As you rush around planning an event, do you ever stop to think, “Am I getting the best possible return from my marketing efforts?” It’s helpful to periodically stop, take a breath, and review how you’ve been promoting your events. Are you using a specific messaging strategy or are you just throwing out various event details and a cute tagline and hoping they stick? It can be easy to fall into the latter strategy just to save time. But is that really the most impactful way to sell tickets? Probably not. A thoughtful strategy that highlights how your event will benefit attendees in an impactful way will deliver better results than a “throw everything at the wall” strategy. It’s as important as any event planning skill. So, how do you start?
Start with Your Value Proposition
A value proposition describes the key benefits of a product, service, or brand. Your company most likely has a value proposition. Your event should have one as well. It should mirror your company’s value proposition but also speak very specifically to both the functional and emotional benefits of your event. How do you identify these benefits? The functional benefits are the features gained by attending your event. It might be education, research, industry connections, or sales. The emotional benefits are the positive feelings that attendees experience at your event. Your event’s benefits must be perceived as valuable to your attendees. Once you’ve identified your event value proposition, you can then use it to convince prospective attendees that your event is worth their time and investment.
Create a Positioning Statement
To convince your prospects you need a positioning statement. A positioning statement describes why someone should attend your event, highlighting the benefits you outlined in the value proposition. You may need more than one positioning statement if your event attracts different segments of customers. Each positioning statement should include the target audience, event category (if applicable), specific pain points for this group, and how your event’s benefits address those pain points. These positioning statements become the central theme of your marketing messaging. Don’t be too wordy. A good positioning statement is a short sentence that states just one event benefit and addresses that target market’s most prevalent problem. It should be unique, believable, and adaptable enough to be useful in any marketing strategy.
Tell the Story
Now you have the tools to tell an impactful story in your marketing copy. Remember that the whole point is to increase your event registration online and off. Make sure to use additional supporting points to describe your story in more detail. This is where you can showcase important event specifics such as keynote speakers, panel discussion topics, or special entertainment. Include these details only if they clarify and describe the positioning statement. Stand in the shoes of your event attendee and write your marketing copy with them in mind. What will they experience? How will they feel? What will they see? Tell their story so that the benefits of attending are clear when they read it. Include a strong call-to-action so that customers are inspired to purchase tickets immediately.
A Quick Example
Here’s an example of a value proposition for an industry conference: “The 2019 XYZ National Conference offers the most up to date comprehensive research and innovations in the XYZ industry by leading experts”.
From this value proposition, one positioning statement could be: “XYZ industry managers will learn innovative and disruptive techniques to enhance solutions in order to optimize resources”. Another positioning statement could be: “XYZ leaders will connect with peers in order to share current industry research, pain points, and innovations”.
From these statements, create a digital ad campaign targeting XYZ industry managers highlighting the speakers and topics presented at the event that will help them be more effective in their jobs and an email campaign to XYZ industry leaders featuring the networking opportunities at your event.
When planning an event, don’t just throw marketing messages out there. For the best return on your marketing dollars and to maximize your event registration both online and off, it’s important to develop a deliberate messaging strategy for every event.
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