It’s that time of the year again. The days are getting longer, flowers are blooming, and events are popping up everywhere. For event marketers, this is both good news and bad news. While it’s great to be part of an industry where any day could be event day (and you don’t even need to take a sick day if you work in the field), competition for sponsorships can get fierce.
That’s especially true during spring months when many companies use their newly freed-up budgets to host or sponsor events. With so much opportunity, however, also comes risk—which means there are plenty of mistakes your company could make this spring.
Let’s look at 10 common mistakes that companies often make with event marketing and how you can avoid them:
1. Not having a strategy in place
If you want to host the perfect event, you need more than just cool decorations and great food. You need a purpose behind it. What’s your reason for hosting this event? Who is the target audience? How will the event impact your company? What do you hope attendees gain from it? These are all questions you should ask yourself before setting on an event marketing plan, especially when it comes to sponsorship deals and group ticket sales (more on that later).
2. Using discount codes at conferences
Discounts can be tempting to offer potential sponsors or attendees of your conference—and if they’re short-term deals like one free month of service or 50% off a subscription, they may not hurt. But if your discount code includes a dollar amount (like $500 off) and is available to anyone who asks, it could end up hurting you in the long run.
Why? Because with that kind of offer, sponsors might be less inclined to pay full price for sponsorship opportunities at future events—and individual attendees most likely won’t buy full-price tickets either. Instead, consider offering short-term discounts (like one free month of service) or bundling different products together as part of a sponsorship package with a bigger brand name.
3. Relying only on event apps
Event apps are great for helping attendees find their way around your conference or facilitating check-ins so attendees can skip the line at any pre-arranged appointments. They can also be useful for launching specific contests or surveys that are tied to your event.
However, just because an app exists doesn’t mean it’s doing all it could for you—or even most of what it should be doing. Instead of relying on the native options in your app creator (like emails, social media posts, and push notifications), consider hiring a third-party app marketing company to help you get more out of your mobile strategy.
4. Not considering legal issues
Even seemingly innocuous events can run into legal hoops to jump through—and some aren’t so easily dodged like copyright infringement. That’s why it’s important to know what kind of content is appropriate at events (for instance, making sure that any published materials that include photos, videos, or quotes fall under fair use law) and where you can get these permissions (like through the Creative Commons license). And of course, it never hurts to be careful with spoilers either.
5. Focusing solely on new business
This might seem counterintuitive to event marketing—especially if you’re hosting a conference or similar business-to-business events. But remember: At some point during an event, attendees will begin mingling and getting to know one another better. That means it’s okay to promote your brand as well as its products and services—as long as guests are encouraged to mix too.
One way you can do this is by asking guests at the entrance or in surveys what they could offer to other attendees at the event. Another option would be to add a networking component so that people can build contacts and future business opportunities even while you’re hosting an event.
6. Skipping out on keynotes
Even if your conference is heavy on hands-on workshops and panel discussions, it’s still important to include some keynote sessions —at least during the first and last days of the conference.
Why? Because unlike other speakers who might just go through PowerPoint slides or offer insights about their industry, keynote speakers share their personal stories with audiences—which can help bring guests closer together. Plus, they don’t come cheap; many charge tens of thousands of dollars per appearance nowadays (which is why you’ll want to get sponsors involved). To make the keynote speaker’s presence worthwhile, make sure they are on-brand and on-point with your agenda.
7. Not using an event management platform
From registration to event scheduling and beyond, a dedicated event management platform like Eventtia can help you get the most out of your events. Not only will it streamline certain processes (like guest attendance) but it can also be used to keep track of important data about your events—from attendees’ contact information to their preferences and background. You can then use this data to improve future marketing efforts.
8. Forgetting about continuity
Event planning is all about creating memories that last long after guests leave the event venue. That’s why it’s important to bring back new ideas on social media (and by association, your event). You can do this by sharing statistics about the impact of the event on a nonprofit organization or educational institution. Other techniques involve creating video reports that cover what transpired at the event from every angle—including on-the-ground footage and behind-the-scenes shots.
In some cases, sponsors might be disappointed with the attention you give them compared to other guests on social media. To avoid this problem, make sure there’s a space in your agenda where you let them present their products or services during a pre scheduled session. That way, attendees will get to know more about what they offer even while making new connections.
10. Ignoring mistakes
Event planning means dealing with a lot of moving parts at the same time—and that means there are bound to be mistakes. The good news is they don’t have to derail your event. Instead, use them as opportunities for learning and improvement. You might even share these bloopers with attendees through social media so everyone knows you’re human too.
With an event management platform, you can more effectively market your brand, make new connections, and keep track of important data about your conferences. So if you are planning for an event in the near future, consider using an online platform to streamline certain processes.