The 2015 F&I Conference and Awards dinner was the 5th annual event delivered by our client, Frontline Solutions.
The event was held on the 15th October 2015 at New Dock Hall, the largest exhibition venue in the centre of Leeds — set in the mesmerising waterfront development, Clarence Dock.
The fantastic venue was populated by several hundred industry delegates, who digested content from the influential and informed speakers, who tackled the most pressing issues in the F&I industry. During the evening, the F&I Awards rewarded this year’s best performers with a variety of accolades.
In this blog post I will give my top tips on ‘Fantastically’ marketing an event.
The objective of all marketing efforts for the event is to drive traffic to the event website and sell tickets. The event website will be the number one place potential attendees will visit to get more information on the event, and make the decision on whether or not they will purchase a ticket.
It is important when marketing your event that the website is kept fully up to date with new and engaging content. Keep it updated with when tickets are on sale, when new speakers or hosts are announced, when the itinerary is available and when new sponsors or awards are introduced. Ensure you make use of photos when possible; images will draw your audience in and make the sale of a ticket much easier. The website should include photos of guest speakers and hosts, and the event location, where possible.
It’s particularly key to ensure the event is described in as much detail as possible so every corner is covered. Be sure to indicate timings, locations and the benefits of attending. By writing a compelling description you are selling the event to the possible attendees.
Another important element to add to your website is a prominent ‘Buy tickets’ button. I would suggest putting this on your homepage and in the main navigation bar. Without a clear call to action, people won’t buy tickets — make the website as user friendly as possible.
Email marketing was the main channel of marketing communications for the F&I Conference. We were lucky as we were able to access a large, clean data pot of relevant individuals that were the target audience for the event. If you have a list of people you’d like to target, email marketing is a very useful, cost effective means of communication that can put your event straight in front of the people that matter.
When pulling together an email marketing campaign, the subject lines of the emails need to excite, intrigue and make the user open and click through. Try a subject line that gives people a reason to open to find out more, for example, for the F&I Conference, we ran a ‘7 Reasons To Attend’ campaign and pin pointed elements of the event that were not to be missed.
Emails are also a great way to give credit to the sponsors of your event. It is a great way of keeping the sponsors in the spotlight and show what they’re contributing to the event. This in turn should help you retain these as sponsors at the next event and can lead to reciprocal mentions and links.
Email marketing reports are also great for following up on certain people who have shown interest in your event. Using the data captured through opens and clicks, sales calls can be made that in turn may sell a ticket or table to your event. Track the effectiveness of emails by reviewing open and click through reports a few days after the email has been distributed. These reports can then be compared against ticket sales data with the client.
Before the Event
It is imperative that a brilliant client relationship is maintained through all aspects of planning and development of the event. It is important to work alongside the event organisers to build up a plan of creative assets needed well in advance — planning is definitely key in this scenario. Through being organised, you can be sure of consistency and better print and production costs.
It is also vital to work with the team around you and become problem solvers together. Having clear plans is no guarantee that things won’t change, so be prepared to solve problems whenever they arise – even hours before the event itself!
Something else to take into consideration is being a calm and trusted advisor to the client at all times, especially in the last few days on the run up to the event. Stress levels will definitely be high so a great tip is to stay calm yourself and provide all the support needed to make things run a smooth as possible. Always answer the clients questions and never shy away from a phone call.
During the Event
Live social posting at your event is a great, free, way of collating all your attendees tweets and images. Make sure you let people know about the event hash-tag so they can post away on their social media platforms.
After the Event
It’s essential you don’t stop all marketing efforts once your event is over. Attendees will be keen to see an updated website with award winners, presentation slides and photos. Try and get this information on-line as soon as the event is over — people will be impressed.
If you’ve utilised email marketing throughout the lead up to your event, be sure to send a follow up email to your list and distribute a press release saying thank you, with names of award winners and links through to where people can download photos. Remember, the end of your event isn’t the end of the event marketing. Following up with PR and email will ensure your next event is an even bigger success.