Understanding your target audience is the most important part of event marketing. Everything you create is with them in mind and it’s up to you to convey that to your audience in a way that works for them. Remember the W5H of writing from elementary school (who, what, when, where, why, how)? Beginning with those simple questions will give you an idea of who your target audience is, enabling you to develop a model of communication with which to engage them.
When it comes to outreach, your approach to your audience should be tailored, concise and informative. Shakespeare said, “brevity is the soul of wit,” and it still rings true today. In the context of outreach, you want to critically engage your audience with as little information as possible.
To specifically reach your target audience, consider where they’re most likely to receive content and in what format. As the classic example, event emails can be used to approach almost any audience, but the content of those emails should be created based on who they’re for.
If, for example, you want local microbreweries to attend your event, you may consider using a beer-related pun or gif in your email to indicate that your event will be a fun, informative and interactive brewing experience. However, if your event is for Fortune 500 CEOs, you may instead opt for images and quotes from important guest speakers you’ll be hosting.
The important thing is to use the data you already have to craft your outreach tactics and messaging to your target audience. Just as you would write a letter to your cousin differently than you would to your boss, your message, technique, and tone should adapt to your audience.
Social media can be one of the most daunting and most important aspects of connecting to your audience. At the end of the day, it’s about staying engaged. Like minds build communities and social media offers you platforms to engage with and build a community with your target audience.
When creating social content for your target audience, the most important thing to consider is the platform. What sites is your audience using? How often are they using them, and for what? Utilizing this information in conjunction with your attendee personas will allow you to develop a social strategy to keep your audience engaged.
If you’re hosting an event for CMOs of consulting firms, you may consider using platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook to post articles, podcasts and infographics to draw their interest. However, if you’re hosting an event like Coachella and your target audience is millennials and Gen Z, you might consider engaging on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Most importantly, your social activity should stay consistent. With the amount of information internet users are exposed to, going offline for too long can result in your social presence being forgotten. Similarly, over-utilizing social media could lead to your audience seeing your posts as spam and possibly ignoring or even unfollowing you.
Consider having someone live Tweet or Snap the event as it’s happening, and don’t be afraid to capitalize on audience FOMO. The power of social media is only growing, and learning what social platforms your audience uses and how they use them can offer you insights and opportunities otherwise unattainable.
To reach your audience on the event day, your presentation should consider the theme and approach. What do your attendees have in common? What are their job titles? How old are they? What’s their level of education? The answers to these questions will enable you to design the layout of your event.
With basic attendee info in mind, you can begin determining how to go about displaying your content. Perhaps your event is for medical professionals who work in sports. You could design your presentation in the theme of a game or match and include an interactive game for your attendees to play that demonstrates and/or involves your content and solutions.
Or maybe your audience consists of people in the culinary industry. In this case, you could thematically design your presentation as a multi-course meal and provide attendees with a small dish accompanying each new solution or piece of content.
Who your audience is should play a major role in determining the language of choice and degree of professionalism you utilize at your event. If your event is for millennial programmers, you may choose to take a casual, straightforward tone for your presentation. But if your audience is decorated accountants, you may opt to present your content and solutions in a more structured and formal voice.
There is no one correct way to mold your voice to your audience, but by leaving room for adaptation while utilizing attendee personas and paying attention to what your audience does on social media, you can develop a model of communication to engage with, interact with and sell to your audience.
Now that your event is over, it’s time to re-use your content strategies from outreach and social to continue the conversation with your attendees and further the professional relationship.
Send your attendees follow-up content shortly after the event while it’s still fresh in their mind. If you’ve tailored your outreach, social and event content to your target audience, it should be easy to continue that trend in your follow-up content.
Use audience-appropriate social media to post event photos and videos tagging attendees and encouraging them to spread the word. Consider sending your attendees an event summary email with group photos, free content and a call to action.
For audiences like the ‘young programmer’ example used earlier, consistent follow-up on social media can help them stay engaged and on-the-look-out for your next event, while repetitive emails may fall to the wayside. However, with an audience that communicates primarily via email (educators, for example), you may consider personalized emails thanking them for attending the event and possibly inviting them to meet again.
This is not to say you shouldn’t send personalized emails and follow-up invitations to younger crowds (you should), it simply means you should get to know your audience, learn which communication mediums they’re most active on, and engage in their discourse.
Create a follow-up plan before the event and consider sparking the follow-up at the event with an invitation to meet directly after or within the same week. This invitation should be relevant to the theme of your event, which should be easy as you’ve already created the event theme (sports, food, etc.) with your audience in mind.
The sooner you engage in follow-up activity, the more likely you are to retain attendees and further the relationship. Adapt to your audience and adjust accordingly.