Here it is: You might fail. People might not show up. Or if they show up, they might hate it.
That’s really what keeps you up at night, isn’t it? Fear of rejection? But not just of you, of your work. Of the umpteen hours it took you (or your boss or client) in actual dollars and sweat equity to make it happen.
But it doesn’t have to end badly. What would you say if I told you that you could fail-proof your event? Would you believe me?
It’s easier than you might think. In fact, I can boil it down to four words: Know your target market.
Your event isn’t for everyone. If you’ve fooled yourself into thinking it is, it’s going to die a slow, generic death.
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Every event needs a targeted event marketing strategy
Here’s why: Niche is rich. The broader your target audience is, the less focused your design and content choices will be. Your grandma was right. You can’t please everyone. So it’s really important to:
- Know who you’re trying to reach.
- Define what’s important to them.
- Know what the goals are.
- Understand what “success” looks like for your key stakeholders.
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Then, and only then, will you be ready to design your event efficiently and effectively.
If you don’t exactly know how to define the above, read on.
Find your target market in 6 steps
Defining your target market doesn’t have to be intimidating? Follow these steps and you’ll be able to define your target market and discover all sorts of rich information to help create a more inviting, engaging experience.
- Ask your key stakeholders/boss/clients why they need this event. Ask who they want to attend. How will they define the event’s success (e.g., leads, employee retention, sales, etc.)?
- Look at historical data and demographics, if available. You need to identify what worked, what didn’t and why.
- If historical data isn’t available or your clients/boss are vague, use Google to search similar events and see who they reach, how they’re organized, what content they deliver and work backward to determine what your target demographics are and what they might like.
- Once you’ve identified the target, find the online social forums they frequent. Listen long enough, and you’ll figure out their pain points and pet peeves as well as what they prefer. Use this information to develop your communication, content delivery and marketing strategies.
- Use what you know about your audience’s age, background and needs to make your design choices. For example, people with bad hips don’t want to sit in beanbags. People who want to network feel stuck at a banquet round. If you have a diverse audience, you may have to accommodate multiple needs and preferences at meals and other event functions.
- Invite selectively. Train your audience development/marketing staff to screen out people who won’t get the most from the show. Quality truly is more important than quantity if you want exhibitors and sponsors to be happy.
Do this homework and you’ll significantly risk-proof your event.
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