We announced in a previous blog post that the marketing team at Event Farm is kicking off an event series! We’re using our own event tech every step of the way and documenting the entire experience. This is your front-row seat to our planning process and inside look into how we’re thinking about the strategy and details.
Last week, Lauren stepped through how our little event idea (born at 5:30pm on a Friday over some beers) quickly turned into a bonafide series. We settled on a series topic idea (that we're all wildly passionate about), brainstormed how to recruit panelists, and let the creative juices start flowing on our branding and promotion strategy.
With the foundation laid we were ready to execute! There was just one little (major) detail we still had to work out... How would we ensure that the event series would benefit our business?
Initially, it felt hard to answer this question. It’s worth reiterating that no one on the Event Farm marketing team has a true background in event marketing. None of us has led the charge on producing large scale events, and what we thought we didn’t know made it hard to set the “right” goals.
That was until we took a step back and remembered this: We might not be event marketers, but we are marketers. For every single initiative we manage, we must be able to attribute its impact on pipeline and revenue. Why should events feel any different?
Short answer, they shouldn’t. If you’ve ever struggled with answering the question “was my event successful?” keep this in mind: Businesses rely on revenue. Every project, produced by any department should help drive pipeline and revenue. Just like every other effort, an event’s success should be measured by what it does to propel the business and generate dollars.
Not sure how to get started with event attribution? Here’s how we’re thinking about our event goals.
When I analyze my team’s marketing funnel strategy, I always come back to the top and find myself thinking (and then overthinking, and then overthinking some more) about how to continuously generate leads. But the thing is, I don’t just want a lot of leads, I want quality ones. Vanity metrics, especially in marketing, are all too easy to come by, and the more reliance we have on surface level data, the more we’re hurting our businesses. The better aligned leads are with our business mission, the higher likelihood of closed business and retention. So, we need to use the event to not just drive leads, but drive good leads.
When we started thinking about what a good event lead is, we approached it the same way we do with other marketing efforts. We analyzed who our current customers are, what their buyer journey looked like, and took an aggregate look at attributes they have in common. Based on those trends, we were able to search for people in our area who are similar to our current customers, and who we hadn’t been able to connect with yet. We created a campaign in Salesforce, put our lead list in the campaign, linked the campaign up to our event in Event Farm, and clicked import. With literally the click of a button, we produced a new set of people that we could now interact with and nurture through the sales process.
Another way we ensure good event leads is through ticket segmentation. Since we were really thoughtful with the kinds of leads we put into our Salesforce campaign, Event Farm was a perfect complement due to the platform’s ticket technology. We weren’t going to unleash this event into the wild with public registration and cross our fingers and hope for the best. Thanks to a feature we call "ticket types," everyone in our event Salesforce campaign was assigned to a specific ticket type, meaning we could deliver personalized invitations to our most strategic leads, and ensure they would hear about the event and therefore, our company.
Even better than that? Event Farm’s guest list segmentation capabilities gives us a running dashboard to track audience composition. I can keep track of how many of our attendees will be prospects, and because of that, we’ll arm ourselves with an on-site sales presence accordingly.
Build brand awareness for our company
Events are a stellar way to build brand awareness, and let people know what your company does both in business and in the community. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, nobody wants to feel like they’re actively being marketed to or pressured to buy. So we decided that in order to get, and keep, the attention of our good event leads, we need to deliver a valuable, distinct experience that they’ll associate with our brand.
For us, that distinct experience starts with eye-catching, innovative designs for save-the-date emails, invitations, and registration pages. Our marketing team is comprised of three brand junkies (we do a lot of Instagram browsing), and we fall in love with brands that feel fresh, personal and approachable. We wanted to create the same vibe for our event series. We drew inspiration from our favorite brands, and had the flexibility in the Event Farm platform to put our own spin on it.
The end result is amazing looking event assets that have received serious praise from our leads and customers. But beyond praise, the great design has also returned awesome results. On the first day we sent out event invitations and made our registration website available, we hit guest capacity. The event subject matter and panelists are stellar, but in order to get people to read the details, you have to first grab them with design.
In addition to not being event marketers, none of us is a dedicated graphic designer, and aside from dabbling in HTML here and there, we also don’t code. But with attention to detail (and passion for great aesthetics), our event's website and email designs are totally attainable.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “How many deals actually close at an event?” I don’t have exact numbers and it might be rare for someone to sign, seal and deliver immediately on-site, but closed business is still a goal and success metric we’ll be using for this event.
Just like any other marketing activity that we can attribute (think email, social, ads), we can track the influence that this event series has on a prospect further engaging with us and ultimately converting to a customer.
The kickoff to our event series is in a little less than two weeks! We’ll continue to post updates here about progress toward our goals, both for this event and for our overall business.
PS —If you want a behind-the-scenes look into how and why we're planning the WCW event series, watch the recording of our webinar, How We're Driving Revenue and Building Brand Awareness with Our Events, Step by Step. We talk about everything from setting high-level event goals to why we think it's so important to segment our guest list—click here to watch.