MPG’s advice and predictions: 2021 – the year of Hybrid Communities
Today’s event marketers know that they must reach out and engage with their target audience across an ever-growing number of channels – both on and offline.
But a multi-channel approach isn’t about throwing out a high volume of branding and messaging across as many platforms as possible and hoping enough noise gets through to your targets. To maximise your campaign’s effectiveness marketers must take an integrated and strategic approach to how they utilise the channels at their disposal.
Here’s what you should be focusing on to ensure your multi-channel campaign is successful across the spectrum.
Be in the right place (and at the right time)
A multi-channel campaign is about more than just being on every channel out there. It’s about being on the right channels for the audience you want attract to your event.
If you are running an event in the finance sector, Snapchat is not going to be a channel likely to yield any results. Whereas LinkedIn is far more suited for connecting with your target audience.
But as well as making sure you are on the right channel, you have to be there at the right moment. Find out what time your audience is most likely to be online and have the best chance of seeing your message. Plenty of tools exist to help you identify the time of day most of your audience will be plugged in, tapping into the data most marketing and analytics platforms hold will unlock this intelligence.
Additionally, if you are running an international event pay particular attention to time zones. Posting at 9am UK time might be great for your British and European targets, but less useful for those in American or Asian time zones.
These things need to be scheduled carefully, otherwise your carefully crafted content may fail to reach enough eyeballs.
Keeping an eye on offline
All your offline channels and tactics, whether direct mail, advertising, or telemarkting, need to be fully integrated with your digital.
These days the glamour and buzz may be in digital – especially with the real-time feedback and inspiration it provides – but old school print should still be a strategic element for many event types.
Direct mail is still an effective tactic in a wide range of industries and – integrated smartly with digital – print can really help move the needle. As fewer marketers use print than in the past, printed materials can really help your event stand out.
If you do use direct mail, you need to make sure you follow up with a digital outreach after to reinforce your messaging.
Measure, measure and then measure some more
If your event has been running successfully for many years, you may be very confident in knowing where your audience sits and how best to access them or quickly build a following or community. But for newer events, finding the best channels can be a challenge.
That’s why continuous measurement of your outreach across channels is critical. You may find it useful to start a new campaign by reaching out across a wide range of channels, even ones you aren’t as confident about as others. By measuring on a regular basis (minimum once a week) you’ll soon see where your audience sits as patterns begin to emerge.
Perhaps Twitter works better than email or direct mail fares better than LinkedIn. What’s important is you have put in place reporting that allows you to analyse and make informed decisions based on data. You can’t just rely on what ‘feels’ right.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Just because a channel doesn’t work for you now, don’t necessarily abandon it entirely. As your event grows over time or your audience evolves and adapts new practices, it may be that a channel that isn’t very effective now eventually matures.
So, if Twitter has relatively low engagement, you should perhaps lower your output on it but be sure to keep it active. That way, if more of your audience gets on the platform, you already have the resource in place to take advantage as well as a history of posts for those wishing to delve into the archives.
Measure the message too
You need to be studying the success of different messaging. What language or tone gets results? Is it video, image or text your audience engages with?
If you’ve speakers booked for your event with a strong reputation and influence in their field, you may find content concerning them really gets results. If so, ensure your content pipeline contains plenty of this type of material.
It’s no good being on the right channels if you aren’t on the same wavelength as those you want to connect with. Give them what they want, not what you hope they do.
Automate where possible
Possessing the knowledge to use marketing automation platforms will help dramatically aid your efficiency – something that’s incredibly valuable if you have a small team.
Being able to schedule messaging –such as email campaigns where you can engage with and move contacts along the booking process automatically – is a game changer.
Furthermore, good automation tools are invaluable for measuring and reporting – removing almost all the sweat and tears from the reporting process and giving you vital real-time insight into the success of your campaign.
No mixed messages
Finally, the beauty of a multi-channel approach is the ability to increase touchpoints for your potential audience, but this can be offset by mixed messaging.
Whatever channels you choose to use your messaging must be consistent across all platforms. Establish your messaging and then shape it to the platform.
Remember, you are building a multi-channel campaign, not a multi-message one.
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