How to Use Event Marketing to Drive Growth in 2021

February 5, 2021
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It’s time to go beyond promoting a single service or product through the occasional webinar, and focus on improving customer experiences, satisfaction, engagement, and retention in 2021.

How can you accomplish all of that, you ask? Place a robust event marketing plan at the core of your demand generation strategy. In addition to helping you cultivate a strong brand presence, event marketing can engage the leads you’re looking for and create new growth opportunities your business needs to scale.

What Event Marketing Was Before

In the not-too-distant past, event marketing focused solely on promoting a specific brand, product, or service through a one-time event, such as an in-person launch or an educational webinar.

Unfortunately, these single-point-in-time events failed to have a lasting impact. They may have focused on making a splash for one particular offering, rather than making a brand impact that customers can have ongoing engagement with.

Event organizers viewed event marketing through a single lens that limited their success. Think of it as if you were focusing on one paid-advertisement to buoy the success of a specific item, service, or product without other tactics to promote it. These efforts fall short when they aren’t part of a larger strategy.

What Event Marketing Is Now

Event marketing today is more about demand and lead generation through education and entertainment, whether virtually, in-person, or a hybrid model. 

It focuses on creating an always-on experience that delivers consistent value to a company’s target audience and current prospects.

It doesn’t matter if your event is for 50 or 50,000 people, event marketing can help you drive the growth you’ve been looking for in 2021.

Does event marketing work?

Is Event Marketing Effective?

The short answer is yes. Statista found that almost 80% of marketers generated sales through event marketing.

Event marketing does more than provide an opportunity for real-time buyer engagement. It delivers solutions for some of the most pressing pain points businesses face today. 

Arguably the most significant benefits of event marketing are building brand awareness and authority. This is easy when connecting with potential and existing customers and buyers in real-time, sharing thoughts and nurturing trust. 

Customer engagement through event marketing is particularly useful and dare we say, easy. 

Events afford organizations the chance to interact with customers directly, developing trust and building brand loyalty. The best marketing dollar spent is one that succeeds in customer retention and growth. 

Upselling during events, introducing new services or unique offer products are just some ways event marketing can help you keep existing customers engaged while attracting new buyers to your brand. 

How Does Event Marketing Attract Attendees and Future Leads?

A whopping 65% of attendees said events helped them gain an increased understanding of a brand’s product or service, with 70% becoming regular customers following an event.

Convincing someone to purchase your product or service without first trying it can be one of the biggest hurdles to running a successful business. 

Events provide an opportunity to let potential customers “kick the tires” before deciding to part with their money.

Events also organically encourage word-of-mouth marketing. With personal recommendations influencing 83% of consumers to make a purchase, getting people talking about your product or service should be high on your list of 2021 goals. And events are an ideal way to start that conversation.

Recommended Reading: 12 Event Promotion Strategies To Attract The Right Audience And Grow Your Business

Types of events that drive growth

What are the most effective kinds of events to drive growth?

#1) Conferences

Conferences are typically company or industry-specific types of event marketing that effectively engage with current customers and reconnect with previous ones.

Conferences are generally varied, with several speakers addressing multiple topic areas. They can be one day or span several days and have a single session or offer many different mini-events.

Because conference attendees have already made an initial commitment to your product or service, you’re starting the conversation with an interested person. They are already aware of their pain points and how you may provide them with the solutions they need. 

They join your conference at a later buyer journey stage, most often the discovery stage, where 72% of consumers are open to engaging with vendors. 

IBM’s Think Digital Event is arguably one of the best online conferences. IBM uses its technology brand as the foundation to explore improving IT resiliency innovation, while ensuring everyone in attendance knows the power of the IBM brand. 

#2) Webinars

Webinars help you establish brand authority while distancing yourself from the competition. They also help to build trust in the eyes of your audience. Audiences want to do business with organizations and brands they trust.  

Webinars promote audience engagement and can help you capture a ton of subscribers to your email list, in addition to capturing high-quality leads. 

Including interactive webinar features, such as Q&As and polls, boosts customer engagement making attendees feel connected and valued at your event.

Polling also delivers valuable customer data that can further support product or service development, audience retention, and overall growth.

That’s why more than 70% of B2B sales and marketing professionals find webinars to be the best method for generating top-quality leads.

Hubspot does a great job of event marketing with their free webinars covering a variety of topics from advertising, to design, and business operations. 

#3) Podcasts and Digital Shows

Podcasts and digital shows allow you to make a deeper connection with your audience, in the precise method you want, without interruptions or outside interferences.

This type of event marketing can help you generate better engagement and more conversions with your existing customers. 

PodSaveAmerica does a great job of this with compelling calls to action for various social events and related causes. 

This is a powerful method for cultivating relationships by opening up to your audience. In addition to addressing pain points in your podcast or digital show, you’re demonstrating your openness and approachability. 

From podcasts and digital shows, you can expand into a variety of areas, including new products and services, direct sales of supporting collateral, partnerships with leaders of industry to build out your brand, and more.

#4) Lecture Series

Lecture series are one of the best ways to position yourself as an authority. You are literally telling your audience that you know more about this subject than anyone else. 

Besides gathering a ton of email addresses of interested attendees and educating your audience about your brand, with this type of event marketing, you can also generate direct sales during or immediately following the lecture. 

Dr. Jordan Peterson has built an industry centered around his lectures. By uploading a series of lectures to YouTube, the clinical psychologist established himself as a psychology and behavior influencer. He has since branched out into a variety of successful e-learning offerings.

#5) E-Learning/Classes

Along with capturing registrant information, you can also leverage learning classes as an event marketing tactic to make direct sales. 

Current students are often quick to share personal progression on their social media feeds and their circle of friends and family. Just over 90% of all B2B buyers report being “more likely” to commit to a purchase because of user reviews and recommendations.

Fiverr, originally a gigging site for freelancers has begun to offer various classes through LearnFromFiverr. 

The new platform allows the more successful freelancers on the original platform to move over to the professional platform and charge more while growing the Fiverr brand.

How SpotMe Can Help You Drive Growth Through Event Marketing in 2021

Your virtual event is only as strong as your virtual event platform. You can have the best information and top-notch marketing, but if you don’t have a webinar provider capable of supporting your event, you won’t get the results you were hoping to achieve. 

SpotMe goes beyond supporting your virtual event. It’s the event partner you can depend on to help you bring all of your hard work to market.  

Request a demo today and see for yourself how SpotMe’s intuitive, interactive features can bring your event to life in a way that resonates with your audience. .

Not quite sold on event marketing? Learn more about how you can benefit from online events in Your Marketing Team’s Guide To Generating Leads With Virtual Events.

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