost 100% joined her newsletter list, and 5 indicated an interest to host a home party… how about them apples?!
She credits that single event as the catalyst for her current (2 years later) continuous flow of new customers/team members. Not only did the event jump start her practice, the skills she learned during the time we spent together – developing her talk, practicing her talk, implementing relational marketing invitations, and the event promotion itself – continue to serve her even today. It’s a little like investing in a business development ‘education.’
Event Marketing is for you if:
• You have knowledge to share with others and are ready to speak/teach that expertise**
• You are willing to invest 3 months into the preparation and launch promotion
• You have the wherewithal to follow up with individual attendees afterwards
• You are ready to set up a few simple back-end software programs to support you
• You have a network of kindred spirits who are able and willing to help get the word out
• You are super clear on who your ideal client is and what problem you solve for them
**If you aren’t ready to speak/teach about your expertise, there’s still a chance that Event Marketing is for you.
Here are some other types of Event Marketing:
• Client Appreciation – Gather your current and past clients for a lunch or happy hour to thank them for their business
• Host/Sponsor – Invite clients/colleagues to an event where you feature a speaker or panel discussion on a topic that is pertinent to your prospective clients’ lives or business
• Bring-a-friend – Invite clients/colleagues to “bring a friend” to one of the events above so that they look like a rock star and you get to meet more new people like them
• Small Group Networking – Invite 3 people to lunch whom you met out networking so they can get to know you, and each other, better
• Joint Venture/Strategic Alliance Building – Bring together a few colleagues in your network for breakfast who you think can all help each other
• Vendor Table – Find an event that attracts your ideal client profile and feature your services there, inviting people into your newsletter or social communities (or to meet with you after)
• Guest Speaker – Find an organization where your ideal clients hang out and offer to speak or teach on a subject. You don’t have to do the ‘promotion’ work but you are the center of focus.
Event Marketing falls within my “Like” category of the “Know/Like/Trust” business development framework for highly-relational service entrepreneurs. By committing to this kind of activity, you’re ensuring that people are getting to know you and your expertise better, making it more likely they will hire or refer you. It also helps to focus you and your efforts so the universe can conspire to support you.
As a highly-relational person, Event Marketing doesn’t feel “sales-y” because you’re providing value to those you’re inviting. In addition, you’re bringing business to the venue AND the attendees get to network in the process. Because you believe in the Law of Attraction, you trust that whatever comes from your effort was meant to be – aligned with who you are, what you’re here to do, and who you serve.
If you build it (and the system of activities behind it) they will come.
If you’re ready to consider an Event Marketing strategy in your business, let’s chat!
Christine Clifton is the author of “You don’t have to shout to Stand Out” and teaches soul-powered entrepreneurs how to keep their inner fire burning so they don’t burn out. By building a fun, co-creative relationship with their business, they better align their practical DOING with their natural BEING and gain focus and energy. They have fun with their work again, feel better than they have in a long time, and see more of the right leads and opportunities come their way….. and they Thrive!